Family: Grandpas

I have 6 grandparents. 5 are still alive. I am related by blood to 3 of them. I’ve never actually met my mother’s biological father. He left when she was a baby and her mother remarried a wonderful man. I know that my mom’s bio dad was a dick for leaving, but I still wonder what he looks like and what he’s like.

My dad’s dad’s dad (my great-grandfather), I’m told, was somewhat of an ass. He wasn’t always very nice. His name is Frank. I’ve seen pictures of him and I can’t help but wonder if I would’ve liked talking to him.

Great Grandpa Frank

I vaguely remember my mom’s mom’s parents. They died when I was in elementary school. My great-grandfather’s name was Adolf. When he died and we went through his stuff, we discovered that he had a VERY extensive menu collection. His eyes were blue. He had a mustache. I remember liking him.

The first (and only) grandparent that I have lost died on January 9, 2018. He was my Grandpa Wayne. He was well over 6 feet and his head was very large.

This is me and my Grandpa Wayne, March 1997.

He died because he contracted pneumonia after going through extensive chemo treatments. Unfortunately, I was in Germany when he died, so I was unable to say goodbye and attend the service or the burial. I’ve actually never been to his grave and that is because I’m not sure that I’m ready.

There are many things that I would’ve liked to ask him, so I try to make a point of seeing and talking with the grandparents that are still alive. My Grandpa Wayne was a no bullshit kind of man. He always told me to eat protein and to cut my hair (he hated long hair). He was a rock for my Grandma and I can see that things have been very difficult for her since his passing.

To wrap this post up, I miss family that I never met. I miss family I didn’t know very long or very well. I miss family that I’ve lost. Grief and sadness are difficult emotions for me, so I never quite know how to process these thoughts, but I acknowledge their existences.

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Exercise/Exposure Therapy Day 1

Yesterday was my first time participating in exercise and exposure therapy. We worked on desensitization, mindfulness, and focusing on my breathing at a slow walk up a small incline.

A little background: I do not have asthma. I am as healthy as I currently can be. When I’m having a panic attack, my heart rate, breathing, and adrenaline are of the same levels as if I was running from a burning building. It’s a false alarm in my head. So, when I try to actually run for fun or for exercise, my brain thinks it’s in panic mode because my heart rate, breathing, and adrenaline automatically shoot up the same way they do when my anxiety is at its peak. It’s not fun.

So, the past 10 years I have avoided long distance running and physical activities that might send me into an attack and then into an unconscious state (fainting). It’s frustrating because I love hiking, team sports, marching band, running with my dogs, and so much more; I haven’t felt like I can 100% participate in a long time and that’s what I’m trying to get over through this new type of therapy.

My therapist did say that while exercise therapy is not new to him, he has never treated someone like me with it. Normally, he uses it for people with anger management issues, couples that come to therapy to yell at each other, or people who have body image issues.

I came to therapy yesterday ready to run, but we didn’t get over 2 mph. He said the first session is only about the initial exposure. Next session we might kick it up, but the goal is not to go as fast as we can. The focus of this therapy is getting my heart rate up and then back down without jacking up my breathing. It’s about [not purposely] sending me into panic mode, handling it, and then returning to “normal”. It’s scary, but also exciting.