Monday, March 26, 2012

I Am a Writer

I don't even know where to begin as I haven't been able to write for a while. We had our second funeral service ten days after the first one and this time in Pennsylvania. Thoughts are hitting me left and right and I am trying to keep up with them. I know I need them to be expressed because I am a writer. Writing is the tool to express myself authentically and how I learn lessons. I am in connection with who I am now, how I feel, how things affect me and thus more importantly, how I should proceed, and with this examen, my picture becomes clearer.

Knowing who you are and being able to own it, changes everything especially if you felt the need to hide who you were before because somewhere along the way you got the message that you weren't enough, that you didn't matter. That is a shame thing and shame is powerful. I am still watching Brene Brown's TED video on Shame and vulnerability and have new ahas each time I hear it.

I haven't grieved after GaGa's death like I would have anticipated which means I haven't had massive crying episodes. But I grieved so much before her soul departed. We knew her death was coming, for a year and a half, the writing was on the wall even though she did not acknowledge it. Now grief is more like a vague sadness.

Over the weekend, I was working to get chocolate stains out of Mallory's uniform and this was something she was very good at. She was good at household routines, and performed them one task at a time. And I felt momentary sadness. She left us months and months before her heart stopped so we had been saying goodbye for a long time. Now that the stress of caring for her is over, I have begun to think back to how she was before the cancer and I miss that person. The one who liked to shop and buy clothes for the girls, who sat down on the floor and played, who liked adventures with my girls and cooking and baking. I miss our heart to heart talks. She validated my feelings. There is a wistful sadness because although she really hasn't been here for a long time now she is really gone. Seeing a casket in the ground is powerful.

I am exhausted and worn down. Saturday night my throat hurt with a vengeance and I am taking it slow today. I am trying to give myself some nurturance. I knew I needed it all week after we got back from the trip. I could feel my exhaustion. Each day I got up and did what I had to do, and then pass out by the afternoon. Kids don't really understand that Mommy needs some down time but the biggest lesson for me is that when I do tell them this, they are learning how to take care of themselves as well. And I want to teach them how to take care of themselves as much as I possibly can.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What is it to be Human?

The Guest House by Mewlana Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

I really needed to learn this lesson and that is: the feelings that I wake with each day, they are not my enemies as I previously imagined them. I wrestled with them all day long and many times the feelings were victorious and food was used to soothe but in the end food contributed to the problem. I use to feel completely trapped and overwhelmed by my feelings, the "negative" ones that is. The goal now is to lovingly accept all emotions as they come. The next step is to recognize them as a gift. Reframing them in this way,I am still working on... Yet I still stand in amazement how so many times the worries, anger, fear, anxiety just dissapate as I stop and accept them. The freedom in this is shocking after so many years of being ruled by feelings.

I tape Super Soul Sunday on the Own Channel. This episode featured Debbie Ford and her movie, "The Shadow Effect" and she is the one who quoted Rumi above. I see so many themes of my healing journey overlap. Debbie in particular talks about the "shadows" in our lives which are hidden beliefs about ourselves that keep us from reaching our full potential. I believed for many, many years that I was not worthy, I was not enough, that other people were better than me. And I never questioned that belief. But again and again when I am open to learning, these fantastic lessons come to me. Light (love) , dark (denial) , pain, suffering, shame, projection, forgiveness, acceptance, love. All of these lessons lead to me accepting who I already am - my authentic self.
One lesson that speaks to me currently is that what I project on others is a disowned part of myself.

This is big.
And will have to wait until another blog, there are other things brewing.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saying Goodbye to GaGa

Where do I start? After several days of knowing the end was coming, GaGa took her last breath here on earth. It happened sometime Sunday afternoon and I arrived shortly after because she was still warm. Two nurses and I walked in the room at about the same time when we realized she looked different and then a pulse could not be found.

This is the kind of memory that will be seared in my brain forever. I called my husband, who was at home with his sister, her husband and Mallory and they jumped in their cars. I had just dropped Riley off at church and one of my pastors was already on her way but not knowing she had just passed. Reverend Susie arrived and said this is a precious time, said a prayer over Mary and gave comfort. I could have not asked for a better planned scenario.

Even when you know the end is coming, it is still surprising. It is final and her spirit as departed. We had a lovely service at our church which Mary had joined as an associate member when she moved here several years ago. She had attended our church until she started feeling bad which was 2 years ago and she didn't like people to see her looking bad. I brought her one last time to a smaller noon service in our chapel about 6 months ago and I don't know if it helped her, but it helped me.

Of course, I question how I'm feeling with her death. In the past my feelings would equate with how I was doing. My feelings ruled me. Now I know feelings just are, they occur and we can choose to do what we want with them. Now I experience feelings, examine them, am curious and kind with myself and let them go through. Under my old life perspective, I would have thought I would crumble, fall apart upon this death. She was a very important member of our family, but I find that I am much stronger than I ever realized. I have not really cried that much yet I grieved so much before she left because she was not herself for so long before her soul actually departed from us. I have sadness, but also relief that her suffering is over, our care taking is done. There is still business and mourning at hand. We still have another memorial service and burial in her home church, and this will occur in Coaldale, Pennsylvania next weekend. I am turning it into our great Pennsylvania adventure for the girls and for me. We will say our final goodbye to GaGa.