Pride

menopauseexpress.com - Pride

 

Pride is a quiet being that lurks inside of all of us. It sneaks out sometimes, in the form of judgment, and we don’t even notice it. It stings. It makes us feel ashamed; make us hide things. It can bring us down and make us cry. We can even hate ourselves because of our own pride and mixed emotions we don’t understand. Continue reading “Pride”

Loss

We lost one of our furry children this week. Sasha was a birthday present for Mr. Magick Man when she was just a puppy, 11+ years ago. She was his baby girl.

I would go into a memorial for Sasha, but really, that’s not what this post is about. This is a post of observation and learning.

Sasha passed away yesterday morning. I made a memorial post on my Facebook account rather than making a public blog post. People on my friends list knew her and I thought this was more appropriate. What I’ve observed is the general response to a person’s grief (whether the person who passed is a family member of the 2-legged or 4-legged variety). What horrifies me is that I may have been guilty (at one time or another) of some of the things that have offended me over the past 24 hours, myself. This inspired me to write, tonight, on how we might respond to a grieving friend when we see a post about his or her loss:

  • Expressing shock and sympathy
  • “OMG, I’m so sorry!! :: hugs ::
  • Emotional support
  • If you are in this person’s close circle of friends
    • CALL THE PERSON
    • He or she may have posted a memorial post, but a phone call is so much more personal. If someone is grieving, they need that personal contact, not a “comment”, or a text. They need your time if you’re in their closer circle of friends.

What not to do:

  • DO NOT SHARE THE PERSON’S POST
    • Your friend just posted a memorial post. You don’t know if this post is limited to a certain group of friends or if it is just on this person’s friends list. Most likely, it is not a public post. Why on earth would you share this post? Yes, I have seen this done to other grieving individuals.
  • Do not tell the person about your past experience with your dead cat/dog/brother/aunt/etc… This is not about you. It is possible to express sympathy (even express empathy) without relaying your story. The person grieving does not want to hear your story. If they weren’t grieving, they would care, but right now they just can’t.
    • This is the one that eats at me. This is the one I’m horrified I may have done in the past. If I’ve ever done this to anyone I am so sorry. In the past 24 hours people have done this to me and I know just how much you probably wanted to beat me over the head or tell me to just STFU.

Part of me reads what I just typed and says, “Hon, don’t post this. It’s just the grief and you’ll regret this post in a few days.” But really, that’s what this post is about – responding to a grieving friend. My reactions to the responses I received may be on the far end of the scale. One could say I’m overreacting and emotional right now; but that’s the point. When one is communicating with a grieving friend in that frame of mind, one needs to handle communication appropriately. The time for sharing stories is after the grieving is over. If you really feel the need to share any posts, you should at least ask the person first and explain why; and if the person declines then respect that decision.

I’m off my soapbox for the night. Peace and love. I’m going to go love my other dog and my kitties.

Life Goes On

(more thoughts from my previous post)

Pooh passed away in the middle of the night. He’s no longer in pain, and his family can go through a grieving process that will end. They no longer have to cope with the pain of watching a family member suffer.

The sun still rose today. I was up before sunrise, as usual, in my garage making incense. Mr. Magick Man got up, as he always does, and headed off to work.

The death of one person, just as birth, is a part of life. If it were a rock being tossed in the pond of our world, it wouldn’t really make a ripple. But the water where the rock lands – right where it lands – is moved and disturbed. It doesn’t just fall back into place immediately. That water represents those immediately affected by the one person’s death; their loved ones.

Why do good people have to suffer in such a manner when there are others in this world that perform truly horrible acts and don’t have to suffer in kind? We may never know. The answer to this question may come down to your spiritual beliefs. It may be a lesson you have to learn in this life before passing to the next. It may be we do not understand God’s plan. Or it may be there is no higher power; it’s just a disease and it’s a roll of the dice.

I have friends who walk each path. Personally, I believe there is a higher power. I’ll never understand the why’s, but I try to find some kind of growth from life’s experiences – no matter where I am in that pond.

Pond Of Life

A Crisis of Faith

My first post in how long? It was supposed to be about how busy I’ve been. I was going to write about my new business, gearing up for an upcoming festival, and success. These things are not at the forefront of my mind right now. What brings me out of the shadows and back to my blog is a need to write.

…2am and I’m still awake writing this song
If I get it all down on paper it’s no longer inside of me
Threatening the life it belongs to…

“Breathe” – Anna Nalick, 2006

Today I write about a good friend of my husband’s. He’s as big as a bear, has the demeanor of a teddy, so I’ll call him Pooh, because you all know I never use anyone’s real names here.

Pooh is losing his battle with cancer. Over the past five years I’ve had the honor of knowing this man and his wife, and he’s a very good person.  My husband has known him far longer.

Pooh surprised the doctors and lived beyond their expectations. He is a stubborn old man and we wouldn’t have it any other way. But in the past month he’s started going downhill fast. This past weekend was hard, and now he’s really not in good shape. When he’s coherent he seems like himself but most of the time he’s out of it. I’ll be surprised if he makes it another week.

I’ve seen Pooh cope with the anger and frustration of not being able to do what he used to do. To have the mental capacity one has but lose one’s physical capacity and know one is just slowly withering away, with no control over the situation, is not easy. I just saw Pooh on occasion; I can only imagine what his wife saw on a daily basis and how hard this has been on her.

I see Mr. Magick Man coping with his emotions. He’s one who tucks things away. I ask how he’s doing and he’s honest – he says, “not good.” But he’s not breaking down like I would in this situation. He’s got the emotions neatly packed in a box somewhere so he can function throughout his day. Meanwhile I sit here being so close to him emotionally I can feel it. And I weep.

I wonder if it’s just this, or if there are old issues being triggered, and I already know the answer. Old issues I neatly tuck away in my own box so I can go on seem to never come out of that box. If I don’t look at them they don’t exist. They just reach up and bite me in the ass at times like this.

A good friend of mine lost his own battle with cancer years ago, when I worked at The Empire. His diagnosis was a bit worse than Pooh’s. Doctor’s gave him a very grim prognosis from the beginning – about a year, tops. He lived 3-4 years. Attitude is a lot of it, from what I hear. When he passed away, I wondered then, “Why do such good people have to die in such a painful way?” I never came to terms with that concept. I never got my answer.

People die every day and it isn’t for us to make judgment on “good” or “bad”. But when you see the news headlines or hear about these sick people in the world who do terrible things, from rapists to child molesters to terrorists, one has to wonder… Why do they have it so easy? Why is it these things happen to good people instead?

As I was in the garage this morning making incense, I fussed to the heavens above about this… again. I still don’t have an answer. I just have a headache.

‘Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now.
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe… just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe

“Breathe” – Anna Nalick, 2006

 

Blackbird, fly…

Last night, we pulled into the driveway around 7-ish. I knew the dogs were going to be happy to see us because we’d been gone all day. The cats; well, they’re cats. They’re happy to see us, but they won’t admit it.

Mr. Magick Man still had something to take care of, so he dropped the Teen Boy and I off. We fed the dogs, said hello to all our furry children, & started on dinner. Suddenly, I heard this odd noise coming from the den. It sounded like one of the dogs chewing on something or maybe batting something around (because both cats were visually accounted for in the dining room). Then the noise stopped. I thought, perhaps I’m just tired. Or maybe I’ve finally gone off the deep end and I’m hearing things. Just in case it’s the latter, I won’t mention it. He was really enjoying that cheeseburger and I really didn’t have the heart to break that moment by telling him his mother had finally lost it.

Then I heard the noise again. It found that last nerve I had and started dancing up and down on it. I couldn’t contain myself any longer.

Me: “Ok, do you hear that?”

Teen Boy: “Huh?”

Me: (thinking to myself – …why was I even worried?) “What does the dog have now?” And I get up from the table. Teen boy follows, of course.

We go into the dining room to see this:

Yes, somehow, a grackle has managed to get inside the house while we were gone. I can only guess that little miss Freyja Kitty brought it inside the dog door. She has a history for bringing live prey inside.

It doesn’t seem to be injured, just scared. It keeps hopping from one end of the window to the other, not knowing quite what to do. Its wings seem intact (nothing looks bent out of shape or appears to be missing). No blood, just fowl. ;)I tried opening the back door, hoping he’d see it and fly out. Nope. He saw it was open, saw outside, but was too scared to move off of his perch.

I needed to see if this guy was hurt. If I could get him to fly to the next windowsill, he could fly outside. If he couldn’t fly, well… I’d deal with that if that problem arose. I got a broomstick and touched his feet, nudging him out of his corner. YES! He flew! He gave me quite the dirty look, but he flew! Next windowsill, the bird is doing the same thing, scared to death and hopping back and forth. But now I know all he needs is a gentle nudge (even if he may not think it’s gentle at the time), so I can eventually get him out the door (and please, please, don’t let me hurt him in the process…). By the time we got to the last windowsill, I had him grasping onto the broomstick so I could carry him from the windowsill to the door. He saw the opening and flew away.

I sat down with the Teen Boy and we finished dinner. I then started thinking about human nature, how we handle change in our environment, and how our friends and family support us in times of need. Sometimes we need that gentle nudge to push us on to the next phase or next step in life, whatever that may be.

Those giving that gentle nudge do so out of love and care, but they’re afraid of harming the person in the process, just as I was afraid of harming the bird. But they know they have to give the nudge anyway, because allowing the person to remain in his or her current circumstances does more harm than good.

Those receiving that gentle nudge may see it as anything but gentle. It may be perceived as more of a push off the edge of a cliff. Or, it may feel as though you are being dragged, kicking and screaming all the way, rather than being nudged. Clinging to old, familiar ways is so easy, even if those ways are unhealthy. It’s the fear of the unknown, or, the unfamiliar path, that holds us back.

But like the bird, once we embrace the change and go with that nudge in a new direction, we are truly free.

Change, Lessons Learned, and The Universe (or, “How I Wax Philosophical as I Drink My Morning Coffee”)

It’s been a rough year. Really, with everything building up prior to the layoff, one could say it’s been a rough couple of years. I’ve had to deal with a lot of change in my life.

I was never one who embraced change when it came to major life events.  I never “went with the flow”. It would probably be more accurate to say I “followed behind, kicking and screaming”.

I’ve always believed events occur in our lives so we can gain experience and learn from those events, and move on. If we have repeating patterns in our lives, from unhealthy relationships to a string of stressful events requiring our coping mechanisms, it may be we need to take a step back and look at the big picture – ask ourselves what the common theme in all these events has been. What lesson have we had to repeat in each event?

I did this recently.

When my seizure threshold lowered and I temporarily lost the ability to drive, that was a change in freedom for me. A change in control.  I could feel the downward spiral of depression begin. Suddenly, although I wanted so badly to get out of the house, when I left, I just wanted to go home. It wasn’t an agoraphobic reaction – I wasn’t afraid of anything. No panic attacks. Home was the last little thread of control I had left. It was my domain. When I left (with someone else driving, of course), I was leaving my domain of control behind.

I looked at major life change events that have occurred for me since 2006 (both positive and negative) and my reactions. With the anticipation of change in my environment, I became so stressed and full of anxiety. I allowed it to impact my health. All of this stemmed from the concept that change equates to “relinquishing control”. When in reality, I can control my reaction to changes in my environment at anytime. It’s when I allow myself to panic or stress about change that I relinquish control to change.

So, how does “The Universe” fit into all of this? Excellent question! When I finally made the realization about how I’ve been fighting change all these years, and about the lesson I finally needed to learn, it was as though The Universe opened a new door for me. Suddenly, I had recruiters contacting me this week about possible job opportunities (people looking me up on LinkedIn). I had people responding to me on positions I’d applied for about a month ago. Now, I have no idea if any of these are going to come through, but things are no longer stagnant. I’m going with the flow.

However, I think I’ll go with the flow with a bit more efficiency if I finish my coffee and have some breakfast. 😉