Tag Archives: death

Structured rambling

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If the past few weeks has taught me only one thing, it is that time waits for no one.   I have some serious goals for myself, including getting the book I have been writing for years, done!     So I am setting structure for myself.  I will be painting, walking, writing each day.

I have always steered clear of structure.   I guess I think if I don’t do it, I am a free agent and no one is telling me what to do.   But doh!   What if this is good for me?  And I know it is, so get out of your own head and make it happen!!!  (me to self)

Thoughts today have been on my mom.   Missing her.   Her Siberian Irises are in full bloom, as well as the Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart, and more.      I talk to her when I am outside because that is where she spent the majority of time when she was here.

As true with any loss, if only we could have “one more” everything.    I was fortunate to have her for so long, but it wasn’t long enough.  And then a friend and I were walking our dogs and talking about how difficult it is when a parent dies.   It really is so hard.   The day after my mother died I woke up and the world was a different place for me.  There is no other way to describe it.  I felt vulnerable, because my biggest protector in life was no longer here.  My girlfriend described it this way.    When you have your family, your parents, it is like you have this safe house with loved ones.  When a parent dies it is like the roof is blown off.     I nodded.   Vulnerability.

Those closest to me know how difficult the first year has been without her.   Winter was hell.   Also as true with loss is the painful reality that we feel on the first birthday, holiday, without them.   The “firsts” of everything hurts.   Sometimes I feel her essence and I am very grateful for this.   Until you lose a parent, you will not fully grasp how hard it is.   The day we lose my father will be a frightening day for me for several reasons.   I pray it isn’t soon, but I also pray he will not suffer with this “Lewy Body Dementia” shit.    But I know too much on it.

I have been thinking about life.   You are raised, schooled, taught, and then you start your own life.   You find a spouse, or significant others, and  most will have their own families, children, and then grandchildren, etc.    With this life you are constantly growing, learning, because there is no quicker way to learn than to teach something!   I wasn’t able to have children.  So my life has been different, but not bad.    I believe in “What’s meant to be will be”.   Children for me, was not meant to be.   Have long since accepted that.   But I have been active in my nephew and nieces life and always will be.  They bring me much joy, they are entertaining, they are perfectly imperfect beings.  I just love them.    But they are busy with their own lives.    As they should be!

A lot of my friends are single.   A lot of my friends are childless.  Many of us have furry kids.   Lilly brings me much joy.    It wasn’t that long ago I had two dogs and three cats.  I used to say “Every single self employed artist needs five animals!”    But truly, they were so important to me, and I was fortunate to have them, and had friends and my mom to help me here.   My animals probably spent equal time with my mom when I travel taught.    It was funny to see the “loyalty” shift back and forth.

With the exception of my australian shepherd “Brody”, all others were rescues.   And it’s interesting when you rescue an animal, or so you think, and then you realize that they rescued YOU!!   I had to put my cat Zoe down because she was sick and I didn’t have the money to get her treated.  It has tortured me.   I feel like I failed her, and while she lived 14-15 years, my other two cats were 19 when they died.   Anyway, I prayed daily for them all to stay healthy (I had adopted them when I was in a relationship and we lived together).    Little did I know Brody would outlive him!

Rambling, and that’s okay.    Doesn’t matter if you are single, married, straight, gay, white, black, I hope you do have loved ones in your life.  I hope you have experienced this.   I believe there is only a couple things we take when you die… love and love!    I hope when it is my turn, I will take with me much love.   Peace to all reading this.      xx

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And once again, the pendulum swings

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May has proven to be a difficult month for me.  In between praying for death with an abscess tooth, I have lost two women who were both significant in my life.

First, a woman who was like a second mom to me.  I met her at 19 years of age.  I would go to her, numerous and various times throughout my life when battered by the world and events.     She would help me make sense of it.    When in my early 20s tragedy struck when my brother’s girlfriend was in an automobile accident, killing both her (18) an her 14 years old cousin.)  I went to grief counseling, I went and talked to a couple pastors, none offered me the acceptance that came until I spoke to Judy.   I will never forget her words, that just helped me through this difficult time.  “What makes you think God only wants to be surrounded with old souls?”   I think of this statement whenever I hear someone young has died.

Judy was an intelligent woman who kept up on world affairs.    She loved her family, her partner, her friends, and I was so fortunate to be one of them.    When she smiled, the world smiled, it was such a nice scene.  I hope I always remember her smile.   She encouraged me, time and time again, and guided me (when asked) throughout my life.    I remember learning after stopping by to see her, that she had metastatic breast cancer.  I stuck pretty close to her after that.   Weekly contact, visits when I could.   I am so grateful that I did this, now.   I wanted to help her, as she has helped me throughout my life.  She was wise, patient, and incredibly kind.  She was so good to me, and I miss her horribly.  I can’t think of her without tears running down my face.  I know time will help me learn how to live and accept life without her, and she always told me she would always be there for me, even when I couldn’t see or hear her.  How blessed I was to have her on my side.

This morning I learned that my 90 year old mentor and friend, Barbara passed away.   It really hasn’t fully sunken in yet.    You know that protective denial we are sometimes gifted with when the pain is more than we can bear?   Barbara was an amazing artist, worked in several mediums.   She had traveled a lot, had seen so much in her long life.  I loved hearing her stories.  She was always so generous with sharing them.  The small town we live in will undeniably feel this loss, a community will grieve together.

Having only high school art class as education, I learned so much from Barbara.   She had a keen eye, an eye that instantly told me where my artwork needed work.    She was so creative, always painting for charities, for fund raisers for her beloved church, and writing articles for the Historians, or papers.    She had presence.   When she would attend my art classes, my students would look at what I did, then they would look over to Barbara to see what she did!   It was comical.   “When are we going to learn what Barbara just painted?”     I liked to jokingly take credit for all her artistic abilities and talent, I am smiling recalling this.   She taught me, and many of my students so much.

It’s been tradition for over a decade now that we would have a private ornament class, she, her niece, and myself.     The last time was in October of last year and I remember when her niece and i were looking at Barbara’s finished ornaments and realizing how much she had lost.  She was seeing things differently, forgetting, and i know that moment when we both saw this, we both started mourning for her then.   It is so sad to see someone you love with failing health.  It was hard to look at her last ornaments and not grab them to fix them.

I could go on and on about both of these beautiful women.   And I will in separate writing.    I am going to be 58 years old this year, this is the time when “losing people” typically begins.  It’s a cold fact of life, but it doesn’t make it any easier.    When I learned of Barbara’s passing I wanted to call my mom, she passed last year, and then I thought i needed to call Judy, who just passed two weeks ago.  My life as I know it, and the luxury of having these quality women in my life has changed with both their passings.  You always think you have more time…  at least I did.

So today, I just want to talk about these losses.   To suggest to you to reach out to those you love, even if for a brief phone call or visit.   Time waits for no one, and while both of these women lived much longer lives than others i have lost and grieved for, their presence, their smiles, their strengths and weaknesses will be forever present in my heart.    I know I am a better person for having known both of these women, and I know I am a better artist for having studied with Barbara for several decades.  How fortunate I was, how fortunate I am that I will take all they gave to me with me as I face the future without them.   Right now it seems fairly dark, but I know, this too shall pass, and the many gifts they taught and gave me, I will try to give to others.

As the rain falls outside my window, it matches my emotions.   Today is a hard day, May has been a tough month, and life is so short.    The pendulum of life and death has hit hard this month.   And this, too shall pass.

 

Saying goodbye

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Today I asked for prayers for strength and courage from friends, and drove to the nursing home where a friend is in liver failure.  Our friendship started just shy of 40 years ago.   As I walked to the door of the place, my legs felt wobbly, rubbery, and I had to stop a couple of times to breathe, to pray.    The place appeared like a madhouse to me, but that is coming from someone who feels other peoples feelings, energies, (Yes, I am crazy to most).  I felt like I was in a boxing rink until I arrived at her door.   Had to turn my head when I saw her, it had been 2 weeks since I had seen her, and she has declined greatly.    I sat on her bed, and grabbed her hand.   The first thing I did was cry, and tell her I loved her.   I am not beating myself up for this.    I have no doubt that she knows she is dying, and her love is and has been unconditional.   Her love has been a true gift for me in various times of my life when I felt like I didn’t want to, or could go further, and she pulled, sometimes dragged me through it.

As I sat there, I smiled at her many times, said some things, first of all, thanking her for everything she has done for me.  There were times when she was right there with me, so weak I had to lean in to hear what she was saying, and while I couldn’t interpret all, I did hear her say “love, love, love, love you!”    I told her she was “my Edie”, a woman her senior, that mentored her throughout her life, with love and incredible grace, the same way she had me.  She shook her head up and down.   I squeezed her hand.

The longer I was there I realized the less I needed to say.    All I needed to do was sit with her, hold her hand.   She was easily confused, organs shutting down and morphine play a part of that.  What do you say to someone who is at the end of their life?

Flashback to my kid sisters bedside four days before she passed, 16 years ago now. at the age of 38.   She had told our older sister who was there caregiving that I had to be serious, not my wise cracking self.    That wasn’t easy.  It meant sitting with enormous pain i was feeling in my heart, or not distracting from her skeletal cancer ridden body and knowing this would be the last face to face conversation I would have with my kid sister.   I selfishly said to her “I hope I have been a good sister to you”.    She turned her head, telling me NOPE, we aren’t going there.   And then it became clear to me.   None of this scenerio was about me.  It was about her.  And so started the next level of understanding within myself, the understanding that while I sat holding my sisters hand, my heart bleeding, right then, right there, this moment was about her.     I look back and shake my head, thinking, how could I have been so far off target?  You live, you learn, and with every goodbye, you learn.

I am reminded that everyone deals with death differently.    NO ONE escapes it.   When you are there with them at the end, you can’t live the life you’ve had with them over, you can’t make things better, or take away their physical or emotional pain, or even your own.   But bearing that pain, sitting with them, sometimes in silence as they rest, or stare off elsewhere, is really a wonderful gift that we can give them.    For the moments where they are lucid, that we will hold onto for probably our lifetime, and the moments in between where you want to be somewhere, anywhere else, but here, now.  It is not an easy thing to do, and it doesn’t get easier.

It is okay to cry, to show emotion, it is okay to tell them you are going to miss them, or that you don’t know how you will live without them, but THEN you tell them, you will find a way, and you give them permission to let go, you convince them, in your own fragile emotional state, that you will be okay.  Why?   Because this time isn’t about you, or me.    This time is all about the person whose life is ending.    The future without them, your own personal hell will begin soon enough.   The journey of grief is a hard trek.  But it is also unescapable.

This friend experienced a near death experience many moons ago when she was in Maine on her summer excursions.  Years of hers and her partners life was spent in a camping ground with others, right alongside York Beach.   This is what they loved, this is where they found peace, solace, this is where they visited with and acquired many good close friends.     She had emergency surgery, and when she came out of this, with a temporary colostomy bag, she just kept telling everyone close to her “I love you, I love you, if we don’t see each other for 20 years and something happens to me, please don’t ever worry about it, it is ALL about LOVE”.      And she was all about love.  She learned in that horrible time, when her family and friends were holding their breaths in fear of losing her, that life, and where we go from here is all about LOVE.

We have had many talks on this subject.   My favorite, was a three way conversation in which she and I both said “you go from believing, or wanting to believe, to knowing”.     We were the lucky ones, as we got the message.   Nothing else in life will ever compare or bring you greater joy, or greatest loss, than love.  Both her and I have had experiences that gifted us from “wanting to believe” to “knowing”.  I know that when you die, it isn’t over.   That’s why she knew to forgive, and she forgave me several times.  We are all but human.  Perfection should not be expected of humans, or it is is, then right then and there we haven’t yet accepted that we are perfectly imperfect, all humans are perfectly imperfect.   The sooner we accept this about ourselves, regardless of what anyone else has to say about our “errs or lessons” the sooner we will find peace…   And what is the difference between an error and a lesson?    Simple… you learn from the experience.  Sometimes you learn at a different pace than those around you, or they, you.

Hope changes.  The most we can ask for when someone is dying is that they be comfortable, at peace.   Words of love can be said through your touch, your presence.   There is sometimes nothing you can do or say, and when your heart is up in your throat and the tears are falling down your cheeks onto their hand, their arm, that is okay, too.     But then you get strong again, and you remind yourself that this is not yet about you (if ever).  This is all about them.

I remember reading the book “Final Gifts”.  I have since bought and given that book out probably a dozen times or more, to friends.  It’s written by hospice workers, who share what is “normal” in the dying process.   And I use that word loosely.     There are phenomenas that have happened, over and over again.    They’re seeing people who have previously passed.   Who are we to say that person isn’t there for them in their transition?   Some will say “drugs, delusions”, and yet it happens to many, many, many.

Tonight my heart hurts, and the past couple days I have cried many tears, and know there is a river or more coming, but I also feel full of love, I feel her love, as I sat with her.    The first time I pick up the phone to call her, or email her, or stop by her house, it’s going to hurt like a son–of-a-bitch, it’s unescapable.     I have a cousin who works in the field of mental health, she and I have had some heart to heart interesting conversations.  One day she said to me “I try to talk to the patients about just sitting with their feelings”.   That is quite deep and NOT easily mastered.   But if we can sit, watching whatever horrors unfold (every person has their own plethora of fear), and just be present, we are sitting in grace.

The ability to sit in your pain, to put on a brave face and give your loved one permission to leave when our heart doesn’t want nor knows how to say goodbye, when you can do this, I believe, you are experiencing and giving the highest level of love.    You don’t want them to leave, you see their pain or discomfort and by the end of their  passing you are grateful that they are out of pain, that they are at peace.    Your prayers go from that of and including ALL five phases of grief (Elisabeth Kubler Ross), to please, take them soon.  You want their pain over for them, even though that means for yourself, great loss and pain.   This is LOVE!  You are sending them off in love.

I have found in life, when I am able to sit with my greatest fears, sometimes watching them unfold before my eyes, the reality is not nearly as bad as living in fear.    This journey from birth to death to whatever you do or don’t believe, is doable with LOVE.  And if you read the final words of men of “great success”, in the end a hospital bed is just a hospital bed, whether it cost $10 or $10k.

Another friend visited.  It was hard for her to see her friend this way.   She said “I will pray for a miracle.”  I said “she wouldn’t want that, because she knows where she is going, and at the end of all this horrible (and it is hell) illness, she will return to LOVE.  And that is all they will take with them when they leave.

Obviously, this blog isn’t for everyone, and obviously not everyone “believes” or “knows” what I do, or visa versa.  It doesn’t matter what your religion or NOT.   It doesn’t matter your Faith or NOT.   It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor.  It doesn’t matter your skin color.  Somehow, someway, it is LOVE that will get you through it, and you’ve done your very best to send your loved one off with LOVE.    “It’s all about love!” she said repeatedly, when she survived her near death experience.

One more note, I have learned that when someone you love passes, the love doesn’t stop.  It grows, miraculously.   It grows with new appreciations of what you “didn’t know then”, through missing, and more.     Their life end, here, is a painful event for us, it’s a hard chapter in our own book of life.   But it’s inevitable.     Kindness matters.  Love matters.   Helping another matters.     Mother Theresa  “I have found a paradox in love, if I love until it hurts, then there is no more hurt, only more love”. 

 

 

Experience, Strength and Hope

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The past couple of weeks has gifted me with answers to a couple incidents in which I pointed fingers to another.  What was that gift?  “For every finger you point, there is three pointing back at yourself!”     Wow!   Basics of Life 101!

Today marks a very sad occasion in my life.  16 years ago my sweet kid sister took her last breath on earth.   At 38 her life was plucked out from under her with the nasty, insidious disease of cancer.    Darlene was an old soul, a kind soul, she worked hard and played hard.   I think back on her life and I am so grateful that she lived her short life, well.  She really did.

Those close to me know I mention this every year, and at least weekly I mention the cancers in my family, or the losses I’ve experienced.   It isn’t “to dwell”.  It is that grief has been the hardest walk I have ever been through in my life.   Last night I said “goodbyes” to an online friend who I believe is in final stages of dying from cancer.   It wasn’t easy, but I did it.  And now I am offering prayers for her, that this please be over for her soon.  Too much suffering.

I mention loss and cancer because both are a big part of my life.   Every day, it doesn’t matter how many years it’s been, I have to make choices to live my life the best I can, with realities that aren’t easy, not in the least.    I’m not “stuck” in grief.   Part of my daily choices are to live my life to my best, accepting my own shortcomings and issues, and there are many!   Some day I succeed, other days I have a hard time getting out of my own way, but because of what I have been through with family and loved ones, I try to make my life and each day purposeful, I do this for those who I have lost and no longer have that opportunity.  I do this because they have taught me to appreciate myself and my life, the earlier which is my greatest struggle.  There isn’t enough time in this day to share my struggles, nor am I into sharing them for the world to see.  I will share on some, because it’s part of healing for me, and my hope is that if my blog(s) help one other person through a crap time in their life, then my own suffering isn’t in vain.

At this age, and well over a decade of living alone, I have come a long way baby!  I will always be the person who wants to help others, I will always offer experience, strength, hope to another, always.  But what has changed is that I must do this for myself, first.    The world doesn’t need to know nor do most people care what I’ve been through in my life.   Thank god!  Otherwise I may be another “celebrity” that idiots look to for answers!   Yes, I said it.   Celebrities too often have a larger sense of self importance than the rest of us.    I’ve learned that it is important to take care of and love myself, to have self respect, but equally to know heightened self importance isn’t the authentic person that I consider myself to be, and aspire to be.    I’m reminded many times why we have two ears and one mouth!   To listen!

This week I am starting anew with some self care things, and rather than to beat myself up because I had lost my way to these, I am proud of myself that I picked up the phone to make the phone calls to help myself.  I didn’t discuss this with anyone, it was something I did for myself, something I recognized I needed.    I’m getting far too old to keep beating the shit out of myself for being human.   Will I do this perfectly?  Um, probably not!  lol.

I have been enthralled in feelings of fear for someone close to me, someone who I love.  Every essence of my being says they’re headed for trouble.    But this time, I have the experience of watching another person I love self destruct.  There is nothing joyful about it.  It is hell, first losing respect for someone, and also “waiting for the shoe to drop”.   The fact that I reached out for help for myself tells me I have learned that the only true person I can save is myself.  And if someone doesn’t care that much about themselves, no matter how much I love them, (and I do love deeply), I cannot fix or make another person love themselves.    With that said, it doesn’t mean I stop loving them.

So today, on this day, I am remembering my sister(s), her antics, her love of life.   I miss her more than words can say, but I know i always will.    I’m not a believer that “time heals”.    I don’t think it does.   I think time teaches us how to coexist with whatever it is, for me today, the loss of my kid sister.   I had to do the work, I had to walk through the barbed wire fence, and scratchy bushes of grief to get to where I can recognize when I’m in need of help, tears, other.   In the beginning, it just isn’t impossible, at least it wasn’t for me.  The waves were too often and inconsistently.   Nor am I right now, allowing the very fear I walked in losing a love to alcoholism, with another person close to me.  My job in all of this is to take care of myself (and I’m still learning HOW to do this).

I guess I could say today there has been tears, I am thankful for insight gained today, and I am grateful for where I am and who I am today.   Getting “back on” a train isn’t as hard as trying to catch it at 90 mph with insane thinking!   I am grateful.  I hurt, I feel, I have sadness, but I also have choices to help myself, I am learning!   And for me?   That’s enough right now.  I am learning.  I am also very grateful for the many friends in my life who gently remind me to be kinder to myself, and sometimes this happens when they are beating on themselves or other.   Detachment doesn’t mean I don’t love them, it means I offer prayers for them, help when asked, but I first and foremost take care of myself, first.
Love to all reading this

 

 

 

New beginnings

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The journey of grief astounds me.    How is it that you can bring your mother to dozens upon dozens of surgeries, appointments, chemotherapy over the course of 17 years, drs. appointments, xrays, emergency rooms, labs, and more and have been told on two (or three counting the last one) occasions to put her affairs in order, have done all that you humanly can do to make her plight through not 1, not 2, but FIVE cancers, and become her voice on her last day alive, be present when she takes her last breath, and STILL fall “privy” to the five stages of grief, including DENIAL?

I have mentioned on many occasions, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s work, a pioneer in the hospice movement, believing in and pushing for rights of a patients “right to know’ they were dying, and studying and talking with dying patients, coming up with the five stages of grieving, and being a woman doctor in a predominantly mans world.  No, that deserves an exclamation point!   So not only is that sentence way too lengthy, it also needs !!!!!!

This female doctor was labeled by fellow male doctors as “Dr. Death”.    Like research and development of cancers, all terminally or chronic illness, death is going to come to us all, at some point.  I remember a dream in which i woke up knowing i had been blessed with a visit beyond.    I was granted three questions.  The first one I asked was “Why are our pets lives so short?”   The answer was, in an average persons life they will have 4-9 pets, or their families had pets.   Their deaths teach us how to accept this hard fact of life, and prepare us for loved ones, and ultimately our own deaths.

I am not here to argue with anyone, I will just say that I KNOW there is more than this realm.  I have had amazing experiences that have developed my beliefs from questioning, to wondering, to KNOWING.  I am a fortunate woman.  And I seldom share these experiences because in a rare interview with 60 Minutes a couple decades ago and can be viewed on YouTube, Bob Dylan speaks of “knowing” your own greatness, your own destiny, and how vital it is to keep it to yourself because others can and will squelch not only your desires, dreams but also that inner voice, drive, purpose stripping you of all.   I’m nodding as I am typing this.    I KNOW my experiences are real, and I’m not going to allow anyone to take them from me.

I am also an empath.   What does that mean?    Well, quite frankly, I read and feel people’s energies, their emotions, at the age of 8 I had my “first” premonition that came to fruition just 12 hours later.    I don’t see dead people!  (The Sixth Sense movie) .   Recently when my mother was passing I knew it was happening long before the doctors did.  They wanted “biopsies, and more”, whether that was for expensive testing income, or if they really didn’t see it happening, I knew it was coming.     I told my siblings this before any doctor even told my mother.  I also texted my sister at the exact time they pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, arriving from an airport.  I smiled when she walked into the room moments later.  “Did you like that i knew you were here?”  I asked.    I suppose they thought I was looking out a window, I was on the opposite side of the hospital with my mother, there was a window but the curtains were closed.  In doing this, I allowed my family to “see” what I “know” on a very small basis.

There will be those who call this blog, and any other that i write or have written on death to be “morbid”, but death is as real as birth (and unfortunately,  taxes!).   Personally, I know there are worse things than death.    Obviously I have never experienced my own (which has been miraculous given the severe depressions I have survived), but I have been on the journey of grief several times.

I was just thinking about my girlfriend Janice.  Her dad was in the hospital, and her family was all there with him, he had cancer, and they were wonderfully, as a family, rallying by his side, telling him it was time to go, telling and showing him how much they loved him.  I had stopped by to bring some hot cocoas and coffee, as they had been there a long time.   Just before he passed I stepped out of his hospital room and stood outside by the door.  I knew it was coming and I felt like it was too intimate and personal for me to be in the room when it happened.,  2 minutes later my girlfriend walks out and says “he’s gone”.  I don’t believe I ever asked her if she had noticed, and I was glad I knew to step out.   For this family, who have always been welcoming to me, this was THEIR experience with their father, husband, grandfather, not mine.

My mother had a sixth sense, too.   She never explored it, because she loved Jesus Christ, and I believe was fearful of blasphemy.   My mother was a highly intelligent woman who led a life that was many times, most times, painful.    But her belief in Christ was strong, and we had many wonderful discussions on such. (again).   Regretfully I suppose, I didn’t share with her all of my many experiences, because I didn’t embrace this part of me until my early 30’s.  Let’s just say when people get close to me, and I allow them to be part of my inner workings, I have been asked on numerous occasions “Are you a witch?”     In which I always reply “A bitchy one, too!”     🙂

I have “known” since the age of 8 that I am supposed to write, write books? blogs?  letters?   I suppose.  And I have kept a blog for probably 7-10 years now, which has been primarily about me and my life experiences.   It has been a helpful healing tool through some mighty painful events and things.  I am about to (re)start my first book.    I have written on and off throughout my life, but I’ve stayed away from ever “finishing” whether it be choice, or being an “optimist” and never (before) backing up my work, and having computers die!  “Blessed are the pessimists, for they have made backups!”   One might think that it wasn’t meant to be, the timing wasn’t right, I tend to agree.  But i would be lying if I didn’t tell you I am somewhat afraid of it, I am afraid of the success, and I am afraid that it will be my final and last purpose here on this plain, so in a twisted, sorted way, I feel like when I am finished writing it, my existence here will end.  The longer I wait, the longer I will live…   LOL.    Intuition?  Premonition?  Or Fear?  Fantasy?   But I want you to notice how I put “my first book”, hoping that this will be the start of many.

I have been very fortunate in my life.   I have been guided, spiritually since a very young age, and have had amazing things happen to and for me.   I will give you a minuscule example.  Driving home one day from a painting class I had begrudgingly was taking with a friend, I “prayed” prayers of thanks for being dragged into this class by a brazen woman who “needed a ride” and in return she would pay for my class.   “I think I would like to start teaching!” I added.       The next morning I received a phone call from a school board member in my small, quaint town of 2000, asking me if I would be willing to teach painting, as part of adult continued education she was working on!     I laugh, because when these things happen, I KNOW I am right where I’m supposed to be.  I am aligned with source, god, whatever you want to call it.  Within three weeks I was teaching a painting class at our local elementary school, and that began a career that spanned 20 years, and which was some of THE best times of my and my mothers lives.  She was largely responsible for my success, she was my greatest supporter, in  MANY MANY ways.   My success was indeed hers, as well.

So now that I’ve allowed you “in” a bit, stay tuned for what may be a huge success or a major disappointment! ha!    I am writing this looking for friends who write, to join groups and blogs where other authors share their talent, hopes and dreams.   Because I believe those that the friendships that come from this are “MEANT TO BE!”

Calling all pens, pencils and keyboards!!!!  Love and peace to all who read this!

 

 

 

This too, shall pass

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I fell on the ice a few days ago.  I don’t think I broke any bones, I can brag about my bone density but I know better.     I’ve never really thought about falls.   I mean, I’m a klutz, and fall more than I want to admit.    The black and blues are all colorful, in various stages of color.   The one on my leg is this ugly yellow.     Then darker ones above that.  My leg looks like a spoiling banana!    I was lucky and am grateful that two hoods cushioned my head, so other than a sore neck, my noggan is fine.  Think I’m going to have an xray on my left wrist though.  It’s swollen and isn’t getting any better.    I wrapped it up in my elecrtic blanket the last few nights, which helped the aches and pains.    I went down quickly and right under my car door and car.     A friend had told me about his friend who fell hard the same day and it caused a detached retina in his eye! UGH.  We have a lot of ice this winter.   Grateful I wasn’t seriously hurt.

So today my dad, his girlfriend and I finished installing the sump pump.  And did some repairs on holes in the foundation.  I have a lot of work to do to clean up the cellar, and also my wool rugs and floors upstairs.  As careful as we were, there is no way around tracking mud.  So the floors and rugs will need to be cleaned too…but not today!  Today I’m going to spend some quality alone time, work on a few needlecraft projects I have going, and perhaps an art project.    What will be, will be!  And my ankle will be elevated and the opposite side wrist will be positioned comfortably, so that I can find some peace today, physically and emotionally.

I’ve had a lot going on the past few weeks, and taking time for myself is the key to get back to tranquility.   It’s been one thing after another.  Looking forward to it’s leaving my space and visiting someone else!    The day after the fall I broke a tooth in half.  So tomorrow I’m heading over the mountain to go to the dentist and will probably have the tooth extracted.  I’m really not looking forward to it.  Let’s see what the dentist thinks.   You know how things happen all at once?  Or seem to?  It isn’t so much the seriousness of the event(s) as it is totality of all, and frustration.  It will pass.  Seriously thinking of sage-ing my home tomorrow.  I’ve been saying suggested prayers to try and rid all the crap that’s been happening.    I do well on a one by one challenge, but when given multiples within short time period, not so much.

Yesterday I shared on  my dad.  Today when he was here I took pictures of his hands, he didn’t know I was doing this.   And today I was able to thank him, them, and tell them him that I loved him and appreciated all he has and does do for me.    We had a few minutes alone in my living room, resting, and he told me he knew he was on his way out.  I asked why he felt that way, or had a dr told him?  He said his memory is getting very bad, and he’s losing strength and abilities on a daily basis.   I just listened.  He spoke of his youngest daughter, my kid sister who we lost to cancer 15 years ago now.   And also of his oldest daughter, my oldest sister who we lost to cancer six years ago.    He told me how upsetting it still is when he thinks of particularly, Darlene’s life cut so short, she was young, not as young as some, but not as old as you’d want someone to be when they learn their life is almost over .   My dad and my sister were the best of buds.   They did things together, fished, camped, they had a very special and unique bond.   It was one of the hardest things I’ve experienced in life, losing my sisters, and watching my parents lose their daughters.    I was watching “Blue Bloods” the other day and there was a scene when a woman asked Erin Reagan whether it gets easier, after losing someone close to you.   She said softly, honestly “No”.  I nodded to her reply as if she was sitting in the same room with me.    Time may teach you how to coexist with the loss, but it doesn’t take the pain away, nor do I think you ever really get over it.  You just have no choice but to trudge on, forward.    If there was one thing I could change in my or my dads life, it would be that Darlene lived a long life and that we never had to know what it was like going on without her here.  But if wishes were horses, we would all ride, yes?

So as I sit in my chair resting my lame body, watching the boob tube and working on projects, I am surrounded with pictures of those I love, and two whom I’ve lost.   Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them, or miss them.   I am always grateful for the time I had them in my life.  I’m truly a better person for having known and loved them, and been gifted with their love.  What I find amazing, really, is how the love for them continues to grow.  It’s really an amazing thing.

Hope you are finding enjoyment in peace in whatever you are doing today, and if not, hang on, “this too shall pass”, and if you’re where there is cold weather and ice…. be careful!!!!

 

 

Acknowledging feelings

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A few minutes ago I read that Glen Campbell died.    Now, I was a bit young for his music, (or was so into John Denver that no one else compared!) but I remember my parents loving his music, and when I hear his music, it lifts me up, makes me perky, happy.     So when I reacted with tears to his death, I was a bit dumbfounded.  First off, I’ve been told no one can cry on Prozac.   PLEASE!    I beg to differ!  I remember being at a drive in movie with my parents seeing a movie Glen Campbell starred in.  I had a bit of a crush on him from the movie.   But why am I so emotional about his passing?  It isn’t as if I knew him.  But I have been reading on his battle with Alzheimer’s for a long time, and while I’m grateful for him that his battle is behind him, I’m trying to decipher my own emotions.

Calling Dr. Freud!!!!!!!  

My dad is older than Glen, and my mother just a year and a half behind him.  I’m sure these facts are related to my reaction.   The stories I would read on his battle with Alzheimer’s reminded me of a girlfriend who was a student of mine when her mom was whisped away for years to this disease, and later, her dad.    What was impressed upon me was how loyal and loving this woman was.  She was a role model for me which I’m afraid I fall short on, when it comes to caring for parents.  I do what I can, I really do, and I think I’m a good daughter, but my dad lives hours away, my car has 271k miles on it, and currently uninspected.   When I see my dad, I see his aging, and the pain on his face from knee problems.    It’s very hard for me to see this.  But I know I’m not original to this difficulty, nor am I alone.

And I suppose some of this has to do with accepting death, and perhaps my own.   Don’t get me wrong, while I have freedom right now from the dark and potentially dangerous thoughts of a depressed mind, I see changes in myself, too.   It’s not just my parents who are getting older!

So now I’m listening to a playlist I made of Glen Campbell’s music, I’m working on a pet portrait that looks a hell of a lot better tonight than it did last night, but I’m keenly aware that life can and does change on a dime.     Something today that may seem insufferable, is cast aside with the wind when serious illness or injury occur.     The old adage “when you have your health, you have it all!” is so true!

I’m going to honor these feelings of sadness, and acknowledge the fear of losing my parents, or another sibling, or friend, and try to steer clear of dwelling.   Life is so short, precious, and it’s easy to lose track of what really is important in our lives.  Loss, death is inevitable.  Also I’m very sad (yet happy for my neighbor) that the sale of her house closed today, and she’s on her way down South.  I’m really going to miss her….

RIP Glen Campbell, your music reminds me of my parents when they were much younger, and parents to five children and having serious illness strike my oldest sister at the young age of 6.     Prayers for his family, as they say goodbye, once again, to their husband, father, friend.

Walking through grief

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The past couple days have been rough, with migraines and frustrating bitchiness.   This morning I was allowing myself to get really bent out of shape over nothing, when I sat down and jumped on facebook.      I hope the migraine(s) are behind me, I think it’s related to barometric pressure, my head feels like it isn’t attached to my body.  Strange, and adding to the Bitch of the Year award!

As I surveyed my facebook feed, I read a post from a friend who is really a very lovely woman, a woman of faith, ridiculously talented, and kind to the core.     She posted about two children who touched her deeply today, and made her smile while she was gassing up her car.    It lightened up my mood, until close to the end where she spoke about telling the kids mother how much their kindness and friendliness meant to her, and today or all days, as her sister died early this morning of cancer.   Tears flowed down my face then.

I immediately sent her a message, offering condolences, and thanking her for her share.   My mind swept back to the very days my sisters succumbed to cancer.    I was broken, and I was angry at God for allowing this to happen.  And so began a war between he and me, for months on end.   I defied my morning praises, and no longer prayed at all.   How could he allow this to happen?

In time, I learned and accepted that death is a part of our life, and that fairness doesn’t really play a role here.  But my friend, who had just said goodbye to her sister, was talking about how good God is, and how much this experience helped her, and made her smile.   I cried as I reread her beautiful, lovely, words.    How amazing that she was at peace, or I should say, more peace than I had when my sisters took their last breaths.

I sat in silence, trying to compose myself, get my emotions into check, and while I would like to say the bitchiness melted away, it did not, but I was so moved by her share, and her eloquence, awestruck with her compassion and faith.     When she replied to my message she spoke words I understand too well, about not knowing how she will do this without her sister, her first best friend.    Her words lent clarity to me of how I felt, too.

I remember thinking how cruel it was that the birds still chirped, that life still went on, even though my sisters lives were over.   I remember people telling me “time will heal”.  I also remember being firmly (and probably belligerently) adamant that NO ONE would tell me how to grief, how to walk through this atrocity which had been handed down to my family.   Grief is a journey, a necessary journey that is so individualized.   There is no right or wrong way to grieve, though I hope I handled it with even a small portion of the grace that my friend did this morning.

At this time another friend texts me that she knew and was related to the pedestrian who was hit in Brattleboro yesterday and who died later from her injuries.    Many eyewitnesses have shared that she walked right out in front of the car, the driver was not at fault.  But that driver?  Is devastated.    I saw pics of him with his head in his hands, crying.  Of course he was.  What person wouldn’t be?    And then she shared that this person had also just lost two siblings to cancer.    I was relaying all this to my mom, and we shared how grief is an alternate existence, if you will.   You’re not in your right mind, your preoccupied, sad, emotional, and that may be a part of why she aimlessly walked into traffic.  How incredibly sad.

So, tonight, as I write this, I’m thinking about all that transpired this morning and how it changed and altered my piss poor thinking.   I am still working through some crap, but for the most part, I’ll be crawling into bed very grateful that my day may be frustrating, and my head may ache, but I had a fairly uneventful day given two other peoples lives that changed drastically in a moments time.

I wish you a restful nights sleep, and an uneventful (almost boring) day tomorrow.  Life can change on a dime, and it does.  We find ourselves walking through life without those we love most in the world, and I have since learned that the birds still chirping as we walk through grief is really a gift, because life does go on for some.    How easily, how naturally we take things for granted, at least I do.   And I think I’m a pretty grateful person, but obviously imperfect and still learning about life.   Aren’t we all?

 

Let’s talk politics!

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My heart is heavy, and my patience has worn thin.   Eight years ago when I started to vocalize that I didn’t like our current President, I became a “racist”.   If you weren’t an Obama lover, you were a racist.   I trudged through both of his terms, watching more and more things fall apart in our country.    Anytime I spoke of my feelings, out came the racist card.  This wasn’t the country I grew up in.  What happened to it?  Where did it go?

Finally it’s time for Obama to be gone.  Who does the Democratic party choose?  Hillary Clinton.  HILLARY CLINTON!   The woman who lies upon every breath she takes!  The woman whose husband made a mockery out of our Country when he wasn’t having sex with “that woman”, (I remember the testimony)  but then we learn of a blue dress, stained with his semen.   I’m only going to mention the cigar.  To bring such dishonor disgusted me.    Only to have them steal the good silverware and more when they left the  White House.   How does one conveniently forget this?   Or the accusations of rape?   All these women coming out of the woodwork were silenced.  How?  Hillary Rodman Clinton, that’s how.  The list is long and distinguished, as well as the list of mysterious deaths around people she knew, worked with, starting with the first she had supposedly had an affair with.   But let’s drop all that.  It’s okay.     It doesn’t count.  Because Hillary is the next best thing to sliced bread!   Well, good for you, but don’t expect me to jump on your band wagon liking her, believing in the persona she showed to the public.  Do some research and if you have guts enough, you may just find out she wasn’t the “good woman” she portrayed she was.

You know what?  I have a lot of democratic friends.    And since deciding not to vote for the scandalous, vicious, lying woman that LIED TO US, made up a story about a video on You Tube that had provoked the “problem” in Benghazi.  LIED!    Four good men died that day.  Not just died, but BRUTALLY, horrendously, in a manner that I hope we will never see or hear about again.   I don’t have the energy to bring up the deceit that surrounds this woman, I only mention a few, to make a point.   Because I opted NOT to vote for her, and I voted for  Trump.  In my eyes he was and still was the best candidate.  That’s my opinion, you’re entitled to yours.  But what you aren’t entitled to is to plaster your views all over my property!   Why is this so hard for people to understand?  It’s simple, if you want respect, give respect.  But I confess,  I’d vote for Charles Manson before I’d give another vote to a Clinton.  Just saying.

Now, as I speak out about how this political narcissistic woman (who screwed Bernie, by the way, but again, we can forget that…) I then became a misogynist,  a bigot, and Mrs. Clinton herself labeled me a “deplorable”.   Let’s not forget that I’m a xenophobic!    Interesting.    Interesting because all the while I was researching, and making an educated decision on WHO to vote for, my eyes couldn’t believe what I was reading, seeing.  This woman is calling ME a deplorable?   Seriously?

Now we have President Donald J Trump.    Who isn’t taking any salary!   Really?  And those of you who THINK you are spreading the truth with your belligerent stance “not my president” on your facebook?   Put your money where your mouth is.   ACT.  Contact your state government, do something!  But to sit and berate daily, and drag us all through it with you, it’s long past ridiculous and I’m long past patience.   And those of you (media, and some folk) who support the left who are making up lies, (and mind you, I’m not even going to touch what I think of Obama or his wiretapping games.  He, the Saint who is now collecting major money for speeches.  How does that grab ya?)    What is he speaking about, how to divide a nation?   Because he’s good at that!    I’ll give him that one.)   Donald J Trump did NOT divide this Nation, he inherited it.  And the hatred that we are seeing from the left wasn’t brought on by Donald J Trump’s presidency, it revealed it!

A couple of my many gay friends who I stood behind and beside since their early teens, at a time when it wasn’t so acceptable, they were the first to name call, unfriend me.   Remind me why we were friends?  Because friends don’t do that to other friends.    The last unfriend came a few days ago after I clicked “like” on Donald J Trump.  This was from a guy with political intentions and whom I really believed in, believed he could make a difference, but what does he do?  Threatens the new President in such a post that I was embarassed for him.    “If you come for this, if you come for that..”   Now I believe he would fit very well in the political arena.  Why?  Because he cannot be friends with me because I don’t see things his way.  Oh yes, by God, we need another politician with this attitude!    Good luck to you, and I’m upset with myself that I’m even disappointed in who you turned out to be.  But I guess we’re even, because according to your views “You’ve showed me evidence and proof of Trump’s whatever, I don’t even know what to call it, other than calling Trump all the names I’ve been called, and on my facebook pages!  Not just personal, but my business page.

I still stand behind Trump.   He is OUR President.    And did you notice all those “celebs” who were going to move out of our Country if he got elected…. which ones have moved?????  NONE that I know of.     So much for taking a stand!  Your words mean nothing, NOTHING now.

I haven’t seen President Trump take any gay rights away, have I missed it?   I haven’t seen him do half the things that were largely blown out of proportion by his “haters”, including the media.  And ya know?   “Haters” is putting it mildly.    As much as I, (remember, the racist?) hated his policies, I wasn’t disrespectful.   I waited for his term to be up and helped place the person I felt was best for the job.

Now not only am I all of those names, but it’s in my face every day.  Everyone is afraid to say anything because Lord only knows what will come of it!    I just can’t believe this stuff.   I mean if you’re in college and you have to miss time because Trump was elected?   Life is going to eat you up, because I’m here to tell you?  Life isn’t easy!

Today I deleted someone that I love dearly from my facebook.  I did that because she came and posted insulting comments.   I’d read her posts, wonder why, now that she is married and happy, why would she posts daily about “not her president?”   Truly the quality of her life is more than just hating Trump.  Where were the pictures of husband and wife doing nice and fun things together?  Truly, she can see beyond the lies and hatred that is coming from “the tolerant ones”?   I guess not.   So, sadly I unfriended her because if she can write those things on my facebook?  “Yikes, Donna what happened to you?   Donna I feel sorry for you in so many ways” (trust me, she wasn’t sorry because my situation warranted sympathy.   A friend wouldn’t do that.   Accepting that is very painful, but it will be okay.

Oh?  You should know,  I have been a registered Democrat since I was 18.   I voted for Bill Clinton the first time, and I voted for Obama the first time and I voted for Bernie in the Primaries, even though I do not want to see socialism in our country.  I don’t think we can afford it.   MY OPINION.  This week I will be going into Town Office and changing my party.  And other than writing a blog about my feelings once in a while, and an occasional post on my facebook,  I’m not in anyone’s face about it.    I don’t unfriend people because of their politics.  But I do unfriend them for treating me badly!

So, not only did I lose a friend today that I’ve known since the 80’s, but I also went to see my girlfriend who I mentioned in my last blog, and her family was there saying goodbye to her.    It hit me.  I couldn’t talk to them long, and I couldn’t stay, I fell apart in tears.    It’s happening very fast.   And while I pray for her, that God will be merciful, and won’t let her suffer, I wanted to sit with her again, I wanted to laugh with her again.   Because her laugh was contagious.   And I had a lot of fun with her, and when I was struggling through depression, she was right there beside me.

I had dropped off her favorite donuts the other night, she was asleep.  I didn’t want to disturb her sleep, but I left them on her table.    I had hoped, and still do, that I could get her favorite Chinese food, because eating, and unhealthy eating was something we shared.  We have the same demons here.

So now I cry, and my tears fall on the canvas I’m working on.   It’s okay, it’s fruit, it looks like dew drops.    And I’ll cry for the loss of a friendship that I hope to always hold dear.  And I will.   I’ll get beyond this.  It’s like a death, you make resolve with it only because you have no other choice.   The missing never stops, but somewhere along the line of grief you have to accept it.   And while it’s sad, I feel good about making the decision to not accept her remarks.     As mentioned above, my patience has worn thin.  When a left wing friend starts talking on my facebook page, I’m waiting for the insult, for the refute, because it’s been eight long years of this name calling.    And not yet six months since Trump took office.

Even if I didn’t like President Trump, I would support him.  But I DO like him.   I don’t like things about him, but I believe in his abilities, and I believe our Country needs this administration financially.    I think it’s time for all people, all parties, to put differences aside and do what they can to make this country work again.   Healthcare?  Needs to be bipartisan.   The post that brought the end of the friendship was actually about getting involved, not just bitching, but doing something about the things you don’t like about the bill.   It’s not good for me, I will make sure my voice is heard.   BOTH SIDES, ALL SIDES need to come together for this healthcare bill.    But for some reason the left doesn’t quite understand that the right?  Has the same needs there.    As if this was put into play to destroy or kill them.   Such drama, such bad drama?   Doesn’t fit into my life now.    I’ve survived a whole lot in my life,  and by coming through it, my view is different, and that’s a good thing, regardless of who agrees or disagrees with me.   My views have value, I’m not a dumb uneducated woman, and nor am I any of those names I’ve been called.   But stand up for yourself once?    You’d think the world fell apart.

So once again, if you can’t handle what I’ve said about your candidates, please do the kind polite thing.  Just walk past this.   Why do the left feel the need to plaster their views and thoughts on everything?   And mind you, I do not mean to group all Democrats into the same bucket, I apologize if I did that.   That would be a bit ironic, considering what I’m complaining about!  But for those of you intolerants?  Those of you who think it’s okay to abuse the rest of us who don’t agree with you? Those very people who will read this and say “listen to the whiner?”   I’m not a whiner.  I’m setting boundaries.  Unless you can respect me and my views, as I will you, then please move along.  God help you when all the trials and things come out about the wrong doings that have gone on in this country.  It will come.  The truth always comes out, and when it does, where will you be?   I’ll be right here, speaking my truth, and respecting your rights, is it to ask for you to respect mine?

Furthermore?  I think it’s time for all to stop looking at your rights, and defending and drama about something that isn’t even happening, and start asking yourself this:

“Ask not what you can do for me, ask what you can do for your country!”     It’s called patriotism!

You have my permission to share this, if you want.    I know I’m not alone here.

 

 

Acknowledgement

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For those of you who have experienced the loss of someone close to you, you will understand what I am writing about.     It never goes away, at least not for me.

Fourteen years ago today my kid sister died at the young age of 38.   She had been diagnosed just ten months before with Ovarian Cancer.   I’m not sure what hurts the most.   The journey through it, where we did our best to comfort her and bring her to any treatment allowed, or the endless missing.  I think it’s the missing.

Fourteen years and I still cry when I acknowledge this.  But if I don’t, it makes its way through illness or pain, so it’s best to nod to the memory than deny it, at least for me.

At 37 she and her partner had just bought a house and had moved in just two weeks prior to the emergency surgery that was previously scheduled a week or two later.   I remember it all so well, and I’m trying hard to not go there today.  To just honor her, and tell you what a great person she was.

I can tell you that she worked very hard and knew how to play.  She had a boat, snowmobiles, a toy for every season.   She loved to fish, to play sports, and was a natural athlete.   She had an old soul, I think about this often, wondering if this played a part in her short life.  A natural observer, she was always warning me when to shut my big trap, or when I had gone past “obnoxious” she called it.   Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.  It’s one that I experience a lot when I think about her.

One would think that after fourteen years you wouldn’t on occasion say to yourself “I have to call her, and tell her this!”    It happens less each passing year, but it still happens.

She was my dads bud.  I mean that with every part of my being.  She loved hockey, she loved fishing and shared these things with our dad.   We all share memories of this with her.   It was rather comical last year when my father admitted one day “Okay, Darlene was my favorite”.   The three of us laughed until tears came out of our eyes.  “What?”  “I’m sorry” he said.   “Um dad, we have known this FOREVER!”    I think he really believed it would shock us.   NOT.   I was sitting beside her on her couch the day she learned she was not going to recovery from this, and she called dad to tell him.  “I’m sorry, dad, I’m so sorry”.

So it was on this day that my, our lives changed.  For years I described things as “happened before she died, or happened after she died”.   I didn’t mean to.  It was just a game changer.    My life changed.  I changed.

I remember asking my cousin Marie, who came down to sit with me just hours after I learned she had died “How am I supposed to stop loving her?”   “You never will, Donna” she said.   How did she know?    It was through my sisters death and living life without her that I learned, love doesn’t stop just because someone you love died.   Nor does life stop, as cruel and vulgar as it seems at the time.   “How can the birds still sing?  How can people laugh, how can anything go on when my life has just come to a screaching halt?”   But it does.  But I have learned something beautiful within all the sadness and that is that love doesn’t ever stop, for me it continued and miraculously grew and still does, all these years later.

So on this day, I acknowledge that hope changes.   At first you pray for a cure, you pray for treatment to work, and then when that stops working, you pray for strength and a new doctor, another treatment, and more.   That is until you realize the suffering is going on too long, and you start to pray for God to be merciful with her, with them.  Please, take her soon.   Yes, hope changes.

I miss you every day.  There hasn’t been a day in fourteen years you’ve been gone that I don’t think of you.  You are part of me, you always will be.    I can still close my eyes and see your face, the little tiny mole above your eyebrow, and see that beautiful smile that radiated wherever it was shown.

Time does teach us how to coexist with such loss, but it doesn’t heal the broken heart.  I think because even when you pray for an end to the pain, and there is relief when that happens, the missing?  It never stops.

 

(end note:  I wrote this and posted it on 4/8 but for some reason it’s showing the 9th which I find interesting, because I actually found out about it just minutes after midnight on the 9th)