Grief Awareness: From One Broken Soul To Another

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Tomorrow is 3 years since my sister, Jessica Rae was suddenly taken from us by the cruel and indiscriminate clutches of cancer at the age of 33. Then 24 hours later, it  is a year since my grandfather passed. How delightfully poetic that his last gift to our exceedingly dysfunctional family, was that he waited to die as not to overwhelm us with double grief or overshadow that already painful day.  It was a definite gesture of love if ever there were one.

The beginning of the year is especially draining on me. I let those emotions flow where they will and then continue in my daily life. Not to say I don’t have other draining days of the year…because I do, several in fact. Nearly every month of the year is scattered with painful losses for me.  But, this time of year is absolutely the hardest.

Losing a loved one {I’m an expert in this…I’ve encountered more than my fair share of death} is a difficult and excruciating part of life. One that nobody wants to speak about lest they become the next victim of loss. Many have no idea how to handle a friend in mourning, let alone  are they aware that grief has no time constraints.  The mere idea that someone could suffer so much from their loved ones end of suffering is not only unfathomable to them it is difficult for them to give loving support to the person grieving.
   
 
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The pain that is commonly accompanied by thoughts of guilt is torturous. There is always questions…ones that can never be answered, not in a person’s lifetime anyway. Questions like… why did this have to happen to them, did I do everything I could to save them, could I have done more, why didn’t I spend more time with them, why…why… WHY???

As unfortunate as it is, there is/was nothing more or different that could alter what transpired. They had to go and we had to stay. This realization doesn’t remove the pain. Nothing completely removes the pain and nothing ever will.

You can choose how the pain affects you though. You can choose to be mindful or you can choose to let the pain consume you.  It’s painful, don’t deny yourself to feel that pain. But don’t let that pain take away from the joyful and beautiful moments happening all around you.

When you need to grieve, do it. Feel the pain from losing them, feel the joy that they gave you while alive… let the emotions come but most importantly let those emotions go. Don’t allow yourself to be swept away into the dark abyss of depression…because the painful truth is, their earthly ties have been undone because their physical job is over. But yours, my dears, is not.

Your work here is still needed. There is a job for you and only you can deliver  it. I know that offers you no comfort…as I sit here teary-eyed over my own losses…I know exactly how little my words soothe that throbbing ache in the pit of your stomach or mends even a fraction of your now irreparably damaged heart. I really truly get it.

Just know that there is no time constraint for grieving. And forgive those who don’t know any better than to say offensive words under the guise of compassion. They know not what they do because they have never been in your shoes.     
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Don’t suffer alone in silence. Feel free to add me on Facebook . Also  “like” the page,  National Grief Awareness Day where you will find others who know how to listen and how to be a friend.  Life is too short to spend it alone in pain. Love, understanding, and compassion can heal us all.     

All photos courtesy of National Grief Awareness Day’s Facebook page. Link provided above. Please support their page. Thank you.     

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Is Pain Robbing You of Happiness?

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It has been a long excruciating year; between the death’s in my family, to the robbery, to the new house…an agonizingly long year.

I made friends and lost friends, found out what is important and what is nothing more than time-consuming f*ckery.

My husband and children have been troopers through this whole ordeal. And let me tell you I have been anything but a wonderful human being. I’ve had meltdowns, tantrums, scream fests, depressive episodes, and moments of divine clarity… I’ve been in indisputable pain.

Just when you think you have a grasp on life, you find out that life isn’t yours to control…you’re just an irrelevant passenger.

Don’t get me wrong, your life belongs to you and you make of it what you will. But, when it comes down to controlling what happens in it, well… you can only control how you react. And my reactions were far beyond spectacular…I should have been a dramatic actress, I had some very award-winning soap-operatic moments, to say the very least {and I am}.  

It’s funny how complicated we make our lives. Every single detail has to be perfect and completely under our control. Why? Because we honestly believe that we have some god-like influence that enables us to change things that we don’t like and turn them into something we desire. But it isn’t about what we want, it’s solely about what we need.

Nobody needs supremacy; we need to learn how to be kind and gentle, loving and supportive. We need to be a far better person than what we expect our family and friends to be.  

We expect all of these ridiculously unreasonable things of others, yet we don’t budge an inch to be better people ourselves. And on top of that, we have the audacity to give hundreds of pathetic excuses as to why we can’t be more than what we already are. Oh yes, we are quite incredible, aren’t we?

So why can’t we be better people? Why are we so demanding of others to be more, but so incredibly fearful of our own impending greatness?

It’s like I once told a friend of mine… “I’m afraid that if the pain is gone I won’t be able to write with such passion anymore.” My pain is why I am passionate… or maybe my passion is why I am in pain. Either way I was in pain.

I enjoyed pain; it was the only thing I knew to be real. It was the only thing that could allow me to stay hidden from happiness and love. It was effortless to blame those that hurt me instead of being responsible for allowing them to continue hurting me.

Pain is addicting, it is a beautiful justification for everything. But pain is self-inflicted…let me clarify that. Emotional pain is self-inflicted. Yes, it initially hurts when someone uses you, or ignores you, or takes advantage of you, or talks bad about you, or tosses you aside like a rag doll. That hurts like hell.

But, it is brief. We hold on to something far longer than we need to. Why do we hold tight to something so insignificant and unworthy? Why do we torture ourselves? Don’t we deserve to be pain-free? Don’t we deserve happiness and love?

We do! We deserve happiness and love…from ourselves. Who cares if some imprudent former friend/family member/stranger hurt us… hurt people hurt people. What they need is forgiveness and time to learn from what they have done. It may not be today or tomorrow or even this lifetime, but they will learn.  

When you grow up in a society of revenge, you can’t possibly expect that the world will wake up one day and just be forgiving. It takes education, experience, and a strong will to grow and learn. It will take better people to teach others how to be better people… learning via example.

That is what I am focusing on, being the person that I want others to be. I’m ready to be pain-free and happy. Will you join me?    

NaPoWriMo Day:14 Unhappy Ending

It was the last straw
The end
One fight too many
Arms desperately reached out
She dropped to her knees
Makeup and tears streaming
Down her aged face
She squealed
Grasping at the deadened
Stale air between them
Pleaseeee
Don’t leaveee meee
As the door slammed behind him
As it had done daily
For more than 20 years
She lay on the floor
In the fetal position
Heaving and crying
Gasping for air
Minutes turned into hours
Hours felt like days
When she could no longer cry
When her tears had finally dried up
She picked herself up
And walked into her room
Climbed into the queen sized empty bed
The dogs all deceased and gone
The children
No longer kids
Had families of their own
Packed up and moved away
A long time ago
All that was left was a house full of silence
And painful memories
She stared at the wall
Full of photos
She was in none of them
She was where she had always been
Behind the camera
Behind the scenes
The life on hold
As she uplifted
The lives of everyone else
Now there she was again
Alone
Tired
Tossed aside
Left to rot
Teardrops falling once more
And just as it had always been
There was nobody left
To wipe them away
So she slipped
Further and further
Back into the abyss
Into the one place
Where the pain
Could no longer exist
It was the end
Her unhappy ending

Don’t forget to visit, share, and comment on these following poets pages as well:

Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World
Lyric Fire
AscendingTheHills
142 Books
Sulekha Rawat: Memoirs

To create…
memoirs of a homemaker
One Time Pad
Thoughts Of Beauty In The Stillness Of Dawn…
EllieBloo
Chris Galvin 

The ‘Moment’ Between Life And Death

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A Friday ritual. A single photo — no words — capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

“This Moment” is a ritual found on Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama which was introduced to others by Sarah-Jane, of Almost There.

I was asked to participate in this by Anna Sides, of The Other Side of Anna and the other great blogging members of the Facebook group Blogplicity.

If you find yourself touched by a moment and would like to participate, post your picture on a Friday and leave your link in the comments section.

Copyright- InJensMind

Daily Challenge For Jens Sake

Today is Day 2 of the daily challenge. We writers sit so long at our computers, typing out our masterpieces. The longer we sit and stare at a computer screen the more our bodies become stressed and tired. This is an excellent exercise to do to help relieve the tension in our neck, shoulders and backs.

If you would like to take part click the link and let’s connect. The more the merrier, I say. We can keep each other motivated. Let’s go!!!

Today’s Daily Challenge Friday Sep. 02, 2011

Healthy Behaviors

EVERYDAY WELL-BEING
Give your neck an assisted side stretch for 10 seconds on each side.
How to do it
Stand and flex your left arm down by your side with your wrist pulled up, as if you are pushing on a flat surface. Tilt your head to the right, reach over to the left side of your head with your right hand, and gently push down. Make sure to keep your left shoulder down and away from your ear. You should feel a nice stretch, but no pain. Hold for 10 seconds, then do the same sequence on the other side.

Why it matters
If you stand for long periods or spend most of your time at a desk, it’s likely that your neck needs some TLC. This stretch can prevent injuries and help relieve pain, stiffness, and soreness. Another bonus? It can help you de-stress.

Fun Fact
The thick muscle on either side of your neck used to bend your head forward and tilt side to side is called the sternocleidomastoid (stur-noh-klahy-duh-MAS-toid).

Ok, it’s your turn. Join in on the Daily Challenge; Facebook it, Blog it, Live it, Love it!!!

Sunday’s Question Segment

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This is the second installment of Sunday’s Question Segment, where you, the reader, write in and ask a question that you would like answered.

I am not a professional psychiatrist or a licensed doctor, these are just my sole opinions. The whole reasoning for this segment is for you to get a question answered, to build a great conversation, and for me to share a bit more of myself… my thoughts, feelings and opinions. I hope you enjoy these magnificent questions and hopefully I can answer them the way they truly deserve to be answered… with honesty, feeling, and insight.

We will continue this segment every week, so please feel free to send in questions in any number of ways that were listed in last week’s post. By all means, the answers in any of these question segments are not intended to offend anyone.

This week we have three questions so let’s get started. Our first post comes from Bornstoryteller and it is one hell of a question. Here’s hoping I don’t screw it up.

Why are we living in a world where we can’t pay attention to what is in front of us? How did we get here?
                                             -Bornstoryteller

Dear Bornstoryteller,
I think the reason we cannot pay attention to what’s in front of us has to do with short attention spans from technology. When I was a child we watched movies about the future. In these movies, the robots would take over humanity.

I think in some weird way that is what has happened. When you look around you today, you can see how technology has deteriorated what once was; manners, common sense, the ability to think and act on one’s own behalf, and the distortion of the English language.
Don’t get me wrong, technology has been very helpful to humanity but, it has also created a “need” for instant gratification and entitlement. I say “need” when it’s actually a want because of course we think we “need” it therefore, we keep upgrading everything in our lives to bigger, better, faster things.

Patience is becoming as extinct as a home phone. Nobody wants to wait around for something to happen, it needs to happen now or we get bored and just let it go or we don’t even see it in the first place. We have become a society that believes we are entitled to anything and everything that we want when we want it.
For example, not being able to buy groceries for a couple of weeks but, can afford an unlimited data plan on a new I-phone because “I am entitled to nice things.” This type of instant gratification has also made us impatient and reckless in our relationships and in raising children. Instead of working out indifference, lowering our high standards, or compromising in our relationships we go into all of them with the notion we can replace them or divorce them with no real consequences. In other words, we treat fellow human beings as we do material possessions.

I don’t see this getting any better as our children (who walk around with the newest technology by the age of 10) are under the same impression that technology will solve all humanities issues.
There is also a rise in ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in the world and this I don’t believe comes completely from technology, although God only knows what kind of affects the constant radio waves from cell phones and laptops are doing to our bodies that we are passing on to our children. But, this does in part have to do with what I said about wanting bigger and better things.

And of course, since our kids are tech junkies they don’t get as much of that clean, fresh air and sunshine that we did as children. We have tainted our food and water supplies. It’s nothing new but, our children’s DNA seems to be more polluted than ours is. I think this has to do with their lower abilities to fight off infections, more government mandated vaccinations and the greater accessibility to processed food.
So in my opinion, since we are so “connected” we lose focus on the things right in front of us that use to be as plain as the nose on our faces.
-InJensMind

Our next question comes from Martha.

What can help you heal the hurt, my dear?
-Martha Orlando

Before I answer this question I want to give a little insight to it. Martha asked this after reading my post about my sister’s sudden death from Cancer, ‘My Sister’s Keeper.’

Dear Martha,
I have dealt with death of many close family members since I was a young girl. I don’t know if “dealt” is the proper word because when I think of the word dealt, I think of coming to terms with it by yourself. I don’t feel like I came to terms with any of the deaths on my own. When someone we know and love dies, we are forced to deal with it because there is no way to bring them back and life goes on whether we want it to or not.

Maybe this is the reason I haven’t healed fully from any of the losses in my life. People say, “time heals.” Time heals because after a while of living without someone, we eventually push them out of the front of our minds. Technically, life pushes them out of the front of our minds not necessarily us. Day after day, happy and not-so happy things happen that take the place of those initial thoughts of that person we lost. I don’t think there is a way to ever heal fully from the loss of a loved one; it remains in us like a scar from surgery does.

There will always be a reminder that they were once present in our lives. When someone loses a close friend or loved one we say the best thing to do is hold on to the happy memories of them. How can we ever fully heal if we cling to their memory? We can’t, because we remember them.

So, I suppose in time I can heal because I will not focus so much on her being gone but, I will never fully heal from losing my sister.
-InJensMind

Our final question this week comes from Jan.

I have been in an unintended competition with my sister for years, all of our lives really. She is 6 years my senior, my favorite saying of us is that if we hadn’t been born sisters we would have never met. We are completely different. She lives a life of I can’t(s), I live with tell me I can’t I will show you I can. “I can’t” are her two favorite words. Anyway, when something serious happens, such as I had a crisis in my life, as a result had my blood pressure checked ended up on 4 different meds for it. The doctor was astounded that I hadn’t stroked out. 2 weeks later my sister calls and says, “Um, I don’t mean to steal your thunder, but my blood pressure was higher than yours.” Seriously? Does she truly think I Want to be ill? This is the kind of competitiveness I mean. What can I do? Continue to ignore her or heaven forbid confront her. I don’t feel confrontation would work either because she has no idea of what she is doing, and would deny, deny, deny, also how she lives.
-Thanks, Jan

Dear Jan,
A little bit of competition in life is not a bad thing, in fact it can make us push ourselves to do better than what we thought we could do. Sibling rivalry is nothing new, it’s been around forever. It’s ok to be different, we should be different from others or how boring life would be if we were all the same. Being of the same bloodline does not mean we will be alike. Those aspects of your relationship with your sister are perfectly normal.

Now let me address this issue about being ill. I am sorry to hear of your illness and hope that you get better soon. As far as your sister’s reaction, some people believe that they are the center of everything and should always be treated as such. Sickness should never be a competition, EVER! I find it disconcerting that your own sister would try to make that a competition. What’s the prize when you win in this type of competition? Death… I don’t know about you but, I wouldn’t want to brag about winning that prize.

I don’t want to say ignore it but, I also don’t believe you should confront her. People get set in their ways; all a confrontation does is add more stress for the person who truly cares more, in this case that would be you. More stress equals more illness which is not what you need in your life. I am a firm believer in just accepting people for who and what they are. Nothing you say is going to make her realize what she is doing is in bad taste. I have firsthand knowledge in this and I handled it this way.

When the person called, I let them do the talking, complaining, and /or pity-party conversation. I would occasionally try to throw in an “uh-huh, ok, or wow that’s something isn’t it.” Then from there I would change the subject and if they were hell-bent on staying on their “poor me” topic, well then it was time for me to go.

It’s not that you have to give into their apprehensive behavior and lack of common courtesy it’s just there are benefits of doing this. As a caring and loving person the biggest issue I have found is… what if my loved one passed away and I didn’t do all I could to be understanding.

I can’t begin to tell you why your sister acts the way she does. I can tell you though, that if you cut her off completely it would only bring a moments worth of relief. Eventually, your conscience will eat away at you because you turned your back on someone who is obviously in great need of help.

The best thing you can do to help her is to listen and cut it short if she doesn’t want to move on to something more positive or be a caring, loving sister in return. Not everyone realizes they are being selfish when they act the way your sister has. But, seeing as she purposely said to you, “ I don’t mean to steal your thunder” indicates that not only does she know she is doing it but, that she thinks that being ill is a game. When people do that it makes me wonder are they even sick or are they playing games.

My advice to you is… to do what you feel is right. If you don’t feel like dealing with her nonsense then ignore the phone call until you feel you are strong enough to speak to her. It doesn’t matter if you ignore her or confront her she is going to keep doing this because it makes her “feel” better. Good people know that everyone matters and we must do our best to be tolerant and understanding, even if the person they are dealing with is a conceited jerk who will never be a nice person. If she truly is ill or more ill than you are and she doesn’t take it seriously than it is on her.

Don’t let anyone; including your family make you feel bad for them, especially when they aren’t taking their own life seriously. Anyone who loves you would never force you into feeling guilty for them. You don’t need her to confirm you in any way, just treat her as you would an acquaintance and in the end all things work themselves out. In the meantime, you can feel good knowing that you tried and were the best tolerant and forgiving person that you could be. Good luck to you!
-InJensMind

“Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because by creating such trying circumstances they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.”
By Dalai Lama XIV

I Have Lived Life

I have shed blood, sweat,immeasurable tears
Stared bluntly in the face of my greatest fears

I have had good thoughts and some insane
Some brought me great pleasure some brought me great pain

I have been free and trapped in a cage
Been bursting with love and insufferable rage

I have known death and I have known birth
Seen Heaven and Hell in my life on this Earth

I have been lost and also been found
Been lifted up high and kicked down to the ground

I have turned hate to love and love into hate
Done magnificent things, a few not-so great

I have several friends, enemies too
Some of them old and some of them new

I have spoken with ink, lips and heart
Written and read inspirational art

I have lived life as well as I could
Some parts might have been bad but, most parts were good

I will rise up each time that I fall
For life is worth living so I give it my all

Broken Body

Trinity of The Broken
Robert Campin
about 1435
Gold, silver and silk embroidery, pearls, glass
beads and velvet applique on linen, 112 x 64 cm
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum

Deep, aching, stabbing,wretched, pain
barely walking, limping, body strain.
Exhausted, fragile, paleness
unhealthy, aging,signs of stress.
Numbing, tingling,constant, hurt
no turning back now, cannot avert.
Pushing forward inch by inch
each step I take makes me flinch.
Pills,creams,meds and all
nothing helps I just sit and bawl.
Too young to have my body break
don’t know how much more that I can take.
Doctors help that’s what they do
but, doctors here think I’m a fool.
Treatment costs so very much
without insurance a cure is out of touch.
So I pick myself up and do what I must
til it’s ashes to ashes and dust to dust.