You are NOT alone

Over the past few days I have been again, contemplating life and the complexities of it.
Death is so hard and so brutal and so raw that it makes us take a look at everything and examine things with a fine tooth comb.  Am I worthy?  Am I going to be able to go forward?  Am I alone now? Am I just feeling this because this is what I am supposed to feel when there is loss?  Am I going to recover?  Am I willing to recover? Am I the person I want to be today; the person that I was before?

After the loss of another family member, I find myself looking at things again. Recollecting the past, pondering in the present and contemplating the future.  Mostly, I have been looking back into my past.  Can I really do that?  I'm not sure but some days I wish there was a window that you could open up and all the past memories and feelings and smells and experiences would be categorized for you into groups that you could choose from and re-experience them again.  Wouldn't that be fabulous?  We could take steps back into time at a whim and marvel and dance and sing and laugh and re-cherish those memories whenever we wanted.

Di's passing made me want to reach out and grab everything that I could that I had that was Di-related.  I wanted to never forget her, forget the things that she stood for and the things that she liked and loved and wished for.

I spent some time last night talking with my grandmother who told me she is feeling lonely.  She is the only surviving sibling in her immediate family since the loss of her brother just last week.  A kind soul, a giving soul, a soul that emulated live and happiness and lived with gusto.  As a child, the times spent with my great uncle are etched in my memory.  He loved to go bowling and take vacations and spend time with family.  He had an infectious laugh and when he smiled his eyes seemed to be twinkling.  I cannot ever remember a time when he was not happy or smiling about something; except when Nancy died.  I think a little part of him died when she died.  We all lost a little part of ourselves when Nancy died.

Melvin, my grandmother's brother passed away quickly and with no indication of any health problems.  My grandmother told me that she feels alone and it broke my heart to hear those words from her.  I wanted to go to her and embrace her and tell her that she is not alone by any stretch of the imagination.  She has 15 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and 7 children of her own that love her so very much and wish happiness for her and do not ever want her to feel like she is alone. 

 Feelings of alone-ness and unworthiness are the underlying affects of what we feel when there is nothing that we can do to make things right again or fix things back to the way that they were.  I know that Melvin would have never wanted his sister to feel alone.  I do not want her to ever feel this way either. 
We are really not alone.


Birthday Girl 10.16.2010

Happy Birthday to 'my girl' Di
Cancer took you away from us all
Your memory burns bright in my soul
I cherish the honor bestowed upon me to be your friend

Time moves too quickly once we've lost someone...can we go back to last year?  I really need a Di hug today...

I have a little yellow sticky note that has sat taped to my computer monitor for a year and three days now; I put it up there last year not because I would forget Di's birthday, but as a reminder to me to buy her a birthday card.  I've found that the older I get the harder it is for me to remember to do certain things at certain times and I need those visual cues to remind me.  That was last year; this is this year; one year and three days later and that little yellow sticky note is still there taped to the side of my monitor.  I can't take it down, it's too late, I can't crumble it up and toss it, I can't NOT see it everyday and I can't process in my mind today that I missed doing something that I have done for so many years - buy a birthday card for Di.  That hurts and the idea of even entering a card aisle just breaks my heart.  Last year when I went shopping for Di's card I just had a feeling that something wasn't right.  I looked at all the funny cards, the serious cards, the stupid cards and when I finally found 'the one' I remember holding it in my hands and running my fingers over the raised lettering of the words happy birthday and then I completely lost it in the Hallmark aisle and began crying.  I had an overblown attack emotionally and something inside me told me that this was the last birthday card I would buy for Di.  I had never in all of the years that Di struggled with cancer EVER had that feeling of loss.    It's something that still haunts me today.  I even went home and called Di just to chat; I think I called her to ease my mind of wandering any further...and she was fine...she sounded tired but she was good, she told me so when I outright asked her.  I can remember her saying "I'm good, Cath".  I could breathe and function and move forward after I hung up the phone knowing that I would see her in a couple of days when I stopped by to wish her a happy birthday...the last birthday.........ever


Connecting The Dots...Making Sense of It All...

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.
   -- Steve Jobs

Connecting the dots and making sense of it all seems like a daunting task; one that requires work and diligence and commitment.  I can look backward in my mind and find all my dots and see all of the times that I made the "connections" with my life through friends and love and experiences.  When we do something or say something, we trust that what we do or say will be heard and will be correct and at the time; I think that we just trust that what we do or say will take us further and hence, connect the dots to our future. 
Trusting in your gut and your emotions puts a high price on what the return will be, but it's the trust part that we have to depend upon to be true and correct; that everything will work out in the long run...or at least we hope it will work out...

All of us depend to an extent on trust even if we don't believe it or not. 
We all trust that people are going to stop at the red traffic light, we trust that our job will be there for us tomorrow, we trust that we will be happy with a good home cooked meal and companionship, we trust that God has a plan and we are part of it, we trust that our neighbors will help us when we need it, we trust that our friends will be there for us, we trust that our soul mate or husband or wife will not leave us, we trust that our car will start everyday, we trust that our home will be safe from intruders, we trust that our children and our animals will remain healthy and happy and live long lives and we trust that our friends and family will outlive us so that we do not have to shelter the burden of their loss alone; without them.

In my opinion, this is wrong.
We all tend to be selfish when it comes to trust  and we "trust" that trust will be there for us tomorrow and all of the times that we truly need it.  But really, it can't be there for us all of the time, can it?
We wish upon a star, but do we allow for the time needed when that star is not there?  Or do we think about the time it took for that star to be born?  Do we look past the twinkling and really wonder why we are here and where we are going?  That's trust and so many of us just allow it be the catalyst for what is to come, what is to be, what is to happen. What we think it should be for US.
Can we really live our lives and do this?
Can we "trust" that the stars will be up above and the soft grass below wriggling between our toes?
I can't answer that and it brings pain to my heart.  To my life.  To my relationship with my God and my feelings and my thoughts and I wonder why on earth is this life that I'm living so different today than it was yesterday and could I have made changes that would dictate where I was today if I had changed one thing yesterday or last year on October 15, 2010?

It all boils down to if I could change the world, re-connect the dots and make them all appear in perfect alignment, turn back the clock to last year could I have made some type of distinction and known that one year later things would be so different?

If I only had a crystal ball, maybe tonight I would peer into it and see that things really are not that bad, the dots are starting to connect for me on the good days and inside my crystal ball I can see a redhead inside a little heart shaped box who is grinning ear to ear.


Gratitude and Struggles

Sometimes we think of gratitude as a thank you or as a offer of thanks for something.
      It’s being grateful and thankful and interpretive and forever indebted.
      Some people experience  and give gratitude more than others.

Wikipedia defines Gratitude as:
“An emotion that occurs after people receive help, depending on how they interpret the situation. Specifically, gratitude is experienced if people perceive the help they receive as (a) valuable to them, (b) costly to their benefactor, and (c) given by the benefactor with benevolent intentions (rather than ulterior motives)”.

Of the many emotions such as affection, compassion, euphoria, hope, inspiration, kindness, love, sadness, optimism, and patience ….. they force us to delve into the past, present and future at both opportune and inopportune times in our lives.
Lately I have been having a problem finding my gratitude and gratefulness in my everyday life and in my future.  I know I should be grateful for my health, my love in my life and so many of the other things in my daily life that I take for granted. Lately it has been hard. I feel lost and frustrated and mad and angry at what life has offered up to me and what it has left me with since Di passed.  I don't have the "connections" with Di that kept me keeping on anymore and I've displaced my feelings into a small box that I just want to throw into the ocean and let the tide carry away.

Di's birthday is coming up very soon and it is taking everything in my soul and my being to not turn my back on the future and focus on the past; the past I had shared with Di and the memories that we made; those are what I am grateful for.  Struggling with not having her here to hug and bring a birthday card to is taking a toll on my feelings and my actions.  I miss her and I will miss her everyday and every year and every holiday and every moment that I turn my head and think a thought in my mind...that I so want to share with her.  Not anymore, never again will I be able to laugh with her or hear her laugh that tickled my inner soul.  

So, I'm looking for ways to bring the gratitude back into my life....
I found this awesome article Ways To Find Gratitute



John Denver Oct 12, 1997 - 2010

I can almost remember the day like it was yesterday.
Di and I were studying for an abnormal psych exam in the dining room of Patty's house and in the background we had music playing and then the news came on and said that John Denver had died in a plane crash.  The two of us just looked at one another, unable to speak. We were both in shock.

We had that connection of Country Roads and Annie's Song and Rocky Mountain High.

Too soon, too sad and what a loss.
Now it's years later and today I listened to JD and recollected on that afternoon I spent with Di, remembering the important parts of my life, the days and dates that mark and put a tick in our memory and resonate forever. 


1 a Minute

Every 69 seconds, somewhere in the world, a woman dies of breast cancer. NCM Fathom and UniGlobe Entertainment have partnered to offer breast cancer survivors and supporters a moving and inspirational docu-drama, 1 a Minute, a LIVE One night event in over 500 theaters nationwide on October 6, 2010.

Written, produced and directed by Indo-American actress and breast cancer survivor Namrata Singh Gujral of Americanizing Shelley and Kaante and narrated by Kelly McGillis from Top Gun, 1 a Minute features a group of international superstar breast cancer survivors, including Olivia Newton-John, Melissa Etheridge and many others.


Mortality and all it's confusion


"We should think more about it, and accustom ourselves to the thought of death. We can't allow the fear of death to creep up on us unexpectedly. We have to make the fear familiar, and one way is to write about it. I don't think writing and thinking about death is characteristic only of old men. I think that if people began thinking about death sooner, they'd make fewer foolish mistakes."


I don’t ever want time to pass by without recounting its importance.
Time ticks on the clock as hours, minutes and seconds race by us everyday.

Everything we say and do is an important milestone in our trek across the great divide of life.

People form the basis of our lives, our relationships, our contacts, and our foundation of whether it's important to get out of bed each morning and function or just lie there and stare at the ceiling hoping time will replay itself and everything will go away. Those people in our lives sometimes are the catalysts that compel us to move forward, move on, move away or just plain move.

It’s like building a house, you need your foundation to be strong to support your building for many years and a relationship is so similar to this type of infrastructure.

When speaking of mortality as humans we tend to get mushy and nostalgic and our emotions run high and sometimes overtake our actions. In the fairy tales that were read to us as children, nothing bad really ever happens, the prince gets the girl, the shoe fits and all evil doers are banished from kingdoms. Not such the case in real life. In real life, people hardly ever get what they want unless they win the lottery and then they blow all their money and end up homeless and penniless, our shoes are always tight, and the evil doers and crooks and thieves always tend to get off with just the slap of the hand.

I’m the glass is always half-empty girl, the pessimist, the one that is trying to look around the corner to see what bad things are coming my way. I find it hard to find the “good” in things sometimes…

Di always looked at the positive side; she found the “spin” to make those bad things at least manageable and she did it while smiling. She did it for those around her, those that she loved because it was the way that she operated.

What is the difference and distinction between fictitious and factual and good and malevolent and moral and immoral? Is it the realization that we have lived to the fullest extent of our human life in preparation for the next level. What is the next level or next great feat that we must prepare for in terms of human understanding? Or is it the justification that our time has come, our body is tired and worn and decrepit? What is the justification, the pay off, that one final, last dance?

For everything and everyone there is a season (I think this was a song from the 70’s proclaiming this prophecy and also proclaiming that for everything and everyone there is a reason - Di would know the name of it I'm sure). Why do we force the reasoning of others and ourselves into the thoughts of ourselves and others? Would we live much more peaceful if there were never forced thoughts or forced consequences for our actions? Or would we falter and unwillingly turn the other cheek and just move on and miss out on a part of our memories?

I remember taking philosophy so many years ago and talking with Di about the reasoning and whys and why not’s of why we all philosophically “do” something. Her answer was always close to what I knew it would be; the same answer I always came up with too….”everything happens for a reason, Cath”.
I have lived my life for as long as I can remember like a locked person in a glass house peering out, watching, waiting and wondering when my break out would happen. I was sheltered and kept a prisoner in my own home after Nancy died. I would tour the dark halls at night alone peering into the shrine of my beloved sister that held pristine sheets you could bounce a quarter off, windows decorated with cotton- candy- colored frilly curtains freshly pressed and cleaned weekly. Her bed was lined from top to bottom with her stuffed animals, her dolls and her jewelry box with the little ballerina ready at a whim to dance all sat perched above the bed on a shelf. In her closet, the bar had been lowered to her height and it was lined with dresses and shoes with black buckles and purses hanging in wait for the next great adventure. It smelled so fresh in the closet; her clothes were washed more than once a week and still smelled like fabric softener. The Candy Land game sat alone on top of her bureau and all of her brightly colored beads were hanging from the bedpost finials of her tiny white washed twin bed posts. Her sunbonnet was perched on her pillow just waiting for her to snatch it up and plop it on her head. No one had lived in that room for months but it was the same as it was the day that she left for good to visit the hospital and it remained that way for years.

I found a wonderful quote from Morrie Schwartz, in the book that Mitch Albom wrote about his experience with Morrie in his Tuesday’s with Morrie book that really sums it all up; life, death, mortality…

It's natural to die. The fact that we make such a big hullabaloo over it all is because we don't see ourselves as part of nature. We think because we're human we're something above nature. We're not. Everything that gets born, dies. Do you accept that?

All right. Now here's the payoff. Here is how we are different from those wonderful plants and animals. As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live on--in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here.

Death ends a life, not a relationship.

Well said......
Good thoughts your way - everyday for an eternity and longer.

The people we meet form the foundation of our lives that when built upon allow us to bloom and blossom in ways that we never would have anticipated.