Everybody is Carrying Something

Walking into Burger King, I had a sour face, red, crying eyes.  I barely looked up when the cashier said Good morning.  Without a reply, I ordered my coffee.  In a glance, I could see the young cashier wasn’t looking much better than me.  I handed her some cash and picked up my coffee to walk out, barely uttering “Thanks”.

Once I stepped outside, I felt the warm morning sun on my face and stood for just a minute watching a little yellow butterfly.  Suddenly, I felt a twinge of guilty conscience.  Just a few days ago, I claimed a revelation of “It’s not about me” and yet I just behaved “very ME”.  So, I turned around and walked back inside.  The young cashier asked if something was wrong.  I said, “Yes, I wanted to apologize.  You greeted me with good morning and I did not reply.  I just came back to wish you a good morning and thank you for your kindness.  I hope you have a great day.”  A warm smile broke across her face and she waived as I walked back outside.

Conscience cleared.

When the weight of grief consumes me, sometimes it is difficult to remember others may be carrying weight as well.  Stress, financial worries, relationship woes, loss, fear, chronic pain – everybody is carrying something.  Isn’t it amazing how one kind word can lighten the load a bit?  I think we both feel better.

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The Great Himself

This beautiful Bay is Skipper, but I called him, The Great Himself – TGH.  He crossed rainbow bridge several years ago.  I just know this great horse was waiting on my son and the two are causing mayhem together on the other side.  May I share a precious memory?

One day, my son took TGH on a short trail ride.  The two mischief makers were late returning and I was getting worried.  Then, in the distance, I saw them trotting up the trail together and all appeared well.  As I squinted against the sun, I noticed my son atop TGH with extended arm, carrying the biggest, angriest black snake I have ever seen!  It was wriggling and writhing and hissing, but my son had a tight grip and TGH didn’t seem to mind the snake’s tail rapping his side and legs.  This was a really, really long snake!!

My son exclaimed the snake was in a dangerous place in the road and he wanted to safely relocated his legless friend in woods.  I asked how he  managed to catch the snake and remount the horse and he just laughed and said “Oh Mom!! Ol’ Skip didn’t mind. We guys had this under control!”

I wish I could hear “Oh Mom” just once more.

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Take Two Steps Today

Take two steps everyday, please.  First, every morning, as you look in the mirror, say something kind to you.  Compliment you.  That can be challenging.  When I look in the mirror, I just think – YUCK.  This morning, all I could muster is “Hello me, I like your ear rings.”  That’s OK, because I made the ear rings, so it was something and I do like them.

Second, every day, make it a point to compliment someone else.  Make it a genuine, sincere compliment.  Remember, we are all carrying something, some pain, sorrow, hurt, worry  – something.  Your kind word may be the bright spot of that person’s day.

Maybe, their happy smile will be the bright part of yours.

So take two steps everyday, and a multi-vitamin.  You should probably take one of those too.  Oh, and pet a crittter.  Yep.  That’s healthy.

It’s not about ME!

A huge part of my grief journey has been guilt.  Why am I still here and my child is not?  What did I do wrong?  Am I being punished for my sins?  What did I miss?  I should have done something.  I could have done something.  Why didn’t I do something?

Recently, I was watching a movie, doesn’t really matter which, and one character lamented to another that he didn’t understand WHY things happened.  The older, wiser character responded, “You still don’t get it.  It’s not about you!”

That hit me like a swift kick!  (pause for effect)

It’s not about ME.

My loving GOD would never harm my child to punish me.  HE has HIS plans.  True, I will never understand, but I do trust.  It’s not about ME.  I didn’t cause it.  There was nothing I could do.

It’s not about ME.

Even my grief journey is not solely about me.  Of course, some is ME oriented, but the journey is about healing, discovery – growth, drawing closer to God – it’s about HIM.

This journey is about connecting with others and lifting and encouraging them by sharing without judgement.  It’s about travelling and experiencing and sharing.

Now, when I find myself slipping into the darkness, I shout: “It’s not about ME!”  Then I find someone to help or encourage.  When I focus on lifting up and supporting someone else, I feel comforted – let the healing begin.

Thank you, GOD, for your grace and guidance.

Casualties of Grief

Yes, that is my horse, Tonka, wearing a hula skirt!  Isn’t she lovely?

We would do some silly things, but always enjoyed each other – and the GREAT FATHER’s creation.  When my life was consumed with grief, I turned away from my horse.

I am slowly trying to turn back – back to horses and outdoors and nature – and GOD.  Let me plant a seed with those on this dark journey – PLEASE, hold on to the light, reach out for those things that bring you joy.  Find HIM and find your smile.  You don’t have to feel guilty for smiling.   Don’t let the darkness win.IMG_0362

Pretender

I used to be a genuine, sincere person.  If I liked you, you knew.  If I didn’t like you, you knew.  I made it a policy to be sincere and honest.  OK, like everyone else in the working world that has a mortgage, I feigned “I like and respect you” once in a while, just to keep the paycheck coming.   Even then, I could almost always find something to like about a person or co-worker.  Sometimes it took real effort, but I could find something.

Yes, I would describe myself as emotionally honest.  I got up every day and I chose to be positive, to have a positive, happy attitude and I really did – well, at least 90 % of the time.  Sure, I had my moments, and maybe even days, when I was as pleasant as hemorrhoids, but I mean mostly, I was closer to Pollyanna than Lizzy Borden.

But that was the “BEFORE ME”.  The “AFTER ME” is an emotional LIAR.  Yep, a great, big, fat LIAR!  I am a huge phony baloney.  I am a Pretender.  I get up every day.  I pretend to be OK.  I go to work.  I slap on a pretend smile.  People talk.  I pretend to listen.  I pretend to care.  I pretend to give a sorry, fuzzy, rat’s ass about whatever stupid little grievance that fills their petty little minds.  I pretend the whole damn day and I hate every minute of it.

I pretend to be calm and collected and professional, when every single molecule in my body is screaming in agony – in RAGE!!  Pure RAGE!!  I am mad as hell!  Why did this happen to my son?  How can the world just keep moving on when I am so paralyzed in pain and grief and isolation?  What do these whiny, wretched, worthless people have to bitch about?

While sitting in meetings, I hear screechy little voices ranting about their jobs.  “I had to work 12 hours yesterday!”  “I am just so sick and tired of this place.”  “They expect too much from us and we have to work too hard to keep up.”  I want to gently cup their sour little faces in my hands, lean in closely, softly whisper “shut the hell up you whiny little wretch” and squeeze until their heads pop off!!

Once again, I am a pretender.

But my faith in Father God is not pretend – it is deep, sincere, and strong.  It keeps me going.  I don’t focus on “religion” or rhetoric.  I focus on a relationship with God, a friendship, a love.

That is the journey.

Sister Time

We already know grief is a terrible journey – I pray none of us travel it alone.  Let some one in.  Let the right someone in.

Yesterday, I had Sister Time.  She is not my biological sister, she is my spirit sister.  It is a deep, powerful friendship – over 20 years strong.  She “SEEES” me.  She sees the real me, not the puppet show I put on for the world.  She sees my pain and she can reach into the darkness and drag me out.  She lets me rage, rant, cry – she makes it safe.

Then she always says the right thing.  She gives me a light line.  She never tosses the lame platitudes at me – you, know -you have probably heard them all.

“This too shall pass” or “You will get through this”

There is no “pass” or “through”.  There is just evolving, learning how to find light in the darkness.  It takes effort, but please know, if you are grieving and in pain – there is still LIGHT.  Our GOD still loves us and HIS light is still shining.  Sometimes we need someone to help us find it.  Sometimes we need Sister Time.

 

Stinky brown stick

It has been one of those days – well, the whole week.  Do you ever feel so frustrated, like – no matter how hard you try – you are still left holding the short end of the stinky brown stick?

Well, it has been that kind of week for me.  But you know what I did?  I dropped the stick.  I emotionally dropped the stick.  For the remainder of this day, I declare I will no longer accept responsibility for anything that is outside of my direct control.

Hey, I am on a grief journey, and I know a thing or two about “out of control”.  So I am not going to feel like a failure because something didn’t work out.  I am not going to let anyone belittle or demean me because they failed to plan and I couldn’t work enough magic to make it perfect.

I am not responsible for the actions of others or their outcomes.

Nope.  Not today.

I dropped the stinky brown stick.

Declare your emotional independence!  Next time someone leaves you holding the short end of the stinky brown stick – DROP IT!!