Being in the spot …

” Yup… being hurt and vulnerable feels so exposed, raw , uncomfortable … like someone is scalping you, tearing at your skin .. but then it all falls away because you realize this is love … and the cost of loving another .. it’s unbearable..and yet it transforms us .. because it’s the worst and most redeeming thing that outlasts is all.. Love costs.. it demands sacrifice .. such a paradox..loving.. then old as mankind.. and the thing we fight wars over, and are destined to repeat … it’s at our core… our heart muscle driving us forward into the cliff leap into the oblivion that is love.” (JDH)

We three… share a birthday.. my brothers and I.. coincidence?… I think not..there is a three cord bond between us, a rope that is strong, even when it’s weathered and frayed, it still remembers that it belongs together.

I was four years old when my Mother gave birth to the twins, my brothers, Dean and Greg, on January 17th. They shared the womb together, so naturally, when they came into the world on my 4th birthday, I believed my dreams and prayers had come true.. I received real life baby dollies as a gift.. they were mine, all mine , thank you very much, said the little girl who existed in a make believe world of her own making.

Forget force feeding plastic dolls tooth paste, and rice pudding, which incidentally will make your dolls stink, and need to be thrown away, I could now diaper, feed, and rock my own babies.. apparently there was a strong need to nurture in my psyche.

I lived in a pretend world, and as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to understand that this became a coping mechanism to be sure, and one that I believe I carried into adulthood. It’ s taken time to unravel this all… to unwrap how playing pretend early on has been both beneficial and detrimental in my life.

Why do we retreat in a world of our own making? Coping amidst a world of confusion and ever changing elements causes us to search out new ways to breathe, because perhaps there is the fear that our very last breath may depart from us in any given moment, unless we are on our guard, and have a back up kingdom to retreat to when feeling threatened.

It can be a place where nobody can hurt you, and that feels safe, and secure.

More and more, the realization that living in the present, with expectations being wrapped in gratitude, has been life affirming, and so much healthier than living in make believe land.

Noticing the details, the way stories are wound together, creates the masterpiece. Realizing that reality hurts… but it hurts for us all from time to time.. and this is why we need one another badly… and that’s ok…

It may not seem this way to others, but inside us all, there is the creativity, and a bounty of beauty, a unique person, built to give and receive. Unlocking what makes us tick is phenomenally intriguing.

Our life experiences either teach us, or destroy us…depending on how we choose to respond.

Watching your children learn how to cope as adults to traumatic non -self induced situations has been one of the most inspiring events to behold.

Asking for help, seeking guidance through counseling, to manage issues that are bigger than themselves, is courageous.

Nobody has it all together. Being willing to learn a better way, and understand that there are residual after effects to baring witness to the the suicide of someone that you loved.

It doesn’t just go away.

I was talking to my son about this the other day, and what I believe to be true. Your brain will protect you from remembering what is unbearable . It is possible to retreat into a make believe world where it doesn’t hurt so much.

Finding positive ways to stay present, yet still acknowledge the grief, and questions, is not “childs’ play.”

There is the walking on eggshells at times, fearing that if you bring up your loved ones’ name, you will cause more pain for others you desperately don’t want to hurt, and so… you stay silent, and the feelings are locked within .. when you desperately need to just give words, if you can find them, to the aching hole that is left behind of what was once your heart.

We discussed how you can’t control another’s reaction to your words. If something reminds you of a person you have lost, speak it, let it out, you honor your dearly departed by continuing to talk about them.

If your motive is not to harm, but to remember, that’s still loving that person …this is “living grief.”

Sometimes there are long goodbyes in life, and sometimes the goodbye is instantaneous…. like being shot out of a cannon. It’s a blast, and shock, that the mind takes time to unravel and dissect.

I’m gratified to see my sons taking positive steps forward in the aftermath of loss.

Watching friends having to navigate through another illness of another daughter, seeing their courage, resolve, tenacity and faith, amidst the chaos of cancer, seeing their tiredness, but also their inner strength, staggers my mind. Their family has been through terrible loss… and ..yet …still they accept, and challenge ahead ready and willing to come beside, to hold hands with disease, in an effort to eradicate it… and they cling to hope.. a miracle cure..

We, who are part of their throng, their community, surround them, praying, bringing meals, searching for what they need, we form a basket together .. intertwined.. that carries them into each new day.

My Mum is needing surgery, and she waits, until her appointed date is due. I spoke to her today. She seemed bright, in good spirits. It was good to hear her voice. I am grateful for the brief phone call. Thankful to her caregiver Barbara, who continues to be an advocate and support to her, and loves her, and has for many years, just as she loved my Dad. I can’t even find words to describe longtime dedication such as that . She is such a blessing to our family. She is a God Gift.

I’ve been texting a friend who has recently undergone surgery on her neck and back. She is still in a lot of pain, and waits for more surgery potentially to alleviate her suffering. She is discouraged… and so she waits.. and hopes …. for relief. There will be recovery, and even though there is uncertainty as to what exactly that will look like, she waits in Gods’ arms, and nestles deep… expecting His healing touch.

Coming alongside others is the greatest honor and blessing. There is so much to take in, and learn from one another as we are encouraged by their courage.

Attempting a new thing, a challenge, being willing to fail, make the wrong decision, then pick yourself back up, to welcome a new day… is growth.

A music lesson, a new life affirming and positive interest or a pursued hobby, is a way to hug yourself , and heal a little bit more.

Logan( my son,) and I visited a record/music store just yesterday . He is into vinyl. He bought a few records, and has a turntable. He is thrilled with how it sounds. It is an outlet that is good, and with which he has found comfort.

I went down memory lane while there, finding old albums that I used to have , Olivia Newton John, John Denver, Elton John, The Doors, ELO, Johnny Cash, The Who, The Cars, Pet Shop.. to name but a few.

We could have been lost in there for days.. The shop kept wandering, and meandering down steps, and around corners, it was bursting with inventory, and listening possibilities. There was a section with cards, stickers, socks and posters, and asked him if he wanted a bumper sticker for his car which read, ” keep Portland weird”… he declined.

Life is weird.

I saw somebody post this on Facebook, and it cracked me up. I like dark humor. Things that aren’t one bit funny, routinely make me want to laugh.. so I’m weird.. and I’m ok with that too.

Provocative thoughts… can lead to creative ideas, and expanding of our minds.. and when we are forced to be parted with those that we love, I’ve come to understand that involving yourself in the creative process , is a big part of healing..

It does the mind so much good to soothe our grief like being in a big rocking chair in front of a roaring fire, covered with a thick and cozy blanket, and it honors our dearly departed. It brings new life.. a resurrection of sorts.

This was fascinating to learn.. Sadness, no wonder it takes so much energy to be in this emotion, and we feel a sense of exhaustion when we live in this emotion after loss.

It is easier to feel anger, at how out of control we feel, then to take on the sadness… which just makes our inner spirit tired.

Take time to be tired.. to sit with the sadness.. to share it, talk about it.. cry over it. It hurts.. there is no denying the impact on our lives.

To care for yourself in the aftermath of loss, is one of the most important things to do, and it’s taken me years to acknowledge this, and to even know what it looks like, because it is different for everyone.

What makes your soul sing? It’s worth investigating, because this is the gift that the world needs.. and when you are able to hone into that part, that essential which is you , then your piece of the masterpiece puzzle that is your life becomes evident…

My Mum, and her classmate in nursing school. She may not agree with me showing this photo, but to me, it’s a glimpse beneath the skin… a candid look at who was hiding there underneath it all.. A girl with hopes and dreams, who had challenges and insecurities …. just like me..