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…

Time? Time. Time…

Hey,

I’ve spent the last few days really focused on how much time the concept of time takes up so much time when we allow ourselves to focus on it… Let me explain. Remember, this is my own concept of time, but it feels like I am supposed to share what’s been rolling around in my head lately.

I woke up at 4:22am yesterday, October 1st, and was sitting up in my bed reaching out for our oldest daughter. Arms wide open, tears flowing and longing showing on my face from my broken heart. I wouldn’t even consider trying to go back to sleep as I thought I might go right back into the same dream. My shattered heart has been through enough, don’t you think? The look on her face was one of scorn, like she was mocking me because I couldn’t reach her. I didn’t want to try. It made me so sad to know that even in my sleep she can still affect me so. I got up and tried to shake the uncomfortable feeling that no matter how much time passes, she will always have some type of control in my life. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I don’t know how to make that stop. Time? Not yet. I know it’s only been 16+ months since she left us, but isn’t time supposed to be the great healer?

Time. I measure so much of my life by certain dates, just like the rest of the human race, and I wish I could stop. April 16, the day my Daddy died (2000.) That same date is my brother-in-love and sister-in-love’s anniversary (1983.) It’s also my nephew’s birthday. It was the day after my in-laws married (1950.) The day after tax day here in the U.S. Not a day goes by where there isn’t some memory invoked by the thought of time passing. Or a date. Or the time of year. So much thought of time.There’s so much time I wish I could get back, and/or change, but the thing about time is once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. As I age I know that the majority of my life is now behind me and I can’t go back and get a do over. I wish I could… I would marry the same man, we would still have children, but would we have parented the same way? I think probably yes. Time has shown me some things I wouldn’t try to change, and being a mom is one of those things. I was and am a good mom, I am not the evil incarnate time had created in our daughter’s mind. I have never been the monster she made me out to be, it would have taken too much time to become so. I loved her, so much. Time hasn’t changed that fact, it never will.

Time… I watch it fly by as I watch my youngest two grandchildren grow like time is standing still. I wish it would sometimes. There is so much time wasted in the in between moments of life, and then when you glance over the proverbial shoulder, you see where you could have snatched precious moments and made a memory or two. Our family mantra has become “Some is better than none,” and it’s so true. I’ll take 45 minutes sharing a meal with dear friends we haven’t seen in over a year than no time at all. I’d make the 7 hour round trip drive in a day to spend two hours with my precious grandchildren in NC, even if I only had a day’s notice. I’d give almost anything to have another day with my dad.. Time… By far the most precious gift the universe grants us and by far the least appreciated gift of all.

In closing, I hope this blog entry gives you reason to appreciate the gift of time, even if the time given has been a struggle in survival. The struggle brings a greater understanding of the need for appreciation in the first place. Be well, dear hearts and find some time to enjoy just for yourself, you are worthy of it!

Until next time…

Accept the things to which fate binds you…

Hi,

The title of tonight’s blog is a partial quote by Marcus Aurelius, and I saw it at the end of a movie my husband was watching when I got home from work this evening. It gave me something to think about and kind of tied my thoughts together in a weird sort of way. Let me explain…

I have fought so hard these past 17 months against the loss of not only our daughter, but against the loss of our son-in-love, grandson and granddaughter. I realized this morning sitting in my car in the parking lot at my job that I was and am fighting against that over which I have no control. I am done. Done. Done giving away parts of myself in the most minute of ways to where no one else can see what it costs me to keep hurting. I am done giving away any part of my heart to anyone other than those to whom I choose to give it to. I will always love the little girl I gave birth to and mourn the woman we lost almost 35 years later, though as far giving away any more contol… Done. I have to be. It’s time to accept the things to which fate has bound me, and the loss of our daughter is one of those things.

Fate has also bound me to accepting pain. Crushing pain. I’m okay with this as I know the pain I experience has been, can be and will be able to help another parent somewhere come to grips with the cruelty of being thrown away. Or of being accused, however falsely, of terrible acts against their own child. All I can say to another hurting parent is to remember that the burden of proof lies with the child doing the throwing away. It sounds simple. In essence it is simple. In reality, it’s anything but simple. Anything but easy. It’s a tough pill to swallow. A bitter tonic to drink. No matter the metaphor used, being thrown away by a child that you created and nurtured is cruel, mean, and very often without grounding. My husband and I were not perfect parents, but we were and are damned good ones. I cannot change that which fate has bound us to, but I can rise above it all and hold my head high knowing that I tried my best to be a good and loving mommy to both my little girls.

Fate has shown me that love isn’t enough for some people, but that it is enough for me. I have wonderful friends and the most amazing family that any plain and ordinary person could hope for. My husband of almost 38 years loves me. Me. The unlovable monster that has been accused of heinous things. I am not a monster. I am not evil. I am not unkind. What am I? I am broken. I am shattered. I am loved. I love. I have friends that know the darkness that I find myself in at times, and they shine a light into that darkenss so I can find my way out. Fate would try and have me accept the things of which I have been accused, and this is where I mock fate. I know better. Sorry fate…

I accept that fate has been a powerful and exacting teacher in my life, though I struggle with such an admission. Why would fate choose such a life for any mother? Father? Sister? My place is not to question why, but to figure out how to keep moving on. I am only responsible for what I do. How I act. What I say. I’ve learned that no matter how hard I try to turn the other cheek, it takes more strength than I myself possess. I don’t try to stand alone anymore, I’m not strong enough to do so. I lean on my husband, my friends, my faith and my family. I am but one, and it takes a village…

So, in closing, remember that Marcus Aurelius was a very wise man. We have to accept that to which fate binds us. We can push back against it, we can fight it with everything inside of us and we can turn and run… It won’t matter. Fate is what it is and we learn from it or let it take from us. I have nothing left to give Fate, I accept this.

Goodnight…

Where did she go?

Hello,

Yesterday I found a box of photos in our laundry room that hadn’t been opened since we moved into this current home. For 362 days, this box sat on a shelf and contained within its cardboard walls were pictures of the little girl that once loved us. The little girl that was a big sister and loved her little sister. Where did she go? Why did she go? I was tempted to throw some of the photos in the burn barrel, but then realized that the memories invoked by these pictures were actually good. We did have good years with our oldest daughter, and those memories haven’t been tarnished by the hatred and cruelty we have experienced because of her. I am not throwing those away, or burning them, they are a part of a life that was, and I want to remember that.

When does the heartbreak end? As far as I can tell, it doesn’t, but it does dull. It also comes back with a vengeance when you least expect it. Today was such a day for me. I talked with a trusted friend that has much more knowledge of mental illness and she tried to help me understand that our daughter left us long before she actually did. Mental Illness doesn’t care about how much you love someone, or how much damage it does to the individual battling it, it ravages and steals and kills all kinds of connections. I used to believe that somwhere within our daughter’s heart and spirit there had to be something left that would make her seek to heal her wounds and forgive, but that’s not a possibility now. I have to accept this. I just have to.

How is it possible that one person could control so much without a single person giving up control? I believe the demons she fought within her mind are what caused the irreparable damage that our family now lives with. Broken relationships, secrets, lies and abuse are the leftovers of a life that seems damn near impossible to live, let alone understand. My husband and I have had to learn how to be erased grandparents because the child we gave birth to believed that using love as weapon was okay. #loveisnotaweapon is very much my motto these days, and I am very guarded now as to who I share my heart with. I have to be.

What does all this mean? Our lives are different after being thrown out like garbage by our child, but we are not garbage. I’m sure she believes that we are toxic, that we abused her as she had said, and she’s wrong. I find much comfort in knowing that the burden of proof of actions allegedly committed by me lie with the accuser. I also remember that you “can’t reason with the unreasonable.” These simple truths sustain me on my darker days, and thankfully those darker days are few and far between now. I experience sadness daily because of the losses of our daughter, son-in-love and grandkids, but sadness doesn’t define me. If it did, that would be giving away my power and I fight every day to seek joyful moments and smiles. She lost more than she gained, and while the same is true for us, we know that better days still lie ahead.

It’s getting late here in the SC Lowcountry and these old bones are tired. I’m grateful for the opportunity I have to write and share my heart, it’s comforting to know that my pain can and has made a difference to others. None of us are alone, and there are still people out here willing to help. Remember that…

We are the ones, not them…

Hey World,

I’ve spent the last few weeks focusing on my job out in the world and have come to realize just how much blame people put on the younger generations for the woes of not only their own lives but the demise of our country and its’ values. It’s us, the boomers, that should be taking a good long look in the mirror. When is enough enough? Really people? Do you have to build that bigger house, drive the BMW or have a fat assed bank account to “be” somebody? I’m kind of sick of being labeled myself, so I’ve spent some time figuring out just what matters most to me. You want to know what I’ve discovered? Read on…

I’ve discovered that I love the quiet life that my husband and I sought out after the loss of our daughter. I love the simplicity of a small and older home. I love the absence of social media in my everyday life. I love the crickets and cicadas and insects that make a symphony in the heat of a hot summer night. I love stripping away all the noise and chaos and clatter to find the peace underneath it all. I love the idea of spending physical time with those I love. Life isn’t supposed to be lived behind the keyboard in the corner of a home office, so I’ve left that home office alone for a few weeks. I have made a conscious effort to be more engaged with face to face relations and it pays off in ways that having 500 plus friends on Facebook could ever do. I don’t know 500 people, and I have spent several weeks this summer thinning out my Facebook. I’ve decided that if there is no interaction between me and whomever, I just unfriend them. Does this mean I care less about them? Not at all! It means I care more about myself and taking away the wondering why factor is good for my mental health.

We are the ones that shake our heads as our younger generations put their private matters out there for the world to see, but do we set the example for them to not do that? Even the president throws temper tantrums online and the world at large encourages him to keep on doing so. WTF people? Here’s an office that has lost all its respect for the people it’s supposed to serve and we revel in that type of behavior?  What happened to loving your neighbor? What happened to talking things out instead of blasting someone on social media for the whole world to see? Where has personal responsibility gone? I’m not a fan of most social media platforms, and as I grow older, I find that to be truer every day. I watch young couples fight via Instagram, FB, text, and Snapchat, but then ignore one another in person. Who taught them that this is okay? Or maybe the issue is we didn’t teach them anything… Is this possible? Did we hand them a screen while we were in the grocery store and teach them that looking down at it is acceptable? Did we, as adults, teach them that NOT engaging face to face is the “right” way? Do we continue to send messages of ignoring and neglecting them via screen time? I feel like the demise of so many relationships is not “their” fault, it’s ours. Of course, we could not have known that technology would become a substitute for parenting, but now that we do, are we doing anything to improve and change things?

We are the ones that can and should make the changes in society that we want to see. You know the phrase “be the change?” That’s where I am currently living. As I have been for over two years now. I am more aware of the need for change than I have ever been, and I am trying to make a change within myself. I am not suggesting that social media is to blame for all of the woes we experience, not by a long shot, but I do believe that it can exacerbate things. It’s easier to hide in front of a screen that it is to meet face to face. Why not make a small change in yourself that has the potential to lead to bigger and better things? Why not teach a 20 something that putting personal affairs on the internet can potentially harm them in ways that we didn’t understand back when we were 20 something? Why not be real and authentic in person instead of fake and phony sitting in a Starbucks somewhere? I know that by blogging this I am actually using the platforms that have become a crutch for some, but for me, in this arena, it’s a vessel to change. Self-change. Blogging helps me express myself and gives me things to think about, and I am very deliberate in what I share.

We are the ones that have lived to see the world keep evolving technologically, though some of those changes have hurt us rather than helped us. We are no longer a socially engaged nation in the aspect of being humans, we hide and lie and accept things that my own parents would have been appalled by. I’ve said before how grateful I am that my own Dad passed away before his granddaughter threw away her parents and kept their grandson from them. Her actions would have broken his heart for me, and I would never want my dad to hurt so. I would love to hug him and feel his strength again, but I just couldn’t bear his hurting any more than I could my own. My hurt now has become my strength, it’s crushing effect on my life has made me more determined than ever to give of myself and my heart to those that are experiencing the pain and anguish of losing a child to estrangement, to silence, to suicide. Loss is brutal, and in situations like mine, you have two choices. Fight back, or run. I’ve done both. Though the running stopped months ago, the fighting back never will. I just fight back FOR others, not against them. As a mom who has lost her first child, I am forever broken. As a woman who refuses to let that loss be the defining moment of her life, I say NO. Events can and will define who we were, are and will become, and it hurts like I imagine hell would, but I am still alive. I still look forward to my life. She didn’t take away my joy, though she sure did try. It’s not hers to take, but it is mine to give away and share with others.

We are the ones that should be helping to shape the youth of today for their future tomorrow. Step up, in person, and make a difference. In your neighborhood, city, town, and state. Speak up and out for the future that seems to be fading. Is this really who we are as people? Are we full of hatred for those who are less fortunate? Are we better than someone who has darker skin? Are we “right” and “they’re” wrong? Leaving a legacy of hatred and impatience and bigotry is a sure path to the demise of this nation that was once a haven for those seeking refuge. Now we are the ones that need refuge. We can be a loving and strong society again but have to work at it before it’s too late. No matter what you believe politically, you’re a person. I’m a person. Politics is are NOT who we are, it’s a choice we make. Kindness, love, and compassion exist in each of us to some degree, focus on those traits and give of yourself to help others. Leave the screens at home, shut the phones off, take a walk, go outside and play, do something that is attached to that electronic leash, and love your neighbor.

I don’t know when I’ll write again, and I don’t know when or if I’ll reopen my FB page, but I do know that I am enjoying the absence of it in my everyday life for now. Just as blogging has a place in my life, my life and living it with purpose has a place as well. Be well, friends!!!