Blog, loss

A Sense of Loss

Day 194

notre-dame-316694_640
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

I believe there will be a lot of blogs today and tomorrow about the loss of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Facebook and the news have been flooded with pictures and stories of this tremendous loss.

I was never able to visit Paris or see the cathedral. Even so, I share in the sense of loss for this amazing architecture and symbol of faith for so many people around the world. According to the New York Times, construction on the cathedral started in 1163 and was completed in 1345. That is amazing.

So many historical events and ceremonies took place there. So much art and craftsmanship held inside this iconic structure. What a tremendous loss for the entire world.

When we lose something that seems to have always been, it shakes us. It makes us realize even more how fragile life is. How quickly material things can be lost. It happens to people all over the world every day. But we don’t feel those losses in the same way. In a strange way, we are connected through places and things that are familiar.

Yesterday someone asked what is the one thing I always wanted but could never afford?  If I was given an unlimited supply of money, would I buy it now?

I honestly could not think of any material possession I yearn for. Perhaps that makes me a fortunate person. Today the thought crossed my mind that maybe I would donate money to help restore the cathedral.

But then my mind went to the every-day people who may have lost everything. I wonder why I did not consider them first. It’s hard to look that honesty in the face.

The sense of loss is a strange animal. When a cathedral burns, we all feel a sense of loss. It seems harder to ‘feel’ the loss for our neighbors whom we may not know. They aren’t familiar to us in the same way.

Both losses make me sad.

My prayers go out to the firefighters and all the people in Paris and around the world touched by this loss.

Blog, Journey, loss

The Beginning of the End — Saying Goodbye to my Old Story

Day 174

I had a revelation today.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been watching videos from Kyle Cease’s series entitled “Love Rising”. Today I finished the 4th of 8 videos which is equivalent to one day at one of his events.

I am not an over-eater at the Self Help buffet, but I do partake from time to time. I learned about Kyle Cease from a friend who has attended his events and as a result has continued to work with him over the last year or so. Her growth has been amazing and I was always happy for her, but never considered taking part myself.

A few weeks ago, a dear friend gifted me access to Kyle’s “Love Rising” videos. I am here to honestly say this gift has impacted me in a way I never thought possible.

Today was a breakthrough for me. I was living my old story and its name was loss.

As a result, today I am starting the process of shedding my old story. I am no longer living a life of loss. Yes, I have had a great deal of many types of loss in my life, but I was letting it define me. I was living in this space of loss and never fully present in the now. How could I possibly achieve my goals and dreams of tomorrow if I could not free myself from the losses of my past?

I actually had a lot of happiness and joy in my life but it was always punctuated with loss. I have carried all those losses with me for my entire life. The feelings are complex, so I will just share my takeaways.

  • Releasing does not mean forgetting.
  • Love is always here.
  • I am more than the losses I have experienced.
  • I do not want to grieve because that means I am acknowledging the loss is permanent.
  • If I let go and say goodbye, I am afraid I will be alone, even though I am surrounded by people who love me.
  • It is okay to live my life and be happy.
  • Will I feel guilty if I pursue my dreams?
  • Is the fear of failing greater than the joy of succeeding?

I wanted to share this as a way to keep myself accountable. Life is full of hurdles and for me, they have been much easier to cross than what it has taken for others. How can I possibly live small when everything in me wants to live large?

It takes faith and trust and vulnerability. And good music.

aging gracefully, authentic self, Blog, loss, reflection, retirement

Loving Me – Or the Day I Quit Trying to Fix Myself

Day 144

I was a quirky kid. My thoughts were big. When I went to bed at night my thoughts were on things like infinity and time and death and how the universe could just go on forever. Didn’t everything have an end?

I remember a specific night becoming so overwhelmed with my thoughts I cried. I was at my grandmother’s house. Scared and seeking comfort, I went downstairs. When asked what was wrong, I lied and I told her my throat hurt. This ignited her worry gene. She needed to get me to a doctor. What if I had strep throat or scarlet fever?

I am not sure how that night ended except to say that I know I did not go to the doctor and I also know I learned to never tell anyone about my thoughts. They were thoughts much too big for a little mind.

Thinking Vs. Curiosity

I was a child of the science fiction age. Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, The Time Tunnel, Night Gallery, The Time Machine, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and on and on. I became obsessed with time travel.

This scene and my love of costumes (see my earlier  post) certainly fed my creative curiosity:

It was certainly a time of big imaginations. I had a Kreskin ESP game although I acknowledge I never gained any extrasensory perception.

High School and Beyond

My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer when I was in my final year of high school. It was tough. I started to search for reasons and explanations to answer all the why questions I had.

I read Sydney Omarr’s horoscope column religiously.

I always had deep thoughts. My term paper in high school was entitled The Nonexistence of Time for which I received an A- (I omitted a comma somewhere along the way). I don’t think my teacher thought I could pull off the references needed, but I managed.

I bought a crystal ball, I was intrigued with seances and bought books on astral projection — is that even a thing now?

I was in the military when my mother passed away. I went home for her funeral. I was broken. Being in the military you aren’t really given time or space to grieve. I was only 19 and all I wanted was to be home with my family.

Feeling Broken

I think the losses in my life were big. I took them hard and didn’t really know how to grieve. Once you label yourself as broken — or others label you as such — you begin to believe it. You start to search for how to fix what’s wrong.

I saw a therapist who was happy to prescribe anti-depressants. I never took them. Somehow I knew I was not depressed. I searched so many self-help books thinking if I could follow the thoughts of others I might turn that final corner that would make me whole again.

Then one day it hit me. What if I was not broken? What if I was normal? What if self-help books helped make me believe I was somehow lost?

I will say there are a number of books that really helped me and many that are a godsend to others. I am not saying self-help books are bad, for some are worth their weight in gold. All I am saying is what if I just had some hard stuff to deal with and had no way to process my way through it? What if it was easier to think of myself as missing a piece of me and if I could just find it I could be whole again?

Finding Me

So one day, I just decided to embrace myself and love me for me. I resolved problems or situations singularly instead of believing I had those problems because of some flaw. I started to remember the little girl who had big thoughts and just did not know what to do with those thoughts. She was the same little girl that watched her mother slowly die of cancer and was not given space to grieve.

I started to value myself enough to leave bad relationships. I stood up for myself. I learned I could live on my own and be perfectly happy. Once I knew that about me, the right person entered my life.

Embracing My Authentic Self

I love to think big now. I love my imagination. I still fancy the idea of time travel and to this day never underestimate the power of a 1979 penny to whisk me back to reality.

I give myself room to grieve. Losses are still hard and I have lost a lot — a downside to the blessing of living a longer life. Unfortunately, it is part of this thing we call life.

I am not afraid to be me any longer. I like me. No, no, I love me. I am not broken — just human and not in need of fixing.

birthdays, Blog, loss, sister

My Sister’s Birthday

Day 137

67. That’s how old you would be today. We would have already talked but I know you would not be focused on your birthday. Not today. Your heart would be elsewhere.

My Sister

IMG_5631
One of my Favorite Pictures of You

Not all sisters get along which makes me even more thankful. Your love and support were all that kept me afloat during certain times of my life as I know my love and support were for you. That’s what sisters do.

I was determined to celebrate you today, to cheat grief out of a day. It’s hard. There would never have been enough days but I wanted more. We both did.

I think in some ways you tried to prepare me for a time without you but you did a shitty job with that.

I do celebrate the love and the memories — there were so many but why does it still feel they are lacking?

I can feel that I’m not doing well at celebrating. Grief is trying to win, but then so am I.

Ta-Da.

My Friend

This was a role you took seriously and you were damned good at it. There are many people who should take a page from your book.

Friendships are living and breathing relationships. Yes, you were my sister, but you were also always my friend.

With you, things were never one-sided. It was give-and-take. If you had not heard from me in an acceptable timeframe, you called me. Sometimes I would turn inward and close up, but you were not about to have any of that. I never had to cry alone — until now.

turtleSo many people don’t understand that two-lane highway of friendship. With you, it was a curvy country road. Sometimes there were no lines on the road and no road signs. That’s when you just felt your way. And sometimes you needed to cross the center line when I was about to fall off the cliff — oncoming traffic be damned. And when the road was just too difficult to maneuver, there was always a place to pull over and just be.

And if there was a turtle crossing that road, it must be rescued! I was the turtle more times than I like to admit.

Anger

There is still anger. There are things I am not over. It’s hard to know if you would have been right there with me or if you would be telling me to just let it go.

My daughter called this morning to see how I was doing. We talked about anger and unresolved thoughts. She suggested I call on Mr. Rogers. So here you go.

Video courtesy of YouTube

Moving Forward Without You

It’s almost been three years. It is not easy. I am thankful your voice is still clear in my mind.

I love you and I miss you. That will never change.

Happy Birthday, Sis. I hope somewhere, somehow and in some way you know your little sister is here still loving you and missing you just like always.

Blog, Death, illness, loss, memories, sister

When Memories Slap You in the Face

Day 122

Grief is sneaky. It sometimes waits until the wounds have slightly scabbed over. It waits for you to let your guard down. Then the memory comes and you are slapped in the face.

Today it was in the form of a song. I looked for it intentionally. I was planning to use it in my blog, but not this way. It brought me back to a time when my sister, Rosie, was told there was nothing else they could do to treat her cancer. The memories of her telling me she cried in the night so no one else would hear. The sadness she felt knowing she was leaving the children and grandchildren whom she loved so much.

This song made me ugly cry. I didn’t see it coming. I wrote about this song once before, but I thought I was strong enough to listen. I was wrong. Instead I have picked all the scabs off and now I am raw.

I miss you, Sissy.