Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Darren

Four years ago when I started writing, Brigette told me I had to get on social media. I didn’t even know what a blog was. I had no Facebook page. Twitter. LinkedIn. Yikes! I’m still not up on everything and I’m sure I don’t use them as effectively as I could. One of the coolest results of that though, is being in touch with people I would probably never have been otherwise.

One day a couple of years ago, I got a notice from Darren. He wondered if I was the Darcy Thiel that was his roller skating girlfriend from seventh grade. I immediately remembered his name and that whole time period came rushing back. We used to ride our bikes to meet each other because we didn’t go to the same school.

That was about thirty years ago. We had a brief relationship (under six months I think) and then no contact for thirty years. Slowly, our contact began to increase. It was absolutely amazing that after all that time, our friendship picked right up like we hadn’t skipped a beat.

He’s on the West Coast now, married with almost grown kids. Every once in a while, I have a moment of feeling completely baffled by something. I have lots of close, intimate friends. Some of them know me extremely well, and almost all of them are supportive and loving to me. Sometimes though, I just think in some situations, no one completely understands what I am saying. Then I remember Darren.

He does monumental things for my self-esteem. It appears that he and I are emotionally wired in almost the same way. He has achieved a different kind of insight than I have, and seems so very, very wise. He truly believes, without an arrogant bone in his body, that we have a wildly intense, but insanely deep emotional connection to ourselves. (Jeeze, I hope I am being accurate. If I misquote you Darren, forgive me!) While this is a massive gift, it also leads to incredible loneliness at times because so few people relate on the same level.

This intensity has always felt to me like a blessing and a curse. But when I talk to Darren, I feel so incredibly special. It feels so much more like a rare gift than when I am left to my own inward devices. He will tell me that he admires my tenacity, especially when it comes to the dating world. He assures me when I am pounding my head on the wall in confusion, that I have articulated my feelings, needs, desires, (whatever!) in a completely sensible, accurate, clear manner. It is just the listener who is a bit handicapped to catch what it is because of their own level of self-understanding.

One time he recently told me that I have a rare ability to feel intensely, but manage to keep things compartmentalized and in order. Whether it is familial relationships, sex, friendships… I am able to separate layers and levels and know what they are about for me.

None of that, of course, changes our inability to connect sometimes with others. But at least, for a few moments, we have connection with each other.

Now don’t get me wrong. I still have moments where I think that maybe he and I are just both neurotic and crazy and have concocted all this nonsense to feel better about ourselves. Even if that’s true, I can accept that…LOL.

But it explains so much. It explains how I can be effective as a counselor, even when I am falling apart in other areas of my life. It explains how I can be crying in the parking lot and then walk into a venue and give a moving lecture like the professional I am. It explains how I can be heartbroken over some guy that I haven’t even known that long. It explains how I can be so heartbroken but get back on the horse and try again a few hours later. All of it is genuine and 100% me, but I move in and out as I need to.

Anyhow, thank you, my friend. I appreciate you (and all your many parts) more than I can express in words. Your faith in me always rescues me in my weakest moments. Someday, I hope I can return the immeasurable favors.

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The Limits of Unconditional Love

I believe true, pure unconditional love is only capable from God. I think the closest we come to that as humans is the love a parent has for their child. I also think we can try to sift through what true love is (there is the tough love variety and other sorts) and give it our best shot to love as perfectly as we can through our incredibly imperfect selves.

I remember a big aha moment in family therapy. We were having struggles with Matthew who was then in high school. The very painful time came when our counselor talked to Tim about whether or not he should continue to live with us. I remember looking at Scott completely befuddled. I was a counselor too and I knew better, but I just couldn’t see it in my own life. I really thought if I could just love Matthew like my own child, give him that constancy he desperately needed, stability, etc. etc. etc., that he would come around. He didn’t though. He just didn’t. Scott looked at me with compassion and just said that life and people don’t follow a formula. No matter what we do, sometimes people just don’t respond the way we think they should. I knew that in my head, but I was still devastated in my heart. I tried so hard to be a the best mom I could, but it wasn’t enough back then. It just wasn’t where Matthew was. That brings me back to the God-thing. We still have free will. So unconditional love comes with no guarantees.

Thanks to the gender-fluid movement, referring to a person as a “they” is now considered grammatically correct even though it is a plural form used for a singular person. I like it though, because now I can write without defining a gender which helps protect anonymity. Sorry for the sidebar.

I’ve learned a lot in the last few years about sticking up for myself and not being a doormat. I learned that from a lot of sources, but one person in particular had a great influence of me. They are pretty rough around the edges, but with time I did a pretty good job of accepting them the way they were. Whenever they hurt me, I told them so I didn’t repeat the doormat pattern. But I always forgave and I continued to love. I had always hoped they would learn from me as well. Maybe they would soften a bit, learn to be a tiny bit less selfish. Maybe try to care a little for someone other than themselves. I hoped it, and I know their friends did too.

Sometimes though, the opposite happens. Loving like that can create something else that is NOT good – that of just being taken for granted. Even though I showed my friendship in numerable ways with little in return, all it did was allowed that person to take me for granted. And instead of being a little bit better as I grew tougher, they actually sank even lower. They became even more selfish and hurt me even worse. I can write about this because they told me they don’t read my blog because they just have no interest in the topics I choose. It doesn’t matter that I am one of their best friends and I write about what is important to me. That is of no consequence to them because I am not of consequence to them.

The other side effect of learning to stand up for myself, is being introduced to the concept of revenge. It was not something I visited often in my life. It was not usually a struggle. I guess in truth, it still isn’t in the sense that I don’t struggle to not act on it. But I am surprised by my thoughts. I think about wanting to hurt the people who have hurt me. I think about it often with my neighbors who continue to draw out the incident from last year and keep hurting us in spite of our lack of retaliation.

And I think about my friend and how they have hurt me. I can think of a million ways they could hurt. If they could hurt just a tenth of how much they hurt me, I would be satisfied. But then I hit the brick wall and remember that people like them can’t even be hurt. They would have to care in order to hurt. And some people truly don’t give a shit about anyone else.

The crazy thing is, I left the friendship in their court. I said if they could show me respect I would still hang in there. The response was a confident yes, they want my friendship. And then they disappeared. Anyone who knows me, knows ignoring me is one of the deepest cuts for me.

I know the answer I will eventually get to, is that I choose to love because it is who I am. I don’t do it for the reciprocation. But right now, the well is dry. I’m exhausted from caring for others so deeply and having it get me nowhere but more hurt and rejection. Shame on me, right? I will get there, I always bounce back. Because it spite of learning to defend myself, I am still at my core, NOT an asshole. I am NOT selfish. So I will find hope again. But going through the dark road to get there? It sucks beyond description. SUCKS.


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Carly

Most of you may not know that I went to a very conservative Bible college for my Bachelor’s Degree. I got an MA in International Ministries. Anyhow, I am still very much in touch with my first roommate, Carly. With cell phones, there are no longer long-distance charges so we talk several times a week. She lives in Indianapolis.

Carly home schools and also works from home when she can. For a while, she was an editor for a publishing company. That fit in great when I decided to write my books and open the publishing company. With the ease of the internet, she was able to edit both books from home, as well as the other three books the company got out. During the time that Tim was sick, she followed our blog faithfully but also sent us private emails. That meant she never actually got in the books because the entries all came from Caring Bridge. She is now a faithful follower of my blog. She joked a couple of weeks ago that maybe someday she will “make the blog.” Well, here you are Carly. A blog about you.

When I think about my relationship with her, I actually have to cringe. Not because of her, but because of me. I was well-intentioned, but nevertheless I was still a nightmare of sorts in college. I was in my genuine yet holier-than-thou phase. I truly tried to be the best Christian I could, but I remember someone on our floor saying that I talked like I had swallowed a Bible.

I played floor hockey and Carly could always tells when she got off the elevator because the whole floor would smell like Ben-Gay. I got injured more than once. One time I sprained my knee and had crutches. Another time my finger got whacked and my nail turned black. We had to drill a hole in the nail to let the blood out. But we were the champs. For those of you that know how NOT athletic I am, you would have been proud.

Moody Bible Institute- 10 N Hockey champs- Ellen, Darcy, Nancy

Moody Bible Institute- 10 N Hockey champs- Ellen, Darcy, Nancy

One of the most memorable times, was when I fell asleep on the top of the roof. We were on the tenth floor (the school was in Chicago) and it was a cloudy day. I ended up dozing off and got one of the worst sun burns I’ve ever had in my life. It was awful. Carly and the other girls on my floor took turns putting tea bags and cool cloths on my skin for hours. We had a dress code and I had to wear dresses to class. I didn’t wear a bra or underwear til I got better, which in a Bible school was of course scandalous.

One day I didn’t come home when Carly was expecting me. I remember walking in the room and her saying, “Where the hell have you been?” Now that may sound normal to you, but in a Bible college, that was even more scandalous. It was downright shocking. I remember being stunned. She said hell! My how time can change things. Here we are a couple of decades later and I’m praying more than usual. My prayer is that I don’t drop my usual F-bombs while she is here. She would love me regardless, but I don’t want to unnecessarily offend her. LOL!

I did a skit one time and was supposed to look like a punk rocker. You can only imagine the looks I got walking around that conservative campus looking like that. This is Carly and I after that lovely event.

Darcy, Janet Pollard-Carr

Darcy, Janet Pollard-Carr

Here is a real cringe moment. Back then, even though I wanted to be a missionary, I also had visions of being a counselor. I have totally forgotten this, but when Carly reminds me (as we giggle) I have to admit that it sounds exactly like something I would have said. I used to tell her on no uncertain terms that she unconsciously hated her father. I just knew she had unresolved issues with him and she needed therapy to deal with her hatred. Yikes. I shiver when I think of my audacity, and frankly my complete wrongness. Her dad is a delightful British guy with an accent that will melt your heart. She recently almost lost him but thankfully he is on the road to recovery.

Life sure has a way of changing things and humbling you. And sometimes, rare people like Carly just love you through all the phases and changes in spite of yourself. She arrived last night and we went to Applebee’s for a late night dinner. We both got the chicken pecan-crusted salads. Aren’t we well-behaved? The first thing I did was spill the entire container of dressing on the table. It was oily and messy and not easy to clean up. We had our waitress come over and clean it. I told her Carly was the one who had just driven all day but I was the one who was the clutz. She had to bring over spray to clean it so I had to hold the salad up so it didn’t get sprayed on. We laughed. And then before she could gather her things to leave, Carly spilled her entire cup of dressing on the table. Thank God our waitress had a sense of humor. We laughed so hard I’m sure we turned some heads. And of course, not a drop of alcohol passed our lips.

I can’t remember if I slipped out an F-bomb but I’m sure some curse word fell out. Carly just laughed. So glad she is here, even if briefly. Old friends, dear friends. Love you Carly!


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Men

Well, I am starting to come to terms with the possibility of remaining single. I don’t know the future of course, but I am trying to see the glass half full part. I’ve always been aware of the half empty part when it comes to not having a partner, but sometimes I can see that it might be easier to remain alone.

I have blogged often about some of the trials and tribulations of dating. My second book has a chapter dedicated to dating. I have often said that men have no special link to craziness. I talk to men all the time that have equally crazy stories about women. My experience is with dating men of course, so I thought for a change I would write about some truly GREAT thoughts about men. (No, that is not written with sarcasm.)

The old Girl Scout song says, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” At my age, more and more of my friends are silver… or else bald.

Anyhow, John is my newest friend. I borrowed his cowboy hat at Karaoke one night and now here we are. John and I are friends, and one of the nicest things is that we are not dating so I can say he does all these lovely things just because he is a good guy and for no other reason. He has been off work so he claims he is bored and needs things to do. I suspect, though, that he would help me anyway. Last weekend, he picked me up on Friday night and took me to dinner. My dad had been in the hospital overnight and I was exhausted and stressed out. He got me just to “get me out of the house” which was exactly what I needed. On Sunday, he brought lunch for me as well as Colin and Frankie. They were boneless barbecue pork chops and they were yummy. Then he helped me in my yard for several hours. I got so many tasks done on my daunting list and that was incredible. After that? He let me drive his sleek Corvette and we got the largest peanut butter ice cream sundae I have ever seen. You rock, John! Oh, that’s right. I’m not done. On Monday, he still had some time so he brought me lunch AGAIN and helped me several more hours. Thank you, my friend! I do hope when you are in need, you will let me return your kindness.

And then there is Richard. We dated briefly last year. His work is seasonal, but he is still available when he is working. Right now, he is not working as much so again, he never seems to not be around for emotional support. I could call him at 3:00 AM and he would answer. We talk for hours sometimes. I listen to him as well, but usually I feel like he listens to me with the patience of a saint. He never gets overwhelmed by me or my life, and has wise advice to offer. He has a new girlfriend now and I am very happy for him. He has become a dear friend and a true emotional support.

I’ve blogged about Mike several times. You may not have known it because I didn’t always name him, but I’ve written about him. We have dated on and off for a couple of years. Now we have settled into a deep friendship. We would both say like best friends most of the time. We are polar opposites in many, many ways but I have managed to learn a tremendous amount from him. One of the biggest things is his encouragement to take care of myself. He has helped me have better boundaries in my life. He has helped me to learn not to be taken advantage of so much. I have learned to own my anger. Things can get a little feisty with him as you can imagine, but he is usually the first person I think to call when almost anything happens in my life. He has been a great companion, too. He lives nearby so we often walk Taffy together, or get groceries, run errands, etc.. He also makes me laugh my ass off. You know I love you to pieces, Michael!

Mark is the one I have known the longest. He and I dated on and off for about 18 months. Now? Well, I can best describe him by saying he is a true and loyal brother. Mark has a kind and gentle spirit. He is as dependable as the sun rising. He has his own timetable, but he always gets there. He is the graphic artist for Baby Coop Publishing. And he is the main handyman around my house. He shoveled snow off my roof with me during Snowvember last year. He has done about a thousand projects on my house. I have inherited his family as well. His parents look at Frankie like one of their own grandchildren. His sister and brother-in-law are dear friends of mine. I still share lots of holidays with all of them. He is family. Simple as that.

Mark is the one that said this is how relationships are supposed to be. We tried a dating relationship but that didn’t work out. That doesn’t mean you don’t care about each other anymore. I may not have found a life partner, but I have some very wonderful men in my life. Too many times, break-ups are ugly and contentious. I’ve had plenty of those too, but I wouldn’t trade these guys for anything. Single isn’t entirely horrible…


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Plodding Along

They say that the most-read blogs have catchy how-to titles. I have to laugh because the older I get, the less and less I feel like I know “how-to” do much of anything. Maybe I could write one entitled, “How to have no brilliant earth-changing ideas” or something like that.

My schedule is usually over the top. I’ve probably blogged about it a few times. Last week I spent some quality time talking with my peers, friends, and counselor about it. A couple of themes emerged so I’m pretty good at figuring out it’s time to listen to the message when it gets repeated in my life. Over the weekend I spent a pretty large chunk of time conceiving and implementing a new scheduling system. I knew it wouldn’t make me more efficient necessarily. I’m already the efficiency queen. But I was hoping that it would help me be less exhausted at the end of the day.

It wasn’t terribly hard to implement. It was just a re-shifting of ideas and priorities, not a massive lifestyle change. Almost a week in, I’m sorry to say it was a dismal failure. It hasn’t made my life harder. It hasn’t made me less efficient. It just plain didn’t make a difference.

I’ve been so excited (and frankly, shocked) that I’ve been off anti-depressants. Acupuncture has really made an impact. I think that is why I’ve been telling myself so adamantly that I’m just having a bad day. I didn’t want the wave to crash. The end of last week, my acupuncture doc and I decided that perhaps I needed two sessions this week, even though we had made the encouraging decision to go down to one treatment a week.

Yesterday I went in for my second appointment this week. I was laying on the table waiting for her and it started to happen. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hide it. I couldn’t hide it from myself, and I couldn’t hide it from her. She walked in the room and asked me how I was doing. Then it happened. I just started crying. Not sobbing or anything worthy of a good drama film. The tears just fell down my cheeks. I was overwhelmed. In spite of my best efforts, my life was getting the better of me again.

She poked me up good and then told me she left me on the table an extra long time. Kind of made me laugh. Ya think? I laid there and was unable to sleep, but the stress did start to lessen. I started thinking a bunch of different things. In her cute and simplistic way, the doc said I just have too much to do. She also said I need a vacation. I reminded her that I was ready for the cruise that she and I have been talking about anytime she was ready. She said I need more days to myself. Yep.

I started thinking about a simple but wise statement a friend made to me recently after I had described my grand plan to reschedule my life over the weekend. I wanted to pop him in the nose, but I knew he was right. He said ever-so-gently that no matter how you slice up a hundred things to do, you are still left with a hundred things to do.

I also started thinking about some of the gifts that had come my way over the week. I hadn’t ignored them. I was deeply grateful for them when they happened, but I need to post them in my eyelids.

1- a client brought me in a beautiful framed Wizard of Oz picture for my office wall. The occasion? She said there was none, but she was thinking about how special I am and she thought she should do something special for me. AWESOME.

2- a student emailed me after our three hour class and said it was the best supervision she had ever had and that I had a gift. MELTED ME.

3- after a conversation about my struggles with diet and weight (which have been lifelong, by the way), a friend texted me and said I was beautiful, inside and out. HIT A RAW NERVE.

When the timer went off and the needles were removed, I still had the same 100 things to do. But I had stopped crying. I was breathing easier. I still am overwhelmed. But I’m trying to remember the gifts I have. And I’m trying to remember that when I can’t possibly waste a second with all I have to do, that it might be time to invest a minute or two to close my eyes and relax. I just don’t have to poke a bunch of needles in my head. (The doc didn’t have to say, “Don’t try this at home.” I actually know better without being told!)

Keep hanging in there. I will if you will. There will always be circumstances and people who will want more from you than you can give. There will always be those who look at you and not realize that one small thing they want from you is the straw that might break your strong camel back. But it’s okay. There are also people who love and encourage you. And it helps to focus on those moments.

Here’s to plodding along. Forward, backward, and hopefully forward a few more. Blessings!


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A Day in My Life…

On Monday, I noticed an odd spot on my breast. Looked like a bruise, but then not quite. I went to my friend’s house who is a breast cancer survivor and asked if I could show her. (I can’t imagine men being comfortable showing each other a concern- ha ha!) She thought it was strange but was more concerned whether there was a lump. We were both unhappy to discover there was a very distinct lump. She told me a few reasons why it probably wasn’t anything serious, but I definitely should call the doctor in the morning. The rest of the day it was in the back of my mind (of course), but I managed to keep it at bay knowing it was probably not serious.

Tuesday morning, I called the doctor first thing. They fit me in early afternoon. I had my usual full day ahead of me so the first couple of hours I just pushed along. Then I went in the hot tub to try to relax a bit before my clients started coming. I started to get that panicky feeling and my breathing was getting choppy. I talked to dear Summer, knowing she would give me a rational smack in the head and I would be fine. Instead, the flood gates opened. I was scared. Really, really scared. She offered to go to the appointment with me. In between sobs, I told her that wasn’t necessary and I knew she was as busy as I was. But of course she came and of course I needed her.

I had to pull it together to keep working until my appointment, but between clients I was bombarded with thoughts and fears. To be fair, they really weren’t irrational. I know better than most that a simple, small thing can alter your life forever. My first thought was Frankie. This just couldn’t possibly be anything because that 11-year-old kid couldn’t possibly be asked to have no parents at all. Even if I could be treated and beat it, that poor boy does not need to endure watching the process all over again. Treatments, vomiting, schedules being thrown out the window. Watching someone visibly change who is supposed to be your tower of strength. He just can’t be asked to do that again, right?

Then I started thinking about my life in the last couple of weeks. I have been re-evaluating my life very intently because I have been working too hard. I have been burning the candle at both ends. I have been exhausted at the end of every night and know I can’t keep it up. I have been trying to make changes, but have struggled with what changes to even make. And then I really panicked. Holy shit! What if the universe/God has been on my case about it because I need to make room for treatment? Is that what this has really been about? Summer and I were just talking this weekend about how with all the interactions we have with people, if we ever got cancer, we wouldn’t go to Roswell (our local cancer hospital). That would mean regular trips to PA or Ohio. Overwhelming thought. Breathing is getting tough again.

I take a shower before I go to the doctor. While I am in there, another related thought crosses my mind. I absolutely know what it takes to fight cancer. I know the stamina you need. I know that a positive attitude is mandatory for success. I know that I have to muster up the strength that I know I possess and I will have to figure out how to access it. And then I found myself sitting in the shower seat sobbing, just like the day I found Tim in there when his daughter came to surprise him for Father’s Day. Because I knew that I just couldn’t do it. I’m too depleted. I will end up dying because I’m not the woman I was before taking care of my terminal husband. Even though it has been three years, I’ve not recovered.

I know my friends will shore me up. I know it. But Christ, Frankie won’t even have a step-father who loves him after I’m gone. Tim’s kids had me and I don’t love them any less since he has been gone. I know that Tim had peace about that. I failed Frankie in that respect. Utterly failed.

Brigette was home with a sick child, but she kept in touch with texts. She told me she didn’t remember the last time she prayed as hard as she was praying for me.

We arrived at the doc’s. I love Dr. Grace. Tell her everything, trust her implicitly. She looks at my mark and looks puzzled. She hasn’t ever really seen anything like it before. (Why does that always happen to me? I’m always like a freak show for doctors!) BUT… she knows it definitely does NOT look like cancer. I love her because I never have to explain anything to her because she remembers every detail of my life. She thanks me for not waiting and says she is grateful she can trust that I won’t mess around with anything medically. And without being told, she knows it is because I can’t possibly take risks because Frankie needs me. She is glad I get that all on my own and she doesn’t have to pound it into my head. Even though I feel better after seeing her, she promises me by the end of business day I will have answers. She works her magic and I am able to leave her office and go directly to the radiology center.

Off we go. First the mammogram. You know the drill, ladies. First set of pictures and then you sit in the waiting room. As suspected, I get called back for more. Now they see something in the other breast they are also concerned about. Great. She has to smoosh them further for the second set. Then they ask you to hold your breath while they take the image. I try until I finally gasp because the pain is too much. She tells me ever so nicely that she hopes she doesn’t have to retake them because I yelled out.

I go back in the waiting room and tell Summer I can’t believe with all our modern medicine we haven’t figured out anything better than putting our delicate breasts into a vice grip. She laughs and tells me if men had boobs, there would have been an answer years ago. I laugh at that. (Yes, Gary, I admit that is a sexist comment, but cut me some slack!)

Next the sonogram. She tells me she thinks it is a cyst. Doesn’t know why or how it would get there, but possibly it was pinched somehow. Phew.

I tell my step-son Colin about my day. He just looks at me. I told him that I didn’t think our family could go through it again. I told him I didn’t think we would be able to pull off the great job we did with his dad this time. He just nodded his head.

Later, my doc’s office calls and say they agree it’s a cyst. They want me to put the hottest compresses I can stand on it, as many times a day as I can manage it. (Apparently they don’t know I am already burning the candle at both ends and don’t even make time to eat half the time!) If it doesn’t go away in a month, then I have to see a surgeon. Bottom line is, it may not be cancer, but it is still not right and not supposed to be there.

So I spent the night rejoicing. I spent the rest of the night being super grateful that I don’t have cancer.

Wrong.

I spent the night continuing to have a hard time breathing. Being the lucky woman I am, (no, that is NOT sarcasm) male and female friends called to check on me or just to say hello (because they didn’t know what was going on). And every time I said hello, I would burst into tears again. I wanted to be happy, but I felt like a wrung out dish rag.

Everyone got it. No one judged me. They all told me that my fear was perfectly logical, understand, reasonable, not irrational. My daughter Emily called me about 10 PM and we talked til after midnight. She told me that if I ever got diagnosed, she would move up here and help take care of me. She said she didn’t do that for her dad but she would do it this time. I read between the lines and thought she must have regrets about that with her dad. I made a mental note to talk to her in the near future because I don’t want her to be plagued with that.

I watched a movie recently. The girl looked at the guy and said something like, “You weren’t there when I needed you. In the end, that’s all relationships are. It’s being there for the big stuff.” I thought it was an excellent summation. I’m lucky enough to have people who ARE there. Summer left work to go with me because she got it. Anyone who happened to know I was worried about a lump would have done what they could to support me because they get it. If you lived through Tim’s cancer with us, or if you read the book afterward, you get it. If you love me, if you know how to feel compassion, you are there by my side.

Today is a new day. Now I am starting to feel that relief I thought I would feel last night. Today I am breathing easier and emotionally feel the gratefulness I understood intellectually yesterday. Again, thanks to my amazing support system. You know who you are. And for those of you who are reading and wondering why I didn’t tell you, don’t. It all happened fast so don’t be mad at me :).

I wonder what today will bring?


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Greeting Cards

Another absolute hit-the-nail-on-the-head greeting card. This one came from Brigette and it was written by Linda Barnes.

“They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Well, what if you didn’t sign up for extra-strength training?
What if you’d rather catch a few breaks once in a while?
Is that so much to ask?
At some point, you’d think you’d be entitled to a free pass or two:
Skip this challenge.
Avoid that crisis.
Delete those problems.
It’s not that you’re not strong or that you don’t have what it takes to get through this.
You are, you do, and you will.
But you’ve built enough character already, and it’s time for things to lighten up a little!
I know it’s not really my call, but if I were in charge of life’s wheel of fortune, you’d get a free spin.
And I’d be right there, cheering you on!”

Love, love, love it. I don’t think I’m entitled to less pain than anyone else. I read this once in a book and I try to remember it: Instead of asking why me, how about why not me?

I met with my clients this week that lost their dad last month. I blogged about them earlier. I listened as this young man struggled through the “What did I do to deserve this?” phase. At 25, his mom abandoned him at 5, his dad dies at 25. In between he has lost both of his grandparents and two uncles. I didn’t have a lot to say other than I promised him I wouldn’t say a bunch of crap that wasn’t true to try and make him feel better. I promised to walk the journey with him and probably shed a few of my own tears because I miss his dad too.

Yesterday I spent all day at my uncle’s funeral. It was an hour and 20 minute drive for me. It was a mixture of watching familiar family dynamics, reminiscing about my really young childhood days, and just being angry that I am averaging one funeral a month.

During my evening sessions, I found that “Blue for Ben” passed away last night. For those of you who don’t live in western NY, he is a beautiful little boy who just had his 5th birthday last week. The entire community has rallied behind the family in their battle. The city will be in mourning.

This morning, I texted a friend at 7:30 AM and said, “Well, no funerals today. It’s gotta be a better one, right?” By 9:00 AM I texted them back and said “Scratch yet. I just found out my client’s step-son committed suicide.” I talked with her and tried to support her. I felt terribly guilty having to say I couldn’t attend the wake or funeral. I just can’t manage another one in my schedule. Mostly though, I just can’t handle it emotionally. So much death and loss and dying and sadness. I hate it when I let people down because everyone was there for me when Tim died. Everyone. I hate when I can’t pay it forward.

If you believe in the Law of Attraction, I wonder why I keep attracting death.

But you know I’m a big believer in balancing the bitter with the sweet. So honestly, it rings a little hollow at this exact moment, but the truth is I’m still blessed beyond belief. I have lots of loving friends and family. I’m not sick. My kids are great. My daughter released her book and it’s wonderful. The pool is getting opened today and the hot tub is ready. Those are luxuries most people don’t have.

So I promise I will keep trying every day, as many times a day as necessary, to be truthfully present and face whatever heartaches there are as bravely as I can face them. And I promise to remember all the good and beautiful there is in life and with all sincerity know how lucky I am.