Hope

Hope is the ship that sails even when the rain, wind, and storm turn fierce. Hope is a guiding light, but it’s up to us to keep it lit. Find it inside yourself to believe that a delay isn’t defeat, but a redirection. Redirection has a purpose even when the purpose isn’t clear in the moment. Sail the ship even when the shore is at a distance and remember growth and empowerment come outside of your comfort zone.

August 2

On this day, I give thanks and am so cheerful thinking back on the wonderful Mom I was granted. On this day, she entered her heavenly home way too soon, but her time on earth was so plentiful and continues to be as we carry her in our hearts. Roberta Elsie left her mark on many. An imprint that was everlasting with her loving, kind, understanding, honest, fun, down to earth spirit and so much more.

A good friend once told me when in doubt think about it, “what would Bert do?” Bert, never needed the spotlight, she worked hard and when in her presence you were met with joy and realism. She spoke the truth fairly, honestly and respectfully. Impeccably organized and impeccable with her word. Roberta could always be trusted and even if she was annoyed, you would never know, well maybe, sometimes I knew because she would say, ha “I need you to stop talking for just 5 minutes.” She never raised her voice in anger, but instead would tell you exactly how she felt and she was always right, sometimes so much so!

Bert, I’m grateful for August 2 because it reminds me of you and always leaves me with,”what would Bert do?” The answer that lingers is…. it is what it is and do the best you can and have faith everything works out for the best. We can’t control everything and everything happens for a reason. Don’t waste your time worrying, but do what you can and move on.

To live

Someone once said to me “you like to work; you work hard, you volunteer…you like hard work.” Then, I really thought about it; one of the biggest lessons the death of my Mom from unexpected cancer taught me is to live. To live. To live and experience life. Experience life, but don’t let the experience get the best of you. We as humans will die someday, it’s a fact. How we die, God has our plan in the palm of his hand, us in the palm of his hand. I choose to work hard at living, doing the best I can, enjoying life and realizing death will come, come unexpectedly whether we want it too or not. Be positive because God, the Universe is listening and you have too much living to be wasted being negative. Work hard at living, put your worry into faith and enjoy the experience.

Notice

I notice so much more now that you are not here Mom. You taught us all so well. Through the roller coaster of grief, you are bringing me down, down to Earth and noticing it all. Life is a journey and unfortunately after you passed it certainly was painful and yes, now there are times I wish you were here, but smile knowing you are proud and happy as you are with us. Now, I appreciate everything so much more, the smell of laundry, taking the time to enjoy the melted butter on my gluten free bagel, smell of rain and traffic, yes traffic  because it’s a time of peace among chaos. More importantly,  I have given up and given into controlling the uncontrollable and controlling the only thing I can, my attitude and perspective.  As you would say, you are only hurting yourself by getting upset, make the choice and take the chance to make it better, do what you have to and don’t feel bad, but do what’s right.
I get it! Stop worrying. Sometimes, I do just stop and think of you and think to myself, one day, you had no idea you had cancer and the next your whole life changed when you heard the words you have cancer. It is what it is, as you would say, even though I thought you were just saying that to make us all feel better. You meant it. You lived it  You meant it, because you continued to go on; working, when your hair started to fall out, you wore your hat and smile well as you greeted clients who were just so happy to see you in your office. All the meanwhile, you had cancer! You had cancer, you had no time to worry about the copy machine jamming, traffic, pleasing anyone, but you had cancer and you did all you could, controlled the controllables; your attitude and perspective.  It is what it is, worrying and getting upset  will never  help or solve anything. Control the controllables.  People often tell me, you are a blessing, for that I am grateful. You were and are our blessing, your cancer and death were the worst and greatest  blessing, you were a blessing to many and your cancer journey and the way you lived it, I can truly say now was a blessing.  Thank you for teaching all of us to control the controllables; attitude and perspective and truly appreciate all we have because life can certainly change quickly. Thank you. 

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Let your pain be your teacher.

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I’ve learned in time everyone’s story of grief and loss is so different. Everyone’s journey through grief is so unique, but even though the path we all take varies,  a loss is a heartache that runs deep and never quite heals but in time mends. The pain of losing my Mom to Non Hodgkins Lymphoma has been one of my best teachers, who knew, I would be thankful for death and cancer, in time and on my journey, I am now thankful because it has proven to be my best teacher.  My Mom was a person who was a thoughtful straight shooter that always had compassion in getting the point across, a true gem whose joyful spirit radiated when she walked into a room. I think I received one of the best compliments last week and I owe it to my Mom and family, someone said, “you are always so thoughtful and always have very good points.” Thanks Bert! I am thankful to my family, Mom, loss and grief, here are a few lessons that have kept me better not bitter.

1. Sing and don’t take yourself serious! My Mom would sing in the morning when my sister and I were little getting ready for school, “Rise and shine, give God your glory, glory. Rise and shine and give God your glory, glory, children of the Lord.” Bob, Bob, Bob, BarbaraAnn, BarbaraAnn, went to the dance, looking for romance, saw BarbaraAnn so I thought I’d take a chance, BarbaraAnn. She sang and you could feel her joy! She had dun nicknames for people and things, you could feel her love! Keep it fun.

2. If you made the commitment, then keep it, it’s the right thing to do. This is a value I honor in others and guess what she’s right, I find the people who do are good people and it speaks volumes.

3. You allow people to treat you the way they do, you teach them how to treat you. Thanks Mom, she could pick out the truth and just made you feel better, but you left her better. She is so right, I place value on this now, so much more than I did in the past and it really has helped me to see the true beauty in people and what needs to stop. You can’t change people, embrace them, don’t take it personal or move on if you don’t feel respected. Respect yourself, you are important.

4. Your time is important too, people need boundaries. Years ago, Oprah coined the term “disease to please” I believe, I may have had that disease, but happy to say I am finally cured!!!! Everyone is important, their time, their job, but  you need to put value on your own and speak your truth with grace. And, nothing is that important!

5. Don’t take things personally, you never know someone’s situation. Try to be understanding and don’t feel bad you might not be able to help them. You can’t do everything.

6. It’s not always what you say, but how you say it.

7. Sometimes you need deer reflectors. I never knew if the plastic deer reflectors on the front of my car worked, but when I looked at them I felt loved. Thanks Mom!  Celebrate, little things, bringing people together, including others, valuing yourself.

8. It’s not about being front and center. My Mom didn’t need attention, she did thoughtful things for people because she wanted too. Do it because you want too, not because you need recognition, people will see in time.

9. You can’t complain, if you are not going to speak up, but be careful how you say it. Appreciate what you have, but get the point across.

10. Sometimes it’s ok to eat McDonald’s for dinner!

Better not bitter, use your grief and loss as your guide and know your loved one wants you better not bitter!