Tag Archives: loss

Just An Observation

Hedy Lamarr, 1940s

I’ve been an observer all my life. Often it feels like there’s a thin veil that separates me from the real world. Through this veil though, I can see more clearly than those who are standing on the other side. It has been the single best thing about being me, and the single worst. Its made me feel like an outsider, and yet, on a broader scale, it’s allowed me to feel more in touch with the world; to see beyond the illusion of day to day life. A true double-edged sword.

Today while walking back from the market, my sack filled with the essentials: salsa, craft beer and Panda Puff cereal, I noticed the vibrancy of the grass, I breathed deep the smell of green. I watched a Monarch butterfly flit across my path. I noticed the root that poked itself precariously above the sandy ground, and wondered to which tree it belonged. And upon entering my home I smelled the fresh cucumbers resting on the counter, and was instantly transported to when I was young, and our home smelled of cucumbers and my mom’s fried chicken. No one knew how to fill a house with the smell of good food better than my mother. 

My life has been spent in observation. It’s made me a better writer; noticing the nuances help to paint a better picture. The way Radio Shack tech smelled. The peculiar cool chill that used to fill the air on a July 4th night in northern Michigan while waiting for fireworks to light the sky. The way a friends’ face lights up when they see you arrive. The way people often move like ants in a busy downtown. The comforting sound of an airplane flying in the distance.

I also have, and do, observe things that make my heart ache. We all have. Some feel it deeper. But, we all feel it. My youth was filled with things I didn’t want to observe. Feelings I didn’t want to feel. Many of those things have taken decades to unwind. But also too, they’ve helped me to develop a part of myself, an emotional muscle that has allowed me to go deeper – even during the worst of it. When I think back to an alcoholic father, I could see solely what rested on the surface. Please know, the surface provided more than enough to absorb. But, with time, I’ve come to see the man behind those eyes. The one that only wanted peace. I loved that man. He was a good human.

My son is a cancer survivor. There were moments, the residual of which, I still feel to this day like the light stickiness of humidity on a hot day. But also too, I remember his first words after brain surgery. I remember how the high arch of his eyebrow when listening intently remained even when he had to practice walking again. I remember too, how the birds chirped outside the hospital even when I didn’t know if he would live.

Life is tricky. It’s filled with everything, always. The true dichotomy of human existence. The good, the bad and everything in between. I used to rail against God for having ushered onto my existence so much bad. When your world crumbles, it’s hard not to. And yet, once the dust settled, the Universe spoke – as it always does – and it was shown to me that there was something else for me to see. I can’t say I always liked what I had to see. I didn’t always understand what I had to see. But I knew enough to allow in a different interpretation. And within that, I found peace. 

On that note dear reader, I want to say, that it is my deepest hope and intent, that you find peace with whatever it is that you see. And if you don’t, if you can’t, give it time. Look away for awhile. Notice the butterfly. Notice the green. Sometimes Life speaks to us only when we stop looking at what’s in front of us.

Sane

Good Grief

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I woke today missing my mother so deeply I cried. And the tears seemed to cascade into every piece within me that feels broken, abandoned and utterly exhausted. I’m not sure if a soul can suffer from exhaustion. But there are times when mine feels so tired that I’m convinced it can.

Grief has a funny way of changing one’s life. Just the thought of losing someone can unearth within us things of which we weren’t even aware. Losing someone outright, well dear reader, that offers its own path of discovery. And from what I can tell the only way to get to the other side of grief, is by grieving. I come from a long line of people who hardened themselves against expansive emotions. Either by way of pure stoic strength or numbing themselves with alcohol, we didn’t show much emotion. God forbid we admit such a thing as crying, as it surely meant we were falling apart. When, in the case of what I’m feeling today, perhaps I’m falling together.

Emotion is meant to be felt; to point to an important part within ourselves. Sometimes emotion points to bits and pieces within us that need to be gathered up and mended. Sometimes it points to gifts that were meant to be cultivated and shared with the world. Whether pointing out our fears or pointing out our joys, either way, emotions are very much like our own internal GPS system meant to navigate us along our Divine path.

Its only been four months since losing my mother. And during those months I often found myself wishing life would give me a Get Out Of Jail Free card; something I could pull out and use to remind everyone that within me rests a heart that is hurting; one where a low-level dull ache has taken up residency. And behind every emotion I feel, both the good and the not so good, rests this ache. So tread lightly. But life doesn’t seem to offer such a thing. Instead, I feel like I’m pressed to keep offering my very best, to stand in the line of fire, to tip toe onto the farthest precipices of faith – all while feeling I’m only partially as whole as I use to be.

During the times when I am able to allow grief to do what it needs to do, I’ve taken note of the emotions that have surfaced. Some are more ugly than I’d like. There has been a fair share of the why me’s? Haven’t I endured enough? All the typical self-centered utterances of ego. Then there are the emotions that sit closer to my core. The one’s where I simply feel the emptiness of never being held by my mom, again, or the flash of penetrating loss when I go to send her a text to share a moment I know she’d enjoy – but realize I can’t.

I feel tired, dear reader. I feel as though I’m being pushed beyond my limits as of late. And grieving is only adding to the push. Then the soft voice of Spirit whispers within me. Yes, I know it feels that way, dear child. And, in many ways you are right, you are being pushed. You are growing. You are expanding into a more authentic version of yourself. A version that is ever more closely aligned with me. Stay strong. Don’t give up. It will all make sense in time. But know this, my child, the grieving is allowing you to open spaces within yourself that wouldn’t be opened otherwise. And your mother is helping you to do that.

So I cry some more. Most of all, I allow myself to cry. Why it is we humans get so wrapped up in prohibiting ourselves from feeling all that we need and are intended to feel, I don’t know. But we do. So today, dear reader, if you feel any of these things that I’ve shared with you, know that you are not alone. And what Spirit said to me, it is also saying to you. Don’t resist the emotion that pushes you from deep within. It is there to help you take notice of something. We are here to grow, to expand and express and experience. Emotion is often the very thing that helps us navigate that expansion. There is a teaching voice behind every emotion. What is it saying? Either it points to what has been holding us back, or it points to what will help move us forward. So don’t smother it. Listen and explore it.

Sane

My Mother. My Safe Space.

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The Young Writer, Awards Night with Mom.

I remember one time in middle school having to call home. I can’t recall my reason. Complaints of illness, perhaps. My father was in the hospital a lot during that time; his body shutting down due to his advanced alcoholism. I mustered all the courage I could find to make my way to the office to express my needs. An anxiety-inducing task for this shy, young girl, in and of itself. But the office secretary required me to call and talk to my mother, directly. As soon as I heard her voice, on the other end, I cried. There’s just something about my mother’s voice that cuts to the core of me, and exposes my heart wide.

Most likely because my soul knew that with her, I was safe. Safety can do that to a person. The ego, which so often tells us how hardened we must be due to this world, has a difficult time convincing us of the same when it comes to certain safe people.

After rushing my son to the hospital due to his brain tumor, it was my mother who again provided this safe space in my hotel room each night. Not my husband. My mother. She sat quiet while I railed against God for coming after my son. She sat quiet while I wept afterward, asking forgiveness for all the harsh words I had just spoken. Her silence wasn’t judgmental. She did one of the most giving things one can do for another, she allowed me to work through my emotions while holding me in the safe space of Love and Light.

I went through a rather hard time at the conclusion of this last year. One that pushed me not only to the edge of my physical being, but more importantly, one that made me question myself as a spiritual guide. It was she that I called. And as soon as I heard her voice I cried.

My tears have always been safe with my mother. I am so grateful for her.

Dear reader, people matter. People are one of the most significant, magical, loving ways through which Spirit works with us, and for us. I lost my mother the other night. It was unexpected. I didn’t get to say goodbye.

While racing to the hospital I spoke directly to her spirit. Oh dear reader don’t think for a second that the little girl in me didn’t want to beg her to stay. It did. But my own soul wouldn’t let me be selfish. Instead, it pushed me to operate from a place of love. So I told my mother that if she wanted to stay that the Heavens would support her. But if she wanted to go, I understood. It was okay. I wouldn’t hold it against her. Within seconds of my words entering the air around me, my mother’s presence entered my Jeep, and settle onto the passenger seat beside me. At first I felt my body resist, as if I could push against, and thus change reality. Then I softly broke, and felt her riding along next to me. I knew.

And now I find myself bouncing between the world of extremes. My physical, emotional and spiritual being wanting only to feel her dainty arms wrapped around me, once again. And the world that demands that I discuss how to handle her passing, often using terms so technical I have to remind myself they are actually talking about my mother.

When I left the hospital, the other night, I told her that I wasn’t strong enough for this, not yet. She returned to the passenger seat, cigarette in hand, as it usually was, and said, “Yes you are.” She never really did mince words. The majority of who I am agrees with her. The small child in me needs time. But the all of me sees the love, knows the love and feels the love. And the all of me is so very grateful that I was given this beautiful, feisty, little Indian scout as a mother. She pulled me through so many rough times. She held me like no other. She loved me like no other. She was like no other. I hope I blessed her life as much as she blessed mine.

Sane

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

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A close friend of mine looked at me last night. After giving me a long stare she said, “You do protect your heart, don’t you.” She was painfully correct. And that painful truth made me think about my beloved friend.

Loss causes one to reflect. Sadness has the ability to mute the world, heightening the sound of one’s inner voice. I’ve gone through quite a series of emotions over this past week. Even anger ventured in. I wanted the chance to slam my fist against my friend’s broad chest, and scream at him for not believing in himself. I’ve wept. But most often I found myself staring off. My face holding the expression of a porcelain doll, not quite smiling, and not quite frowning. At times I all I can do still, is hold my hand against my chest in an attempt to snuff out the pain. After it lessens, off I stare again.

The human mind can be one’s ally and it can be one’s foe. The mind can harness the creative genius that saves humanity from famine, plague and disaster. The mind can be the portal for a passion that surges from the spirit and onto the page, canvas or screen. But so too can the mind be the all mighty barrier to all that we are meant to be. The voice of fear echoes with a sinister tone inside the mind that is numb to the movements of the soul. I know, I once was terribly numb.

Since I was a young girl I struggled to believe in myself. My early years were filled with upheaval and fright. I ran away over and over again. Rarely did I do so with my feet. No, I ran inside. I huddled down inside my inner being and listened to the voice of my fears. I knew that voice so well it became familiar. Eventually, that voice transformed into the chorus of depression that accompanied me on and off throughout my adult life. Rarely did I want to step too far into my dreams, desires, joy or that vulnerable space of allowing my heart to be loved. Fear told me I would fail. And because the din of fear was always louder than any other voice I knew, I listened. It was only after I broke open that I understood how to hear the voice of my soul. It may not be louder. But its always the voice of love. Fear tries to hold us down. Love tries to set us free.

As I sit and look off into the distance, I allow myself the graciousness to acknowledge how far I’ve come. I hit bottom one day due to depression. It was my, make or break, moment. I broke into a thousand pieces that day. Then I took my broken self, and began to write. Within weeks I began my life’s work. Yet even with all this, a tear forms in my eye as I hold one particular part of myself into the light and realize how far I’ve yet to go. For a time I had a beautiful soul in my life that wanted more than anything to hold my heart. I tried. I gave more than I’ve ever given. If I had it to do over, the scared little girl who fled inside herself due to the fear of her debilitating home life would come out of hiding. Oh yes, in many, many ways I’ve come a long way. I know the soul. My life is the work of the soul. But for me, dear reader, it seems the final frontier is to learn how to give my heart. This was shown to me. Easier for me to care for another, than to allow them to care for me.

Fear is the dark space of the mind. But the darkness is what summons the light. One follows the other. It’s the cycle of life and it is the cycle of our soul’s evolving. So with that, I may not have it to do over, but I can shine the light on this part of myself and see it for what it is.

I do hope that these words have helped to shine a light on you, dear reader. You are more precious to me than you know. Don’t damn your mind, even when its fear-filled. Just keep shifting the light. Fear is a tool, it’s never your guide.

Sane