September 14 : A Date of Love.

September 14th , 57 years ago, my parents said “ I do” and our family was created from that day and time.

September 14th, one year ago, my husband of six and a half years, known for 13, left me. Yes, the divorce was mutually decided on, but he he took a new job and new place to live without hesitation, in another city.

Prior to this decision, we moved around from 2015 to 2017. From Central Ohio to South Carolina, to Charlotte, North Carolina back to southern Ohio. I reside in Cincinnati Ohio now, on my own. That’s where he left me. He wanted his career, after numerous jobs he jumped and to be closer to his family, the same family he moved away from in 2015 for yes, a better job. See how this worked?

Even though we moved so much, I landed excellent jobs wherever we moved, but was always uprooted within 8 months, because his job was ‘not satisfying’ enough for him. We weren’t clearly a team like my parents were. But then again, my father wasn’t a narcissist and my mother was respected by him for all she did for our family. Again, see how this worked?

I lived through my parent’s moments of being laid off from their jobs, but never once did we move. My dad’s exit from the railroad and my mom’s one insurance company folding kept us in the same home, same city, same school district. Both my parents were hard workers, with high working standards and morals. My father never asked my mother to jump her jobs on his behalf of finding another or asked my sister and me to move to relocate and find new friendships. Family stability was everything to them both. It wasn’t a give and take marriage to better one more than the other—they were partners in life, for good. It was a strong bond of love-“Till death do us part”—my father passed away April 1, 2008—my mother joined him three years later August 3, 2011.

What a difference their life of love and respect for each other and our family made my life complete.

Today I am residing in an apartment I can afford, with the same job I had when I was married (we divorced 12/30/2019)—just now full time and more responsibilities that even Covid couldn’t shake.

Today I am without a homelife of stress, manipulation, and unsettling love.

I come home with no one nagging me, expecting dinner to be made the minute I walk over the threshold, or have the dog taken out immediately, because someone was too busy playing a video game to bother to her needs. This someone was an adult of course, not a high school student living with us. An adult.

Today, I make what I want for dinner—from a fridge and cabinets filled with healthy food. I make dinner when I am ready, after a breather from my busy day. The keywords—when I am ready.

I have ownership of the remote for the TV, with a non-existent cable bill, not because I can’t afford it,  but because I don’t desire a high bill of channels I could never watch all in one evening.

I open my windows for fresh air. I turn on warmers for fresh scents I like, not expensive candles anymore.

I play music now, too! MY MUSIC. I play desired tunes in the bathroom when I shower, when I am cleaning my small comfy abode or on Saturday mornings,  when I am getting ready to go to start my weekend with the new love of my life.

Oh yes. I have love in my life now, too. A year later, I have— love.

I could go on and on how this date has changed me. But, in honor of my parents, I am going to just point out how this date took me to love.

I wish my parents a Happy 57th Wedding Anniversary. Thank you mom and dad for the love you gave me in my life and showed me what you two shared till your ending.

Wow, what a difference a year makes, for me. An ending I didn’t expect, but now the start of a life I deserve.

…….Sully Lived It

A Letter to My Dad Safe in Heaven

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Dear Dad,

It’s 11 years since you left us.

I’m so glad you’re not here.

Don’t get me wrong, I miss you incredibly.

What I wouldn’t do to hear one of your “True Stories”, your laugh, your nap time snoring, a sports rant, and even how you would clear your throat.

But today, no, I’m glad you are in Heaven. Somewhere far far away from this earth, from this… mess.

COVID 19 (which I have been calling the Beer Virus to help me keep humor in my soul) has taken over parts of the world, our country and attacked our state. I have no idea how I would be able to sleep at night, worrying about you and Mom. We would need to practice isolation from each other. You and Mom would be in the group of the uncompromised individuals–society’s word, not mine- and caring for you both would be challenging and risky. I would never want to put either one of you in this grave situation as it is today.

I don’t have to tell you what is going on down here, because I believe with the way you and Mom raised me spiritually, you are watching over me from above.

In fact, you’ve seen it all, and not just today’s situation.

You’ve seen me struggle and upheld my strength in the life-changing event of my recent divorce. You’ve seen me deal with the moments where I have been humiliated, disrespected, controlled, and gossiped about during the whole process. I am grateful I found the strength and courage you instilled in me while raising me, come to use. I know I had to have made you proud. But I know you also saw the Karma Train barrel through and take care of where it needed and to who.  That was glorious, wasn’t it?

I know you have also seen and felt my peace prior to this COVID 19 outbreak. You’ve seen me get more comfortable at my job—which kept me here in Cincinnati, where I belong. You’ve seen me get settled in a new place to call home and be rallied by my friends to get to my now peaceful living space.

You have also seen me receive peace in my heart. I have now found a new normal for day to day living and true love I was always worthy of experiencing, I just had to go through some hell here on earth to get to it.

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You, where you are, have a front-row seat to my life and I am glad you are seeing it from afar and not here in Ohio. I know it’s the best place for you. I know too, that everything good which happens to me here—is you- and Mom too, helping make it come to me, and in my tough times, you are around too—making sure I don’t give up….wasn’t last month a hot mess? Whew.

Again, I miss you so very much. I miss you being a part of Allison’s life, your oldest granddaughter, who luckily remembers you and your gentle spirit. I know she is making you proud, too. She misses you too but agrees, this is no place for you to be.

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I know you don’t question me missing you. My talks with you daily must be enough proof, no?

So, Dad, on the 11th anniversary of you leaving us, I am at peace you aren’t here. I always want you safe, warm, protected and pain-free. Where you are, is most important to me.

All I ask though Dad is just keep missing me from afar? Let’s be blessed with this separation a bit longer. I need more time to make you proud and show you I was paying attention to how you raised me.

I love you; Dad and I miss you, but I’m sincerely grateful you left the way you did 11 years ago and aren’t here today—and I hope you agree.

Keep me close, Dad—a “Heaven’s social distancing” apart

Your daughter,

Jennifer

A Miracle Happened: I Survived Mother’s Day 2019

The day before Mother’s Day, May 11, 2019, a total of 460 college students graduated from SUNY Cobleskill. My daughter, one of them, never expected the exit she experienced. Highest award from the state, meeting the senator, faculty award and so many more alkaloids– she wasn’t even striving for all this recognition– she just did what she did to earn her Bachelors of Animal Science.

As parents we want our children to succeed–on their own.

I saw many miracles happen that weekend—459 of them to be exact making their families proud. Hopefully, they noticed their miracles before this one day on the stage.

But, my one miracle to me for the past 21 years was doing what she does best–being herself– and she just so happened to be noticed outside her mom’s circle of pride, blessed life and love…for one day.

I lost count of how many people congratulated me for her success. High fives, fist bumps, hugs, exchanges of “Way to go, Mom!” were passed on to me. It was a day of recognition for me as well. I beamed with pride and gratitude. Someone else deserved these praises and moment to beam…my mom, her grandmother.

It has been 7 years since I have celebrated Mother’s Day with my own mom. She has missed so much of my daughter’s milestones. When we are missing a matriarch in the family, we feel we need to make up for their absence. Dote more, support more financially, praise more—and then do our role which we do normally and without thinking.

It has been close to 4 years since I have been physically with my own daughter, on Mother’s Day. This year, 2019, I was with my daughter and it didn’t take long for me to realize, in spirit, my daughter brought her Grandma with her.

At breakfast, my daughter passed me a gift bag. Inside was the sweetest book of watercolor images of baby animals with their moms. The first page, of course, my daughter wrote to me a very touching thank you for encouraging her to strive for her dream—her love for animals- and to find her niche in life with this passion for them. In a public place, I didn’t shed a tear—I read it later and sobbed like any proud mom would. Also, in the bag, was a Kate Spade travel cup, with a reusable straw, displaying the phrase “Love is All Around” on a background of painted daisies.

MD 2019 cup

Daisies are a big reminder of my mom, her grandmother. She loved them under the pear tree in our family garden. Her mother planted them and she continued to care for them after her passing as well. So, you see, the symbol of daisies followed the legacy of the women in our family, all the way to my daughter now too.

I realized on this Mother’s Day; my mom was with me. More vivid than ever. She has her ways to appear every now and then, but of all days, she was smack dab there, through my daughter.

Said best by Jon Bon Jovi, “Miracles happen every day, change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you.”

From my daughter’s graduation to a small breakfast moment, miracles were all around me. One main miracle, my mother has never left me. I just need to look around more to see and feel her.

So I will continue to look for those miracles, big or small in my everyday life…and thank the powers that be, for them.

I hope others take the time to see the miracles around them. Trust me, it does the grieving heart some good.

Sully Said it here….

Smiling for Dad, Ten Years Later….

 

Ten years ago today, my father gained his wings without us looking. His death was unexpected and turned our world upside down. I never liked April 1st, for obvious reasons and the date just stings more. Yes, even eleven years later. My mother became a widow and my sister and I lost the hero we only knew.

When I woke up today, I kept thinking it just felt like yesterday he left us, and also, it seems like forever, too.  The forever would be the absence of his strong presence, the sound of his laugh, the sight of his smile, and the warmth of his hugs. Just like yesterday, would be his exit. He left without us worrying about him or doting on him. We didn’t get to spoil him one more time, be his caregivers or even get to say goodbye.  Just like that, he was gone.

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Many believe their loved ones are needed by God and He gets to plan their exit. Some linger and some are like my father, just gone with so many unanswered questions left for the loved ones to ask over continuously…and one of course, “Why?”

Going on ten years, I’m past the why’s.  Right now, I’m just at missing and loving him deeply. The missing can be overwhelming to tears and smiles. It always depends on my mood. I know grief is complicated and I always am surprised but thrilled for the good days with smiles.

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Today, April 1, 2019, I’m overwhelmed with smiles.

I don’t want to ruin this moment and type or share any more than this—

I just want to revel in the moment that I am without my Hero, my first love and I’m truly OK this one day in time that he’s not here.

Tomorrow, on the other hand, is another story.

Miss you and love you, Dad.  And I know you do the same.

Sully Said It…(with a smile just for today)

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Embracing the Big 5-0

“It’s just a number.”

You are only as old as you think you are.

Look how much you’ve done!

Those are the wonderful words of …ahem…support I’ve been given since I announced I’m dreading turning 50.

I get where everyone is coming from. I appreciate the support, too.

But my one inner voice wants to say, “Shut up.”-which would be my mom’s influence. And my other inner voice wants to say, “Yeah, OK.”–that would be my dad’s influence.

And then there’s the real reason why I am having such a hard time with this birthday number.

I don’t have my parents here at this age.

Now, I am not talking about celebrating it with them—I am simply wanting them here with me for support. I want to ask them –how did they feel at this age. When they turned 50, I was too young to think it would matter—ever. I want to know what they thought, what were their reflections at this age.  And why do I want to know? Why all the questions and insight needed?

Because the reality is, I’m growing older, without them. I never thought this would be my situation. Life went on –I never thought 9-11 years ago, I wouldn’t be able to ask them these aging questions.

I want—wait–I NEED something for my birthday. I need my parents.

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My lifeline of guidance—is gone.

I like to think for the past 9-11 years I have been doing a decent job as growing up— or older—whichever—but I know I would have had a better handle on life at 50 with them around. It’s a huge puzzle piece of my life that is missing.

It becomes more surreal as I grow older on my grief journey. As this journey becomes more solidified for me—like this birthday—it’s no longer a temporary moment. Life goes on and they are gone. It’s almost like it was just yesterday I received the call from my sister, “She’s gone, Jennifer” or the one before from my Mom, “I’m calling about your Dad, I’m so sorry.”  

If it was yesterday, damn, it would be easier for me, to comprehend this extreme absence of them both. Instead, I sift through these complicated emotions grief hands me and deal with a hurting heart and the title of being an adult orphan.,,, trying to manage the twists and turns of life.

Some are grieving over not seeing their children grow old, while I am missing having my parents not watch me grow old.

That’s quite a twist, isn’t it?

So, as March 14th approaches my calendar of saying goodbye to the ’40s, I will just gladly accept all the words of wisdom from others.  As I revisit the phrase, “Look how much you’ve done!”—I’ll quietly acknowledge it as a good thing that I have—even without them.

I will accept my age as reaching the “Level 50” of life, envision giving both my parents a high five– smiling through another milestone, as you all pat me on the back, leading me to believe, “It’s just another number.”

–while I mumble– “shut up” and “Yeah, OK.”

Sully Said It.

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Hello, Stagnate Grief…. Where Did You Come From?

A month ago, I was Christmas shopping, enjoying the Christmas tree lit at night and rooting through my Christmas cookie recipes.  I watched a favorite Christmas flick every night, enjoyed car rides at night looking at everyone’s decorations on their homes and even escaped to our local zoo to see all the lights in every color and style with many others trying to grasp all of the holiday sights, sounds and smells before it leaves us.

Then January comes. Bam–the lack of motivation, just comes out of nowhere. Heavy feelings of sadness creep in me All I want to do is stay home inside. What the hell is this? It’s not even February when the winter blues really kick in.

I have no desire to paint, color, read.  As for writing, this took a big nudge to pull off.  The four skills that always seem to help aid me in my process of healing are now almost foreign to me. The four talents I swear by that always keep me afloat when my sadness tries to drown me aren’t lifesavers now. They always controlled my sorrow and brought me to a level of some peace. Not complete peace, but to a point where I could breathe and not ache from the inside. But for now, my grief just seems…the best word which could describe it….stagnate.

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I always felt like my grief was going somewhere.  With every day I get out of bed and go on with my daily routine it’s always there with me, but developing me, making me stronger—another day, month, year, surviving with my 10-year title as an adult orphan.

As of recent, I don’t feel like I’m developing. I feel dull, trapped and inactive.

I’m just ….‘here’.

If a griever doesn’t have enough to deal with– Who needs a setback?

Then I think–Wow. What I have been through since both my parents left this earth… and wow, what I have accomplished—too. I won’t toot my own horn right now. We have all met some challenges–some more than me, I’m sure, so I’ll keep it low key….but really, where did this come from?

Maybe this moment is just one more accomplishment in disguise?

And just like any other moment, this griever will muddle through this just fine, right?

We all have our own methods for healing. I feel that for me to heal, I need to keep moving. Not physically to another state (Oh goodness, I couldn’t even stomach that right now) but emotionally, mentally, I need to get back on track. I need to try to make some changes and muster up the motivation to do so, too, is quite challenging.

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Possibly is this the Stagnate Stage?  No one mentioned this in any of my support groups or books I read. Damn, another stage?? Oh, how I  already despise “The Five Stages of Grief” everyone preaches about.  No worries… I’ll keep that topic for another blog. Promise.

But until I completely work through this I’ll just accept this as another segment of my grief journey. This too, another process to accept.

Life of a griever–we constantly have to accept more and more miserable moments on our journey, don’t we? And the unexpected ones, suck….more.

So as a warning fellow grievers, Stagnate Grief  (Yes, I named it ) is the worst. It creeps up on you and it does stick around for a while…

But I got this… just stay tuned on how I get out of .. ahem… this moment….and say goodbye to Stagnate Grief. One goodbye I won’t mind.

Sully Said It

 

 

 

 

Grief is complicated. Healing shouldn’t be.

Validation and Compassion reside here. Not judgment.

No physical loss by death is belittled here. Not comparison.

Daily prompts get you started to share here. Not lectures.

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It’s a safe place here.

Participate here or just watch here….

Join my closed group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DeepGriefGreatLoveGalleryofHealing/

LIKE my open page and share the posts freely: https://www.facebook.com/dgglgrouppage/

Grieving is complicated–healing shouldn’t be.

There is no time limit in your healing. Express how you feel in a safe place, in a safe way–from your heart.

 

 

Because—Sully Said It

A Griever Who Refuses to Change

In my closed grief group, (a prompt I use occasionally), I ask our members to describe their grief journey in one word. I always take part in and have recently used the same word—evolve.

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I chose this word hands down over ‘change’. Yes, I did my research and my instincts were correct. I have chosen the exact word for me.

Here I am at nine years missing my father, and seven years of missing my mother.  I totally am not the same person I was before and certainly not since they gained their wings. And no I haven’t just ‘changed’—I have evolved.

Both words change and evolve are verbs.

Change is defined simply as “To become different.”

While the word evolve is defined as “To change, transform, develop.”

Yep, that’s my word. I’m more than just changing. I’m evolving my life.

My griever’s life- such a complicated life, too.

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Have you read my progress? Go back and read all my blogs—from day one. You’ll see it happening right before your eyes, from one heartfelt blog to the next. I have to grieve and I finally learned to accept that. No holding back, no medicating it, no ignoring it like society prefers–I have to grieve. My age has changed, my physical location has changed, my career has changed—but my outlook and opinion on grief and my own grief journey– has totally evolved.

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Many inquiries come to my open group page inbox. Someone has lost their daughter, son, husband, parent, sibling and has no idea what to do with their sadness. The first thing I always do is extend my sympathy to their loss and let them know how glad I am they found my page. Second, I encourage, grief counseling. Next usually comes an invite to check out my closed group and or give them ideas as to where to find counseling close to them. The majority, hit up my closed group, others, go looking for inexpensive grief counseling in their area.

Now eight to 11 years ago, I wouldn’t have done any of that. I couldn’t help another soul find their way out of a box, let alone direct them to help or even care who they lost recently. I was completely heartbroken and lost in my own grief. Once my mother left, I went to a dark side.  (Just typing that makes me realize, wow, I have chosen the right word for me—I have evolved immensely!)

Back when my father died, I was introduced to the “Stages of Grief”.  Today, I laugh at the concept. There is no way in hell I even believe one person goes through them and moves forward so easily, let alone –successfully in that order. I bounce back and forth, therefore, I can’t even grasp the so-called “Stages of Grief” concept. It was a good idea or introduction to this complicated journey, but far from the answer or path of healing, I could relate to. Others are trying to market the same rhythm, using different words and wrapping up grief into a nice package for healing –with a process and philosophy. “Follow this path …”  I always shake my head to this—as I read among my 1.7K closed members posts and random comments from my 214K open group followers… and I ask “If healing was better off ‘structured’, why are more joining me, then…leaving?

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Again, if I wasn’t evolving, I could never conceive these thoughts. I could never run a closed group or write out this blog!

Change is too stagnating. Evolving is truer to this griever’s life journey.

I am personally transforming and developing. My outlook isn’t as dark as it once was when I first gained my adult orphan title.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do have my moments of crying—down days come out of nowhere. Just this past holiday season—I was in a funk. As well seasoned as I am in my grief journey, it surprised me. But I have good days, too. Those days I relish in. I see where I have been. I have evolved and developed skill, knack, talent –whatever power you want to call it–to live with my grief,  within my life, and the sadness which accompanies it. Yes, my experiences with grief have changed me, but they have changed me to see I can evolve —evolve every day and not stay stagnate in my grief and not feel guilty in my good days which bring me such well-deserving good moods and thoughts.

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Everyone heals differently. I am not a counselor by no means—no certification after my name, at all. But I will stand by my experiences, my testimonials and share with the world and the grieving community as much as I can, as much as a survivor of grief can….

I refuse to change.

Call me an overachiever.

I evolve.

Think about it because-Sully Said It

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Grieving, but Grateful…

My first blog for 2019 may confuse some of my followers.

I am not miraculously cured of my grief. I am still a broken adult orphan. I am still working through my grief after the loss of my parents; Dad 11 years, Mom 8 years.  I am still living back in Ohio and was able to visit their resting place a few times last year. My connection to them is still there and my grief journey is evolving.  And yes, I  still have my dark hours, even days and foggy moments from time to time.

So, what is there to be grateful about along my grief journey, you ask?

Well, this revelation came to me in 2018.

In 2018, I was faced with possibly falling to the victim of the ‘C’ word disease. After an experience with a routine breast examination and a biopsy that followed, I am relieved to say I wasn’t the next statistic.

A few months later, another new experience or shall I say, new medical procedure snuck into my life.  To rule out Parkinson’s Disease or a possible tumor lurking in the noggin, I underwent an MRI test. My new neurologist joked with me and said, “If anyone asks, tell them your brain is fine—you have pictures to prove it!”  I was hoping not being able to put nail polish on my right hand wasn’t something to worry about too much—he still stayed true to his diagnosis of the Essential Tremor I developed on my left hand and side. I am now on a low dose of meds to keep the shakes at bay. I have discovered if I don’t take it daily—it messes up my stable body. Stable. Now that’s a tricky word for any griever. But yes, I can appear to be stable-physically, as long as I take my meds. Forty-nine years old and on only one daily med isn’t too bad–so I’m told.

In August I was dumbfounded by a fellow classmate’s blog and Facebook post that she was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer that is not curable, but treatable—and she was going to change God’s mind in taking her any sooner than she wanted. We share the same age number and a love for writing and storytelling—a connection I never thought the two of us would share. She is actively keeping us all updated, but her journey is not close to being over by any means. I wear a bracelet sent by another friend of hers to wear in support. My two health scares mean nothing to me after hearing her news and her future struggles she has waiting for her. It put my life into perspective– into a #susanstrong -way.

Then in November, I attended an International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day event locally.  I was encouraged to send a picture and the name of who in my life committed Suicide in which I wanted to be remembered at this event. Many don’t know, but, in 2010, my very first high school sweetheart, took his own life. He was found dead, gunshot wound to his head, in his car, by his wife. He and I had spoken months prior to when he lost his mother. This news hit me hard. I had plans for him to attend my wedding—walk me down the aisle since my father had passed on. Now he had too. I was selfishly-devastated, angered and helpless. I wish I had known why he chose that demise for his life.  The event I attended was an eye-opener. Hearing the stories about how many lost their loved ones was very hard on my heart. All the questions they had, the unfinished times they had with their loved ones. Many stories did revolve around mental illness struggles, medication faults and even a few with an overwhelming loss in their life they couldn’t sort out.  Many hurting souls were in that large room with me. Our loved one’s pictures were on a screen while were eating or sharing in the group discussions. The reality of seeing his face on the screen finally hit me, he left this world too soon and I wish I had my questions answered as well. All the unanswered questions and doubt filled that room. No closure existed, except the glimmer, like from our flameless candles we were given, that the souls we were grieving for, were no longer in mental anguish—their pain was gone.

I walked away from 2018 with no cancer and no extreme debilitating disease forming in my brain.  The revelation of another friend’s health reality made me put my head down in shame over my own scary medical moments. I witnessed over 100 souls in one room grieving over the lives of their loved ones they can’t even have an answer to “Why did you do it?” question, let alone a medically proven answer to their loved one’s death answered. No closure, just quite a long journey to acceptance is in their future.

I know why my parents died–at least medically. The timing wasn’t up to me.

The love they gave me, shared with me and the love they had for me–I truly miss–of course, every day. But I am grateful I even had that love with them.  If it wasn’t for the love they instilled in my life—growing up and all grown up—I wouldn’t be able to love today. I wouldn’t have that to miss.

Would I rather miss their love or miss no love at all?

I’ll take missing their love.

I am grateful for grieving– over them. It takes a lot of love to affect a person. I wouldn’t trade their love for anything in the world.

Their love I keep in my heart every day. If I didn’t have their love—I would have nothing at all today.

Yes, grieve. But hopefully someday, like me, you’ll be grateful as to why you really grieve.

~Sully Said It.

 

How-lucky-I-am-to-have-something-that-makes-saying-goodbye-so-hard.-–-Winnie-the-Pooh

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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

 

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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.

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My World vs A Better Place

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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

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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.

 

 

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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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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.

 

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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

Earned WTF Moments

In my closed grief group, I have a prompt titled “WTF Friday”. Yes, it is the famous acronym we all use after something absurd happens to us either by another person or some event happening in our day. We just blurt this out or it is running frequently as the voice over in our head. We can’t believe it happened. What nerve!  We step back and hopefully have contained ourselves from reacting upon it—by actions and words.

This prompt I encourage my group to express in a comment their WTF moment. They can mention what someone said to them or how someone treated them, pertaining to their grief healing. This where we call resonate with each other on how the outside world said or did something to us that we could never follow and do the same to another griever. Phrases such as get over it, move on, they are in a better place, you can have another child and trust me much more are shared yet again –but we have the power in the group to rant and rave about it all and not worry about reactions as we share. We’ve all heard it all and they are all quite hurtful. And it’s just not words, but also by how someone had treated us. It is amazing to me the founder of the group and a griever myself, to read all the testimonials that are shared. Friends, family, and even some fellow grievers outside of the group can  say and do the damnedest things. I know I have experienced this first hand, too.

Just recently I had a falling out with another colleague and they again resurfaced in a situation I truly had no direct involvement with. They could have emailed me on their own to warn me of something they discovered, but instead, without hesitation and unnecessarily, used me as their example.  As recent as last week, they called me names, read my email out of context and attacked me again for no reason like before. As I chose to do before, I left the bantering emails from them alone. This same person who told me to “F*** off” in our previous encounter, sent me an email with a very unoriginal remark and included something of my mom on the anniversary to  the date of my mom’s passing. I was floored they would email me to begin, after the email from last week was sent with such stinging remarks and unfounded insults. The fifth year anniversary of my mother’s passing would have settled better within me without this email sent to me.  It was a day of struggle and meant only for my thoughts to be only of my mother.  Were they being patronizing? Subtly saying they were sorry—or just down right being evil?  First of all, don’t use my mother’s passing away to be nice to me and try to make nice with me…again. I miss her everyday—not just that one day—but every day, including, you know, the day they told me to “F***off”. Now hopefully this person’s reaction was WTF too when they realize I didn’t reply and says WTF again a few times as time passes on that I never will. Or when they come across this blog. This is when a WTF moment was earned.

WTF moments can happen to those that truly don’t deserve them. After I read the email–I deleted it and the words were gone. I wish I could save all the members of my group from those unwarranted WTF moments and delete them, too.  Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

So be sure to think about what you say or do. Don’t earn your WTF moment.

Sully Said It.

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For Mom and Dad

The Second MY Life Changed Forever…..happened on August 3, 2011.

This anniversary of my mother’s passing I truthfully don’t feel like talking about how I am. I am in a different place emotionally, mentally and even physically. My words, even for this writer,  just aren’t there.

But fortunately for me, this fifth year of being an adult orphan, I can still make my parents proud and share some words by sharing a link to the world.

To read more about how in one second my life changed forever, check out Amazon.com for the book I am featured in by Eileen Doyon. It is collaboration of inspiring stories Eileen gathered of many people, whose stories should not go unnoticed. Read one a day or the whole book at once—you won’t be disappointed between the pages of these life changing moments.

Please also be sure to leave a review for Eileen!

https://www.amazon.com/Second-Changed-Forever-Unforgettable-Stories/dp/0692709118

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What a difference five years can make. Kinda.

Five years have passed since my mother closed her eyes for the last time.She was diagnosed with breast and bone cancer in May of 2011 and left this earth the following August. Since then, I have gotten married, earned my Master’s degree, and watched her oldest granddaughter graduate from high school and move on to her second year of college. I battled a scary week of pneumonia in the hospital, moved to two different states and have held three different jobs. That’s just my life; not including what has transpired in the rest of our family’s lives and to the world in general.

No matter what has happened to me personally, where I live, where I work or even how my health is, I still grieve for her. Time didn’t stop at all when she left. Life and the world as I know it around me goes on.

I won’t go on about the disease that took her because it is still existing and taking more lives every day. I won’t go on about unfair it is that she’s not with me, because others are struggling with their unfair losses as well.

After five years my heart hurts, still… incredibly.

I really am quite speechless this fifth year.

I can say I miss her. Incredibly.

I think that says it all.

What a difference five years can make. Kinda.

Sully Said It

 

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Sharing Unmeasurable Pain

This blog comes to mind as I underwent a week away from my 19 year old daughter who is recovering from oral surgery. All four of her wisdom teeth —OUCH—needed to come out. She’s out of college until fall, so she had them done while the ‘pulling’ was good. She lives in upstate New York and I’m living in one of the Carolina’s. She’s maybe 110 pounds wet and could be mistaken for a 14 year old with her hair in ponytail, maybe 16 when she has it down on her shoulders. Her summer job is to pour wine at her local baseball stadium— so she gets plenty of double takes as they request a glass of wine from her.  But no matter her age or where she is at, she will always be my little girl, my ‘kiddo’ and I of course hate to see her in any pain…mentally. physically or emotionally.

I talked to her before the surgery happened. I gave her pep talks that it was the right time to do this and in the long run it was a ‘wise’ decision. Her headaches and sinus pressure would be better off without these four ‘wise’ teeth in her mouth.  No school and her job understood—it was a no brainer.

She knew her face would swell and she would sustain some pain. I tried to reiterate –it’s all temporary.

As I was telling her how it will all be better soon, be patient and reminded her of ways to relax, I could hear in her voice the acceptance, but also—“ Yeah, yeah Mom” in the background. I’ve had wisdom teeth pulled and knew that it all my advice and words of comfort were true because I had experienced oral surgery, too. I felt I was speaking from The Book of Oral Surgery Woes, justifiably—and could for hours. We aren’t that seasoned, as I like to refer to it, so we could compare it  to other moments when we felt a twinge, twisted an ankle, had knee pain. Goodness, she and I could both go on for hours even over our menstrual cramps. We talk for hours over serious and funny topics. We both have opinions to give to each other—never minding the generation hurdles between us. I look forward to sharing more milestones –even painful ones with her. That’s what mothers and daughters do.  After talking to her today I was relieved to know she was having quick glimpses of relief, as she tries to reach her 100 %-self.

Just like the relationship with my daughter, my mother and I shared a lot with each other. Still even though she is not with me, there is one pain she inadvertently shared with me.

When her mother, my grandmother, died months away from the age of 90, I experienced a whole new side of my mother. I saw her cry endlessly. I saw her frustrated, out of sorts from time to time, and in general lost. I experienced her good days and bad days. Many days, I heard her say, “Damn, I miss her.”

I never truly understood the agony of her loss — until I lost her.

It is now coming up to the anniversary of my mother’s passing and five years later nonetheless relating to her pain. I know of many in my grief group who are in this same motherless circle and we echo each other’s pain.  We never say it will get better, we never offer a “light at the end of the tunnel’ quote to each other—because we are all there. We are all experiencing this intense grief; unmeasurable heartache.

But, there is also a pain my mother never shared with me in her own words, though the words weren’t needed. I watched her pain, instead.

Five years ago to this month, I observed the strongest woman I knew endure physical pain that no human deserved. Morphine was her best friend for a short week before the rest of her body and her organs succumbed to the agonizing pain of bone and breast cancer. I saw her smile leave, her sparkling eyes go glazed, and her humor fade as her sharp wit went dull.  I had no words of comfort to share. I never felt that pain and had no right to speak. It was explained to me that she had lesions all the way down her spine. The footprints of cancer had marred her and there was no turning back for a recovery. The doctor said it was headed for her brain next.

All I could do at this time was make her surroundings comfortable. I was there to fix her pillow, change the TV channel, assist her to eat and drink, and of course, let her know when she could release the morphine by a press of the button beside her. In that bed was the woman who always shared her woes of pain with me to compare to mine, but this time she never spoke of what she was feeling. I recall one nurse asking her the level of pain she was feeling from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest level. In my presence, my mom just stared at her and never blinked. The nurse placed her hand on hers and nodded. No nurse asked her pain level again– Her winces and moans of pain are forever etched in my memory. Even though I know how she would have responded, I am glad I was never privy to her number out loud.

When a loved one is hurting, it’s a normal reaction to say, “It will get better.” They will describe their pain and frustration, and we still give our words back to them anticipating they bring some comfort at that moment. I am glad I never gave my mother any advice on the pain of losing her mother. I am glad I never uttered any words to her while she suffered with her brief battle of two cancers.

I struggled this week not being able to help my daughter more than with my words during her recovery from her oral surgery. No words could have taken away my mother’s pain in her last week of life.

I do know that I can impart with my daughter from experience of just observing, the pain that her grandmother withstood at the end of her life, would make her wisdom tooth surgery and recovery seem like a walk in the park.

Sully Said It

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