When I began my journey of self-development after the whole Brian incident, I had no idea where I’d land. In fact, it’s still an ongoing process. At the time, I was on a spiritual mission that quickly became a mental health advocate mission. In the last 7-years, I’ve gotten 2 certifications (Life Coaching and Life Counselling) and 1 diploma (Counselling Hypnotherapy).
As the Province that I live in will soon be regulated for Counsellors – I have to yet take another course to get my Counselling Diploma so that I can become an RTC (Registered Therapeutic Counsellor). This will take me approximately 1 more year as I don’t intend to start until next Jan.
To all of you who work full-time and attempt to go back to school full-time, I feel your exhaustion and your pain. It really is a lot of work.
Changing careers in your late 50’s isn’t for the faint of heart and takes a lot of determination and dedication. I never would have seen myself taking this on and had a very different idea of how my life would look at this stage of the game. I wanted to write and get published. I have 2 really good partially written manuscripts that I wonder if I’ll ever get back to. Maybe in my late 60’s?? Who knows…?
I ask myself, sometimes, if all of this is just my way of coping with the trauma and unsatiated grief that still wells up, occasionally. I don’t have an answer for that but suspect it to be at least part of the equation.
Either way, I’ve learned a hell of a lot about human behavior and how to help people move forward with their lives.
I’m having my website re-done to reflect being a Counselling Hypnotherapist and will update, soon!
Still working on quitting my day job but that will come in the next 3-5 years, possibly sooner if I’m really lucky. 😉
At the tail end of 2015 something very ordinary happened to me that turned out to be anything but ordinary. As many do in the winter months, I caught the very well-known virus called: the common cold. No biggie, right? Wrong. Said cold turned into laryngitis. Laryngitis, after many doctor visits and several ENT appointments, became vocal cord paresis. What that translates into is: one of my vocal cords stopped working properly. Who knew that your vocal cords could catch a cold?
The result was that it was really difficult to talk normally – and in fact, I couldn’t. My voice was high, breathy, pitchy and sometimes really weird and alien sounding. I also choked a lot on liquids, had constant gunk in the back of my throat (which I was forever and annoyingly clearing) and people just couldn’t understand what I was saying. So, my doctor, after about 4-month of ‘waiting for it to heal’ finally referred me to ENT (Ear Nose and Throat Dr.) #1. He didn’t do much other than send me to a speech therapist and said: well, there’s nothing we can do!
Off I want to referred speech therapist. She told me that this didn’t ‘have’ to be a permanent solution and in fact, there was something that could be done about it – turns out several somethings – and thus, she recommended me to ENT #2.
ENT #2 injected a kind of filler in my vocal cords so that there wouldn’t be such a gap. The problem was that they weren’t connecting properly because part of right vocal cord was paralyzed and had nerve damage. This really didn’t do very much, was painful (think really long needle plunged into your throat) and temporary. Unfortunately, this was the only option at the time as I was told I wasn’t a good candidate for a permanent implant.
This went on for a few years and I was clearly frustrated so ENT #2 referred me to ENT #3 who was the BEST of the BEST. At least in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver.
I liked her. She tried a different type of filler and it worked better. One caveat, though, it only lasted about 4-5 months. So, I constantly had to be topped up. Again…really big needle in the throat. Hurt like hell. The thought of having to get this for the rest of my life was daunting. What if this Dr. moved away? What would happen if she retired? I mean, she was the BEST out there. Could I settle for second best?
Also, I ‘used’ to be a singer. Now I wasn’t performing – unless you count crooning at the top of my lungs in my car on the way to work – but I really loved singing and damn it, I was good! Emphasize the word ‘was’.
After my courtship with Mr. laryngitis, I sucked. I sucked really, really bad. It was like I’d suddenly developed tone deafness. I couldn’t hit the right note if my life depended on it, I ran out of air, easily, and sometimes my voice would take on this bizarre deep multi-tone wobble that sounded like I was possessed by a demon. A demon who loved to sing along to Tayor Swift.
I know you’re picturing that in your head. The Taylor Swift demon impressionist. Weird, isn’t it?
Sorry ‘bout that.
Anyway. It was terrible! Some people got used to it, but most were simply annoyed or thought I constantly had a cold. This got really interesting around the start of COVID and I finally started explaining that I did NOT have a cold (or COVID) and got into waaaay too much detail about my condition. I’m sorry ‘bout that, too.
Finally, one day in March of this year (after over FIVE YEARS of dealing with this BS) ENT #3 was willing to try the implant (permanent solution). Whoo hoo!! I was excited! But I also had to have my throat cut open and …
Be. Awake. During the procedure.
I had to be able to talk to them as she stuffed in and then yanked out, different sizes of the implants into a little hole that she drilled into my thyroid cartilage. She had to know which size worked best to get the optimum result. Yes, that’s a yucky image. Once again, I apologize.
Seems fair, though, that this was an acceptable procedure. If it was the incorrect size of implant, it wouldn’t have worked so well.
By now you’ve guessed that I’ve done this. And yes, I have! I’m happy to say that I actually do have my original voice back. I’ve missed you, Voice! People who haven’t heard it in nearly 6-years were a little taken aback, but that’s okay. Singing is still an issue but I’m working on that with another amazing speech therapist and she’s a singer, too, so she gets it.
Where I’m going with this long-winded, and sometimes cringe-worthy, story, is – that during that time, I was extremely frustrated. Not being able to talk properly was a massive hinderance. I sell for a living (my day job) and council/coach in my spare time. This involves a lot of talking (also listening but my ears weren’t the problem).
I got angry. Angry that it was hard to understand me. That I had to repeat myself constantly. That life just went on for everyone else, but I was stuck struggling to communicate. I kept thinking: if only people would listen harder!
So, imagine those that have a much more difficult time talking (something we all take for granted) – maybe they can’t talk at all, or need a device to assist them. What if I was born deaf or mute or both, and suddenly, I couldn’t use sign-language as my way to communicate? What would it be like to be trapped in that predicament instead of the small inconvenience that I lived with? I mean…I could still talk – it was just difficult to be understood most of the time, but I adapted. Over the years I got better and even though I was pitchy and talked in a much higher register than I used to, I managed.
Now that I sound like ME again, I’m starting to feel I was being a whiny little wretch, feeling all sorry for myself while not even considering that I was lucky to still be able to talk at all. We take so much for granted and this is a very basic one. I mean, if you’re a parent and reading this, you will well remember your child(ren)’s first word; it’s a big deal! Even my mom remembers mine (she’s 85 btw). And it was “no” in case you’re wondering. Or probably more accurately: “NO!” Haha.
Humans need to communicate and be heard. It’s what we do long before we write – we cry to express ourselves, speak or sign to be heard, laugh to show humour and sing to feed our soul.
But when it’s taken from us or even partially taken, we feel somehow violated, like something was stolen.
I am so grateful to Dr. Hu and her team. I’m still healing (and there is one nasty ass scar on my neck) but in just over a month after surgery the results are incredible. I’m me, again.
Recently I had another birthday and I’m now officially smack dab in the middle of my 50’s. It’s been an interesting decade, thus far. And, of course, in a few months I’ll put another imaginary ‘tick’ on the imaginary calendar in my head and write- Brian 6-years died by Suicide.
It’s not that I’m worried I’ll forget about it, but for some odd reason those who have been through complex grief, tend to measure time, going forward, with references back to the traumatic grief (be it a death, divorce, breakup…etc.). It’s as of time was different before the trauma. And well, it was.
So, this year (6-years since Bri flew our earthly plain) I started thinking about life a little differently. I started wondering what my life would have been like, who I’d be and where I’d be if I’d never met him. It’s not that I’m regretting it, but let’s be honest, I was a very different person before the whole Brian episode, and I emerged a whole new person afterwards.
Let’s rewind 6-years and 3 months, shall we?
It’s January of 2015. I’d just been dumped (via text no less) by a guy that I’d just spent (hard earned) cash on for a Christmas/present trip to the West Coast of Vancouver Island to go storm watching. I paid for the hotel/ferry/food, etc. To be fair, he did drive, so there’s that. I also made him buy me lunch on the way back; he never would have volunteered so I simply told him this is what was going to happen. Yeah, I was being a bit bitchy, but I was also being taken advantage of by someone who chose to earn just barely above minimum wage because he wanted to be a ‘minimalist’.
If you’d seen his apartment, he was anything but. He was a hoarder and a bit of a jerk. Okay, he was a giant jerk and on New Year’s Eve ditched me with a cryptic text. I wasn’t even upset, just relieved. Moving on, then…
Despite getting dumped on the last day of 2014, I was really in a good place in my life and had all of my ducks in a row. I was in good shape for 49, I was debt free, and I was making some decent money in my job which I really liked. All in all, I was happy just being me. There were cool hobbies that kept me busy, I had my cat Zephyr (best kitty EVER), a really nice place to live and I was even saving money to buy my own condo.
Life was good! Then I met Brian, and nothing was the same ever again – but that’s another story that you’ll find in lots of older blog posts.
So – had I carried on and maybe not even dated…just hung out with me/myself and Z (the cat), where would I be today? I certainly wouldn’t have become a Life Coach because that had never crossed my mind; I didn’t even know what a Life Coach did and had never heard of it. You can cross out life counselling too and if you’d have told me that this would be something I’d love doing, I would have informed you that you’re very mistaken.
There is a lot of:
~maybe this would have happened…
~or perhaps I’d have met this kind of person …
~and what if I’d really buckled down and went into a whole new direction…what would that look like, today?
These are great questions and as I ponder them, the sky is really the limit. I had a plan, you see. Well, I sort of had a plan, but it was a good one! I was starting to write this sitcom about online dating. Brian and I worked on it a little bit, but I actually started it about half a year before and it had a great plot! It was also really funny. Think ‘Friends’ (but not roommates) with the twist of online dating. I had 7 people who were infinitely different but who’s lives intertwined in the most interesting way. All of them were single (some had previously dated or even been married) and all of them would hang out about once a week to talk about their dating woes. Online dating, of course.
These characters had dimension, real problems and challenges – heartbreak/ache and they were diverse in ethnicity and interests. It wasn’t just fluff and silliness.
I felt that I had a lot of experience in the dating department, and I had some great stories to tell that I could incorporate into my seriously awesome characters. I mean, nearly every single person alive in North America has had ‘some’ experience with online dating. I even signed up my elderly mother several years back! She’s off it now, but there she was on a senior dating site!
My point is: people could relate and there still isn’t anything out there like this. Please don’t steal it, I still may do this. 😉
I had also started two other manuscripts (both very different) and maybe, just maybe, I would have finished them. Now, I am under no delusion that anything would be worthy of publication and I have no idea how to pitch a sitcom, but at least if I finished any of them, it would be an adventure and an accomplishment.
Then there was photography. At that time, I was seriously thinking of taking a proper course. While I would never be a wedding photographer (I have no desire to take pictures of people) I was pretty good at other things. I still am and have recently put more effort into it.
On the other side of the coin – who would I have met? Pete wasn’t looking at that point (at least I don’t think so) so I could have ended up with someone completely different, long-term. I might have even married! I kind of am (common-law) but he has no desire to march down the aisle and share his last name with me. I’m okay with that.
The one constant that I truly believe would not have changed is my current 8-5 job. Regardless of meeting Brian or not, I’d definitely still be working for the organization I’m currently with. I’m doing exactly the same job as I was 6-years ago, just with a much (MUCH) better company for more $$ and nearly zero anxiety. I love my current job but the game plan into retirement would have looked radically different had I missed that opportunity on Match.com with one Mr. B. Caffelle.
The most important change I’d have missed out on is learning to be so much more empathetic and compassionate. It’s not like I wasn’t before, but I wasn’t ‘enough’ – if you know what I mean. When I read about someone dying by suicide, I didn’t even blink. I didn’t care. It had nothing to do with me so why should I give it a second thought? Mental illness? Yeah, so what? Again, at that time – not concerned. If it wasn’t present in my life, I didn’t think about it. I’ve changed that tune, drastically and my typically judgmental self isn’t so judgmental anymore. There is a lot more inner reflection and awareness. It’s ongoing; I’m far from perfect and need to still work on a many aspects of my life.
I also learned to love someone without asking for anything in return. Brian never told me that he loved me (oddly, on his last day on earth, I believe he tried to) or showed it, and he was always apologetic that he couldn’t return my feelings for him as he was convinced his heart still belonged to his ‘ex’ girlfriend. This made things very awkward for me; what does one do in this situation when a) you’re in LOVE and b) the person you’re in love with is planning on killing himself? Had I walked, would it have made things worse or better? I’ll never know. What I did know was that I simply couldn’t leave.
When we (his best friend and former wife and I) waited with him at the hospital to be checked in to the psychiatric assessment unit – he turned to me and, said:
“Well?! How do you like me know?!”
Quietly and shyly, I answered: “I love you.”
In the end, she, the ex-girlfriend – not the ex-wife, (yup it’s as complicated as it sounds) didn’t want anything to do with his heart or any other body part of his for that matter. In fact, after all of his efforts to meet up with her for what he said was to say a proper good-bye (but really secretly try to win her back) she cancelled on him and then sent him a very cold text to leave her alone and never contact her again.
Had she been interested; he’d have dumped my sorry (but cute) ass as quickly as he could have managed it. Probably in an email. And that, would have been that. If she’d still been with him today, he may very well be alive – but his suicide ideation went far beyond this woman so I’m certain that it would have surfaced again, just in another form and for a different reason.
I lost a bit of myself during that short affair and afterwards. I don’t think I’ll ever get it back. I used to be romantic in a sweet but authentic way. Don’t misunderstand. I do love the man I’m with, but I didn’t ‘fall in love’ with him. Ever. I just felt one day that I loved him. I somehow bypassed all of the infatuation/honeymoon fun part. And now, 5+ years into a common-law marriage, I can’t even begin to wonder where I’d go looking for it. That part of me seems to be frozen in the year 2015.
I do, however, feel…settled. That’s something I’ve never felt for long. I feel settled in my work, my love life and in my future. It’s peaceful for the most part. You can’t put a price on that.
For what it’s worth, I think had I never met him, I’d still be okay at this tender age of 55. I believe I would have figured my life out, either way. My path would have headed in a new direction, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – just a different thing.
Still, this trauma I carry with me wouldn’t exist, yet I would never have experienced the bliss of post traumatic growth, either. It’s really quite something to walk out of a raging fire only to find yourself a better human being.
It has been and continues to be a journey.
Next year, I’ll mark year 7. I don’t know if I’ll feel much different but maybe, I’ll be a little lighter in spirit, a little less sad and perhaps I’ll not miss him and all of the possibilities I’ll never know (including all the ones I’d have had if I’d never met him) as much.
I’m curious about the me I would have been, now, if my life had taken a different path without Brian, but it didn’t, and here I am.
Time to continue to move forward with the life I do have – including all of the terrible and beautiful post-suicide trauma that makes me everything that I now am. Each year I let a little more go. I feel a little less devastated and somewhat more grounded.
Time does heal. But not completely; if you look the scars are very much there, yet they start to fade after a while. I am not ‘over it’ but with it. What that means is: I’m choosing to live and move forward alongside this complex grief and trauma. It’s a part of me. It’s remade me into a softer, kinder and more aware, human being.
There’s no denying that 2020 has been one hell of a year. If the global pandemic and the US election didn’t give you reason to cringe and wish to move off planet, perhaps the murder hornets, Australian and California
wildfires, plane crashes, wars, earthquakes/floods/explosions/riots/senseless killings (need I go on?) did.
No matter how you look at the last 12-months, it was a hot mess and it’s not getting better any time, soon. We are still stuck in the middle of Global Trauma as the 2nd Wave of COVID-19 rampages across the globe. All in all, it’s not a good time for anyone, especially right before the Holiday Season.
However, help is on the way. There are several vaccines ready to roll out that are 90%+ effective and although it will take time and a massive undertaking like no other to get everyone willing – inoculated, it will get done. It could take most of next year, but it will be done.
2020 has changed us. It’s changed my family and friends and it’s changed me. It’s brought out the best and sometimes the worst in people; laid us bare, stripping us of all facades so that what you see, is now what you get. There is polarization – them and us. I feel, though, that this is temporary as we struggle to get our bearings, find our way through the darkness.
This, I feel, is what 2021 will help bring about. A coming together, a common ground, a rebuilding of values, ethics and wholeness. We’ve got a lot of work to do and there will always be opposers, yet I believe there will be, needs to be, unity so that we can return to thriving and not simply surviving.
So, how will you show up? Which fence are you sitting on, and when will you choose to hop off and join the teams? Team Humanity. Team Humility. Team Empathy. Mankind CAN do better. We MUST do better. 2020 has exposed so many of our flaws, our weaknesses and what a beautiful way to learn. To Grow.
Change starts with you. It starts with me. One by one, we can choose to be a little bit kinder, a little more giving and for-giving. We can be present, be there for one another, be the light.
Listening; I hear you.
Watching; I see you.
Loving; I embrace you.
I choose to show up, to engage, to facilitate – to help and to heal.
People. I’m going to try and explain this a little differently because I see there are still many of you out there who don’t get it. You’re taking this personally and you’re reading this message incorrectly. Firstly – unless your Black, it’s NOT About YOU.
Let that sink in a little while.
I’ll say this again, because it’s extremely important that you understand this. If you are NOT Black, this is NOT about YOU. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a positive impact and help make the world a better place for everyone.
I’m going to assume that you’re aware of the oppression of Black people, specifically in the US, that started ohhhhh… in and around the time that someone (a whole lot of white someone’s) decided it was an awesome idea to kidnap people from their country, force them onto ships, bring them to the New World and other places (which they stole from the locals that were already there for thousands of years…don’t get me started on THAT) and enslave them for profit. Let me be clear, these human beings were a commodity. Just like O&G or Steel or Wheat. Here are some fun facts to mull over.
Now. Taking that all into account, let’s break down this whole hashtag and try and understand just what it is. It’s many things, a campaign, an awakening, a revolution, a demand for change, a spotlight on what’s wrong with America (and Canada and the whole world), a massive movement…so many things.
If you think for one minute that people of colour have the same rights as us privileged white people, you couldn’t be more wrong. And we can’t even imagine it because we are treated completely differently. We have more rights, we aren’t targeted by police, we have never been enslaved. We are privileged. I – am privileged.
I’m not going to point you to all of the evidence simply because there is SO much that it’s overwhelming. Even with this Movement in full swing, terrible things continue to happen to Black Americans AND Canadians. Yes. It happens here, too.
Now, pay attention because this is where I’m going to take you on a little journey of perception and perspective.
There are a whole bunch of you who are jumping up and down, waving your arms about at the audacity of all of this because you feel that: All Lives Matter.
Of course, all lives matter. This was NEVER in question. EVER. Where did you get the idea that by focusing on a terrible injustice to others that this somehow undermines you? Who posted that because Black Lives Matter that somehow, other lives don’t?
Nobody did. Anywhere. Not once. Not ever.
You simply came to this conclusion because it wasn’t focused on you. Again. This isn’t about you. It’s about the oppression of black people and change that needs to happen. You can either be part of the solution or the problem. Which one will you choose?
Remember when Greenpeace launched the campaign: Save the Whales? This movement was launched in April of 1975 right in my own neighbourhood from the docks of Vancouver. If some of you were alive in 1975 (I was 9-years old at the time) you’ll know that there was no such thing as: the internet, the home computer, cell phones, social media (you get the point). But, if there was, imagine the impact (or non-impact) of this very worthy cause if a whole bunch of people started jumping up and down, flapping their arms about and started proclaiming: Save the Planet! Save the Elephants and Rhinos! Save the Amazon!! Save the…(insert whateveryouwanthere)!
If that had happened, all the focus on saving endangered whales would have been marginalized, minimized and soon it would be shuffled to the back of the line because the focus of this worthy cause would become ‘unfocused’ and lost in the swarm. Suddenly, Save the Whales would be insignificant.
This is what you do when you proclaim: All Lives Matter. You shove the whole Black Lives Matter Movement to the back of the line and out of sight where it does NOT belong. There is a spotlight on injustice, racism, intolerance, poverty, police brutality… STOP trying to snuff it out.
Shine a light on it, instead and by doing this, you still highlight that LIFE MATTERS. Your life, my life, every soul, every life, every day, every hour and minute…matters.
Don’t you get it? By lifting others up, you also stand tall. By bringing awareness to and doing what you can to change the state of the world so that Black lives shine, Black people have equal rights, you bring to light that (get ready for it) –
We. Are. All. The. Same.
We. Are. All. Connected.
Underneath our skin colour, all of our blood runs red.
We are all Homo Sapiens and change starts with one movement at a time.
Save the whales. Black lives matter. Save the Amazon. Save the rhinoceros.
Pick your cause but don’t take away from, distract or detract – from any one of them. They are all so important.
Some of you reading this may become a little uncomfortable. Others may be triggered by previous trauma. Please be careful and take care of yourself as this concerns a very delicate and difficult topic.
Something happened to me a very long time ago. When this ‘something’ happened, I was left feeling very confused. I did not know if I was supposed to be upset or cry…or be angry. I wasn’t even afraid when it was all over although I was pissed off during the episode.
The only feeling I could muster was confusion. What the HELL had just happened?
Up until recently, having this memory bubble to the surface while I do work on myself and learn about trauma (including sexual abuse and rape) in my counselling class – I’d forgotten about it. Afterall, it was more than 30-year ago. Then, when my perpetrator (and ex-husband) contacted me via Facebook completely out of the blue, the memory started to weigh on me like water-filled rubber boots. It was too hard to move forward and past this without talking about it.
I had never told anyone about it. Ever.
It was the late 1980’s. We were both college students and newly engaged. I think I was 20-years old at the time. He would have been 21. I remember we were in the bedroom of my rented apartment on Millstone Ave. It was the 1st place where I’d lived all by myself. No roommates, no rented room. A whole 1-bedroom place all to me.
We had started kissing – making out, the usual stuff we got up to. But something was different. For some reason, I had changed my mind. I can’t remember why I did or if I just wasn’t into full-on intercourse. Maybe I was tired. I really can’t recall the reason, but I DO know that at some point I said: “No.”
He didn’t take me seriously and thought I was teasing, that this was some sort of game. It wasn’t and I wasn’t, but I couldn’t convince him.
I got up and left the room, slipping away from him easily enough. I thought that this was the end of it, and he’d go home for the evening. He was still living with his parent.
It was not the end of it.
He followed me into the tiny living room or kitchen (I can’t recall exactly where it all started getting ridiculous and weird) and continued to insist on kissing me, trying to take off my clothes. I resisted and again, told him that NO – I wasn’t interested. Once more, he thought this was part of the game I was evidentially playing. I may as well have been having a conversation with the fridge because he wasn’t listening to anything I was saying.
Let it be noted that although I struggled and kept telling him that I wanted him to stop, I didn’t scream. I didn’t cry and I wasn’t hysterical or afraid. I just did NOT want to have sex. It was that simple. I was also angry that my wants and rights were being ignored.
Perhaps he thought this was some kind of kinky role play (although we’d never done that before), perhaps he thought it was all an elaborate game to turn him on. I don’t know because I never asked him.
In the end, in my attempt to get away, I ended up on the floor, scrambling back while he pulled my jeans off, along with his pants, and has his way with me against my wishes. I believe it hurt.
He didn’t hit me or yell. In fact, he was laughing the whole time, which makes me think he was completely clueless as to what he was doing.
What he was doing, was raping me.
Afterward I sat on the floor, feeling that weird surreal confusion, and thought: did I just get raped?!
I really wasn’t sure and in 1986, given that we were a couple and to be married, I very much doubt the law would have thought so. What was the point of saying anything? I really believe he didn’t know what he had just done. He was generally a sweet and gentle guy.
I thought about confronting him about it seeing as he wanted to send some things of mine that he’d held on to (for 30+ years) back to me. I doubt he’d remember the occasion. To him, it was all just fun and play.
Had he (or anyone) tried the same thing, today, it would have gone down much differently. Maybe if I’d shouted or become scared or really mad, he would have stopped. I don’t know.
Today things are very different and thank GOD for that. Rape has no grey areas. Consent MUST be given and NO MEANS NO. It doesn’t mean chase me around the apartment until I trip and fall while you grope me and then force yourself on me. It means FUCKING STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW.
Yes, you can ask someone to stop before and during sex. You have rights. You can change your mind any time you wish as it’s YOUR body and you get to decide what you want to be done to it.
No one else on the planet can do that for you. No. One.
I was young and rape wasn’t talked about. There was no internet; you couldn’t Google sexual consent. It wasn’t exactly taught in schools. I sometimes think I didn’t know any better and should have fought harder. Part of me wants to blame myself, even now, and find excuses for him.
But the harder I look, the less I find. There are no excuses. He should have known better. He should have stopped when I asked him to. He didn’t.
I want to say that it’s a little better with each passing year, and it is…but marginally. I still get taken aback by the rush of grief that spills into my daily routine, unannounced and unwelcomed.
The tears still sting and the ache in my heart really isn’t any less. It’s just less often. There are daily reminders of his existence on earth and in my life; I’m grateful for them and accept them with grace. He still is and always will be: the one that got away. Only his ‘away’ was pretty horrific.
I’ve built up my life around softness, empathy and understanding. Yes, I still have a wonderful (forever) man in my life. He’s not going anywhere and for that, I’m so, so, happy. He’s my rock and grounds me to this earth when my spirit wants nothing more than to fly away.
In a month, it will be THAT day. That terrible, horrid, worst-day-of-my-life, day – and, once again, it will all come crashing down around me. It’s okay; I always prepare. The lead-up, however, is easier, this year. I don’t go over old emails and texts from him, still looking for some clue that I should have known this would happen.
Thankfully, I’ve stopped that. It’s pointless, really. A little torturous, too.
I was so inexperienced with his mental illness, so new in our relationship, so in-love and so terrified. I don’t think there was anything different I could have done, given the tools (and lack of) that I had at the time. I simply didn’t know how or what to do – other than to do everything in my power to be there, be present, love him, do what I could to keep him safe and then…have faith that he’d stay.
He didn’t. But we all know our story didn’t end well.
I want to tell it. REALLY tell it; it’s quite a love story, after all. A tragic, messy, funny, sad – love story. I’m almost ready, but not quite.
I still miss him, and I know that we all do – all of us that he touched. There were many. I’m not the only one grieving and I know, out there, there are others. Others like us who understand the depths of suicide grief and it’s never ending dark and deep hole in our lives. It really feels like a part of you died with that person. And as you constantly struggle with trying to understand…
Somewhere in a gentle and loving stillness, there is forgiveness. Not just for them, but for us. For not being able to save them, for not being there, for being angry, for so many things, I’ve lost count.
Forgive yourself. You, who travel this road of sorrow, with me. You did all you could; they know that. HE knows that. A choice was made that wasn’t ours to make or judge.
My story has carried on, but I can still tell his in the best and most loving way that I can. We can still honour their lives here and in the Afterlife.
I’ve learned SO much and continue to grow with this experience. It will walk with me, until I walk into the light. I’ll always advocate for understanding and to end the stigma, the secrecy and the embarrassment. The finger-pointing, the judgement and the ignorance that comes attached to suicide – both for those who’ve taken their lives and for us who are still on Earth; it has to stop.
Let’s replace them with: Love, Compassion, Understanding, Openness, Communication & Kindness.
Are you one of those people whom others call -weird- ? Yeah? I am, too.
I grew up thinking I was weird, and for the 1st 23-years of my life, believed that the OBO’s I had when I was a child (out of body experiences) were nothing more than elaborate dreams that taunted me.
I was fascinated with extraterrestrials (I blame my dad for getting me hooked in Star Trek when I was three) and ghosts. Anything paranormal was interesting and wonderful. Faeries? I believed in them! Magic? Like, real magic (not silly card tricks) was alive and well in my world.
I could catch my mother’s thoughts and would often hear her calling me before she opened her mouth. Once I nearly walked into her as she excited her bedroom as I was walking in to find out what she wanted.
When I was older, I knew things before they’d happen. I think I saw my first psychic when I was in my early 20’s. I thought they were amazing! When they started telling me that I’d do what they do, one day, I couldn’t fathom it. Yet, here I am!
Maybe you didn’t start out being ‘weird’ but had some major trauma in your life that caused a shift. After that, you couldn’t look at the world the same; something was different about you and there was no going back.
Perhaps this trauma was so huge that you felt that you’d lost your way. All your coping mechanisms had run away screaming and you were left feeling empty, alone and frightened. The only constant in your life was change and either you accepted it and moved with it or life became a dark sea of pain.
Let’s hope it’s the former. I’ve been down both roads and change is inevitable albeit not a lot of fun. It’s much easier to jump on that Change Train than fight it. If you’re like me, somewhere in that fog, you started to awaken.
What I mean by that is things became clearer, little by little the lights came back on. Only, this time, they were brighter.
You started to think differently, and suddenly some of the people in your life didn’t fit in, anymore. That’s when new people magically appeared. People who thought like the new and different you. People you could relate to.
Whether you’ve always been a little odd or there was an event that tipped you over, weird is wonderful. Weird is beautiful and to be frank, normal isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. It’s a little dull.
The world is changing. WE are changing and we’re energetically growing and … becoming.
We’re becoming… WEIRD.
Wakeful and present in every moment.
Energetically connected to everything.
Intellectually and spiritually grounded.
Resonating in my greatest and highest good.
Dharma focused in vibrational harmony with my higher self.
If you’re like me, the moment you wake up in the morning, you start to think about all the things you have to do for the day. Sometimes, there’s worry. Worry about things that may or may not happen. Often our thoughts are rather negative.
I’ve been doing a little experiment.
Instead of thinking about all the things that could go wrong, I ask one question:
What’s the BEST thing that can happen today?
Then, I get all excited about all sorts of wonderful things that can happen, literally creating my reality with universal energy. It may sound all fluffy and woo-woo…but let me tell you something.
Not only have things magically appeared but they keep coming in! The key is to come at this from a place of fun and love. Not desperation or fear.
Have FUN with it! Think of it as a fun experiment that can’t fail as you’ve put zero expectation into it, yet you’re open to ALL possibilities.
Can you believe it? Nearly another year has passed. 2018 will soon, slide into 2019 in a silent hush, and humans will pause in the moment, then brace for another rally with themselves. Aren’t we a funny species? So much fear amid so much love for our very own. I hope I live to see the day when the realization sets in that we are all one; the differences we fight about are pointless and non-valid.
I think this will be the last Christmas for some in my life; notably my nearly 17-year old cat who has been battling renal failure for years. That’s going to be a hard one but a necessary one. No animal should suffer.
I also know that I have friends who are missing dear family members for the first time, this Christmas, and it’s hard to celebrate knowing they’re not on Earth with them. It’s painful and difficult, yet they smile and keep it together for everyone else. My heart goes out to you.
Christmas is a funny thing to me because I’m not religious. That said, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to celebrate with friends and family and GIVE. We need to focus more on those that we love, and we need to focus more on those that need our help.
Maybe everyday should be Christmas.
It’s been an interesting month, health-wise, for me, too. I’ve had sciatica, before, but NEVER this bad. I’ve been in near constant pain for almost a month. Although I’m amused that I’ve grown calluses on my hands from using a walker. Me! At 52, using a walker!! Don’t fret, it’s temporary and I’m so very grateful to my mother-in-law for letting me borrow it. Xo
I’ve had to postpone appointments with my Coaching clients and say no to others who have wanted to book Reiki sessions. I just can’t do it. At least, not at this time. For that, I’m sorry.
I’ve had friends wanting to visit and although they know I’m struggling to get around and get ready for Christmas, they’re offended when I tell them that I just can’t entertain at this point. For that, I’m truly sorry, as well. It’s not that I don’t care about you, it’s just too difficult to give you what I believe you should deserve – which is my very best hospitality and complete undivided attention.
There are times when you just can’t be there for others, as much as you’d like to because you need to be there for yourself. And, that’s okay.
So, let me be here, now. Let me tell you how dear you are to me and how I know you’re struggling, too. Let me tell you that you’re loved and that you matter. You matter to me and to so many others. This year will fade into the next and it’s up to you begin again. You have everything you need to move forward and design your life.
You’ve got this!
I believe in you. Please believe in yourself. Put yourself, first. Love yourself and heal. This time carve out a new path instead of the same one you’ve been tripping on.
Don’t wait for life to change. Be the change.
You’re creating your own experience, moment to moment. Let’s make those moments count!
Be present. Listen to your inner guidance. Take one step at a time. Know it’s okay to fail! Failing is the learning process to success. It’s your guidebook of ‘what not to do’ and how can you even know that if you don’t try and see what works and what doesn’t?
Learn from every Thing and every One.
Your life is yours to live, no one else’s. Your experiences are unique and oh-so-beautiful as they are only yours. Know you can create whatever you want and isn’t that incredible?!
Be the creator of your own destiny but also understand that if situations keep repeating themselves, it’s because you still have something of value to learn from them. Maybe spend some time on figuring that out. All of your questions can be answered from within.
Life is precious, confusing, painful and beautiful – all at the same time.
Be grateful for everything. Even the shitty stuff, in fact, especially the shitty stuff, because those are the lessons most worthy.
Remember I love you and all of you are never far away from my thoughts. You live in my heart, always.
Have a wonderful, beautiful, CRAZY and fun Christmas/Holiday!
Recently, someone close to me lost their job for the 2nd time in just under a year and a half. As you can imagine, this is devastating, and he feels like he is a complete failure; his self-worth stock suddenly took a nose dive and there he was, just another worthless piece of garbage tossed to the side of the curb. All of the hard work he’d put in, 60+ hour weeks, not taking vacation and doing everything that he could to be all that was asked of him, now meant nothing.
To make matters worse, he didn’t see it coming. The circumstances didn’t make sense. Just a few months, prior, he’d had his one-year review, and all was well, in fact, he got a nice raise! There were no indicators that something had gone awry. It was shocking, and the reasons given didn’t add up.
This is just one example of having our power taken away.
When we are let go from our jobs, whatever the reason, there is a deflation of positive energy and an inflation of negative energy such as anxiety; you’ve just been tossed into a black hole of: WTF just happened?! Suddenly our livelihood is in jeopardy, our sense of self and worthiness is now in question. Worse, we often feel we’ve let those that depend on us, down.
Negative emotions will surround someone who’s power is yanked from them, no matter what the circumstance. In this case, this person was powerLESS to do anything about it. There are huge waves of grief, anger, confusion that they’re riding on. There is depression, sadness, (there is a difference) guilt and denial. All of these are completely normal.
At some point, there will eventually be acceptance and ultimately surrender. The damage is done but soon, the healing will begin.
When someone or a circumstance takes your power, the most important thing to remember is: You can and will get it back. The fastest way to do this is to stop denying all of the uncomfortable emotions that bubble up and first, acknowledge them, and then work with and through them.
Denial gets you nowhere. Shoving your pain away is like trying to constantly keep a massive beachball, underwater. The damn thing keeps popping up and smacking you in the face and the farther you push the ball under, the more energy it creates so that when it pops up, it has a greater force and intensity. As well, there are usually several beachballs at once, each a different colour with a different emotion attached to it.
When this happens, stop shoving them down, pick one up and look at it. What do you see? Is it guilt? Let’s work through that. Remember you’re not alone, you’ve got people who care about you and will listen. You’ll need to express yourself, talk about why you’re feeling guilty. Reach out to your partner or friend, family or clergy – whomever you can. If you’re feeling there is no one, there are numbers you can call to talk to someone at no charge. There is no judgment. Here is a number you can text or call 24/7 1-877-870-4673.
The same is true for all of the beachballs/emotions. You’ll be angry, so BE ANGRY!! You have every right to be! BE sad, it’s good to cry and cleanse. Take responsibility for what you did or didn’t do but don’t accept blame for something that had nothing to do with you.
BE. Be kind to yourself, take it gently through the first few days. You can and will get back up on that horse. Little by little, you’ll feel you’re back in the driver’s seat. Take action and take stalk of everything that you DO have. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human – just like the rest of us.
Many will tell you that the “why’s” don’t matter and you should just let it go. I disagree. When you’ve gotten your power back and feel you’re ready to move on, you’ll realize that the outcome would have been the same, no matter what. But, in the moment, when it’s fresh, you’ll want to understand what happened and I’m going to say most of the time, the situation won’t make sense.
Knowing what went wrong will bring you a little peace. However, I caution you; you may never fully know. You’ll want to hash it out, ad nauseam, and that’s okay. Remember, express yourself. Talk about it, write about it, get it out and into the open so it’s not stuck, inside, and all bottled up. You’re liable to burst like a soda pop on an automatic paint mixer, if you don’t let yourself vent and explore the situation from every angle.
Once you’ve reasoned things out and realize you’re not such a terrible person (assuming you actually didn’t do something terrible) you’ll feel better, increasing your energy and voila, you’re starting to get back into your own Power.
When someone or a situation takes you out of your power, it can feel like you’ve lost part of yourself. Know it’s not forever and it takes a little time and self-care to get it back.
It’s been a while since I’ve had the energy to write a blog post and I thought the reasons why (anxiety/stress/fear/grief) would be a good topic, and how we need to look after ourselves during difficult times.
Maybe you’re one of those people; you know, that person whom everyone else relies upon. The Dependable One. Is this sounding familiar? You are that individual that people turn to when times are tough. Maybe someone has lost a family member, or your neighbour was in an accident and they need your help. Perhaps you have a good friend whose life is full of frustration, and they need someone to really hear and see them. That someone just happens to be YOU.
The thing is, you’re probably going through your own stuff. Maybe you have people in your life that you care about that have addictions. Perhaps there’s an ill family member or your job is dragging you down. It could be a number of issues and situations that cause feelings such as anxiety/stress/fear/grief, or even, anger/depression/hopelessness. All you need to do is pick one.
Thus, along with being there for everyone else, you are dealing with your own shit, too.
This can be difficult because you may not be the kind of person who feels comfortable reaching out for help, for yourself. You may not post about all of your ‘stuff’ on social media. In fact, you could be really quiet about what’s going on in your own life, only sharing with a select few…so not many really know that you’re suffering, too.
During these times, self-care is imperative. Let’s call it emotional health rather than mental health. I don’t really like the term coined by science: mental health as opposed to physical health, because it implies that our brain is separate from our physical bodies. It is not. However, our emotions/feelings are intangible results of situations and, ultimately, our experiences.
We could get into quite the lengthy debate over whether our experiences are stored in our brain, our heart, or our soul. I think all are true. That said, we can’t exactly examine an emotion, touch it, feel it, measure it, in the same we can a physical body part. It’s an invisible energy/force that has a ripple-effect on everything.
So, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of my point. During stressful times where there are elements beyond your control that cause upset, one needs to slow it down and take a little care of both our physical body and emotional wellbeing.
Yet, so few take the time to do this. We’re all caught up in a race to some finish line (possibly death) and not many make time to simply BE STILL and allow emotions to settle down, so we can better serve ourselves. If we can’t serve ourselves, we certainly can’t serve others.
How many times have you heard this phrase uttered by breathless, stressed-out and angry people when told to slow down: “I’ll slow down/sleep when I’m dead!”
People, I have news for you; life doesn’t end when your body is dead and there is no slowing down or sleeping in the Afterlife. But, that’s another blog post so let’s carry on with the presenting theme of this one.
Are you still with me?
Make. Time. For. Your. Self. That is all that is required. Whether it’s meditation, physical exercise, reading a good book or simply going for a walk, in nature – all of it will help you cope.
Take care of your feelings. Let’s dig a little deeper into that sentence.
Caring for your feelings. This would indicate that you have to acknowledge that you’re having some that are causing you problems, in the first place. Then, you have to figure out which one/s they are, and finally why/what is the underlying cause AND (last but not least), care about them.
Drilling down and taking a deep dive into ourselves can be a bit foreboding but once you’ve identified what’s happening, you can move forward with a plan to create a better environment for you to heal and, ultimately, feel better.
Does that make sense?
There are tons of posts about self-care, out there, and I don’t want to get into self-indulgence because this isn’t what I’m writing about. More to the point, I’m writing about holding space for yourself before you hold space for someone else. If we’re not at our best with our own body and spirit, we can’t be our best for someone else’s.
It’s okay to say: No.
Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s simply respecting your own space and creating boundaries. There will be times when you’re overloaded while dealing with your own personal life, that you simply can’t deal with another’s. That’s okay. No one will blame you and if they do, that’s their issue. Let them go; you don’t want these types of people in your life, anyway. They’re draining, and they’ll suck the life out of you.
Creating boundaries doesn’t make you selfish. You’re not a narcissist if you’re giving yourself some consideration, once in a while, instead of always putting everyone else, first.
It doesn’t mean you have to give a play-by-play on Facebook about how/what you’re doing for your self-care. In fact, during this time, I recommend that you stay away from things like Social Media, entirely. There’s a lot of BS on there that we can get all caught up in and let me tell you: things are not always what they seem.
So, what are you going to do to take care of your emotional health? When are you going to start putting up a few boundaries and say no, once in a while, to allow yourself to move through your own stuff?
At what point will you discover you’ve got so little energy that it’s time to S L O W down and make room for some healing?
I’d say the time is now. In this very moment. Just do it. Start the process and watch yourself become a better, healthier/stronger, you.