Posts Tagged ‘grief’

Peace.  Clarity.  Healing.  Growth.

That was my final intention while performing my grief ritual this morning.  I wish all those grieving to have peace, clarity, healing and growth.

Peace in accepting their loss.

Clarity in appreciating all of the good from the lost relationships, lost jobs, lost loves.  Clarity in remembering that the feelings brought on by grief are just that… brought on by grief, and dealing with them accordingly.

Healing in moving beyond the grief.

Growth.  Above all, growth.  Growth to get through and develop the wisdom to help others.


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Joy Through the Grief

2010 was a grief filled year.  Last year at this time, I was in so much pain.  My first Christmas without my Dad.  Feeling for my brother and his children after his wife’s death.  It turned my days into black and white.  The color was drained out.

Grief has a way of taking residence.  It affects our senses.  Dulls them.  But, once dealt with, the color can start to come back.

This Christmas, I continued to carry out traditions that are influenced by those I’ve lost.  I made tamales because when I lived with my grandparents we had tamales during the Christmas season.  I made brisket because of my life with them.  I disregarded traditional turkey and stuffing because of my Dad’s teachings (that you do what makes YOU happy and make your own traditions).

They were all with us.  And we were joyful in our holiday celebrations.

In many ways, the joy we felt this year was sweeter.  It was absent last year.  But this year, we were back to living life to the fullest, just as Dad would have wanted.  As all who we’ve lost would have wanted.  Some things still brought tears to my eyes, and perhaps they always will, but the joy was ever present.

We grieve, and we grow.  Life comes in cycles.  If you are in the thick of grieving as you read this, please know that it will become easier.  And it’s absolutely ok to be living the black and white.  The color will return, I promise you.

If you need help, please come talk to me.  www.empoweredlife.biz

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I had an altogether different post scheduled for today… but then I got a message on facebook and it changed my focus.

By all accounts, a man I graduated with was in an argument with his neighbor.  It escalated, the neighbor is dead from a gunshot, and my classmate is in custody.

We were not close.  But having been from the same “social class” at high school, we knew one another.  Neither of us were from rich families.

I can’t fathom the kind of hell this man is in, sitting in jail, possibly having killed a man.  Nor can I imagine the hell that the victim’s family is in.

Grief in these two families, grief throughout the community, and grief that spreads to all of us who knew either one, it will go far and wide.

My heart goes out to all.  And I wish I could give my classmate a hug.  Not to clear him of any guilt, but to let him know that regardless of the actions of the other night, I care.

I’ve often been obsessed with the point of no return.  I wonder what makes people go beyond that point.  And I wonder how one makes it through after.  Like the man who chose to drive drunk and killed my friend Eric.  What in the world made him pass that point of no return?  And Susan Smith, what was her point of no return?  And how do you find your way back once you’ve crossed that line.

Please join me in sending healing energy to all affected by this tragedy.

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Grief over Custody

I’ve never told this full story to my online world.  It is difficult.  And it was grief ridden.  Here goes.

Deep Breath

About 6 years ago, after my alzheimer’s job, I had to get out of the small town I lived in.  I saw no future whatsoever there.  The town was dying.  There were no jobs.  Absolutely no room to advance.  So I decided after a lot of deliberation that I needed to move towards Portland, Oregon.  5 hours away.

My 3 sons stayed with their dad while I moved.  And the plan was for them to move up after I got settled.  That was the plan.  Getting settled took a couple of months, but soon I was doing well and had an apartment big enough for the boys to fit into with us.

My ex began talking about the boys staying with him.  I would hear nothing of it and made that very clear.  Then I started noticing that when I called, my middle son wouldn’t come to the phone.  When he was made to talk to me, it was very short.

What happened in their minds at that point was that for the first time ever, we were at war, their father and I.  And they were right smack dab in the middle.

I was served with custody papers at work.  My world came crashing down.  I cried for days.

After I was cried out, I sat down and journaled.  I poured my heart out.  I wrote for about a dozen pages when I was stunned by what I discovered.

I called my ex husband.  He was none too pleased to hear from me, as we were at war and I had not been too kind.  I asked him if he was sitting down.  What I told him was that I had been really struggling with this, and could fight him til my death, but that no one would win, especially the children.  But after all was said and done, he was a good dad.  And so, I would not be fighting him.  I wanted what was best for the children, and they wanted to stay there.

Then I cried some more.

Sometimes, even if you know you are doing the right thing, grief comes.  For years on Mother’s Day, I tried to hole myself up, to not go out.  I couldn’t stand random strangers telling me happy mother’s day.

Fast forward 6 years.  The oldest lived with me for a year after he graduated, and we are all so very close.  The boys know that I respected them with my decision.  And when they come up for the summer, for the holidays, for spring break, we pack as much as we can into our time.

We often have family time together, the ex, his girlfriend, his parents, the boys, me, and my love.  We are blessed.  And I can’t help but think that we wouldn’t be where we are today had the war continued.


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Once upon a time, I was the administrator of an Alzheimer’s unit.  I was the administrator for about a year.  I loved my residents, their families, my staff.  I didn’t love my beeper when it went off at 2am, but I loved that job.

What I didn’t love was the corporation associated with my home.  Every week I was chastised for going over the food budget.  I was expected to buy food for 3 HEALTHY meals and 2 snacks a day.  And the suggested dollar amount for groceries was horrendously low.  I didn’t care about being the top house.  I cared about taking care of my residents and keeping them happy and healthy.  So each week, when I sent in my expense report, I took the lashing.

The final straw though, was when they sent in an assistant for me.  I welcomed an assistant, but when I fired her for hitting the flask on her break, and they brought her back, that was the last straw.

I called corporate and gave my resignation.  My staff wanted to follow me out the door, but they were instructed to not leave the home unmanned.  The residents were the top priority.  A new administrator was in place within hours.  And yes, it was the assistant.  I couldn’t fight corporate, and I’m sure they could get a more manageable grocery bill out of her.

The following weeks, I stood on my principle.  I knew that the alzheimer’s unit was not the right fit for me.  You can’t fix a system that’s broken all the way to the top, nor can you make greed turn into care.  But as the weeks went by and I was still jobless, I became sad.  I became mad, I wanted to kick corporate’s ass.

I had a gorgeous white Mercury Marquis with a sunroof.  I gave it back, couldn’t make the payments.  Oh how I miss that car.

Would I have done things differently?  Perhaps I should’ve fought a little harder.  I left out a lot of the details about the assistant and corporate, because in the end the choice was mine.  But how I’ve grieved that job.   I lost my livelihood for awhile.  Lost my footing for awhile.

That job and the grief associated with me leaving changed me forever.  I’ve lost other jobs, due to my own stupidity.  Each one has shaped me.  In the heart of each one was grief.  Grief that I had to work through to move on.  Grief that stays with me to this day, paralyzing me to stick it out in a job that doesn’t serve me well, but I’m working on that.

How have you dealt with grief over the loss of a job?

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We know, as parents, that the day will come that our children will move away.  But I can tell you from personal experience that no matter how good the circumstances, it is a pain like no other.

After my ex father in law’s accident, my oldest son chose to relocate to his grandparents house.  At first, to help them, then to work, as employment is so often who you know, and they had excellent connections in their town.  It was a great move for him.  He has a stable job, is making some money, getting job experience.  But the day it became clear to me that he was really gone, my world crumbled.

I knew in my heart that it was a good move for him, but my heart hurt so much.  No more coming home to him, no more daily talks.  I cried.  I cried a LOT.  I had long talks with my son’s dad, I tried to find my personal peace with his absence.

As with most things, time healed this pain.  We have established a new groove.  We will be together for the holidays.  We keep in constant contact via text and phone.  And we are actually closer than before.

Do I miss him?  Is there a hole in my home?  Absolutely.  Did I take some time to feel ok with it?  Absolutely.  It was helped with the deep down knowledge that what he did was right, and expected.  Yet, I grieved.  I allowed myself to feel the pain.  That made all the difference.

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The Loss of A Pet

In May, our beloved pet passed away.  His name was Gabriel and he was our pet ferret.

We got Gabriel when he was just a couple months old, 6 years prior.  When Gabriel was a baby, he fit in my love’s t-shirt pockets.  We took him to the park (only once or twice… he couldn’t stand the leash!), and we’d let him run amok in the house in the evenings.  Gabriel was amazingly mischievous, and one time I watched him drag a 5 pound hand weight 10 feet across the floor into the closet.

He was the sweetest addition to our family.  He was thoroughly loved and enjoyed by all.  Each evening when we would put Gabriel back in his cage, he would pace until we gave him his vitamin paste… he loved that stuff!

His last evening, he woke me up with crying.  Ferrets do have some sounds.  I had heard him scream out in his sleep, had heard his happy squeak, but this crying was difficult.  We held him and tried to soothe him much of the night.  We now know that he had suffered a stroke earlier in the day, and had partially recovered, but was now constipated.

I did what I usually do, and consulted the internet.  I made a concoction to help him, I kept him warm, I talked softly to our little angel.  He was walking around, but staggering a bit.  Parts of his personality were still there.  I made an emergency vet appointment, and showered.  After the shower, I looked at him… he had taken a very quick turn for the worst and was convulsing.  I wrapped him, put him in a basket and my son and I got in the car.  We had to drive about 2 miles.

Gabriel took his final breath as I put the car in park.  My son and I cried in the car.  I thought about driving away, but instead went in to cancel the appointment.  I couldn’t do it without sobbing, of course, and they had the vet come to the car and check him out.


I still get tears in my eyes thinking of his last day.  And you know what?  I rarely think of it anymore.  What I think about is the 6 years we had with him, his spirit, and all the laughter he brought into our world.

The sting of death is so difficult.  And it takes time.  Sometimes a lot of time.  But once we are able to move past the anger, the pain, the shock, we can move towards the celebration of the life.

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