Friday, November 25, 2005

p.22 "Love the Skin You're in!"

Recently my husband’s mother passed away and this was a lady that Da held dear in her heart; grandmother or not, I believe she would have found her to be an important person for her growth and connection to God.

As we organized the funeral mass, Da asked us if she could have the honor of delivering the eulogy - she did it with pure class and professionalism. Since I sing with a church group I am pretty in tune with the fact that some Priest go nuts with the family “eulogy” since it really doesn’t fit in with the funeral “liturgy”, thus I kept a sharp eye on his reactions; I think he had as many tears as the rest of us. Here is this young twenty year old relating the abstract concepts of personal faith into a t-shirt worn by an elderly women with sever dementia. The t-shirt simply said, “Love the Skin You’re in”.

How does a person with Bipolar Disorder learn to “love the skin they’re in”? Call me crazy, but I think Da has the best self-esteem of all our kids.

She has always been that free loving spirit that really doesn’t care about things others might be saying of her. Well at least this is the image she projects and I do believe 80% of this too be true.

We all go through those stages of “I wish I was (insert dream thought here)”. If your short you want to be tall, if your hair is curly you want it straight – give me blue eyes instead of brown - the list goes on. Does it mean we don’t love our skin too much?

Well Da in the 7th grade took this to the actual “skin” concept… she wanted desperately to be, as she would say, “a little black girl”. Our middle daughter always picked out the black baby dolls because they were more colorful, but Da decided this was what she wanted for herself. She was attending the inner city performing arts school at the time, so we did invest a bit in the proper wardrobe, but the kicker is the night we went to our country club for dinner and she decided to add dreadlocks to her hair. We kept our mouths shut as they seated us with our three beautiful daughters; one who had, in an ingenious manner, unraveled the barber carpet from our lower level and attached cut up pieces to her actual locks… Dude! It didn’t quite work, but she felt phat.

Then there are the piercing that all teenagers want, but when Da was manic she could do these too herself since pain wasn’t really a factor. I usually took the jewelry away and made her grow back the holes. Especially, the piercing in her stomach made a bit too long with a large safety pen. Yep then there was the dreaded tattoo…

Through all of these normal and taking it to the extreme times, she has liked herself and tends to find the things in people that are good.

Sometimes I wonder if she taught these lessons to grandma or vice a versa. She talked about grandma doing everything with love in her heart and the grace of God by her side. It was Da that taught me the existence of guardian angels; I know she has a team on her side. Her life has always been purposeful and every time she was hospitalized, I knew her life was one worth saving.

It is so sad when people with mood disorders do not have hope and make the pain go away. It is heart breaking that they haven’t learned to love their skin; it is incredibly heart wrenching to see families go through the pain of loss because of their love for them. And it rips me apart to see them reject the skin their kids are in if there are challenges that they don’t want the neighbors to know.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth- I check in every once in a while to get an update- this one made my day! I bet it was a hard decision to let her deliver the eulogy- leave it to Amanda to pull it off with grace! Jennifer

3:01 PM  

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