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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Need A Spark …

Well I am trying to be more social again and start dating …yes trying again to put myself out there and be open minded.  Agreed to meet a nice looking, age appropriate man for coffee.  The night before we talked on the phone for three hours…yes, 3 hours!  We talked about so much even politics.  It was refreshing.   So when we meet today – conversation is easy.  He is a great listener as well as a good speaker.  Bur we talked about work, skills – more professional than personal.  There was no romantic spark.  And I find myself home, writing this post, feeling a little sad.  On paper he fits all my criteria – he is dark-haired and handsome.  He is employed. He is Christian.  He believes in family.

But I touched his hand … and nothing.  We chastely kissed at the door – I felt nothing.  Well, ironically there was jolt of static cling electricity but not a true chemical spark.  So no spark, now what??

Now I am tired of all my friends saying I am too picky, or I don’t give men a chance.  But how long do you wait for the spark to develop?    How long should you give to see if there is true chemistry?  I am mature and intelligent enough to understand that sparks are usually temporary and they don’t normally last.  Compatibility lasts.  Logic.  But I have lived too many years without true love and passion.  Don’t I deserve it?  Don’t I deserve the butterflies?  Don’t I deserve to feel that zing, that unexplained must-have chemistry, pure magic??  Do I have to settle?  No I refuse to settle.  I need to feel that spark.  Soon!  I totally accept that love at first sight is beyond rare.  I need to accept that we may need to allow for the slow burn of attraction, let our first meeting date jitters to pass and try to get to know each other.

The guy I met today is into the gym and working out hard, faithfully and is very physically, outdoorsy active.  I am more a home body and I have let myself go a little sideways, struggling with weight, body image issues, hitting 50 and pre-menopausal.  So maybe he wasn’t physically attracted to me hence no spark.  I don’t know.  Maybe I don’t care too much right not to learn otherwise.  Maybe he has zero boyfriend potential; maybe he is indeed just a nice guy.  Perhaps there isn’t enough chemistry for a relationship. But seriously how many ‘dates’ do I need to go on to find out??

I will try harder to keep from closing off.  I just don’t want to be that girl – every man’s buddy – where they think I am a great lady, we talk for hours, laugh, but they use me as sounding board.  They want to hang out, talk about their job, family and dating woes, ask for advice but ultimately there is no shared attraction, no sexual interest.  No passion.

So we didn’t make plans to meet up again, but we did text already tonight when he got home.  Maybe we will just be friendly.  I don’t know.  I would go out with him again though if asked.  I think it’s rare to know whether we have real dating potential with someone after only a few hours.  I do enjoy conversing with him.  He has a great phone voice as well.  Easy on the eyes, yes.  Who knows….

So as much as I didn’t get that instant overwhelming attraction to him, we still got along.  Time will tell I guess.

Remaining positive … with hope in my heart and grace in my step … learning how to sashay.


Pawprints on my Heart

I put off today for as long as I could … I had to pick up my Chili dog’s ashes from the vet.  I thought making the decision to put him down, to sleep was hard but today was much harder for me.  So final.  My house is so empty.  My heart so shattered.  My head so confused.

When I put my first dog, Scruffy to sleep, I already had Chili, my second dog – so I found comfort in him.  But the past few weeks have been so hard.  Some people keep asking me if I am going to get another dog – they mean well, but I know they don’t understand.   Sadly, many people have been somewhat dismissive, not understanding this immense grief I am feeling from losing my fur baby, my best friend.  I am grieving, I need time to process all.  Moving on isn’t always that easy.   I need to allow the pain to subside.  I am feeling guilty because I think my time with Chili, I was very selfish, leaning on him too much especially after I lost my first dog, went through a divorce, cancer, and car accident.  All through this, my Chili dog always greeted me with kisses.

Coming home to Chili each day was the highlight of many of my dark days.  He was Home to me.  Chili let me lean on him when I was sad and I always counted on him after a long day.  Being barren and then single, my dogs were my family, they were my children.  Their unconditional love and trust filled such a void in my heart and daily life.  I never felt alone with them.  Chili was very therapeutic for me, as well.

I am still so raw and heartbroken.  The change in my daily routine and the pure emptiness and silence in my has been too much to handle these days.  I purposely been staying away from my empty home.   But today I had to deal with something all too real.  I started to put away my Chili dog’s winter coats, his leashes, his dog food.  I made the decision to go pick up his ashes because I needed him home.  I needed a part of him physically here.   Now he is with his older brother and their ashes sit next to other on the mantel.  Saying good bye was so hard but this trying to live each and every day without them is harder.  My two dogs were my number one reason to go home, my favorite hellos and now have become my hardest goodbyes.

A friend sent me the following poem and it more than sadly resonates with me …

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My Chili Dog

I no longer know who I am if I am not a doggie mom.  I have nothing to rush home to anymore.  It’s very disconcerting.  I have had dogs in my life steadily for the past 22 years … now only in my heart, memories.  My heart hurts.

Always greeted with such sweet kisses, wagging tails.  Today I walked into the vet with my precious 12-year-old Boston on a leash and walked out with an empty leash and broken heart.  Tears don’t stop.

I had that split second of indecision – should I bring him home, keep him next to me for a few more days or say good bye and hold him as his little heart stopped.   I pray I did the right thing.  I let him go.  Tumors and fluid had filled his abdomen and his heart was not working well.  His breathing was labored, he wasn’t walking nor eating.  I can’t remember him that way.  I want to remember him as the loving, kind companion he was.  My Chili Dog = my heart.

My first dog was my companion, my adventure seeker.  We traveled, we dined out.  He went everywhere I went, even to work a few times.  When my Cairn Terrier became a big brother, he became the protector, sharing his bed and toys with his baby brother.  He would bark if anyone got too close.  It was endearing.  Losing him was hard.  I never felt pain like that.  But my Boston would comfort me, snuggle up to me and together we forged a new life built on trust, love and patience.

My Boston was not much for adventure, he was more the stay in bed and snuggle.  It worked – I was going through a series of health issues – cancer, broken bones – and healing at home with the best snuggler was my saving grace.  He became my hero – just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore treatments, bad news, I was always met with wet kisses.  He just knew how to chase the demons away.

Today I am all alone.  But I know my two fur babies are playing together with no pain.  One day soon, this will comfort me.  Today I grieve.

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39 More Days

Only 39 days left until Sunday – January 1, 2017!  39!!  I don’t know where the time goes.  Most days, it all seems to pass in a blur … a blur of depression, sadness, hurt, tiredness.  The past two years, I have to admit, has seen me at my most vulnerable in real time and not just via words on my blog.  I have had some heart-to-heart conversations with family and so-called friends who have hurt me or not been there for me in my darkest hours.  I have done a lot of de-cluttering of my life.  I may still be alone, but I am at peace.

I have tried to make each year better but I failed so many times.   I pray that 2017 is it – the biggest year for me yet.  I have been living off the radar, under the bar for so long.  Now I just want to shine bright.  I want to be noticed – I want to be appreciated.

I wish I knew now what I have learned while dealing with the death of so many loved ones back-to-back.  I believe I wouldn’t have lost so many good years due to my mourning.  I put myself in such a dark place, such a sinking hole.

Ironically, I have complained that I had no support system but honestly I realize now how much I cut people out, and how easy immediate family made it for me.  As for new friends, I rarely let new people in my life the past 15 years.  Working hard on trying now.   I need and want people in my life – but worthy, deserving people.  I want to be able to build each other up, not tear each other down.

For so many years, being strong found me pretending to be okay.  I didn’t want to appear weak.  But this pretending came with a very high cost which I am still paying the price.  I shut people out, I lost interest in so many things, I gave up, I let depression and PTSD keep me mired down in grief.  I hid parts of me away.  I would not get really close to anyone.  I kept to myself, isolated.  I didn’t want to be completely vulnerable nor have anyone worry about me.  So today, I have no support system and no one is worried about me.  I guess I ultimately got what I thought I wanted.  Emotional seclusion instead of a complete and utter breakdown is where I have been residing.  And the few times I have let myself be honest, forthcoming, and vulnerable, I have been met with lack of understanding.  So I withdrew even more.

It’s such a cycle.  When a person like me who is already an introvert, keeps everything inside, never fully accepting how messed up I really was, it’s all downhill from there.  I find myself trying so hard to crawl out of the dungeon I found myself in.  Writing has helped me tremendously.  Social media  has helped me as well – I get to be somewhat social without actually investing in friendships too much or sharing true intimacy.   It has provided an outlet – a necessary one.  I need to search and bare my soul.  I need some guidance, acceptance, understanding – even if it at first it appears shallow.  We all need to feel connected.   I’m thankful that social media has brought people back into my life. To me, the past few years have been a rebirth for me – learning how to crawl, walk, talk … all over again.  Now I am more than ready to spread my wings and fly away … with hope in my heart and grace in my step.


His smile…

Lately I have been seeing my forever heart’s smile everywhere.  I was so afraid for years of losing the essence of him.  I can’t recall the sound of his voice, his laugh, anymore and that hurts my soul.  For many years, I hadn’t been able to look at photos of him, it hurt too much.  He has been gone for 15 years – I wish I knew then how important photos would become – since now I want to recall his face, and I have so few photos of him, of us.  Now if I fall in love, I will take more photos.  Photos have become so much more important to me especially after losing the three most important men in my life.

The other day I just was in total silence, alone, and found myself staring at Michael’s photo – he had such a beautiful smile.  That smile got me through so much.  And now after 15 years of isolating myself, of mourning, of hibernating, I am allowing myself to be fully vulnerable.  I have tried the past three years but I strongly believe the past few months have seen me at my most raw vulnerability and reawakening.

I am open to so many more things and experiences this past year.  I also see the beauty all around me.  I had died when Michael died but I have been given new leases on life and am finally, finally and finally ready to fully live … accepting change, opening my heart … no more  halfheartedly living.  I am no longer just writing about embracing life and I am living and looking for that embrace.

I came across this passage that resonates:

“I’m not sure I’ll ever know the meaning of life or what comes for us after death, but I know it’s more than the hysteria people make it out to be. It’s about freeing your soul when no one else can; turning thirty and still feeling like you’re seventeen. It’s about taking chances on a whim, embracing the rain during the storm, and smiling so damn much that you start to cry. It’s never regretting, never forgetting, and always being.  It’s kissing underwater and touching in the dark. Loving even when you think it’s emotionally impossible and surviving someway and somehow.   It’s about living life with a full heart and an overflowing glass.

I live life on the edge. I dream, I care, and I belong.  I know there’s a here and now.  I know that I want it.”  ―Nadege Richard, 5 Miles 

Yes!!!  After so many years of living like I was dead, I am ready to live life on the edge, in the here and now.  Fully present and aware and accepting.

I am seeing Michael’s smile in others, I am seeing the good and love in others.  I don’t want to lose that smile nor my own ever again.

I heard this stirring song the other day, and I know there will be many days where grief keeps me still, sadness will wash over me, but I don’t want to live there anymore.

I see your face
in the boy that stands beside me
and I just love the way that feels

I heard your laugh
in the cafe on the corner
but that voice belongs to someone else

And I hoped to find you
standing by my side forever
where we would have stayed
for always

And I’d hoped to feel you
holding my hand in your hand
where we would have stayed
always

I’m sure I felt
your warm breath on my shoulder
the breeze was playing with my mind

I know we had to be apart
these thoughts are locked away inside my heart
I know you never meant to leave me here behind

And I hoped to find you
standing by my side forever
where we would have stayed
for always

I miss you
and I need you

And I hope to find you
standing by my side forever
where we would have stayed
for always
And I’d hoped to feel you
holding my hand in your hand
where we would have stayed
always

My love for you has been torn apart
left me stranded
left me in the dark

Love that started out with open doors
has been put back into pause

My thoughts of you will keep me going strong
I think of you holding on
just one more day I forever crave
Always

And I miss you

 

 

 

 


Still Here …

“Still Here”

Musing through memories,
Losing my grip in the grey.
Numbing the senses,
I feel you slipping away.
Fighting to hold on,
Clinging to just one more day
Love turns to ashes,
With all that I wish I could say.

I’d die to be where you are.
I tried to be where you are.

[Chorus:]
Every night, I dream you’re still here.
The ghost by my side, so perfectly clear.
When I awake, you’ll disappear,
Back to the shadows
With all I hold dear.
With all I hold dear.
I dream you’re still here.
I dream you’re still here.

Hidden companion
Phantom be still in my heart
Make me a promise that
Time won’t erase us
That we were not lost from the start.

I’d die to be where you are
I tried to be where you are

[Chorus]

I dream you’re still here,
Ever slightly out of reach.
I dream you’re still here,
But it breaks so easily.
I try to protect you,
I can’t let you fade.

I feel you slipping.
I feel you slipping away.

[Chorus]

I dream you’re still here
(Every night I dream you’re still…)
(Every night I dream you’re still here)
I dream you’re still here
(Every night I dream you’re still…)
(Every night I dream you’re still here)
Ever slightly out of reach.

I dream you’re still here
(Every night I dream you’re still…)
(Every night I dream you’re still here)
But it breaks so easily.


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


Waiting On Something Beautiful

Been home sick, trying not to get too depressed, watching old movies… watched “Waiting To Exhale” and I absolutely love the scene where James (Wesley Snipes) sends Bernadine (Angela Bassett) a letter – melts me.

I miss the days where people actually write words down on paper.

Below is the except of that note from James in the movie:

I’ve been thinking about you a lot, Bernie.  Every day. All the time.  I’m embarrassed to even write that down…but it’s true.

Bernie, I fell in love in one night.  You know what’s even harder for me to understand…is that what I feel for you…has never undercut the love I have for my wife.  Now, how is that possible?
I still watch her every day.  So beautiful. So brave.  I just wanna give her
everything I’ve got in me.  Every moment.  She’s hanging on, fighting to be here for me…and when she sleeps, I cry…over how amazing she is…and how lucky I’ve been to have her in my life.  Can I say it?

 

You’re the only person in this world I ever knew I could tell this to…
and even if this never finds you…and we never speak again…you’ve changed my life.

You know what inspiration is?  It’s someone who lets you know life will go on…and something beautiful can be waiting somewhere.  Somewhere when you least expect it.

Yes, waiting to exhale…waiting on something beautiful…with grace in my step and hope in my heart…


My Last Day …

Have been having a terribly long stint of insomnia lately but I have been resting, laying in bed listening to music and prone dancing – yes just made that up.

Heard this beautiful song last in the wee hours of today.  The English lyrics have been translated below – but as most of us know, direct translation never captures the same meaning.  It’s a beautifully stirring song.

As if it were my last day,
I’m going to live with a sincere love
And show those close to me how much I love them.

As if it were my last day,
I’m going to fight for my dreams,
Living without fear and treasuring every minute.
I’m not going to wait until tomorrow because all I have is the present.

If there wasn’t much time, I would stay and take a moment
To show you that I love you and that I am fully content that I have you.
And if your joy depended on me, I would give everything I can to you to make this day the best day in our life.

If this was my last chance to look at you again,
I would make this moment the most important in your memory,
Because in the times of difficulty and stress of this life, we miss the details we later wish we could remember.
And then regret that we’ve forgotten these experiences, and mourn that we cannot recreate them.

If there wasn’t much time, I would stay and take a moment
To show you that I love you and that I am fully content that I have you.
And if your joy depended on me, I would give everything I can to you,
And make this day the best day in our life.

I would enjoy all that God has given me
friends, family and love,
and I’ll make this day the best of my life.


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