Thursday, May 29, 2014

Life is full of ups and downs

Grief hits you when you least expect it. You can be having a completely normal day and something will trigger your grief, and suddenly you are a weeping mess once again. It could be as simple as seeing a picture of mom...or having someone ask me how I am doing...or there are those times when it could be absolutely NOTHING that triggers it. Those are the times I hate the most because I cannot control my emotions.
I am a sensitive person and I always have been. I used to apologize for it, but I am learning not too. I am who I am and you can like me or leave me, it's as simple as that.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A friend in need....

One thing my mother always taught me was generousity. There have been times in my life where I was unable to help anyone else, much less myself, but when I can, I do. I have a friend, who, recently and suddenly lost her mother. Danielle is a single mom, who is starting her own production company and her mother was supporting her and her daughter while things get going for her. This woman is one of the kindest, most generous people I know. She is doing great things, but this sudden loss has turned their lives upside down. Read her story, and give if you are so inclined. Share the link with others. Even a few dollars can make a difference in someone's life. Thank you!

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Forgiveness Challenge -- Day 13 - Grieving

I am taking the "Forgiveness Challenge" which is a 30 day Journey of Forgiveness by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Each day you get an email with the link to your daily lesson. Most days there is a small audio clip to help you with the day's lesson, or a video clip. It doesn't take much time to do, and whatever you write down stays so you can refer back to it as you make your journey. Today's lesson was about grieving. Grief does not only occur when someone dies. Grief happens whenever we lose something that is precious to us, even our trust, our faith, or our innocence. Grief plays a large role in the forgiveness process, and especially within this step of Naming the Hurt. Grief is how we cope with and release the pain we feel. Grief has many well-documented stages—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and ultimately acceptance. There is no fixed time and no fixed order for experiencing the grief associated with any loss. And while there is no right way to grieve, grieving itself is essential. Grief is how we come to terms not only with the hardship we have endured, but also with what could have been if life had taken a different course. We grieve as much for what might have been as for what was. I have had so much happen in the past few months, that today's lesson struck me exceptionally hard. But, I think this will be a lesson I really benefit from as I finish it today. The activity is simple...Name the feelings that accompany these losses. Simple, huh? I alo just started "The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World" by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu which goes along with The Forgiveness Challenge. From the book: "I would like to share with you two simple truths: There is nothing that cannot be forgiven, and there is no one undeserving of forgiveness." Great words to live by, don't you think?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan

I posted earlier in my blog about this book I had just picked up, and I am back again to say that I finished it. This was a fantastic book...from front cover to back. It is a shame that Marina's life was tragically cut short, as this book is proof that she had so much literary potential. She had the gift of words, and her stories, both the fiction and nonfiction ones were all fantastic and very well written. I highly recommend this book to everyone and I am sure my copy will soon end up on Paperbackswap or Bookcrossing. Now to decide what to read next. I have so many choices available, but I do not know what I am in the mood for.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Reflections and life changing moments

My emotions have been quite and up and down over the past few months, but it seems like, to me anyway, that since my mom died on March 31st, I have totally lost my mind. I can admit that I haven't acted like myself. It's not just that I am sad, because I am, but I feel lost and confused. My mom and I had our ups and downs over the years but she has always been my strongest support and toughest critic, and the one who loved me despite everything I put her through over the years. To say I miss her is an understatement. I should have called more. Should have gone to Texas to see her one more time. Should have done a lot of things, but I didn't, and now I can't and it has been eating me up inside. I am not perfect...but these days I feel those imperfections are stronger than ever. I want to talk to her...and I can't. I want to hear her raspy voice tell me she loves me. Instead, I spent the afternoon Wednesday, outside with the dogs. I grabbed my new journal and a pen and sat down under the shade of a tree and watched the dogs play. I wrote letters...letters I will never send. Letters of healing and forgiveness and I said everything I needed to say, and even the things I didn't need to say, or couldn't say. I dug deep into my soul and searched for the words that would help me...help me forgive MYSELF because until I do that, I know that I can never move forward and find happiness. In the midst of all of this, I found I was sick...colitis. I have always had a sensitive stomach, but for weeks it was far more troublesome than I ever wanted to admit. Finally a week ago, my body couldn't take it anymore. I do not get sick often...and considering the poor diet I have, and lack of exercise, I am amazed at how healthy I have been. But not now. The IBS attacks I used to get years ago were bad, but this was something different and after tests and a couple of visits to different doctors, they tell me I have colitis. I sat in the doctors office in tears....from pain and from my emotions and was given medication to not only help my physical health, but also my mental health. I can honestly say, a week later, I feel more like myself again. My stomach is still not back to normal, and of course I will always miss my mom, but I feel like I am better able to cope with everything again, and that makes me a better person in every way. I still look in the mirror and see sadness...but the mere mention of my mother doesn't start me crying. I am not jumping down everyone's throat, and I am sleeping better. Writing in my journal helps as well, but its mostly a paper journal where no one can read my thoughts and offer an opinion that I am not ready to hear. Feedback is good, but I know the only approval I need at the moment is my own. Through all of this, my self esteem hit rock bottom. I have a lot to work one. I give myself daily tasks to do, whether it be to make a list of the things I am thankful for, to trying a new food. Something...anything that can help me improve myself. I've managed to do one thing that I never thought I could....because pop irritated my stomach, I was forced to give it up/cut way back. I tried before with little like but there is nothing like a good hard kick in the pants to help you do it. It's been a week, and instead of a 20 oz pop a day everyday, I have had maybe 20oz in a week. Go me. I feel better. Drinking more water, and I KNOW I CAN DO THIS. Mother's Day is approaching....and I had a wonderful mother. She was definitely not perfect, and at times she would do or say things that made me cringe, but I love her, and I miss her. I bought Mothers Day cards the other day, and wound up crying for an hour...I bought too many cards and it really upset me. But the good cry did me a load of good and I have felt really good ever since. My journey is far from complete, but I know now what I must do. Baby steps...and taking one day at a time. I will get there. I will be stronger than ever, and I will find the happiness I once had. I know I can do this. I am strong...I am my mother's daughter and I will not be defeated.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What I am reading now

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan is a collection of stories and essays written by Marina Keegan who was tragically killed in a car crash just 5 days after her graduation from Yale in May 2012. Marina was a rising star. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Her last essay for the Yale Daily News, "The Opposite of Loneliness" went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. Her words struck a chord, and that, and her other writings are now assembled here for all to enjoy and digest. My first impression, other than the fact that this young woman was taken way too soon, is that she was incredibly gifted as a writer. I cannot wait to finish the book, and I hope that the rest of it is as good as the first 1/4 that I have already finished.