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Sometimes I Get Frustrated

February 23, 2015

Have you ever noticed how long it takes to purchase a vehicle? How about a new cell phone? I swear signing a contract to submit an offer on a home is much easier!need my space

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are looking for a home. You ask around and get a referral for a Realtor® that your friends liked working with. (me) You meet with this Realtor® and definitely decide, yes, she will be perfect! (me) She sends you a number of listings to your email, you get together and take a look at a few homes, and voila! You have found your new nest, thanks to that Realtor® (me) You use the line that you have been waiting to use for years, “let’s write an offer!” and you say this with glee. You go to where you are now living and start packing, while your Realtor® (me) goes to the office, types up the contract, emails it to you and you e-sign. That Realtor® (me) made this entire experience delightful.

My iPhone went black on me on Friday. And by black, I mean it would not even beep at me, let alone pretend that all it needed was a charge. We are all at the point in our lives that our electronic devices are akin to a limb. So, off to the Verizon store I go, but this also means I have to drive to – eegads! – Mall Land. But I have to tell you, the Verizon store on Milwaukee rocks. The staff there knows their stuff. I walk in with an iPhone a friend gave me, hoping and wishing that phone will work to activate. No, it is an AT&T phone, won’t work. Rats. I was sent to a nearby store that will exchange it and sell me a nice refurbished phone. I head over (thank goodness it was walking distance) and wait and wait. I get a credit for the phone I walked in with and get a newer phone. Now I have to go back to Verizon. This time my wait is not so long but in the process I grow a few new grey hairs. The phone restarts itself twice. Back to the other store to check the battery and get a new one or whatever they did. Time lapse: 2.75 hours of my day.

The last time I was involved in a car purchase was with Paul. We even had the car picked out. But, no lie, that purchase took more than two hours. Never mind the drive there and the drive back because we went to Mountain Home.

Sometimes I wish people would just cut to the chase. Maybe I am in a frame of mind right now that the added BS is intolerable. If I seem frustrated sometimes, please do forgive me. I am still at a loss over my loss.

I have learned a few things about myself in the months that have followed Paul’s death. I need my friends but I need my space. I am more comfortable hiking by myself but if I run in to you on the trail, I welcome the company. Sometimes I just want to run away, sometimes I want to be in the crowd.  I am more at ease in silence these days.

Someday soon I will have music on again.

#cuttothechase #loss #grieving #grief

Miracles Really Do Happen

February 16, 2015

Last week was one of those I-cannot-believe-it weeks. I had a lesson to learn, and it was humbling, to say the least.

miracles happen

I had a mega cry on Friday night a week ago, and I have no idea what set it off. It doesn’t really matter because in grief you are okay one minute and not okay the next. It is so weird but you do get used to it. You welcome the tears because they bring relief. So, my grand idea at the end of this mega cry was to just run away. Get the heck out of town for the weekend, yes! I packed a bag and called a few friends in McCall. I had not yet been up to Valley County since Paul passed away and I needed the beauty of McCall, the water, the scenery, and my friends up there that I had not yet connected with.

On Saturday, I set sail, sort to speak. I love the drive to Valley County. I used to joke I could drive that in my sleep. I always know at one certain turn I will enter the Long Valley and just breathe differently. A sigh and sign of relief that I am home again, home in the mountains.

My first stop was at Pam’s in Lake Fork. I was looking forward to hanging out and telling her all that had happened to me, sharing with her how I felt, and talking about how I was dealing with it all. I can now share my story and not be upset or angry. Big step, folks. Big step for me. As the early evening passed, I decided to stay the night at Pam’s rather than head in to McCall to Ellen and Matt’s. I sent Ellen a text that I was staying in Lake Fork; Ellen replied “have a great time”. I did and I let that sign of relief take over. I shared my story with Pam and we laughed and cried. An early night led to an early morning.

I made my way in to McCall the next day and stopped at the Shore Lodge to have lunch with another friend, Deb, and talk with her. After that, I walked in to town to a few businesses to get auction items for my upcoming fundraiser. I arrived at Ellen and Matt’s to find them both kicking back from the long week of Winter Carnival activities. And, then….Ellen told me a crazy story about the night before. The last Saturday night of the McCall Winter Carnival features fireworks at the conclusion. That Saturday was rainy and miserable. People sought cover where they could and naturally, cover at their brew pub overlooking the marina. Ellen told me that at one point she looked over to Matt and he was pointing his finger but she could not figure out what he meant.

Then, a woman, soaking wet from the rain, walked up to her. This woman asked Ellen, “Do you know of a place that has a warm bed for the night?” Ellen exclaimed, “Well as a matter of fact, we do, we have a friend who cancelled staying with us, so stay with us!”

Now at this point, I interrupted Ellen and put my two cents of judgment in the conversation. Last Fall Paul and I allowed a stranger to stay the night and the experience was, well let’s say it was not great. I quickly stopped myself and told Ellen I am sorry, please finish your story. It dawned on me that she and Matt were very generous and took at chance to help a complete stranger. This stranger told them she had a head injury from a terrible car accident, her difficulties since then and her current situation. But she just wanted “to see the ice sculptures at the Winter Carnival”. This woman probably hitchhiked to McCall due to her circumstances. Just to get away, just like me.

On my drive home, all I could think of was, shoot, why did I interrupt Ellen? Just because I had a bad experience doesn’t mean someone else will. Ellen and Matt were generous, giving, and compassionate. I was being judgmental. That is not how I want to be. I realized my lesson took a few facets: one, I was in a worse mood than I thought; two, I was not listening mindfully and three, I was quick to assume and/or judge. I felt my lesson was to breathe a few more breaths and listen better. My lesson was to appreciate the goodness of the situation. My lesson was to remember to listen more mindfully. Lesson learned.

Or so I thought. But not quite…..

Two days later, I decided to walk from my downtown office to the Boise Co-Op for a healthy lunch. On my way back, just passing St Joe’s School, a woman stepped out of the shadows and mumbled something. I did not hear what she said and I asked her to repeat it. “Can you spare a few dollars? I need help right now. I had a head injury and I cannot work” At that point, I thought NO WAY!! I stopped her and asked, “Were you in McCall last weekend?”

Can you even believe it! She said, yes. And, I told her I was the reason she had a warm bed, a warm shower and a roof over your head on Saturday night. And, to myself, I thought, no way!! No way!

What are the odds that I would really meet this woman? What the heck! I had a twenty and a five in my wallet. I gave her the five and we walked a few blocks together. When we parted, I gave her the twenty. Heck, it was only a twenty! Big deal. In the grand scheme of things, I did not need it as much as she did. As much as Bess did. Her name is Bess.

Bess crossed the street and when I looked back, she had disappeared as fast as she had come out of the shadows. I cannot tell you how struck I was, but what I did know immediately was that I needed her to step out of those shadows to soften my heart and finish that lesson.

Can you even believe it? I still can’t but I am so very grateful I met Bess. Thank you, God. Thank you, Universe. Amazing.

#grief #universeteachinglesson #dontjudge #beopen #lessonlearned

Stains on Clothes are Memories

February 9, 2015

How does it happen anyway? Every single time I wear a light color, I inevitably spill something, That something is usually salsa, coffee or salad dressing, the three major sources of stains on my clothes. I used to get a bit irritated when this happened. Rats! Another blouse or shirt ruined! Until one fine day, I realized that stains on clothes are memories.

Stanley Lake, Idaho Paul with dogs

Stanley Lake, Idaho
Paul with dogs

My favorite fleece zip up top, white no less, stained with greasy salad dressing. Not that the salad dressing was overly greasy but olive oil and balsamic vinegar with Dijon just happened to have that stain effect. This happened camping with Paul the first time we spent time in Lower Stanley. Stanley, Idaho was one of his very favorite places to find peace that was close to home and easily accessible. We actually rented a six person tent just so we could accommodate ourselves and our three dogs. Don’t laugh! It worked perfectly! One thing we laughed about after our trip was that no matter what, every time we got back to camp, a downpour followed. We always had the safety of cover and during the longest storm, we took a lovely nap. It was a long holiday weekend that will always have amazing memories.

Then there is that brand new dress I wore when we went out to celebrate the closing on his house in the Lower Highlands. I treated him for dinner, too. A girl gets the best ever compliments when she treats her man. For one thing, a guy is not used to their gal picking up the tab, at least not in my age group. He beamed that night, so much so that I can’t even remember what the food group the stain is from.

A brand new, button down blouse. I was attempting to be more business-like so I decided button down blouses would be the way to achieve that look. I went to Sierra Trading Post and purchase a number of gorgeous blouses in incredible colors. All with one of those crazy discount coupons that STP emails.  Kerplat! Salsa at dinner at an unnamed restaurant to keep my secret, favorite restaurant under cover. Totally worth it because they have the best, ever carne asada. Red tomato salsa as bright as a neon light.

That is the dinner that I taught Paul that stains on clothes are memories. From that point forward, we always looked at stains to determine their origin. Laughter always followed. My memories with Paul are filled with laughter and joy. Grief can come in waves but my memories are always there.

May laughter follow then next time you find yourself with a stain on your clothes. I guarantee you will find joy.joy

#joy #stainsonclothes #laughter #grief

Understanding – Letting Go – Forgiveness

February 2, 2015

I just finished one heck of a week. From my Monday night grief group, to gearing up for an annual event for Expedition Inspiration, followed by the profound wisdom of a good friend. An offhanded remark shed a great deal of light for me about forgiveness. And then I was able to share that enlightenment with another friend Friday morning. She offered me more insight which touched my heart and soul in this healing process. Full circle.understanding-lettinggo-forgiveness

First of all, thank you, Dawn. You literally helped me with reach that epiphany during our conversation on the way home from the airport. I am picking you up more often! You just never know when you have those “ah ha” moments or when you just suddenly get “it”.

I finally admitted to myself that I was holding on to promises that became attachments. Those attachments were holding me back from letting go. That held me back from being able to forgive. Are you following me? I don’t want to hold a grudge. That isn’t me. I want to be free of that anchor.

The grief group last Monday night is what started this all in motion. The topic was Forgiveness. That sure made me squirm in my chair. The leader gave us slips of paper and each slip had advice on forgiveness that we were to read aloud. Here is what mine said:

Forgiveness

Wow, right? I have been struggling with forgiveness. I thought that because I went to great lengths to find a way of understanding what happened to me, that it allowed me let go of what was angering me. I did not want to hold on to that negative energy. And, even though I felt as if I did come to understand other perspectives of the situation, I was still uneasy.

Dawn said this to me, “Hey, you are human, not super human”. Yep, she nailed it. I was pushing myself in to thinking what I thought was forgiveness on my part.  I was not letting myself just be me; I was trying too hard to be strong. When the thoughts crept in to my mind, I did find a way to breathe and get back to the present moment. But the thoughts were still haunting me.

I was troubled because I had not found a way to let myself let it go, and to let go of an outcome that I felt great sorrow for. I was hanging on to an attachment of an expectation that did weigh me down. Because I had not found a way to say, “I forgive you” out loud. I will now.

I am so sorry that we grieved in ways that created a conflict. I am very sorry that you are suffering right now. Please forgive me. I do forgive you.

#understanding #lettinggo #forgiveness #grief

It’s Another Great Day

January 26, 2015
tags: ,

This may sound cliché, but what the heck. It is another great day. Ever since Paul left this planet, life has dramatically changed for me. From happily living with him in a classic rancher in the Lower Highlands, to packing and moving. Being a human yo-yo is the pits. But reality was that I had to move eventually, right? So, I moved.

But you know what? It is another great day. The sun finally came out. I appreciate the weather matching my abundancemelancholy mood but enough of the grey! I think the sun helped me remember the things in life that gave me joy.

Taking baby steps, I am finding myself doing activities that are enjoyable. Hiking the trails with Zeke in the Boise Foothills and talking to the people we meet. I am unpacked to the point of having my artwork hung on the walls. I am cooking again, in my happy place, a kitchen. I am making plans – trips for the summer! I have been to the mountains for much needed rest and relaxation.  I am able to sit and meditate which brings me great peace.

I am laughing again, too.  I laugh after a good cry. I laugh at my dog’s antics. I laugh at things when I think, oh Paul would have loved that.

I notice things in my environment with new eyes. Sunrises and sunsets. Stars in the sky. The phase of the moon. Cloud shapes that look as if they were a huge wave in the sky. Birds that fly above in formation or no formation – depends on the species.  It’s amazing how many heart shaped rocks you can find if you just look.

It is another great day.

#grief #loss #grieving #livinglife

 

Don’t Play Games

January 19, 2015
tags: , ,

I have been on a learning path the past two months, and what a path it has been!  I learned by trial and error, that in order to function I had to let go of things. I had to release myself of some commitments, to change my mindset about where I live, and even relinquish friendships that are not healthy. For instance, I have found myself now living in a 500 square foot studio. I am guessing on the actual square footage, too. But you know what? It is “me”. It is so cozy! It is private and close to my beloved Boise Foothills trails. I am grateful I found this place to land.it's up to you

This past week I took a giant leap of faith in myself. I attended a grief group through St. Luke’s Health System. I really, truly almost chickened out on going at all. But one of the facilitators personally asked me to join this group session. I could not possibly let her down. She is an amazing woman that believes in healing and the healing process itself. She knows more than me right now.

I’m not going to sugar coat this, it was not easy to stop fidgeting in my chair as we went around the circle, each of us telling our story as briefly as we could. By the time it was my turn – and of course, I was last! – I could barely talk. Me, not talk!

I learned on Monday night the power of telling the story. Each person had a different version of what happened to them and each was equally touching. As well as very powerful. There were some very strong folks in this room, each in the throes of grief and yet each reaching out to heal.

Which brings me to my point for this post. Telling the story is as important as listening to a story. Through my faith and my practice, I am listening better these days. And it feels great! How am I doing this, you ask? I went to dinner the other night and left my phone in my car. If someone calls me on the phone, I close my laptop. I put my phone on silent long before I enter a movie theater. I no longer put my cell phone in my pocket for my daily hike with my dog, Zeke.

I listen better to others, to the world outside, to life. It has become a rewarding habit. Try it.

#listen #grief #healing #loss

Dear Paul,

January 12, 2015

I thought of letting you know that I am feeling so much better than when you left before Thanksgiving. And yet, even though every day is better, every day is still difficult. I miss you so much.love yr letters

I kept busy in the first two weeks by surviving. I won’t go in to details, but suffice to say that I had to deal with the added trauma of dealing with another’s anger.  Anger is a monster that holds us back in life if we let it take hold. You helped me learn that through our Buddhist practice. I was determined to find a way to let go of that anger that I found myself having. I learned a way of understanding the situation from that person’s perspective, even though it was difficult for me. My mantra now is to take a deep breath, and return to the present moment when those thoughts creep their way back in my head.

After a few weeks, I had to begin to pack up my life in our house. Good grief, I had no idea how much stuff I had! I thought I did a good job of giving things away or selling them the last time I moved. Well, let me tell you, I had more to donate this time around. I somehow managed to fit my new life in to a 500 square foot studio. You would love it; it reminds me of our sunroom. It has a private entrance and courtyard, a light filled living space that was formerly a one car garage and a cozy bedroom off that living space. My plants are taking in the natural light! I am grateful for the place to live and the privacy I am enjoying.

Interestingly enough, I have been going to see movies a great deal more than we did. I found the pass we purchased for The Flicks and have used it wisely. Every time the movie is over, I say “thank you, Paul” out loud. Cracks everyone up! I have been reading books people have given or suggested, and even returned a book that just did not resonate with me. I hike daily with Zeke and sometimes other dogs; it just depends on who I run in to or who joins me. I did lose some weight, and I know that this part of grief is inevitable.

My real estate business is steady and I continue to love my part time job with Expedition Inspiration Fund . I am so grateful to have found a job for an organization that I have passion about. Everything I learned about marketing in real estate I can cross over to this organization. It is FUN to be able to be really creative again.

I have been writing a great deal on my blog and in a journal app on my iPad. Writing has been a tremendous source of consolation and peace. The sentences that I have written in just this post but deleted go in to my journal. {smirk} Some things are better left unwritten on the internet.

But most of all, I miss you very much. The void seems unrelenting right now. I know the cliché about time making things better. I trust that it will and deep down, I know it will.

I love you, Paul. I always will. Please visit some time in a dream, ok?

 

#grief #grieving #loss #lossoflovedone #love

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