Tag Archive | grief

February 14th❤

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(Diane July 14th 1956 – February 14th, 2015)

I have never been one of those people who think Valentine’s day is too dumb to celebrate because it’s extra cheesy or because love should be celebrated everyday! Umm…duhhh! lol Of course love is something to be cherished each & every day but it’s not something we’re going to celebrate with gifts, restuarant reservations, surprises and all each & everyday, right?! That may be exhausting\taxing physically and\or financially. So what’s wrong with choosing one day to celebrate love, platonic or romantic, with gifts and all? Also, maybe it’s just a scam the candy companies & greeting card businesses pull just to get our money. Oh well, it can still be fun! I have also never been one of those girls who sit around dreading the holiday or crying because I’m single. I don’t care if I’m single and to me Valentine’s Day is about all kinds of love, not just romantic. And there’s always next year! 😉

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But I have also never been the biggest fan of v-day. I love holidays like Halloween & Christmas and Valentine’s day to me just always seemed bland next to those ones. My mom, sister, & me always bought each other gifts for the day for as long as I can remember. And my friends & me in school would buy each other roses & stuffed teddy bears & cute things like that. But I never really got completely into the holiday the way some do.

On February 14th, 2015 I lost my coworker who I was very close with, unexpectedly to a heart attack. She died at work that day. Just collapsed and died instantly. I wasn’t there that day. I took off work to go on a meditation retreat. I wasn’t there but I still can’t get the image out of my head. Collapsing & dying on the floor.

Not only did Diane die that day, Valentine’s day was one of her favorite holidays. She loved it! ❤

Losing Diane is one of the worst things I ever experienced in this life. It’s the greatest trauma of this life of mine. Even two years later I have occasions I feel as if I’m being suffocated, submerged under water, like I have to struggle just to breathe. It’s not always this bad. Often my grief is now calmer, quiet, still deeply painful, but easier to bear. But it flares up and reverts back to the raw grief that I can hardly bear. It throbs throughout my whole being like an abcessed tooth but worse. It’s so heavy and I sometimes find it hard to keep standing. Losing Diane feels like losing a limb; like part of my body ripped off. If I believed in a soul I would feel as if my soul is disfigured, slashed, burned, traumatic amputation of part of it. There have been so many occasions I felt if my pain were physical I would believe I was dying and need emergency medical attention. The way it throbs and cuts, there’s just no words. 

The love Diane has always shown to me is very similar to that of a mother’s love. Diane has three adult sons and grandchildren & great grandchildren, all who she was very close with. When she died she was 58 years old & I was 28 years old. She talked about me and bragged about me like I was her own daughter. Sometimes she would embarass me like a mom can embarass her children in public. Lol She would make me lunch some days and bring it to me and always gave me money even though she hardly had money herself and I would tell her not to. She would yell at me & scold me if she thought I was doing something not good for myself. She was always checking up on me. We had so much fun laughing and talking together day after day, year after year for almost a decade until we lost her.

My pain is mostly for her because she is no longer here and those of us shattered can move forward & find some sense of healing. Diane can never eat her favorite food, smile again, work again, experience happiness, sadness, love…but we can. The second main thing is my pain is for her children and family\friends outside of work who knew her better than I did. I knew her very well but of course not as well as her own sons and while it’s so extremely difficult for me I know some aspects are likely more difficult for them. And last, my pain is for me. She was snatched out of my world so suddenly without warning.  I used to feel as if I was going into a panic when I would think like this. My chest would tighten, my heart would race, my eyes would turn completely black but my years of practicing Buddhist meditation helped me with this before I would go into a fullblown panic.

Last year, February 14th was the first anniversary of my friend’s death. I had to work for ten hours straight with no break and wasn’t sure just how I would find the strength but somehow I did. I felt like we were losing Diane all over again. I felt the life drain right out of me. I was in a fog like when it happened a year before. I was pissed at the world. I was snippy with everyone. They got snippy back and none of us were in a good mood. This wasn’t just the actual day but the days leading up to the date.

I had no money and my mom suggested after work we try to find a store to buy an inexpensive gift for each other. I just did not have it in me. I couldn’t find any desire to do anything that had to do with Valentine’s day. It seemed so cruel that my poor Diane had to lose her life like this on a day she loved and now can never celebrate again ever. I would have died for Diane. 💔❤ If I knew her heart was going to stop I would have given her my own if it were possible.

Her son also said he could just never celebrate Valentine’s day again & hoped his future girlfriend would understand. But Diane’s other son, who never celebrated Valentine’s day, said he will now begin celebrating and suggested all who love her keep on celebrating or begin celebrating her holiday to honor her & help us cope with this tragic loss of ours. What a wonderful idea! A day that we can see as so terrible, let’s turn it around and make it wonderful. It’s the day Diane lost her life. But it’s not only that. It’s also a day full of hope & possibility for those of us still alive. A day of LOVE not just grief. Grief is like a form of love. But there’s other forms of love to focus on. Diane’s son found the strength to celebrate a year after his mom’s death but I still couldn’t muster it. I just tuned it all out in my head.

This year though, I am much stronger than I was last year. I am not completely recovered. It’s not a loss I will “get over.” But I am strong and this year I choose LOVE. Last year I couldn’t seem to find the strength & wisdom I have discovered since then and now know.

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This year I am going to celebrate Valentine’s day to honor my sweet Diane. I can still feel something inside my chest feeling like it’s physically breaking. Some moments I still feel as if I will physically collapse in my grief. Sometimes I still lay in bed late at night, my whole body wracked in grief & still in immense shock, I still have these overwhelming urges to scream her name, on rare occasions I am filled with fury and want to scream, but I have love, gratitude, sweet memories, happiness, joy, laughter, smiles, strength….more than anger & pain. Diane never had to come into my world and be my friend but our lives did cross and for that I am extremely happy & thankful.

Something about Diane: she was extremely compassionate. So loving. She was assertive, sarcastic, loud, mouthy, always cursing, but loving. She loved not only her own friends & family but strangers as well. She hardly had money & borrowed money a lot and if she found someone else who needed money she gave the money to that person. She borrowed money and I would tell her not to pay me back, that it’s ok but she insisted and always paid me back even though it was a struggle for her. She used to give me one dollar bills & five dollar bills for no reason just because she knew how little money I had myself. And whenever she paid me back the money she borrowed, she would pay me back one dollar here & there until it was all paid up. I always thought it was so cute & funny. Diane told me once that one of her worst fears in life was that I would lose my quiet, sweet, gentle way if I ever let the bitterness or problems of others get to me. She told me to always stay loving and gentle even with those who are difficult to deal with and in situations that are a struggle for me. She told me to never change and I never will.

So how will I celebrate this year? I want to help others. Diane is dead and there’s nothing I can do about it. My chest aches to write it but it’s the truth. Like Diane, I love people and love to help. And I know she would absolutely love what I’m going to do. She’ll never know it but that’s not the point. She won’t feel the love but that’s not the purpose. My purpose is to help & inspire others. And I will carry her love with me always. Even though I lost Diane and experience a tremendous sense of loss and agony, I have never once felt that I lost her love. She loved me. She told me so and showed me everyday. What I will do is buy those small Valentine’s Day cards that come in packs of like ten or twenty or whatever, like the ones I would give to all my friends when I was a little girl, and write love messages in them, not romantic love messages but universal ones that can apply to everyone. Inspiring quotes, words of encouragement, positive messages, comforting messages….and leave them in random places for random people to find. This is what I planned to do and is good enough but I was trying to think of something I can do to help others in a more practical way as well. Then I remembered Diane & her dollars.

The dollar tips she would give servers, the dollars she would give me on random occasions just because, the individual dollars she would pay me back after borrowing thirty dollars, the dollars she would leave around for me at work, the dollars she would give to people who were struggling….Diane and those dollars! Lol I smile so much thinking of it. And I instantly knew what I have to do. Put a dollar in each little love note I slip into all those random places!

This isn’t to brag about the good I will do. My pain is so great I wouldn’t brag anyway but in my grief I especially can’t even care about getting credit. It makes almost everything seem so trivial. This is to inspire others to turn your love around and do something for the goodness of others. It doesn’t have to be this. This is just my story. But it can be this if you want! I would love for others to be inspired & do this, even if it’s just one card & one dollar! Imagine how happy my sweet Diane would be if she could know that her life & death inspires this kindness. If you knew Diane you would love her! I’m sure of it. She was the kind of person everyone loves. ❤

Or you can put your own spin on this or do something completely different to honor someone or just to do good. I met one sweet girl who lost her mom in February to cancer and a year later on the anniversary, just like Diane’s son, she somehow found the strength to honor her mama. She got all her beautiful long blonde hair cut off and donated it to cancer survivors who lost their hair to chemo treatment. What a beautiful soul. What can you do to honor someone you love so deeply and lost so painfully? Or just to do good for no specific reason other than wanting to make the world a bit more beautiful?!😍😀❤ Please let me know in the comments if you want or write a post of your own! And remember it’s totally not about bragging or receiving credit but bringing consolation, hope, & inspiration to others while sharing our own stories. ❤

Please remember the anniversary of the death of the one you love so much isn’t just a messed up, tragic, terrible day; it’s a day you are still alive and you can make that day anything you want to make it. Maybe not right away and it may take practice and strength you never could have possibly imagined you can posses but it’s a day like any other, a day of hope, love, chances, possibilities. It’s up to us to make it beautiful. The beautiful may never completely obliterate the ugly but it can certainly come into the mix and make it even just a little bit better.

This is for any loss, human or animal. Pet loss is just as bad and I understand it well. I have loved & lost pets as long as I have been alive and find the death of a human a bit more traumatic but both are devastating. My grief for Diane isn’t healing as well as it could be but so much better than it was. I’m wishing you much love, light, healing, always. I hope you will be inspired to do something and go on to inspire others! ~Hugs & love~ I love you! 😍😀❤

xoxo Kim 

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A dream

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“Reading departure signs in some big airport
Reminds me of the places I’ve been
Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure
Makes me want to go back again
If it suddenly ended tomorrow
I could somehow adjust to the fall
Good times and riches and son of a bitches
I’ve seen more than I can recall
These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
Through all of the islands and all of the highlands
If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane”

Last night I dreamed about my dog, Koko. I rarely have dreams about her but she’s always on my mind. Koko died of old age in April 2013. It’s one of the worst kinds of pain I ever experienced. I never felt anything worse.
Just like the sensation I mentioned here before that I experience after losing my human friend, Diane ( here:
https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/rhythm-of-my-heart-3/ ), I have this feeling sometimes, after losing Koko, like a significant part of my physical body is missing, like it has been torn off in some kind of trauma. 

Losing Diane and losing Koko are equally painful to me but losing Diane is more traumatic. 

This is because I have had pets my whole life, have loved and lost them (usually to old age) for as long as I can remember. Domesticated animals generally do not live as long as people and while I’m never used to losing a pet, I’m more prepared or expectant of it even if it’s completely unexpected, than losing a human friend or family member, especially suddenly or unexpectedly like how we lost Diane. 

I always knew that if I live long enough, one day I would be without Koko. I used to feel I couldn’t live without her and I dreaded the day I would be forced to. I used to imagine sometimes, what it would be like if she wasn’t here and I could hardly bear it. But those imaginings prepared me better for it even though that wasn’t my intention. I don’t usually imagine what it will be like without certain people because even though they can die soon, I just don’t expect it to happen. I expect it more with nonhumans. Their lifespan is often no more than fifteen years and they seem to have much for fragile lives than people, at least to me. 

Very fortunately, Koko lived a long happy life with my family and me. A few days before she died, I knew she wouldn’t be around much longer. She seemed very aged more than usual and she slowed up and stopped coming to the door to greet me as I came in. She ate her slim jims I gave her as treats, more slowly than ever. It was and still is so painful but my mind was getting prepared as much as it possibly could, to lose her.

She slept in bed with me every night and took naps with me. She slept on my chest almost every night. It was so cute! She was a pom mix and she never barked and was extremely gentle and loving. 

She had a warm, gentle energy that I always felt.

Koko died exactly one week before we were going to celebrate her fourteenth birthday with my other dog whose birthday is close to Koko’s. We don’t know Koko’s exact birthday but she was born in April 1999.  

It’s hard to handle the fact that she’s gone forever but I accept it and move forward. I always have the loving memories of her. And I was always and still am so thankful to have had her for as long as I did. What better way to go than old age surrounded by love? What better way to lose someone? There isn’t one. We are blessed even when it’s hard to feel it. 

It still hurts me sometimes to look at pictures of her. And there are still some moments even almost three years later, where the pain of this loss is so immense it knocks the wind out of me and I feel I can’t go on. These occasions are not frequent but they exist. I think they always will but that’s ok. 

There’s another kind of pain that exists now that this loss is no longer very recent. There was something so comforting knowing I just saw her alive a week ago, a few months ago…but as the years go on, the day I last saw her gets further and further away and that’s so painful.  

Sometimes I feel like it was all a mistake, all those moments, all those days I realized I can go on even with the pain. I think it was a mistake and that I really can’t. I know it’s not true but it feels that way sometimes. 

In my dream I saw her so vividly and it was shocking. In my dream she was still dead and I was looking through old things of mine and came across a video of Koko that just started playing and I was screaming “turn it off, stop, I can’t see it!” My mom was there but I’m not sure who I was yelling to. I was filled with fear and pain to see her moving around on a video so clearly knowing I’ll never see her for real again. 

But the video wouldn’t stop playing and as much as I wanted to look away, I couldn’t. I wanted to see my baby again in any way I could no matter how painful. 

So while I was filled with fear and agony, I was also filled with deep love, gratitude, beauty, joy….

Then in my dream, Koko materialized or something and became real once again just for a moment for me to hug and to hold. She looked right at me and made eye contact. I was so happy in my dream. I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing and my mom too. It was beautiful. It still is beautiful even in my waking hours. 

I woke up in pain and gratitude. 
The dream stirred up that raw grief in me (or maybe unconscious raw grief provoked the dream?) and there have been moments off and on today when my grief gets overwhelming again and nearly unbearable. 

I’m thankful for the dream. I loved seeing her so vividly and feeling all those emotions. 

The fact that Koko died of old age doesn’t make my grief and sense of loss any less profound or painful but it is a sense of consolation and contributes to it being less traumatic to me and easier to bear.

Six days after Koko died I thought I wanted to die too. I wasn’t depressed but the pain was so bad. When Koko died, it was six months that I haven’t been suicidal for, which back then, was the longest I was able to go in many years without being suicidal. I did not consider it a relapse because it wasn’t the depressed suicidal. I was just overwhelmed in grief. 

It took three months after Koko died, for me to begin feeling like myself again and four months to feel completely like me again. 

After losing Koko, I felt like I lost me too. For months I felt numb but with pain and I also felt joy and happiness underneath because I’m naturally very happy. But I did not laugh as much after Koko died. I still found things amusing, things to chuckle about but for months I did not have those deep belly laughs I have almost every day, even when I’m depressed usually. When I’m depressed I can still laugh deeply but not as deeply usually, there’s some kind of damper or something numbing it. But with this grief, I couldn’t even laugh like that. 

At first I did not realize what was wrong but I knew something was. I felt very different than usual. Very off. I began to grieve for myself along with my dog. I felt like I not only lost her but lost me too. I felt like I was an almost empty shell of what I was before this significant loss.

There are things this grief took away that even depression doesn’t usually take away, like my ability to be easily amused and laugh hysterically over everything and nothing. Also, my sense of self became weakened. But this experience while weakening it, also helped me strengthen it. 

Even with depression, I can usually feel myself underneath but this grief numbed me until I felt not like someone else but a shadow of me.

Depression does worse things usually, in some ways, than grief (like takes away every ounce of pleasure and joy, provokes suicidal inclination…)but there are some things this grief did to me that depression usually doesn’t. 

Many occasions I couldn’t be amused over things I usually would be laughing hysterically at and other occasions I would begin to feel amused and consciously or unconsciously talk myself out of it, telling myself I can’t be laughing when Koko just recently died.

The night before Koko died, I got new shirts and whenever I began to be thrilled about them my head would quickly remind me to stop because soon Koko won’t be here anymore. 

This isn’t a good thing. And it wasn’t always my conscious decision to not let myself experience joy and laughter.

It was often automatic.

A few months after Koko’s death, I listened to a song sung by Jimmy Buffet and I laughed hysterically, uncontrollably and I instantly felt like me again. It felt like heaven. Like being home again. I found myself again.
Then I listened to more of his songs and laughed even more. 

I realized even more how I only felt like a faint shadow of me for the last few months, how I stopped laughing.

This experience helped me realize even more how playful and easily amused I am. I always knew but this experience reminded me even more how much of an integral part of me my playful side is. 

I was and am inspired by this experience, this revelation that nothing can take away my true self no matter what. Even if it goes into hiding for a while, scared to come out and play again, my true self is always here and will always resurface. I will laugh again. Love again. Live again.

I’m not thankful that Koko died but I’m thankful for the experience surrounding my loss. I can still see light and beauty in it even through the agony.

It’s also interesting to view it in comparison with the loss of my human friend. The pain is very similar but both losses have differences also and challenges that the other one does not have so much. In some ways it’s harder to endure the situation of losing Diane but in other ways it’s more difficult to endure the situation of losing Koko. This isn’t because the loss of one is more painful or greater or because one is loved more. There are different factors associated with some losses that may contribute to it being more difficult to handle one loss in some ways, than another.

We can love two people who die, equally, but still find the loss of one more difficult for whatever reason. Maybe the one loss was more unexpected or tragic or whoever the person is to us somehow makes it seem more difficult to lose that one. Losing a child, for example, is most likely the most unexpected loss. And losing a pet is probably more expected to many, than losing a human friend or family member. Losing someone to homicide or suicide or some other senseless way is probably more difficult to cope with for many people than loss to a heart attack or an illness that couldn’t be prevented. This isn’t necessarily true for everyone but definitely some. 

I think it’s best not to judge others based on our own or other people’s experiences. Just because I find something easier or more difficult doesn’t mean someone else does.
And just because I react a certain way when I feel a certain way doesn’t mean someone who reacts differently than I do, feels differently. Two people can both feel a similar emotion or have a similar opinion but react very differently. Two people can be just as devastated but one cries and one doesn’t or one can get out of bed and one feels like s/he cannot. 

This is another great way to cope with tragedy and significant losses and other pain and difficulty, to view the situation with curiosity, wonder, and fascination instead of just all in a negative light. 

My dream, while seemingly simple, is so thought provoking and inspiring and sad and beautiful. 

I am reminded to let me laugh when I feel the urge no matter what is going on. It’s ok to laugh. To repress my mirth won’t bring back the dead or heal the tragedy or reverse the destruction in the world. All repression of joy & laughter serves to do is have even less joy in the world. Dwelling on pain just brings more pain. It perpetuates the seriousness and devastation. 

I hope if you are grieving or experiencing another kind of pain, you find some sense of consolation and beauty even through the darkness and still let yourself laugh and live. It’s ok and laughing is good for healing. 

We don’t have to be so serious. 
Life doesn’t have to be so serious. 

Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes – Jimmy Buffett – mobile

Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes – desktop

Hugs to you and much love & light, always, 

Xoxo Kim 

He’s My Son {a heartbreakingly beautiful song} <3

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“I’m hoping this prayer will turn out right.
See, there is a boy that needs Your help.
I’ve done all that I can do myself
His mother is tired,
I’m sure You can understand.
Each night as he sleeps
She goes in to hold his hand,
And she tries
Not to cry
As the tears fill her eyes”

This is a song, sung by Mark Schultz, I used to listen to sometimes when I was a young girl. I always felt a strange connection to it. Strange because it seems to be about a little boy who is sick and dying and his mom and dad are exhausted and broken. It’s a devastating song. I don’t have kids and have no close friends or family who I had to watch sick and dying. So I can’t really relate but I still feel deeply impacted by it. I can just imagine a fraction of his painful situation.

Someone who has a kid/kids, even if they aren’t sick, is probably likely to feel the impact, the blow of this song, even more than someone without kids. Or someone who has a sick friend/family member or did at one point. If we can relate to a certain aspect of a situation, we are probably more likely to have even deeper empathy for the whole of it. 

I can hear the passion and feel the desperation in his voice as he implores his god to allow him to take his dying son’s place. 

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“Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place somehow.”

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He’s praying to help him and the boy’s mom see it through and help the little boy get better.
Or to let him switch places with his boy and his son live a long happy life. 

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When I listen to it, I feel like my heart and guts are being carved out. It reminds me of pumpkins being turned into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. The insides are being ripped out and the whole inside is hollow. That’s exactly what it feels like to listen to this song.

But it’s not a bad thing. It’s good to have deep feeling.

This is a beautiful & heartbreaking song. It helps us have deeper empathy for those in this father’s & mother’s situation of losing a child and a sick child’s situation.

The father’s voice is so kind and friendly as he sings, not bitter or angry. I think that’s so beautiful. We would probably all understand if a father or mother of a dying child is bitter and angry and pissed at the world. But this song conveys no such emotion, just love and pain. 

“I’m down on my knees again tonight 
I’m hoping this prayer will turn out right”

The “again” in these lyrics says it all. Again. They have been suffering so long. Day after day. Night after night. Probably going insane. They probably don’t know what to do with themselves. That one word is just riddled with so much desperation, so much agony.

They do all they can and more, just hoping, loving, pleading, and coping. 

 I cannot know his situation but I know what it is to be desperate. To stay awake day & night, night after night, in agony, roaming the night, collapsing in unbearable agony. Again & again & again. Clinging to any strand of hope, any thread of solace I can manage to find. Any sliver of light in the darkness. And seemingly going insane when I seem to find none. I have these rare & terrible mind blasting headaches. His situation is of course, much, much worse than mine. 

But I feel that desperation of mine when I hear that word. Again

“I’m down on my knees again tonight.”

I’m an atheist(and practice Buddhist techniques); I don’t pray to any gods but when I am having a flare up of the headache I find myself on the floor sometimes again and again, night after night, collapsed in agony, my face in my hands or cracking my head against a wall, sometimes screaming hysterically, sometimes pleading with the headache in my head or out loud, to go away even though I know it can’t hear me. It’s a kind of desperation that’s hard to explain in words and it happens over and over. It carries over into each night until the cluster/episode ends. So this line really speaks to me. 

“I’m down on my knees again tonight.”

Here are some more posts where I write about my headache:

https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/inner-strength-3/

https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/if-youre-going-through-hell-keep-going/

https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/and-then-a-hero-comes-along-with-the-strength-to-carry-on/

https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/2015/03/07/stepping-out-of-our-ruts/

It’s Hell on Earth. I can’t think of a worse hell.

If you want to witness/hear for yourself what it’s like to have a “headache” like this, you can check out this video of a lady who filmed herself having one. It’s almost unbearable to listen to her hysterical sobs and agony. She filmed it to bring awareness to this hell. She is NOT overreacting one bit.

It’s really like this! It’s over thirteen minutes long and you’re probably not a sadist so you probably don’t want to listen to the entire thing. Just a few minutes is more than enough.

Cluster attack – mobile

Cluster attack – desktop

Poor Earth angel. What I wouldn’t give to take all that pain away for her. It actually hurts more listening to her screams and sobs than experiencing my own. </3 ❤ She has kids and said it's worse than the pain of childbirth and that she would give birth everyday over this.

No, prescription pain pills will not touch the pain and we cannot be knocked out or sleep. The physical pain is too powerful. Sleep aids do nothing in this case.

There’s no known cure and not many effective treatments for everyone with it.

These attacks are physical(but they do take an emotional toll on those of us who experience them).

I’m not mad(though it sure feels like I may be).

I don't have these attacks very often like some but just one is enough.

I appreciate the love & courage of the people who share their stories of beauty & pain, love & hope. ❤

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“He’s not just anyone, he’s my son.”

I can feel the pain cut so deeply here.
No one is just anyone. We are all someone.
It’s just as bad when anyone suffers or dies. 

But watching his own son suffer like this is a nightmare he can’t wake up out of. Watching someone we know personally in any way, struggling, affects us usually, in a more direct way, than someone we don’t know.

It probably feels very lonely to him.
He probably, in his darkest moments of despair, feels as if he’s the only one in the world to know this pain, this torture. 

“Sometimes late at night I watch him sleep,
I dream of the boy he’d like to be.
I try to be strong and see him through”

He has this terrible struggle of feeling the need to stay strong for his son but he probably just wants to collapse himself. 
It’s hard to care for himself and his own needs when he feels the need to remain strong for his fragile little boy. But his little boy isn’t the only one suffering and not the only one needing compassion and care. In some ways, it’s probably even harder watching someone die than being the one dying. 

It’s a heartbreaking struggle.

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“What would I be, living without him here?” 

This line is almost unbearable. Losing someone we love, to death, is excruciating. It’s agony beyond words. And no one expects to have to live ever without her/his child. We grow up knowing, even if we don’t consciously think about it much, that one day we will lose people close to us, parents, grandparents, pets, some much too soon…and that is agony, but almost no one expects to have to live without her/his child ever. Almost everyone, I think, assumes their children will outlive them. And what a devastating blow it is to find out it’s not the case.

His little boy is his world, he brought him into the world or adopted him and feels and is responsible for him, he takes care of him, gets him ready for school (if he’s in school), feeds him, clothes him, bathes him, buys him his toys, has so many plans and dreams for him…now he has to prepare to be without him here on Earth. And here he is, still with this gentle, warm, hopeful, kind voice. 

Listening to a song about a certain experience can really help remind us and deepen our compassion in general. I can never know what it’s like to lose a child or have a sick child or any child but I don’t have to know to know it’s unbearable and shattering and beyond devastating to lose a child. Imagine what that’s like for parents like these ones to watch their baby not only dying but scared, sick, and dying like the boy in this song. It’s unfathomable.  And some people do not have to imagine because they know. 

“Sometimes late at night I watch him sleep,
I dream of the boy he’d like to be.
I try to be strong and see him through,
But God, who he needs right now is You.
Let him grow old,
Live life without this fear.
What would I be
Living without him here?
He’s so tired,
And he’s scared
Let him know that You’re there.”

It’s good to remember this the next situation we are in where a person seems rude or negative or annoying. When a person abruptly brushes by us on a street or public transportation or cuts us off in traffic or gets flippant with us, or is nodding off in public (I saw people making fun of two people on a bus before, a young man and a young woman, who were collapsed together on a seat with their heads down, and almost gently rocking. They were calling them “druggies” and taking pictures of them to make fun of on social media. For some reason I got the strong feeling they were actually grief-stricken like someone just died on them, not that they were on drugs. They looked sick with grief to me. I just sensed it. Though I could be wrong. Maybe they just lost their child. Or maybe they were the biggest stoners. But I don’t think it’s good making fun of “druggies” either. They are people with pleasure and pain. They need help & love, not ridicule.)….there’s no justification for being rude in public but we never know what may be provoking or contributing to it.

For all we know that person has to go home to a sick child or has to leave work then go visit his dying child or friend in a hospital bed. Or maybe this person has a chronic/episodic pain disorder or a struggle with addiction or was sexually assaulted or is struggling with mental illness…. When we face the negativity or anger with our own anger or ridicule, we only add to that bereaved person’s pain or the pain of whatever the situation is. And a simple act of forgiveness or warm smile on our part can momentarily soothe a fraction of it.

Some people just like to act in a rude manner and have no sick friend or family member or chronic pain or other serious condition but we can’t always know for sure. In my opinion, it’s better to be kind and the person is just an asshole (assholes need lovin’ too!) than be unkind and the person is suffering immensely over a significant loss/impending loss or other devastating situation. 

It’s amazing how the song tugs on me in a deep unidentified place even though I cannot relate to the entire situation. I find beauty and Oneness in the strangest places. ❤

So I decided to share here, hoping that we will all react a little bit more lovingly in situations we may be tempted to act out in anger. 

And also it's a great reminder that we don't have to completely understand someone's situation to have empathy & compassion or be completely impacted by it. ❤

This video has pictures of what appears to be real sick kids in hospitals throughout it. Just in case you don't want to see it. It also has other images. 

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Here is a video of the same song but just the lyrics, no pics:

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These pictures are all screencaptures of photos in the video.

Much love & light to you. ❤ 
My heart goes out to you if you are in or have been in a terrible situation like the man in this song. (he is the singer, he may not have really lost a child but there are people who are in his situation for real…)
I wish you all the strength, courage, and love you need to carry you through this life in the midst and aftermath of such a tragedy. It doesn't ever end but it can be ok sometimes and be beautiful again. ❤ ❤

~Hugs~

Xoxo Kim  

Rhythm of My Heart <3

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“When I first learned about her, no less than two million buffalo stampeded across my chest. (That is just an estimate at the risk of sounding dramatic.) When the dust finally settled, when chaos clipped its own wing & the Earth relinquished her thunder, I found the remains of a heart not twenty feet from my aching body, trampled into a bloody mess. This heart did not belong to me, but I ripped open my own ribcage just to double-check.” ~ Amanda Torroni

Look at that beautiful smile!! So bright, so genuine.  I miss it so so much!! I love her so, so much!!! I miss her! I wish so desperately to see her and laugh with her again. I haven’t seen her beautiful face in person since February 2015. I used to see her so often. Looking at her picture, I am healed in a deeper way and I feel light and joy and gratitude even with my pain. ❤ ❤  I couldn't bring myself to look at it for a while. I am incredibly thankful to see her face. I feel so complete. I still see her face so clearly in my head but to physically see a picture is so amazing.  

Today is the one year anniversary of my close friend, Diane's death. It still feels so new and messed up. It has been a very difficult journey of grief and I know in some ways it always will be. It's one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure in this life. Sometimes I feel I'm in a nightmare I can't wake up out of. 

The pain throbs throughout my whole existence. 

Valentine's Day was Diane's favorite holiday.

Diane is my friend and was my coworker and she died one year ago at work. Just out of nowhere. She wasn't sick or anything. She was loud, funny, giving, compassionate, loving, full of life. And in an instant she was gone and so many are now shattered. She is so loved by so, so many people and always will be. 

I worked with her for nearly ten years. I never imagined being without her. Especially like this. She was (still is) so much a part of this life of mine day after day, year after year and it feels strange and unnatural that now she's gone.

Diane used to stay at work late without getting paid just to help people. Like me, she never liked turning customers away even after we closed so she would stay open after hours and serve them if there were a few stragglers. She was hilarious even when she was angry at someone or something. She would tell people off if they did something she did not like but she still showed love to them. She was mouthy and sometimes sarcastic. I remember one of the first days after I met her, years ago, I said something to her and she said "well yeah no shit" in a sarcastic way and I did not appreciate it. Lol I thought she had nerve getting flippant with me. But now I think it's hilarious and I miss every bit of her sarcasm.  She wasn't even trying to be funny, she just was.

Her last word to me, last year, a few days before she died, was "unfuckingbelievable!" She was pissed when she yelled it and I was amused and I'm still amused. It makes me giggle that that happens to be the last word I heard her say. It's "so her." If only I knew, I wouldn't have walked away, I would have ran back and embraced her and never let go. I would have clung to her and tried to keep her heart going forever. ❤ </3 ❤ I would have given her my own heart if I could have. I would have cracked open my own chest, ripped my bleeding heart out and handed it to her.

Let's be as loving as possible and try to make it so the hearts of people we encounter have less negative stress. Stress can contribute to a heart attack probably.  I don't ever want it to happen to anyone else. </3 ❤

She wanted to learn to speak Spanish. She loved strawberry ice cream and peanut chews and Coca Cola. We have a lot of similar loves. She used to also like bananas with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. She loved to help people. She would always be giving her last dollar to someone else, letting people in need stay with her, inviting me to holidays at her place in case I had no plans. 
 
She used to tell me almost no man is good enough for me, even some of her own family members who had the hots for me! Lol I don't agree that someone isn't "good enough" for me but it always made me giggle when she said it, especially about her own close family members! One of her family members was thinking about asking me out and she told him "don't you dare go near that sweet girl until you get your life together!" lol She used to often tell me "I love you girl!" and make me lunch and always trying to give me money even though she hardly had money herself. She used to borrow money then give it to others who needed it. She was extremely protective & generous. 

She was always trying to help me find a job, always writing down names and numbers and places for me. She was even going to take my resume to give to people she knew to try to help me get a job. So many occasions through the years I overheard her bragging to others about how amazing I am in a way that made it sound like I was her own daughter. I always felt her love but now when I think about it I realize just how deep that love for me ran. I did not lose her love; I keep it with me always. ❤

She has three adult sons and grandkids. And lots of other family members. I still see them around sometimes. She has a big loving family.
I see her son Thomas and her granddaughter, Kaitlyn and Kaitlyn's baby boy the most. I'm so happy when I see them.

❤ 

She would make sure I had anything I wanted and scold me if she thought I was doing something not good for myself. She was always checking, making sure I had enough food. 

I can't believe she's gone and still keep thinking how can this be….how can she really be gone for good? Can it really be? I know this experience isn't unique to me even though it can feel like it. Many people who lose someone so close feel this way off and on even years later, possibly forever. Our story isn't unique. People die so frequently of sudden heart complications. People die every single day in all kinds of ways. Every single day people are left grieving and confused over the loss of close friends, family members, pets, others they know and love.  It's just the way it goes.

But we can feel so lonely in our grief. 

I remember her long gray coat in the Winter and her long blue denim shorts and t-shirts in the summer. I remember her hearing aids and her black hair. I remember her voice. I remember she walked with a cane or leg brace at one point because she was injured. I remember she had asthma and had a bad attack at work one day. I remember it was scary. I remember so much. Sometimes I find it so healing to talk about her.

I feel so light when I talk about her. Not mentioning her death. I'm not in denial about it. I just don't want to think about it. 

And I remember her life, not the horrible circumstance of her death. My mom did not know her but when Diane was alive, I frequently talked about her to my mom and texted my mom while at work so many days telling her all the hilarious things Diane did and said. And all the sweet, thoughtful things she did for others and for me. 

"Oh the rhythm of my heart is beating like a drum
with the words ‘I love you’ rolling off my tongue
No never will I roam for I know my place is home
where the ocean meets the sky
I'll be sailing
"

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She was a big Rod Stewart fan (like me!). That's why I'm dedicating Rhythm of My Heart in her memory. 
I was recently looking through old stuff I have, looking for an old philosophy book, and I found this cd case.

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I love how I found it right before the first year anniversary and I instantly thought of her.

I love and miss her every single day. I think of her in everything I do and see things every day that remind me of her. I will always think  of her and love her everyday until I take my last breath. My heart breaks for her and her friends and family. 
I am shattered by our loss but I will honor her in so many things I do. I will keep on loving like she did, like she encouraged me to always do. She was so loving.
She loved my warm, gentle nature that is in some ways in contrast with her loud, assertive one. She told me to never let it change.  I never plan to. 

I’m filled with immense gratitude that I got to know her for the decade I spent with her. Sometimes my gratitude is drowned out by the grief but usually the grief is healed to a certain point through my gratitude. Usually the happy memories bring me deep joy and happiness and laughter & smiles along with my grief but sometimes they mostly only serve to deepen my pain. Some days it fluctuates overwhelming raw grief to a healing kind of gratitude, back & forth. And some days it’s more pain than gratitude while other days it’s more gratitude and smiles than overwhelming pain. But generally it’s a combination of both. Every fiber of my being is in agony over this loss and it would be like this for any friend/family member I lose and am close to, including pets, whether I knew them for years or even just days, all that matters is the depth of our friendship. Grief just hurts.

I have so much sorrow, not just for us who lost her, but for her for not living anymore and experiencing everything she loved, for missing it. This is what kills me the most usually. I know she’s not suffering but she’s dead and it’s worse because she can’t heal or feel happiness or anything. At least us who are left grieving can find a sense of healing and still be happy. But at least she lived and had love & happiness & life and touched so many others. That’s all that matters now. 

It doesn’t get better, it’s just the longer I live with it, the more “used to it” I become so I can cope with it better usually. But I can never truly get used to it. Sometimes it feels like I’m drowning. Like I’m being submerged in water and struggling to keep my head above and breathe. It’s overwhelming. 

Sometimes my grief is so raw it hurts almost physically. Then it mellows out and gets softer and quieter and easier to bear until the next raw flare up. But it never goes away. I don’t want it to. Ever. 

It doesn’t interfere with my general happiness or my ability to function. It’s not depression. When it flares up to the raw pain though, sometimes it’s hard to concentrate on other things. 

When Diane died, almost everyday I felt like some physical part of me was missing. I felt like I was missing a limb that got ripped off and felt like in its place was numbness as well as pain. I kept feeling like it should be here. I felt a tingling. I don’t know where I felt that sensation exactly, just all over my body and other parts that aren’t physical. I especially felt it when I would be at work, shortly after she died and sometimes I still feel it. I walked around in a fog for days and days. The initial shock wore off but in some way I’m just as shocked as when it happened. And now the shock can’t numb most of the pain like it did at first. So now I’m shocked and in pain and sometimes numb like when it happened. 

There’s nothing like having to go back to work after losing a coworker to unexpected death. Seeing the empty desk. Standing in the place we used to stand together and the space next to me, empty. Not hearing her laugh. 
Not hearing her funny stories. Showing up for my shift which was also her shift and she’s not there. I seriously dreaded going back to work the first days after it happened.  

She used to sit at her desk and read a newspaper and eat peanut chews, drinking coca cola soda. We would often visit each other after closing at night to say I love you & goodnight or bring each other stuff. Some nights after work it aches so deeply when I walk by and she’s not there. But I’m so healed by the memories and the love. 

Sometimes, especially at first, it wouldn’t feel like it can really be real. I wanted to physically collapse everyday in my deep anguish. Sometimes I still do. It hits me at the most inconvenient moments, on a crowded bus, walking to work, out shopping, trying to sleep, on my way to therapy appointments(i don’t like to talk about it), ….    It’s much too painful. 

After she died, I would lean out the window at work and stare across the street (that’s where she worked for our boss, in the bar kitchen across the street) and wonder if it’s really real. We used to look out and wave to each other, laughing. I would look out day after day desperate to see her face, her beautiful smile, but she wasn’t looking back. She never looked back. I kept checking over and over to see if maybe it was some kind of mistake, some really big misunderstanding, even though I knew it’s not. Maybe no one really died I kept telling myself. Maybe they were wrong, maybe I was dreaming and now I’m awake and my nightmare is over. But I knew that is not the case. Occasionally I still look over and half expect to see her. But I know I won’t. 

I loved being near her. I loved her bubbly presence I felt. She loved me as soon as she met me. She talked to me right away like we already knew each other very well.

 She was my coworker but I love her like a close friend. If she was my family or friend outside of work I still wouldn’t love her more. She was always a friend to me. And my pain shatters me completely and is unreal. It’s all encompassing and takes over every aspect of me sometimes.  Sometimes I can’t believe this pain. Sometimes I wonder how anyone can survive it. It reminds me of my physical pain disorder when it flares up to unbearable levels. Grief is still easier to handle than my physical head pain even though it’s not less painful. But some aspects are incredibly similar. The magnitude of the pain of both the headache & the grief is unfathomable.

 But I go on and on and keep her with me.  And she is still a significant part of me.  She’s no less a part of me than when she was alive. I never go a single day without thinking of her. She’s always on my mind. I always feel her here within. I don’t see or talk to her anymore and know I never will again and I don’t believe she can see or hear me but I keep my memories of her and my love for her close and the love she had for me still lives in me. I rebuild my self to make room for this grief I now live with. Grief & gratitude and grief & joy and grief & happiness can live together. Side by side. Harmoniously.

I don’t want anyone else to die like this and I don’t want anyone else to suffer like us over a loss like this. It’s bullshit. There are worse ways to die and worse ways to lose someone but it’s still bullshit that this happens to people. 

 I want people to see her face and read her name and read how loving and beautiful she was. And I want anyone who has lost someone, maybe a friend or coworker or pet or mom or neighbor, anyone, to feel less alone. And anyone who has suffered a traumatic loss or some other trauma to feel some sense of consolation. Sometimes reading someone else’s experience can be comforting or inspiring or empowering. 

Sometimes I’m so angry about it. Not as frequently as when her death occurred. But still sometimes I feel like screaming “fuck you” to no one in particular. I’m not angry at a person or her for dying. Or at the uni-verse or some god. I accept the fact that Diane is dead, I have never denied it, but I don’t like it. I don’t feel that it’s unfair. It can happen to anyone and would be just as bad if it were someone else, someone I don’t know, and we’ll all probably go at one point one way or another. Some people are blessed to live to be 80 years old or older and die of old age while others unfortunately die much too young. It’s just the way it goes and always has been. But sometimes I am furious about the situation. I feel like how dare this happen. She was 58 years old and could have lived many more years. Isn’t this bullshit? 

“Fuck” is exactly what Diane would have been yelling! Lol Unfuckingbelievable!

It is Unfuckingbelievable. There’s no other word for it.

I can still find laughter in my grief. 

In a way, I don’t feel as if I really lost anything because I got to know her in the first place. Our lives could have never crossed but they did so it’s not a complete loss, I still have her love with me and my memories. So instead of mostly dwelling on what I lost, I think of the blessing this life bestowed upon me when it gifted me with our friendship and I focus on that and my gratitude. Why dwell on what has been snatched away when I can instead more frequently give thanks for what has been “given” to me.  And her beautiful family is still here to keep her memory alive so a big part of her still lives. 

My heart goes out to all those people who have lost someone to a heart condition(or any way at all – grief is the worst pain there probably is, at least for many…). It’s one of the most common ways people die and it sucks! Let’s keep the memory of their beautiful hearts in our own loving hearts, always. ❤ ❤

I hope anyone who is suffering with grief will remember grief is the price we pay for love. It's an indication that we are touched by those no longer here on Earth with us. But even with seemingly unbearable pain over our loss/es, we can still eventually be happy, grateful, full of laughter & joy along with our terrible pain and grief. Grief and missing someone and happiness and gratitude are not mutually exclusive. We can miss them terribly and be sad but still be generally very happy. 

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In Loving Memory of our beautiful Diane, July 14th, 1956 – February 14th, 2015 </3 ❤
I wish most of the healing energy and thoughts and things to her friends & family who knew and love her outside of work, her three sons and her grandchildren who she was very close with and her siblings…as hard as it is for me I know in some ways it must be even harder for them. 

 I'm so shocked and thrilled the song "Rhythm of My Heart" started playing as I was writing about dedicating it to Diane! Then again! Lol I was writing a post to dedicate it to her a while ago but never posted it and saved it for now. My playlist was on shuffle as I was writing the previous post, back then! And it came on randomly just as I was dedicating it to her! Then as I'm writing this one, it started playing again! ❤ ❤

Sweet! ❤ 😀

Hugs & love to you! ❤
Xoxo Kim

Earth angels <3

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The last few days and especially yesterday have been extremely difficult for me. People have been criticizing me in a destructive way saying I have been in a “bad mood” and snippy but they have no idea what is going on in my head. This is more than a bad mood. Each negative, critical thing they say about and to me only serves to cut me deeper. 

I am reminded even more how important  kindness is. It’s good anyway but we don’t always know when someone is suffering and one kind word can be so healing and one vicious word can be so destructive if we let it be. It can contribute to the suffering.

Valentine’s Day was my close friend’s favorite holiday. I love all the candy hearts and roses and pretty stuff in the stores but it was never a big day to me. I never seriously loved it necessarily as a holiday and never dreaded it like many do. It’s just another day, a holiday for commercialism and consumerism but I really don’t care. I think it’s sweet when people like to celebrate it. It was one of Diane’s most special days. And guess what? She was at work (I took off that day for a meditation retreat) last year on that day and her heart just stopped. Forever. 

In almost ten years I never went more than a week without seeing her.

The agony comes in waves. One minute in my head it’s like “I got this, I can handle this” then the very next minute it’s like “Oh wait, no I can’t! I can’t do this” and the wind is knocked out of me then it’s back to “oh yeah I can handle it” on & on. It feels like blades are cutting me up inside. 

At some moments I feel that if it were physical pain, it would feel like an emergency, I would think I’m dying and need an emergency room. But it’s not physical, even though it feels almost physical, and I know what it is. I am not dying. 

I have nothing inspiring to say about it. And I won’t even pretend to always see the light in it.

I saw her son recently and he’s dreading the day. They were very close.

It’s so good to see him. 

My mind is somewhere else these days. In some distant place. I’m very forgetful and can’t concentrate on what is before me. 

Last night I was out shopping and I met a couple Earth angels.

I saw this little lady pushing a shopping cart and I felt drawn to her for some reason. She had a big smile on her face and I wanted to say hello. So I walked closer to her and smiled and looked her in the eyes but I quickly looked down because I was overcome in shyness and then felt kind of embarrassed for approaching her because she doesn’t know me but she said very cheerfully “hello, how are you?” like it’s the most natural, expected thing to have a stranger approach just to be friendly, and her smile was brighter still and a spark lit up her eyes. I felt so healed. So comforted. What a beautiful reminder that people are often more receptive than we may think they are. So many are ready to connect with each other, even “strangers” if only we reach out. And even if they aren’t receptive, so what?! I’m so happy I found those few seconds of courage to initiate contact! 😀 ❤

Thank you, lovely little lady. ❤

Another lady, who works in the store, saw me carrying cat food and told me it's on sale tomorrow in case I want to put it back until then but I needed it then because we're all out! But I deeply appreciate her kindness. I did not get a shopping cart and was by myself and later I was having difficulty carrying all the stuff to the register and she saw me and helped me! Again, another act of kindness! So sweet! ❤

I saw a little girl and her dad shopping as well and her dad was carrying a big bag of dog food and telling her, "this is your dinner tonight" and she burst out laughing saying "no daddy, that's dog food!" and he was laughing and said "nope, it's your dinner" and the little girl laughed harder. It seriously brightened my whole night and I couldn't help but smile and giggle myself. Even now as I write this. Sometimes just being our own self can inspire and uplift someone. 😀

Today I also encountered a few Earth angels.

Today, walking to work, I saw a delivery man and he said hello to me and told me to have a great day! How can I not now?! ;-D

I also saw one of my customers on the street and it's so sweet getting to talk to her! 

When I got to work my boss' mom was there, she's 80 something years old, and she was talking to a bunch of men and said very loudly "money talks & bullshit walks! No truer words were ever spoken!" lol It's so funny!

So many sweet people all around! I just love them!! ❤

These Earth angels remind me to be the best me I can be for others, we never know who we may be touching or how deeply with just being us and doing simple acts of kindness. ❤

Also I'm reminded that if we truly look and remain open, we will see Earth angels everywhere around us. Everywhere. 

I haven't been being my most loving self. I have been very pissed and devastated and that's ok but I'm reminded to not let those overwhelming emotions conquer me into being bitter and unkind and to instead allow my usual compassionate, loving self to prevail. ❤

Look what I found!

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Yum! :-p 😀 Just for me!

I’m still happy and still find things to laugh hysterically about everyday! I love being easily amused! 😀

"Money talks
But it don't sing and dance
And it don't walk
And long as I can have you
Here with me, I'd much rather be
Forever in blue jeans"

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"Honey's sweet
But it ain't nothin' next to baby's treat
And if you pardon me
I'd like to say
We'll do okay
Forever in blue jeans"

Lol

~Hugs~

Much love & light, always. ❤ ❤ 

xoxo Kim

When the sun comes out again….<3

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“It felt like spring time on this February morning
In a courtyard birds were singing your praise
I’m still recalling things you said to make me feel alright
I carried them with me today”

I found this fortune on the floor near the door when I walked into work today. It brightened my day and made me smile. And it reminds me to smile at the very next person I look at (which I did! And he smiled back! 😀 ). 

Last night I had difficulty sleeping. My grief kept me awake. It tends to do that some nights.
But my adorable dogs know when I’m in serious pain whether it’s physical or emotional and they show me extra love. Lol It’s so cute!! ❤

One of the strange things about grief is how one moment it can be quiet, soft, mellow, calm, easy to bear then the very next moment it can be raw, agonizing, violent, nearly unbearable. It appears and reappears for many of us as long as we live, no matter how long ago the loss occurred. I still feel this for my dog who died of old age in 2013 and others I knew and love.

Last night I was thinking about how in just a few weeks, it will be the first anniversary of my close friend/coworker's unexpected death. It has been a long exhausting journey of grief this last year. Full of beauty & pain. Light & darkness. Love & hope.  
One year is just a social construct and it seems strange and interesting to think about it. Our society places so much importance on anniversaries each year.  This can be good or be very painful. Or both? 

My grief exacerbates to nearly unbearable levels off and on throughout my days. And while it's so hard sometimes, I know that's ok. It will be like that. I no longer try to battle it usually. It's not something to be battled. 

It's just a natural reaction to our losses. So I let it appear, do what it will, and then mellow out to the more bearable levels until the next raw flare up whenever it may be. 

Sometimes I still have trouble doing this though. Sometimes I want to resist that grief that hurts so much. 

Last night as I laid down to sleep, it just hit me. So unexpectedly. My beautiful friend never leaves my mind and my grief never leaves me either. But like I said, my grief now is usually bearable. 

But last night as I thought of the first anniversary approaching, the pain came at me like daggers piercing every square inch of my being. I thought of all the beautiful days we shared together in the last decade. All the love she has shown me and the love I still have for her and always will. But last night the happy memories weren't enough to soothe the pain. In some way, they even worsened it. Somehow though, I finally drifted off to sleep with her beautiful face across my mind. 

“Oh darlin’ as I lay me down to sleep
This I pray, that you will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper your name into the sky
And I will wake up happy”

Today I woke up still in that terrible raw state of grief. It's worse than when she died because at least back then the shock of her unexpected death protected me against the agony that was soon coming. But when I think of her, when I speak her name, it's so healing. 

As I sat at work today, a memory came to me. It was the Summer before she died. It was July, just after her 58th birthday. I was 28 years old. Diane always treated me like her own daughter. We stood together by the soda boxes in the store I work at. Her job was in the bar kitchen across the street. But she came over to the store to help me when it was busy. She absolutely loved to help people. She was a very giving person.

She often came over just to talk to me or bring me food and tell me something funny. She was hilarious, so full of life. Diane bragged about me to others constantly and always told me how wonderful I am and how she loved me. She was so proud of her sons and always sharing stories about her grandkids. She was so full of love. 
I always loved how she referred to her boys as "My Thomas" and "My Matthew" and "My Daniel" 
She would scold me when she thought I was doing something not good for myself like if she thought I was not eating enough food. She was always making me food and bringing it to me. 

My sweet, sweet friend. I miss her like crazy. The pain is almost physical. 

I always felt so close to her. 

I remember her black hair blowing in the swirl of the air the fan was blowing that day. I remember her white t-shirt and long denim shorts. And her beautiful voice.

There is nothing significant about this memory. It just came to me in one of my worst moments of grief and stood out. I love how it's just a simple memory of a mundane part of an ordinary day, yet it's so vivid in my mind. 

And it's a memory only I have of us together that day. There was no one else here. It feels so unique. But now it's written in stone, for the world to see at any moment of any day. And for that I am thankful.

Today I walked over to the soda box where we stood that day. I longed for her. I longed to feel her near me. My arms ached to hug her. 

 And as my grief reached its pinnacle and I felt it would destroy me and I was so tempted to repress and deny it, instead I let it ripple through me in agonizing waves. I let my body writhe in agony, I let myself keel over as I clutched my chest which felt like it held something inside physically breaking, as I thought of how I'll never see her again, how she'll never live again, never work again, never see her sons and family and friends again. Never again feel the wind blowing through her dark black hair. I thought of her hearing aids and how she'll never again reach up to adjust them. She'll never again eat her favorite strawberry ice cream or drink her favorite soda, which is also my favorite. Coca Cola. We both have always loved it and we both wouldn't drink Pepsi if Coca Cola was sold out. Lol Instead we drank Mt. Dew. 

So I let the pain break me. As much as I wanted to resist it. I let it break me. Then I allowed myself to steal away into the stillness around me and within, the quietude, the spaciousness, the emptiness, that awaits beyond the worst of the pain. The still of this cold, desolate  afternoon enveloped me in a soothing, exhilarating kind of way, giving me life & hope. 

And I felt beauty. I felt calm. Love. Whole. I felt her in my loving memories and I felt healed to a certain point. Grief, for many of us never completely heals but that's ok. 

It will appear and reappear and rise and fall. It will scream some moments, loud and vicious and terrible. And other moments it will softly arise in our self, floating gently and sadly but beautifully across our essence. Sometimes the happy memories will shatter us to pieces and other moments they will put us back together and help heal the darkest pain. And it's all ok. But it won't always feel ok. And that's ok too.

I was so tempted to only see the ugly in my grief today but I remembered my vow to this year refine my ability to see beauty in every moment, even the seemingly ugly ones. To deepen my sense of beauty and strengthen my philosophy of life that life is beautiful even in its darkest moments. 

So I let myself stand in quiet and calm and felt the beauty rise and surge within and consume me in its glow. 

And it was all ok again. 
And all will be ok again.

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Acceptance is a beautiful thing. It beautifies the world. We can accept our things that can't be changed and just go with the flow. And even things that can be changed, we can accept that things happen that aren't good while trying our best to help it. Acceptance doesn't mean we don't try to help it. It just means we allow whatever will be, to be and move forward doing the best we can, the best we know how. 

I accept my grief and my loss. And I move forward and try to help others in any way I can, often through my writing here & sharing inspiring posts. If it just touches one person, even in some small way, it's truly amazing. ❤ ❤

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“It’s not too near for me
Like a flower I need the rain
Though its not clear to me
Every season has its change
And I will see you
When the sun comes out again”
~
 Sophie B. Hawkins – As I Lay Me Down 

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I’m wishing you much love & light today and always,

~Hugs~

Xoxo Kim 

Smile because she has lived <3

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She Is Gone (He Is Gone)

“You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”
~
David Harkins ❤ 😀

This poem is deeply inspiring to me. What the author suggests can be so difficult but it's worth the struggle and some occasions will be easier than other occasions. The poem can be comforting in grief but also apply to life in general. It's very hard to put a positive spin on death, grief, tragedy, and loss. But it is possible to see a glimmer of hope and light in it. And often necessary to aid in healing. 

And with life in general, it's good to remember there's often a bright side to even the most unfortunate situations and if not we can create one. If we still just cannot see a positive side to something itself, we can focus on other good things there are in life in general. This doesn't cure all problems but makes them easier to bear and just brings joy into our hearts in the midst of the sorrow. 

I just love this poem! ❤ ❤ ❤

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My heart goes out to all who struggle with grief, heartache, and loss of a person or pet, depression or physical pain/sickness. ❤ ❤ Grief is one of the worst kinds of pain someone can experience. I don't think there's anything worse whether it's the loss of a human or animal friend. And chronic pain conditions whether physical or depression can also be extremely difficult to handle. 

Like the poem says though, for all those lost, let's smile because they have lived. Let's carry their love and light in our hearts always.

Death cannot take away the love we have for them and the love they had for us.

Let's smile for them, love for them, live for them, and keep them alive in our memories forever. ❤ ❤ Let’s display some of their positive qualities whenever we can.

And for any problems we have, let's do whatever it takes to see that light glimmering in the darkness. Even when it's just a faint flickering. 

Look at the vastness of all the darkness of a midnight sky, it seems never ending, all the blackness. But just one small star is bright enough to shine through it all. 

“Into the darkness I fade. May my light lead me through.”

“The light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion. The tunnel is.” 

Much love & light to you, always. ❤

Xoxo Kim