Category Archives: Hope

Giddy at Fifty

In exactly 7 days, I will turn 50 years old … yes, me turning 50!  I am over the moon ecstatic.  I never thought I would reach this age.  I am a cancer survivor, a crisis survivor, continue to battle PTSD and depression.   I have lost so many loved ones when they were too young – my brother 25 yo, my Dad 57 yo, my fiance 37 yo, aunt 35 yo … I had decided that was my fate as well.  I have spent most of my life thinking I was running out of time.  I lived in the past or in the moment, never fully preparing nor planning a future.

I am almost halfway to 100 and I am so giddy lately.  I am finally midlife.   I will be half of a century old.  How downright exciting … to be me right now??   I am about to finally reach a true milestone and with this I have learned that a happy life starts at whatever age you finally grow up and realize that it’s yours to live … not dictated by family nor work.  It’s all mine.

Sure, I am not naive enough to think it will all be smooth sailing here on out.  I have been through too much to believe that.  But I have been through so much already, I know I can get through whatever life throws at me.

I do worry at times, financially I am not in a good place; nor romantically…even professionally.  Could I have accomplished more?  Sure.  I have spent way too many years in the past.  I no longer live there.  I have hibernated enough.  I have compromised enough.  I have sacrificed enough.  Cancer, regret, loss, crisis, compromise, sacrifice – all have changed the course of my ideal life.   I still have many anxious moments – I still work hard each day to keep my fears and demons at bay.  I have learned and accepted that even with the best planning, we are never fully in control of our own destiny. This lessons learned has come with a high price in my life; it’s a benefit that I have been gifted with the act of getting older, being wise, being experienced.  I am fortunate enough to understand that growth in life doesn’t just stop midlife – it’s a continual realigning, reevaluating, realizing, reexamining, renewing, reconnecting, reacquainting and renewing…and loving the alliteration as always … finally relaxing and just accepting me … yes ME.

Learning as I turn 50, there is so much of life to look back on …and there is so much more to do.  I live for all my loved ones who died too young.  I live for me.  Turning 50 is great because I am still here.  I have learned to be my own cheerleader, my own support system.  I am a survivor.  I have found my smile even through my tears.  I fight through any pain, any sadness, any setback.  I look in the mirror and am happy to see wrinkles, even the gray hair and the love handles.  I have earned this life.  I have lived this life.  And I will continue …. with hope in my heart and grace in my step.  #JustT

 

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Glimpse of a Genuine Smile

I am so tired of plastering a fake smile on my face, crying in the inside, keeping my tears at bay.  I just need a few hours with someone who I think understands me, my life, who cares enough to ask me about my day.  I am so lost most of the time, so alone … especially when surrounded by people.

But last night, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with some childhood, neighborhood friends and I found myself smiling, a genuine, sincere smile that starts at my heart and ends on my face.

Social media can be a good thing if used wisely.  I reconnected with a beautiful brother and sister who will forever be my step bother and sister.  Their Mom and my Dad dated while both were were separated.  Fast forward 30 years …we met for dinner, laughter, reminisced, laughed some more.  I went home with a genuine smile.  It felt so nice.  Even if fleeting.  I get lucky and appreciate those rare moments when I feel connected, loved, cared for and my smile makes an appearance.

I have always suffered from smiling depression.  Just put on a smile, brace myself, and get through the day.  It wears me out though.  Its exhausting.  Constantly hiding my sadness, my palpable misery behind a happy mask just keeps me at arms length from most people.  I get near but never fully close enough to someone. Always find myself on the periphery of their lives and even of my own.

The pain of getting close, of losing someone again, of struggling to get out of bed, the anxiety of learning how to breathe each minute of each day is too overwhelming most days.  So I smile, lean in, and pretend just about every day.

I go to work, to the doctors, out to dinner … I take tons of photos …of my food, desserts … I dress up, put make up on, get my hair, nails done, take selfies.  I am sure 90% of the time to the outside world, no one can see my struggle. How can they when I paint such a pretty picture?!  I hold down a part-time job, run a family, stay active but that frayed tethering line of rope just barely visible to me at times – somehow keeps me going – all the while I suffer for the most part in silence with panic attacks, insomnia, crushing low self-esteem and even suicidal thoughts.  I do share my story more these days, not like 10 years ago when I was too depressed to get out of bed, too weak to allow anyone in, before social media, before my blog.  Now I vent, share, open myself up more.  I work hard each and every day on trying to put myself out there.  Even if depletes me by the end of the day.

I have learned to keep negative, self serving people at arm’s length and I find myself being more appreciative of the smaller, less tangible things.  Gratitude really changed my life.

Sincerity, honesty, acceptance, sharing all have changed my life … so with tears in my eyes, smile on my face, hope in my heart, grace in my step … I move forward.  Looking forward to reconnecting, finding my genuine smile.

 

 


The Edge of Forever

It’s my Hallmark’s Signed, Sealed Delivered marathon Saturday!  Just finished watching episode 5: The Edge of Forever.  As a mother’s last wish is to unite her daughters after her death is realized by words in a letter.  Part of the letter is read aloud: “A treasure waits for you to find, but only if you leave behind whatever each has in her heart that kept two sisters so long apart.”

Story of love, family, forgiveness, respect and moving on …  and the power of heartfelt words.

The final lines of the letter implore the two sisters to disperse their mother’s ashes together; to take the hike they never got to and find the edge of forever. As the sisters walk through the forest they come upon a breathtaking clearing where mountains rise above the valley. As the sisters open the urn and prepare to disperse the ashes, they realize they should say a prayer. Shane looks to Oliver, saying as a man of faith he would be the perfect person to deliver a final prayer. As the two sisters join hands and disperse their mother’s ashes, Oliver speaks:

“Whenever I have sorrow, Whenever clouds arise, when songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies, I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. His eye is on the sparrow and I know… He watches me.”

What beautiful words … finding hope and comfort with faith in God in any given situation … yes, we must keep doing so.  Timing is everything.  Trying to remember that God walks with me … with grace in my step and hope in my heart.


Come To Me …

 

Anyone who follows my blog, knows I love the Hallmark channel,  and I get lost in words and music.  I believe there is a movie, a song, a book to ignite our very soul, for every feeling we have.  I heard this song very faintly in the movie “Hello, It’s Me” on Hallmark today.

This song spoke to me today, exactly when I needed it.  As it resonated with me, there’s no doubt that this song will resonate with others, as well. We all must remain hopeful and keep faith that things will change, we have to believe.  I believe God will carry me and allow me to keep moving forward.  God can change a life, like mine, from empty and broken, to a more complete purposeful and fulfilling life. He doesn’t promise a life free from problems or disappointments but that in the middle of it all, He will carry us through…. for me, with grace in my step, hope in my heart.

 

 

Come to me
All you broken and heavy hearted.
Come to me
All you worried and weary souls.
Come to me
All you overworked and underpaid.
And I will give
I will give
I will give you rest
Come to me
All you widows and outcasts
Come to me
All you betrayed and fatherless
And I will give
I will give
I will give you rest
My oak is easy
And I’m making my
You will find rest
For your soul
My oak is easy
And I’m making my
You will find rest for your soul
And I will give
I will give
I will give you rest …


Year of loss and forgiveness …

With the new year fast approaching, I have been thinking a lot about the past 12 months … the crushes I had, the dates I went on, the friendships I lost, the friendships I made.  There is one friendship I will miss for a bit longer – one I don’t understand why it ended.  This particular friend just started to ignore me one day and it continued even when I tried to ask her why – if I somehow offended her, was she going through something and just needed to be left alone.  I never heard back.  Ironically, she helped me realize my worth the past couple of years and not being a doormat to so many others.   I will always be in her debt for the kindness she showed me when I felt unworthy.  I recently unfriended her from social media.  Having that link there had become a reminder of the failure between us, and of how painful the situation had become. And although part of me will always wonder where she is and how she is doing, removing that connection has helped me move on.   I know I must have failed her in someway but I can’t beat myself up anymore.  I don’t regret trying to find the cause of the breakdown of our friendship nor do I regret once considering her my close friend.

One of the things that bothered me most was the silence; not only my former friend’s silence towards me, but also the fact that I felt that I couldn’t speak of what had happened between us to anyone else.  I felt stupid.  Since we didn’t have the typical friendship of hanging out, going shopping, etc.; she was my confidant – always a call, text, note away.   I will always be grateful for her wisdom, her understanding and being there when I truly needed her.  I hope one day she reads this, and knows she will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Adult friendships are hard, especially friendships with other women.  I won’t stop trying to bond with others.  I know my worth.  So with a little more heartbreak, I keep moving forward.

Learning not to obsesses about why someone has suddenly stopped talking to me, no longer wants to be my friend.  Learning I can’t live my life based on what other people say, do, nor how they react.

Learning to accept that I may never find the real reason.  I have learned the hard way, that not everyone is meant to be in our lives forever.

Learning to let go of everything I didn’t do right,  the negative things people have said, the gossip people spread, the lies others believe.

So with this year ending, learning how to forgive many for choosing to communicate with silence, and moving onto other people who want to be in my life …  with grace in my step, hope in my heart ….

“Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne. And surely you’ll buy your pint cup and surely I’ll buy mine! And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne…”

Good bye 2015!

 


God’s Wake-up Call

Someone reminded me today that our pains are God’s way to awake us from slumber, inactivity.

Pain from illness can be one of the biggest wake-up calls. Pain is our wake-up call to awaken, to look deeper into ourselves, to adjust the course of our life. I believe God tries to be as gentle as possible, and only if we ignore the call does the pain get stronger. So, my pain is unbearable at times. I hide myself from the world. I know I need to try harder not to hide, disappear, hibernate. I know I need to find my smile each and every day, lighten up, eat better, and yes even exercise (yikes). But who can do any of this when we are in pain?

I came across this quote and it also serves as a reminder of a much needed wake-up call:

“Pain is a spiritual wake-up call showing you that there are oceans you have not yet explored. Step beyond the world you know. Reach for heights that you never thought possible. Go to places you have deemed off limits. This is the time to take off the shell of your past and step into the rich possibilities of your future. God does not give us dreams that we cannot fulfill. If you want to do something great with your life-whether it’s to fall madly in love, become a teacher, be a great parent-if you aspire to do something beyond what you are doing now, this is the time to begin. Trust yourself.” ― Debbie Ford, Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life

One of my favorite actors, Anthony Hopkins portrays one of my favorite writers, C. S. Lewis in the movie ‘Shadowlands’, and in more than one scene we hear “Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. Lewis’ full quote:

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

I know God has a purpose for our pain, a reason for our struggles and a reward for our faithfulness. So with grace in our steps, hope in our hearts – let’s not give up!


In Lieu of Flowers …

The stages of mourning and grief are universal and are experienced by people from all walks of life. Mourning occurs in response to an individual’s own terminal illness, the loss of a close relationship, or to the death of a valued being, human or animal. There are five stages of grief that were first proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying.”

In our bereavement, we spend different lengths of time working through each step and express each stage with different levels of intensity. The five stages do not necessarily occur in any specific order. We often move between stages before achieving a more peaceful acceptance of death. Many of us are not afforded the luxury of time required to achieve this final stage of grief.

If truth be told, I have been lost, grieving for over 10 years. I have moments, stretches of time where I smile more than I cry.

Lately though, I am just waiting … desperately wanting to feel healthy again. And I almost can’t remember what that is like again.

Yes, been thinking a lot about Kübler-Ross’ model of the five stages of the grieving process …

Grief of losing a loved one …
Grief of someone who is dying themselves …

Coming to the conclusion there is no real difference … tired from dying the slowest of deaths …

In lieu of flowers … grace in my step, hope in my heart.


My Music Memorial to my Forever Heart

I love the quote by “Where words leave off, music begins.” ― Heinrich Heine

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
― Victor Hugo, Hugo’s Works: William Shakespeare

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
― Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays

Today I sit alone, quietly yet loudly … music is my solace. Today I cry, no longer in silence to pay tribute to my forever heart and my three other best friends who all perished on 9/11. I lost so much that one day 14 years ago – that I still can’t seem to fully understand, move on from. Unfortunately in our lifetime we will all face the inevitable… the loss of a loved one – be it a parent, grandparent, sibling, child, family member, close friend, significant other or even a family pet. The death of that loved one has got to be one of the most powerful events that we will face in our lifetime. I also believe that almost everyone who has ever lost someone they really loved will remember them through the power of music – by a song that relates to a memorable experience in their life – a moment that is frozen in time. Everyone has there own personal way of coping with grief and it varies from person to person. Sometimes it helps to cleanse our mind with tears when emotions build up inside – it helps me. Michael’s love made me brave; God’s love gives me strength. Being able to share my grief, gives me understanding, perspective…as always with grace in my step, hope in my heart.


Find your passion … Wake up!

Yes, we all must be reminded to find our passion – no more settling!

“Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we’d be truly dead.” – Joss Whedon

Need to find my happy place … places. On my forever journey with purpose, passion … with grace in my step, hope in my heart. ❤


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