Category Archives: Breathe

One day … See You On The Other Side

Where does the time go?!  Why do some things never get any easier with time?  Why does my heart ache so?  Why does my anxiety level just skyrocket this time of the year? This weekend is so hard already for me.  Was in NYC and every time I heard a siren, I found myself nearly jumping off the sidewalk.  Too much sadness in the world.  So much on the news.  Sunday will mark 15 years since 9/11 terrorist attacks.  My life the past 22 years since my brother died in 1994, followed by my Dad’s passing in 1998 and then my fiance’s death on 9/11/2001- has been a long journey of loss, worry, depression, grief, anxiety, failure and slowly healing.  Each death, each loss, each time – something about my life changed and I lost pieces of myself.

Time does not fully heal all wounds.  I may still be broken, and my heart remains shattered…but it still beats and for that I am grateful.  The past few years of heartbreak and loss have also shown me much compassion and gratitude, and strengthened my faith. Some of my fear has diminished and I have more clarity, focus, determination to live fully for them.  I have found some peace.  Grief doesn’t end for me; doesn’t go away…but it does change.  Times like this weekend stir too many memories – good and bad.  Sadly, so many people believe that my grieving is a sign of weakness – but they are wrong.  Some people believe I lack faith – but they are also wrong.  My grieving after all these years is a testament to the love I shared with these men in my life.  The price I pay each and every minute, of every single day for loving them; for allowing their love to be a part of me.  So I don’t care if people think I am weak or mad.  I have had magic in my life and there is still fire in my will.  My brother, my Dad, Michael, my forever heart – they don’t just cross my mind, every once in a while – they live in it.  Always loved, forever missed.  In laughter and in sorrow, in sunshine and in rain – I know they are watching over me… my very own Angels in Heaven… until we meet again.

Grief is my shadow – following me everywhere I go.  Pain is manageable, dulled by my memories.  Ache is constant, made more hollow with sadness.  But then love and compassion fill me with light and hope.  Sunshine comforts me.   Some days I allow myself to just exist, no pressure and I get through it without guilt. I am able to find peace in moments of time, where I move forward, slowly with grace in my step, hope in my heart and smile through my tears.    Just breathing.

This song gets me each and every time … Ozzy Osbourne – “See You On The Other Side”:

Voices, a thousand, thousand voices
Whispering, the time has passed for choices
Golden days are passing over, yeah

I can’t seem to see you baby
Although my eyes are open wide
But I know I’ll see you once more
When I see you, I’ll see you on the other side
Yes, I’ll see you, I’ll see you on the other side

Leaving, I hate to see you cry
Grieving, I hate to say goodbye
Dust and ash forever, yeah

Though I know we must be parted
As sure as stars are in the sky
I’m gonna see when it comes to glory
And I’ll see you, I’ll see you on the other side
Yes I’ll see you, I’ll see you on the other side

Never thought I’d feel like this
Strange to be alone, yeah
But we’ll be together
Carved in stone, carved in stone, carved in stone

Hold me, hold me tight, I’m falling
Far away. Distant voices calling
I’m so cold. I need you darling, yeah

I was down, but now I’m flying
Straight across the great divide
I know you’re crying, but I’ll stop you crying
When I see you, I see you on the other side
Yes. I’ll see you. See you on the other side
I’m gonna see you. See you on the other side
God knows I’ll see you, see you on the other side, yeah

I’ll see you. See you on the other side
I’m gonna see you. See you on the other side
God knows I’ll see you, see you on the other side, yeah
I wanna see you, yeah, yeah, yeah, see you on the other side
God knows I’ll see you, see you on the other side, yeah
I’m gonna see you. See you on the other side

Advertisements

Mental Health

Today is National Depression Screening Day, ‪Bipolar Awareness Day, and ‪‎World Mental Health Day. I have lived all my life with family members who are manic, depressed, alcoholic dependent, and have extreme personality mood swings, and are most times than not in complete denial. I myself suffer from depression and all too aware. I know sometimes when I look back, I am completely lost. We all need to work together to work on increasing our awareness, acceptance and be more patient. Help eliminate the stigma.

This quote by Spike Milligan resonates with me: ‘It’s a gift and a curse. You get the pain much worse than anybody else, but you see a sunrise much more beautiful than anybody else!’

This is how I feel so many times…You start to wonder if maybe something has come over her and she’s finally coming around. Maybe this is the start of something better, more peace, less tension. You even get a little upset wondering, “Well why can’t she just be like this?” And that’s the part that keeps you sucked in, thinking she can someday rehabilitate her attitude and behaviors toward you after all this time. My expectations were always off track. I felt that I just held onto just hope. But I learned that sometimes it’s that very hope – false hope – that keeps us inappropriately connected. You want what you can’t have – a mom who’s proud of you, a grandma who doesn’t pit people against each other, a sister you can trust. When you can accept the face value of your painful situation instead of the fantasy, it gets easier to live with.

Now that doesn’t mean you alienate yourself from the very people you love but drag you so deep down. Sometimes we just have to be inwardly and outwardly strong, brave, patient. Breathe. Count to ten. Limit the contact. Call once in a while, be around for two hours at Christmas, or have dinner once a month. You may need to set some strong boundaries when they start to treat you poorly. That might mean getting up and leaving their house, hanging up the phone, carefully choose what gatherings you attend, etc. And truthfully, it means setting your expectations pretty low. Casual activity that doesn’t get emotional is ideal, unless they are so destructive you should cut them off completely. Lucky for me I have not had to cut any family member out completely.

Sometimes you can stay around and take it, hoping they would get into a better mood; other times you just have to leave and wait. Pray. Hope. There is always hope. If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it….truer words have not been shared.

“Every day may not be good…but there’s something good in every day”
-Alice Morse Earle

I choose to live my life with awareness, hope, faith, patience, and grace in my step.


I know I will see you again …

I get so more melancholy and turn more quietly inward – especially between August through September. I have lost so many people I truly loved. For the past 13 years, I dread today. I dread the anniversary and the repeated replays of the planes, the impacts, the fireballs and the collapsing towers.

It truly is like ripping off a Band-Aid … but my heart feels this open wound. Today, 13 years ago, I lost four true friends, one my irreplaceable heart, my soul mate.

The days will always be brighter because he existed. The nights will always be darker because he’s gone. And no matter what anybody says about grief, and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken. Always my heart ♥mm♥ …(Excerpt from Tiffanie DeBartolo, God-Shaped Hole)

I have come to realize that destiny can hurt a person as much as it can bless them, and I find myself wondering why – out of all the people in all the world I could ever have loved – I had to fall in love with someone who was taken away from me.

One day he was there and then all of a sudden, he is gone. There’s less of him each passing year. And you wonder where that part went – if it’s living somewhere, outside of you, and you keep thinking maybe you’ll get it back. And then you realize…it’s just gone.

Many say it’s easier to burn than to build; many say it’s easier to hurt than to heal…But I say you lose when you give up what you love…And I’ve lived my life without that long enough.

I hold pieces of him; I hold them so tight that they eventually become pieces of myself that am still learning to grow from but never away from. I hold onto them so tight that they eventually become the only pieces that can hold my shaky bones together. They become the only pieces that can keep this broken heart of mine held together…

Have you ever thought that if one thing hadn’t happened, a whole set of things never would have either? Like dominoes in time, a single event kicked off an unstoppable series of changes that gained momentum and spun out of control, and nothing was ever the same again. Don’t ever doubt that a mere second can change your life forever. It can. It has. Everything does really happen for a reason.

I’ve got no more illusions…I know I’ll see you again…but for today, I am allowing myself to fully experience the full impact of my loss. Grieving all over again. Grief…I am following it, crying when I want to, yelling at God, screaming into my pillow, and avoiding most people and definitely the news.

Grief is itself the only medicine I need right now. And anyone who doesn’t understand this or who can’t accept, stay away from me. So fake better stay away from me.

“After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul. You learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises. You learn that loving doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t always mean security, and you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much. After a while you learn to build all your dreams on today because tomorrows ground is too uncertain for dreams, and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight. After a while you learn to accept your defeats with your head held with the grace of a woman and not the grief of a child. After a while you learn to plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone else to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really are strong, that you really do have self worth, and you can endure, and you learn and learn, with every “goodbye” you learn…” (Veronica A. Shoffstall)

“I am not the happiest person. In fact, in the battle between joy and misery, I’d say that the latter often seems to prevail. I don’t like this, and every day I refuse, for the eighty millionth time, to put up with another minute of it. But the world does what it does, and I often find it disagreeable. After all these years, I’m kind of resigned to that. But I do have one thing on my side: I have enormous faith. And hope. I am not speaking of the kind you find in church or in the afterlife or in heaven or in the Saint James Bible or in the Hare Krishna’s that we all encounter changing flights in the airports of the world, I am speaking of a simple faith that says that one way or another, no matter how many times I stumble and stub my big toe, somehow life is going to work itself out.” (Elizabeth Wurtzel)

candles


I often miss this little girl…whose dreams had no barriers, who believed in a world where anything is possible. with a heart that was full and unbroken.

IMG_20140713_181350


#TsTuesdayTirade: bronchitis, asthma….be gone!

Today’s festivities: Curled up on the couch, watching TV all day and trying not to deflate a lung by coughing so much…yes, definitely coughing my life away….Coughing so much and hard that I am actually concerned that I will fracture a rib. What a waste of a personal day!!

There is an old proverb that states, “Life is in the breath. He who half breathes half lives.” Chronic bronchitis and asthma is wreaking havoc on my life….missing out on Fat Tuesday fun, as well as National Pound Cake Day & International Pancake Day…sigh…. Ever just want to scream out, “Calgon….take me away!” Well, I would but it hurts too much. This would be me…if I liked cats and could tolerate taking a bath in this polar vortex…#TsTuesdayTirade: bronchitis, asthma….be gone!

calgon

My friend just texted me to ask how I was doing. She was concerned about me as I have been sick for a week. And dealing with elderly parents, all of our chronic back and leg pain, not to mention all the daily chores of housework, caring for dog’s needs, and working an outside full time job. My response to her was this, “Do Christians ever have a breaking point? Because I believe I’m approaching mine!” I was most definitely experiencing a “Calgon…take me away” moment – my breaking point.

Each day we take between 14,000 and 25,000 breaths. It is the single most important process of our bodies and yet so many of us don’t pay any attention to our breathing. We are always on the run, and the result of this can lead to shallow short breathing. This means we are not allowing the right amount of oxygen into our organs and the amount the body needs to optimally perform. Hence, why I am sick, stressed…so I will continue to pray, hope…and inhale and exhale…


Where are you….♥

“Well, sometimes love seems easy. Like… it’s easy to love rain… and hawks. And it’s easy to love wild plums… and the moon. But with people, seems like love’s a hard thing to know. It gets all mixed up. I mean, you can love one person in one way and another person in another way. But how do you know you love the right one in every way?”

“I’m not sure, but I think you’ll know. I think if it’s the right person, it’ll be better than rain and hawks and wild plums. Even better than the moon. I think it’ll be better than all that put together.” ― Billie Letts, Where the Heart Is

There you are in the early light of day
There you are in the quiet words I pray
I’ve been blessed by the simple happiness
Of the perfect love we’ve made

Every time I turn around
When I’m lost and when I’m found
Like an angel standing guard
There you are

Every time I take a breath
And when I forget to breathe
You’re watching over me
There you are

When I’m looking for the light
In the middle of the night
Searching for the brightest star
There you are

There you are standing in a crowded room
There you are the earth and I’m the moon
My desire is to stand by the fire
That burns inside of you

Every time I turn around
When I’m lost and when I’m found
Like an angel standing guard
There you are

Every time I take a breath
And when I forget to breathe
You’re watching over me
There you are

When I’m looking for the light
In the middle of the night
Searching for the brightest star
There you are

When I’m looking for the light
In the middle of the night
Searching for the brightest star
There you are, there you are
There you are


Past and present collide…

There are days when it is difficult to breathe,

There are times when all I feel is utterly confused,

There are days when the sunshine does not warm me,

There are nights I blend together with the darkness,

There are questions with answers still unknown,

There are moments when I remember who I am,

There are instances when all I have is hope,

There are moments when I feel hope in my heart, even when in tears…

Sometimes I wonder, if there was a moment in time where the past and present collide…

And if today is that day….

 


Faith…Hope…Time…

Peace of mind eludes me lately as problems begin to mount one after the other. Though this is not one of the best periods of my life, I know it will soon be over. Faith…Hope…Time…I know the solution is to tackle one thing at a time. Trying so hard, to just not take all of this to heart; problems always come and go and this will pass sooner than I think.

Faith…Hope…Time…♥


A Thanksgiving Message

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s remember that the holiday’s name is a compound word – Thanks and Giving.   Let’s all try to find and carry out  new ways for enhancing the celebration of Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season ahead.

Despite obvious challenges, each of us has something to be thankful for – our lives, families, friendships, and work. While there is no perfection in life, I hope you consider the glass more than half full for most of us most of the time. Thanking those whom we love, admire, depend upon, and have positive relationships with is an important, but too infrequently practiced an activity.  Let’s try and practice saying, “Thank You” more than a few times in the next few weeks.   “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?” (William A. Ward).

Here are some Thanks-Giving Thoughts – practice, share them…

Share with those with less fortunate than you.  Consider the gift of one week’s grocery bill donated to a community food bank, domestic violence or homeless shelter, foster parent or elder services association as a gesture of appreciation for what we have, and what others do for the less fortunate.

Express your gratitude in word and deed to those who care for others as a profession or as volunteers. Compliment the good works of caregivers for our children and frail elders. Those caring individuals who clean the bottoms of babies and the bed-ridden, and help nurture and stimulate their minds, deserve the kindnesses of family members and neighbors all though the year, but especially at holiday time.

Give time to a worthy cause. Our volunteer time builds community and creates a great example for our youth.   Whether we choose to sing in a choir, read to a child, blind person, mentor a youth, collect coats for the homeless, or visit a lonely elder, our time is a priceless gift which appreciates in value.

Conserve energy resources by consuming less fuel, reusing, and recycling.  Our throw away culture is feeding our landfills with trash, and our air and water absorb the residue of pollutants. Preserving our environment is self-preservation, as well as a life-saving gift to wildlife, plant-life, and our children’s children.

Slow down.   Stop and smell the roses!  Whether behind the steering wheel or in conversation with others, speed is not a good thing.  Being in a perpetual hurry endangers our lives on the road, and cuts short our relationships with others. Give yourself a few extra minutes in transit to be a safe driver especially during the holidays and wintry weather…and listen a bit longer to the words in conversation with loved ones and co-workers.  Actively listen and show others that positive attention is a gift worth giving.

Put technology in its place. We live in a high-tech, low-touch culture, governed by the beeps, buzzes, and blinking lights of technology. As time is compressed, stress grows.  Immediate response raises expectations, reduces careful consideration, and makes us more prone to error. Take a breather from all the technology, and ask others to be considerate in public and private spaces by turning the “on” switch “off.”  We all need to rediscover that eye contact and voices are great ways to show we are focusing our attention on those who seek it.  Cell phone, e-mail should not keep our loved ones on hold.

Advocate with assertion, not aggression. Free speech is not an invitation to be offensive.  Responsible advocacy requires thoughtful purpose, practical solutions, and open conversation. Clear and consistent communication with allies and adversaries alike sets the stage for progress.  Let’s all try to express ourselves in a heart-felt way with composure and grace.

Health is a form of wealth.   So many people sadly take it for granted.  Making sure we eat right, exercise, and take time to rest and relax are the keys to clear thinking and long-term effectiveness.  Our bodies cannot support us unless our minds resolve to take care and be careful.  And if we are not healthy, we can’t care of others.

Take optimism pills every morning….the time-release kind!  🙂  Negativity is contagious. Those who believe they will make a difference can achieve their goals.  Pessimism is the mind’s way of giving up before the first step is taken. Those who want to make a change for the better in their lives, neighborhood, and the world around them, should stop whining and start winning –  and if you want a glass of wine afterwards, that is acceptable!  🙂

As we plan for the holiday season, we should recognize that there are neighbors, young and elder, whose weeks ahead are not brimming with joy. For whatever reason, in whatever circumstance, we well know that there are people in need who can be helped if we choose to do so.

To honor and remember a family member or neighbor who was there for you when you needed them most, please thank those who illuminate our paths, exemplify kindness, teach justice, and nurture our futures – what a fitting tribute to the legacy of our ancestors and what a positive example for our future.

Try to remember and focus – your work, the gifts you share, and the example you set is an inspiration to one or many….♥


Compliments…the power of words…

I love when I get my hair washed and styled at the hair salon – I swear I walk out of there feeling like a million bucks! And having people compliment me before I even hit the street is a definite plus! But I didn’t always welcome compliments.  In the past, I could just not accept a compliment graciously, and say, ‘thank you”.

In the past, twenty people could come up to me in a day’s time and say something nice about me and I’d smile and say thank you, but in my mind I would dismiss every single compliment.  I simply couldn’t internalize something I don’t feel myself.    Maybe it was stupid – but it was my reality.

And sometimes, even now, especially when I go for treatment, I feel so ugly and useless, I may still have a hard time accepting a compliment…but I am more aware of this uneasy twinge, and manage to smile and confidently utter, “thank you”.

I no longer feel the need to counter any praise by listing off my flaws.  I no longer worry that by accepting admiration, I may appear arrogant.  I used to foolishly worry that I would come across as proud, conceited, or egotistical – if I accepted a compliment without following up with a negative.  I no longer feel this way.  I welcome and accept all compliments.   These days, I don’t find myself having to downplay my strengths and emphasizing my weaknesses.

So many people even with high self-esteem may tend to reject the compliment because they want to be seen as modest and humble; others with lower self-esteem may not accept the compliment because it is inconsistent with their self-image.    I guess also we sometimes think the person giving us a compliment only wants something – so we are less likely to believe it.

I understand now that a kind word, acceptance, actually makes me feel better; boosts my self-esteem.  I believe it even wards off some depression.  Compliments should lead to positive thinking, not lead us to focus on our flaws and questions other’s motives.

Between doctor visits, treatments, being too tired to perform 110% at work – I look forward to the smallest kindness.   Believing the kind words of others —when I am feeling stressed or sad can actually counteract those negative emotions and improve my mood dramatically.

Always in my pursuit of finding balance, I like to follow this goal:  Don’t let people’s compliments go to your head and don’t let their criticisms go to your heart.  I am not sure who first coined this expression – but the sentiment is a good reminder to all.

More words to live by:

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
– Leo Buscaglia

So today when my friend states, “When I compliment you, I compliment myself, because I am who I associate with”, I will just hug him and smile.  ♥


%d bloggers like this: