Sunday Morning….

My bed, coffee, Ambrosia whispering in the background, a full heart and thoughts that are over flowing.

When people send me words it’s the best gift in the world. The above has been sitting with me since the day I received it. Over the last few days I have been reminded how very short life is. It’s up to us to make the best of what we have while we are here. I have thought about the imprint I would like to leave here when I am gone and it would have to be that someone, somewhere finds some solace in my words and some “me too’s”.

Life is short and waits for no one.

I was lucky enough to create a friendship with an older gentleman about 12 years ago. I saw Doug on a weekly basis and he always had a kind word and some wisdom. He shared stories of his wife and children, his business, relocation to Nevada and his trials in life. He was in his 70’s and full of wisdom for those that would listen. I listened. I am a little younger than his children and I wonder if they realized while he was here what a good man he was. So life changed and I moved and didn’t see Doug very often any more, but every time I left I got the “Be good kiddo and do what makes you happy”. So a couple of days ago I found out that Doug passed. For days all I have thought about is the advice and stories. Doug’s words echo now more than ever “Do what makes you happy“.

We think we will always have tomorrow and that we shouldn’t take the risk. And then what? What if tomorrow never comes? What if you miss out on the love of your life? What if you pass up the job, the adventure or even the heartache? I believe we learn lessons from every experience if we are wise enough to really sit with it, see and accept it. If you can carry the knowledge forward it makes you wise enough to know who and what you deserve in your life.

The words from Jeff Brown resonate deeply with me this morning.

I think about my friend Vee, who said “you are like a heart with arms”. I love her!! She gets it.

I think about him and the transformation that has begun. I think about how I have shown up, wounds and all and the acceptance. I revel in the resonance of being able to open my heart fully. What is too fast at this point in life? At 48 I am more than half way there and know enough that the rest of my life will be the best of my life. Life is what we choose to make it, dwell on the negative and it will grow. Dwell on the positive, love yourself, your life and those around you and life will unfold and present you with all the goodness and happiness you are willing to accept and so deserving of.

So this is my Sunday morning……I am not so patiently waiting for 5:45 tomorrow evening.

“Well, make a wish, baby
And I will make it come true
Make a list baby, of the things I’ll do for you
Ain’t no risk in lettin’ my love rain down on you
So we can wash away the past so that we may start anew
Risin’ over my shoulder
(Love flows) Gettin’ better as we’re older
(All I know) All I wanna do is hold her
She’s the life that breathes in me”
~ Ambrosia ~
Peace for your Sunday….and lots n lots of heartfelt love ❤

Just a little more, just a little less

Just a little more sadness, a little more happiness, a little less memories and just a little more letting go. Sometimes its hard to realize the value that relationships have or lack thereof when there is no benefit for the other people. It is in the depth of trial that you will see the true colors of those who claimed they cared or they have love for you. Let your circumstances drastically change and see who you are left with. Believe me when I say change will filter out your life.

Change….inevitable

Change….growth

So here we grow….

Growth. Sometimes painful but always necessary to push forward.

I am an observer. I watch and collect thoughts, words and actions of others. I am patient because all will be revealed in time. I listen to the words that aren’t spoken, whats in between in the still silent moments. I watch the eyes and the actions. People reveal themselves. I just have a an unhealthy knack for believing that people are different, for giving second and third….and a million chances. I am working on this habit or pattern.

This morning I have a million thoughts running through my mind. One is that some people will complain about what others do to them and turn around and treat people who are in their life the same way. I don’t understand this behavior, but it’s not mine to understand. I am collecting it for future reference so that when and if it happens again I am aware and can avoid the situation.

I suppose I am dumping head trash this morning…thinking through writing. Exploring whats leaving, hopeful for whats ahead and settling into this new place in life. It carries many different emotions.

Through this change and growth if I have learned one thing, it is that I have strength. I have stood by people and carried them when they couldn’t or didn’t want to carry themselves. I have learned at the end of the day it comes down to me. We take care of ourselves, we are responsible for our own happiness and for how we accept and allow others to treat us.

Just a little less pain

Just a lot more safe

and

Just a little more wise…

Peace for your Monday

I don’t know how to let you go

I don’t know how to let you go.

Your little face isn’t in the window when I get home. I don’t have to block the door from you getting out and I am still practicing that habit. No one wakes me up at 1, 3 or 5 am. And when 5 am rolls around I lay in bed and listen to the vast quietness of the house. No headbutts against the bathroom door in the middle of the night any more. I never understood what you thought you needed in there anyway 🙂 I washed your blankets and they are in the place where you slept by my bed because….

I don’t know how to let you go

No more every mornings, nights or every day. No more routine that was ours. My coffee, your medicine and special breakfast that you became accustomed to and even bugged me for. It didn’t matter if I slept 2 hours or 6, when it was you, I was up. I never got upset even if you got me up 5 times in 3 hours.

I don’t know how to let you go

No one to catch what falls or bark at nothing in the backyard. No cold nose or dirty peets on my clean floors. No more bad breath. You were such a smart boy, T-R-E-A-T-S, you sat, shook hands, turned in circles, begged, laid down and even said I Love You…you are our treat boy.

My heart aches for you….so much. The king of my castle, my constant, my unconditional love. I talk about you as much as I can because it just doesn’t feel right without you. Your sissy misses you too. We laugh at the silly and happy times. Your outfits, which I am sure you cussed us out for more than once. About you licking the furniture or hitting the old door with so much force that it would bow the metal door and you would catch your leg. You were my 150 lb attitude boy in a 17 lb body. Like angry bees and a rotten little alligator that used to wrestle for hours.  Squirrel chaser and cat hunter…those damn cats. The little whiny baby (sissy called you), the one that slept in the crate by my head and some how ended up in my bed. My little love who loved to nap on the couch with me or with sis when she was sick.

We don’t know how to let you go

For all the countless days you loved us even when we weren’t at our best. For the nights we shared in the kitchen, you know the ones. For being my other child and loving me even when I didn’t love myself. And for making sure Ashley and I were okay in this last part of your journey with us. For all of this and so much more we will be forever grateful…..but I still don’t know how to let you go.

I will look for you always….I love you every, every day

Our Pure Imagination boy.

My uppy.

Buster ❤

November 9, 2003 ❤ November 13, 2017

Grief…my journey as a volunteer

Posted on July 8, 2014
For more than two years I have been a volunteer at a local grief center. The a majority of this time I have been a co-facilitator in an adult group and more recently with teens and young people. Many people ask me how I can handle something like this. It has been an amazing experience so far. My life is so much richer being with my other family every other Monday evening.

We, the facilitators, and the people who come every other week are like a family. Sometimes we don’t see some of the faces for weeks on end and then out of the blue they will come back.

I have learned a lot about people and grief since I started volunteering.

First, I think I should tell you what prompted me to become a volunteer at a grief center. We had several deaths in our lives over a four-month period. It wasn’t until a dear family friend, Ernie, passed on Christmas night in 2012. I watched Ernie go from a life loving, vibrant man to a shell. Ernie taught me so much about life and death. All the odds were stacked against him from childhood. His father worked at a paper mill in Illinois during his childhood. When his father would come home from work he would change from his work clothes in a room off of the kitchen, exposing his family to asbestos. Ernie’s father was the first case in the United States to win a settlement for asbestos poisoning. He didn’t realize what he was exposing his wife and children to. From there Ernie went on to serve his country where he was exposed to Agent Orange, he smoked, and he was a diesel mechanic. When Ernie first became sick they found a spot on his kidney, then another, then his liver, and then his lungs. Cancer is a wicked, wicked disease. We didn’t know that when he was first diagnosed the doctors told his wife he had six to eighteen months to live. Three years later we would say goodbye to Ernie on Christmas Night. We were so blessed, all of us, including Ernie, to not know how much time he was given. His wife never told us until he was gone. So we spent the last three years of his life living, not living like it was the end. We drank coffee together, ate meals together, I cooked according to his likes…this makes me smile. I would even say “Ern, are you staying for dinner?” which was met with “what are we having?”. I would tell him meatloaf and green beans, he hated them. We would laugh! We took vacations together. I miss my friend. Ernie taught me a lot about life and about tremendous strength.

I will never forget the news the morning the grief center called to me. I saw this segment with a lady talking about a grief center and how they needed volunteers….I entertained the idea briefly and then let it go. I believe that when something is meant to be, it will be. They repeated the segment again and I knew I was being told that I needed to call. I was in the next training class and haven’t looked back since.

After training, I went to my first grief meeting. It was a room full of adults all with different stories. As they went around the circle and shared their stories it broke my heart. I came out thinking this isn’t for me, what can I do for any of them??? When I told the coordinator she said to me “No ones grief is the same”. I learned my first lesson that night.

We all grieve very differently. Loss is loss.

I can say to you that grieving people get tired of hearing I am sorry or that God needed another angel. These words don’t make it any better although they are meant well. They need you to be there for them, even if there are no words between you. Don’t back away from them because you don’t know how to treat them, this hurts more than you know.

Our children need to be able to grieve as well. They need to know its okay to talk about the person that is no longer there. I’ve also learned that when a parent loses a child that the children that they still have sometimes lose that parent to grief as well. Celebrate the life of the one that is no longer here with them. They are affected too.

My best friend who I facilitated with for the first two years, lost two daughters in her life, one on my birthday. I don’t distance myself from her…she couldn’t get that lucky. She would laugh. I embrace her on our day. I send a card and a text acknowledging her day and letting her know I think of her. I stand just far enough back so that if she reaches for me I am here.

As my journey on the grief road shifts to one with young people it becomes richer. It’s important to be present for them, listen to them, know their stories and ask them questions. You can see in the younger faces how much it means that you are there, you remember and know their stories.

A grief center may not be the place for everyone to volunteer, but we have all lost someone. Its something everyone has in common. You may not think you can help….just being there, present in that moment, sharing with them, caring about them…that helps. They unpack their emotional trunks once every two weeks in a safe, understanding environment.

I encourage everyone to volunteer. It doesn’t matter how, find something that is close to your heart. Something that is important to you. I have dealt with so much grief, questions, and decisions in such a short period that being at the grief center made perfect sense to me. Another piece of advice, make sure you can commit to the time you need to be there. It’s important that they see familiar faces that know their stories and will be there for them.

This blog is written in memory of Ernie. I miss you every day, and smile at all the good memories you gave me.

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