To Dad.

70 years seems like an incredible feat, especially since I oftentimes question how I’ve survived for just over half of that. But your 70 years of life experience, is probably what has gotten me through my mere 36. You’ve taught me so many things—things that have carried me through some of my best and worst days. From teaching me how to ride a bike to helping me navigate the stock market—you prepared me for life’s little and big tests.

I understand how important it is to believe in myself, to show up, to not take anything personally, to be fun and to have fun and to “not stand on the boards”—a reference only my former skating friends will understand, but that everyone should. It means to understand the value of time, to use it wisely in order to uncover its worth. So DAD, happy 70th birthday! Thank you for using your time wisely—to make my life better but mostly thank you for loving me for more than half your life and for all of mine.

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Hungry for more.

Recently, I felt sadness for a complete stranger. Maybe it was timing more than anything else. Perhaps I was unusually fragile that day. Or maybe it was purely selfish, having suddenly realized I had missed an opportunity to learn all I could from one member of a truly important generation. No matter the reason, empathy had hit me hard.

As I’ve had more time to reflect, I find myself wondering if the importance of those who came before us has been lost on my generation and even more so on the generation who follows me. I’m terribly afraid that we’ve taken the wisdom of those who preceded us for granted, brushing them off as old, out of touch or unreasonably sad and angry. Had I capitalized on all of the free life lessons that came directly from real life experiences? Just how many of these opportunities had I missed? And why had I not questioned myself until now?

Prior to this awakening, I would have undeniably omitted myself from falling into the category with those who didn’t think twice about this – with those who cared more about their own life than the lives of those who helped shape it. But now, I wonder if their significance has been lost on me as well.

Let’s back up. Last year, I started volunteering with the organization Meals on Wheels. I had seen the TV commercial many times and figured that I was plenty capable of “dropping off a hot meal and saying a quick hello” but after just a few deliveries, I learned that it was so much more than that.

Combating senior hunger (initiated through the loss of independence due to declining health) may be the foundation of this organization but combating other forms of hunger – hunger for companionship, for conversation, for friendship, for love – those are what continue to drive it. It truly is about “taking care of those, who once took care of us”.

For me, the experience has been priceless. I have some humorous stories that I could entertain you with. I’ve seen and heard a lot, some of which is forever burned in my mind, including moments like the following:

  • Being greeted by a senior in just his underwear who seemed confidently unaware
  • The time I felt supreme guilt for possibly being responsible for an escaped cat
  • The few times that I’ve been treated as a thrift shop representative and was gifted many undesired trinkets
  • The countless, unsolicited, reports I’ve received of ailments and escaping bodily fluids

I’ve certainly gathered a strange combination of happy and sad. I’ve listened to many “woe is me” narratives and truly feel I’ve been witness to deep depression onset by old age. I’ve had a quick glimpse into the life we don’t consider when we’re praying for a longer one. We don’t fully understand what is connected to such a wish. We don’t realize that we’re asking for a life that could be full of insurmountable odds – a life that may be pretty darn sad and lonely.

I quickly learned that behind many closed doors lies physical and emotional pain. There is sickness and loneliness. I was shown a clear picture of loss of life within life. Many of these people sit under their own dark cloud in secret until forced to open the door and then they either hide that sadness and pain or display it in plain sight.

I promise it’s not all sad. I’ve seen the opposite end of the spectrum, too. Some client’s are content or seemingly happy enough and they all have been grateful and kind. Some still have their companion or at least someone who helps them maintain the “pep” in their step and love in their heart. But many don’t and on this particular day, I realized that we all have someone, until we don’t.

That day, an unfamiliar face opened a familiar door. She was a somber faced woman, dressed in black. “We’ll be cutting down to one meal. Did they tell you?” At first, this didn’t strike me as strange. I had always secretly wondered if the man who lived there had requested two meals just for himself. Today, I was ashamed of my assumption, which usually made me secretly smirk. As strangers, we sometimes do that. We imagine other people’s lives. We wonder. We speculate. But seldom do we put in the effort to seek out the truth or learn a stranger’s story. I wish I had asked. I wish I had asked where his wife was every time I did the drop off. He would have likely told me, “She is sick in bed.” Instead, today his niece told me that she had died. I’d been to her home countless times and never knew she was there.

In that single moment I was harshly reminded of my real duty. It wasn’t just to feed. It was to care. Bringing this newly widowed man food wasn’t going to heal his heartbreak, his sadness or his loneliness but maybe our next conversation or the one after that, would.

Food is important. It’s a basic human need but it’s not the only thing that feeds the body and it won’t feed someone forever. Stranger’s stories are just as important as mine. These bodies and souls were once like me, and one day, I may be just like them. They paved my path, your path. They saw things I may never see in my lifetime – some of which I’ll yearn to, other’s which I pray I’ll never have to.

So the next time you cross paths with an elder, stop to ask them how they are. Ask them where they’re going. But please, ask them where they’ve been. One day, you may be them. They (I) may not tell you they are (I am) sad and lonely and would like to talk but I promise you, they (I) do.

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Subscribe to happy.

How many thoughts pass through your mind in a single day? How many times do you find yourself paralyzed by doubt and uncertainty? For me, the answer to both of those questions is, “too many”.

I would categorize myself as a self-doubter, an over-thinker. I have always struggled with indecision. It’s plagued me since I can remember – always fearing that I would make the wrong choice and once I made one, I would torment myself by questioning my decision.

I’ve read that sometimes uncertainty can be beneficial. A certain amount of self-doubt is healthy and can serve us well. It generates questions that force us to review all options, from all angles and this close examination places pressure on us to make the best decision.

But if you’re like me, self-doubt can become debilitating. Over the years, I’ve come to recognize my own disabling, self-scrutinizing patterns. Options and “what if’s” are my greatest adversaries and create a lot of mental resistance. And it’s not just having to choose between A or B, it’s my internal debate of wondering if I’m good enough, smart enough or capable. It’s wondering what others may think. At times, I agonize over the little things, making mountains out of molehills (as my mom would say), putting me at capacity both mentally and physically. It can be exhausting.

I know I am not alone. We all question ourselves from time to time. We all lack confidence, once in a while. We all fill our minds with trivial, negative thoughts. It’s human nature. But we need to remember that our minds and bodies can only handle so much. Our fears, coupled with constantly overflowing thoughts, can stop us from accomplishing what we want. They can and will interfere with our happiness and personal sense of freedom.

When I’m lacking confidence or questioning a decision, my dad always asks, “Did you do your best?” When I’m grumbling to him about being stressed, he asks, “Is stress real?” Those are such simple questions but they are not asked as such. To him, they are rhetorical. He knows I always do my best and in regards to stress, he believes if you cannot touch or see something, it does not exist. One can argue the latter, however his point is that stress does not exist on its own. It’s something we create. Either way, both questions fulfill the purpose of reminding me that my worry and negative thinking, is needless. They are two simple reminders that have a profound effect on me. They provide me with the reassurance I need to clear my mind and move on. In reflecting on this, I wonder…can it be that simple? Is it that simple?

In keeping on the topic of my dad…he gave me a book years ago – The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, by Miguel Ruiz. As I recall, it was during a time when I was (surprise, surprise) hounded by worry and “stress” (which I have placed in quotes because remember, it does not exist). For a relatively “quick read”, its message is powerful. Ruiz alludes to domestication (learned behavior) being the main detriment to our “journey towards spiritual transcendence” or more simply put, freedom, love and happiness. It sounds complicated but post-read, it will make all the sense in the world. It will encourage you to pause and re-evaluate your habits and priorities in order to live a life devoid of stress, worry, gossip, anger, self-abuse and anything else that holds you back. After I finished the book, I memorized its four principles (supposedly derived from ancient Toltec wisdom) and vowed to apply them to my daily life. It’s obvious, however, (in writing this) that I forget to refer to them from time to time.

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Although up until this point I have lacked in my commitment to them, I strongly believe that practicing these principles can help remove much of the doubt and uncertainty we face on a daily basis. If we use them as a guide to living, it’s possible to achieve the confidence that is required to uncover peace of mind and move forward with conviction.

It’s best to read The Four Agreements in its entirety for extra guidance and context but its four main principles can and should be learned and applied without delay.

I present them here;

  1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
  4. Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Even when advised against it, we remain our own greatest critic but if we can retrain our minds to minimize our negative thoughts by way of this advice, we will be one step closer to personal freedom and true happiness.

As for me, I think it’s time for a full “re-read”. 😉

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*Relatable song of the moment: Heavy by Linkin Park

I Will.

I woke up on January 1st (along with the rest of the world) forcefully pushed into that brief period of reflection – angry with myself for once again focusing too much on the “has beens” and the “what if’s” of life – wrapping myself up in the past, as if it were my inescapable future.

The few years leading up to 2016 was a mix of good and bad and so I headed into the year expecting the worst, hoping for the best and based on my standards, ended up falling somewhere in between. I suspect someone who fell victim to hard times would say that my year was a good one but for me, the gap between where I am and where I want to be seems to keep growing and the very thought of that throws me into a downward spiral of negativity. But just as I’m about to count my adversities one by one, I hear one-year-old giggles coming from the next room followed by the cute swishing sound of my nephews chunky thighs, speedily rushing towards me and suddenly, all is right in the world. If that’s all it takes, then surely things can’t be so bad!

There are always things to be grateful for and to be happy about. Sometimes, we just need that perfectly timed reminder. 😉img_7322

In 2017 I will:
Continue wishing.
Remember & appreciate the past but won’t look back too hard.
Envision my future.
Keep things simple.
Be happy.
Stay Strong.
Love.

Thank you.

It’s that time of year again! The streets have gone eerily quiet as we adults try our hardest to wrap it up, while secretly trying to stretch it out  – all while the brutal, end of season heat, sucks out whatever life was left in us. The kids, on the other hand have obviously gone into hiding, in hopes back-to-school will not find them. Welcome to pre-Labor Day September.

As I near my 35th birthday, I find that this time reminds me more of being an adult and working in a school, than it does of being a kid and going to school. That means one of two things. Either I’m getting old and the closer things are, the better I remember them OR my teaching experience had a truly profound effect on me. I’m certain it is the latter.

Thirteen years ago (wow), I worked in an integrated preschool for Autistic and typically developing children. I stepped into a world I never knew existed and unbeknownst to me at the time, it was a world I would never fully depart. I’ll be candid and admit that I had never been more shocked, saddened, confused, frightened, frustrated and discouraged as I was on that first day. I had also never felt such joy, pride and love as in the days and years that followed. And it was not until I left, that I realized I had fallen so completely in love with those kids and that I was forever changed. I miss them so much and for what they did for me, I owe them some recognition.

Autism is still a mystery. To some, it is viewed as a complication, a misfortune – a puzzle as the infamous symbol illustrates. And it’s hard to argue against any of those negative characterizations. But let’s take a second to say those words out loud and hear the sadness in them, as they relate to children. As confusing, frustrating, exhausting, sad and unfair as Autism is for the child and the family, my time spent around those children, allowed me to see it differently and in a more positive light. Through their daily struggles (that also became my own) and their small but simultaneously monumental achievements, they opened my eyes. They taught me to be thankful for my own blessings and empathetic towards others hardships. They made me stronger (emotionally and physically) and taught me true patience. They simplified and evolved my definition of the disorder to slowly become this;

Autism – noun: A gift of an unusual but special kind. One that is impossible to guess the contents of, just by looking at it. A gift that must be handled with care due to its fragility. A gift that must be carefully studied and cautiously, slowly opened. A gift that must be loved at all times – before opening, while opening and after opening. And in some cases, it must be loved well after one has discovered the possibility that there may be nothing more left to open.

We talk about Autism as a mysterious, sad, unfortunate disorder, which it no doubt is. But I will always remember the children behind it.  I will remember their amazing differences. Their quirky habits. Their tremendous pride in a single accomplishment. Their need and content for simple, repetitious days that simply are not good enough for anyone else. Their love for exploration and discovery. Their ability to love and their need to be loved back. Yes, they are all different – each one their own puzzle but with time, patience, love and a little luck  you just may find the child hiding behind the mystery. And there is no greater feeling than rescuing a soul (even if only for a moment) from the entrapment that is this mysterious disorder.

I’ve long since moved on from that job (in both professions and in miles) but that part of my life is forever with me. My biggest fear has become that they will never know the gift they gave me, that was simply them.  So although it’s unlikely they will be reading this, they should know that what I learned from them has carried me through many of my days and I’d like to thank them for that.

Thank you…

  • for confirming that life will continue to surprise me but hope can carry me.
  • for teaching me dedication, how to have patience, how to be accepting, the importance of forgiveness, the meaning of self-worth and the value of humility.
  • for showing me that a smile is worth a million words and proving that one word is worth the whole world.
  • for showing me you can love what you once feared until you love without fear.
  • for proving that you can’t learn human behavior or anyone’s story, from a book.
  • for teaching me that an intentional and mutually understood hug, is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
  • for teaching me how uncomplicated my life really is and how in the scheme of things, we really are all so small.

I’ll never forget you. xoxo

“Her voice is a gift alone that brings tears of joy to us.”
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Just Make It Work.

We don’t always have the luxury of customizing a space exactly how we see it in our heads. Open floor plans, high ceilings, oversized windows…not always a possibility. Even if those were do-able, you may not want to put yourself through what could turn out to be, a construction nightmare. Money, time, patience (or lack thereof) all come into play and sometimes, you just have to work with what you have. The good thing is – often times when you’re forced to work with what you have, you’ll find that what you have, can actually work.

My husband and I were gifted a small dose of “You can’t always get what you want” as our home kindly offered up a “small space” challenge of its own – the dreaded “porch turned interior room” project. Our little, extra room. I wanted to view it as a bonus but it actually felt more like a burden. What would its purpose be? A den, an office, a sad excuse for a library in a home where the word itself simply sounds ridiculous?

We’re certainly not the first homeowners to tackle a tiny space. Tiny, we could handle but tiny and overlooked or not usable, I could not.  The room is tucked away behind our living room and my first concern was, how can it be useful or inviting if no one noticed it was even there? Frustrated by this thought, my goal right then and there became to make it enticing by way of intrigue. I vowed to make the room intriguing, usable and of course, beautiful. And so followed a course of action based on intrigue, purpose and beauty – three things I want to have when I grow up. 😉

Step 1: Choose Room Color
With all our rooms, choosing the paint color came first. This room has ample natural light so even dark wall colors would have sufficed but I chose to maximize the already light and bright by choosing a nice, light green – more specifically, Benjamin Moore – Aganthus Green

Step 2: Choose Room Mood
Unlike with people, you can choose the mood of your room. I quickly convinced myself that this is indeed, a bonus room – a space to do anything we want including one or all of the following (probably not simultaneously): read, relax, nap, peruse the internet, reminisce over photos, flip through magazines, write, dream, work and the occasional push-up.

Step 3: Furnish the Room
I asked myself, “What might be helpful when doing one or all of the above?” A work space or desk (to write, work or peruse the web), chairs OR a couch (to relax, read or nap), a bookcase (to store all the books and pictures), a floor lamp (to see), a vintage rung ladder (for the occasional magazine) and a throw (to keep one comfy while doing all of it OR just because I want one).

Let’s break down how checking off this list went:

DESK
Finding a desk was challenging.  Once again, my Pinterest board built dreams that became crushed after my actual “search to purchase” activity and I came up empty. Fortunately, I was able to find many a tutorial on how to make the desk I envisioned and it turned out to be not overwhelmingly hard.

To make our desk:
1.) Decide on measurements.
2.) Go to your favorite hardware store. Mine happens to be Home Depot. Choose your boards and have them cut to size.
3.) Purchase stain of choice, metal connectors and screws.
4.) Lightly sand edges & surface.
5.) Stain and allow to dry fully.
6.) Lay boards out on a work surface spaced to your liking and enlist someone to assist holding in place for attaching.
7.) Get over your need for everything to come out perfect. (I’m constantly working on this)
8.) Attach the hairpin legs. I ordered mine from www.hairpinlegs.com

SEATING
A couch won out over chairs but choosing the right size couch was aggravating because the size we wanted, would not fit through our front door and we were forced to downsize, compromising a bit on the style.

Tip #1: Triple check the measurements of the door it will be coming through before making the purchase.

Furniture is not like clothes. You can’t try it first and so despite measuring numerous times, I still held my breath up until the moment it made it safely through the threshold. However, fitting through the front door is not the only success you need. It also needs to look appropriate in its intended space, which for us turned out to be a big fail. Even this smaller version couch looked way too big where we planned for it to go.  It protruded too far into the belly of our room, leaving little space to do that one push-up.

Tip #2: Always have a back-up plan.

Unfortunately, swapping it with our living room couch (which was my back-up plan), did not work.

Tip #3: Always have a back-up to your back-up plan.

This tip was not just an afterthought. I did, in fact have a Plan C.  And it did in fact work, sliding perfectly into the nook on the far wall completing my vision of that inviting space.  What’s more inviting than a comfy looking couch? My husband proves that nothing is. 😉

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LIGHTING
As I mentioned, this room gets ample light during the day but at night, you’d trip over yourself. Enter, floor lamp. I really craved one from Crate and Barrel but I opted for the cheaper Target version, which does the job just the same and still makes me smile.

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Some finishing touches included curtains, which were hung with our old apartment rods (sprayed gold) and a mini display of some photos and other artsy decor.

 

*Framed stamp collage made by me but stamps courtesy of Grandma & Grandpa’s travels.

 

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*Typewriter, courtesy of my mom’s younger days.

“I’m not a beauty but I’m pretty.
I’m not a genius but I’m witty.”

 

 

 

 

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*Dining Room chair turned desk chair, courtesy of  World Market.

 

 

 

 

 

I also became obsessed with a recycled pallet project that I had seen on pinterest and just had to make it. It was work and I ran into some trouble getting the right coloring on the wood but the end result is close to what I was hoping for and it was a cheap project overall.

Free pallet courtesy of a Facebook search
Existing mason jars colored with mod podge, blue food coloring & my oven
Faux flowers from Michaels
Pipe clamps from Home Depot
Some nails & screws
Stain
Sandpaper

 

Still missing – a rung ladder but otherwise…..voila! A room we rarely use.

 

Someday.

I’ll briefly preface this by mentioning that this blog is a serious shift of gears from my past entries. I will not be updating you on my DIY projects or home making progress. Instead, I will share a very personal experience in hopes of shining some light on a rarely talked about but painfully tragic, heartbreaking topic.  This is not a cry for attention or request for sympathy but rather a disclosure of a personal experience that is common, yet ironically enough, incredibly lonely.  If you are going through, have gone through or will go through this, know that you are not alone.  If you are someone who has never given this a second thought (or maybe never a thought at all), please recognize its invisible existence.

I’ll start here….

My husband has jokingly told me for years that life is not all sunshine and rainbows. I usually shrug him off with a sarcastic smile and move on.  But now, I definitely see how some people may agree.

Just over a year ago, my husband and I faced the biggest loss of our lives – our first pregnancy ending in miscarriage. Nine weeks in, we lost what in that short period of time had motivated us and driven our days and nights. All I had ever wanted was gone in the blink of an eye.

A couple of months ago, I was finally ready to share that private journey of heartbreak and healing. I was ready to share my very real struggle with forgiveness of what I considered an unfair situation and prove that forgiveness and acceptance, which only comes with time, can lead to healing and did eventually lead to mine.

As someone who has been “emotionally wounded”, the phrase “Time heals all wounds” becomes painfully untrue and implausible. Time will not heal however it can help and eventually, time allowed me to view our loss as much of a miracle as was the conception.

Although everlastingly sad and tragic, it was a necessary part of our growth both as individuals and as a couple. We suffered greatly but survived and nothing was left to do but learn and grow.  Sadly, my fears would always be present but I was not going to allow them to overshadow my dream of becoming a mom.

What prepared me most when deciding to share our story was my anticipation of the following announcement;

“Today, we are simultaneously happy and hesitant to announce that we are expecting our first child in late Spring of 2016. I am happy but would be lying if I did not tell you that I have difficulty feeling happy and was hesitant at the start to even accept the pregnancy. I truthfully will never feel secure in carrying this baby. I will never be able to relax and fully enjoy my pregnancy. I will constantly worry and fear for my unborn child and I refuse to feel guilty for that. I have been hoping that my fears would lessen over time but the memory of loss is strong and looking back is still very difficult. Our first pregnancy began with joy and ended in tears. This pregnancy began with fear and we pray it ends in joy. My husband and I remain cautiously optimistic and are living solely on hope, faith and love because that is all we can do.”

But for the second heart wrenching time in a row, that announcement did not endure time and as I read my statement from above, a tremendous wave of guilt washes over me. Two days before Thanksgiving, we faced the loss of our second child, this time, 11 weeks in and I stood face to face with every fear that plagued me from the start. Lingering loss coupled with new loss, the grief returning now doubled in size. I knew it was not my fault but the pain was immeasurable and I found a strange need to place blame. I’ve since gotten over that.

Unfortunately, we learned that glue only holds for so long and for the past two months, my husband and I have been picking up the pieces of our shattered life for the second time.  But the truth is, we have to move on.  We aren’t given a choice.  And despite how very difficult it is, this second loss does not have to change my story, my dream or my message.

As a little girl, I didn’t dream of my wedding day and I never spent time worrying about what I was going to be when I grew up because I always knew. I was going to be a mom and despite all that has happened, I still want that. Although our hearts are broken we will continue along the path that was chosen for us. As in many situations, the physical healing was hard but came to an end. I count my blessings, not naive to the fact that there are so many unlucky ones in other situations that are forced to live with physical pain that will never heal.  I think of them as I focus on my eternal emotional healing, which will be hard enough. If I’m being honest, some days I don’t want to get out of bed. Some days I cry so much, I can’t see. But yesterday, I only teared up once and one day soon, I will not cry. I have made a choice to do my best to carry on. My goal is to focus on what has gone right in my life and each time I do, a bit of hope returns.

I am grateful for many things – my many saving graces including the doctors and nurses who took such great care of me. The compassion they demonstrated was truly heartwarming and reminds me that I am one of the lucky ones. They gave me back peace of mind and most importantly, they kept me healthy.

I am grateful for my husband who stayed by my side and made my healing his priority. I only hope his caring for me, helped lead to the start of his own healing. Without his love and support, I could not go on. I ask husbands to please be supportive of your wives even when you admittedly don’t understand the extent of their grief. Please realize that it’s not over when it’s over. And wives, your husbands are grieving too. Be kind to each other.

Anyone’s story can change in an instant. There are others who have walked our walk or who will walk the same path that we have been taken down. I’m writing this so they feel accompanied on that journey. There’s a strength that comes from sharing and I want nothing more than for my strength in moving on, to inspire others. Don’t be afraid to share your story, no matter what it is. Everyone is plagued by something different and I’m a true believer that as humans, we were not created to go it alone. Sometimes, things are just too big and too scary to face in silence.

I am grateful for family and friends who act as my daily reminders that happiness once was alive and well and is just around the corner. As corny as it sounds, I am grateful for online communities that have allowed me to read stories of so many others and provided me with a platform to share, discuss, comfort and acknowledge. It is a unique pain, a unique sadness and a very lonely time, so we must rely on others to keep us hopeful.  In the same vein, there will be times when people will say the wrong things, despite their good intentions. Don’t be hurt by that.  I read somewhere that “people only understand from the level of their perception” and it makes so much sense to me now. Be kind and tolerant of that. Some people will never say anything. Lack of acknowledgement can hurt but don’t let it.

People will be having babies and announcing pregnancies all around you.  It arouses anger (sometimes embarrassing, uncontrollable rage) anxiety, bad memories and will bring your heartache all the way back up to the surface. But that’s life and I for one, would never wish my situation upon anyone else.  Be happy for them because you would want them to be happy for you.

Despite my unintentional guidance above, I know that advice is not what a grieving person really needs. Opinions, no matter how well-intentioned or innocent, don’t help. Experiencing this loss has allowed me to be empathetic towards others going through the same thing and in feeling that, I feel accompanied.  I have found simple acknowledgement, love, support and companionship to be key and isolation and silence to be great enemies. Talking, sharing and learning from countless women who have experienced pregnancy loss has made me stronger. They are the ones who are capable of understanding the situation and providing the love and support that I need. They have shown me strength in numbers and reiterated (even if only to reassure themselves) that self blame is senseless. Whether the reason is known or forever remains unknown, it is never your fault.

I don’t believe that “Everything happens for a reason.” nor do I believe “Time heals all wounds”. God did not intentionally hurt me and time won’t make this go away. Instead of forcing myself to believe those precepts, I will focus on the significant process of grieving and hope that through that, I will grow and be okay.

In my own life, I vow to pick up the pieces at my own pace. I will grieve and heal as only I know how. I will be good to myself. I will always miss the future I was supposed to have but I’ll hold tight to the plans I had made. Life may not be all sunshine and rainbows but you can’t have the rainbow without the rain and the sun always finds a way to break through the clouds. I’ll allow myself to see that. I will wait for that rainbow.

“It’s about living life with such strength and emotion. And knowing that waves are just part of the ocean.”

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