Writing it all out…..

It happened AGAIN! My story published and featured in this book by Eileen Doyon….Click on the link below and buy your copy today 

“What happens when you start over…begin again. Nobody likes starting over. Sometimes life’s situation forces you to whether you want to or not. There are those of us who love the thrill and excitement of a new adventure and throw ourselves right into a new beginning…”

 

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A Mindful Life

In my closed Grief Group I monitor on Facebook, I do daily prompts to help assist my members in expressing their deep grief for their great love. It is a prompt about what they are more mindful about now while on their grief journey.  It’s our prompt titled, “Mindful Monday”.

I start off with “What does it mean to be mindful?  And I define the word mindful with this definition–“Deliberately pay attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. It takes practice to become comfortable with mindfulness techniques. It’s the awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”

If you are not a griever,  or grieving as deeply as me, some of this blog may surprise you.  If you are a griever, you will be nodding the whole time as you read my words. You will understand my expressive heart completely.

As I read what my members express in the prompt, I could surmise what we all have in common. And that is, we don’t forget we have feelings and are permitted to pay attention these feelings. Our minds may be clouded at certain times, but, our memory is top notch.  Like for instance, why am I even bringing this blog to light? I am because I remember an incident 5 years ago that is repeating itself similarly to now. In a week, I will be attending my father in law’s 75th Birthday party. It’s not a surprise party—he’s well aware of it, in fact, he picked out the pasta noodle he wanted my husband to add to his pasta sauce.  Word of mouth was used for the invite and planning is in full swing. We will both be there to celebrate –along with whoever, in my opinion, made the time in their schedule to plan to attend. Some aren’t coming due to work or they had other plans—planned in some advance prior to this idea. The ones that aren’t coming are being excused. No big deal. Well, that right there triggers my memory –and angers me.

See, five years ago, there was a surprise birthday party for him.  And guess what? I didn’t go. It was one year after my mother passed and I ventured into my Master of Humanities studies. I hadn’t been in school for over 19 years and my first paper was due the Monday after this party. I had also developed an issue with being around crowds. Big or small, I wasn’t comfortable around too many people—strangers or not, the anxiety level skyrocketed. At the time this party was to be held, my mom would have been gone only a year. The last time was around any crowd to this level was at my mother’s funeral. I was not up to it.  I couldn’t handle the anxiety of being with so many people and handling my first essay, so I chose to back out, do the paper over that weekend and avoid going. I felt better with that decision. I truly did. But, a few didn’t see it the way I did.  My husband was irate with me and my mother in law made a point to talk down to me about it as she claimed she understood. She understood so well that she influenced my husband that I needed help. I needed a counselor, for my grief was crippling me. I didn’t see it as that, for this was not my first rodeo with the grieving process, but I did question my well-being after she pointed this out—well after being screamed at, you listen. So, I agreed to take my husband with me to the counselor I was seeing in group settings at our local Hospice center, for a one on one session with her.  He wanted to get to the bottom of this issue and prove me wrong. Long story short, he was called out at the session, by my counselor. Short of telling him, “Your mother needs to butt out”, he got the message loud and clear that grieving is serious and I was doing the right thing for ME at the time—AND he should have backed me up more, especially to his mother and not been against me. I believe my reaction to my counselor agreeing with me, just proved to me that I was easily influenced as well by someone else who wasn’t being mindful of my feelings.

As I mentioned before, all the excuses for others not coming to this birthday party for the same man, have been left untouched and laid to rest. How does the person who has to go to work to pay for vacation expenses get the green flag to miss this? But when I was struggling with my grief, and missed the previous milestone birthday event, I was pointed out as needing help, talked down to and misunderstood—told I was being selfish?

But, yes, I am attending this birthday party. Two days prior to it, I will be remembering my mom’s passing of six years. The day before that, I’ll be back at a doctor’s office for treatment of the same depression and anxiety. Yes, it’s back. I am grateful my anxiety has diminished –some. I’ve attended parties, weddings, public events with crowds and have survived them unscathed. I made sure someone I knew was at these events I could sit at a table with or someone I dragged with me, to help me with the transition of missing my great loves; my mom and dad. While at this party, filled with many people I know I will feel quite alone. No one will be mindful that I am celebrating the birthday of someone’s father, where I wish I was celebrating another birthday with my own. I will be missing helping my mother pull it all together.

Yet moving along with my life, I have made some strides in this part; my grief journey that is; a journey where I’m mindful of my feelings and my memory is intact.  It’s the struggle of a griever and today I’m OK with that. I just wish everyone else was, too….not OK, but, mindful. In the meantime, I’ll be mindful, they aren’t living my life.

Sully Said it.

 

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You Can Run, but You Can’t Hide… on Your Grief Journey

It’s been 9 months since my last confession…Oh, wait, wrong intro.

It’s been 9 months since my last blog entry. The last time I sat down and concentrated on anything writing related was when I resided in Gastonia, North Carolina. I left the beach area of South Carolina due to my husband’s misfortunate job lay off. The same company transferred him to the Charlotte area. I told everyone I packed up my grief and headed more inland. Well, I’m even further inland now.

After a very stressful and overwhelming time in the Fall with his employer, my husband searched for work further north. His plan was to move to Ohio, most importantly Columbus, Ohio, where his family was still living. The job interviews took him there, but instead, he had more success in Florence, Kentucky. We made many trips to the area to seal the deal and look for residency. Of all places, we found a home to rent, right under the wire before he started work, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Yes, Ohio; right where we started this adventure from. I had to say goodbye to more friends including a job I wanted to build more rapport and hopefully move around in the organization. That was ceased in January of this year. I truly don’t want to relive the excruciating moving experience, so forgive if I just skim over that part and take you to where I am as I type this one out.

Born and raised in Ohio, this isn’t too much a culture shock to me. I’m a bit more south than I am used to, but no matter how I try to say I’m south—it still gets cold here, it still snows here. My husband and I use to trek to this area in the summer months for our favorite MLB team, The Cincinnati Reds. We now live nine minutes from the ballpark and have been there twice already this baseball season. I, in fact, drive past the ball field two times a day—to and from my job. Yes, as much as I argued about it, I did go back to work. I was tired of giving up good incomes, experience, and friendships for these ‘job transfers’. I threatened not to go back to work –at all. But I got stir crazy in the home and the financial anxiety hit me, so I agreed to a part-time job at a Presbyterian Church in a northern suburb.  I would have to say it was the best thing that has ever happened to me along this journey of mine. I mean seriously, can working for Jesus be anything more than you hoped for in your career?

My new title is Communications and Building Operations Coordinator. I am there four days a week, reasonable hours and no weekends.  I am actually using my college and graduate school degrees daily, in the lowest stressful environment I have ever known. From designing the weekend bulletin for services to helping members as they come in with random requests, I overall, enjoy what I do. The members of the church have been very welcoming and the immediate staff members I work with are now what I call family to me.  The professionalism and personal relationships go side by side. The organ music that echoes from the sanctuary down the halls of the building to my office; to the bell tolls on the hour, reminds me daily as to where I am. It’s not the hustle and bustle of a university atmosphere at a community desk or even close to the stuffy out of date building demanding my attention from a desk in the center of the drafty lobby. I moved to an office, a place to call my own, with a door that locks.

Soon after I was accepted for this position, an elder of the church found everlasting peace and passed away. The Monday after the funeral, I noticed a huge daisy floral arrangement at the front desk. One volunteer said it was unique one since many don’t use daisies for funerals. Daisies always warmed my heart, because my Mom grew them in my childhood’s home backyard. At my mother’s funeral, we picked some from her garden and placed them on her. To many it was an extra floral arrangement sitting pretty at the church desk, but, to me, it was a beautiful sign from my mother that she approved of where I was. She approved of me starting over here.

I didn’t think to move away from the only home state I knew would my grief journey diminish or get lighter for me to endure. Change the weather, the scenery, even the career path and the missing of my parents, the embedded absence of their physical nature, my longing for their continued nurturing has been right there with me the whole time. Through all the packing, unpacking, reorganizing, familiarizing, and abandoning, this was the first place of employment where I felt some inner peace. Starting over three times in two years was not what I planned to do when I agreed to move south, let alone back close to the place where I started from. I learned quite a bit about myself during these transitions. Most importantly, I learned I started over again and again and again and lived to talk about it. I can share it with all of you, in hopes that it’s helpful for your journey too let alone my experience be living proof, it can be done. There is no running and hiding. This grief journey will forever be a part of my life. But I am just grateful now; I had a softer place to relocate mine.

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Tug Away…

As a griever, you live everyday differently. You’ll experience some bad days, when the emotions are high and magnified. When the night comes you are ready for the next day, so you can forget about this horrible one. Then you’ll have your good days, when you feel for once you have all our emotions in order. You might even have several days like these in a row. And then it happens; you hit a speed bump again. Tears and all. Why all of a sudden does it bother you? You were having a really carefree day and then your thoughts go elsewhere…..

This happened to me recently and besides enduring the moment. I analyzed it.

I was in the passenger seat of our car. My husband was driving, radio was blaring and I had this moment when I thought of how my mom and dad would look right now. I went straight to their physical qualities that I recalled when they were still alive. Dad would be 81, Mom would be 75. I wondered how my mom’s red hair would look, how much taller would my dad be. Even my thoughts drifted to as to what they would be doing that very night in their home in Ohio. A pleather of memories rushed through me about our old home, too. Then the tears came. I will never know any of the changes—just what I remember.  I won’t get to see them age. I won’t know what they are doing at the same moment as mine ever again. I won’t get to see that old house either. The physical qualities are forever diminished by their passing.

Now, after such a wonderful day with my husband out and about… why did these thoughts even enter my mind and stir up my emotions. Why that night? Really, why ever? How did I go from content to missing them again? I have given up on the ole tale “it gets easier with time”. Putting a chronological time line on your grief journey is easy when measuring the days, months and years you have endured a loss. When you sum up your journey though, that doesn’t justify it being any easier. In reality, you are managing it differently. You are getting through it. There are triggers of course, but why do these moments happen at all? It wasn’t a penny on the ground, a cardinal visiting me or an unexpected feather or butterfly floating by. Not a song on the radio, a familiar smell or picture from a scrapbook. This moment they had me completely engrossed on them. No symbols. They wanted me to think about them on another level. The connection that belongs only to us. The moment in the car, seemed surreal to me. No one else could have experienced that, other than myself.  How I reacted to this moment; with the slow dripping tears, was normal for someone who missed their loved one.

I feel my parents wanted me to go somewhere else with my thoughts of them– They wanted me to remember my bond with them. They truly wanted to not be forgotten at any time—my bad and good times. They always want to be a part of my life and want me to be aware of them in my life. I then realized what they actually did could be explained as a tug at my heart. That’s exactly how it felt. A tug that was gentle like them, to remind me of them. It was a tug that I could live with. And once I grasped this whole moment in the car,  I then whispered, ‘never’ after the realization of what just happened to me. I hoped they heard me.

So tug away mom and dad…anytime.

 

Sully Said It….

 

 

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Birthday #5

Today my mom turns 75 in Heaven. It’s the fifth one I will miss spoiling her on. I believe in my heart, up there, she is still not wanting anyone to make today a big deal for her. She is smiling and doing what she wants and has no expectations for her day.

It is an important day for me. If she had never been born, I wouldn’t have this love overflowing in my soul. It has taken me five years to recognize that the grief I have for her is based on the love we share as mother and daughter. I won’t put past tense in my sentences as I talk about her this way. My love for her will never diminish just because she is not here.

I have comfort in knowing of course that she is not any pain she endured here on earth. She is with my father and all her other family and friends that she missed when they left. Some do not believe in eternal life but, I do.  I learned that from her as well. No one should argue with their mother. You never know when their knowledge will help you. Especially when it’s information that will keep you above the drowning waves of grief.

On earth I am acknowledging her on this blog, on my grief community pages I run, and in my thoughts reminiscing the past wonderful memories with her on her special day.

Below is a picture I love of the two of us. I don’t have many pictures of just the two of us that aren’t posed,  documenting a special occasion, or without the rest of the family surrounding us.

Her smile tells it all about our relationship….

Happy Birthday, Mom.

I love you.

Sully Said It.

 

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image