Changes – It’s Still All About Acceptance and Self Love


“Evening Song” www.sfago.com

I always recoil when anyone says, “at your age ….”, “It’s expected at your age…” or a diagnosis of “age-related”. to which I respond, “OK, but what would be causing this if I were young?” And then I have been able to find a satisfactory solution, usually on my own. Until recently.

I have reached a time in my life that is bringing perhaps an inkling of changes that are probably pretty close and maybe even here now, if I choose to acknowledge them.

I have a paint buddy that I met in 2014. We were immediately best friends and we’ve rarely done plein air painting or travel relative to paint workshops or paint outs, art shows, gallery trips without each other. I’ve grown close to her and consider her one of of my two best (nonfamily) friends. She is several years younger than me, I’m in my 80s and she in her 70s. She is still traveling internationally and has a higher level of energy.

I don’t want to hold her back from doing painting events, because I’m unable, knowing we can modify what and where we do some things together. She’s a lesson in loyalty and I realized yesterday that I need to make her feel comfortable with looking for a new paint buddy but first I have to work through my own feelings about this and at this moment I’m having a difficult time facing that. I’ll miss the very special times and making memories, our painting relationship, experiences and the closeness that goes with creating memories and just the fun of painting with her in situations that are highly unlikely to happen again. I imagine dynamics will change, proximity, time together will probably change and will our wonderful friendship change? I expect it to continue to be meaningful in other ways. We have a lot of fun memories.

Choosing is sometimes a little easier than being forced to let go so am trying to use that perspective to face the end of an era, a change caused by some new limitations in my life, and probably not in the too-distant-future, hers as well. Painting is my passion and still consumes my thoughts and time but in my studio now.

I’d like to, in fact, plan to travel to paint again and need to find my own comfort level. I have now and have always had an abhorrence, even an inability of feel that I’m being a burden to anyone. Now I’m faced with needing to deal with that and find a way to accept that it’s ok to ask for help or, with forewarning to my buddy, friends and family, of my less energetic self. I know that it could sometimes hold someone else back and concerned that I would make them uncomfortable and impatient. I have to remind myself that these are more likely my feelings – not theirs. Yikes! Admitting that I’m not the person I want to be or used to be? That I’ve become less? Again I have to remind myself that I’m more than my energy level. I have the same issue no matter when, where or who – I’ve always pushed through as much as possible but can no longer stretch myself. When I’ve hit the wall, I’m done and it’s often inconvenient to me and have a difficult time involving others in that.

I’ve been isolating, partly because much of the time I don’t have the wherewithal to leave my home, but also waiting for a time when I would be able to keep up comfortably. I finally realize that I’m going to have to admit to myself and others the possibility, in fact reality, that I have a new pace. I’m hoping – and quite sure they’ll understand, and that they also have a choice and can opt out of anything, no harm, no foul. Giving that “out” to them is easy for me to do and accept. I also need to accept the possibility that I may have to opt out last minute – and that’s difficult for me to accept ! No harm, no foul for me? Yikes!

Is slowing down such a bad thing? I suppose not. I still walk briskly and have a pretty sharp mind. It’s subtle changes in desires, actions and staying power. Maybe that is part of aging? Maybe not? I have a feeling that I’ve been in denial and those close to me already get and accept it. After all, I do have a head of white hair and that is hopefully associated with wisdom, discrimination and maturity – and slowing down. I think I need to concentrate on that description of my changes. I have loving family and friends around me who are eager to be together. That’s all that really matters. So what am I concerned about? Nothing serious going on here! Isn’t part of life just acceptance of constant changes?

Other changes in my life that were monumental and real life-changers at the time are now, as part of my past, remembered mostly with very little, if any, emotion. This change has been more insidious, occurring rather slowly and somehow immense and accepted with more resistance; I think because I am equating it to moving toward the end of life as I know it and that I love so much. But other changes were really no different? Yes! Because now I’m closer to the end of my life. Period! And I love my life! But I’ve milked it and am still having a wonderful time and I’m past my expiration date.

So just another change – really nothing new. Only what I decide to attach to it. Perspectives?

Self love, acceptance. Remember, Sharon! Self love, acceptance. And then Joy and Gratefulness!

Carpe diem!

And Namaste,

My Son – My Prayer


Thanksgiving Day 2015

Rich is still with us and we have that and much more to be grateful for!  He’s having more issues, was in the hospital for 2 days but discharged and was seen at Compass Oncology yesterday.  His daughter and granddaughter arrive today to visit for a few days.  His sons and their families will be here December 3 and we’ll have our Christmas then.  The tree goes up today and we’re looking forward to a precious family day.

I hope that for all of you as well.

Thank you so much for all of your support, prayers, wonderful notes and for sharing the link. We appreciate all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Rich, Brooklyn and Silas

Rich, Brooklyn and Silas Please share this link – help make it go viral! Thank you! https://www.gofundme.com/RichardHart

After a sleepless night of praying, sending good energy and healing to my son, vacillating between shock, numbness, deep grief and yes, fear, I’m writing…my therapy and release.

I’ve read Michael Singer’s book, The Surrender Experience and trying to understand and put into practice what I’m learning.   I don’t want this extremely painful lesson in surrender.

For almost 9 years now, my 54-year-old son has been in unrelenting pain in his back and leg from an unfortunate accident when he was in his early 20’s and a back surgery that increased his problems rather  than helping.   He has been on some pretty heavy pain and anti-inflammatory drugs and for most of this time has tried to get off of them, unsuccessfully.

He’s lived 4 years of his greatest happiness – and reason to keep going – with his granddaughter, and a month ago, a precious little grandson, Silas.   Along with the joy of having Brooklyn in his life, he’s lived with the worst stress for the same four years because of an ongoing custody battle in a very corrupt and expensive court system.  It has taken its toll on every level of his life.

Two weeks ago, he called saying he had been in the Emergency Room with stroke symptoms, stroke being a side-effect of two of the medications he is on.    He had lost feeling in his entire right side, from the top of his head to the tips of his toes.  Although he had lost sensation on his right side and the vision in one eye was blurred when he looked to the side, his pain increased.  He had tried to go off one of his meds and when he restarted it, the symptoms decreased somewhat but didn’t disappear.  The exact scenario repeated a week later with another trip to the ER.  CT and other tests ruled out stroke and he was again released.

Yesterday, he called and said he was going to the ER again for an MRI because the symptoms were getting worse.  He said not to worry, it was the same thing as before but his doctor said he needed to be checked. As the afternoon progressed,  I got a call from his son saying that a CT had shown a very large mass on the left lobe of his brain.  Hours later, he was told it is an inoperable brain tumor, fast growing.

My mantra is – where there’s a will there’s a way.  He lives in another State and I’ll be traveling to be with him.  Rationally I know it’s not possible for me to fix this one but my heart says I must try.  Our family first-line remedies are food and prayer.  I’ve prayed all night.  If I believe what I say I believe – every thought is a prayer, I feel the need to stay positive and send only good energy.  I want to jump in the car and drive but it would take longer to get there than to fly out tomorrow.  I can hardly wait to be with him, make bone broth and green veggie smoothies for him….fill him with organic greens, grass-fed meats, free range eggs….. and on the other hand, I almost cannot stand the thought of seeing him in fear, pain, and knowing that without a miracle, his beautiful soul will be shedding this battered body.  I am struggling…really struggling.

My mind says this is happening and I can choose how I want to be, so be grateful and joyful that I’ve had all of my years with him.  But right now I feel helpless and what in the world can I do to help him and whatever will I do without his phone calls and texts, his wonderful love notes…..my heart is aching.  I think of several close friends and family who have lost children, a 3-year-old niece included, and wonder how their families survived.

I’ve had emotional conversations with my husband, my two sisters and with my other son and daughter who live near me. My daughter and I talked into the late evening hours,  a wonderful conversation, making decisions about how we want to navigate our part in Rich’s journey.  If this is truly happening,  if we’re going to lose Rich, we want to respect and support him in his transition back to God, be joyful and grateful, loving and appreciative of having his important soul in our lives for all of these years.

Right now those are just words that we’re trying desperately to connect to and believe – and live.

Right now, I’m in anguish and resistance and look forward to some respite – some moments of feeling numb and not comprehending that this is really happening to my precious son.

I’m still hoping there has been a mistake and this is just a bad dream…..

Please pray for us…and all who are going thru this and worse.  Please send strength, guidance, peace and healing to all who are in need.

God, please help me know what to say and do, how to make it through this….I want to truly trust, be able to love and support him through his last adventure here on earth.  I held my son when he entered this world and I will be honored to hold him when he transitions.  Just like when he was a kid and got scrapes on his knees..I will hug him and tell him he is OK…all is well…you are loved deeply…We’re here with you, Son…God is with you.  We won’t forget you.  You’ll be so deeply missed.  I’m so blessed to have you in my life and you will continue to be for as long as I live.

Thank you, God, that we have your peace and your comforting presence throughout his transition.

Morning is finally here!  Somehow things seem a little easier with morning light.  For a few moments at least…

I’m sending this out in hopes that collective good energy in thoughts and prayers from so many will help during this time.  Thank you!!

 

11/6/15 Update

Seems like another life ago since my life was normal and it has only been about 3 weeks.  After a week with him in the Hospital, I brought he and  his wife home with me to Washington State and we’re on a new adventure.  He was diagnosed with Stage IV Glioblastoma multiformae.  We are still trying to comprehend the speed of this aggressive nasty cancer.   He’s being seen at OHSU in Portland, by a Naturopathic Oncologist and a Nutritionist in Texas, Nutritional Solutions, who specializes in brain tumors.  We’re doing all we can and very hopeful to prolong his life and make it best quality possible.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and thoughts!

Sharon

Please share the link below – help make it go viral.  Thanks!

https://www.gofundme.com/RichardHart

 

11/16/15 Update

This is a precious time with my son.  He went to live with his father when he was early teens and I missed him so much.  We lived near each other and he was back and forth but I missed the constancy and the little things that happen each day.

Today while he was sleeping, I was sitting nearby and sending love and healing, visualizing the tumor being eaten away by big mouths, visualizing a healthy brain free of cancer, a healing light aimed at the tumor and shrinking it.

It brought back precious memories of when he was a sleeping baby, toddler, and seeing him in his little league baseball uniform.  He made the All-Star Team and really was a little star.  Visions rush through my mind.  I loved to smell his head, his neck, his pillow. I still do.

His right side is now useless and my husband, his wife and I help him up and down the stairs each day – he’s still able to make it.  His son, Calvin, was here for a few days to visit with him and it was difficult on Rich seeing him leave – and difficult for Calvin to leave his Dad.

FullSizeRender

Rich  had a very low energy day but we’re so grateful for today.  Thank all of you for your wonderful notes, prayers, healing thoughts and support.  Every day that we have him with us is a wonderful day!

 

 

 

 

The Gap – Or…Choosing Acceptance – A Way of Being. Yes!


Night before last I slept 2-1/2 hours.  Unlike some prior sleepless times, it was not a tortured night, just restless.  It was as though there was something that was trying to bring itself to my awareness and I wasn’t getting it.  I realized this but couldn’t put it into words until later in the morning.  I just knew I was tense and anxious – could not relax my tight shoulders, neck and body, even through a couple of hours of attempted meditation.  My mind was in an anxious muddle,  I couldn’t seem to relax and clear it.  So I pondered.  What the hell was happening.  What was causing this stress in me.   I couldn’t filter it down.

When this happens to me, it’s like a wonderful intriguing mystery – at least after I’m through the “journey” or “lesson”.    Because of these experiences, I really believe Eckhart Tolle, Michael Singer – and others – that we are the observer.  We are not our thoughts.  We observe our thoughts.   Why didn’t I think of it earlier?  Of course!  Writing.  That’s usually how I figure things out – writing words and listening to the message.  So early yesterday morning, I started journaling.

I have been surviving some major changes in relationships with my children and grandchildren.  Changes from what it used to be to what it is now.  These have been painful changes for me because of the loss of  my being an integral part of their daily and weekly lives, of being a parent and grandparent who has been distanced by normal  life circumstances.    Are these Age gaps?   These changes were definitely not my choice.  On one hand, I’ve been pleased and proud to see everyone becoming… and knowing that they’re healthy, happy and purposeful on their paths.  The other part of me has wanted to grab their legs and drag on behind them, saying No! No!  Include me.  I can’t stand to lose what it was”.

Well, there is a God!   I fortunately managed to avoid doing that but on SO many occasions I came very close to saying something (that I would regret).  I just never knew exactly what to say…

Needless to say, I finally got “it”.  Things really have permanently changed.  Over the last year I’ve been working on making a different life for myself.  It’s taken a lot of trust.  I’ve caused myself a trainload of grief and anxiety but gratefully I’m on the other side of that now.    Mostly.  So now I can write about it.   Much of my life has shifted from the comfortable known of relationships with these young friends who happen to be my children and grandchildren, and all the laughter, silliness, busy-ness, excitement, curiosity, sharing, and more laughter…that the growing absence of that has been way more aloneness than I ever imagined.   In fact, I guess it never occurred to me that things would change.  It was a surprise.  And quiet sudden.  Why?   Not sure why it was such a surprise.   I’m in my 70’s and they’re in their 20’s and 40’s.  Big gap in a few ways.

I’ll skip much of what I analyzed over these past months, learned and began to acknowledge.  Suffice it to say that I’ve learned a ton about myself.  And I’ve created a few nice new friendships that continue to grow.  These are women my age and there is laughter and fun and a different kind of understanding, but I recognize that I’ll need to involve myself, maybe volunteering in some way to be with young people.  I really enjoy them.  Maybe the time that I spend with my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will be fulfilling enough since I have my new friendships.  We’ll see.

Yesterday morning was another major life-changing AHA realization.  When I started writing, I realized how I’ve narrowed my “role” to being  the Wise One.  I feel that’s how my kids and grandkids see me now – at least from their communication styles with me in the last year.  Somewhere along the way, probably in a large part due to age differences (I blame it on that), I lost my reputation with them as being silly, shocking (I loved doing that to them), pretty daring, fun and introducing them to new things.  By the way, realizing this, I know that I can change this pattern with a little effort – and I’m making my plan.

I realized that I’ve lived my life in resistance – to what is – always wanting more – or different.  Not things.  I don’t want more things.  Life is shorter now and I want more out of life.  For me and those that I love before I pass on.  I’ve been a searcher and explorer of what more is possible.  Always – in fact to the point that inside I had become driven, exhausted and anxious.  “What could I be doing better?” Well, now.  I got a bit of an idea of how that is most like perceived by my loved ones.  Gap?….

Mortality is real now.   Mine.  And that branches out to include all of those that I love and care about.  When I was not as concerned with my mortality, I was more free with my choices.   What seems careless to me now was freedom then.   I have had a rude awakening as to how much resistance I have been choosing – to what I’m doing – to what others do.   Did I not do   similar things to what my grandchildren in their 20’s are doing – prior to growing nearer my “mortality”?   When I felt laughter, fun and freedom?  I’m almost certain that I’ve thrown that net of concern over my kids and grandkids when what they are doing seems “careless and taking unwise risks” in my new perspective.  Whew!  I don’t like realizing that.  No wonder the gap!

And the clinker…I have no control over what they do anyway!  Consciously I don’t even want it.  But do they know that?   Do they interpret my concern for them as lacking confidence in their decisions?  I do have a strong sense of wanting to protect them.   But I also know that they’re all adults and perfectly capable of caring for themselves.   Last week I was stressing about life situations that my kids and grandkids are facing.  I wrote what I call a letter to God.  I write about my concerns.  I pretend – or maybe he really does answer me (I believe he does), with thoughts that help me.  I have a running dialogue in my head with God but sometimes it helps to write it.

Well.  When I was expressing my concern about my kids problems, God ask me if there is something I think I can do that he cannot.  Ahhemm.  Chuckle.  I confessed probably not.   He said, “worry not”.  I’m always with them.  Your job is to love and enjoy them.  Period.  Stick to your job and I’ll stick to mine.   I didn’t feel scolded.  I felt like I’d been lifted out a huge rut that I’d been stuck in, had an overwhelming load taken off my back and was grateful for his love.  I felt hugged.  I also felt immediate joy in my kids and grandkids.  A gift.  They were no longer a burden.  Is that what they were feeling from me?  Gap?

Yesterday morning I realized that I’ve been carrying on the old family trait – one learned from my parents – that there is always a better way to do anything – translated to me as never being good enough and never doing it well enough.  Yes, there is some good in that trait but Stop Grasshopper!!!!  Balance.  I found I was writing about not being very accepting – of much of anything.  Always jumping at the chance to express ideas for improving what is, improving whatever….you name it.    Has that been translated and heard as criticism?  Wow! Does that sound like “old” or what!  Intensity, anxiety, driven, tired…. I realize age has nothing to do with that kind of “old”.   But I suddenly got a very clear picture.  When my thinking exhibits “narrow, critical and old”, the white hairs on my head add to the perception.    I have thought that those white hairs simply indicate I probably know more than I used to.  Well, yes – this may be true.  But its the balance –  having the allure of youth – being  fun, silly,  excited, light-hearted and free that is interwoven with wisdom, sharing fun and interesting experiences that honor our age.   I realized yesterday that somewhere that  balance had gradually changed in my life  – to  being anxious and preoccupied, intense, being perceived as critical, perfectionistic, and not much fun to be around.  Sounds “old” to me.  I’ve missed the laughter, the fun – of being me.  And that’s a choice.  I got it.  The first step in closing the gap a little?  Maybe?

I realized that the opposite of being resistant is accepting.  Yesterday I made a choice.  I wrote about making unconditional acceptance  my chosen way of Being.  Accepting life, change, loss, and yes – even happiness and joy.

My AHA! moment –  Today, I want exactly what I already have.  I accept what is.  Unconditional acceptance is my conscious, chosen way of BEING.  I know that my way of “being” is definitely a choice.   The wonder of all of this is…I can stop right now and choose something different…a different way of thinking, believing and BEING!  I can rewrite who I am.  I can rewrite my story and start fresh and new.  Again.  And I have.

The moment that I wrote that, my body relaxed.  I was released.  The power of that resistance was gone.

Last night I slept eight hours!  The first time in a long long time.  Acceptance.  I’m a raving fan!

Warning! Sidewalks Can Be Dangerous to Your Health!


Well I broke my foot.  The tip of the fifth metatarsal and the displaced fractured piece is  attached to a tendon.  My doctor told me that it’s a “troublesome” fracture in that with any strain, if my heel-foot has any weight bearing,  it is very likely that the tendon will pull the fragment loose and then I’ll need surgery.   He told me that I can either stay off my foot completely – aaarghh –  for a month, or if I take chances with it, it’s very likely that I’ll require surgery to place a pin and then I’ll  be off my foot for 2+ months. Since they’d have to catch me first – for surgery – there’s not a lot to consider here…

This happened two days before we were leaving for a couple of months to escape the Pacific Northwest winter.

Chloe

Ok.  I’m very active, walk 10,000 steps – minimum – every day.  Walking controls my blood sugar and blood pressure.  It takes care of my excess energy and helps me sleep.  It’s my time with my dog, Chloe.   She sniffs.   I think, listen and contemplate….

Now then…if everything happens for a reason – well, I’m waiting to find the reason for this one.  I do get that there is a lesson in everything that we experience and I’m thinking I’m supposed to be learning…

Courage

  • Postponing our trip….To make a decision from logic?  What a concept!   I had an impulsive, strong urge to take my chances and travel on crutches  and deal with anything that might happen – wherever it might happen.    ( A Whisper in my ear – Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 11)  The whisper is saying – “any fool can see that you’re  a klutz with the crutches and can see that  there’s probably huge potential for another fall  – at least at this point.   And the whisper is loud.    Mature decision?  Me – who has almost always thought that maturity is usually  overrated!   But then I thought of food.  I have to be able to move my bod if I want to eat what I want.  Or take a pill.  And I’ll do just about anything rather than take a blood sugar med!  At least as long as I can manage another way.   So I made up  my mind… I’m trying this “mature” thing (as defined by my daughter and also my best friend…and the whisper).   But I’m not totally convinced that maturity works for me – chuckle…  Since when would that be?
  • To change plans that involved disappointment and  inconveniences for several others?  Uhh….For a compliant  (probably not my husband’s first thought when describing me:) – translated  struggling to get thru this without my not-too-far-behind-me- people-pleasing-nature taking over;  it took great fortitude to utter “I think I want to postpone our trip until I can enjoy myself too”.

Vulnerability

  • I’m very independent.  It’s very difficult to ask someone else to do something for me.  Those around me are not used to my being very needy.  Talk about ripple effect….  Lessons for all?

Change

  • Over the months, I’ve learned to enjoy walking – out of necessity.  But now it’s a habit that I truly enjoy.   Then…I’ve detested weights, exercise classes, going to the gym.  Now…The new no-weight-bearing me has discovered that I can use tubes (available and unused for years) while I’m sitting.  I was shocked at my weak upper body muscles and how quickly they “burn”.   Jane Fonda is whooting in my ears!    I can see the sugar burning, courtesy of my glucometer.  I can lie on my back and ride an imaginary bike.  I am also amazed at these weakling thighs.  I’m obviously using different muscles than walking requires!  My blood sugar is under control – without a pill!  My heart rate soars – quickly.   And,  I’m exercising my mind trying to think of new and effective ways to move so that my body feels exercised.   Ahhhh…

Acceptance

  • I can’t change or fix this one.  I just have to wait for it to heal.

Patience

  • A very big challenge.  A definite work in progress!    I repeat my prayer that I read somewhere years ago..”Please Lord!  Give me Patience!  Right now!”

One thing I know for sure…There’s no place like home.   When I’m in pain or ill.   Even if  my bedroom, art studio and office are upstairs.  Climbing stairs on hands and knees works for babies.  It works for me too.  And it makes me laugh.

I’m so thankful that it wasn’t worse – an ankle, knee, hip.  Yikes – or neck!

I’m very grateful!

Acceptance


Today I am going to accept everything in my life – people, situations, and events. I know that everything in my life is just as it should be at this moment and I will not struggle.  I accept – totally and completely.  I am like water – flowing with life.   I am still and grateful.  I am listening and learning.

Today the sun is shining! In more ways than one…


I’m on R&R.  I’m with my sister.  In her home.  Away from my city and in her territory.  It’s where she’s lived her entire life.   It’s where we grew up but the area and people have changed.   My childhood haunts are long gone.   Stores have different names.  Few landmarks remain.  And the old memories are interesting and intense…

Being with my Sister is being with the best part of me.  I hear about the closeness of twins – that describes my closeness to my Sister.  It’s been so for as long as I can remember.  When we were younger, we kidded that we thought we were each other.  Family and friends referred to us as the cup and saucer.    Hmmm…   Now that we’re in the later years of our lives, we still have a wonderful sisterhood and friendship.  In many ways, she is a sense of  “being home” to me.

There are just the two of us in her home during my visit.  I love her husband – he’s been my brother for almost 60 years and I just love being with him too.  But this is a morning of contentment, ease, acceptance, peace, freedom.    My Sis is upstairs writing and I’m downstairs writing.    We met in the kitchen for a few moments earlier to say that we were headed back to our rooms – and laughed.

I’m so grateful that we still have each other in our lives.   I chuckle when I think back over the stages of our lives, hairstyles (a lifetime of mimicking each others’ haircuts and colors have become a family joke!) and clothes!  So trippy!   So many memories, so many stories.

I just sent her a text asking where she keeps her lemon squeezer.  I kept looking and found it before she answered.  I’ll bet she’s smiling at my second text telling her I found it.   It’s an endearing/not so endearing  ( I feel)  trait of mine – asking before I’ve looked very far.  I think my sense of efficiency (why spend time looking if someone knows the answer already) sometimes prompts me to ask before I look for very long.   (Qualifier….And then again – sometimes I spend way too much time searching for answers –  just for the challenge.)

It’s the littlest things that are making this visit good for my soul.  My sister.  We don’t need words to understand each other but we’ve been known to talk most of the night – and day.  At other times we can sit in the same room playing word games on our phones – with each other!  Or read and not speak for hours.  Our being within eye contact and hugging distance is enough.

Attention, affection, appreciation and acceptance.  My Sister and I.  Basic needs.  Check!

Sister – You are one of the best things in my life, the wind beneath my wings  – and I cherish our relationship.  I love you.

And I’m so happy to be with you again for a bit.

Yes!  The sun is shining!

And will you cut my hair just like yours?

 

Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 7: Aging Beautifully
Oprah’s Lifeclass – Today’s Question:  What is the best thing and the hardest thing about being my age?

 

 

My Life, My Mortality… and My Loves


I got some sleep last night – Yay!  And today is brighter…

Writing my letter to Dr. Oz (thank you Sister – for suggesting that I do it) clarified my plight – to myself.  I’m so grateful for some clarity.  Now I have hope again – that I can deal with my fear and get my life back.    I was suddenly able to see the part that fear is playing in my health issues.

I recognize clearly that my fear is about death.  My death.  It’s also in some strange way about the people that I’ve lost in the last 5 years.  I realize that I’ve never grieved them.  I realized yesterday that thinking about them is so painful that I avoid even letting them into my mind.  When they slip into my thoughts, I keep it at a very superficial level – and quickly change my thoughts to something else.

One of my doctors told me that she thought that these losses were having a part in my health issues and that she feels I have some grieving to do.  I heard her say it, I listened, I went thru some motions of grieving but I didn’t really get the connection.  Now I do.

I’m thinking about them today with joy and tears.  I’m honoring them.  I’m missing them deeply.  I miss Dad and my three sisters at a whole new level.  I’m remembering what I loved about them.  I’m remembering fun, funny memories – one of the many times we sisters came from different directions and met for lunch and a few hours together.  Our human pyramid picture.  Our sisterhood reunions. Shucking corn for a dinner.  Posing for pictures together.   What I learned from each of them is such a part of who I am.

And my husband, Dale.  We had such a rocky marriage and a deep unshakable love.  Our friendship lasted thru a divorce until his death in 2007.  He loved me.  Completely.  I loved him in the same way.  We had a bond that neither of us knew how to break – or even wanted to.   It wasn’t a consideration.  I didn’t realize until after his death that he was the reason that I could never move on into a marriage with another man.  Neither of us remarried.  But we didn’t live together either.  We were there for each other – right up to the last phone call the last day of January,  hours before his assumed death.  He lived by himself and when he didn’t return several phone calls, I was alarmed.  When I didn’t hear from him on Valentines Day – a yearly gesture even after our divorce many years ago – I knew something was terribly wrong.  I called the police who entered his home and found that he had passed – they estimated about two weeks earlier.  I handled his estate per his wishes.  I’ve avoided thoughts that he’s gone – always.  Not today.  Occasionally I’ve started to go there and recoiled as quickly as if I had touched a red hot wood stove!  Today, I’m remembering him…so many things.   There were very painful and difficult times in our lives but in many ways he was such a rock for me.  I feel way too vulnerable without him in my world.  I miss him terribly.  So much love!

And Peter.  My love.  We were in each others’ lives for 7 years.   Wow could he dance!   He knew how to have fun.  He was an old school Hispanic man and was such a character!  My Latin Love….  He loved taking care of me – cleaned my home, cooked, pressed my clothes,  was a lot of the reason that I was able to be very successful in my business.  He took care of many things in my life that allowed me the time to focus.  And did I mention fun!  I’m remembering the Las Vegas evenings, all doors open to my outside living area.  He loved cooking in the outdoor kitchen – for everyone, palm trees swaying, warm evenings, music playing and  NO BUGS!!!  We drank wine.  We loved.  We laughed.   He was so incredibly handsome to me – his dark skin, hair –  and bold, warm eyes.  He was gallant and classy.  He sang songs to me in Spanish – all of the time.  He ended up battling major health issues for two years that led to his death.  With such courage.   He wrote love letters to me.  I haven’t read them for a very long time – much too painful.  But I’m going to re-read them as I can, starting today.  Yes, of course there were difficult times too.  But I grieved those at the time.  Today I’m grieving and missing the sweetness, the love, that man.  Towards the end of his life when he was on a respirator, he wrote “Sin Ti” on a piece of paper with x’s and o’s.   I still have it tucked in with his love letters.  He used to sing that song to me.   I miss you so much, Peter!  You made your mark in my life.   Thank you!

And my sisters.  I’m going to write about “The Sisterhood” in another post.  I miss them so much.  They were my three older sisters and my link to so much of my history.  I wish I could have thought of more questions about how they remembered our lives before they left.  There’s no one to answer those questions now.   I know that they each knew how important they were in my life – no regrets there.  I just miss them.   It’s almost impossible to comprehend that they’re so gone!   Today I’ll remember them…

I’ll remember them all.  With so much love and gratitude!  I had – and have – some very special people in my life – some great loves!

And maybe, if I grieve my loss of them, I won’t have to worry about losing myself?  If I honor their lives, I can live mine – fully – without fear?   If I accept and remember their lives – and deaths, will it help me accept my eventual great adventure?  Without fear?  Will it help me live my life without fear?  hmm…

Is the doctor right?

Amidst the grief, I have my joy back today!  I’m starting to let go

Oprahs Life Classes
Joy, Letting Go

Living Fearlessly? But What About My Fear of Death? It’s Stealing My Joy!


My goal is to live fearlessly but I’m traveling backwards on this one.

I’ve been battling pretty severe hypertension issues this year, volatile and very worrisome.  I’ve been to the hospital seven times now, admitted three, a myriad of tests complete and thankfully finding noting life-threatening.  Stroke and heart attack threatening episodes – yes!  Without going thru details of these episodes, I’m consistently told to come to the ER at my hospital when they occur.

I’m letting my blood pressure terrorize me.  I determine to feel joy in my life but instead, feel fear, dread and anxiety.  How many times can my brain and heart remain undamaged – at the very least – with these assaults on them?   I’m now back in my place of wondering when it will happen again.   I had four months in the early part of the year when my blood pressure was unpredictable and uncontrolled.  When I checked my blood pressure – as told to do before I take my medication – one time it was too low to take my med, and a few days later, it’s 218/112 again!

OK.  If this is a lesson – as I believe it is, I’m open and ready to learn.  I’ve discovered life-changing messages during these months.  With the last revelation – No words can never express…but thank you!  I felt so changed that I had expected never ever to have hypertensive issues again.   That was peace and bliss!

I had no events until four days ago when I was right back to the old numbers.  I had some new symptoms with the elevation and was encouraged by my paramedic grandson to make yet another trip to the ER.  And so I did.    I chose not to have the suggested (by my grandson and offered by the ER doctor) CT scan of my head.  The doctor, a long time and very well respected man – although yes, just a man – told my husband and I several times that from his exam and other tests, that he was 99.9% sure that he’d find nothing on CT.  I was comfortable with waiting – and still am.  I was given some signs to watch for and report immediately should they appear.

My anxiety is back.  Full force.  I’m angry and trying very hard to accept what is happening again and decide that today will be full of joy rather than fear and anxiety.  I have many, many things to be joyful about.  One is that I’m healthy.  Uh…. and why am I feeling this angst and fear?

I walk 10,000 steps almost every day – per Dr. Oz.  While I’m working on my physical health with each step, I’m listening to Eckhart Tolle’s, The New Earth, and Practicing the Now – for my emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.  How many times have I listened…..and each time hearing something different, learning something new.  His books have changed my life.

But there is that nagging, energy-tapping fear! When I get in touch and “feel” and “hear” what I’m telling myself, it’s about the fear of dying.   I love life and want to live it out loud, want to “slide” into my death, without pain and on my feet.  Yes, I believe that’s possible.  I am dismayed that I’m letting fear swallow up my days – whining about fear of dying.

I used to be in denial about my death.  I’ve always known that along with everyone else who lives, I’ll die.  I’ve nonchalantly said those words.  Adding that I didn’t like the thought of it, would probably be hanging on with fingertips, wanting to do or say “just one more thing”, but that I “just didn’t want to be in pain or fear”.  Ha!  Right!  But it was off in the future then.  Except for very rare times, it was not in my thoughts.  I was very sure that there was something that I could eat, a vitamin that I could take, a thought that I could think…..whatever.   “Something” would be there by the time that I needed it.   It just was not a reality to me.  I call it denial but it was more of something that would happen someday in the distant future.  So distant as to not bother myself with thoughts of it.  I loved that place.  I so want it back….

Well now I’m in my 70’s, exceptionally healthy except that I have severe insomnia and am told it is probably the culprit.  Studies are showing how it is related to hypertension.  That is only part of my issue.  Maybe this lesson is about death, another lesson about acceptance.  I’ve discovered that my terror is death.  I want to stay here.  I don’t want to leave.  I have family and friends that I love and can’t bear the thought of leaving.  But even more than that, I’m finding, is the fear of the unknown.  Aaaarrrrghh!

I have a deep faith in God, I have a theory of death that is personal and acceptable to me.  In theory.   If I truly believed it with my whole being, I suppose I’d have no fear.   But obviously I’m not there yet.  I’m working on it.   Acceptance.  Trust.  I know I need to let go and live my life.  I feel that I’m wasting my precious days with this fear.   I’m miserable with anxiety and fear.   Today.   Tomorrow will be better.  I’m going to use Scarlet’s line.  I’ll think about it tomorrow.

to be continued….

I think I did it for a laugh…but was it worth it?


Years ago, I made an unkind comment about a shirt-tail relative’s child in front of my children who were all young adults at the time.  Even while I was saying the words, I was thinking how wrong I was.  But I finished the thoughtless remark, got a lot of shocked laughter from my children.  They voiced disbelief and amused  surprise that I would be the one making an unkind observation, especially about a child!

That was years ago.  Long ago, I told all of my kids that I regretted my remarks.    Because of divorce, I haven’t seen the child in many years but my children recently saw her and reported that she had grown into an exceptionally attractive woman.

A couple of evenings ago at a party, a comment from a guest brought back my memory and I heard myself relating my story.  I just blurted it right out – a short version.   I realized that it was time to finally forgive myself.

I’m so grateful that the child was protected from hearing.   That makes self-forgiveness somewhat easier.  It was  an indelible lesson for me – and I think, my children.

No one but my children heard my comment -and they clearly know it is  one that I wish I had never uttered.  I’ve sometimes felt regret that they still remember.   But then….no, I choose to believe it was a lesson for all of us.

I’m so grateful that none of my children are critical of others.  In fact, I think that they’re exceptionally accepting of, and kind to others.

A lesson learned.   And so very grateful it was without harm to that little person.

What Does It Mean, Anyway?


So many Oprah shows featuring forgiveness… so many touching lessons.  I can’t even imagine that people survive some of their circumstances, let alone forgive the perpetrators who have caused them so much pain – the drunk drivers, the molesters, those who did dreadful things to others while using drugs, the murderers….

I’m a PK –  Preacher’s Kid, grew up in a small town in Oregon.  My parents were divorced – a sad, ugly divorce (aren’t they all!), the talk of our small town.  My father married my mother’s best friend following their divorce.  And yes, I have trust issues – another story.  Needless to say, there was a lot of anger, pain and a huge need for forgiveness – over and over again, and for many years.  What did forgiveness mean?  What would I have to give up if I were to forgive.

My first marriage failed – for some very valid reasons.  How could I ever forgive my ex for some of the things he did.  How could I ever forgive myself?    What did forgiveness even mean?  I didn’t know.   I made so many mistakes raising my children.  How could they ever forgive me?  How could I forgive myself when I realized my mistakes.  Painful, very painful.

I’m 71 years old and over the years I’ve needed to forgive and ask for forgiveness, many times.  But what does forgiveness really mean anyway?

Somewhere along the way, I learned that forgiveness does not mean I’m excusing the person or the incident – saying it was OK, it means  letting go, letting God, not holding a grudge, keeping my boundaries but not building up walls.   It means not trying to punish myself or someone else.  Letting go of blame.

I learned from Oprah’s guest that forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past will ever be different – acceptance?  Acknowledging and releasing?   Yes!  To me, part of forgiveness is releasing fear – fear that the same thing will happen again.   I can learn a lesson from the experience and not allow it to happen again.  I know better.

My mantra is “When I know better, I do better”.   Maya Angelou.  I just love her.