Silver Linings~UGH!

I’m usually a silver linings kind of girl.  Really, I am.  I also prefer to be happy.  Doesn’t mean I don’t get angry, sad, frustrated, irritated or disappointed, I just prefer to get through that quickly and get back to happy.  So, I often look for the silver linings.

When it comes to death, I usually try to find the “positive” things that are a result of said death.  Like Aunt Betsy isn’t in pain anymore or Uncle Jack lived a long 93 years and had a great life. Or Jeremy wouldn’t have wanted to be on hospice so it’s good for him he went quickly.  You had a chance to say goodbye to Aunt Janet, that’s really important. Etc.

What I know now is that these sentiments don’t always work or apply or you just don’t feel like looking for the bright side.  It happens.  It’s okay.  I do think it’s better to not unpack your bags and move in to this spot, that eventually you have to move, even extremely slowly, forward.

I also know that depending on your relationship and closeness to the person who died, you may very well not know how to move forward like you used to.  I know that it is extremely possible that you will be a different person, not exactly the same “you”.  That is okay.  YOUR people will still love you, they will get to know the new you.  It is okay to be changed by this trauma that has happened to you.  Keep moving forward, slowly.

I started out not wanting to find the silver lining.  I couldn’t think of anything positive.  F*$K Cancer was about all I had.  However, even this time there is a silver lining so to speak.  My friend died and left me new friends, her friends.  Somehow they knew, she knew, God knew, the Universe knew…..and my new friends reached out to me and I felt not alone.  I hope to meet them all some day, but even if I don’t, I know they are there and we share an extremely strong common bond.  We all loved her and she loved us.  For that we are so lucky.

So, I end with a little Monty Python “Always look on the bright side of life.”  Easier said than done sometimes.  But always worth a try.

I Am Lucky to be your Friend

If you were lucky enough to know Ellen, be friends with her, and be loved by her, you were loved by her unconditionally.  I was that lucky.   I am not sure if loving unconditionally is the greatest thing about her, because I don’t even know where to start with all of her amazing qualities.  She was so much fun and could also be so level-headed.  She wanted the best for those who she loved.  She would be so excited for anyone who got to do something they dreamed of doing.  Genuinely pleased and happy for them.  She’d tell it like it is, because she cared about you.

Ellen and I were closest when our kids were little.  Life was crazy.  She was there when I had a miscarriage.  Had my third child, who just turned 14 yesterday.  She was there when I was so sick.  So sick I almost missed out on life-saving surgery.  She was with me through it all.  We went through it all, together.  The memories of so many beach trips and hanging out, abound! I am so lucky to be her friend.  There are a whole lot of people in this world who never even met her.

Ellen was a sort of interesting combination of my dad and my husband, the really great parts! Music, books, that loving unconditionally thing, smoking pot. (That could be Ellen blog #10 😉 ) Interestingly enough they both adored her and she had quite a bond with them too.

Ellen, of course, had a love for music.  Especially Phish.  I have a wide, wide range of music I listen to and concerts I’ve attended.  Some of them I would say…..endured.  Ellen forgave me my desire to listen to country music.  I did see the Grateful Dead in concert afterall.  I also remember asking her if she had that Greenday music.  Of course, she’d get that for me! We really listened to so much together and yes, she was great at expanding my horizons! There’s that one line in Juno when Ellen Page says “I bought another sonic youth record and it sucked.. its just noise” I cheered in the theater.  Yep, I saw them in concert too.  So she loved me even though I would love some top 40 hit.  I would call her and leave a message because Brass Monkey came on the radio and it just made me think of her.  Ellen and music could be blog #13.

Death is a crazy thing.  We seem to avoid dealing with it head on.  We don’t say “I’m sorry your friend died.”  We say “I’m sorry for your loss.”  Which is true, the loss is great, but also seems to imply something can be found.  I have been trying to respond to people dying more head on and still I am pretty sure I wrote “I’m sorry for your loss” to someone close to Ellen.  I am sorry to everyone that was close to her.  I know how broken your heart is.  I know you wonder why her, even for a second.  I know that every third day is worse than the two before, because something happens to remind you of her in a big way.  I am so sorry our friend died.  I also know that we are all so lucky to be her friend.

Nothing prepares you for how you will feel when someone you love dies.  Even if you’ve been through something similar before.  You don’t know how you will feel, even from day to day.  So collectively we all navigate every death we experience in our own way, with no real tools or rule book.  A few important things to remember are that we have each other, it’s okay to be sad and it’s okay to reach out.  We also will survive, however, we might be just a little bit of different person.  It’s okay.  Your true friends will love the new you too!

I am just so lucky to be her friend.  I plan to remember that as often as possible when the sadness comes by.

I am so lucky to be her friend.




Coping When Life Happens

Recently I had a cold for six weeks.  It was a bad cold, I was “better” for a few days and then reinfected.  During this time, I was traveling, I got some sudden, shocking news from my family.  My oldest son was having trouble finding an apartment for college next year and I was on another continent (thank you dad for your help, you’re the best!)   I arrived home, still sick and getting sicker.  Then I received news about my dearest friend going on hospice.  I was fortunate enough to be able to visit her. Still sick.  The chaos of regular life continued.

I’ve been through my share of issues, dramas and illnesses.  I step up as much as I can.  I try to be “there” for people whenever I can or whenever is humanly possible.

I went to lunch yesterday with a wonderful friend.  We were getting caught up on each other’s lives.  At the end of my update, she looks at me and she says how are you doing?  How are you holding up, holding up everyone else?  It gave me pause.  I thought about it.  Truthfully, it was all compounded by being sick.  Once I started feeling better, I had happy moments between the sadness, the stress of my families issues became just stuff I deal with.  It was amazing to me how hard the cold hit me.

Do you take care of yourself when you’re sick?  Do you take a day off, rest, like actually sleep, drink tea and watch bad television?  Or do you keep plugging along.  Trying to be all things to all people all the time?

I was able to take it easy some of the time while I was sick and I am sure that made the difference between needing antibiotics or being sick for another two weeks.  I haven’t always done this.  I’ve been the mom who was getting up cooking dinner post surgery or going to work before I was released to drive (getting rides).  It’s okay once in awhile.  However, you have to take care of you!  You have to take care of you.  You are no good to anyone if you are burned out, sick, or have nothing left to give!

What are you going to do today to take care of you?  To fill up your well?  I would venture to say that you are giving from a dry well.

Just think about it.  Do something little!

First blog post

Here goes!  I started a blog because I decided social media isn’t really the place for long, thoughtful posts, I’ve been wanting to write a book, and my daughter thinks I’m amazing and hilarious.  That was really all the motivation I needed!

I prefer to be happy!  I use a zillion exclamation points!!! And I am completely okay with that! I think the number 13 is lucky!  Fun fact: just because they label the 13th floor 14, doesn’t actually make it the 14th floor.  Just sayin’.

Did I mention I prefer to be happy? Love peace.  Still swear, all the time.  And have serious issues driving with all the people out there who are unable to drive well.  I cannot be put into a political box and seriously wish people would not align themselves with a party.  I believe in doing the right thing.  Even and especially if that means standing up to family.  I have no tolerance for hypocrisy.  I don’t like mean people.

I don’t know what we’ll find here on our adventures….probably a little of everything!!