Loss: A Journey Of Survival

Dealing with loss is never an easy process.  It can take the joy right out of your soul in seconds, and change everything you have every know.   It can even change you.  Are you ever the same after losing someone?

There are all kinds of loss.  Loss of a parents, grandparents, siblings, children, friends.  Loss of ideas, concepts, and hopes.  Loss of dignity, pride and self.  It doesn’t matter whom, or what the loss is, it all ends in the same way – pain, confusion, hurt, anger.  It can put us in a very dark place.  A place that is there which leaves us questioning our meaning of existence, our beliefs, and ourselves.

I’ve had a lot of losses in my life.  My first “loss” was when my parents divorced.  I was six years old and I remember the time period – it stands still in my mind.  It’s a whirlwind of events, but for some reason the moments I remember are played so slowly.  My parents were just not meant to be, and I clearly understand that now, as a grown woman, but as a little girl my world was shattered.  I remember asking my Dad to stay in my room so that I could sleep.  I asked him to sit beside me for nights because I feared losing him.  I feared waking up and not finding him there anymore – not knowing where he went.  Life as I knew it was different from the rest of my friends and I was scared.  I did not understand the concept of Mommy and Daddy not being together anymore.  What did that mean for me?

Years later I lost my Grandfather. This was the first time I had physically lost someone.  I lived in a different city, and remember the phone call from my Dad.  Hearing words of loss is never easy.  Trying to figure out how to deal with it is something that you are unaware of when you are 13 years old.  I cried, as I hurt.  I lost my Grandpa – which little girl doesn’t cry?  I was a child still.

Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.” ~ Unknown

1998 was one of my most challenging years.  I was working with elderly people.  Loss was inevitable in this job.  It was also the year that my Step-Dad and Grandma were both diagnosed with cancer.  I remember that summer being filled with confusion, and many tears.  Cancer is a hellish disease.  I thought I was “trained”.  My medical experiences had prepared me.  I had a full understanding of how this disease would take its toll, and take the very life from my loved ones.  Watching them die in front of you is much different from receiving news on the phone – I took a leave of absence from my job and devoted my time, knowledge, experience and love to both of these people, my family members.  I took over palliative care – spent nights in the Cancer Agency, and palliative care homes. My efforts of love and devotion could not win the battles that were in their lives, and eight weeks apart was just too much for me.  I looked at death in a different way now – I was scared of it, and it had its control on my life.  I was scared to drive, I was scared of my loved ones driving,  I was scared of accidents, I was scared of disease.  I went so far as to not order food from a restaurant for delivery for fear of something happening to the delivery man and me being responsible for taking away someone from this earth who was loved my friends and family in their lives.  I was scared of everything in this world that would potentially take away someone I knew, someone I cared for, or worse – someone I loved.

One could say I did not handle this well … and nearly 20 years later I still feel scared of death.  I’ve lost more friends, and family.  And each time it takes away my faith in reality in this whole life process.

If you don’t realize the source, you stumble in confusion and sorrow. When you realize where you come from, you naturally become tolerant, disinterested, amused, kindhearted as a grandmother, dignified as a king. You can deal with whatever life brings you, and when death comes, you are ready. Lao Tzu

And then loss, at its finest … miscarriage.  This is not only a physical loss, but this is an emotional loss.  Horrific, and indescribable.  I have had two successful pregnancies between 2011 – 2013 and have two beautiful boys.  Why would I think that this would happen to me?  But apparently,”This is common”, they would tell me.  “We are surprised this has not happened to you yet!”, another would say.  Wait? What?  Am I really hearing this?  The idea of not seeing my babies heartbeat on my ultrasound, or feeling them kick and move in my belly was sad enough, but the reality of “what could have been” broke my heart to pieces.  What would my baby have looked like?  What would she, or he have grown up to love?  Would they have had the most beautiful smile, just like my two boys?  What caused this?  Was it me?  Was is God’s plan?  Was I being punished?  What did I do wrong to deserve this? Am a I horrible person?  What did I do in my past live to deserve this?  Did someone hate me so much that they wished this upon me?

My baby would have been born last week, and so i’ve sat here going through the motions and trying to understand loss a little better.  Making an effort for Loss and I to become pal’s so I can empathize a little easier.  What is it that causes us the tears, that horrible ache in your heart, the feeling that causes those uncontrollable tears.  Because my mind wants to identify it, and grab it and throw it away and never think of it again, or do I?  If I am able to figure out what I can do to block those emotions does that make me a horrible person?  Heartless?

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief… and unspeakable love.  ~ Washington Irving

I realize now that it is nothing that anyone can prepare for, prevent, or even accept gracefully.  Loss is horrible, and it breaks you down.  Only time can heal, and that is because of the distance it creates between you, and when it happened.  Time … will eventually heal all losses.

And after the tears stop I sit back and think just how lucky I am to be alive and to have experienced all of these memories, especially the ones that hurt so much, the losses that broke me into pieces, and tore my soul apart.  I pick up the mess I have turned into, and I remind myself that I hurt because I loved so much, because I cared so much, because I let things matter to me from the deepest parts of my being … because at the end of the day what it comes down to is that some people are never this lucky.  I am blessed.

 

 

 

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Good Riddance; Letting Go and Moving Forward

With each year, as we approach the closing of the year, we begin to reflect on life reminiscing about the past years adventure, contemplating the things that we had hoped to experience, or move away from.  Every year is the same story – we have 365 days to try to get it right.  Some of us go full force with guns blazing, and others of us get sidetracked, or simply give up.  Unsuccessful, you learn to accept that some challenges were not met head on, and prioritize them into your current set of goals in the new year to come.

Every year I have the intention to work on “me” – convincing myself to let go of things that hurt or caused me to feel in a negative manner, and figure out better, more cathartic methods, of trying to overcome obstacles in my life.

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The past few years have been devoted to learning how to balance family, friends, and my career.  It has not been easy.  Each day I work through how to put 150% effort into each of these really important things in my life … there never seems to be a cut and dry answer, and sadly when I do have days when I feel like life is feeling balanced, and my efforts are evenly distributed amongst my family, friends, and career, I find that the one thing I do forget about is myself.

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My goals for the past year included finding a job that I dreamed of – being in an environment that I not only loved, but felt comfortable, challenged, and motivated.  I wanted a job I was passionate about, and not just a job that I would “settle” at.  

My family goals were to be a better mother, and wife – which, I am still not sure exactly what that means.  Does that mean I smile more so than not? or am I just never grumpy, or bitchy towards my husband? 

My friends goal was to weed out the manipulative, negative, and hurtful persons, and get closer to the ones that I felt had a more authentic, genuine, and loyal persona.  The biggest challenge over the past two years  was being disappointed in people’s expectations of me, and individuals lack of loyalty and respect towards the friendships that I shared with them.  I am sensitivite to things that are said to me, or behind my back.  I am an emotional being, as most of us are, and have let things take effect on me far more than they ever had the right to be in my world.  Slowly I am learning that i’ve kept far too many negative people in my life for much longer than they should have ever been there for.  It wasn’t “them” that was doing something to me, it was “me” allowing these individuals the “right” to be in my world.  Unlearning the rule of “be nice to everyone” was difficult because I felt that it was going against all of what I knew to be “right” – what God taught, what elders preached.

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Did I get it right last year?  when I sit here and write out my view on where I started, and ended in 2015 I feel like there was a progression.  But do I feel 100% satisfied?  No.  I think that goals are great, and working on creating a better, positive, and more fulfilling life, in general, is a healthy thing to desire.  There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself.  It is not selfish when you want the best version of your life – creating this will make you a better person in return.  There is always room for improvement, and that is one of the beautiful things about this life – we have the right to create our own choices – our own path, and our own destination.

Each year we have the chance to start over again, to move forward from the hurt, the lessons, the challenges, and try to do it right. Celebrate the accomplishments you made this year, and reevaluate where you would want to be a year from now.  Hold yourself accountable for what you want in your life, and make it happen.  In a few days you will be able to close the door on this chapter, and move forward into the next.  What you choose to bring with you is up to you – take life lightly, love with all of your will, and remember to make yourself a priority in 2016 xo

2016 New Year celebration display with the date outlined with fiery sparklers in green and blue on a black background

 

 

 

 

 

Quality over Quantity: The Re-evaluation Of Friendships At Face Value

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This past year has been extremely busy and challenging.  No one can predict what life will hand you.  It has taught me not only about myself, but has shown me much about the friendships that I have in my life.

It has shown me that not everything is in my control.  That my personal best is my own form of “perfection” and that was something that I desperately needed to wrap my head around and accept.
It has shown me the characteristics in friendships that mean so much to me – the things that I need and deserve in my life.  The things, that without, would be deal breakers:
Supportive people who do not look for gains or opportunities to benefit themselves, or take advantage of others in any way shape or form.
Loyal people who will say what they need to your face rather than behind my back.  We always find things out, so it’s just best to say it to their face.
Empathetic people who understand that I do not have any time for myself but are still okay with a friendship that has been reduced to a few random emails, phone calls, or text messages – because THAT is the ONLY amount of time I have in the day to spend on “myself”.   I miss my girly dates and I wish to have more of them in the future!
Face Value – what you see is what you get.  There are no games, there is no hidden agenda, there is no stress.  The friendship is just “easy”.  It’s real.  It’s safe.
Authentic people who genuinely care for my wellbeing -they don’t make me feel guilty, or insufficient as a friend.  They make efforts to maintain a friendship that may seem one-sided at times without making you feel stressed out.  You know you can count on them in a heartbeat before you even need to ask.  They realize that sometimes things are unbalanced, but they just let you know it’s okay to just be yourself.
To those people in my life, THANK YOU.  Thank you for being a QUALITY friend.  For showing, unselfishly, what a real and true friend is.  For lifting me up when I feel like a failure as a friend, or mother and for bringing positivity back into the word friendship, because, let’s face it – there are not many of you “quality” people out there.
You are God’s personal angels.  It is his way of whispering in my ear and letting me know that I really am going to be okay in this life – and everything will work out as planned even when life feels chaotic xo

Keeping It Real: Life In The Fast Lane

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The time in between each of my blog entries seems to be getting longer and longer.   I have a lot of thoughts that run through my mind as my day goes on, however finding time to sort my thoughts, and put them down on here seems to get lost on the back burner.

In my last entry I wrote how I felt on a day that I was in a very vulnerable place.  A part of me wants to take that entry and delete it, and the honest side of me says, “No, don’t you dare.  You were simply being a human being”…

I promised myself that I would keep it there, and that I would one day reread it – coming from a different perspective – and congratulate myself on how far i’ve come from since those feelings of helplessness and frustration – negative emotional feelings that consumed me at that moment.

The addition of one extra little boy has filled my heart with so much joy, but finding time for “me” is next to impossible as my world is filled with two little boys 24 hours a day.  Finding time to breathe and release the stresses of each day is non-existent, and finding time to meditate usually ends with me falling asleep the minute I close my eyes!  I am physically, and emotionally drained at day’s end.  Not finding this time has left me feeling like I am in a rut – and i’ve come to realize that this feeling is not bringing anything positive into my children’s lives.  They will be the best when I AM MY BEST!  I need to remember this!

I have not forgotten that special place I used to visit once a day – the place of calm, and serene.  The place where I would build up my emotional energy reservoir so I could continue on for the remainder of the day.  The place where my honesty was the best thing for me because I could learn from my emotion – both good and bad.  It’s not a forgotten place, just a place that has been less travelled over the last few weeks …. I am ready to reinvent the “new” me … the new, and improved mommy of 2!!

 

 

Patience Is A Virtue: A Mommies Point Of View

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Patience: The ability to wait something out or endure something tedious without getting riled up. Having patience is the ability to remain calm. It involves acceptance and tolerance.

It sounds so easy, yet patience is something that I never understood the depths of until becoming a mother.

In 2011 I was in conversation with a friend of my husbands, an slightly older fellow, who has a son of his own that is well into his adult years. The first thing he told us after congratulating us on our ‘big news’ was that we would ‘now know the true meaning of patience’. Boy, did he ever pick up a thing or two during his journey as a father!

I love my son dearly. He is my bright shining sun on a dark cloudy day. There are no words to describe the love I have towards him!   Please allow me to introduce you to the true meaning of patience, or how I have come to know it in my own personal world over the past 19 months.

Patience is sleeping on the wood floor of your childs bedroom all night long because your son wants to hold your hand as he sleeps. Patience is drowning out the mentally exhausting screams and cries of a child who thinks his life is in ruins because he cannot quite grasp the concept of asking mommy to pass him a toy he cannot reach, or does not understand that when another child just grabs a toy that it is not right to grab it back. Patience is having to get up off the toilet because your son is new to potty training and decides that he wants to “pooh-pooh” at the same time as your first potty break of the day in your one bathroom apartment….you know he won’t “go”, but you don’t want to deny him the opportunity. Afterall, you’ve taught him to tell you that he needs the potty when his body tells him he has to “go” to the bathroom.

Before having a child I would have described patience as waiting in a line up that seems to never end, or driving behind someone who cannot seem to figure out that the gas pedal actually controls the speed of the car.

Exhausted from horrible sleep I hear empathy screaming at the top of its lungs to me, “hey!  you there?  … while you’re busy being tired and exhausted what about your son and his feelings?” My subconscious was right. What exactly did my son see through his eyes when I was busy enduring the tedious, remaining calm & accepting, and tolerant?  Indeed, he was busy learning the values of humanity that would define his own character in the years to come.

What my son saw was a lesson in devotion, and caring; He saw a mother who stood by his side during the night. He loved her so much that he wanted her to be there every wink he took to peek at her during the night. He was showing me that he cared. He was showing me appreciation.   He was learning a lesson in respect; by politely asking for a toy that he couldn’t reach, or learning how to share with someone who he doesn’t even know. He was learning a lesson in independence; learning when his body needs the potty and asking for help to do so – showing me that my hard work and dedication was paying off.

As a mother, the definition of patience does not mean waiting or enduring. To me, patience has meant learning. Lessons for both my son and I that are not easily taught. Traits that are developed over time through the interactions of the world. Valuable lessons that both of us will use or cherish for the rest of his lives. My son taught me the real meaning of patience, and for that I will forever remain grateful to him.