I’m Still Here…

Hey all,

I’m still here in Richmond with my beloved and continue to pray for healing and progress. Progress has come to a halt this week as he has a terrible infection that has affected his good hand and he can’t grasp anything with it. The infection is a pus filled sack on the first knuckle of his right hand and is slowly creeping up his arm. He had to have the hospital ID cut off his wrist today as the swelling is pretty significant. No one seems to know what happened, and with the brain injury he’s dealing with, he can’t really shed any light on what has happened. He’s in terrible pain and it breaks my heart to see him so. With everything else going on, he really doesn’t need this…

Today there was a “gun rally” in Richmond and I stayed as far away from downtown as possible. The media spin on what Virginia is doing is pretty inaccurate as far as the truth of the legislation is written, but no one seems to know how to hold a civil conversation about any type of hot button issue anymore. I am not a gun person, but I honestly have no issue with anyone going through the proper channels to own one of their own. Criminals are always going to find a way to break the law no matter what, and the idea that Gov. Northam is trying to take away anyone’s legally owned guns is spin. Fox News says one thing, MSNBC another, CNN still another… Enough already!!! Common sense gun laws? How about just common sense? Be kind, stop the hate, love your neighbor, and stop all the crap. America really is morally corrupt, be the change this country so desperately needs. Enough about politics.

I’m still here in the same place my heart has lived over the past three months, and I am still broken. The loss of my husband as he was is ever present and I miss hugging him. I miss holding his hand, I miss him driving. I miss the man who I’ve spent my life loving, but I love the man that is. He has the sweetest nature (when he’s not in pain,) he loves me still and we will get through this with each other and our village. I am physically alone here in my room at the Richmond Fisher house, but I am never truly alone. I am loved by my family, my friends, my husband and by my Father. I lean not on my own understanding, because I don’t understand any of this. How is it that the man I love is here, but not? How is it that I can still smile, even with a shattered heart? How is it that I am not bat shit crazy by now? I don’t know the answers, but I do know that I don’t have to know the answers. I have learned over these past three months to take one step at a time. It’s not one day for me, it’s one step. One step is as much as I can handle and one step at a time gets me through the days as well as one day at a time. It’s all the same at the end of the day… I have become more patient in many ways, though I’ve also learned that I have little patience when it comes to things that make no sense. I don’t waste time on that which drags me down, I can’t. I don’t have the mental fortitude for frivolity and bullshit, they serve no purpose. At all.

I’m still here in terms of seeking joy, though I am not as able to find it in every day as I was before my husband’s hospitalization. I look for joy in spite of my pain, it’s a deliberate action. If I fall off the path of seeking joy, I hurt myself more than my life and its trials do. I refuse to give in, and I will not give up. I want to give up at least a hundred times a day, but I will not. I deserve better. I am better. I need to have something good in my life and I am responsible for my joy. No one else is. I flat out refuse to give up. I have been beaten down, rejected, accused of horrible things, tossed out like the most disgusting trash, yet I refuse to give up. Just because other people may treat me like I am less than, it doesn’t make it true. I am a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, a wife, a friend, a neighbor and a woman that still loves with a bruised and battered heart. Those who would seek to malign me would do well to remember that how they treat me (or don’t treat me) is nothing but a reflection of how they feel about themselves. I am not defined by any one other than myself, and my heavenly Father, and because I know this, I am still here.

I’m still here to hopefully encourage even just one person somewhere in this great big world that they matter. I don’t have any answers as to how to make this world a more kind place, I just believe in being the change I wish I could see. I believe in asking if someone needs help. I believe in holding the hand of the person sitting next to me if they need a friend. I believe we are meant to love one another, even when it’s not easy. I believe love means forgiving those that hurt us most. Love doesn’t hurt people, people do that out of pain and hate and anger. Love forgives. I forgive. I move forward against the storms of the past three months and I turn my face to the sun, seeking warmth. I’m still here… and I will be here again tomorrow. Be well, friends. And be the change you want to see, because in that change you will find joy.

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Photo by Manuel Alvarez on Pexels.com

Getting Vertical…

Hey World,

So, I’ve started this blog post without a title and hope to come across it somewhere as I type out my heart’s musings. Today was a decent day, the weather here in Richmond, VA was sunny, cool and a bit breezy. I love when the sun shines in the wintertime, it always feels so good to face the sun, close my eyes, and lift my face towards the warmth it gives. I love soaking in the vitamin D. Winter is my least favorite season, I always get more melancholy and these days, melancholy is not what I need to invite into my life. I have enough on board already.

As I’ve written before, I try to not get religious when I write, so if this post seems too religious for you, please forgive me. I have been to three different church services in the 13 days we’ve been in Richmond, and all three have been quite different. The first was on Christmas Eve, the day after we arrived here. There were easily 600 people in the auditorium, every single one of them a stranger. I cried through the entire service as the pastor spoke about “something missing.” For me that something was, and is, my husband. He was lying in a hospital bed across the city, he was my something missing on Christmas Eve. I still raised my hands in worship, because I was moved to do so. Without my faith, I would become a shell of who I am, and having been that shell just a year ago, I don’t want to go back there. Not ever. The second service I went to was the first Sunday we were in Richmond and I went to the hospital chapel. That service was very different for me as I had never been to a chapel service in a hospital. The chaplain focused on the word “yet.” YET in this storm will we believe? YET in this trial will we hide? YET in this time of our life, we will still trust? My answer to these questions is yes, but that yes is not said with ease, confidence or assurance in self. I have lost so much of myself these past nine weeks since the event that has altered so many lives. Today I went to a church on the northside of Richmond and it was a beautiful blend of traditional and contemporary worship styles, and the congregation is a beautifully diverse group of believers. The pastor is from India, is a Princeton educated man and so humble. He spoke about the blessings we are afforded when we come to Christ with an open heart and mind. He spoke about loving all people, being inclusive as a nation and living peacefully. I cried again when the people in front of me prayed for my beloved husband and again on my way back to the hospital as I thought about how thankful I am that someone invited me to attend. In a city where I know not a single soul, I felt welcomed, safe and filled with the Spirit. It was just what I needed. I felt hopeful, and at this point in my life, hope keeps playing hide and seek with me. I will be seeking hope again next week at this same church and listening for the voice that gives me that hope.

We never know what lurks around the corners of our lives and when things happen that have a catastrophic effect, we usually have no idea how to react to said events. My husband’s stroke has changed our lives, and the lives of so many people, right down into the DNA of who we all are. And were. I miss my husband, yet he is still alive. How can I miss him? How can I not is more the question. We were living the life we had long looked forward to, and now that life is gone. We were simply happy in our little house in South Carolina, we had our beloved grandchildren close by, our daughter and son-in-love, friends and a community that we loved. So much has changed, and so many more changes are ahead. I hear you should never ask God “how much more can I take?” and I believe that wholeheartedly. In just two years we have as a couple endured a separation, a reunion, months of therapy both together and individually. We have lost a daughter and grandchildren. We sold a home and relocated to be closer to our youngest daughter and her family. We bought a home that I actually loved, but I know that’s because we left the spirits of hate and discontent behind us when we sold our home in NC. We were so happy in our new home in SC. I found a job I loved while Steve quit his job and dabbled in the retired life. He was going to go back to work not a week after his stroke and we were both looking forward to making plans for our 40th anniversary (2022.) Now we look forward to completely different things, as he can’t remember the plans we had started for going to Alaska, Ireland and England. Not all at the same time, but we were making plans nonetheless. Now my plans are to find an apartment I can afford, feel safe in, and that isn’t too far from the VA Hospital here in Richmond. MY plans. My husband isn’t able to process the information that so many of us take for granted anymore. I am beyond grateful that he is still alive, but he is not the same. He can’t help me make plans, he can’t process the thoughts it takes to make plans and he can’t enjoy the joys those plans would’ve brought. He may be able to some day, and I pray for that healing every day, but reality is what it is and today, at this moment, he is just not able.

I ache for the life I had just 3 months ago and I want it back more than I want to move forward alone. Moving forward alone is not what I want to do, but it is what I will do. I have many people supporting me, so many people I can call and cry with, or rage with, or just talk, but at the end of the day I go to bed alone, and I wake up tomorrow, still alone. I remind myself over and over and over again that I am never really alone; God is with me. Even when I can’t feel Him, hear Him or see Him, He is there. Without this assurance I would be so much more of a basket case than I am currently. I know that the Lord is watching over me, that He is with my husband and that He is with all of those I love. I miss my family so much, and not being near our daughter and her family is beyond painful. I miss my friends. I miss hanging out at our favorite Mexican restaurant and eating esquites, drinking a margarita and just enjoying each other’s company. I want to watch my youngest grandson run to his Poppy with abandon, not hesitate because Poppy is “different.” We have all lost so much. Our daughter has lost her Daddy, the strongest and most loving Dad she could have asked for. I have lost my husband as he was. My protector, provider, and lover. I want to hug my husband again, and feel him hug me back. I haven’t hugged him fully since October 5th, 2019, and I may never be able to feel him hug me like that again. My mother-in-love has lost her baby boy, but I am ever thankful that he did spend a month with her right before this happened. Time is lost, love is forever different and life holds little joy right now.

I pray that someday, and someday very soon, I regain my positivity and my strength to keep moving forward. I know that there is a reason for this, but I can’t see it through my pain. I don’t really try to. Getting vertical each day is about as much a task as I can handle and I find myself battling with my mind on days where I am determined to stay in bed and feel sorry for myself. Feeling sorry for myself is not going to help in the long run, but damn… I’ve run more marathons in the past 9 weeks than the most experienced runner I know. As I learn more about the human brain and what it can do, I am encouraged. Getting vertical happens because of that encouragement and because I still breathe. Some days that’s all we get… I’ll take it. Tomorrow brings joy as the grands and their parents will be in Richmond, so I’m going to work hard to be fully present in the joy and not dwell on the fact that they have to go home to SC. Some is better than none and I will take a few hours with them over zero.

In closing, I hope that my rambling hasn’t gone on too long. I am trying to “shine brightly” as the name of my blog states, but the clouds are dense and heavy right now…

sea dawn nature sky
Photo by Nuno Obey on Pexels.com

I Didn’t Want to…

Hey all,

I hope this entry finds you all well and recovered from New Year’s Eve if you celebrated with the spirits as I did! I spent New Year’s Eve with some family and friends, taking a much needed break from what has become my life. I had a wonderful time reconnecting with my older brother and his family and am grateful to have had fun.

I am back in Richmond now, sitting in my husband’s hospital room and listening to him softly snore. He has always been a day sleeper, night owl type of person, and it seems no matter how his doctors try and reset his internal rhythms, they don’t succeed. I believe that some things just are and he will ever be thus, one of those people that stay up all night and sleep during the day. No amount of medication, no pleading, no stating facts or bribery will change that. Not even with the damage to his brain. HIs body, his mind and his spirit will always be most energized at night. I mention this because I have come to realize that some things just are, it’s as simple as that. Some things just are…

I didn’t want to move to Richmond. It just is what I had to do. I don’t want my husband to be different, he just is. I don’t want to live alone, I have to. This event has chipped away at the foundation of our lives as we knew them, and in the cracks of those foundations we have to fill them in with something different. Three months ago I would have tried to fill them in with positivity, light and love, but I fear that I am letting hurt, frustration and doubt become filler. I push back against fear everyday, against rage, against doubt. I fail more than I triumph, I crawl more than I walk and I cry more than I smile, but I do meet each day with a grateful heart. My beloved is alive, and for that fact alone I am still thankful. I remind myself many times a day that I could truly be alone now and I am not. I am loved by the man I married, and if that’s all I have moving forward, it’s more than enough, because in that love is all I need. It’s because of that love that we have a daughter that loves us, sons-in-love that add so much to our family, and grandchildren that are the hearts that beat outside our chests. This world would have all of us believing that life is always hard, the world is wrong. Life is hard, of that I have no doubt, but life is beautiful. Life is hard, but life is worth the effort it takes to find the moments of joy that make it worth living. I promised myself awhile back to actively seek joy filled moments every day. Every. Single. Day. I have. There have been days when I haven’t seen, felt or heard joy make itself known, so I am learning, again, that I have to seek it for myself.

I didn’t want to keep being the bearer of bad news for my family, though it seems at times this is all I am. I didn’t want to have to tell my daughter that her Daddy was never going to be the same, that he wouldn’t be able to get down on the floor and play with her babies, or not be able to read to them, throw a ball with them or even watch a Disney movie with them. I know there are people out there that want to hurt others, I am not one of these people. I have never been. I know now that I have to say things that I know will hurt her heart, not out of meanness, but out of love. She is an adult and I know that she knows I am not trying to hurt her. She loves her Daddy, she has a right to know. She also needs to know I am hurting, but that I am trying to move forward in my own life. I hear all the time that I am strong, I really didn’t have a choice but to be. Life changes happen to all of us, regardless of who or what we are, it’s in the aftermath that we learn what we are truly made of.

I didn’t want to see my husband become diminished in the eyes of the world, nor in the eyes of those who know us. He is different, not diminished. He is challenged, not diminished. He is physically weaker, not diminished. He still has a lot to offer, and the greatest thing he has to offer is love. He is fiercely protective as he has always been, he is much more vocal than he has ever been and he is still just as funny. Stroke patients change based on the degree of injury to the brain, and he is vastly changed, not diminished. His changes have affected much change in me as well, I have become quieter, more apt to want to be alone and less trusting. I was already struggling with trust issues when this happened, it now seems the volume is deafening on those issues. Something else to work through.

I’ll end here for today with a grateful heart for the blessing of another day where I am able to see and love my husband. Life is precious, and for those of you reading this that need to be encouraged, know that you are not alone. Life stomps on us, beats us up and leaves us in the dust, but by the grace of God we can get back up and fight back. Keep fighting…

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Humbled

October 20, 2019. This was the last time I took time to write and I’ve missed having the time ever since. Ten days later, on October 30, my beloved husband suffered a catastrophic stroke and he’s  been hospitalized since. As I sit and compose this entry, I am saddened by the turn of events in our lives, but ever grateful that the man I have loved all my life is alive. He’s very different, but he’s alive.

My husband left our home on October 5th to drive to New England to visit one of his brothers that had been in the hospital and I stayed behind in South Carolina. I was working and encouraged him to go without me. His mom is still alive, though elderly, and I thought he may see her as well. He had no restrictions as to returning to SC, so being in New England was all about what he needed, and wanted, to do. The last day I blogged was the same day he called me to tell me he had an excruciating headache for no apparent reason. I begged him to go to an emergency room, and I mean no offense by this, but being that he’s a man, he just blew it off. And again the next day, and the next… you get the picture. He left New England around noon on the 28th of October, drove 1000 miles south, and made it home on the 29th around 10am after getting lost in NYC. That’s a post for another time…

As I read back over what I had started 10 days ago, I know that there is a story to tell. I have since closed up our home in South Carolina, moved to Richmond,Virginia and started over. Again. Seems these past two years have been all about starting over. I’m currently sitting on an Amtrak train heading to Washington, DC to spend time with family, and my beloved husband is back in Richmond at the Polytrauma Center of the Ricmond VA Hospital. He will know I am gone, but he won’t be able to discern for how long. I miss him and I desperately miss the man he was. I feel cheated in many ways, robbed of a future that included us being grandparents together in the most simple of ways. We had planned to be the type of grandparents that took our babies to a zoo, to the beach, to the movies. Now I am a MiMi on my own in all the ways that matter. Two of our four grandchildren are very young, they won’t remember their Poppy later on down the road as he was, just as he is now. He’s unable to walk, his personality is altered and he has no filter when it comes to speaking. He can turn mean in the blink of an eye, rage without cause and is prone to aggression. So much has changed…

I have been told over and over and over again to take care of myself, and I try, but I am consumed by guilt, grief and anger. Guilt because I have the ability to keep living a joy filled life, and I feel terrible for leaving him in a hospital bed. Grief, because the man I love is not the same, and anger… Anger over many things. Why didn’t he go to the doctor when the headaches started? Why didn’t he quit smoking? Why was he so freaking stubborn? Why? Why? Why? So many unanswered questions. I am learning to move forward, though the steps I take can’t even be considered baby. I cry, a lot. I pray constantly and I write. Finally, I write again. Though my original intent was to make this blog positive in nature after surviving the loss of our daughter, I don’t feel very positive right now. I know it’s important to look for the silver lining, I am… I just haven’t found it yet.

I hope those of you reading this will know that I appreciate you and taking the time to read. I am hoping to write regularly again as I am settling in to my new life, the writing and sharing is such a release for me. I hope to not only inspire others, but to encourage others through the pains and trials of life, and share the joys and triumphs along my way.

In closing, please accept my most sincere wishes for a happy and safe start to 2020! May you and yours be blessed and all your dreams come true…

Hunter Holmes McGuire VAMC Richmond, VA

It really is easier to be…

Happy Sunday Morning! I’m supposed to be getting ready for church, and I will, but I just wanted to say a quick hello. I have a busy day planned, and I am so excited to be meeting with my best friend from NC and seeing a movie together. I miss the everydayness of our friendship, and thoroughly appreciate the willingness he shows to meet in the middle and work on keeping our friendship alive. Relationships take work, and care, and patience. When you stop tending them, they’ll die. It’s easier to nurture the relationships that matter to you, even if you feel like the thorns of discontent are poking into your heart at every turn.

It really is easier to be kind. I am a firm believer in kindness, and I try hard to practice it every day. Of course I fail, we all do, but I keep getting up and trying to be kind. I don’t like the way I feel when I am treated as less than, why would I want anyone else to feel that way? Sometimes kindness can take on a mantle that looks and sounds like cruelness from the outside, so if you are prone to jumping to conclusions, or judging, I hope you take some time to understand the situation and persons whom you judge. There is concern shown when somone restrains themselves from lashing out in anger, and that concern is kindness displayed.

It really is easier to be quiet. Just because someone is quiet doesn’t mean they don’t care. Perhaps they feel wounded and need to heal. Perhaps they have something difficult to say and they’re trying to work out how to say the very thing they need to without hurting someone else. Maybe, just maybe, the quiet ones know that what they will say IS going to hurt someone else and they are trying to find a way to minimize pain. Being quiet is not being mean, no matter how others perceive your silence. Staying silent can hurt both yourself and others, but silence is necessary at times.

It really is easier to be forgiving. I love that I have a forgiving nature and can forgive even the most heinous of actions against me and those I love. Forgiving doesn’t mean you forget, it means you realize that someone else has done, said or been something else that you have been hurt by and you choose to be free of the burdens cast upon you by them. Forgiveness is freedom, and freedom is necessary for you to be able to move forward through your life. I forgive the people that have hurt me because holding on to pain, resentment and cruel actions just hurts me, not them. I forgive myself for hurting my beloved family, for hurting strangers with a cross word and for not always making the best decisions. Forgiveness is not a religious moral, it’s a human one, and human beings deserve to be forgiven.

It really is easier to be accountable for yourself. Living authentically is hard enough, and blaming someone else for your unhappiness is the coward’s way out. I am not always happy, but I am responsible for myself and work at seeking joy. I made a rather costly mistake at work this week and didn’t want to own up to it, but I did, and I am. I am also determined to learn from it. Accountability is hard, but as time moves on, it becomes second nature to me. I admit that I have a lot to learn about life still, and I am looking forward to learning more about what makes me, me. I have been defined by events cast upon me by another’s actions, changed to my very core, but I am responsible for how and what I learn from such events. I choose, not someone else, to be who I am and who I become.

It really is easier to build someone up instead of tearing them down. I am very guilty of tearing and shredding my husband’s heart apart, and I am responsible for the rebuilding of the same. Just as he is with me. We are partners in this life by choice, and by decision. Simple, yet beyond complicated. In a world where committment means pretty much nothing anymore, we commit to one another every single day. I cannot imagine my life being spent with a different person, my husband is my person. He is a solid, loyal and fiercely protective man, but he is also giving, patient and loving. I can’t fathom someone else being the Poppy to our grands, it just wouldn’t work. People still choose love, they choose committment, and they choose to work things out. I am ever thankful that the man I have been married to for 37+ years is still my person.

Since I have to go and get ready for the rest of the day, I’ll end here and wish you all the very best of Sunday’s. Live authentically, love yourself and others, and above be kind. Your kindness just may change someone’s life in ways you can’t begin to imagine…

Why would I want to say thank you?

Good morning! It’s a crisp, autumn morning here in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and I am so thankful to take my dog out and not be instantly wrapped in humidity. What a wonderful change! It brings to mind the words that have been rattling around in my head these pat few days and it’s time to get them on the page…

Why would I want to say thank you to someone who has hurt me to the point that the pain blinds me and tears me apart? I would tell this someone thank you for showing me that I am not who or what you seem to think I am. I am grateful you hurt me and gave me the opportunity to learn and grow from the decisions about MY life you made. I am a constant work of progress, strong, broken, and far away from that which you cast upon me with no regard to the long term affects your actions would cause. You taught me that I am not alone, even when I am physically alone. You gave me back the desire to forge a deep and lasting relationship with the God of forgiveness. The God of love. The God of patience. I believe again because of what you did to me, so thank you!

Why would I want to say thank you to someone who feels the only way to “win” is to deny me a relationship with them? I would say thank you because I have finally come to realize that whatever this person thinks of me, it’s not really any of my business. I learned that chasing people isn’t what I want or need to do, it’s not healthy. I mourn the loss of your presence in my life, I finally accept that it is YOUR decision to shut me out. It hurts to know that you are too busy for making time for me, it hurts to wait and wait and wait for a promised response, and it hurts to accept that the response will never come. With that acceptance comes healing, and healing is paramount in the desire to live joyfully.

Why would I want to say thank you to someone who has been so cruel, not only to me, but to others I love? I would say thank you to this person because I see traits in them that I work hard to erase in myself. The cruelty cast upon me isn’t exclusive to me, it has a rippling affect on those whom I love with all my heart. So, thank you for being cruel and showing me that kindness matters so much more than cruelty ever could. Thank you for helping me recognize that cruelty breeds bitterness and that bitterness breeds destruction. I will not allow bitterness to destroy the compassionate heart that beats within my chest.

Why would I want to say thank you to someone who has essentially left me in the dark? I would say thank you because I have learned that the darkness, no matter how dark it gets, or how long it lasts, is only temporary. There is a light at the end of every single dark tunnel, and the sun does rise again after the most tumultous of storms. The darkness you tried to leave me in led me to the most beautiful of lives. Even though I left pieces of myself back there in that dark tunnel, those pieces were left willingly. I left behind the pices of a pride that was much too heavy to carry. I left pieces of the most profound sadness I have ever know. I left pieces of hatred, rage and selfishness as I walked toward the light with the smallest of baby steps. Baby steps eventually led to larger steps, and larger steps to a comfortable stride. Because you tried to leave me in the dark, I walk with confidence. So, thank you!

Why would I want to say thank you to someone who thinks I don’t deserve love? I would say thank you because what you tried to accomplish actually failed. I have found love that is pure, unfettered and given without expectation. Expectations unmet kill love like a wildfire can consume the hills of southern California, and the loving relationships born out of your actions are the firefighters of my heart. I am grateful to you, beyond measure, that you helped me find people that will stand beside me, hold me up when I fall, and celebrate with me when I am filled with joy overflowing!

Why would I want to say thank you to someone who remains stuck in their own life at the precise moment they tried to destroy mine? I would say thank you for teaching me how NOT to be. I have lived a bitter, angry and rage filled life just like everyone else does from time to time, and those negative aspects of being human still rear their ugly heads. When those times visit, I have learned that I do not want to be like you, so thank you for that. I pray for you, I pray that you find peace, and that you let go of the darkness. You will always be on my mind and in my heart, and therefore I will pray that someday you will see the light that shines for you. It’s hard to change course and let go of your pride, I know this to be true. I also know that you can do it if you want it bad enough and are willing to keep moving forward…

One day, someday…

Good Morning! It is my sincere hope that today’s writing makes even just a small difference for someone out there struggling with issues, stress and whatever else people struggle with. Know that you are not alone in any struggle, no matter how lonely you may feel. There are millions of people that have been where you are, and I am one of those millions…

One day, almost 18 months ago, our lives were thrown into a cyclone of pain and disbelief. The reasons why are clearly stated in previous entries, so if you desire more context, please feel free to go back into my blog entries and read. I am reluctant to keep focusing on the past, I don’t need to keep giving up my heart’s healing by looking backwards. What has happened has happened and it’s time for me to let go and let God. I try to not bring my beliefs of God into my blog too often, but suffice it to say that what happened was what needed to happen to bring me back to the knowledge that I am never alone, no matter how lonely I feel. God, as I understand the presence to be, is my source of an inner strength that I can’t begin to explain.

One day, someday, we all fall. We all hurt, get hurt, hurt someone else and we eventually heal if we so desire. I am in a place of healing from wounds so deep, no amount of stitching, of cleaning, of care could come close to healing in a short period of time. This healing I seek, and need, has become a lifelong pursuit of seeking and accepting. I seek joy, I seek peace and I seek love. I accept the loss, the pain and the misplaced feelings of resentment. Acceptance brings the things I seek. Acceptance brings joy, acceptance brings healing and most of all, acceptance brings me the ability to love freely again. I will always hurt, but I will always seek healing for that hurt. No one has the right to steal anything from you; not your joy, not your peace and certainly not your love. When someone tries to steal these things from us, we become bitter, angry and close-minded. I am not going to live that kind of life…

One day, someday, I want to stand on a stage somewhere and share my story. All of it. From the sexual abuse experienced in my childhood, to the loss of our daughter, and all of the in between. I’m not famous, I don’t claim to be an expert of anything, I am actually just a woman who loves her husband, loves her remaining child, and loves humanity. I love the people in my life and I feel great empathy for those who suffer needlessly at the hands of others. I have hurt others and I apologize to them for that. I am kind, I am brave and I am loved. I’ve always been told that I am a bad influence, that I belong at the end of the line, and to this I call BS!!! Heck, just two days ago, someone told one of my coworkers that I “look” mean. Really? Is that because I have short hair? Tattoos? Glasses? Talk about judging a book by its’ cover! I am not mean, but I don’t have anything to prove to someone who instantaneously judges me based on looks. I could speak up and confront this person, but I choose to take the high road and show them that I am not who they judge me to be.

One day, someday, I too will be gone from this life and the legacy I leave behind will cease to matter. I don’t want to be remembered because of the painful times, I would like to be remembered for my willingness to forgive, for the heart that sought to love and for the ability to accept myself and others for who we are. Who we truly are. Authenticity is not easy to portray, achieve or share, but it is possible. Being strong doesn’t mean being hard, great strength is born out the most debilitating weaknesses, and I grow stronger every single day. I still fade from time to time, but I am never not going to seek strength throughout the remainder of this life I have been given…