The 35th Birthday

Today would have been Andrew’s birthday. I “celebrated” by going to work & having dinner with a friend. There were no balloons, no gifts, no cake. Not even a mention of it by anyone today except by me at dinner.

I have been what I referred to as a “wild card” this month. Mark’s birthday was earlier this month. Last Saturday was 18 months since Andrew died. And today was his birthday. There have been a lot of tears. I have been what I consider grouchy. And I have been loving & giving. I have gone to my room early many days because I just didn’t have anything left in me, not because I was tired.

I still wonder how the people left behind are supposed to carry on in life like everything is happy & lovely when we have such a gaping hole left in our hearts. Not that I am not happy. I have very happy times. I find humor in life. I give hugs. I love people. I enjoy experiences. But there is always that hole.

So Andrew, tell me. Is there life after death? Not your death, sweetheart. I know there is for those that have died. Up or down, our choice. But is there life after death for those of us left grieving? What exactly is the process?

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The process for me has been a bit bland. I have forced myself to work everyday. Well, most days. I shower. I brush my teeth. I eat. I go to church. I volunteer. I go out with friends. I do the normal stuff I have always done. It’s in between those times that I find myself pondering what the next step should be. Is this the process? Is this what everyone does? I don’t know. I wouldn’t dare ask. I’m ashamed of my hiding. I’m embarrassed that I prefer to lock myself away at times than to speak to people. I am self condemning myself for still missing Andrew, being sad, lonely, wishing I had answers.

Answers. How I wish I had the answers. After 18 months, I still have no understanding as to why that night played out the way it did. I have no answers to the questions that have gone unanswered for a year & a half. If anything, I have more.

What have I learned throughout the torture? Lots of things. Do we really need to discuss that again? Fine. I will share one. It’s a recurring theme so don’t roll your eyes when you read it. It’s Love. It’s simple really. Unconditional, pure & genuine love. Don’t miss the mark by ignoring the brokenness of the people around you. We have the capacity to change our worlds just by giving our hearts away. I know that by trying to live my life with this type of love, I have changed my own life, for the better. I hope I have changed the lives of those around me for the better, as well.

Some of you have heard this story. But last week, a co-worker (a person that I feel is fairly unhappy in life. Is it just work related? I don’t know.) was at my desk talking about how I just strolled to my car in the rain. (Remember last Summer, I posted about playing in the rain?) So I mentioned that it’s just water. No need to get upset about it. She began to talk about an umbrella her parents had bought her years ago. It had her initials engraved in the handle. It had broken a while back & she was wishing she had gotten a new one. She had such a light in her eyes over this umbrella. She ran back to her desk & emailed me a picture of it. At my lunch that day, I got on Amazon & ordered the umbrella. When I got it this week, I went to work, left it on her desk with no note. She came running to my desk with the umbrella & tears in her eyes. She said I should not have done that, she knew it was expensive. She was awestruck that I would have done something like that. She went back to her desk & emailed me another thank you. I said I could tell it was special to her so I thought she needed to have a replacement. She said I have the most generous heart & that it has been so so long since someone had done anything that nice for her. I began to cry just as my boss, also a long time friend, came around to my desk. She asked what was wrong. I showed her the email & I said “That is just so sad. What is wrong with us?” I emailed my co-worker back explaining that I was in tears, because I had missed it. Because there are people in my life that feel unloved, uncared for & have no idea how valuable they really are. I told her that we all need to be generous with our hearts all the time with all people. My boss told me that the price of the umbrella was brought up. She told them that if I felt something was needed for someone, I would never look at the price. She said that they are all better people for having me in their lives. I cried some more.

I don’t give away umbrellas for the compliments or the credit. I give away umbrellas because that is what the heart needed. I give because I love. I love because God loves. I try to be aware & cognizant of the needs of people around me. If I can fill the heart or soul, I do. God provides the finances, the words, the opportunities. Sometimes that means I buy umbrellas. Or dinners. Or refrigerators. Or groceries. Sometimes that means I tell brutal truths, give hugs, send text messages of encouragement or bible verses. But I always, always, ALWAYS show love, grace and hope. My heart hurts for the hurting. I guess because I know how broken feels.

I’m not broken anymore. I am healed. With a few cracks. I am like an old house, with layers & layers of paint that have begun to be stripped away. I know that underneath all those layers, I am a beautiful, strong & sturdy home for broken hearts. I have an open door for anyone in need.

Happy Birthday, Andrew. Enjoy your red velvet cake. Jesus is the best baker. Your smile is missing in my day. The world is missing your heart. That giant, kind, loving, broken heart. Much love sweet friend.

For the rest of you lovelies, watch for opportunities to share your heart. It always returns two fold. At least. Love you all.

Soapboxing

In light of the numerous police shootings that have been happening, I must say, those men & women in uniform show tremendous strength day in & day out just putting on that blue. But, I would also say “strength” is a word that bears no weight in describing a police officer. I grew up with one dad on the fire department. I was exposed to civil service most of my life. I tend to have a great deal of respect for our first responders, their sacrifices. I have also seen the other side of them. I have been the person sitting in an interrogation room for hours while someone I loved was dying in the hospital, only to be lied to about the situation. I have an ex husband that was falsely accused thanks to a manipulative son playing the system. And the local department played right into his hands. This does not diminish the risk these men & women take every single day they get dressed & walk out the door. There are always a few bad apples.


There are people sharing story after story in my Facebook newsfeed about children with cancer, gun control, government ineptitude facing this election & lets not forget those cute dancing puppies or the goats that scream. Daily we face comments about how we need to hate or accept gender reassignment choices, gay marriages, black lives being snuffed out at the hands of police, police lives being snuffed out at the hands of black lives or the decisions our politicians are making. We are filled to our tear filled eye balls with stories about cancer stealing someone too soon, a woman choosing to take her own life rather than suffer the effects of her tumor, & pictures of children holding signs for us to “like” them to show support. Checking Facebook has become an emotionally exhausting process. I am either facing shame for agreeing / disagreeing with something or being tossed into the throes of sadness because another tragedy has happened.

In my humble opinion, we are looking at these stories from several miles away. We stand back where it becomes easy for us because we are judging. We are shaming. We are throwing blame around like monkey’s throw poo or babies throw food. The world, people, our friends, our families, our enemies need none of that. It all boils back down to one thing, what I stated in my original page. Love the uglies. See, if we were all loving the uglies, no matter what our personal opinions were, no matter the situation, so much would be different. Think this through…

How do you feel about yourself when you have committed a wrong doing against someone? This doesn’t have to be someone you love, we know when we are wrong. A little nibble of guilt begins to eat at us. What happens when we are forgiven for that wrong doing? Sure we may beat ourselves up for a little bit, but that forgiveness allows that guilt to eventually go away.

How do you feel when someone shows love or kindness? When someone goes out of their way to give you a hug? Or help you when you are feeling down?

There is an immeasurable change in our lives & hearts when we are shown grace, love, kindness & generosity. There is the same when we show it to others. See, the old phrase “what goes around comes around” usually refers to a negative behavior but it also applies to a positive one. When we show true, genuine love towards another person, we receive some back. Maybe not by that person. Don’t get lost here but that doesn’t matter in that moment.

As I scroll my Facebook feed, it also fills with repost after repost of positive sayings & uplifting encouragements. Some are trite overused cliches, not bad but a bit worn out. Some are peppy. Some are biblical. Some are filled with an underlying edge of bitterness or anger but outwardly demonstrate a push to survive a current burden.

I am left pondering though…do people feel these posts? You know. Do they wake up each morning with the mental mindset that “I don’t care if life hands me lemons, I will just make lemonade!” What happens when the day hands them the first lemon? As Tay-Tay says “Shake it off!”? Sure! And the second lemon of the day? Stand up a little straighter? Probably! Third lemon? Dig in the heels a bit? Maybe. Fourth lemon? Shoulders slouchy but moving forward. Fifth lemon? Throw your hands in the air & wave ’em like you just don’t care. Because at this point, you don’t.

Dang, now I really want some lemonade!

I mentioned this because many of us have days where it feels like everything we touch disintegrates into dust. We drop our coffee. Car runs out of gas. Late to work. Fight with a spouse. Kid fails a class. Traffic jams. Dinner burns. Dog runs away. Insomnia kicks in.


We need to respect the life of the person standing next to us. Maybe that was their day & they are barely holding it together. Showing an ounce of love to this person will propel them in a different direction. It won’t unfail their kid, but it will remind them that love exists.

Be the love the world needs to everyone in the world. So said Jesus, Ghandi & a bunch of other people that show up on my Facebook feed. And me.

Love you all bunches! Be a blessing to others. Love the uglies!

Abandonment Issues?


The thing about trying to be as real as possible when writing a blog is that at times not everyone is a fan of what you have to say. People are never going to love everything I post, but when my truth kicks someone in the gut, it leaves a size 9 welt along with some uncomfortable air between us. Or maybe I didn’t even post something but I know it could result in some confrontation or icky feelings. So my reaction to this ick? Stop blogging. It’s just easier than pissing everyone off. But then I remember what I said a few months ago. I LOVE the written word. I have a voice. And my heart is filled with love, not hate or condemnation, so what I say may hurt but most likely because it’s truth. And we all know that the truth hurts.

When I began this blog, aside from my being several sandwiches short of a picnic, my plan was to be raw & honest even if it hurt me, because my goal was to help another broken heart. So if I give up, I’m assuming all hearts are fixed. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt they aren’t. If my words hurt your feelers, check the mirror. There’s a reason. I’m sorry you didn’t realize you were about to be “truthed” but I won’t apologize for my words.

And with that, I’m sure all 12 followers have walked away.

But if you are still hanging around, my truth this week was feeling abandoned. Last month Mark moved to Chicago with his girlfriend. Last week we closed on the sale of our house. Today is his Birthday. Lots of feelings surfaced that I never expected. I thought I was fine & ready for him to move away. Then I realized he has been part of my life since we were 18. Good or bad, 25 years is a long freaking time. So I began to panic at the thought of him being so far away. It’s weird because I don’t call on him for help, we didn’t involve each other in our day to day lives. But he’s moved away so now we can’t even if we want.

When I arrived at my appointment with Josie Tuesday she asked what was going on. I couldn’t put my finger on it. She said abandonment? I began to get teary eyed. I said after all the people that have left me, him moving should be easy.

See though, this is not a practice makes perfect concept to our lives.

This is a hurt.

This is an open wound.

It’s not a game.

This pain is true. Real. Ugly. And brings friends. Like “self preservation.” He’s a wall builder. To keep everyone at arms length so no one reopens the wound. “Distrust” arrived to the party & I went ahead & opened the door for her. I think it was her shiny dress. She likes to make sure that I eyeball all people through glasses filled with flaws, so I can anticipate the hurt. But I love deeply. So anytime a relationship shifts, my heart breaks, maybe a little, maybe a lot. Depends on who you are to me.

I feel abandoned easily because I’m always waiting for it. If you shift our relationship because of a new girlfriend or boyfriend, I assume I don’t matter enough to be put as a priority even for dinner. Sadly, this is usually reinforced. Hey, if I had a boyfriend, I may kick you to the curb too. But most likely I would try to include you with him. Because I want everyone I love to interact together so I can always be with the people in my heart.

Sometimes the shift is caused by something going on in the other person’s life. A personal struggle. Oh how I understand  those! But when it creates a long term distance in our relationship, my brain immediately determines I am unloved.

Once in a while life just causes a rift. Kids, divorce, marriage, school, jobs, etc… While I can certainly understand that things happen and schedules conflict, I really miss the times we were able to hang out. So my belief becomes I am unwanted.

I mention these scenarios, not to force guilt on people for causing my abandonment wounds to abcess but to explain that abandonment runs so deeply in me, likely because it goes back to my conception.

So how do I recover? I meet with Josie every two weeks. I pray that God reveals to me how HE has never left my side. I reach out to my friends & love them unconditionally for as long God lets me keep them.

Does that mean I never feel needy or clingy? Uh, nope! Totally do! Frequently. Today, even. But I’m a work in progress, not a completed work of art. Though a magnificent work in progress, in the eyes of God. So I will take it.


Lovelies, have a beautiful day! Bunches of love!