Red, White & Boom–Come the Memories!

Every holiday affects a griever.  Celebrating Fourth of July here in the United States is no different. A day of picnics and pool parties by day and fireworks and bonfires by night, they still have a hold on our memory and hearts.

In my childhood days, I remember picnics in the backyard, among the garden, under the pear tree, just us.  Dad grilled us steaks, hotdogs, and hamburgers. Back then the bees weren’t a problem and flies could be swatted away easily.  We then would drive to one of our favorite parks and see the fireworks. I recall once one of the firework pods landing on my mom’s lap. We didn’t fret back then when that happened or even worried about anyone being disorderly or dangerous in a public event.

As I got older, Fourth of July meant more people at picnics and larger crowds at firework displays.  My last most memorable firework event was when road rage ended a policeman’s life as he directed traffic, and a young child being shot in the roof of their mouth by a stray bullet. With good reason, I gave up on the local firework displays.

So in my lifetime, I’ve seen many fireworks with different groups, at different events, different venues and not even on the Fourth of July.

There was one time, though, when they affected me even differently than any other fireworks experience.

In the summer of 2011, my mother was not at home, but at a rehab center. I drove two and half hours every Friday night to wherever she was residing. Her battle with cancer was slowly taking her. I remember my mother saying to me earlier in the day when were visiting on how she felt bad I would be missing out on fireworks. I reassured her, it didn’t matter. On my way home, the end of a weekend and everyone was celebrating fireworks on Sunday, July 3rd, I took a different way home from the center for a change of scenery. I was leaving later than usual, but not too late to see many fireworks displays along my highway drive home. I couldn’t help but reminisce about the memories I shared earlier in this blog. The fireworks I saw weren’t among a crowd of questionable onlookers.  They all just randomly appeared in the dark sky, in the distance, on either side of the car. There was no noise of the booms, just colors dazzling silently as I continued my drive. These fireworks didn’t awe me.  They didn’t take my breath away.

They did make me cry.

I thought of my father. He always made sure when we were younger, we did get to see them.  Even on makeup dates if it rained. Here I was getting to see them.  Possibly he arranged this show. I had hoped he was seeing them too.

The next time I saw fireworks, was a night on my honeymoon, I was blessed in seeing a fireworks display at the Cinderella Castle at Disney World. They do this huge display every night. Music, character images on the castle and fireworks behind and on the sides. It was breathtaking. I saw them another time after that and I had the same reaction.

But, to me, a fireworks display of any kind…could never compare…even these, to the night I drove home that one night. That night the sky lit up to remind me of who I was the daughter of and to remind me all my memories are an important part of my life– past, present, and future.

My memories help me heal. Keep a hold of yours. You may need them later on, like me, on any–day, especially a holiday.

Have a Safe Holiday–

From Sully Said It

 

july4

11119118_10206885322196911_8940009705521965369_n

Advertisements

Because Holidays are Hard Enough

24831103_1179180928881384_1589073759253281809_oNeed a soft place to land? Need to be heard where it matters?

Go to my open group for daily quotes and blog shares related to your grief journey. Comment–or not. You won’t be alone on how you grieve.

https://www.facebook.com/dgglgrouppage/

Browse the page and ask to join my CLOSED group.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/400986163427768/

Comment, Post–or not. You definitely won’t be alone here.

Two places you won’t regret visiting this holiday season.

Healing hugs your way—

Sully Said it

Smothered, Covered and Capped: A Griever’s Life

hashbrowns

No, this is not a blog about my latest visit to a Waffle House down the road from my house. I will say though that their menu option, on how to have their hash browns prepared to their patrons, is easy for me to use their words when describing my life.

In the dictionary, smothered, is defined as to suppress (a feeling or an action). Covered is defined as disguise the sound or fact of (something) with another sound or action. Capped is defined as place a limit or restriction on (prices, expenditure, or other activity. All three of these define my life; my life as a griever.

Don’t believe me?

Ask a griever if they ever feel smothered. Will they openly share with you their answer? -Probably not. You alone asking them that question could cause them to have an anxiety attack or lose air like a person would with a pillow smothering their face.  They’ll cover up their truthful answer with a lie so not to worry you or have you ask any more questions based on their answers. They will lie to you with a smile. And how is this so easy for them to do that?  It’s not difficult for any griever to cap their emotions.  I know all this because this is how I live daily.

I have lost many wonderful people in my life. Personally known to some I just admired from afar all 48 years of my life. I am the founder of two grief groups on FaceBook and many testimonials of other griever’s journeys have been shared with me. I’m positive the mothers who lost their babies before their due date, the husbands who lost their wives to cancer, the fathers who lost their sons to suicide and the children who lost their parents, can all say I am speaking for them—we feel smothered, covered and capped in our journey.

On my journey, I have been greatly impacted by losing both my parents within 3 years apart. They were all I know all my life until I was 37-40 years old on how to function as their daughter. I knew only one home while I grew up. They instilled in me: stability.  When a stable, well-nurtured life is all you know—how do you go on with that missing? How do you go on without the two who gave you that all your life?

No, we, grievers, don’t choose to feel this way daily. We don’t wake up and say “I’m going to be miserable. I like to cry. I want to be somber around the holidays. I like to dodge the  awkward questions from my family and friends.”

We don’t choose anything. This is our reaction to losing the most important love we had in our life. Our murdered sons, our daughters killed in a car accident, our spouses who couldn’t fight a disease anymore, and our grandparents who were our mentors were the recipients of our love. Where do we put all that love now?

We suppress our feelings. We disguise how we really feel.  We limit ourselves to others and activities on every emotional level.

We are smothered, covered and capped.

This is our life description. Not the menu option we want, but we have it every day.

Now that you’re hungry—head over to your nearest Waffle House. Think of us, grievers as you order your hash browns to your liking and order with a smile, too. We do.

2184835b945dfef3f5541003ff467788

My World vs A Better Place

Image result for pray for our world pictures

Many grievers hear the phrase, “They are in a better place” and cringe.

Today as I watched the news before heading out the door to work, I realized I have a different reaction to that phrase.  Seeing my homeland, the United States and all it has endured in the past two weeks brought me to this conclusion and strongly feeling it, my parents are ultimately, in a better place.

If my parents were still here with me, I can envision my Mom, using her internet skills’ reading about more of what has transpired, looking to get more details. I can imagine my Dad, reading the paper like it’s the bible, word for word translating the journalists and watching all the news channels for the latest updates.

They would both want to understand how two hurricanes can wipe out islands, even grounded cities these days. They would be asking the questions as to why hurricanes weren’t taken more seriously till now as they compared these Mother Nature events to their years of growing up.

They would want to know more about the man who shot at a crowd of innocent people enjoying a concert in Las Vegas.  My mom would see the victim’s faces and pray for them. My Dad would be intrigued by all the news conferences and the true stories of experiencing this massacre everyone shared.

Then there are the recent fires that are taking over a portion of California. If my Mom was to see the story about the daughter who talked over the phone to her mother as she screamed she had no way of getting out of her mobile home, she’d be in tears and devastated for the daughter. It would have crushed my mother.

My father would be so disappointed about the NFL’s take on standing or kneeling for the anthem. He was an Army Veteran. If it wasn’t a kick in the stomach already to have to battle his medical needs with the government, now his country is questioning respect to a flag and the freedom it represents. This news would have crushed his patriotic spirits.

And yes, the government would be their focus, too. They’d both have an earful to anyone who asked their opinion about the outcome of the healthcare they would be relying on in their older years. My mom’s Cancer treatment undeniably would have been jeopardized, along with Dad’s constant heart care as a Veteran — and under the direction of a president I know for a fact they wouldn’t have approved, let alone voted for, though the other options as leaders would have disgusted them both, too.

And then amid all this wondering of how my parents would adjust to this world of ours, I am exposed to all the loss. Every day there is something ongoing on how someone, some family, some community are expected to deal with a loss of such magnitude—it made the national news, water cooler talks and neighborhood churches. The loss of my parents was devastating. Losing my Dad was unexpected, and I watched my Mom slowly leave us, in pain. They didn’t make the news, but their leaving turned my world upside down.

Of course, I miss them both and long to talk to them, see them, like any child would long for. But now the phrase, “They are in a better place” doesn’t make me cringe. Now, I nod in agreement. The place they are in doesn’t, of course, allow their physical pain and ailments, but it also doesn’t house the stress and devastation we are enduring here in my upside-down world.

When I look at it this way—they are indeed in a better place. And with remembering how they were and how well they raised me, they are praying for me –for us— as we struggle in this world that has changed drastically since they left.

My great loves are in a better place, above watching over me.

Sully Said it

548459_4696767782491_653000488_n

I Don’t Have Time to Pop Pills

If you have followed along with me, you will know I have a grief journey with many losses, but the loss of my parents had turned my world upside down for the past 9 years. In those years of loss, I turned to art to help me cope.  I am an artist first, a writer second.

I have this blog where I bare my soul to the vast world of social media. Some of you may follow me- -and some may be seeing this for the first time. It’s an online journal to me—with some editing and holding back (slightly), but none the less, it carries how I feel for all to read.

My painting projects are my next outlets. I have done a variety of mediums—watercolor, acrylic and just recently oil paints. I love to draw, craft—you name it- I have made something with my hands. And it is completely satisfying for me. For my heart and for my soul, they feel relief.

Both these methods are working for me. I have so many ideas brewing in my head that I want to do here soon, too—but all these ideas take time and planning.

I currently work two jobs. I work 4 days a week and jam pack 40 hours into them. I start my day off at 530 AM and pull up into my drive way at 8:30 PM. My three days off, I do have chores and errands, time to spend with my husband and now a brand new pup is in the mix of life. I also monitor two Facebook groups that pertain in general to help other grieving souls. I consider them both, my ‘volunteer’ jobs—that I religiously visit every day…and yes, there are only 24 hours in a day.

So today, before my busy day moved on, I went to my second psychologist appointment. I was told my depression numbers are down and no medication is yet to be considered as a method for me to cope with my depression and anxiety.

She asked me, “What have you been doing recently that has brought down these numbers significantly?” I told her, “Well, I finished a painting I started in October, I am featured in a book that just was published two days ago, and I am doing research right now in preparation for my own creative nonfiction book.”

Her reply…. “That’s working; don’t stop what you are doing.” She went on to tell me that no medication will drop my numbers down in that amount of time. My creative expression is what is healing me and I need to continue to make that time happen. It’s imperative. It’s what is saving me.

I truly felt validated AGAIN after speaking to her for 30 minutes. Yes, I griped about what happened to me a few weeks ago with my husband’s family—the drama that outpoured from all ends, the brief moment my husband wanted to divorce me, the pain of my mother’s 6 year anniversary of her passing—all that happened since the last time we spoke—she truly understood, comforted me and validated me.  But there was nothing like the validation I felt, when she said my art is saving me. Since I walked down the aisle at my grad school graduation, this was all I was advocating to my Facebook groups, all I was trying to tell everyone—art heals you. I am the walking billboard for it!

Most don’t have the success like I did with my psychologist. They are shoved pills in their face and handed a book about the stages of grief. I walked out with a heavy pat on the shoulder that I still feel 12 hours later.

Good news, no meds  were prescribed for me. I don’t have time to pop pills–I need to heal quicker.

Even better news–Art was prescribed to me to heal.

But there is bad news to this all—-

I still will grieve.

Sully Said It.

 

 

artist

 

art

 

 

 

 

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…”

 

51RzHROb8qL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0692898646/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0692898646&linkCode=as2&tag=unfofacestor-20&linkId=b5debfef67d203bd4299c6e4d147012c

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.

 

20429914_1110244989108312_1460236677629927856_n