Saturday, October 31, 2009

booowahahhhahhhhaaaaaa ! (update)

Happy Halloween
From my House
to Yours!

booowahahhhahhhhaaaaaa !

Happy Halloween
from my house
to yours!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pink Thursday........

Hold your head high

Don't ever let 'em define the light in your eyes

Love yourself, give them Hell

You can take on this world.

You just stand and be strong

And then fight

Like a girl.

Oh, with style and grace

Kick ass and take names
Fight Like a Girl
Fight Like a Girl

Thank you Christina at Soul Aperture for your inspiration.


Monday, October 26, 2009

"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." Mother Theresa

(The leaf in this photo looks eerily like a real heart......metaphorically speaking).

Many years ago an old friend of mine and I were having a discussion about something I wanted, I don't even remember what it was I wanted, probably a new camera or something dumb like that, but, my friend told me that I would get it. I asked her how she knew that and she looked me straight in the eye and said, "You always get what you want, you always have." She wasn't being cheeky or jealous she was just telling me what she knew about me......God Bless her....she knew me well and although I do not ALWAYS get what I want, I very nearly get most everything I want.

Part of the journey I have been documenting here has been the journey to self actualization, finding out who I am and taking responsibility for my life and being the best human I can be. I believe I discovered that to be the best human I can be I need to go to school and get involved in the arena I can do the most good and give from where I heart. I want this, therefore, I intend to have it.

When I had my last open heart surgery in 2005 I was introduced to another middle aged survivor of congenital heart defect, Until this time I had been alone in my heart journey. Our bond was immediate and I am profoundly grateful for our friendship. Because of this friendship and deep connection a part of me was able to heal a part that had never been acknowledged before, the trauma. Open heart surgery at any age is a trauma, not to mention, physically challenging. The most gruelling part of it isn't the actual physical recovery, but, the mental and emotional gauntlet you run trying to psych yourself into believing that you're going to make it to the other side, in tact. So, having someone to connect with that has an innate understanding of that is pretty special. My friend, "K" and I discovered so many similarities in our lives, not just related to our medical files, but our family lives, too. At this discovery we started talking about ways we could help families and their children, both the patient and their siblings, deal with the trauma, emotional and physical, they might experience. We tossed out some ideas about how we might go about doing this and toyed with the idea of writing a children's book on open heart surgery. We both agreed what a good idea this would be and then promptly went on about our lives and shelved the idea of the book. Every time we talked after our initial brainstorming session we'd jokingly mention the book, but, we both have our lives that keep us pretty busy, so, it was just an idea we kept kicking around, We have good intentions, but, again, life sometimes take precedence over, well, other aspirations.

Until this weekend......I met a writer, who's sister is an illustrator and they've always wanted to write a children's book together! The writer happens to be a dear friend of K's and we met at K's family event this weekend. One thing led to another and we shared how we knew K and her family and how K and I had talked about writing a children's book about our heart stuff.

So, all of that leads to my inspiration tonight....when I am suffering from blogger's block I shuffle through my quote collection or my photo file and wait for inspiration to strike and either a quote or a photo will call me out, but, sometimes just the search is enough to get my mind churning and a little spark will ignite and things will start to spin.....

And, it happened. I got to thinking about how we end up where we need to be at just the right moment. You know what I mean, right? You happen to be at a party, with people you know, celebrating some milestone or maybe not even anything special, just a get together and there in the crowd is someone who you are supposed to meet. Or, you happen to share the same cardiovascular surgeon who has a nurse who actually listens to her patients and takes it upon herself to connect two people who really need each other. Or, you connect with someone through a blog who happens to connect with you on so many levels you just know you'll be friends for life. You know what I mean? And I began to ponder these blessings, these divine interventions and how your life can be changed in a split second by these fortuitous meetings.

If we get the book written my life will be forever changed and I will once again, get what I want, a chance to help someone. And, all of the seemingly simple meetings of the right people at the right time will have laid the ground work for something quite miraculous.....

This is what I've been chewing on tonight.....what about you?


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oh, the memories.......

Oh, for the first blush of romance....young love....not that old people stuff....YOUNG LOVE, the REALLY young love.....high school love.....the most painful love ever......the kind where you can't breathe it hurts so much.

I had the pleasure of accompanying my niece to her boyfriend's freshman high school football game this evening, for the men in the audience, they, to the bigger issue....Young, 'Prince' Landon, my niece's first hard core, real boyfriend. I call him Prince Landon, because, well, he is a prince. I have to say I really like him. And, so does my niece, A LOT. They LOVE each other, A LOT.

While photographing the game, watching Prince Landon, running on and off the field, watching Kaylee watch him run on and off the field, a flood of memories came over me. It was like one of those moments described in the movies, in fact, it was like a little mini movie running through my head and I had flashes of my high school days. Ironically, the school colors of Landon's team are the same that mine were, black and orange, and this helped the little movie in my head pull out even more memories. What settled in my heart and mind was the intensity of the emotions I felt and my friends felt. Everything back then was soooooo intense and, well, painful.

As I watched and listened tonight, to the young lady that Kaylee has become, I had an acute shot of angsty pain run through me...I remembered how MUCH I ached for my boyfriend and how everytime he did something sweet or cute or charming, I just swooned. Kaylee swoons for Landon, too.

You can see it in her face. The boys are instructed to not look around for people in the crowd, to pay attention to the game, but, Landon could not help himself and he tried to disquise his search for Kaylee, but, he was not very sly and their eyes connected and I managed to capture her response to that connection.....can't you see it? It's not the glow of the sun on her, but, the young love radiating from her face that brightens the stadium.

I started this post on thursday night after the game, blogger took a dive and I was not able to finish it.....some of the glow of the evning has worn off for me now, saturday night, I wish that I had been able to finish the post, while the feelings were fresh. I was awash in the beauty of their sweetness......reminiscent of those days when every breath hung on what one's sweetheart would do or say.....when you just knew you would die without them.....when you wrote bad poetry, listened to painful love ballads over and over and over again, just wallowing in the torture, pining for the next time you could be together.......

Do you remember?


Thursday, October 22, 2009

"What Cancer cannot do"

What Cancer Cannot Do

Cancer is so limited...

It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit.
(author unkown)

For Candace


Thank you, Christina at Soul Aperture for your inspiration!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday....Saying YES

"What do you wish to say YES to?"

I wish to say YES to the infinite possibilities that lie before me.

I wish to say YES to faith in the direction I've chosen to take my life.

I wish to say YES to being open to every opportunity that comes my way.

I wish for everyone else as they wish for themselves......

(visualizing my cupped hands throwing my wish out into the ether.....scattering my cares about it to the winds, watching as the particals of my wish ascend to the higher plane, releasing the energy of the wish that I might receive it back in completion).


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just something to chew on for the day......

Some fun.....(see picture above).

I am grateful for the picture above because it makes me smile.

I am grateful for the sound of the birds outside my window.

I am grateful for the people in my life who know me and love me anyway.

I am grateful for a new lawn in my front yard.

I am grateful for school.

I am grateful for my cousin and the photo of her awesome son that she sent me in a text today.

I am grateful for homemade chocolate chip cookies (oh, yes, I did bake them).

I am grateful for storms, but, also for blue skies.

I am grateful for life.......


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Living because of loss.........

These are some of the pumpkins from the garden....they are much oranger than the standard old pumpkins you see at your everyday, average pumpkin patch(lot)...they are called Cinderella pumpkins....they also have a little bit different shape and sometimes surface texture....they are interesting....just like each of us is. I took this photo after our most recent extremely exuberant the lighting was enchanting and the orange was a beacon to me....just like all of you, my bloggy friends.

I just finished reading a weekend's worth of guys are prolific....whew! There was a theme within a handful of the blogs I read and it got me to thinking and pondering and well, writing, which is the new praying....

The year has been heavy for me with loss and grief. I believe that I have managed to the best of my ability, to keep moving forward. Loss is weighty, at best, but, sneaky at it's worst. You can be lulled into to a sense that you are moving on and then BAM, you find yourself standing in the HOME GOODS, holding onto a decorative Santa balling your eyes out because, yet another Christmas without your beloved Mom J, is fast appproaching. Or, you realize further, that your other beloved Grandmother will have her first Christmas without her youngest Son as he preceeded her in death from a freak accident...which only makes you feel worse. And, then you spend the morning with your Dad, being your Grandmother's son, realizing he lost his only brother....and he will experience his first Christmas without him, too.

I swear this post is heading in a direction that is more about living than dying.....

Julochka wrote about reflecting and pondering and about living and ultimately about epiphanies we have about life and living. It was a beautiful post and it got me to thinking about these, well epiphanies I have and how they come about and the effect they have on my life.

And, Nancy at F8hasit wrote about loss, big time and about life and she asked us to toast to our lost loved ones past and that our grief could be shared, it might be just a little less....

And, the lovely Spud and THE GOD POST and her examination of those big questions, Is there a God, what do you believe, etc....these questions sandwiched for her between the loss of her beloved Grandfather and the sweet beginnings of a young life at a baptism she attended this weekend.

And my own weekend and the bits of life I was blessed with...on Friday evening I joined my friends to celebrate a 40th birthday....and then Saturday night a nursing school graduation....both milestones for my friends...markers of a life being lived.

So, where did all of this a place for me to dwell in the magnificence of life and of loss. When we lose soemone we love, we grieve, we pine for their presence, to see them, speak to them, hold them, 'just one more time', we yearn for 'one more day' and yet, there are days we wish those days when nothing goes right or when we are waiting for 'life to happen, SOMEDAY', we look to the future and if you think about it, that is 'overlooking' today....we are missing TODAY. I know I do this, A LOT, too much.....I think I have lived practically my whole life waiting for someday.....except this year.

I don't know if it is my age, what I consider mid life, or if it is my life and what I have lost and gained this year. But, I have been experiencing epiphanies about life and loss all year and when I say experiencing, I mean, I have been sitting somewhere, talking or just listening to someone and clarity will strike and I will just GET something I had been struggling with, be it, where to go to school or how to reconnect with someome I missed or how someone helped me when neither of us knew that person helped me, or vise versa and how many signs there were right in front of me when I was questioning which path to take or when I was struggling with how to help my teenage Neice as she navigates high school....the answers and the innate knowledge just seemd to surface in these moments when I least expected them....(I wanted to borrow Julochka's blog name, Moments of Perfect Clarity). Maybe, just maybe I have become more aware of the arrival of these epiphanies because I am more open to receiving them.....and, maybe they've become stronger in their arrival in order for me to pick up on them? Either way, they have been arriving and I have been receiving.

One of the other things I have been acutely aware of, because of these insights, is how short life is, how precarious it is and that we need to celebrate every second we have, we need to make sure to live. I've begun to notice my impatience more and to really examine it and when I catch it in time, to discard it, reminding myself, in the grand scheme of things, how important is it to be annoyed? And, many other things that I let pervade my life that really aren't that important....things that aren't really worth mentioning here, but, I'm sure you know what I paraphrase a quote I'm not inclined to cite, "pick your battles......something, the war"....there are bigger fish to fry, as my kin would say....

My BFF is trying to quit smoking....I was just getting ready to write her a love letter asking her to a recovering alcoholic, I know that quitting any addiction is difficult....she began the trial of quitting before I got to the letter...guess the Divine heard my prayer before I wrote it. The reason I felt compelled to write her a letter....? Because I don't want to lose her....and because I want her to know how much that would suck if I lost her....we are going to grow old together...after our men die off, we are going to have matching rockers on the front porch and harrass all the young people as they pass by....we are going to LIVE......and I just didn't want to miss the chance to tell her how much she means to me and how important it is that she stick around.....

If there is a message in my rambling, I would say, this is it: an example of how to live....shed all of the small stuff, it's really not worth the effort we waste on it....listen...not just to the people around you, but, to yourself, you know all you need to know, innately, it's there, just listen, be open to the not hold onto love....give it, freely, with reckless abandon.....hold those you love, close...but not so close that they cannot live themselves....embrace life at every second....don't look might miss something.....and, slow down and breathe.......


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Celebrate good times......

I used to work at this really great place....not the last place I worked, but, the last best place I worked....and at that place I met some of the BEST people, EVER! Yep, EVER. The company shall remain nameless, since it is no longer in business, but, the people are very much IN BUSINESS. The business of being my friends....great friends and I got to spend some time with them...celebrating one of our own's most recent accomplishments.

The day I first met Judy, I just knew we were going to be friends. Her spirit is unmistakably magical. You cannot miss the light this lady shines on the world. And, she is going to go out into the world, after graduating from nursing school and heal people with her special light. Just watch....because here she comes!

Congratulations Judy! Thank you for being an amazing inspiration and a guiding light. Go out and show us how to do it, Sista'!

What an evening. I am always in awe of the blessings I have in my friends. That they would call me their friend is truly an honor....they are smart, beautiful, inside and out, compassionate, tenacious, fierce, brave, vivacious, courageous, witty, laugh out loud hysterical, loyal, kind, generous, tough, soft and so many other amazing things....and they let me be their friend......I love them all, so, so much.....

I hope they all know how much they mean to me......big KISS, Ladies......! mwah!


Friday, October 16, 2009

just tired....of being without you

Where are you?
I search for you, what seems like endlessly.
I know you’re out there.
I can feel you.
Where are you?

Do you look at the same stars that I do?
I sometimes stare out at the stars, hoping you are, too.
If we connect at that one bright star,
We connect.
Do you look at the same stars that I do?

I study the faces of strangers.
How about you?
Do you look for me, as I look for you?
You must, because I know you are out there.
I can feel you.
Do you study the faces of strangers?
Hoping to find me, too?

I am here.
Please come soon.
I am tired of being without you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pink Thursday.....

My Grandmother had Breat Cancer. She beat it. This rose is for her. And, for all those who have won. And, for all those still battliing. You are my HEROES.
Thank you for the inspiration Christina.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Nobody to meet me at the bus stop.......

Okay, so the scrubs are horribly unflattering....short, heavy people do not look attactive in scrubs....BUT, I was very wearin' jammies to school!

So, today was pretty painless. However, I've discovered that blogging has led to bad writing habits. Oh, well. Guess I'll be cleaning up my act, eh? I have one class a day for four hours....and since each class (well most) meets only once a week, we will only meet 11 times.....and this teacher does not believe in homework, so, the teacher paces the class so that we can get all of our work done before we leave at the end of the day....HOT DAMN! This is going to be a cake, watch me eat my words later on..... (abusing the elipses, HA!).

Stay tuned for more adventures of going back to school when you're a 40 something mortgage banking discard.....(which i am totally happy about).


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wake up, you'll be late for school......

Holy stacks of books, Batman....I start college tomorrow!!!!!!! whoooooo hoooooooo! Yeeeee haaaawwwww! Man, am I scared. I know, I'll be alright, but, just thinking about the enormity of this endeavor has me reeling just a bit, yep, little bit.

So, it looks like I don't have to worry about book covers, all but one of the books I need for my classes are paperback....and yet I feel like each book was almost the cost of a car, yep, highway robbery. The guy at the bookstore could have at least worn a mask and held a gun.....

Oh, and, I've already challenged and tested out of one of my first classes. Yay, me! I would certainly hope I could test out of 'basic keyboarding', um, yeah, I'm a blogger for pete's sake, I better know how to "keyboard", eh? (revert to valley girl vernacular)

I picked up my uniforms on thursday.....didn't try them on until today....they are too big.....guess I'll be trading those in in the morning. (yes, I have to wear a uniform, No, OTIN, it's not a Catholic school uniform.....scrubs, dude, scrubs).

My schedule seems pretty loose, I have thursdays off, but, have class all day on friday, which sucks.....but, I can coast through the first quarter with the sched I have and next quarter I'll rock the boat. Yeah, I'm all about rocking the boat if I can get my way.....seriously.....I'm just happy they let me in!

For review; when I started this blog earlier this year, I knew the name before I even knew what a blog was, because I've spent so much of the last 14 years hiding from my life...or the potential for a life....and right now, I feel like I'm doing know, living....this feels sooooo right, so, good, comfortable and real. You know, REAL LIFE!

Here I go, hope I don't miss the bus.....


And, so the partying commenced.....

We had a lovely break in the gloom and grief yesterday....we celebrated my little brother's birthday....he turned 18 on October 1st.....We had our usual suspects over and a couple of newbies. A good time was had by all! I meant to take pictures of our food, but, was pretty involved in the revelry, so, I kind of missed the food before we began devouring it. We scarfed on the usual fare, hamburgers, sausages, guacamole, fresh tomatoes on our burgers...homemade potato salad, (yum) and then chocolate cake and banana pudding for dessert.

We all joked, harassed and teased, but, mostly, we laughed, heartily, almost as if we were shedding our sadness....we giggled with great glee, sniggered, snorted and squealed....opening up our hearts to fun again. I took lots of pictures....ate too much and by late last night I was spent...even my little dog, Texas was ready for bed by the time we got fact, he barely made it up to the bed before his little eyes slammed shut.

Nothing like a little party to bring a person out of a funk, eh?

Have a blessed day......


Love in the post......all the way from Denmark!

I love to receive things in the mail....hate bills and junk, but, LOVE to find an envelope with my name and address handwritten on it. It's like a little mini Christmas!

My beautiful friend Julochka at Moments of Perfect Clarity sent me a little gift in the mail with a sweet card....I noticed the little frogs on a picture in one of her blogposts and commented on how I collect frogs....she graciously shared a couple of them with me, along with a delightful angel to keep guard over my heart. Oh, and some cool MOO cards!

It was a very nice way to begin my weekend....I'm trying to decide what to do with my little critters....the frog couple would make an adorable little brooch.....and I'm now inspired to get my own little mini moo cards.....

Thank you Julochka for your kindness......


Friday, October 9, 2009

You can pick your friends.......

...but you can't pick your family. For the most part, that is okay with me. I love my family and most of the time I even like them. They are on my mind alot right now and I keep examining them and my relationships with them. And, their relationships with each other....Hi my name is Shannon and I'm a codependent.....not only are we all grieving, but, some of us are feeling guilt. I understand that guilt plays a part in some processes of grieving...."I could have saved her"....."if I'd have just listened better"....."If only I had been there on the day...."......."If I had been a better, Son, Dad, Brother, Mother, Sister, Aunt, Daughter..."...."His life might have been better if I had DONE something".....these are all things we say to ourselves when someone we love dies. Even when my Grandmother died, I knew that I did all that I could, given my relationship to her and my 'skill' level (as a home care provider), yet, some days, I still think, "I could have done blah, blah, blah for her" and yet, intellectually, I know I did the best that I could have.

There is only so much one can do. And, there is only so much responsibility we have to one another and there is a point where we have to accept that each person is and should be responsible for themselves. However, what is the boundary? At what point is it that we can let ourselves off the hook for our perceived responsibility for another person? (Children accepted and I guess at that point the definition of 'child' needs to be spelled out). I have a hard time defining these boundaries within my own family unit, we are a family of codependents, seriously. I spend alot of time examining my actions, thoughts and verbiage to determine whether or not I'm overstepping a boundary or I'm allowing someone else to cross my boundaries. This makes for a crowded head. It also makes for a large bag of guilt....not to mention I was raised Catholic.

Because I've spent alot of time examining the dynamic of my family and learning to detach myself, I sometimes find that I am an outsider observing. This is a good thing for me, as it allows me the opportunity to gain some perspective. it is when I am able to step back that I can unwind my attachment to a situation or person and let go. This is not actually allowed in my family, letting go. We are all made to feel like we should sacrifice for the greater good, even if that means compromising our own sanity. And, the greater good is always for the better of someone who just can't get their shit together......yeah, I said it, "can't get their shit together."

You know of what I speak, right? The one person in your family who always seems to be in crisis mode. Who always has to make waves in order to get attention. Now, because I am a keen observer, as I am always watching out for ways to avoid getting sucked into the vortex of that one person in my family who is nearly always in crisis mode and yet, certain other members of my family are NOT in a place where they can see the act for what it is, lays it at my feet to "just be there for her/him", because......? He/She is your "sister, brother, neice, uncle, cousin, mother, etc"......because, why? I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS PERSON? (seriously).

So, these are the things I've been turning over in my head lately. Nothing like a week with your family during a crisis to stir up old wounds, bad behaviors and guilt. I love my family, apparently to the point of insanity, but, I keep asking myself these questions, "when is an adult responsible for themselves and their own happiness?"....."when am I NOT responsible TO them for their own well being?"....."and, WHY, am I the one who has to pick up the slack when they can't FUNCTION?" .....and the big one, "why do I have to take over handicapping them because you left this world and have laid that responsibility at my feet?" AND, "why do I feel guilty for NOT wanting to be responsible for this person?"
(other members of my family could also ask themselves these questions).

Not exactly a fun post, as I was hoping to find my way back to the fun this week....a form of grief is still with me, grief for my family, along with the guilt for not being completely bereft over my Uncle's passing. I keep examining this particular emotional cocktail, wondering why I am so detached from the loss and worrying a little that I can be that detached.....

Go on, now, hug your people....tell them you love them....


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I am remiss in my participation in pink is my tribute, late, but, with great love.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Even Buddha celebrates Halloween....sort of

In one week I begin school! I am soooo excited! And, a little scared. What if I'm really not as smart as I used to be? What if all the kids make fun of me? What if I don't make any friends? What if my clothes are dorky, (oh, wait, I'm wearing a uniform....flashbacks to Catholic school)? What if I pass out when we have to start giving each other injections? How many times can one pass out in class before they expel you? OH, the stress of being a new student at a new school.....what bliss!

I feel like I should go out and buy all new school supplies. YOu know, new pencils, paper and a binder? Maybe book covers? Do they still make book covers? Do the cool kids still put book covers on their book? I used to make mine out of paper grocery bags and color all over them. They were great places to doodle when class was boring. Maybe I should just cruise through the back to school section at a couple of local supermarts and see what they've got, eh? (I have all of this crap here at home, I'm kind of a paper whore, pen snob and pencil horder, so, I really don't NEED to buy anything). Maybe I need a new binder? No, I think I have one of those here, too......(I just blew all the wind out of my sails).

I had an opportunity to spend some time with a very dear and lovely friend of mine who just completed the nursing program and received her pin this weekend....She is going to make the most awesome nurse....she inspires me in too many ways to list....she thinks she would like to work with Veterans at the local VA Hospital here......she will make the most amazing VA nurse(she used to be in the ARMY when she was but a girl)...anyway, we discussed the fact that I took the M.A. option and she really helped me be grateful for my decision. And, the best part, is she encouraged me.....she gave me some perspective and I'm glad I had a chance to have a chinwag with helped me to feel more confident in my decision.

Given how my summer progressed, with all of the ups, downs, hurdles, obstacles, starts, stops, blips, trauma, tragedy and epiphanies, I am surprised to find myself at, well, peace. I'm a little afraid to settle into this feeling, but, for some reason it feels familiar, like, maybe I have been at peace with all of the things that have happened, but, not been aware of it. I know, this sounds contrary, but, I think what I'm getting at, is that my summer as built a shroud of peace around me...what with my spiritual journey early in the summer and watching for Divine guidance with my lifepath decisions, I think somewhere along the way I grew up a little, came to know myself better and learned that things usually work out the way they are supposed to. I keep thinking that if I had started school in July, like I had originally planned, the blips I faced late this summer (it's not summer anymore, is it?) could have derailed, or at the very least, clouded up my shooling. Although I wasn't aware of this wisdom while the 'blips' were happening, it holds true, that things happen in their own time for a reason. (I know, you folks who don't believe in happenstance and divinity are shaking your heads or maybe rolling your eyes....I go there sometimes, too, but, I am finding more and more faith, therefore, I am willing to accept these notions.)

In retrospect, my summer, warts and all, was a gift. One I can look back on and not regret......not think to myself, I wasted alot of time frittering about when I 'should' have been doing (insert chore here)...? And, somehow, I was carried through by faith....

So, it is fall now.....I revelled in the Full Moon last night and even this morning at 7:10 a.m., I could STILL see the full moon as it was setting, just as the sun was rising....glorious. I am ready for the cooler temperatures, the leaves changing color and decorating my yards and for Halloween....for some know, fun, which has elluded me for a couple of weeks....look out, FUN, here I come!

P.S. we harvested our pumpkins this weekend, 20 in all...they are beautiful...I will post their mug shots later this week when I get their scenes set up....wish I could send each of you one.....


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Where to begin.....perhaps the middle.

"As a representative of the United States Navy, it is my high privilege to present you this flag. Let it be a symbol of the grateful appreciation this nation feels for the distinguished service rendered to our country and our flag by your loved one."

I've been back for a few days now. I have been staring at my computer screen in a daze searching for the beginning.....I have been checking in on your blogs, but, not been able to 'check in' at mine. The journey was bitter sweet in the most painful of ways. We laughed, we cried, we cried because we were laughing at a time when we thought we should be crying. We clung to each other and we rallied around my Grandmother when she was at her most vulnerable moments....and each of us had our moments of sorrow. We loved, ribbed, cajoled, buoyed and held each other up.

I have been trying to process what happened and reconcile the purpose for the trip with the joy, yes, joy I derived from the time spent with my family. Families are a funny animal and trial can bring out extremes in them, extreme love and compassion and extreme pain and drama.....we managed to limit the drama and work the pain over with love and compassion. This, I am grateful for. This is what brought me joy.

There is a story to tell about my Uncle....not so much about his life, but, his death. His death gave my family a gift....a gift of love and time, time together, time to be in each other's presence and really appreciate each other, to come together and just be grateful for each other in a way we rarely make an effort to do. Ironically, the very togetherness we shared, he ached for, but, never really achieved. Periodically one of us would stop in the middle of what we were doing and say, "Ron would have loved this...." and some of us would smile knowingly and some of us would silently weep and others, would carry on and revel in the joy....the simple joy of the moment.

Our awareness of time passing was critically heightened and each passing moment was treasured. I documented everything. I ran my camera....through everything...with the exception of interrupting final goodbyes. I did capture sorrow, pain, even anguish, but, I also captured love, pure, unadalterated joy, delight, comedy, action, stillness, beauty and even some ugliness. I challenged myself to see deeper than ever before, to risk, to reach, to even hurt and they all gave, freely, without guard, with complete trust....the highest form of LOVE.

In the weeks ahead I know there will be challenges for all of us, especially my Grandmother and Aunt, as they will have to deal with the details of the accident, insurance and his house and his estate. Grief will dominate the days for my Father as well....I will be watching him, holding him up and praying.....for them, for me, for Ron.....I will draw on those moments we all shared, those hours our family connected, those few days when we were at our worst and our best.....I will process those bits of light and even the darkness....holding onto all of them, tightly, praying for more days, hours, MOMENTS, of JOY......

Open your eyes and heart.....embrace the smallest smattering of JOY.....every chance you get....