Just as in how I stumbled upon this song while looking for something completely different, “everything happens for a reason…”
You + Me ~ P!nk and Dallas Green
In grief, we create distractions — working harder, drinking, writing, drugs, traveling, volunteering, gambling. Whether or not they serve the highest good for us, the distractions wrap us up like a warm blanket, creating a white noise around our screaming hearts.
I have several distractions shared between work, classes, my meditation and Reiki practice, writing my book, Sunday drives, volunteering and meeting up with numerous friends. For the last two years, just about every day/night has been filled with an activity. But there have been moments, when a pocket of free time finds its way to me.
And that is when I feel the “chaos.”
The physics meaning of “chaos” is “behavior so unpredictable as to appear random owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions.” But the chaos of grief is that it was the result of a MASSIVE change in our lives. And the “unpredictable behavior” is a response to quelling the pain so that we do not fully lose ourselves. For myself I quell the noise by going to the casino.
When Derek was alive, we used to go to the casino only when my hand “itched” or when Derek had a dream of our number 123. And just as sure as we were of our intuition, we would head to AC to Empire and win a handsome amount. We would then treat ourselves to a celebratory dinner or brunch (if we stayed up all night) and would tuck the rest away for safe-keeping. Sometimes we would go to AC just to walk the boardwalk just enjoying the lights, music and energy of the place.
After he passed, when I hand would itch I would go to the casino and hear Derek direct me to the slots — I would play and stop just when telepathically he would say that the machines were done. While I was winning money, being at the casino felt empty and yet I also felt anchored to a memory that had implanted memories of me and Derek deeply into myself. For me, the money did not matter as long as I was able to pretend for a moment that Derek was alive and with me. And so my “chaos” became driving to Empire Casino regardless of if my hand itched or not. Sometimes I would just sit and not play listening to the ringing of the Slot machines around me watching people win and lose. And sometimes I would play and lose big. Last night was one of those nights. But as I drove the solitary road back over the Tappan Zee bridge, I heard my voice tell me that I was trading one pain for another.
I woke up with those words still ringing in my ears along with the song “Breathe Me” by Sia.
Just as portrayed in the video below, grief pulls all the “sides” of us out that are hurting and depressed — the child, the playful joker, the mother, the friend, or the lover. And in those moments when we feel like we’re falling we find support in outlets that do not serve our highest good. However, it is also important to embrace and celebrate those moments because in them we find our greatest strength. And we also realize that the work that we do for ourselves is not just for us but for all others who feel like falling.
So in the realization of being aware of my “crutch” I do not judge myself but lovingly know that every day is a new day to listen to our inner experience and reassure myself that whatever I have experienced in “that past moment” will not become my “NOW moment.” There will be many times when I will fall but I am now aware that each one makes me wiser and more graceful in navigating my choices. There are no mistakes in life as each event brings us into an opportunity to unconditionally love and accept ourselves and others.
Lyrics: “Breathe Me” – Sia
I have been here many times before
Hurt myself again today
And the worst part is there’s no one else to blame
Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me
Ouch I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found,
Yeah I think that I might break
I’ve lost myself again and I feel unsafe
Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me
Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me
A BEAUTIFUL story that shows how the pathways of grief is felt energetically and physically — but that deep emotions and love never ends.
I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and in perfect timing.
I arrived home this evening with a feeling of wanting to “meditate into my blog.” As I situated myself at the keyboard and started to open up the user interface to write, I received an email alert that one of my (now) dear friends had published a posting. The posting was based on a letter that a friend of her’s had written in her online widow’s group. The letter was about how others can help us — this tribe of widows and widowers who are bond together in our loss — as we navigate through our new life…This letter couldn’t have come at a perfect time as this is a subject I’ve thought upon for a while.
As I sat there reading the letter, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was reminded of all of the moments when someone would tell me that I was going to meet someone else in life or that death was a part of life and I needed to live life to its fullest. While I understand that friends and acquaintances were trying to be helpful, I know that they were frightened, too in trying to handle my grief — it was too close for comfort. This letter from a widow’s perspective is perfect for anyone in my life who has been unsure of how to approach me or what to do. This letter is a compilation from the anonymous widow, my dear friend Sarah Treanor with my own insertions:
Please talk about my loved one, even though he is gone. If it makes me cry, its fine. It is comforting to cry. It is excruciating to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk about him, and I need to do it over and over.
Be patient with my agitation and mood swings. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in great waves, and I never know when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand.
Don’t abandon me with the excuse that you don’t want to upset me. You can’t catch my grief. My world is painful, and when you are afraid to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I most need to be cared about. If you don’t know what to say, just gently say “I’m sorry”. You can even say “I just don’t know what to say, but I care, and I want you to know that.”
Just because I look or sound good, doesn’t mean I feel good. I may be a strong person however ask me how I feel, only if you really want to find out and have the time to listen.
Please do not ask me if I am going to start dating again. I know you just are trying to make things better for me in finding love again. However I just lost my life partner and my mind is on him and preserving his memories and our traditions together. I can’t see a life with anyone else yet.
Days may get better but I will never recover. This is not a cold or flu. I’m not sick. I’m grieving and that’s different. My grieving may not even fully begin until 6 months after my loved one’s death. Don’t think that I’ll be over it in a year. I am not only grieving his death, but also the person I was when I was with him, the life that we shared, the family we will never have and all the other plans we had for our future together. I became a different person because of him and am now a different person after him.
I will not always be grieving this intently, but I will never forget my loved one. And rather than recover, I want to incorporate his life and love into the rest of my life. He is a part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember him with joy or through my creativity and other times with a tear. These are okay.
I don’t have to accept his death. Yes, I understand that it’s happened, and it is real, but there are some things in life that are just not acceptable. I am not angry with him for passing away, I am angry that I am a part of a club that I did not ask to join.
Please don’t tell me what I “should” be doing, it makes me feel even more lost and alone. I feel bad enough that my loved one is dead, so please don’t make it worse by telling me I’m not doing this right. There is no right or wrong — there’s only “is.” And right now I am trying to do the best that I can.
Please don’t tell me to get on with my life. My life is going on, and I am thankful for that life but this will take a long time, and I will never be my old self again. A new person walks in these shoes, one with a hole in their heart a galaxy-wide.
I need to know that you care about me, I need to feel your touch and hugs. I need you just to be with me and I need to be with you. I need to know that you believe in me and my ability to get through my grief in my own way, and in my own time.
Please don’t assume that I am too busy or that I have too many other people’s support and that you’ll be bothering me. If everyone does this, then no one calls, and no one checks on me, and I feel even more alone.
Please don’t say “Call me if you need anything.” I’ll never call you because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could do for me takes more energy than I have. Also please do not make ‘conversation only’ offers. “Let’s get together” — and then not follow up. I am sensitive in my grieving, but I’d rather hear you say, “I’ve been thinking of you,” than make a offer if you don’t mean it. So, in advance, let me give you some ideas…
a) Send me a card on special holidays, his birthday, and the anniversary of his death, and be sure to mention his name. You can’t make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough about me to reach out on the difficult day.
b) Give me a call (or even a heartfelt message on Facebook) just to see how I’m doing. I may not always answer, but leave me a message to let me know you were thinking of me. Please don’t give up on me because somewhere down the line, I will answer, or call back, when I am ready to share.
c) Mail me a very small, heartfelt, cheer up gift. I’ve had a few people do this and it has just made my heart glow and – some days – has been the shining jewel that turned my whole day around.
Please don’t judge me now or think that I’m behaving strangely. Remember I’m grieving and I’m still in shock. I am afraid. I am angry. I’m experiencing a pain unlike any I’ve ever felt before and one that can’t be imagined by anyone who has not walked in my shoes. Weddings, baby showers and other celebratory events are hard or me. Not because I begrudge anyone’s happiness for these are beautiful events that celebrate our humanity and the power of love. I am doing the best I can to be supportive. However above all I hurt and sometimes its hard to keep a happy face on. Therefore, sometimes it’s better for me to offer support in other ways.
Please keep inviting me out for coffee or for a walk. I may decline but will always appreciate being asked.
Don’t worry if you think I’m getting better, and then suddenly I seem to slip backwards. Grief makes me behave this way at times. Please don’t tell me you know how I feel. Words cannot begin to describe what I am going through. Sympathize with me, but don’t take away my right to my pain. I know that we all have our own life’s challenges; I’ve suffered loss and different challenges as well. I’ve lost my mother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles and host of relatives. I will tell you now, while it really hurt to lose them I can’t begin to express the pain I feel now.
Remember in the days or years ahead, after your loss, when you need me as I have needed you – I will understand and come and be with you.
Thank you for your patience, for caring, for helping and for understanding.
As I mentioned in a recent posting, while I have not been writing much over the last few weeks, in the period of “abstinence” I have been reading several books on various topics nonstop.
The interesting thing about all of this is that since Derek’s passing, I’ve found it extremely difficult to concentrate on anything for too long nor am I able to hold my thoughts together without having to write them down mulitple times on paper. Yet all of these issues disappear when I am reading.
Below are three book reviews by renowned mediums whose personal stories and experiences brings insight to those grieving or who have questions about death and the afterlife. Please note that I will share reviews on the other four books, with a different focus from this grouping shortly.
Never Say Goodbye: A Medium’s Stories of Connecting with Your Loved Ones ~ Patrick Mathews
Renowned medium, Patrick Mathews’ shares true stories from his readings to illustrate how our loved ones never die. In fact, they benefit from communicating with us just as much as we do. This book also provides an understanding and guide into how to open our hearts and minds in order to connect with our loved ones through meditation and practice lessons.
Psychic Intelligence ~ Terry and Linda Jamison
Upon first glance it can easily be thought that this book’s sole focus is on how to become a psychic. While “Psychic Twins” Terry and Linda Jamison, provide insight into how we can communicate with our loved ones through the development of either our Clairvoyance, Clairaudience, Clairsentience, or Claircognizance, this book provides a wonderful understanding of how to develop our own personal strength.
The change in our lives as a result of a loved one passing on, is scary. The fear of letting ourselves feel whatever we need to feel leads us into becoming emotionally numb. By honing in on the quiet, still voice inside each of us we can slowly heal ourselves while enhancing our intuition.
When a loved one passes, we start questioning “the mysteries of life and death.” Through real-life testimonies and stories, medium James Van Praagh, provides clarity on some of our questions as well as shows us how to open our awareness to those on the other side. Per Van Praagh, we are all naturally blessed with psychic gifts. This book invites us to discover our talents and intuition allowing us to strengthen our relationships with our loved ones on the other side.
A couple of weeks ago, my dear fellow blogger and friend, Sarah Treanor referred me to a book called The Gift Giver by Jennifer Hawkins.
I will provide a full review of the book shortly, however I will say that I found myself crying and nodding my head in solidarity with the Author as she described some of her experiences following the sudden death of her husband.
One such moment in the book, is of Jennifer recounting a memory when upon experiencing the lost of her step-mother through cancer, she finds herself at the bookstore in the efforts of trying to understand the “mysteries of life.” She stumbles upon the book — Home with God by Neale Donald Walsch. This is a book that I myself, stumbled upon and read to help me understand the mysteries surrounding life and death and to answer the ultimate question “Why did this happen?” See my review on this book in my “What I am Reading section.
While reading Home with God and how the Universe gives us an opportunity at the moment of death to choose whether we want to live or die, the Author realizes that she had a near death experience in a moment during a car accident before meeting her husband.
Like the Author I didn’t realize the relevance of my near death experience until I also read Home with God. I think many of us see a near death experience as a moment of seeing a white tunnel hearing angelic voices around us. However these moments can occur multiple times in a span of nanosecond. Nearly missing a car that has sped through a traffic light, having a severe allergic reaction to medication or food, complications during childbirth — these are all moments when our souls may be faced with death. In the moments when our lives are in danger, the author in Home with God suggests that we have the information and power to choose our “destiny.”
The ideal suggests that while we may not be consciously aware, our superconscious or soul has the free will to make a choice at the time of death if it wants to “cross over” or reverse the death and continue experiencing what it came to Earth to experience. At the time of our near or death’s experience, our souls will get a sneak peek into seeing and feeling Heaven. It will then be asked if it’s ready to move on. If the soul has a thought or feeling of wanting to keep living, then it will return to the body and the accident or death will be adverted.
Now, this ideal can be upsetting because if the soul is able to choose, why would it choose to leave a life of loved ones behind?
“Nearly every person who is dying is not dying for the first time. If they choose, this time, to “stay dead,” it is because they feel really complete with what they came here to do. Therefore, do not begrudge them their moving on, nor feel angry because they have not come back. They came back to you many times to keep you company before.” [HWG: Ch. 32, Pg. 260)
Neale’s dialogue with God would suggest that consciously we normally wouldn’t make that choice. However the soul is able to make the choice because it can not only see into its future but it can also see the whole picture of what the effects of its living or dying would produce. It knows when its time of experiencing in the physical life is complete. In fact, a soul has probably made the choice multiple times in their physical lifetime to come back in order to stay with their loved ones.
Now while my account of the memory of my near death experience may differ in account from those who shared the experience with me because we all viewed it different standpoints, the feelings and emotions surrounding the event remain the same.
I was heading back upstate to college after spending a typical weekend in the city. On Fridays and Saturdays, I would drive down from Colgate in Hamilton, NY to New York City to work as a Head Hostess at the Central Park Boathouse. I had worked at the Boathouse over the last couple of summers and had agreed to work during the weekends when I wasn’t performing Sound or DJ’ing. This weekend was particularly busy with more people dining out because of the beautiful 65 degree weather and me having to work doubles.
I had invited two girlfriends to ride back up with me as they were spending that weekend with their families and I didn’t see the point of them taking the 6 hour bus ride back up north. Plus it was good to have company for a change.
We met up around 4PM and started to make our trip back up. I realized I was additionally thankful for the company when one of them offered to drive up allowing me to rest a few hours. Sleep came easily to me as I had been on my feet and had been working non-stop through the weekend and the Sunday Brunch rush.
I was awaken by the urgent tapping of my girlfriend who was driving. While we were basking in 65 degree “shorts weather” in the City, we were welcomed to a blizzard and 30 degree weather on the back roads near Roscoe, NY.
By this time, my girlfriend in the back had also woken up and we instructed our friend to stay steady until we made it off the mountain as we could both tell that she was becoming nervous and we intended to switch sides. Being that I had a 2 door hatchback, I always kept a few cinderblocks in the back to weigh down the car. However the wind was so strong the car kept slipping along the fresh snow. This made her worry even more and tighten her grip on the steering wheel as if it were glued to her hands.
In the next moments, the car shifted to the right and as if pushed was jerked all the way to the left side and off the road. At that precise moment, the song, “Slow Down” by Brand Nubian came on the radio.
The car went straight out and felt like it had nose-dived down into the blackness of the night. I can tell you that when you don’t know whether you’re facing an accident or worse you don’t scream and neither do you “brace yourself” as we hear so often spoken in car crash scenes as depicted in movies. In a moment that seemed to both last forever and in a split second, I was silently sending love out to all of those that I knew I would leave behind.
However as that car fell down, in an instant I knew we would all be okay. With this thought the car landed into something however we were still in a 90 degree angle. Because it was so dark outside, we almost didn’t want to move but my girlfriend opened the door to see where we were. My other friend opened the back door, not feeling or seeing anything but hearing a loud rushing sound below. She told us to close the doors and to not get out of the car. The only way we would be attempting to exit would be through the hatchback as that seemed the safest route. We first had to put on a few layers of clothes as we had dressed for the 65 degree weather back home.
After we quietly changed we slowly opened the hatchback and crawled through the car and out into the unknown groping for rocks or any kind of earth to move us up onto the road.
Just as we made it up to the top, we heard the welcoming sound of a fire engine siren. The officials said that a driver of a passing by tractor-trailer called in the accident.
The Fire Department used a crane to pull the car up. The car had miraculously wedged itself in between two rock formations and came out without a scratch on it. We realized that we had nearly missed a ravine that plunge down to a river below. As we walked into the EMT truck we began to laugh so much so that the medics thought we may have had a concussion. We declined a trip to the hospital that night and got back into the car which I had immediately named Angel.
However different or the same our experience of that night was, we drove the rest of the way to school with a new perspective on how easily our “adventure tale” to our friends the next day could have gone a lot differently. The car could have gone right and straight off of the mountain instead of to the left. It could have moved a few inches passed the place where it wedged itself between the rocks crashing into the water. Had the car not slowed down right before skidding off, we could have crashed into on-coming traffic. There were so many minute paths during that accident that could have create an alternate reality for all of us. And yet everything happened precisely the way it was supposed to in order to ensure our safety.