Tag Archives: life

Loss, Pain and Thanksgiving.

The world around me has been filled with a lot of tragedies of late, and it’s becoming a struggle figuring out how to process all of them. There’s the obvious shock and grieving that happens in these circumstances, but there’s also the learning, the teaching and the love that must follow them.

It’s about finding the proper words to comfort the families that have experienced the loss. It’s helping your kids navigate their feelings of not really understanding and helping them figure out what comes next. It’s learning how to say goodbye and trying not to forget. It’s allowing yourself to be sad and broken. It’s figuring out how to move forward without these people in your life. It’s all of these and so much more.

This weekend, I lost a friend in a tragic car accident. 3 young children lost their mother. One of my good friends lost her son in a another tragic accident. My son’s best friend, lost his brother. The loss of these two amazing people will cause ripples of grief that will run far and wide, leaving all of us wishing we could go back and spend more time with them. That we would all get another moment to tell them how much we cared about them, and that we’d ensure that they really, really knew that. We are all asking the questions and wondering why? Why them? Why did this happen? Why is this happening? How is this fair? But we’re asking questions that will never have an answer, and yet, we will be stuck asking them for quite awhile.

We are constantly surrounded by loss and it becomes this thing that we get used to. It becomes a part of the circle of life and we all just keep moving on, in spite of it. We don’t recognize how important these relationships and circumstances are until they’re completely flipped upside down or are forever taken away. It’s sad…sad that we don’t take them to honour them until we no longer have the option.

But what about other kinds of loss and grieving, how do we work through them and live in the here & now?

Today, I had another friend go to a hospital and take a baby away from a Mother that just doesn’t have the ability to parent. She has lost all of her babies, but she is still a Mother that has suffered a deep loss. My friend is grieving for a Mom that will never know the joy of being a parent, while celebrating the gift of life. She loves this baby and this Mama, and it’s a pain that not many of us will ever be able to comprehend.

I have a family member that is deeply hurt and broken, and I don’t know how to help her. I don’t know how to help her heal and either move on or come home or whatever else that would bring her happiness. She’s also suffered a huge loss and has been grieving for a very long time. How can you help repair grief that runs so deep?

I have another friend that has walked away from her family because it was toxic and just not a good situation to be a part of, and she is still grieving years later. She chose to walk away, but she still longs for something that was or should’ve been. It’s much healthier and safer for her this way, but it still really hurts.

I have children that cry daily, or weekly for years and years as they grieve the family that they know they will never return to. These people are alive but are just out of reach and it hurts so badly. In their grief, they are also dealing with the guilt of being happy in their new lives as they don’t want to dishonour where they came from. It’s a horrible and awful thing to have to watch, and I can’t even pretend to know the best way to help them through it.

These situations aren’t usually how we think about grief but they affect us just as deeply and help shape the life we are trying to live right now. We have to acknowledge these moments and take the time to navigate them. These people need us right now.

I think that as we spend this Thanksgiving weekend with our friends and family that we take a minute to remind ourselves of how precious life really is. Do not wait until someone dies before you think to tell them how important they are to you. Don’t wait until the relationship is completely destroyed to show them some compassion. Don’t wait until someone walks right out of your life before you take the time to try and repair it. Don’t look at a situation and assume you know everything and judge someone so harshly that you can’t ever go back.

Use this time RIGHT NOW to honour each other.

If you can fix it, fix it.

If you can’t, find a way to help everyone get healthy closure so you can all move on in peace.

If you can lend a helping hand to get someone back on their feet, lift them up.

If you need to forgive someone, do it.

If you need to walk away from someone or something, walk away without leave a damaging trail.

If you haven’t told your most favourite people how much you love them, tell them.

If you don’t understand someone’s choices, that’s okay. You can still be there for when they need you.

If you need to just stand by someone and be present so they feel safe, do that.

If you need to grieve, allow yourself to do exactly that.

If you see a Mom really struggling, don’t judge her. Love her, help her, lead her or walk away.

Our lives would not be the same without our people, take the time to appreciate them for all they bring into your world, even if it’s only to teach you a lesson.

I am so thankful for many things in my life right now, some of them are good and some of them are not so good, but they’ve all become a part of my story. Thankfully, I have the ability to rejoice with the good and repair the not so good. That is what I’m thankful for today – that I’m alive to make these choices.

Choose well friends, tomorrow is NEVER promised.

Rest well Steff and Luke, you will be deeply missed and never forgotten. xoxox

Floating, not sinking.

Today, I am broken and in the middle of a story that I will never share. It is private and runs deep but it consumes me and all that I am and all that I am about.

I am stuck in a place that I cannot fix and I cannot change. I have tried and tried and this time is coming to end. It’s a horrible feeling that makes me want to throw up, but somewhere in the back of that horrific feeling, I feel something that feels a little bit like relief. Relief mixed with sadness, or something like that. I don’t know.

I feel like a tightness that has been consuming me, is starting to loosen it’s grip. I feel like this isn’t the most worst thing ever, but is somewhere in the middle. It’s SO not good, but maybe, just maybe it isn’t so bad. Every moment, I “feel” a little bit less, and I think that’s a good thing. But then I know it isn’t.

I hate not winning especially when it means that I’m losing …. is this losing? Or is this winning? Bah.

Why is life so incredibly tough sometimes? And unfair. And difficult. And crappy.

Have you ever been in this same place? A place where no answer is right, and no matter what happens, there’s going to be a hole. When you close your eyes, you’d like to just be able to sleep for a little bit, and then wake up and have it all done and over with. A place where your heart has way more power than your brain, and your heart is wrong. When you question every word, and every decision you’ve ever spoken or made in your current situation. When you want to sit down and cry, not because you’re sad or mad or really anything, but just because. In the middle of a story where the ending is wrong, or a chapter seems to have been forgotten. This is a horrific place to be, and I really wish I knew why it was happening. I hate not knowing.

BUT thankfully, there are some things that I do know.

I know that every day and every moment serves a purpose.

I know that this story isn’t over, that the ending may be different, but the story will continue.

I know that I have done all that I could, and have to let myself trust that.

I know that tomorrow or the next week, I will be blessed with new challenges and situations and that today will make be better equipped to deal with them.

I know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be at this very moment.

I know that I’m going to be okay, and that my journey isn’t over.

If you’re stuck in a similar boat as me, hang in there. Not all things can be predicted or controlled, and sometimes, we just have to float.

So grab a paddle and a life jacket and join me. Maybe this little canoe will take us somewhere fancy … like a beach or a mall or somewhere that has naps.

Wherever it is … there’s going to be waves. Hang on friends, hang on.

 

A little bit of Hope.

The phone call arrives from the jail that I’ve never visited. I can’t go there, because it’s the place that I’ve been fighting to keep kids out of for so long. Somehow it’s become a part of my story, and I hate it. I hate that everything I fought against has now become a comforting and safe place, and seeing that particular number on my call display gives me peace somehow. She is safe. Again. I hate it.

The words are a blur as they’re always filled with bravado and slang and nonsense. There are stories of conquests and bad choices and just plain stupidity. There are tears and apologies and promises of doing better this time. There’s fear, and sadness and the loss of hope. There is nothing that I can say or do anymore, so I just listen. I listen and pray and hope and wait. I hope that her desire for change will someday outweigh her desire to be cool and fit in. I hope that she’ll realize that her “friends” aren’t friends at all and that bad ideas and having each other’s back, does not a family make. I hope that she’ll grab onto that tiny glimmer of light and hope that is buried deep inside of her and not let go.

I hate it. I hate that I can’t fix it, that I can’t go back and redo her start in this world. That I can’t heal her hurts or help her forgive and move forward. That I wasn’t able to change her life.

He looks at me and says, “it sure is nice not having to do my job anymore to get food for everyone”. What job, you’re not old enough to work. “You know, going to people’s doors and asking for money for charity”. What charity? “Well, I just said that so I could get money for food for my brothers and sisters”. Okay. I’m glad you don’t need to do that anymore either.

He looked at me and asked “why don’t you lock me up in the closet when I’m bad”? Because I don’t do that. “But why”. Because that’s not how people should be treated. “But my Mom does that and she loves me”. Your Mom didn’t make a very good choice, but I’m glad she loves you. “So I won’t ever get put in a closet here”. No sir. “Okay, can I have a sandwich”?

They called their Mom on the phone, and begged and begged to see her again. They ask question after question that Mom just can’t answer. They collapsed in my lap sobbing, confused and torn by the feelings and knowledge of being completely safe and warm here, but being pulled by a love that they can’t deny. They can’t be little kids because the burden that they carry is so strong “Is Mommy safe, does she have food, where is she sleeping”.

She has done nothing wrong. She makes good choices and has achieved many great things. She has hope and a very bright future, and because of that, she’s been forgotten. Somehow, the darkness and bad choices that are all around her got more acknowledgment and support, and she’s forgotten. She works harder and harder to get their attention, but still the “bad stuff” seems to have more value.

I hate it. I hate that I have to do what I do. I hate the conversations, I hate the stories, I hate not being able to reply exactly how I want to, I hate that I must protect a relationship with a person that no longer even deserves that relationship anymore. I hate that their normal is so abnormal. I hate that someway, somehow I have to find a crack in their tough little amour’s, and find a way in. That I have to redefine a role in their lives that has already been filled by someone else. That my “right thing to do”, is so completely foreign and distant from what they know that they believe I’m wrong.

I hate that they have to be here in the first place. Not because I have them, but because the world, their parents, drugs, circumstance, alcohol, despair, depression, and abuse has failed them. It is so not fair, and how in the world am I supposed to “fix them”? How do you teach a 12-year-old something that most kids learned when they were 3? How do you make someone really truly feel safe?

So many of our days are spent running like a hamster on a wheel. It’s just a-round and a-round having the same conversations, working on the same skills, teaching the same things over and over. Many days are just about surviving and making it to bed time. I can spend hours open hours questioning my sanity and why I choose this life for me and my family. More often than not, I feel like I’m getting nowhere and that I’m not actually making a difference anymore. I wonder if I’m doing the right thing, or if there’s any point.

And then I get something like this.

thenote

And I’m reminded. I don’t need to be perfect or change them completely. I just need to be their Mom. I just need to give them a little bit of hope and a whole lot of family. I need to remember that.

So now when I get the phone calls, and have the conversations, I need to remind myself that I’m not trying for perfection or that I have to fix all that has been broken. That burden does not belong to me anymore, and I think that I’m finally okay with that.

Our children, mine, the ones that I’ve borrowed and yours as you read this, deserve a safe place, and we owe it to them. My hope now is that when they leave us and move on that their wings will be strong, that they’ll know their worth, that they’ll always know that “home” means safe, and that they will KNOW that they are loved and belong to someone. This isn’t about being a foster parent, this is about being a parent. We all need to stop focusing on the stupid piddly pointless things and focus on what really matters.

Take a moment and look into your children’s eyes and let them see YOU. Let them see your heart, feel your love, and see that you’re on their side, no matter what. They’re not expecting you to be perfect, or even care if you screw up and do the wrong things. They don’t see our mistakes or bad choices, they see YOU.

Don’t ever question how strong that bond is, and never take it for granted. I’ve seen kids that have been abused beyond belief that still love their parents madly and deeply. They’ve forgotten about all the mistakes but they remember the love. So, as a Mom or Dad struggling with guilt and questioning if you’re doing everything wrong, remember this connection and honour it.

I fight every day to make that connection and some days I’m successful and more often than not, I fail miserably. But now instead of focusing on fixing, I’m focusing on strength, joy, safety and a whole lotta’ hope.

You should try that too.

Mirror, Mirror

Crooked Tooth.

Double Chin.

Messy Hair.

Freckles.

Huge Feet.

Too Fat.

These are the things that I see when I look in the mirror. These are the things that the world sees when they look at me. These are the things that I hate about myself, and sometimes they’re all that I see. But these things are not Me. Or are they?

My crooked tooth has been there my entire life. It is the one tooth that messes up my perfectly straight teeth. It has driven me crazy. FOREVER. But maybe it’s what gives me my super amazing singing voice, and helps me to bellow like an angel. Totally grasping here, obviously.

My Double Chin. Well, that seems to come and go. But it’s most definitely been there more often than it hasn’t. And now as I’m seeing less and less of it every day, it’s freaking me out a bit. That extra chin has always been a part of me and now it’s leaving. Who knew that a big chunk of skin would be a security blanket of sorts? I am so weird.

My messy hair. If you know me at all, you know that I’m not exactly a “doer of the hair”. More often than not I leave the house without even brushing my hair. I have NEVER curled my hair, and my only requirements when I go for my yearly haircut is that I don’t have to do anything with it when they’re done. My hair does exactly what it wants … sometimes good, sometimes bad. A beauty queen, I am not but I don’t spend more than $80/year on my “upkeep”, which helps me afford a housekeeper. I call that a win.

Freckles. Or age spots. Or dots. Or whatever the heck they are, I am covered in them. Face, arms, legs, feet, etc. What is that about? When I was a teen, I had the perfect Cindy Crawford beauty mark, but then it moved near my ear, and 10,000 of it’s friends showed up. I’m now a speckly dot-to-dot, which I’m hoping will keep my mind active as I age. I’ll be my own “activity” at the seniors home.

Huge Feet. I can’t remember my feet ever being smaller than a size 9. Never. Now they’re a size 11/12. I have skis at the ends of my legs but they’ve served me well. I’ve managed to pretty much stand upright without any issues my whole life. My big honking feet have been what’s supported this big girl all these years.

Too Fat. Well, I cannot even come up with a good excuse for that one. I ate too much of the wrong things and now I’m fat. Period. But all of that “extra” has protected me when I fell, it’s kept me alive when we were broke, it keeps me warm year round, so we can keep the heat turned down low. It is my superpower suit, fluffy and fabulous but super nonetheless.

All of the imperfect things that stare at me everyday in the mirror are actually the things that make me the person that I am. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without these flaws, and for that I’m thankful. My flaws have made me stronger, more loving, more kind, and more understanding. They’ve helped me see the world through the eyes of someone who lives under constant judgement and ridicule.

As I sit and ponder my life, I now recognize that the things I’ve never really liked about myself are the very things that set me free. I’m fat, but I’m beautiful. I’ve got crooked teeth but a great smile. I’ve got whacked out hair, but it’s super thick and easy to leave alone. My feet are huge but they’re cute. My freckles make my face interesting, and not like anyone else. My double chin … well, I’m not sure that there’s anything good about that.

Point is, instead of focusing on what makes me unhappy about myself, I’m focusing on how those things make me amazing.

What do you see in the mirror? Look past that first glance, and look deeper. Imagine that you’re looking into the eyes of your child … what do you see there? Do you see any imperfections or do you see them through the eyes of love? We have no problem doing that for the people that we care about, it’s time we start doing it for ourselves.

I am the example for my children. They need to see a Mom that loves herself, and isn’t controlled by her imperfections. They love me no matter how good or how bad I look. They think I’m hilarious and fun to be with. They think I’m perfect exactly how I am. Today, I’m choosing to believe them.

I am not just a reflection in the mirror and neither are you. Our story cannot be seen in one glance, or described by a single sentence. So instead of trusting a mirror, trust the voice in your heart.

That my friends, is all that matters.

Unexpected Friendship in a Sweatshirt

This story starts with a Calgary Olympics hoody that I was selling on eBay, 12 years ago.

I’ve been selling things for a really long time and after a thousand plus transactions, I had never really ‘spoken’ with anyone until Deonna. For some reason, that sale started a conversation and that conversation became a friendship.

Over the years we’ve talked about anything and everything. She listened to me as a young Mom stressing about all the struggles of raising my special little boy. She told me about her children and eventual grandchildren. I filled her in every time we packed up and moved to a new house. She shared her retirement news with me and her excitement of moving closer to her daughters. I told her about all my new business ventures and the challenges that they brought me. I learned more about junior hockey from her than any of my Canadian friends and her love for the game was obvious. She was quickly becoming my ‘Portland Mom’.

Over the years, we also shopped for each other. She would be my drop-off for items that wouldn’t ship to Canada and I would send her a steady supply of Mint Aero bars. At one point, I needed to get sinus meds for high blood pressure for my Mom. Her sweet daughter after hearing that it wasn’t available in Canada, shipped the meds to me. Stuffed inside a teddy bear. She had assumed that they were illegal in Canada because we didn’t have them, so she was sneaking them to me. Deonna messaged me and told me that her daughter had opened the boxes and shoved the pills inside the bear, to warn me that there may be a problem at the border. There wasn’t. 🙂 We still laugh about that one and are thankful that our ‘smuggling’ operation was never discovered. LOL.

On our bi-yearly trips to the States, we’ve tried planning times and places to meet but it’s never worked out. She was either busy with her family or it was just too far for us to keep going. Our friendship was 12 years in the making and we still hadn’t met. But this year, we knew the trip had to happen so off to Idaho we went.

You see, last November, Deonna went in for some surgery and some very unexpected things happened. She suffered some huge setbacks and massive hurdles and spent the next 7 months in a hospital. She’s at home now, and I’m happy to report that every day, she gets better and better. I’m also mad that it took me this long to go and meet her, and am thankful for the opportunity that yesterday brought me.

It never should’ve taken that long and I’m sorry that it took a health scare to kick me in the butt to get there. Our arrival was a total surprise for her but an awesome gift for me and my family.

We had a fabulous time visiting and hanging out with her family. From the time we walked in the door until the moment we left this morning, we felt comfortable and like we belonged there. It truly felt like I had come home to ‘family’.

Thank-you to her daughter Jenny for helping me pull off the surprise. Thank-you Jerry for letting us crash your house and for feeding us some of the best chicken we’ve had in a long time. The kids had a blast at the fall festival and look forward to hanging out with Bryant again. We had a very blessed and fabulous time.

Thank-you Deonna for buying that sweatshirt so long ago. Enjoy your chocolate bars, and no worries, more are on their way.

See you all next summer!

LAST DAY for you to do me a favour. Please for me at this link. My goal is to hit #25 on the list, the last of the best of the Top Mom Bloggers in Canada. Follow this link and vote now. Voting ends tomorrow. Thanks friends!! http://www.circleofmoms.com/blogger/mom-s-got-something-say?blogroll_id=110

Choose Wisely

Thankfully, I’ve managed to surround myself with some amazing people. I truly am blessed beyond measure, and my friends are some of my biggest blessings.

Friends should be encouragements and helps in time of need. They should be sounding boards that listen and love you in spite of what’s going on in your world. They should help steer you straight when your path seems to veer off course. They should always have your best interests at heart.

Are those the kinds of people that you’ve surrounded yourself with? Or are you miserable when you’re with them? Do you dread seeing their number on call display? Do you feel judged or are you mistreated? Are they constantly correcting you or do you feel worthless when they’re around?

Choose your friends wisely, as more often than not, they’re the voice in your ear. The voice that pushes you forward to good things or pulls you back to things best forgotten.

Find a voice that brings you joy, you deserve nothing less than that.

lifeisshort

This post is part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. If you want to follow along with all of us “challengers”, click on their links below.

Liam ~ Natasha ~ Zita ~ MagzD ~ Peter ~ Christine ~ Cliff ~ Hethr ~ Tracy

Blaming Who??

A couple of days ago, I was out shopping and ended up waiting for what seemed like forever to pay for my items. While in line, I got to listen to the most interesting conversation.

The 3 women behind me spent the entire time complaining about how they thought the government should regulate the fast food industry. They were upset that they and their children had gained so much weight over the years, and thought the government should do something about it. They talked about having the fat levels decreased in the food, and that they should make restaurants stop using butter and sugar, and it went on and on. They truly believed that their “state” wasn’t their fault.

I tried to not turn around and look at them, but I finally had to give in and check these ladies out. I wasn’t surprised to see that they were all significantly overweight, and that their buggy was filled with nothing but junk food. They looked at me and when sensing some “fat girl solidarity”, they gave me that look of “you agree, right”. And well, yeah, I don’t agree. Sorry.

I am overweight because I ate too much. I chose the crappy food that I ate. No one forced me and as easily as I made bad choices, I could’ve made good ones instead. I am responsible for the predicament that I’m in, and it’s most certainly not the government’s fault. Craziness.

Don’t want to be fat, don’t eat crappy food all the time. Don’t want your kids to dress provocatively, don’t buy them those kinds of clothing. Don’t want to be in debt, stop spending money you don’t have. Don’t want to fail a test, study.

For the love of peaches people, take some responsibility for your own choices. Quit blaming everything that is wrong in your world on everyone else. When things continually don’t get better or don’t go your way, there’s probably a reason. Look inward, and maybe, just maybe you’ll see the problem.

Own your crap. It’ll set you free and help you get to where you need to be going.

And seriously, you’ve got free will to do whatever you choose. Want different – Do different. Period.

This post is part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. If you want to follow along with all of us “challengers”, click on their links below. 

Liam ~ Natasha ~ Zita ~ MagzD ~ Peter ~ Christine ~ Cliff ~ Hethr ~ Tracy