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Everything posted by enna

  1. Good Morning, I am sorry to hear about the tragedies you have talked about, Russ. There are many things going on that you have to deal with. Not having a good relationship with your father had to be hard and now that he is gone any hope of a change in him is gone for you. I can understand that you are angry. For your father to kill his wife had to be traumatic. We don’t have answers as to why those things happen. I think that the physical symptoms you are experiencing are normal and I hope you find a good grief/trauma counselor to help you through all this. You cannot “muscle” through this on your own. Meanwhile, coming hear to "unload" about what you are going through is good. We do not judge ~ only listen. Anne
  2. One year ago today (May 28th) my sweet granddog, Fred, made his way to the Rainbow Bridge. I miss him. I miss all the fun times we had together. I miss his visits and his eagerness to bring joy to my Jim and me. He spent weeks at grandma’s house when his mom and dad went out of town either for work or for vacation. He followed me everywhere. He was a true people dog and had to be anywhere one of us was at any given moment. In his later years he had surgeries for cancerous growths and when he couldn’t be left alone he was with me. I lay on the floor with him when he was too sore to move around after surgery. I scratched his belly and hand fed him when he couldn’t get to his dish. He bounced back so many times until he could do it no more. On his last day, the kids took him to his vet and were told that it was time and with broken hearts, they gave the ok to have him euthanized. When they called me to tell me that Fred was in doggy heaven I was devastated and deeply sad. It was hard for me not to be able to say goodbye but I understood the kids needing that time with their precious fur baby of thirteen years to say their goodbye. I am sure that Fred is somewhere out there playing with all his friends including my Benji. It’s hard to think that it has been one year. Where does the time go!
  3. On the Wings of a Butterfly ~ spoken version by Jimmy Scott
  4. Widower's Grief Wednesday, May 16, 2018 Never Goes Away We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full. Proust In my early days of grief, as I searched through books looking for answers to what had ripped my life apart, I noticed that Rainer Maria Rilke and Washington Irving had different opinions about grief. Rilke, in Letters to a Young Poet, writes that we carry sadness around for too long instead of letting it pass. He says that sadness brings something new into our lives so we should let go of the sadness and pay attention to what is in the shadows waiting to be explored: “A stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent.” Irving takes a different stance, feeling that we already try to put every sorrow behind us as quickly as we can. Except one—the sorrow that we rightly have over the death of someone we love: “this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude.” Then there’s Proust and his talk of healing. Who’s right? All of them are partially right and partially wrong, at least in my experience. I love Rilke for the mystery and the challenge of his words, and I appreciate his focus on living in the present, which I neglected to do quite often before Ev died. But he is too utilitarian in saying that what is past is past, so let it go and focus only on today as if memories and grief had no value. I also don’t like the brooding of Irving because this suggests that we should stew in our emotions. As for Proust, if what he said is applied to grief, then it’s wrong. Grief is not a wound that needs to be healed. Grief is also not an illness like the cold or flu that we have to put up with until it goes away on its own because it won’t. We need to deal with our grief if we are going to move on with our lives. We need to let ourselves feel our emotions and to feel them for as long as they last, then let them go when we’re ready. We don’t need to incubate them, nor should we push them away. The sad, yet amazingly wonderful thing about grief is that it is never going to go away. Bear with me on this for a moment. I hear you mumbling. Grief is tied to love for our spouse, child, parent, or friend. We don’t ever want to forget how they rescued, nurtured, challenged, frustrated, and invigorated us, and we don’t want to forget how deeply we loved them. The only way that grief will disappear is for us to forget them, and we don’t want to do this. Grief binds us to the people we loved. Another amazingly wonderful thing is that because we were so closely connected to another person, and still are, in a different way, we are connected to others, too. We need them to help us stay alive, and then, when we are ready, we need them to accompany us back to the land of the living. “All people are broken, in their need for one another.” Amy Fusselman Although it is hard, grief is not something to fear. Grief is the journey we take from a life that has blown up to a place where we construct a new one. Grief is our companion as we hike over the mountains, through the desert, and along the rain-swept shore of the ocean. Listen to your grief. Neither run from it nor wallow. Posted by Mark Liebenow at 6:17 AM
  5. I am so sorry to hear this yet again, Katie, but relieved that Caleb is in a safe place right now. I will not suggest that you not be angry with your God at this time. I don’t think there is a person who has experienced a great loss not lashing out at a God. I remember the phrase “Thy Will Be Done” and have never been comfortable with it. I don’t accept that we can say the phrase and mean it when we have lost a loved one let alone multiple loved ones. I think we all have ‘blamed’ God for something in our lives at one time or another. It is difficult enough for adults to try to understand death so I don’t think a child can understand either without patience, compassion, and good grief counseling. I pray that your family holds each other very tight and believe that those of us here are right with you. There just are no words. Anne
  6. Oh, Marita, I too am missing Butch. It is very hard to open our hearts to others and to have them just gone. I also believe that the pain was just too much for them. May you find a peace that helps you. Anne
  7. Hello, dear friend, Thank you for taking time to respond to my post, Steve. I think you and I have been very fortunate in many ways. Our journey began with excellent grief counselors from HOV. I know you understand how important it is to reach out and ask for help in our grief journeys. I for one would never have understood what it meant to tend to my grief if it hadn’t been for my grief counselor and this forum. I love that we were able to connect living here in AZ and having you and your Patty visit me here in my home. And when I am able to travel I still have to eat at Maui Pasta. Give my love to Patty.
  8. Thank You, Marty and Kay. I appreciate your kind words. I know how important it is to share our journeys not only to see where we are but to offer hope to those who may not see any hope right now. 💜
  9. Remembering…as May 25, 2018 approaches Me After Six Years “A healer does not heal you. A healer is someone who holds space for you while you awaken so that you may heal yourself.” ~ Maryam Hasnaa I am in a better place today than I was on May 25th, 2012. It has not been an easy journey and I know it is an ongoing one. Just because I have days that I actually smile and feel light-hearted does not mean that my life without Jim is OK. I continue to miss him. Every day things come up and I wish Jim were here to help me. The small things are the hardest for me now when trying to cope. I have needed to reach out for help on things that Jim would have been able to take care of so easily. Changing light bulbs, replacing the A/C filters, cleaning ceiling fans, changing batteries in the smoke detectors, hooking up cables for TVs and computers, taking the air vents down and cleaning them, taking sunscreens down or putting them up for the summer months, lifting heavy things, and so many other things that need tended to as one cares for a home. But this is not the purpose of this reflection for that was not who Jim was. He was more than someone who took care of things. He was thoughtful and caring. He was my soul mate for forty years. He was a loving father and grandfather. I could go on and on and perhaps one day I will write more about Jim but today I want to talk about asking for help if you need it. Asking for help takes courage. People don’t just show up and do things for you so it’s necessary to ask. I never expect to have these things done for free either but I’m so grateful when someone does change a light bulb or A/C filter and refuse payment ~ cookies and milk are always appreciated. In those first years, I found myself feeling sorry for myself because I just thought that others would know that I needed help to get some work done. I would take part in my own ‘pity party’ and spend days blaming others for their thoughtlessness. It got me nowhere. So I decided to make a list of things I could no longer do and looked for people who were handy in those many areas. I live in an active adult community with mostly retired people and we have an e-group that allows us to talk to each other in a closed social media setting. Word of mouth is a great way to find out who can do what. When I started my list I bulleted it into different categories and before I knew it I had handymen, tree trimmers, landscapers, window washers, cleaning people, drivers, and even house watchers if I had to go out of state. Asking for help is not a weakness. My desire is to remain in my home for as long as I can and with the right people around me, I think it will be possible. I continue to be grateful to everyone for their loving support over the years for I would not be where I am today without all the support. I have special people who have nudged me on as I stumbled in this unfamiliar territory of living without my Jim. I remain grateful to Marty for making a safe place for us to come so we are not alone. She has been a continued guiding light and has always been with me on my journey. I am inspired by all the ‘gems’ she finds for us. I have not been left alone, as I had been promised. I’m still learning how to navigate this grief. Those of you who are in early pain allow it to happen, don’t push it away. Lean on those who come here and know that one day, you will not hurt as you do today. The pain will always be there only not as intense. Grief is hard work. Many knowledgeable people say it doesn’t matter how long it has been if we don’t tend to our grief we do not get anywhere. If we only do one or two months of grief work over many years we are really only one or two months into our journey. Our mourning is never over but we do learn to carry it with us as we live the best we know how. I look back over the last six years and I can say, “Hey Anne, you are doing OK on most days. Give yourself a pat on the back or better yet treat yourself to a dish of chocolate ice cream or a piece of dark chocolate fudge or a chocolate donut or a chocolate Dove bar.” Focusing on the positive helps me move through my grief. It still remains a choice for me and I really am grateful for each day. One last thing before I close ~ those of you who have followed me know I had many health issues early on in my grief. Most of them have been resolved. I still have heart failure (after two years I can say that it is managed), my other health issues sometimes flair up but I don’t panic when they do. My health is only one part of who I am. I am very much into holistic healing and shy away from any diagnostic tests that doctors want to put me through. At 75 years young I don’t need to be spending all my time in a doctor’s office. I will continue to use physical therapy when needed for my spinal issues and arthritis but I have said NO to tests that are just looking for something! I frown on prescribed medications and only allow them in my body if there is nothing else for me to use. The first few years after Jim died I grazed and almost never sat at the table to eat. Today I am very conscious of the foods I eat and for most meals, I do sit at the table or out on the patio if weather permits. It’s a conscious choice for me. Chocolate, licorice, popcorn, Cheetos, and nuts are still my go-to snacks. And I always have fresh cut veggies in the refrigerator, too. I have always been conscious of eating healthily but lost my way for a few years. Most of my hobbies have not changed. I listen to music. I read and spend time in my yard and I do my coloring. I am still addicted to Pinterest ~ it relaxes me. I try to take part in at least one new activity twice a year. We have a wonderful arts & craft center that offers many creative opportunities and it is a chance to get out with other people. I do not use the fitness center as I need to but maybe that will change! I like to cook and often add some of Jim’s favorite foods to my menus when having friends over. Sometimes I bake banana nut bread, pineapple upside down cake, chocolate brownies, and anything with apples because those were some of Jim’s favorite desserts. I don’t eat all of these things but I do take them to the people who helped us out when Jim was still with me. We gained the friendship of many folks during my five years of caring for Jim. I continue to be a volunteer as I am able. I am a Unit Coordinator here in my community. A Unit coordinator is~ a Kare bear (our name) volunteer who greets new residents, visits the sick and brings them small gifts if they were hospitalized, tend to families who have lost a loved one by offering comfort, bringing food trays if families are having a gathering after the death of their loved one and helping the family with a death notice and any other paperwork ~ plus many other things. Last week I was surprised with a recognition pin for my past ten years of volunteering as a Kare bear coordinator. It is nice to be appreciated. I didn’t even realize it had been ten years! I continue to visit those who are in their last months or days of life if they request it. I am an end-of-life doula volunteer and I like this part of my life now. As a certified volunteer member of Hospice Foundation of America, I do what I am able to do as a volunteer. Volunteering is a part of my healing. As I focus on taking care of my physical, mental and spiritual needs I now spend more time in the outdoors, I continue to journal and meditate. Visiting Tools for Healing and Marty’s Grief Healing Blog on our grief healing discussion groups website gives me solid information to continue my grief journey. I know that the roller coaster ride will continue to have its rough spots but the ride doesn’t scare me like it did in early grief. I am only one of the thousands who are on this grief path ~ my way is just that ~ my way. Others will find their own path. If you reach out you will not walk your journey alone. And remember, asking is not admitting defeat rather it is showing strength.
  10. Open to Hope hosted another excellent Mother’s Day webinar with Drs. Gloria & Heidi Horsley, Alan Pedersen, and Dr. Janice Nadeau that took place a few years ago but I remember how comforting it was to me during the time having lost my own Mother to cancer. It does not matter if your loss was recent or many years ago the pain is there and the only thing that changes is the intensity of that pain. I posted this in May of 2016 here on the forum under Tools for Healing ~ webinars for personal growth and healing and I’m sure that Marty has it somewhere amongst all the “gems” she finds for us.
  11. This is not a quote but it is a wonderful thought about how our friends have gifts for us that help us along our way... DAILY MEDITATION Friends and Their Unique Gifts May 2 Photo courtesy of SDGimagery.com No two friends are the same. Each has his or her own gift for us. When we expect one friend to have all we need, we will always be hypercritical, never completely happy with what he or she does have. One friend may offer us affection, another may stimulate our minds, another may strengthen our souls. The more able we are to receive the different gifts our friends have to give us, the more able we will be to offer our own unique but limited gifts. Thus, friendships create a beautiful tapestry of love.
  12. I was introduced to the book Heart Prayers by Peggy Haymes when I was introduced to her last year when reading her 2nd Edition book Strugglers, Straglers, and Seekers. I feel like she is sharing precious moments with us. I keep my copy on one of my end tables so I have easy access to it. I recommend this book if it has not already been on a list and I didn't see it.
  13. I love this picture, Kay. I do like how very close you and your siblings are. May you have peace as you remember Donna. Know that I keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
  14. Spring is here for most of us...Enjoy.
  15. I hurt for the loss of your precious Chihuahua. Your story paints a picture of love for your Cindy. I am sorry she could not be with you still. Your loss is still so very fresh and you will find that no matter how long it will be the ache in your heart will always be there only perhaps not as intense. Those of us here on this Loss of a Pet thread are animal lovers and we do understand how painful it is to lose a beloved pet. Anne
  16. To your answer below, Kay ~ it's a smile and not a rectangle.
  17. I also felt that Emma's interest at such an early age deserved my response to her research paper. Her questions were straightforward and should help her. How wonderful that our young people are thinking about the elderly. Here in AZ, some high school students are spending time with HOV activities and I think this is great.
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