Can You Imagine?

Can You Imagine?

Can you imagine,

waking up to the light of day

and feeling as though you have nothing to say?

Can you imagine,

walking past the same room

that you’ve passed every day,

that room that you’d stop by

for a while just to say “hey!” ?

Can you imagine,

looking inside that now empty room

as you struggle to accept that everything has changed?

Can you imagine,

each morning – whispering “hello”

to a part of you, a remnant,

who was called to go

far away to another space

where serving a higher purpose

could now take place?

Can you imagine,

for a minute, closing your eyes

to once again see

that smile that would bring comfort

and make joy materialize?

Can you imagine,

the numbness felt each night

as you pass that room again

and once more recall

that nothing is “right”?

Can you imagine,

having the worst happen to you,

yet you still feel grace

because your faith is true?

Can you imagine feeling grateful,

because you raised someone special

and that love for your child is eternal

and what helps get you through?

Can you imagine?

Can you?

By Carol C.M.


Until the next post.

Blessings,

Take Care + Be Well,

Carol xo

Feeling is Living

Feeling is Living

“Don’t numb yourself any further with busyness or forced happiness.  Feel what is bothering you so that you can learn to adjust to the change instead of pretending that it doesn’t exist.” – Carol C.M.

Balanced Healing

Balanced Healing

 

“The waves ebb and the waves flow, and yet I never tire of watching from the shore, the way the waves rhythms show their intensity, then inactivity; as if to remind me of what I already know in my heart and in my soul, which is that to life there must be balance, and happiness is empty if sadness we must forego.”

– Carol C.M.

Until the next post.

Blessings,

Take Care + Be Well,

Carol xo

Thank You, I know you mean well, but…

Thank You, I know you mean well, but…

“Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.” – Charles Glassman.


Help is supposed to be a good thing…Right?  Sometimes, though, it doesn’t feel so good.  Sometimes we try to help others by trying to present a solution to their problem without knowing that we may be making their problem worse.  Additionally, sometimes we unknowingly force our own personal beliefs and values onto others, or we might not notice that we are being passive-aggressive in the way that we are attempting to offer help.

When this happens after loss it can sometimes leave both sides wondering, “What just happened?” Sometimes it occurs right after a loved one has passed, and sometimes it  happens long after the funeral has ended and the person grieving is still trying to adjust to the effects of their loss, but when it happens it is always something that the person grieving almost usually never forgets.

I understand. I understand completely. When someone dies it is hard to find the right words to say. We’re always concerned about whether we are saying the right thing to the person who had to say goodbye to someone that they knew. Someone that they cared for and in many cases loved.

We all know of some of the standard ways to address those who are grieving. Ways that we have become accustomed to.  I know because I have used some of those words myself, but that was before I could even begin fathom what it was like to lose someone whose absence meant that my entire life would change and never be the same. It was long before I knew what it was like to lose a child. Long before I experienced losing someone who wasn’t supposed to leave this earth before me, (or anyone else in my immediate family for that matter.)

To anyone wanting to offer condolences to the grieved, please understand that person’s loss may not be the first loss that they have had to endure. They may have lost many people in their lifetime, and as a result, they may not feel that this particular loss was a part of God’s plan, or that “it was for the best.”

Maybe it was a part of God’s plan and maybe they are in a better place, but the chances that someone who just lost someone is going to agree that what happened was for the best is very slim.  This is especially true for parents who have lost a child. Losing a child is considered to be one of the hardest forms of grief to overcome. It’s exhausting.

So, a little word of advice from a grieving mom.  The next time that you a presented with the chance to extend your condolences to someone, remember that person has just gone through what might be the most horrible time in their life and your thoughtfulness and  could make a world of difference.

One of the best condolences that I received was “I am sorry for your loss. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do to help.” This let me know that the person felt bad about what happened, but it also let me know that they understood that I was going through a tough time and that they would be there for me if I needed anything.

If you are unsure of what to way, simply say exactly that, say that you’re unsure of what to say. Say that you are sorry and that you don’t know what to say because that will be better than saying nothing at all; and if you want to be a bit more expressive just try not to say anything that may be offensive. Sometimes its best to keep it simple and straight to the point, but being considerate of someone’s loss and their needs usually never fails.

Until the next post.


Blessings,

Take Care +  Be Well,

Carol xo

15 Ways to Conquer Those “Blues”

15 Ways to Conquer Those “Blues”

When I stepped outside and onto my front porch this morning a cool breeze brushed against my face. I also felt a bit of warmth from the fall sun; and both sensations were very soothing.  I turned around to close my front door and while doing so I could hear a group of leaves bustling down the street behind me.

Naturally, I didn’t have to turn around to know that they were leaves that had recently fell from the neighborhood trees.  In my mind I called upon past memories of the season and I thought to myself, “this only happens once a year.”  This was fall in full effect and as I turned around to face the street, all of the leaves began to then scatter to different areas of the street and into yards like little colorful children laughing and playing a game of tag.

It’s always the little things that capture my attention, and where I find some of the most intriguing things to be grateful for.  Practicing gratitude allows me to readjust my focus so that I am always able to find “something” good in everything.  Even those things that I normally would not find pleasing – like cold weather months, for example.

When fall arrives I know that I will now have to try to plan my outdoor walks and hiking trips a bit more carefully for the next few months, if at all, and this alone contributes to my “blues” along with grieving and missing the sunshine.  However,  the cooler months also bring with them the opportunity to sit or lay by a fireplace fire, and if I keep looking on the bright side and maintain an open mind, I will also be able to appreciate the fact that I can still perform other exercises and activities indoors. Optimism is a beautiful thing. I guess that is why we as a society celebrate it.

A big part of conquering the “blues” involves maintaining a positive outlook once the weather changes. Yet, as I have discovered, this isn’t always easy to do especially if the shift to cooler weather and shorter daylight hours are affecting you while you are grieving. There are a few things that anyone can do to help make this time of year more pleasant and more manageable and I have listed fifteen tips below that I have personally tried and that seem to be helpful.

  1. Practice gratitude – Find something in every day, no matter how big or small, to be grateful for.  Begin by noticing something good about the changes that come with both the fall and winter seasons.
  2. Get a pet.  Pets can help keep you stay healthy by encouraging you to stay active. It may also help to care for something else other than yourself.
  3. Open your curtains or blinds as often as possible to allow the sun to shine in and keep your mood positive.
  4. Exercise or find another way to keep you body active for a few minutes a day.
  5. Take up a new hobby or start a fall or winter craft. This can be especially helpful in easing any grief.  Try creating something in honor of the person who has passed away or create something that sparks your interest. Either way, creative expression is good for managing feelings and emotions.
  6. Find an exercise buddy to keep things exciting and for accountability.
  7. Eat healthy and don’t feel bad about treating yourself to a favorite treat once in a while…think balance.
  8. Volunteer or donate to a cause that you care about, or that your loved one cared about. When we help others it can give us insight and remind us that things aren’t as bad as they may seem.
  9. Join a club such as a grief group, book club or hiking club, or any club that sparks your interest. This is a great way to maintain social contacts and prevent feelings of isolation.
  10. Create fall or winter rituals such as decorating for the holidays, cooking holiday meals, baking desserts, (especially those that your lost loved one enjoyed), or burn  candles and make a fire in the fireplace. These things can help you enjoy the “warmth” of the season.
  11.  Avoid negativity  – Surround yourself with positive people and positive environments.  Negativity can be stressful and may trigger unfavorable emotions and memories.
  12. Look forward – Create something special to look forward to in the coming year such as a memorial event,  or a solo or family trip or vacation.
  13. Stay social – Spend time with family and friends, share family memories and create new ones, or simply get together with friends to watch a movie or have brunch or dinner out at a restaurant.
  14. Play music – Listen to your favorite music regularly in your home or car to give your mind a break.  You may also enjoy playing a little holiday music during the holidays to add a little cheeriness to the gloomier seasons.
  15. Create a morning and evening ritual – such as practicing meditation, yoga, prayer or journaling as these practices can help with maintaining a positive outlook.
Thankfully, seasons change, and “the blues” will too, but until the seasons actually do change and bring back the longer, brighter days with the trees and other foliage beginning to show hints of a less monochromatic world  we have just a few months in which we can savor the beauty that fall and winter bestows us. Let’s enjoy it together. Shall we? Happy October!

Until the next post.


Blessings,

Take Care + Be Well,

Carol xo

Love’s Burden

Love’s Burden

“Your burden is already so heavy, so be light with yourself. Look at the way you take the pain from your heartache and allow it to sustain you through the rough waves of mourning – Never once forgetting that your reason for enduring it all was and will always be love.”

– Carol C.M.

Until the next post.

Blessings,

Take Care + Be Well,

Carol xo

A Little Bit of Nature Helps

A Little Bit of Nature Helps

Neither of us knew how to explain exactly how we felt, but… Last year as summer began to come to an end, the last thing that my husband and I wanted to hear was anything that had to do with going out to “do something.”  As far as we were concerned, we were doing something…something called trying to process what happened and trying to heal.  Was that not enough?  Even after all that we had just been through?  Celebrating, exercising, or vacationing was not something that we were interested in making a priority at the time.
It took us nearly 3 months to feel even the slightest bit comfortable going out to do anything; and once we were finally ready, we decided that a simple hike would be a great way to relive some stress and get our endorphins going again.  That trip turned out to be one of the best decisions that we ever made.
Well, it’s that time of year again, and this week we got the same little “itch” that provoked us last year to get out – not to do anything “fancy” – but to just go somewhere where there was peacefulness. Somewhere where we could just go and reconnect with nature ( and ourselves) and contemplate the meaning of life yet again.
When you are immersed in nature and enjoying all of it’s beauty, it helps you remember that there is still so much outside of ourselves, our jobs, and our homes to be thankful for.  You begin to realize that even through difficult times life is still amazing. Furthermore, it gives a boost to your immune system and the change of scenery can help brighten your outlook and change any negative perspectives that you may be holding. Personally, I don’t think that there is a better natural mood booster than spending time outdoors, getting lots of fresh air and taking in the sights and sounds of our beautiful planet.
Not to get off topic but let me revert back to the issue of celebrating while grieving for a moment…We found ourselves feeling a little guilty for going out after having turned down invitations from a few family and friends. It makes you feel really bad, but in all honesty it was better being truthful about how we felt instead of being more concerned with what everyone would think, only because it would be devastating to attend an event that could likely be a trigger for our grief. More important we would never want to ruin anyone’s celebration with our sadness. It just didn’t seem worth it and we figured that it would be best if we didn’t attend anything until we were completely prepared to be good company. The right time, unfortunately, was not a couple of months after our loss. We were confident that anyone who had invited us to their event during that time would understand…and  gratefully they did.  More often than not your family and friends will understand – especially if they have witnessed your pain.  Just be sure to let them know that you will do your best to join them the next time; and if possible it couldn’t hurt to send a small gift to remind them that you do care about them as well.
The important thing to take away from this is to not focus on what you are not yet able to to do while healing from your loss. It is more helpful to stay focused on what you can do now.  Just do  whatever you can do to motivate yourself to get out and back into your life – enjoying your life, and if you can’t seem to get out at least make sure that you are doing something positive for your mental and physical well-being. Doing something is always better than doing nothing in this case and if you have to take baby steps to get back to your normal self that is completely acceptable. 
Until the next post.

Blessings,
Take care + Be well,
Carol xo 

Staying Strong After Loss

Staying Strong After Loss

When we experience loss we tend to become internally disoriented. That internal disorientation comes to us in the form of sadness + anger + misery + regret + trepidation + (because we’re often hoping that the person that we lost could come back…) wishfulness.

We’re often affected physically as well, which is where those things like losing your appetite (or having it increase ), being unable to sleep or feel rested, and having an overall sense of discomfort + uneasiness takes over. I’ve learned that these are all normal responses to the process of grieving.

Having to bear the weight of, (what at the time seems like), almost unimaginable tasks such as adjusting to a new relationship with with the person that you have lost + trying to fully understand the loss + trying to develop a whole new way of being in the world after the loss adds to the burden and oftentimes we are not prepared to manage all that has been placed before us.

Yet, finding a way, (or ways), to adjust to our loss can help keep the pain from consuming us.

Learning to adjust is necessary because life is going to keep revolving around you – and if you don’t find a way return to life you are going to have a very hard time with those internal and physical symptoms – making it much more difficult to heal and live your life.

Some of the things that have helped me return to myself include:

• Showing myself a little compassion by resting when I felt as though I needed to…and not feeling guilty about doing so.

• Asking for (or accepting) help from others when I needed it. This helped me feel less overwhelmed, but it also gave others the opportunity to feel good about helping someone through a rough time. It’s so important to not push these “beautiful” people away.

• Trying to laugh again without feeling as though I was dishonoring my lost loved one. Remembering that he wanted (wants) me to be happy. This helped me remember to keep looking for the joy in life and to not take it too seriously…to always remain open.

• Giving my loss meaning by focusing less on the fact that my loved one is no longer here…and more on how he positively impacted my life + that of others + keeping his legacy of loving life alive.

• I am a nature lover so getting out and enjoying the sights + sounds of nature was a given for me while on my healing journey. There are so many lessons in nature that can help with trying to understand + learning to appreciate loss of life. Nature tends to offer a neverending abundance of beautiful comparisons.

This list of mine is not exhaustive and as always we all have different methods that we can apply. These are a few that helped me through the early days when I was days + weeks into my loss. Please feel free to try any of them for yourself and if you do – let me know how it worked for you.

Until the next post.


Blessings,

Take care + Be well, 

Carol xo

Shattered

Shattered

It was a very long night. I didn’t sleep at all that night.  It was 6:14 a.m. on that early August morning that I took this photo as I sat in this room staring at the white walls and these deep green seats, waiting for someone to come and tell me that I could smile again.  I kept thinking about how just twelve hours beforehand, my youngest child and I were enjoying one of his favorite meals, while conversating as we got our “little nerd fix while watching the show Battle Bots.  Ten hours beforehand we had, unbeknownst to us, said our last real goodbyes right before I reminded him to drive safely as he opened the front door to leave to meet up with friends out of town.  The moment that I took this photo I had enough hope for the world. However, evidently, some plans are much greater than our own wishes, hopes, dreams, efforts and prayers.

It often begins with shock.  That initial feeling that sends shock waves and copious amounts of cortisol throughout your body, filling every part with enough stress to make your hands shake and your entire body quiver.  Then the numbness seeps in ever so slowly.  So slow, in fact, that you’re barely able to recognize that your body is being possessed by some strange form of extreme sadness; and for a minute you begin to wonder if you’re losing your mind.

You’re in disbelief.  Yet, you somehow know that this may not end well, so you reach deep down inside your heart and gut and pull out as much strength, courage and hope for a happy end result as you possibly can – and even so – you still don’t feel as though that effort will be enough.

Now all that you feel is fear.  You are still numb and outside of yourself, but the hurt that you feel is now becoming so overwhelming and all that your heart and mind are telling you is that you absolutely cannot lose this person.  Suddenly, you start doubting that this is actually happening and hope that you are just having a really terrible dream.  You can’t believe that this is even possible. How can it be possible?  Nothing feels real at the moment.

You can’t seem to stop the tears from falling from your eyes and down your cheeks. Nor can you stop the ache in your chest. You’re antsy and you want to do something to help, but you are told repeatedly that there is nothing else that you can do. That they can do. That anyone can do. That doesn’t stop you though. Each day that you return to this place you keep asking and trying to find solutions. All you know is… this hurt likes like hell.

This was my experience and I cannot speak for all parents who have lost a child, but there is not doubt that when someone you love loses their life, so many feelings and emotions rush through your mind and you have to mourn the loss in order to help you process it.  Mourning is essential to the healing process and there is no time frame that one can be expected to “get over” their loss. That is always personal.  It is as personal as the relationship that you had with the person that you lost.  This is why bereavement healing times tend to vary from person to person. Bereavement should not be rushed.  So, the next time that you encounter someone who is grieving, show a little patience, kindness and be genuinely supportive because that is what is going to help that person overcome their grief in the healthiest way possible.

Until the next post.


Blessings,

Take care + Be well,

Carol xo