Sharing the lessons along the way…

Posts tagged ‘choices’

Celebrating Life and Death

mom

As I remember it, twenty years ago tonight, I got a call from my older brother.  He said, “Your mother is dead.”  To which I replied, “What do you mean she is dead? Where is she?”  He then said she wasn’t dead yet because she was at the hospital.

We were all there in the ICU waiting room when I suggested we all leave the hospital.  After years and dozens of what we thought was the last trip to the hospital, I said, “She is not going to die just to spite us, so we should probably go home and get some sleep.”

And we did.  I didn’t rush to the hospital the next day either.  I told my husband at the time to go to work because I didn’t figure anything would happen yet.  I don’t remember what everyone else did.  I only remember what happened once I got to the ICU waiting area and no one from my family was there.

I called back to the ICU nurse’s station and the nurse asked me to come back there so she could talk to me.  I asked, “Is she dead?”  She replied, “Ma’am, please just come back so I can talk to you.”  I demanded she tell me before I went through those large double doors into the ICU.  Perhaps I made a bit of a scene in the waiting area, but I don’t recall and am certain I didn’t care.

The nurse finally said that yes, she died earlier.  I was shocked at what I said next,  “Is she still here? Can I see her?”  I am not a fan of dead bodies, but I had to see for myself if what she was telling me was really true.

It was.  I saw it for myself while my stepfather and his sister stood on either side of her body.  Somehow, I was told that everyone was at my grandfather’s house and given directions on how to get there.  I only remember the walk to the parking garage at the hospital.  It was cold, dark and I don’t remember knowing what to do next.  Then I have flashes of memory at my grandfather’s house.  My husband found his way there eventually, although I have no real memory of how all of that happened or how I got home from there.

Ironically, after twenty years, the parts I remember are the same as the week after she died.  Even as clearly, I remember the true gravity of the situation a few weeks later.  I had waited for mom to get sober for years.  It took a few weeks for it to sink in that the hope I had held onto so tightly for mom to get sober and be more mom-like had died too.  At that point, the real healing could begin.

Twenty years later, I have a better understanding of why mom was the way she was when I was growing up.  I have a better appreciation for what was good about her and for those characteristics that I share in common with her.  I certainly would not be the person I have grown into had it not been for her, so for that I celebrate her life.

 

 

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I believe in rainbows

rainbow 11-4-15

Sometimes you just have to believe it is possible, while continuing to do the footwork that seems to be in line with whatever I believe is possible.

I just continue to believe no matter what barriers present themselves.  And I believe there are lessons within each barrier that help to make it even more possible.

Most people think I am just a crazy idealist who cannot see what is so horrible in this life.

It isn’t that I don’t see the horrible, the tragic, or the darkness that is present.

I assure you that I don’t miss much and am well up to speed.  I consciously choose not to focus my energies there, however. My energies are focused on finding ways to lessen all of that.  I cannot do that if I am only focused on what is so wrong.

I believe in you.  I do not focus on your weaknesses, your shortcomings, your shadow self.  I focus on my belief that you will rise to the occasion that is your life’s circumstance and you will see the same strengths I see.

I focus on those strengths because those are the building blocks that make reaching our potential possible.  Where there is darkness, there is light.  I believe we all have a little light shining in there waiting to shine.

I also believe in rainbows and I love how they appear when you aren’t expecting them.  Most wonderful things tend to do that–appear when we aren’t expecting it and when the mixture of lightness and darkness is just right.

Before we see a rainbow, we likely say something like, “The sky is really dark over that way.” And then we see the color arcing through the sky and say, “Wow, how beautiful!”

That’s all I got for day four of this writing challenge!  Shine on!  I certainly believe you will!

nanopoblano2015light

Here we go!

duke tribute cake

Today is the first day of November 2015.  It is the first day of the setting back of clocks one hour.  It is the first of all of this that I am starting without my Duke in the house balking the change of feeding times and walking times.

Ruby is a fan of routine, but she is fine with an hour or two differences in routine on the weekends.  She does not even care if the walk is happening in the dark in the mornings or in the day light, as long as she is getting a walk.  I will be curious about how she feels about the evening walk in the dark this week, actually.

I have enjoyed the additional hour of sleep today.  I have enjoyed being one hour ahead of myself all day and feeling like I was getting so much done before the time it would have been last Sunday.

Just the same, I am not sure I feel any differently physically about what time it is now.  I am as tired as I would be at 8pm even though it is barely 7pm as I write this.

I am excited for a new month, no matter what the time and daylight situation is because October has kicked my butt.  There was so much change in such a short period of time that I am not even sure what has happened last month.  It was all good—that I am sure of, but the rest is blurry because it happened at a warp speed that I am not yet accustomed.

There are intermittent distractions, but overall, I am focused and I am authentic and I am all about the mission before me.  I am struggling to keep those involved also focused on the mission, but I personally am quite focused.

What is interesting is that the mission as I see it has gotten larger as the days of October blew past.  The big picture is bigger and the mission is larger than I first thought as I entered into October.  It is ok.  I am rolling with it and it makes sense.  What is happening is bigger than me.  It is bigger than anyone who is involved in the mission combined, really.  That is ok.

I will rise to the occasion.  The folks involved will rise or not.  It is ok either way.  The mission is moving forward with or without us and that is quite clear.  Let us all rise and move toward something more!  Duke would want that.  Duke would expect it to happen, so here we go!

 

 

 

Power of Choice

No matter what is happening, the power of choice remains a constant.  We might not always like the choices, but we always have them.  I find great comfort in that.

Over the years, I have also garnered a greater appreciation of conscious decisions—the ones that I make with the understanding that nothing I choose happens in a vacuum, and that my decision will not only affect me, but others in my life, my community and workplace.

How I choose to behave, respond to others, take care of myself, etc. has an impact on everyone I know in one way or another.  Each decision we make has a power of its own that we may not even know about until years later.  I had someone at a high school reunion thank me for something I said or did that I couldn’t even remember.

Sometimes we can actually see the ripple effect right away.  I decide to smile and say hello to someone who then decides to smile and say hello to the next person they see, for example.  Or a decision to ask for help allows someone else to feel like they are valuable, and perhaps start to believe that they too could ask someone for help.

I am also starting to embrace the challenge of making decisions when I am not thrilled with the choices. I see it as a creative opportunity to find some new way to see the choices in front of me.  Sometimes it is a simple shift of my own perception of the choices, but other times it is creating a brand new option that I hadn’t considered before.  This is often an exhausting exercise and I am more likely to embrace it when I have other people also offering their own creative ideas.

Rarely do I worry about a decision that I make when I do it consciously.  They are far more positive as a result and if they don’t turn out positive, then I can always choose again.  I have made a lot of major decisions in this year alone, and countless minor decisions.  We all likely have.

Have you seen the impact of your decision on those around you?  Did you know that making decisions was such an empowering opportunity?

 

misery is optional

Life is Twisty-Turny

twistyturny

I find day-to-day life rather entertaining.  It is very twisty-turny in the way that one situation leads into another.  It is twisty-turny in how interactions with one person influence interactions with the next, and it certainly doesn’t stop its twisty-turny nature there.

Living with a chronic condition is equally twisty-turny.  One relatively “normal” bodily shift can twisty-turn all other already compromised functions.  One medication shift, one night of poor sleep, one infection, one more physical therapy exercise…makes everything all twisty-turny.

I have probably taken some combination of my dogs on walks a hundred times passing these twisty-turny trees over the last ten years of living in this neighborhood.  I was having a particularly twisty-turny week last week when they caught my eye and made me smile.

Life is twisty-turny.  Even in nature, we see these twists and turns.  It is part of the joy of growing through life.  Moving through the twists and turns to see the new twists and turns is part of the fun of it.

I think we have this idea that there aren’t supposed to be twists and turns in our lives and that we are doing something wrong if we have them, so we tend to resist them.  I know I spent nearly 30 years resisting them because I really thought that was what a person was supposed to do.

It has taken a while for me to truly “get” that these twists and turns make for one amazing ride through this life.  In my particularly twisty-turny week last week, I did my best to go with it and to keep moving forward through all of it.  I even made up comedy shticks for some of the less pleasant of the twists and turns.  I know that once I get past the twists or turns, there is another side, so it is just a matter of moving through.

The twists and turns were simply twists and turns.  I didn’t allow myself to put more meaning or more energy into any of them.  Instead, I remained focused on what I needed to accomplish each day and figured out ways to amuse myself along the way.

It’s ok that life is twisty-turny as long as living life, as fully as possible, doesn’t stop at the first twist or the first turn.

3 Things to Remember into 2015

The holidays are over and we are on the eve of the first full week of 2015.  Are you ready to start accomplishing your goals for the new year?  Are you open to something new happening next in your life as you turn the page on the book of your life?

There are three basic ideas that I like to keep in mind as I start something new.  I would like to share those with you as it might relate to the goals and such you have set for the year.

The first thing is that no matter what you encounter (in terms of challenges or barriers or unexpected), it can be simplified.  Everything can be broken down to the very basics of it, and sometimes that is how I manage it the best.  One piece, one part at a time.

The second is that no matter what you have a choice.  If you have set a goal and decide that isn’t at all what you really want, then you can make a different choice.

Lastly, since I seem to be working in three’s lately, is that no matter how many times you have tried to accomplish this same goal or achieve whatever you have set for yourself is moot.  What you did in the past is moot because this is not then.  This is now, and you do have the power to do it (albeit differently from having learned from those past experiences).

It is inherently exciting to start a new year because it is fresh and new, so bring as little of the past into that newness as you can and embrace the opportunities, challenges and new memories to come!

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