It is New Years Eve. All of us want to be happy in life, all of us want love and good times. We all want Peace and family.
And so it goes.
A Sassy Girls Guide to Life
It is New Years Eve. All of us want to be happy in life, all of us want love and good times. We all want Peace and family.
And so it goes.
This dark and sleepy time perched on the edge of endings and beginnings, I love the deep feel of it. Somewhat sleepy, introspective, books and candles and quiet puttering. Leftover meals and little celebrations.
What will we let go of? What will we welcome? As the past year slips away and the new one unfolds. I am counting my blessings. – Ada
This is one of my favorite times of year. This week after Christmas and before the new year. It is the dark and sleepy time, it is chilly, every one is getting home and settled in after the holiday, and figuring out what they want for the new year.
For me it is a quiet time, a time where I mentally and emotionally prepare to let go and welcome in. I have written extensively on how difficult the past 18 months have been. There have been many hurdles. But it has all ended up fine. I have ended up just fine.
And now we are at the edge of a new year. This year has been rebuilding myself and my life, getting to a place where I am whole and joyous again. I am ready to let go of all of it, all of everything that has been difficult and ready to grab ahold of everything good. There will still be hard work, but everything is lining up for this next year to be one of the best.
A little while ago I was asked what “code” I live by. That got me thinking, I really don’t think that it falls under a specific title. I live by the code of my conscience. There are basic rules, per say, but to me at least, they are pretty basic. Pray, do the best you can every day, be honest and be kind. Do the right thing even when it isn’t easy, because life isn’t supposed to always be easy.
And that is what you have to do in life, is stick to your guns and know that it will all work out. That may be hard when you are knee deep in it. Many loose hope and faith. That is a dark place to be. You just have to keep believing.
Throughout everything, I have kept to my code of honor, kept true to myself and my beliefs. And that is a very comfortable pillow. No doubt this code, taught to me by my wonderful parents, will continue to serve me well in the future
Every level of your life will demand a very different version of you.
I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. While I do not know the reason for all that has transpired, nor do I understand how it will prepare me for the coming years, I do have faith. I have faith that these events have made me stronger, better, finer and more compassionate.
I look forward to seeing how the lessons of the past years will serve me in the years to come. I look forward to building a wonderful life. I look forward to enjoying the rest of this week, the quiet time and the introspection before life opens wide at full speed. I look forward to it all.
There is relief with Christmas being over, which is something I never thought I would say. This is my favorite time of year…and yet I feel physical relief now that it is the day after even. I think it that before Christmas, I had a rhythm go\ing. I had found my way through grief. And then the holidays come and interrupt that rhythm. Suddenly all these emotional triggers are everywhere. From last Christmas to the holidays of my childhood.
But isn’t that just how life goes? We get our groove back and then something comes along that might throw us off balance. And life is about balance. It is about getting back up on the dance floor, so to speak. We are all doing our best to find our way. And life has some interesting paths. The important thing, at least to me, is to make sure that you go down these paths with honor and integrity. And that you learn from the paths you have taken. If you can master those two things, then you are ahead of most.
So I am eager to get my balance back, to be in the rhythm that I had found before. I am eager to return to building this life. I am eager to discover more paths and see where they go. There is a long list I have for this next year.
In short I am ready live. So let’s party.
There are different phases of grief, it is a process. And this year, this Christmas is a big milestone as far as that process goes. The first holidays without loved ones are especially hard. This entry is very raw and very vulnerable. Honestly it makes me a bit uncomfortable, but if you are going to be honest and pour your heart out, then do it with purpose. I am not the first to be here and I will not be the last.This is the end of this year, the end of all the loss and the end of the sadness. So, here it is, for anyone who might be going through the same:
I woke up for the first time in my life to an empty, quiet house on Christmas morning. I’m still not sure how to feel about that. I walked around and my Christmas lights were beautiful, the Christmas tree was beautiful, but it was so quiet. There was no one in the kitchen making breakfast for hungry eyes. There was no one inspecting the gifts under the tree. There was no Christmas music playing, or the sound of quiet conversation and laughter as people who got up early tried to be quiet and considerate of people who were still sleeping.
I did it. I made it through Christmas without you.
There were some tough and lonely moments, but I am blessed to have amazing friends that got me through. There was also joy and celebration. You guys raised me strong and loved me enough for a lifetime, but it doesn’t make making a life without you any easier. But I will be OK. I love you Mom and Dad. For so many wonderful things, for so many reasons and for so many wonderful holiday traditions and memories. Most of all, I love you for being the most amazing parents in the whole world. Merry Christmas. Love and miss you always.
We all have firsts in our lives, and tonight I must as=dd another to mine: My first Christmas without my parents. When I first realized it and let myself think about the possibilities of the holidays this year, I was in a sheer panic. How could I do the holidays without them? Without their love? Without the family traditions? I knew that no matter what it would not be as terrible as last year, but that still did not make me fear the unknown any less.
I went into panic and started making travel plans for each of the holidays. Never plan trips in a panic. That is not the proper mindset. As It turned out, I needed to stay home for family. Funny how God will put you where you need to be, when you need to be there.
But Christmas hasn’t been as bad or as horrible or as sad as I thought it would be. It’s actually been kind of…nice. There was church service with some dear friends, because you cannot forget what Christmas is truly about. Then lunch with another best friend. Soon afterward it was time to go home to have family time.
There was a last minute trip to the store, last minute wrapping, and gift giving. There were new traditions of card games and a Christmas Eve Spaghetti dinner.
And that is what life is all about, helping each other. No doubt I would not be making it through this Christmas with out my wonderful friends. And I was able to serve others as well. I was able to give gifts, cook for family, clean up and provide good family time. One of my purposes in life is serve others. I want to cook and be of service to those I love. I want those who enter my home to feel good, and loved, and calm and wanted. Sounds terribly domestic, but it’s true. And no better time than Christmas.
And there still is a little ways to go this Christmas. This Eve has been a balance between helping and being helped, of giving and receiving love.
And now, as I sit in my comfy warm bed, in my fuzzy soft PJ’s, sipping wine, watching TV and snuggling with the kitties, I know that there is nothing to fear. While there may be moments where I break down and cry, I will be OK, because I am surrounded by love And there are the origins of the new Christmas, and the new traditions. I am proud of myself, thankful for those who love me, and for this Christmas.
Nothing warms the hearth like love and happiness.
She is fire in the flood
The water in the blood
Her touch burns him to the core
And holds him till he wants more
He is the wind in then storm
The calm that keeps her warm
His eyes see into her soul
Deep where there is no control
Together they breath between a heartbeat
The hope that they complete
Discovering a world beyond dreams
Beyond the leak at the seams
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. – Ernest Hemingway
It has long been said that the best artists are those who have suffered, or have been unhappy. That these artists produce the best art, whether it be poetry, painting, acting or music. But I wonder do you have to be miserable to produce good art?
There is no doubt that the last few years of my life have been full of pain. And loss and confusion, heartache, depression, anger, and not much joy. And I do think that I have done some of my best writing. As things in life are getting better and more joyful, I wonder will I still have something to write about when I am happy?
Yes, I think I will. At least I hope.
Maybe the reason writing and other art that is produced during painful times is popular is because it shows vulnerability. Tackling universal topics such as heartache and loss, shows the vulnerability in them. People connect and react. Being vulnerable takes a lot of courage. You have to pour your heart out, with purpose, and be willing to write about things that may get you criticized or talked about.
You are supposed to feel confused and lost sometimes in life. That is all part of the journey. It will not all be rainbows and butterflies. You are supposed to feel ad and depressed and go though hard times sometimes. That helps you get to where you are going. It also makes you a deeper finer human being. So don’t run from those hard times. Live through them, get to the other side so you can tell the stories, your stories.
But when things are good, what happens to that vulnerability? It is still there, because creating a life where you are happy takes a lot of hard work, prayer, faith and help of your friends. Putting your dreams, hopes and wishes out there takes courage too.
There are many things that I want for the next year and more moving forward. Publishing my books, praying more, exercising, getting back to being toned and healthy, traveling more are just the beginning. There will be time spent sitting down and planning out the next year and how to accomplish those goals.
And at the center of everything is that I want love to be so present in my life that it is tangible. Also when you are happy you can focus on making art from a different place deep inside.
There is beauty in happiness and joy. There is beauty in the humanity of going through a hard time and coming out of the other side with a deeper appreciation and understanding of life. There is beauty in feeling emotions deeper, from spaces in the heart being carved out by the pain. There is beauty in the Peace left behind. Because life itself is art.
And that is one of the things which I am looking forward to. So, no doubt hard times can produce beautiful things. But, so can happiness and joy. So hold on. This is going to be a fun ride.
There are things that we all look forward to in life. And this year I am looking very much forward to the end of the year. This year, and last, have been the most difficult of my life and I am happy to say goodbye. This New Years marks a huge end for me, it is the final closure on the past 2 years of dealing with the death of both of my parents. And all of the subsequent and collateral loss. It is a psychological mile marker. And I cannot wait for the fresh start.
New Years Day is often a new beginning fo many of us. The start of the new year, all of the blank pages and all of the possibilities, I have worked hard this last year to get my life and myself not only back together, but happy and healthy as well.
This time of year is traditionally a very festive and happy time, but for me it is bittersweet as I say goodbye to all that has been. All of the heartache, all of the loss, all of the bitter, all of the everything that made the past two years difficult. It it is very liberating. To know that I no longer have to carry such things in the new year, that moving forward I can cast off the old skin, with the old scars. There is something beautiful about that. And I can see my parents smiling and waving to me as I turn to go. They will always be watching over me, but I must return to my life now.
And turning to 2018, there are so many things to look forward to. A new job, new freelance opportunities, new writing, my books, trips to take, a new life to create out of the rubble from this year. Like the Phoenix, I rise, just like I was taught. And I pray with renewed faith. God got me through the last two years. He did not let me fall or fail. He kept my head above water, gave me the strength to do what needed to be done, and now His blessings are coming. I will serve him as best as I can in this next year with a willing and Joyful heart.
And love, I can see that there will be more love in the next year than there ever has been before. I am and will continue to be surrounded by love. Saying goodbye frees my mind and my heart to be wide open and accept all that is given. It also allows me to give freely without fear or limits. There is someone waiting for me, someone with whom I can pray. Someone with whom I can build.
Life is waiting for me, whispering to me to come and follow. To see, live and experience the world in true color and in stereo. There are paths left to take, adventures to explore, roads to travel.
Only 11 more days of the year left. Only 11 more days to honor all that has happened and give a proper goodbye. Only 11 more days before the beginning of the rest of my life.
There are times in life when I really wish that I was a morning person. Usually it is after I have slept late and am realizing that the things I need to get done may not fit in before the 5pm deadline. It just feels so good to sleep late, stay in a nice warm bed and escape from civilization fir a few more hours. And studies have shown that night owls are typically more intelligent and creative than the early risers (at least the reports I have read anyway…). Studies have also shown that the early risers are more productive.
What if I could have both? The struggle of the night owl to fit in the 9-5 world is nothing new for us late-nighters. But I do so much enjoy the morning, even the early morning, when I set the alarm to the sun. There is something magic about rising and hearing the birds, seeing wildlife and having coffee in the morning. Birds, deer, even owls can be seen and heard. And coffee tastes better in the early morning. Or maybe the taste is relative to the hour and the amount of sleep one has had the night before.
In life we must know our limitations. But I also do believe in being the best person you can be, and always knowing that there will be room for improvement. None of us are perfect. But if we are the best person we can be. then that will be close enough to perfect for most. I have goals and dreams. In a perfect world I could get up at the crack of dawn, eat chocolate all day, have the perfect size 2 figure and stay up all night as well. We do not live in that world, or at least I don’t. So I must work to improve myself the old fashioned way – will power, determination and trial and error.
So I promise not to abuse my little alarm clock.
And if you have someone with which to spend those morning hours, then it is all the better. Whether snuggling, talking over coffee, hiking or planning for the day, or all of the above, enjoying that time with another is heavenly. Even if I don’t get into work until the same time, getting that extra done before hand can be valuable. And if is noce to start the day relaxed instead of rushed.
Getting up earlier sounds easy enough, but then I would have to go to bed earlier, and that is truly the hardest thing about the whole early morning arrangement. I love staying up late to write and have “me time”. Those hours are magic and sacred.
So what is the solution? As always I think it is about balance. Maybe I don’t need to to stay up until 2-3am. Maybe if I go to bed between 11pm-12am, then I could enjoy more of the morning, especially when other activities can be planned before work.
So yes, I could be a morning person. Or maybe a morning-ish person. Just please pass the coffee.
We all have times in our lives that are tranistional. The thing about transitions is that they are often uncomfortable, and lonely, and weird. No one promised that life would always be easy or happy.
This Christmas is such a transition for me. Because I am not sure where life is heading yet, but I have an idea. This is the holiday that I will experience the joy and heartache of grief. The last several holidays were spent taking care of Mom and Dad, and making sure they had everything they needed for the best holidays they could have. I have always been taking care of someone at Christmas. Or had a huge family celebration to get ready for and attend. But this year, I am not. And from now on the holidays are whatever I want them to be, with whomever I choose.
This year there will be no big fan fare, no big dinners or baking desserts. There will be no big traditions on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It makes sense that this would be the quiet year, the introspective holiday, the Christmas of quiet. It’s almost like having to clean your palate after one course of a nice dinner, and before the next.
At first I was terrified of this first Christmas and holiday season alone. But now I have settled into the acceptance of it. You cannot outrun grief, or what it brings with it. So I will face it head on, I will embrace it, invite it in for dinner and drinks and we will have a long conversation. It will be hard this Christmas, and that is OK. It is the exquisite pain from having loved and been loved. It means that I had my parents for 43 years. Celebrate the love that leads to the grief.
It is a bittersweet right of passage, your first holidays without both of your parents. You are supposed to miss them, and it is not supposed to be easy. We were not promised a life that was always easy or happy. Life happens, and we must experience it all, the good, the bad, the sad and the happy.
And so many people want to skip this part of it, because it’s not pleasant. But it’s just part of the whole process. And if we accept the fact that new, good and wonderful things are coming, that it doesn’t get easier from here, then we must also take time for the transition of grief. It’s the other side of the same coin called life.
It seems to me that this season is the space in between the heartbeats, In Between The Raindrops, in between breaths. It is normal to miss your loved ones who are no longer here at Christmas, it is normal to experience that grief. There is a natural order in nature and this is one of them. I will never have another Christmas like this one (thank God), because after this year, life is going to explode with joy. This holiday season makes the end of an era, and emotionally the end of the grieving period. I live my life for me now.
Many memories this Christmas, as I observe this beautiful holiday. There will be much love, and friends and faith and prayers. I will go to Midnight Mass. I will curl up in a wonderful warm blanket and sleep cozy underneath. There will be joy as well, as I experience and plan for new love. I will laugh and enjoy times with friends and feel the love they send me.
So let this holiday season wash over me, all of it, all the emotion, all the stillness, sadness, and grief. Because it makes way for all of the joy and happiness and goodness. I love life, and that means experiencing heartbreak too. You cannot get around it. So experience all of it, and live life out loud to the fullest. That is more than just the good and wonderful, because life is multilayered and multi faceted.
I will honor my wonderful parents by letting myself feel the grief that comes with this first holiday without them and I will write about it. If you are honest in what you write, you must be willing to spill your guts with purpose. Not only to be cathartic for yourself, but for others who might be going through the same.
Grief is a not a place to live for a long time, it is a place to visit. But to get through those visits, you must be willing to joyfully feel all the heartache of it, of this part of life. Cry when you need to cry, scream, be mad, be sad, be whatever you need to be…and then you will have that part of it out of you system. And when you go back into the world you will be lighter, happier, better for the experience.
I wrote this seven years ago. It is very applicable today as well. With this year ending and another beginning, with getting over the worst two years of my entire life, I am ready to get back to everything again. I am ready to build my dreams and to build my life, my dreams.
Failure if Not an Option
In this life, day and age, it seems that somethings are just certain. Life, death, taxes, a broken heart (or two), laughter, tears, good music, bad days, hot coffee, warm tea are just a few of the things that we are certain to experience in life. And yes, even failure. But lately it seems that I have made a decision…that when it comes to my goals and dreams, failure is not an option. That my dreams will be made into reality, and there is no other option.
How can this be, especially now, in “this” economy? You have to decide that you have a steelframe inside you, you have to decide that where you are now doesn’t matter, it is where you want to be that is important. And it may take a while, and it will certainly take a lot of hard work, but you just decide that none of that matters. Only your goal, your dream. And then you get mad, get stubborn and reach way down deep inside you, and pull up that steel determination, that unbreakable Will and make it happen.
Don’t worry about the hard work, don’t worry about the long hours, sleepless nights, blood sweat and tears…you simply decide that failure is not an option, put your goggles on, your head down and do whatever it takes to make it happen. Because you can beat the odds…after all someone has to, why not you? You just decide that it will be so, and you have a sick work ethic, and ridiculous determination, incredible perseverance. Every. Day. because that is what it takes.
This year, I will have a great writing career, I will meet my financial goals, I will enjoy a great vacation (notice I did not say I will learn to spell…you do have to know your limits!). Failure is not an option.
I am determined.
Sweat on my brow.
Heart in my Throat.
I am at the starting line.
The sound of my heart
Pounds in my head.
Cheers ring in my ears.
They say I can’t.
But I won’t let them win.
I will defy all expectations.
The naysayers will walk away.
My Will silencing them.
They don’t know the steel frame inside me.
I am determined.
My will pushing me to succeed
Down the hard
Road ahead. Ada 5/00
To get through this life
To get through this year
All the battles I won
And lost and sacrificed
So much pain, so many tears
Never thought it would end
And then I am in front of you
This is what brought me here
And after all of it
In your arms I can be
And I can rest
And I can dream
And find peace
I’ve sung together with angels
Faught bravely with my anger
Climbed over the highest mountains
Spent time hiding in such danger
I have laughed with the devil
Spent many nights in anquish
Flown magestic with the eagles
And been left to languish
Risked falling from top a highwire
Delicate balance at every play
Fooled the wisdom of the wiseman
Walked a thousands miles every day
I have lied a million truths
Cried enough tears to flood the earth
Crawled up from the darkest hole
witnessed the miracle of beauty’s worth
I’ve risen with the moon
Soared miles above the sun
And kept the secrets of the dead
To see if you were the one
I want to kiss those lips of yours
To breathe in what you breath out
for even a second it’s worth it
Just to hear love lived out loud
I’ve been through every jungle
Slept with sheep in the lion’s den
Fought with the souls of angels
Been to the beginning and back again
I’ve carried the weight of heavy burdens
And of too much pain to mention
Shed all my tears and sorrows
stripped down in the mirror of convention
Seen the weakness of the mind
And the strength of faith and love
The torture of the morning light
And the mercy from God above
I have climbed mountains and valleys
Spent many nights talking to strangers
Made mistakes by all judgements
Traveled hidden and cloked in danger
Standing bare and stripped of pride
Being Humbled by life’s very nature
The are no illusions before me now
Just wanderlust for this adventure
To hold your hand and sing
To be lovers breathing out and in
Take a chance on this course my dear
Now set this amazing journey to begin
What if it is right and real then
all the miles I have travelled
Will be worth it and pale in the end
To the story that is unravelled
Oh I have run with the worst
And bluffed cards with the best
Broken my heart too many times
But now in your heart mine can rest
There’s a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen
When you have had the wind knocked out of your sails and the most difficult things in life happen, and you make it through the other side, it is truly magnificent. It is as if the air is fresh and new and the world is again a magic place. Life comes from a deeper and more meaningful place. When you laugh, it is deeper and much more meaningful.
Not to say that everything is perfect, but you do see the world differently. Getting through to the other side rearranges your priorities. My priority now is happiness and joy. But life, as always, is a process. And you must be dedicated to that process, everyday doing and being what will bring that which you most want, to you.
When you go forward in this manner the things you once took for granted you don’t anymore. And things that once bothered you, suddenly don’t. You find joy in the everyday. I thought I enjoyed the sunset or sunrise, but they are nothing like what I see and appreciate now.
And there are so many of those wonderful perfect moments to enjoy in life. Everything from the perfect height but the perfect person, to hearing your favorite song on the radio, to enjoying a good movie. I’m finding joy in small things such as painting my fingernails, fixing my hair and even doing sit-ups and push-ups. I’m taking care of myself better , not only taking time to exercise but also taking time to relax and restore my soul. There’s even more joy and cooking for friends, having company over, sharing wine and stories and especially doing small things That Make this House a Home.
To find the joy in the everyday, the mundane, is the key to finding the magic in life. It is the key to always being curious. And when the light comes in through the cracks, you can see all the brilliance the sun reveals.
As this year wraps up, a new year and a new chapte start. As there is an end, there must also be a beginning. And I see the cracks and bent parts in the steel frame inside of me and I think of that quote. I know that my soul has been split wide open from the past year, letting all the light and love flood into the empty spaces that remain. I feel like Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption when Andy is finally out of the prison and feels the rain on his skin and face for the first time in years. And I love it.
Even when you are not quite sure what you are doing, you can still follow what brings you joy and happiness, and maybe that is the key. Maybe you don’t have to know what you are doing, maybe you don’t have to have everything all planned out, maybe if you just follow the joy and the bliss.
So let the light and love come in. Let them wash over me, in me and through me. Joy and happiness have never been closer.
All families have holiday traditions. Ours was no different growing up. And my Mom was the queen of holiday traditions. Every year, it took her 3 days to put up the Christmas tree. Then there was a big production of putting the ornaments on the tree. we would all gather and drink hot chocolate, Christmas music playing on the stereo, and all the ornaments that Mom had collected over the years.
Then there was the tradition of hiding Mom’s gift. She hated surprises and she would sneak and open the gifts, carefully undoing the tape. We caught her and developed a game. My sister and I would tell her when we bought her gifts, then we hid them mall over the house. If she found them, she would get to know what they were so she wasn’t surprised. If she didn’t we got the bragging rights. She always found the gifts. The last time we thought we almost had her…we hid the gifts so well and she said she nearly gave up. She said she looked everywhere…and finally found them hidden in the decorative pillow shams.
Then there were all the years that we got double gifts. Mom would always finish Christmas shopping early and hid the gifts…then she would forget where she hid them and have to re buy them. So every year, about March when she was doing the spring cleaning, she would find the ones she hid, and give them to us. We looked forward to her spring cleaning every year.
And the wrapping. She wrapped for at least a week. She would pull the gifts out at night, when we were all asleep. Or if she wrapped during the day, we would not be allowed in the room. We would have to knock and announce before she opened the door so we could enter. And the wrapping was always a fun mischievous game. There was no wrapping a box as it came, no. The box had to be re-boxed and disguised. There must be other things added, like candy so that when you shook the gift, you could not actually guess the contents.
She once wrapped a small ring in about 7 different boxes, each a bit bigger in size, until the last box was a giant box about 5 feet tall. It took my sister a while to open that gift. It was great. Then there were all the homemade bows and ribbons. Christmas wasn’t just about family and love, it was also about having fun.
But what do you do when you don’t have much family to have traditions with? I am not really sure, but maybe it is not about actual traditions, but the spirit and tone in which they are carried out. The memories, the smiles, the fun, and the games will always make me smile and warm my heart. While I am figuring out the new traditions in my life moving forward, this is still the best and happiest of all seasons.
We all have years where there are not many things to celebrate, and lasat year was one of those years. Now when I think back to what happened a year ago, or when Facebook shows me the memories, it is a bittersweet reminder of how far I have come, and how sad life was a year ago.
Yesterday was a year ago that was the beginning of the end for my father. He had been getting progressively weaker as he was taking the oral chemo treatment to give him a few more months with us. His cancer had gotten to the point where this was the last thing that they could do, as the chemoembalism treatments had gone as far as they could go.
My now ex was supposed to check on my Dad before he left for work, but he didn’t (did I mention the ex was cheating on me with prostitutes and strippers?). I was leaving for work early, and since the ex had not indicated there was anything wrong, I did not check on Dad. The One day that I did not go and check on him…
A little after 9am Dad called and left a message. He said he was one sick puppy and could not make it to the doctors appointment later. His words were slurring, he sounded out of breath and tired in a way that I had never heard before.
Panicked, I rushed home when I go the message only to find that my father had a terrible fall early in the morning and had severely hurt himself. He fell in the bathroom, was too weak to get up, rolled himself to the couch in his room and crawled up on the couch where he had been for several hours. He had a Life Alert but had not thought to use it. Had I checked on him before I left for work I would have seen him.
He was rushed to the hospital and was in terrible shape after the fall. A bruised liver, and in and out of delirium , I had to make the decision on the DNR and other such details. If the coded and they tried to revive him, it would puncture his lung, it was cause the bruise on his liver to worsen and he would not survive the process. and it would be very painful. So I told them to do whatever they had to do to make sure that he did not suffer. I was terrified. I was lost. And distraught and confused and heartbroken. There was no one around to help or consult with or lean on. I prayed to make the right decisions for him.
He never did fully recover from that fall. The entire month of December was spent with him in the hospital and rehab. It was the start of all of the awful, heart wrenching process of watching my father die over the next 2 months. My then boyfriend was (in retrospect) too preoccupied with prostitutes, strippers and video games to help. Siblings were away and too busy to be concerned about things so inconsequential.
There was no support from them at all, my siblings, my so called family. No emotional support, offers financial support while I paid for everything, no offers to come over and help to give any kind of breaks from being a constant caretaker. No phone calls, no “Hey, how are you doing? Do you need anything? Can I help in any way?” I had to face the fact that these people were nothing more than uncaring mooches, happy to let their father be someone else’s problem, as long as they were not inconcenienced in anyway – but still kept in contact enough so that they might be included in the will. Which as it turned out, was their only concern.
But I did it, I managed to make the hard decisions, keep everyone informed, be there for Dad, making sure he was as OK as he could be in the circumstance. And I made sure he had the best medical care available. But it was so very hard and exhausting. There are no words known in my vast vacabulary to express the extent of the panic fear and exhaustion. The endless tearful prayers desperately begging God for wisdom, Grace and strength. I can only imagine what it was actually like for my father.
I listened to that voice mail message he left and it broke my heart all over again. My wonderful, amazing, brave father sounded so frail and weak and scared. There is nothing like feeling so helpless and not being able to do anything for someone you love so dearly.
And now, I think about this holiday season, this Christmas and New years are light years better than the last. While I miss both of them so very much, I am happy that they are at peace and together. I am not in a toxic relationship with a sex addict, I am not making medical decisions with no support or guidance from family. I am in a great house that is quickly becoming a home, where I am happy, where I love my job and career, where my friends surround me with love and support. Where there are only kind and loving relationships in my life.
I am happy, I have my rhythm back and my hunger for life. I am back to my sassy self. The most difficult decision I have to make this holiday season is do I really want to wear matching socks when wearing boots? I mean, really, no one will see them.
I am thankful for the time that I had and spent with my father. It was my honor and privileged to rake care of him and be there for him when he needed. And now I carry that with me moving forward, celebrating this holiday season, with an Unbroken Heart.
Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” – Buddha
Tonight was about decorating the Christmas tree and the house. It has been a busy week, but finally some time was found for the tradition. And as my nephew and went through all the Christmas decoration boxes, unpacked the ornaments and decorated the tree, I could not help but feel a bittersweet tinge.
The first Christmas without my father, the second without Mom, and the first without both of them. It felt surreal to put all the ornaments that I remember seeing as a child. I told my nephew some funny stories about a few of them, and which ones were his grandmother’s favorite, which ones where bought at which places, and some stories behind a few of them.
And the stockings are hung, the lights are out, the Christmas candle holders, candles, figurines, places mats, table cloths and more. We listened to the Christmas carols as we put everything out.
The torch has been passed on to me – the traditions, the decorations, the stories. I only hope that I make them proud, but I think they are happy as they look down. I am at the last part of the grief process – acceptance. I will take my place, as they would want.
I will miss them terribly this Christmas, and all others to come, but I still must celebrate life and love. And I remember how terrible the holidays were last year and am suddenly thankful that is all in the past.
As I close out this year, this terrible, hard, painful year, I am also thankful for the good times there have been. I am thankful for the family, for the friends and for the love I have witnessed. I am thankful for new love and new beginnings in new chapters. I look forward to the wonderful opportunities ahead. I look forward to kisses under the mistletoe, naughty hot chocolate with friends, and life in general. This Christmas is about saying goodbye in the best way, and saying hello to everything coming.
And maybe that is the gift of this holiday season, with this tree, and these ornaments and this life. Maybe it is the chance for happiness and all of my dreams to come true. They loved my with all of their hearts, and loved me enough for a lifetime. And I will love my life and all those in it with all of my heart.
Something I post, but this year it is especially meaningful. Enjoy!
The things I have carried up until now, as I stand on the cracked, red lip of another year, are in no particular order or arrangement.
I have carried one-liners, favorite quotes, scribbled bits of poetry, a note that he wrote to me when we were 15 and perfect. I have carried pursefuls of pens. I have carried picture frames that outline the faces of those I love most and best.
I have carried a fat cat, and an affectionate cat, and too many plants to count, all of which I tried to water regularly and most of which, eventually, sadly, leaf by browning leaf, withered and then, finally, died. I have carried graves. I have carried the souls of the dead.
I have carried the promises, broken and kept, of those who I loved best and most, and who loved me. I have carried the hopes of relatives, the fear of children, the victories and defeats of my friends.
I have carried kisses and promises. I have carried lust and shame. I have carried emptiness. I have carried regret. I have carried more love than I could possibly hold.
I have carried plans, candles, movies and paintings, old books and old pictures, my father’s words and my mother’s crocheting, my sense of self, my understanding of and praise for whom I am in this world…all from the warmth of my childhood home. From the love of my parents.
I have carried my stuffed mouse, Mousey, from my first bedroom, to my first apartment, to living with a man I thought would be my husband, and back to Atlanta. He is ragged and old now, but I carry him, gently, with fondness.
I have carried my wedding band.
I have carried tall tales and secrets and the sounds you made in the morning. I have carried your kisses.
I have carried men who used me, men who loved me, men who never understood and men who understood too much, men who came in shadow, men who never came at all.
I have carried my sister, and I have let her carry me.
I have carried my heart, one beat at a time.
I have carried the whip.
I have carried this body onto a horse, into a pool, across miles of road, across mountains and oceans and on a boat. I have carried the map I canvased along the way.
I have carried books from childhood, from college, from used bookstores in many small towns, from my parent’s shelves, from my sister’s attic, from my brother in law’s collection, from friends, from strangers, from the bum on the street, and from you. Yes, even from you, too.
I have carried many titles—and not all justly given.
I have carried journals; I have carried many, many journals, and I have carried the stories they tell me, in my own handwriting, and I have carried disbelief, horror, joy, and pride for the person I read about as I flip the pages. Those, too—those pages, those stories—yes, I carried them.
I have carried every single one of our conversations.
Lately, though, I have carried on, without carrying you. I have carried on without your weight.
I have carried children. I have carried heartbreak. I have carried my friends’ and my sisters’ tears. I have carried hope.
I have carried a great many things.
And still…still, my arms, my heart, are not full.
Because all I have carried cannot, will not, should not, stay with me.
And because, mostly because, all because: I have carried the letting go, too. And it is the letting go that will carry me forward.
We all have times in our lives where we have to let people go when that is not what we want to do. but it is necessary to do this in order to be truly happy in life. Whether it is someone walking away or if we need to do the walking, whether it is a friend, romantic interest, partner, co worker or even family, sometimes we just have to let them go.
This was a very hard lesson for me to learn. And I held onto my ex longer than I should have, because I loved him, because it hurt to much to let go, because I had suffered so much loss already. But trying to hang on only prolonged the inevitable and made both of us miserable. Had I let go earlier, there would have been more room for better people a lot sooner.
And it is frustrating to watch someone we love hang on and refuse to let g as well. One of my best friends is hanging on to a man who is terrible for her. He has many substance abuse issues, is manipulating, lies and is not in a good place in his life where he has anything to offer. He will be toxic to anyone he comes across until he deals with his issues. But she doesn’t see that. She sees him as the nice person he is 2% of the time.
Why don’t we let go when we should? Why do we hang on longer than we should to unhealthy relationships? I don;t know. Maybe it is the fear of being alone, maybe it is the hope that things will work out, maybe it is because we don;t think we deserve any better, or that his person is the best we can do. Or maybe a thousand other reasons. I really do don’t know. But what I do know is that if you want peace and happiness in your life, you have to trust that the people who are supposed to be in your life, will be in your life. And let the rest go.
This clip says it the best: