The Past – What Does It Offer?

What seeds are you planting? How do you see your future playing out?  What is your heart’s deepest desires?  What steps do you need to take to make those desires come to fruition?  Is your past holding you back?

On any given day you can sit and talk to someone and if you really listen you will hear their dreams.  Dreams of the past:  “When I was younger I wanted to be ____.” Dreams of the future: “One day I want to ______.” Dreams of the present: “If only I had the resources I would _____.” But they are just dreams, right? Things our hearts desire but we never truly expect to have because we believe we have no way of accomplishing them.

Many times we dream a dream, something we really want, and we take steps to accomplish them.  The road is long and difficult.  We give up, believing that we will never get what we really wanted, just before it was going to happen.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times in my life I have done this.  I look back on my life and often wonder “what if.”

“What if I had pursued a career as a Forest Ranger instead of getting married?”

“What if I had stayed in Wisconsin and married that man I loved so very much?”

“What if I had pursued my passion for healing sooner?”

I could go on and on with the “what if’s.” They never end.  We use these lost or postponed dreams to beat ourselves up on a pretty regular basis.  Don’t we?

We can’t change the past.  We can learn from it but we can’t change it.  We can look at all of the things we have lived through, survived, and we can yearn for the “could have’s,” but when it comes right down to it we can’t go back and change a damned thing.  What can we do?

We can begin by looking into the past and finding the lessons that are there. What did you learn by not accomplishing what we “could have” done?

As an example, my first “What if” was “What if I had pursued a career as a Forest Ranger instead of getting married?”

Looking back my marriage brought me 3 remarkable sons and from those sons I have 7 amazing grandchildren, let’s put that aside for a moment though.  I think we can all agree that these are gift’s and not lessons.

What did I take away from the marriage?  The marriage ended in divorce.  The marriage was rife with turmoil.  The marriage was ugly and something that caused all of us extreme pain.  Myself, I endured physical and emotional pain. Yet, I walked away a new person.  I learned that I have strength I didn’t know I had.  I learned that I can stand on my own two feet and not just survive but thrive.  I learned that my heart can be broken, no, not broken, rather shattered, into a million pieces and I can heal it, one piece at a time.  I learned that I can stand in my own truth and although fear may engulf me, Spirit will always protect me.  I learned to love myself and that I am worthy.

I could go through each one of my “what if’s” and tell you what I learned by them. The bottom line, for me, is for every “what if” or “could have” that lays in my past I can see and find lessons, some difficult, some easier. They have shaped and formed the woman I am today.

I could choose to hold onto my past and all of the “what if’s,” let them define me, make me feel as though I have failed in life.  I can choose to beat myself up over and over again by just focusing on the past and the dreams I didn’t accomplish. We all know someone who does this daily.  Instead, I choose to look at the lessons, learn from them and let the past go.

The path I walk says to shed our past as a snake sheds it’s skin.  All at once.  Leave it there.  Write a new past.  The belief is that our bodies can’t tell the difference from things that happened in the past and what is happening now. When you sit and think about the pain of the past your body feels it as though it is happening at this very moment. Your body reacts to the memories you choose to remember.  It doesn’t know that it is a memory, it believes it is happening now. This, for me is one of the greatest reasons to leave the past in the past. Once you have identified all of your lessons is there a reason to relive all that has happened over and over again?  I, personally, would prefer not to relive all of that pain. I choose to leave the past where it belongs, in the past.  I have learned and those memories don’t need to be rehashed over and over.

I cannot move into the future, nor can I live in the NOW if my focus is always mired in the past.

The past has helped form the person I am today.  The now will be the past in a few moments. Standing in the now, at this very second, allows me to make wiser decisions for my future.  When I look in the past, tomorrow, I will know that holding onto what has happened may offer me lessons to learn from but there is nothing else of value to hold onto.  Living there only impedes my now and prevents my dreaming of the future.  You can’t move forward to the future if you are still reliving everything in the past.  It just can’t happen.

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason? I am not sure that I do.  I do, however, believe that Spirit brings us to things we have agreed to learn in this life and how many times that lesson has to be relived depends on how well we learn it.  I also believe that if we are brought to it, we will be brought through it.  Tattered, scarred, yes, but we came here to learn and live.  We can only do so if we are aware enough to look, learn, listen and let go.

Back to my original questions.  Are you planting seeds for the future or are you letting your past stop you? Do you see a future or are you to busy looking at the past to allow a future to unfold?

Find your deepest heart desires, embrace them..  Let the past go.  Live in the now. Dream your future into being! You will be amazed at how beautiful our world can be when you let the hurts, mistakes, lessons of the past go and step into the now.  Go find your beauty!

 

 

 

Memories & Love

Mike is here today.  He just keeps showing up in everything.  It is not a bad thing, it just brings up so many feelings.  I guess they are feelings I need to let go of.  Sometimes it isn’t so easy to do.  Other times I can identify them and feel them and let them go.  Today it seems to be all about yearning.

A deep yearning to have that companionship, love and understanding back in my life.  I miss having my best friend, the one who knew me as well as I know myself. I miss having those deep, comforting hugs when I am afraid of the changes life is bringing.  I miss having that someone to laugh with.  I miss having someone to share my daily thoughts with.  I miss having someone to love.  I miss having a best friend who is by my side daily. Someone that I trust explicitly.  Someone I know has my back no matter what.  I miss having someone who thinks the sun rises and sets in me, no matter what I look like or how bitchy I am. I miss having someone to cuddle with when I am laying in bed at night.

No matter how much you work on being the “all” to yourself there are still things that as a human you need and/or want.  Overall, we are creatures of comfort and although we can find comfort within and know that we are “enough” we still need and want the scent of another human, the touch, the sound of a soothing voice. We can only transcend so much because we are human.

We were made to love others and in turn to be loved.  I believe we choose to come to this earth to learn to love ourselves, walk in Spirit, and love others.  We give a part of our heart to those that we care about and when they leave us, whether it is by choice, death, a move, whatever the case, they take that part of our heart with them.

We are always right there with them.  Cheering them on, crying beside them or laughing at the silly things life offers.  Whey they die they take that part of our heart that we so freely gave, with them.  I believe that is why for the rest of our lives we can feel them when they are visiting us from the other side.

They show up in many ways, whether they are living and breathing but out on their own adventure or dead.

It can be a song, music fills one’s soul and most often you can hear a song and it will flood you with memories.  Memories of a person, a place, or a time in your life.

It can be a smell.  How many times have you smelled a flower, perfume, cologne, a certain food and the memory of an individual comes to mind?  It happens daily and very seldom do we give it much thought.

It can be a place.  A place you shared with someone.  An event that happened at a specific location. To this day when I hear about or see a coroner’s office I think of my best friend Sue and a guy named Chris. A ride in a jeep where we took the corner on 2 wheels, 2 autopsies, vicks vapor rub, popcorn and oatmeal as well as a breakfast at the Bluff’s before the events of the day.  Most of all I remember the love shared between friends.

The memory of this day brings on many more memories, memories of 26 years of steady, true friendship.  Marriages, divorces, babies being born, burying a child, father and husband, graduation from the sheriff’s department, Alzheimers, birthday parties, fighting cancer, phone calls, laughter, tears.  A deep abiding knowing that no matter where we are in life, no matter where the other is in location, we are always there, by the others side, loving each other and always just a phone call away.  Why?  Because we gave each other a piece of our heart. We share love.

There are many different types of love.  How we love, who we love, doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that we came and we loved.  We give it our all and when we leave, we leave a part of us with those we deemed worthy to share our hearts with.

Go give your heart and love to someone today.  It will change your life and theirs. Go make a difference in this world.  Love someone.

It’s all about the chili spaghetti!

My life has been going through a vast amount of transitions over the last year and a half.  I have lost my spouse, moved, and now I am deconstructing my life to get into my car and leave.  Changes are both within and flowing through my life significantly.

The last couple of weeks everything has felt as though it is upside down, but in a good way.  I made a trip to Florida (a gift given to me from my son and his friends) to meet my grandchildren.  It was absolutely fabulous.  As any grandmother will tell you their grandchildren are the best in the world.  Mine are no exception!  They are kind, caring, funny, adorable and everything I could have ever dreamed for.  It was a new beginning and a beautiful way to start this journey that I am preparing to embark on.  My heart is full.

While going through all of these changes I noticed that I have been craving the same food, every day, for over a month.  I couldn’t figure out why.  It isn’t really like it is my favorite food.  I mean I love spaghetti just about anyway it can be made but the combination of chili and spaghetti hasn’t been something I have eaten a lot of over the last 40 years.  Until now.  I just can’t get enough of it.  It hasn’t gotten old in anyway.  It is really the only thing that I want (except chocolate of course).  It has literally driven my son, Jeremy, up a wall.  He has given me all kinds of headaches over it.  He isn’t into eating it every single day and doesn’t understand why that is all I really want. Honestly, I didn’t quite understand it either.  Until today.  I was having a conversation with my son’s best friend, Kity, while I was making this morning’s helping of chili spaghetti when he pointed out that when your life is going through so many changes you seek comfort (wisdom out of the mouth’s of babes).  In this case comfort foods or food at this point.

I knew as soon as the word’s came out of his mouth that truth had been spoken.  I have been so wrapped up in the thoughts and feelings about where my life is going and trying to live in the here and now, enjoying every moment.  I have been working diligently to let go of so many things, both materially and emotionally, that I didn’t think about the comfort level of life.  It has been a long while since I have been “alone” and not had someone to share my deepest thoughts and feelings with that everything just stays inside of me now, unless I am writing.  Normally, my comfort would have been voicing my thoughts, fears and dreams with Mike.  That doesn’t happen anymore and now there is nobody.  It is an adjustment and apparently one that I am working through, with chili spaghetti.  There is humor there, somewhere.

What this all means is that when we find ourselves going through life and so many things start to happen all at once we seek comfort.  Some seek it in alcohol. Some seek it in drugs.  Some seek it in food or sex.  Apparently I seek it in chili spaghetti.  Why is that?  Why do we turn to outer comforts to work through the things life throws at us?  Why don’t we see it when we do?  I didn’t see it.  Really I just thought it was an insatiable craving.  Instead it is a way to seek comfort.  Why are we blind to our own needs but can fulfill the needs of others and see them quite easily?

I have walked a path of self discovery and healing, one that has enabled me to get through a lot of things in my life for over 20 years now. Even now I still find that many times I am blind to my own needs. I continue to discover new and exciting things about myself daily.  I have found that I like different types of music, some of my son’s music is pretty cool (which is amazing to me). I like conversations with 20 something kids because their perspective is so enlightening. Somehow I think we as parents of these kids have created amazing creatures that see the world in a way that we never could because of our conditioning, they teach us so much if we are willing to listen. I find myself attracted to several types of men (this one is really surprising to me). I find that one of the things I find most attractive is intelligence and open mindedness, more so than how someone looks. I find myself surprised at some of the discoveries about myself but I also find that I am still blind to many things.

One of the things that I did after my first marriage, a time when I needed to find out who I was and what I wanted, was to try something new each day and write down what I liked and didn’t like.  Broccoli?  Do I like it or hate it?  Styx? Do I like their music or do I hate it?  I honestly didn’t know who I was nor what I liked.  I had been told for so long what I liked and didn’t like, what I could do and couldn’t do that I didn’t know who I was.

Looking back I see that this was the beginning of my journey of self discovery but at the time I was just trying to figure out what I liked.  I find myself going through this again only in a different way.  I am not walking away from an abusive marriage but rather learning to live after losing the one person I thought would always be by my side. I am learning to live again and in the process I am re-discovering who I am.  I am picking the pieces of my life up and putting myself back together, only in a new way.  It is scary as hell and exciting all at the same time.  I am finding that I have a very low tolerance for stupidity and loud noises.  Just things that before I would have just dealt with.  Now I remove myself from it.  Time is to damned short to tolerate things that annoy, bother or hurt you.

I suppose my point in writing all of this is that no matter what you are going through, no matter how bleak or bright things look at the moment, you will seek comfort.  Will you be aware that you are doing so?  Will you be blind to it? Will it really matter?  I think knowing that a particular food, act or need is providing you comfort shifts your perspective and when you shift your perspective even just a tiny bit the world changes.  Your world changes because you are now aware of the why’s and how’s.  In closing, I ask, where do you find your comfort? How does it fill your heart? How does knowing that tiny bit of information make your view of the world different?  Try figuring it out, you might be surprised at your own answers, I know I am.

 

Letting it all go

Most of the time, somewhere in my writing, you will hear about my deceased husband, Mike.  We were blessed in spending the rest of his days together.  I was left behind to continue living.  There are days where this feels like an impossible task.  As I was washing my dishes today I was told that it is time to let it all go.  One way to do that is to honor the man I knew.  So this blog post is all about Mike, our life together and his death.  This is my way of letting him go.  He keeps sending messages through others that I need to quit the crying and move on.  Believe me I am trying.  Some days are easier than others. I am sure he will show up in my writing, there is no way that he couldn’t, but it won’t be more than a way to explain an example.  Our time has ended and now life moves on.  This is our story as I lived it and his love will live on through those that knew and loved him.  I am letting go so I can love again, live again and once again start over.

This video is the video I made for Mike when he died.  This shows you who the man was and how he loved life.

goregous

Mike’s video

Mike was a man of great insight.  He just had this ability to see people for who and what they were.  He loved them regardless but he never went into anything without that full “knowing.” He had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh.  He knew how to put a smile on just about everyone’s face.  He wasn’t an angry person.  In all the years I knew him I only saw him angry one time.  I mean really, really angry.  The type of angry that made him raise his voice, angry.  He just didn’t do that, ever.

I met Mike in 1991.  We were married that year.  We were expecting our first child.  Elizabeth Cassandra was born March 7, 1992.  She was a full term stillborn.  Her death affected both of us deeply.  We eventually got to the point where we quit talking to each other and quit turning to each other.  In February of 1993 we had our son Jeremy.  He has truly been a gift that both of us have adored.  Because we quit talking and leaning on each other we ended up divorced.  We were divorced for 11 years.  In 2006, we were remarried and the last 9 years were the best either of us had ever had.  The key to all of this is after our divorce we stayed friends.  I knew that no matter what time, night or day, if I needed him he would come running.  It made no difference who was in our lives we were just there and we just cared.  I didn’t always like him but I always loved him.

The foundation for our marriage the second time around was a deep, abiding friendship.  I preach this to my kids all the time.  Be friends first.  When life gets rough and the world is falling apart at your feet that friendship will get you through it all.  I believe that wholly and completely.  Mike was my best friend. He knew all of my secrets.  He knew my heart.  He knew me.  I knew his secrets. I knew his heart and I knew him.  Most often a word did not even need to be spoken and the other would just do what was necessary.

He liked his beer, wine and Bombay gin with tonic. He loved a good cigar.  He loved to have a good time. He loved to play pool. He didn’t make close and endearing friendships easily but once you were his friend he was always there and always willing to do whatever you needed.

Jeremy and I were his number one priority, nothing came before the two of us, ever.  He loved my brother, sister, sister in laws and brother in law as though they were his own.  He adored my parents and would have given his life for any of us.  I would be remiss in not mentioning my nieces, nephews and granddaughters.  He absolutely, positively adored each and every one of them.  They could do no wrong in his eyes.  We spent many hours watching baseball, softball, and football games just so we could see them and spend time with them.  Some of his favorite moments were spent with my (our) granddaughters.  He loved every second of every moment that he spent with them.  He referred to them and their mom as “his girls.”

There was absolutely nothing in this world that he would not have given me if I wanted it and he could.  Most importantly though he gave us his time and his love.  He was never to busy to sit and listen.  He always gave great advice.  He was never to busy to offer a hug or just hold you when you felt your world falling apart.

Some of my fondest memories are with him cooking on his bar-b-q. I don’t think there is anything he loved more than to bar-b-q a good rib-eye.  He loved to fish and it didn’t matter what kind of fishing it was.  He was ready to go whenever or wherever as long as he could take his rod and reel and a cooler full of cold beer. The last few years of his life he didn’t do much fishing but he talked about it all the time.  In fact a week or so before he died he insisted we go buy supplies so he could adjust his wheel chair to hold his pole and he could go fishing.

Another of his passions was music.  He loved music.  He loved to listen to it, sing it and dance to it.  He loved his music.  He had his favorite songs and he would play them on his phone all the time.  He use to run the karaoke at the Yucaipa Eagles and I bet you could ask anyone who joined in on a Friday night what the funniest thing he ever did was and you would get a resounding answer of when he sang “My guy!” I am telling you he would get up there and put on a show.  The crowd would go wild and we would all be laughing so hard that it hurt.

He would sing with one of his best friends, Kevin and their mutual friend Reggie.  It was always a Pink Floyd song and it was always long.  He always sang his Pirate looking at 40 and a few others.  He would sing with anyone that wanted to sing and didn’t want to do it alone.  Him and Jackie always did Sonny and Cher’s “I got you babe.”  They were good times and there are memories there that will never die.  He left so much love with so many people.

Mike would do ANYTHING to raise money for charity.  If you watched the video you saw him with a wig, make up and a hula outfit on.  That was to raise money for one of his all time favorite charities “Garden of Angels.”  If it was about helping someone, anyone, in any way, he was ready to do whatever it took.  You saw the pictures of him as Santa?  That was a yearly thing.  He would do it for friends and he would do it for under- privileged children.  He would dress up and deliver gifts to their homes.  I remember one year one little boy was so excited that he asked Santa if he could go home with him to the North Pole.

He drove me absolutely crazy because he always had to look meticulously good.  His clothes had to be just right.  His hair had to be just right.  He didn’t just throw on a shirt and pants and walk out the door.  Everything had to be “just right.”  He even ironed!  I teased him unmercifully that he was worse than any woman I had ever met. It was oh so true.  He would just laugh at me and say he couldn’t help it, it was just who he was.

He worked at Kaiser Steel for 20 years and then went to work for S.B. County. Over time he worked himself up to a Supervisory position.  This is where he stayed until he retired.  He retired early because so many of the guys he worked with were dying and he said he wasn’t going to work until he died.  He wanted to enjoy life.  While he was working though he did everything he could to treat the people who worked with him with dignity.  He tried to teach them and he would come home and talk about the things going on.  He would always tell me what a great bunch of guys he had and how blessed he was.  I have heard from a couple of the guys that worked for Mike and it seems to me that it was a mutual admiration society.  I have yet to have one say a bad word about him as a boss.  I think that in and of itself speaks of his character as a man.

Seriously, I could sit here for days and share my memories.  I could sit and just write about him non-stop.  He gave so much to so many throughout his life and that includes me.  At this point though I think it is time to find an ending.  So in closing I will finish with saying I was loved, truly loved in ways that many yearn for all of their lives.  I had the best of best friends as did our son.  He was unique and one of a kind and my life was blessed because I had the joy of sharing my life with him for a short time.  With that said I know that I will have this love again.  I know that I will have another best friend somewhere along the way and when I do I will cherish every single moment because I know how beautifully special that gift is.

Sometimes losing the love and beauty in your life makes you appreciate it all the more when it comes around again.  I am assured it will come again.  I am open and I am moving forward and know that someday, somewhere it will show up again. It will be different and it will be beautiful and that is a good thing.  I promised Mike I would love again.  I promised him I would keep living.  I promised  him I would move on.  I am keeping my promises.  New memories are on the horizon.  Old memories will abide within my heart and spirit until I take my last breath.  No comparison’s needed just loving acceptance that this is life and in life we face death and in death we find new beginnings.  That is how we live and that is how we love.  No endings just new beginnings.  Life is a sweet, precious gift and it is time to live it to it’s fullest.  Letting the past go and turning all that love to myself and out into the world.  What more could a woman ask for? It’s all about the love. It lives on no matter how it shows up.

 

 

 

Does love always win?

love

I use to believe that love always wins but I have been shown that this is not always the case or is it?

You can love someone deeply and truly and if they aren’t willing or ready for that love it can and will be rejected.  That rejection hurts so deeply and there is nothing you can do to change it, at that point you can only love from afar.  That leaves you hurt and wanting.

Somehow you lose a part of yourself, you also seem to lose your strength in your beliefs as well as part of your dignity.  Oh, you eventually get them back but they come back different and they once again show you a part of yourself that you didn’t see before.

It can make you question your own sanity and it helps you find out what you are made of. Can you move forward?  Will you stay stuck, yearning, hoping that “someday” they will wake up and see what they have lost or rejected?

Why is it so important for them to know what they have lost? Shouldn’t we be focusing instead on what we gained from the experience?  Why do we as humans have to be validated, especially where love is concerned? Isn’t love something we are suppose to give freely without an expectation of a return?

In our society we associate passion, sex, giving, understanding with love.  When they are not reciprocated we beat ourselves up.  We blame ourselves.  There must be something wrong with me, why am  I so unlovable? We always bring it back to us being unlovable or somehow unworthy.

We just don’t stop long enough to realize that it isn’t always about you.  There are times when rather than beating yourself up you need to realize it is more about meeting others where they are at, at this moment in time.  What has happened in their lives that they can’t accept love? What fears do they carry within around love? Do they worry that they too are unlovable?  Do they feel unworthy? Have they been told they are hard to love?  Have they carried the belief that they don’t know how to love or that they aren’t worthy of true love?

Sometimes it isn’t about you.  Sometimes it is about them. Sometimes it is about both of you. Sometimes you can identify the why’s but there are many times you can’t or don’t get the opportunity to find out. What if you both believe the same things about love? What if you both feel unworthy? Unlovable? Then there are large hurdles that need to be faced and if both are not willing to face them then nothing will change.  Sometimes you have to feel the hurt and pain, pick yourself up, put your dignity back in place and walk away.  You walk away knowing you loved wholly and truly.  You gave it your all.  You may not have done it in a way you are proud of but you followed your heart.  You did what you felt was right at the time.  It just wasn’t what they needed or wanted at this moment in time. You can’t force them to need love or offer love in return.  No matter the outcome you both walk away changed forever.  You will never be the same and neither will they.

So back to my opening statement “I use to believe that love always wins but I have been shown that this is not always the case or is it?”

Oftentimes, I will start writing with no idea where it is going.  This was the case this morning.  I started out writing about my upcoming trip and ended up writing about love.  Many times it is me processing beliefs, perspectives or whatever other feelings pop up.  This morning I started with the statement that “I use to believe that love always wins but I have been shown that this is not always the case.”  I kept writing.  I got to this point and the realization came that indeed love does always win even when it feels like it has lost.

You see you walk away changed.  You walk away knowing yourself better.  You walk away loving yourself just a little bit more gently.  You walk away knowing that there is still love in the world.  You walk away with soul growth regardless of what the pain in your heart feels like.  You walk away a new person.  You move on and you continue to carry the love you felt but now you also know that you can love yourself too and that is a beautiful way of being.

Indeed, Love does always win!

 

 

The Choice

Do you ever have so much going through your head that you just don’t know where to start or what to think about first?  That is me right now.  I go from pure fear to complete and unhindered joy in a matter of milliseconds.  This has been going on since Christmas.  One moment I am frozen in fear and the next my heart soars beyond your wildest imagination.

Let me go back a bit.  My son, Jeremy, is a pretty awesome young man and so are his friends.  Most of his friends call me “mom,” something I feel is a true blessing in my life.  I cherish each and every one of them.  They light up my world on a regular basis and the blessings they bestow on me are more than I can ever give back.

However, Jeremy is not my only son.  I have three older sons from my first marriage.  The story isn’t pretty, actually it is pretty ugly from my point of view but it is done and I can’t go back and change all that has happened.  The pain surrounding all of this is horrendous.  We have survived.  Not without scars and pain but nonetheless we have survived.

I did not receive the blessing of raising my three oldest sons.  In fact, for the most part they are not an integral part of my life.  I have prayed every day that “someday” these relationships will be healed and we can build strong, healthy relationships.  I have held onto that thought for many years, even when believing and hoping for it caused extreme pain.  They are all men now, with families of their own.  There has never been a day that they were not in my thoughts.  There has never been a day that I did not hold them tightly in my heart.  There has never been a day that I did not love them and want them in my life.  There have been days of utter despair.  There have been holidays that I would just rather forget exist because they were not a part of my life.  Yet, I kept putting one foot in front of the other, holding onto hope.

My son, Jeremy, has known about his brothers every day of his life.  He has lived with a mother who faces her pain daily.  He has seen the hurt and yet he has also felt the love.  I am sure in some ways he has also had to deal with his own pain regarding this whole situation because he knows he has three brothers and yet they are not a part of his life.  He lives as an only child.  I believe in many ways this is why his friends are so very important to him.  They give him that sense of belonging that he doesn’t have with his own siblings.

I am not telling you all of this for sympathy.  It is to explain where the fear and joy come from that I spoke of earlier.  If you don’t have a bit of background you can’t truly understand the magnitude of what is happening this week.

From my three oldest sons I have 7 grandchildren.  Out of those 7 grandchildren I have met 2.  I have been gifted a beautiful relationship with my two granddaughters and their mother.  This is something that I cherish more than words can possibly describe.  They have been a bright shining light in my life now for close to eight years.  They live in Minnesota so I do not get to see them often enough but I value every single moment I get to spend with them, talk to them or even see their beautiful faces in pictures.

My second son lives in Florida.  He has my first born grandchild (my grandson) and a daughter.  His wife is a friend on my facebook so I have gotten to watch them grow up through the pictures she posts.  I have never met them.  My grandson will be 11 next month.  I have been told that he was born on my birthday, how awesome is that?

I have sporadic interaction with my second son.  There will be times when all of a sudden I get a phone call telling me he is in California and let’s have dinner.  There are times I will get a text just to check in.  When my husband died he was the only one to pick the phone up and tell me how sorry he was.  He had met my husband a couple of times and they truly liked each other.

Let me be very clear here, I am thankful for every single moment I have communication with him in any form!  I adore him.  He is my son.  I love him more than words can say. I am thankful and am blessed whenever he chooses to be in my world.  It is something I long for more of but am happy just to know that there is a line of communication, any communication.

Back to the pictures my daughter in law posts.  Several months back she posted pictures of my grandson playing hockey.  Just about anyone who knows me knows that my all time favorite sport is hockey.  If you didn’t know that you do now.  I love it! My favorite team is the L.A. Kings but I will watch any hockey, any time and be happy.  I just love it.  Anyway, the pictures of my grandson playing hockey made me stop in my tracks.  I looked at Jeremy and said “look at your nephew!”

I told him how sad it made me that my grandson was playing my favorite game and I would never get to see it happen.  I actually stood there and cried for a moment. I work hard to acknowledge the pains of life, feel them and then let them go.  Sometimes it is easier than others.  In this instance I just carried a dream for a few moments and then decided it would probably never happen so I didn’t need to focus on what I couldn’t have, instead I chose to love the pictures and the little boy in them.

Several months later I was facing my least favorite holiday, Christmas.  With the history above I am sure you can kind of understand why Christmas is my least favorite holiday and this year was going to be harder than usual because it was going to be the first one without my husband. Another difficult hurdle to get over.  I just wasn’t looking forward to it.  I kept looking for anything I could be thankful for just to get me through.  I was thankful that I was going to get to spend the day with mom and brother as well as a couple of my nephews and of course with my son.  They were going to get me through and I was going to find a way to smile.

I didn’t really need to stress over it.  Several things happened this holiday that have literally and figuratively changed the course of my life.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention again the lost love that I found a day or two before Christmas.  He brought hope, dreams and made me feel great even if it wasn’t what it seemed it would be at the time.

More importantly, the most amazing thing happened this Christmas.  Jeremy apparently paid great attention to my words about my grandson playing hockey.  Come Christmas eve he was driving me crazy to open my gift.  I refused.  I would wait until Christmas morning.  I did.  He woke me up early.  Handed me my gift and told me to open it.

When I opened it there was a card.  In the card were all of my son’s friends names that call me “mom” as well as my son’s name.  Inside the card there was a round trip ticket to Florida.  I didn’t understand.  I asked Jeremy “What’s in Florida?”  I will never forget his words “You are going to watch your grandson play hockey.” To say that I was overwhelmed is the understatement of the century.  I just couldn’t imagine that this was really going to happen.  I had longed and wished for it so many times but I never dreamed it would happen.  All I could do was sit and cry.

All of these young men and women had pitched in to make this happen.  Jeremy had called his brother to find out if it was alright and he said YES!  There are so many beautiful things in this that finding the words to them is overwhelming.  It still makes me cry.  The absolute unhindered, selfless love that went into all of this just fills me from head to toe in ways that I just can’t describe.

The last few months Jeremy has asked me several times if I am excited.  I just keep trying to digest it all, seriously.  Well here we are.  In 3 days I will be getting on an airplane (first time in about 16 years) and flying to Florida.  I will get off of that plane and get to meet my grandson and granddaughter for the first time.  I will also get to watch my grandson play hockey.

So back to the beginning, on the one hand this brings me a deep, all encompassing fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of being human.  Yet in a millisecond that complete fear turns into complete and unhindered joy!  My heart soars with hope of what could be, what it will feel like to hug my son, daughter in law and my beautiful grandchildren.  Pure joy sings loudly when I think of getting to spend several days with them.  Fear and joy are two extremes that seem to be a large part of my life lately, yet somehow, the joy continues to win.  Somehow this journey we call life is both bittersweet and sweet at the same time.  Joy, it is something we all need to get more comfortable with feeling and let it overcome the fears we face in our human lives.  Joy is what Spirit brings when we allow the love to flow through us.  I choose joy.

 

 

 

How to compete with a dead man…

Let’s start by me recognizing that I live in the U.S. and in this country everything is a competition.  We have very competitive sports all year long.  We compete with each other to be the best in everything.  It makes no difference if it is at our jobs, homes, or recreational activities we want to be and have the best of everything and we compete with each other to achieve this goal.  We are a race of competitors.  The saying goes “second place is the first loser.”  The mentality seems to be to win at all costs.  All one has to do is watch an election race in our country and you can see to what extent one will go to, to win.

I have been amazed at just how much this mentality leaks into all aspects of our lives.  I am a recent widow.  My husband, Mike, crossed over in May 2015.  I have been a widow for 9 months now.  I am still trying to find my footing in this area. I have been single, I have been divorced but until 9 months ago I had never been a widow.  It is nothing like anything I have ever been through before.

When you are single you tend to refer to someone as your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend and you don’t give it much thought.  When you are divorced you generally do not want to discuss your ex, unless you have to, and then you do so with measured words for fear that if you really speak your mind you could create chaos in your life, your kids lives or even with extended families.  After all if you have children you more than likely have to deal with your ex-in-laws since they are your children’s grandparents.  But when you are a widow you do not have these issues.

Your spouse has died.  In my case my husband.  He was still my best friend when he died.  He was still my son’s father when he died.  He was still my partner in crime, love, laughter, all of it.  Nothing is ever absolutely perfect in any relationship but when your spouse dies on you they are still a good part of your life.  There are no negatives, everything is forgiven if not forgotten.  My point in saying this is that as a newly widowed woman I haven’t learned the new terminology.  I haven’t figured out how to not talk about my husband.  He was my world for so long and for much of that it was good.  It isn’t like when you get divorced or break up.  You tend to avoid talking about the ex.  But when they die it feels like it is impossible not to talk about them when someone asks you “so what has been going on in your life?”  Your point of reference is to a memory now.  You no longer have a tangible being to love, to hate, to be angry at or to avoid talking about.  Now all you have are memories.

For me, my memories were mostly good.  I knew love.  Mike was a man that accepted me just as I was.  He didn’t try to change me into someone he wanted me to be, instead he loved me the way I was.  He was proud of who I was and he was proud that I was his wife.  I know this because he told me often, almost daily, and he meant it.  “You know I fell in love with you because you cry over the littlest thing, right?” or “You know I love you because you always speak your mind even when you know others are going to disagree.”  He always had a reason on why he loved me.  But the bottom line is that he is no longer here and I am left behind to pick up the pieces of this life.  I am to young to not move on and besides that the only promise he made me make was that I would move on and live life.  I wouldn’t give up.  This included loving again.

But here is the thing.  The wall I keep running up against.  The first time it was said it blew my mind.  Now it takes me back and it takes my breath away.  That thing is when someone point blank asks the question “How do you compete with a dead man?”

The first time I was asked this question I tried to explain that there is no competition.  You build your own foundation and make your own magick happen.  The second time I was asked this question I was dumbfounded.  You see, I have several twenty something people around me all the time.  My sons friends. They all range from 20 to 30 years old.  If you ask them this question they all say “You don’t, you just move on.”  But when it comes to people in the 50+ age group they all want to know how to compete with a dead man.

Here is my answer:  You don’t!  You love the woman in front of you for the person she is.  You become her friend.  You become her everything.  You lend an ear when she needs to cry.  You listen to her when she talks.  You touch her when she needs to be touched.  You do everything you would in any other relationship.  You build your foundation.  I can promise you that she needs you to do these things more than anything else.  She isn’t constantly comparing you to the man who is no longer here.  He is gone, she knows this and he isn’t ever coming back.  She lives with his memory but that is all she has left is a memory.  A memory is not a tangible being to hold her at night when her world is dark.

We all have memories of lost loved ones.  We can all identify with the pain of loss.  When it is anyone else, your mom, dad, grandparents you reach out and you do all you can to show how much you care.  When it is a spouse it is no different.  That need is still there and very deep.  It is not a competition it is compassion.  If you find yourself falling in love with someone that has lost a spouse know that they need you to reach for them, not run from them.  They need you to know that they want and need your love and that there is enough room in their heart to love you and hold the memory of what use to be.  As time goes on and you show her that you are not going to cut and run her memories will start to fade.  They always do.  The thing is until you build that trust and she knows you will catch her when she falls she is going to hold onto the only things that get her through her day and that is her memories.  The memories of being loved, touched, understood.

Don’t misunderstand what I am saying.  You are not a replacement.  You will never replace what was there instead you are the healing her heart needs.  You are the person she is reaching for and giving her love to.  She will love you for you and for what you have together.  Not as a replacement but rather as a new here and now, life moves on and we all move forward, in this instance we move forward together.

I was once told that grief is love with nowhere to go.  I believe this.  You grieve because that person, regardless of who it is, is no longer there to share the love your heart has to give.  She is giving you the love in her heart.  She is giving you all that she is and in return she only asks that you be gentle with her and give her the love you have in your heart.  I promise it is worth the effort.  You will see her bloom like a rose blooms in a garden.  You will fill her heart with joy if only you are just you and love her just as she is.  No competition.  No comparisons.  No replacements.  Just you and her.  You will be amazed at the love that comes forth and your life will forever be changed.  So just don’t!  Don’t compete with a dead man.  Just be YOU because if she has chosen you then you are all she feels she needs.

Now go love and think about how you compete and what you are competing for.

 

 

 

This thing called life…

Let me start by saying I walk a shamanic path.  I have been following a pagan path for over twenty years and a few years ago everything shifted.  I was called out by the powers that be and in turn my world shifted along with how I do things.  It isn’t that there is such a large stretch to go from one path to the other but it seems that there is a large group of people that just have an issue with the word shaman.  So here I am following my shamanic path, if you don’t like it, oh well, it is what it is but ultimately it works for me on more levels than you can imagine.

With that out of the way, this last year has been a rough, heartbreaking, liberating, growing, in your face type of year for me.  It started with my husband going through chemo and fighting cancer, then losing the battle (do you really lose a battle or do you just move onto something better?) and me walking him over to the other side.

I am blessed because that is my greatest calling on this path, walking others over to the other side. It just happened one day and here I am, showing up and doing this whether I wanted to or not.  I think of it as a deep, abiding gift that Spirit bestows on me.  How could I not?  I mean, seriously, holding someone’s hand, hearing their final messages for their loved one’s, telling them how very loved they are, seeing them walk through that gate, knowing that their soul just went to pure love, how could that not be considered a gift? Believe me it is heart wrenching and beautiful all at once.  Especially when it is someone you truly love.

Onto today.  A couple of months ago I found an old love.  He tore my heart out and rocked my world in ways that I never thought possible.  It was a gift.  How can so much pain be a gift?  It was a gift because his actions forced me to grieve.  When Mike died I just didn’t.  I had to be strong for everyone around me.  I had to be strong to just get through my days.  Don’t get me wrong, I cried, a lot!  But I didn’t really grieve all that I had lost.  My best friend, my way of life, his laughter, his smile, all of the things that just made him, him and us, us.  I just didn’t.

Here I am 7 months later and I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The pain is beyond words.  I don’t want to get out of bed.  I don’t want to eat.  Hell, I am not even sure I want to live anymore.  All because one person walked in and made me dream again.  One person made me laugh again.  One person brought me hope that somewhere out in this world there was still love.  Then that one person threw it all away. It opened all of my wounds up, the loss of my sons, my daughter, so many that I have loved and lost, my husband, what I perceived as my life. It hurt like nothing I have ever experienced before.  I do not think that I have ever cried as much as I cried those three weeks.  I don’t think I have known such pain, ever.

Grieving is not for sissy’s!  Real grief doesn’t just go away.  You just learn to live with it.  You learn to befriend it and find ways that you can walk with it rather than through it.  I learned this while grieving for my husband, the old love, the life I no longer have and the life I thought I would have.  Promises broken.  Grief shows up.  Life stops for a moment and then it starts to move again.

One day I woke up and had this all engulfing vision of me leaving.  Being who I am my first thought was “I don’t ever run so why would I run?” But that wasn’t it. Each day that all engulfing vision filled my soul, over and over again.  It just wouldn’t go away.  I could see it as clearly as I see my hands typing these words. I did what I always do, I took it to Spirit.  All was confirmed.  I was to leave, hit the road jack and don’t ya come back.  A new adventure!

That has been a couple of months or so now and I can’t say that I don’t waiver or that I don’t doubt.  I wake up some mornings and think “Oh my Goddess what the hell am I doing?  I am leaving everything and everyone I love behind to get into my car and just drive.  No destination, no real plans.  Just go!?”

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. She so wisely pointed out that I was not leaving everyone I love behind but rather going to see other people I love and share some of my time with them.  I can’t tell you how comforting that thought was and still is.

On the mornings that I wake up with doubt I sit with it.  I try to understand why the doubt is there.  This morning I realized that part of this is in the “letting go” of what I thought and hoped my life would be.  The other part is just me being human and as another friend pointed out this morning it is also “ego” wanting to stay in it’s comfort zone.

We get so wrapped up in our lives.  We have our families, our children, our friends.  We never want to lose any of them.  We hold onto our lives out of fear that we may lose someone or something.  We get stuck in our own little worlds.  We never want anything to change.  Our jobs are secure so we do the same things day in and day out and we call it living.  I know I did.  When Mike was still alive our lives were filled with love, laughter and a bit of normalcy.  Then he died and nothing felt right anymore.  We moved to a new house.  We have done everything we can to find “normal” again.  Then I realized that normal is not where I need to be.

I need to expand.  I need my heart to feel the mountains, oceans, trees, the dirt under my feet and the road under my wheels. I need those moments that take my breath away, like when I went to Oregon and on the drive there I saw the wonder of nature and Spirit. I need to see people that I love and care for, nurture those friendships and love them in ways I can’t from afar.  Hug them. laugh with them and just be.  I need to let Spirit guide me fully and in all things just as I have for what feels like forever.

This is no longer a “want” it is a deep seeded “need.”  It is a demand from Spirit to learn to be me again and to let life happen on it’s own terms.  I will find me in ways that I didn’t know existed.  I will open myself up more than I dreamed possible.  These are the things I am shown.  Yet, I am human and this thing we call life says that I am crazy and doubt seeps in.  I refuse to let it take control.  So here I go on an adventure that there is no destination to.  Here I go trusting that all will be exactly what it is suppose to be and I will be led to be exactly where I am suppose to be at the right moment.  Here I go learning to live, love, and laugh again.  Here I go living this thing we call life.

In a few months life is changing and I am embracing it to the fullest!  I just have to get the “normal” stuff taken care of first.  In the mean time I am loving those that are here and being me each moment of each day.  This thing called life is such a remarkable journey, don’t you think?