23 years, 3 months, 21 days

Friday, October 16, 1992
Friday, February 5, 2016

23 years, 3 months, 21 days
1,216 weeks and 1 day
8,513 Days
204,312 hours
12,258,720 minutes
735,523,200 seconds

Picture your life, living with the one person who gets you for all those days, years, hours, minutes and seconds. They are a constant in your life. Just the two of you in your home…(and the dog). Then, the inconceivable happens…one minute they are there and the next minute they are gone…no warning, no preparation, no time to ask for prayers, good thoughts from Facebook…just gone.

You come home to an empty house (it doesn’t feel like your “home” anymore). The dog greets you with love, but that is it. Nothing. Noone else to hold you up. No one to talk to about your day, your doctor’s appointment, and more. How do you find out who you are in the universe and what “home” means now.

grief

 

I finally understand my mother’s behavior a few years after my dad died. She would go through her little phone book in the evenings and call people just to have someone to talk to. She rotated who she would call so people were not called too often…I get it now. She needed to feel connected to friends and family.

A very dear friend of mine once said to me that when you lose your spouse, many people treat you differently. I almost believed it, but what I’ve really noticed a year after his death, is that people actually treat me the same way they did before my spouse died. While you, hopefully, expect them treat you better than they did before he died, they actually treat you exactly the same: if they did not treat you well in the first place, they are not going to do it now. If they were an important part of your life before your spouse’s death, they are an important part of your life now. Admittedly, there is a grace period where everyone (almost) is more caring than usual. But at some predetermined expiration date, most of that disappeared. Very little has changed from the way the relationships “used to be”. And although there are exceptions to the rule, my hope was that people would reach out to me more now that I am a widow. That is not reality. Their daily life and responsibilities naturally come first to them.

What I’ve learned from other widows and from personal experience is that things do change, not just because your loved one is gone but in how other people perceive you now that the loved one is gone. With most people, it has nothing to do with caring, but rather they are not sure how to handle any personal discussion of death when they speak with you. Maybe it’s because by connecting with your pain, they see a reflection of what could happen to them and their loved ones, and that reality is more than they can handle. Whether it is realistic or accurate or even fair, somewhere in the subconscious of the people who can’t handle what happened to you is the fact that they feel it is contagious.

fingerprintsilveEveryone’s grief is as unique as their fingerprints…(another wise person shared with me)…these are just some of my observations and feelings as the first year ends with hope for new beginnings.

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2014 Morphs to 2015…Are we ready to morph with it?

HeaderbigWhile I am not a particularly religious individual, my spiritual side emerges at least once a year in the fall and sometimes at the end of December with Ryan Seacrest as well. This year not only was the transition into 5775 important, but 2014’s departure was also significant by offering me a second opportunity to evaluate a new year with new hope, opportunities, experiences, and goals.

I’ve lost people this year who will be missed, supported people who needed kindness, accepted comfort from unexpected sources, wished for resolution of some personal conflicts, and loosely quoting from a well know source, “strive to change what I can and accept what I cannot change”.

When reflecting on how to handle the next year’s rewards and challenges, I thought it best to tap the tried and true “sentiments” of some well know names. Their words and thoughts express it better than I, but the sentiment always rings true to me.

jogbig

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
― Albert Camus  

 

“Life is short, Break the Rules.
Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY.
Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably
And never regret ANYTHING
That makes you smile.”
― Mark Twain

 

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
― Leonard Cohen

 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

 

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

#Crowdfunding With Style

The Home Improvement Dude

There are a large number of #crowdfunding websites to choose from. You may select a name you are familiar with or just search with keywords…. Crowdfunding is not simple …it takes work and thought from the person or organization looking to raise money for their cause.

The Home Improvement Dude-

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Is it a non-profit?  Is it an organization that just want to “do good”? Are you an individual who is out pounding the pavement for a good cause?  Whatever your mission, consider a #crowdfunding website with “heart”.  DonationWarrior.com has a unique approach and model.  They are new to the scene, but were required to go through an extensive “vetting” process to be able to use PayPal and WePay…two well know and respected fund collecting organizations.

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The “Wedding Dude”- can help you raise money

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jaysalus

Jay Salus will be running the 2014 Boston Marathon as a member of the Massachusetts National Guard and will be raising awareness and funds for a great organization that helps service members, veterans and their families-Project New Hope. My goal is to raise $1500. Please take a look at the great things Project New Hope does and please help me reach my goal of $1500. Thank you, jay

https://www.donationwarrior.com/pages/jaysalus

 

 

Feeling the after holiday financial pinch?

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Triskaidekaphobia and Serenity

As  2013 grinds to a close, how many of us let our “Triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13 and avoidance to use it) rule our lives this year?  Ever the optimist, I kept hoping that it would not prevail.  As I read my 2012 entry, I realize that there were so many of my thoughts that I continue to feel and believe.  I did find peace in my “oneness” and from within during 2013, in spite of many challenges and did not rely on others for my serenity.

lotus flowerThe lotus flower has some beautiful symbolism associated with it:  The first and most literal meaning is from the lotus ability to rise and bloom above the muddy to achieve enlightenment.  Also, the lotus flower may represent rebirth…The rebirth can be a change of ideas, a renaissance of beliefs or the ability to see past wrongs.

2013 was a landmark year for me and with much meditation I was able to come through the “muddy times” and emerge stronger.   There were friends and family whose physical presence departed this year…They are forever in my heart and their laughter, hugs and spirit will be missed by many.

My raison d’être continues to be a healthy and creative mind, body and soul through daily meditations, productive tasks, and caring deeds.

He reflected deeply, until this feeling completely overwhelmed him and he reached a point where he recognized causes; for to recognize causes, it seemed to him, is to think, and through thought along feelings become knowledge and are not lost, but become real and being to mature. Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha (1951), Chapter: Awakening

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Aspiring to Achieve the Greater Good…

Bird of Paradise

This year has not been a year of rainbows and lollipops….of people aspiring to achieve the greater good…of truly listening to others and hearing their pain, their joys and their aspirations.  This year demonstrated a lack of understanding and compassion, of forgiveness.

Personally, this has not been an easy year.  The challenges have been many and difficult.  Trying to find the raison d’être after and during each new obstacle has been grueling.  Always striving to be the optimist, setting new goals, keeping things fresh, and reinventing myself was tested because sometimes “stuff just happened” making the success of the usual techniques much slower and deliberate.  I was exhausted, but learned important lessons and eventually grew stronger.

Learning to find peace in my “oneness” and not relying on others for my serenity has always been my goal and my weakness.  Not making my emotional security conditional upon another’s actions and opinion towards and of me, things became easier.  That doesn’t imply that there is no need of others to bring joy in my life, rather that I learn to find joy in myself first.  I always have and always will be a people person.  I subscribe to the half full attitude with people in my life now and the new ones I meet.  It makes me richer.

And finally, this was the year I let go of my frustration and displeasure with those whose beliefs and behaviors I cannot control or change, but whom I still love and want in my life.  Just as I am sure that within my universe of people, there are behaviors and beliefs they would like to change in me, I embrace what is good and have faith and hope as 2012 winds down.

May 2013 allow you all to find serenity and peace.