The cross at the side of the road…

As I drive down roads, every once in a while, I will see a wooden cross at the side of the road. It automatically tells us someone died there. I asked myself, time and time again, why do they mourn the spot where their loved one died? It seemed morbid to me. I want to think about the places where my loved one LIVED, not where they died!! That was, until the other night. There is a new meaning to that cross since I heard a hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” written by a man in the 1800s who was in a boat that was crossing over the spot in the ocean where the boat transporting his four daughters went down resulting in their loss. He became right with the Lord on that spot. Now I get it!!

Robert Frost wrote a poem about the fork in the road. What would our life have been like if we had turned right instead of left? I am here to tell you, sometimes, that road we end up on is based on others’ choices of right or left. So, what put me on the path to get me to this point? A road my son died on. Period. So, now my fork in the road is to accept and understand or fight and never be at peace. I need to be at peace with this to function. I need “to be well with the Lord!”

Listening to that hymn and this man’s ability to put God in view with his loss has helped me realize I, too, have come to understand my situation is truly with our Lord. He may not have put my son on the literal road he died on, or the path that led him there, but He was there with him to see him home. Again, not the home he set out traveling to when he left that fishing area, but a different home; the one I hope I get to go to as well, when my time to go arrives. I do truly believe my son not surviving was a blessing in disguise. Had he lived through what I was told happened, he would have been in terrible shape. Though I love my son dearly (present tense), I would not to have wanted to see him suffer unbearable pain!! That all being said, I would have rather him not have been on the road at all, but again, a fork he came to in the road, not my choice!

I am right with our Lord. I know all is well and I am ok with that. This does not mean I do not miss my son!! I miss him every day. The answers will come in time, and maybe not until I get to meet up with him again, and that has got to be alright. I will drive myself crazy if I fight it, and face it, according to my husband, it may be a short walk from here to there!! Lol!!

All is well with my soul !! I still won’t put a cross at the side of the road because I do choose to think about where he lived more, but I will pray for those families and lost souls still when I pass their cross at the side of the road!! I cry because he is gone, but I smile because he was here!!

#alliswellwithmysoul #theforkintheroad #woodencrosses

He is Risen…

I have spent a lot of time this week thinking about life, the meaning of, the sacrifices made, resolution, forgiveness, and death. I have faith. The path we take to get from Point A (birth) to Point B (death) is a path with a lot of bumps, mistakes, revelations, and, if you are like me, a lot of prayer. It is not out of the ordinary to have all these thoughts, especially today, Easter Sunday.

When I go to mass, I want to know how the gospel reading each week relates to my life today. How did what happened over 2000 years ago resemble anything of our time? Amazingly, it does… every single day!! Especially this week!! There are signs that we are still in His presence! Today was no different!!

It’s the end of Easter week. I want to speak about the cross. Many religions worship just the cross, but as Catholics, we worship the crucifix (Jesus still on the cross). I know others view the fact that Christ has risen from the cross and is no longer there. I agree, but I want to remember why He was on that cross. It was for me, my sins, my redemption and absolution! He suffered for me! I don’t want to ever forget that! We have all carried the weight of that cross at one time or another. At mass last week, we covered the situation where townspeople approached Jesus about a “lady of the night” and they wanted to sentence her and have her stoned. Jesus gave permission for anyone who has not sinned to throw the first stone. No one ended up throwing stones at anyone else for we, too, have done things we should not have done. That cross reminds us we can be forgiven!

As I have said before, so much of my situation is brought to life in the Bible during Easter Week!! Palm Sunday, Jesus has made his plight known to his disciples. He is going to die. The path had already been set. What if my son’s situation was the same? What if the only difference is my son didn’t know it? What I really want to be sure of is that he made it to Heaven!! Based on what I know of the Bible and of my son, I’m sure he did!! Just as the one next to Jesus on the cross was forgiven, so shall he. I am sure he is in paradise now with many of my family who have gone before him.

Through these last several weeks heading towards today, Easter Sunday, I am reminded that our life on Earth is not the end of our life, but a new beginning. The Bible talks about how we should speak His name often and I know how that feels. I speak about my son as if he is still here. My son’s life had meaning and lives on too, maybe not in the biblical way, but maybe so…

It is Easter! He is risen!! My faith is stronger now than it was even before I lost my son, if that is possible. It could be because I have felt His presence every step through losing my son and know there is peace in death. Those who have lost, may you find that peace as well and know our lives on this Earth have meaning well past the grave. I know that and pray for those who struggle to realize it. Easter proves it to me every year!!

Peace to all and Happy Easter!! I cry because he is gone, but I smile because he was here…!!!

#easterweek #mysoulrevival #inhispresenceagain #heisrisen

I don’t want to be sad anymore…

I know there is no time frame on the grieving process. Well, that is a relief!! Not sure how long I will take but I don’t want to be dragging it on longer than allowed, or appear I “got over” my loss too quickly, as if anyone has a right to judge either way! The “survivor” stage, on the other hand, has no end…ever!! This is a permanent status from here on out. When do we know we are no longer grieving? I’m not sure we ever stop, but I know it is a metamorphosis that keeps going back and forth like a teeter totter in waves!! I know there is no switch, but I also know I don’t want to be sad anymore!

The date of death for my son has become a landmark, so to speak. It is a mile-marker in time. It designates the dividing line of our life before and our life after. It affirms the fact our lives are forever changed and will never be the same. Looking back, it was my life I took for granted, and then, my life when nothing was a guarantee. According to some talk show therapist, 88% of our being is emotions. I know we are guided by emotions and found that out gaining weight when the grief process started. Food has been a coping mechanism for several in my family. Some eat when stressed, some lose weight when stressed. I appear to be on the “eat when stressed” side of the family. I just cannot pinpoint the emotions that led me before August 20, 2017!

I have several friends, acquaintances, and family who are in this crappy boat of being a parent who lost a child! I am sure they, too, know what I mean about the dividing line and being sad!! I want to be productive and happy, but please don’t think this makes me ok with my loss!! I will never be ‘ok’ with the loss of my son. I do have faith, which I rely on, and I am so, so grateful for the time I did have!! I believe he would be happy that I don’t want to be sad. I think he would encourage that!! I know he is ok and I am coping this well because of my faith! He is at peace, and I want to be at peace with that fact!!

The thing I have tried to do almost since day one is to remove my personal life from my work life. It has been my “safe zone.” It was the one place my son was not a constant, physical presence. Sure, I talked about him at work, but I was able to “zone” into my work and remove my emotions. Doesn’t mean it works all the time, but it is much better at work than when I am home alone with my thoughts. This work zone apparently accounts for 12% of my being. I think that means I am emotionless during that time.

So, here Is a shot at my goal… It sounds like a simple plan. I am going to wake up facing the days as if they have a purpose! I am walking again and hoping to lose more weight! I am putting make up on as if I care how I look!! I am doing things outside the house with friends! I used to think I had a pretty good sense of humor. I want to laugh like I mean it without guilt.

I follow some other blogs of people who have battled and struggle with a loss. One family watched their son struggle after a head injury at the age of 2 until he died five years after. A year after their loss, they are still continuing their blog as survivors. The mother of this child posted a picture of herself after a fundraiser she participated in and she was smiling. Doing good in her son’s memory can make someone feel good, a chance to give back to those who helped her at a low moment. Someone following the blog had the audacity to comment about how ‘happy’ she looked as she mourned her loss!! WHAT!! She was kind in her response before she banned the person. I might not have been so nice! How dare someone try and guilt a mother for having a good moment!!

It seems we are damned if we do, and damned if we don’t. What would my child wish for my future if he could speak to me now? How would he want me to live? I am sure he would be endeared at the fact I am lost without him. He would be sad for me. He would wrap his arms around me and tell it was going to be ok. Coming from my side of the family, he’d have a sick and demented comment about something and try to make me laugh and it would probably work. He would want life to be normal, although we have to create a new normal. But I am trying and feel I am headed in the right direction.

I have so many things to be grateful for in my life! I have a wonderful daughter, a son-in-law, two b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l grandkids, a husband who has survived this path as well, and so many wonderful family and friends! I don’t want to ever forget they have also lost a loved one! We all mourn. Their lives were forever changed as well.

We have two choices here: laugh or cry. Well, I say we do both, and go to the next day, repeat. Story of my life. If you catch me smiling, be happy I had a good moment. If you see me laughing, don’t assume I no longer grieve. If you see me crying, just know I had a moment of another kind.

Life will go on around me and I am trying every day to be a part of it. I am forever incomplete. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a grandmother. I am a survivor!! I will continue to cry because my son is gone, but I will smile because he was here!!

#lifeisforeverdifferent #thegrievingneverends #survivorstrong

The prodigal son returns home…

As Easter approaches, so many of the readings hit home for me. We spend 40 days leading up to Mother Mary losing her son. This all brings so much of the Bible to life for me and brings my faith in surviving this loss to a bearable level. It puts many things into perspective.

Today’s mass was about the prodigal son returning home after squandering away inheritances and making poor choices only to be welcomed with open arms and forgiven by his father for those transgressions. The father, so happy to have his son home, reacted with a feast and joyful celebration!! For those who have lost a child, I hope this resonates with you as well. This part of the Bible is my coping strategy in a nutshell!! Those with more than one child can still relate as I have too!!

The part of the story that is strongest for me is the joyful welcome from the Father. I envision my son being welcomed with open arms in celebration that he is home. True, not my home, but my home was never his permanent address. My heart, that’s another story!! My son will always be in my heart. When a child dies, we tend to put that child on a pedestal while the remaining child(dren) stand there, lost, knowing they have never left and now feel second fiddle. I have tried not to do that. I have tried very hard to remember the whole life of my child I lost, which was laced with some not so very smart choices on his part. His life was not too different than our biblical prodigal son. I want to be forgiving as well. I know my surviving child has a loss, too, and is hurting. We need each other now more than ever!

This story in the Bible does bring another conversation to the forefront. The older son, the one who stood by his father, working, never leaving, obeying all commands, responded to his brother’s celebration with animosity and jealousy. Why? It causes me to wonder, too! I can see this divide here during our Earthly situations as well, and for similar reasons. Luckily, I don’t believe it happened in my home, and for that, I feel blessed!!

I believe we all have motivation and drive, but what are we hoping the end result to be? Do you think this older brother was being selfish and greedy in a different way than the brother who squandered his inheritance? Maybe our good deeds are for the wrong reasons. The reason I ask is because this older son was affirmed he would have all the father’s belongings and land, but was still upset at the celebration. He wanted to be recognized and praised for his loyalty to his father. Jealousy comes into play here. He was upset that his father had never celebrated and had a feast for him. Was his loyalty taken for granted or ignored? I am going to delve deep inside my actions as a person from this point forward and make sure I am not reflecting this behavior in my actions. I don’t want to do good for others only for the praise I want to receive in the end. That is not what should motivate us! That is, unless it is our reward in Heaven. I have said that phrase many times, “I will get my reward in Heaven.” I say it with wishful feelings, not guaranteed. Our actions should be from the goodness of our hearts with our only hope and drive being a reward of being welcomed home in Heaven by our Father with celebration and forgiveness for all the times we were not on our best behavior.

I truly believe my son has been welcomed home and a celebration ensued. I am good with that. If he had made it home that night in August 2017 after the thought he might not ever come home to me again, I, too, would have had a celebration! I would have hugged him and been mad at the same time, but still grateful he was home!! I do believe he was forgiven of any wrong doing here on Earth. As he was accepted into Heaven, I pray no one was upset that he was not deprived of this venue because of his prior transgressions. But, if so, they may be acting very much like the brother of the prodigal son.

None of us are perfect and we were all born sinners. The actions we have on Earth may be opposed by others. We may be estranged. Maybe we lost worldly goods in the process. We all have the ability and opportunity to be welcomed home with open arms. I have no doubt. The vision of my son being celebrated and with Our Father is my dream, literally!! I, for one, hope I am forgiven and accepted back into good graces when needed. I cry because he is gone, but I smile because he was here…

#theprodigalsonishome #weallcanbesaved #mysoniswithmyfather #welcomehomecelebration

Did we lose them or become someone they didn’t know…?

I read an article written by someone who felt they lost good friends after they lost their child. Although this does not seem the case for me, I can see how this might happen. A lot of things change for a bereaving parent, inside and outside of our being. We become alone in a crowd.

Here is my advice to everyone: remember who you are and what people mean to you at all times. This is a two-fold request. We heal from the inside out. No one outside your skin can make you better or happy until you accept that from within on your own. To the other side, the friends, remember this person you care about has already lost a big piece of themself. Even if all you do is sit in the same room, it is appreciated and felt more than you will ever know.

Here is what I think happens when people lose a child and feel as if their friends are drifting away: it starts with one of the two parties not knowing what to say or how to act. People are known to refrain from something if they don’t know how to respond to a situation. The longer they stay away, the harder it is to come forward. I remedied that!! I spoke first. That is my nature: address the elephant in the room. But, maybe, just maybe, the person who feels they lost a friend after the loss of their child became someone that friend didn’t recognize.

We change for sure!! I know I am not the same person I was before I lost my son. I see things so differently now. Even flowers smell sweeter! But one thing I refuse to do is stop living and waiting for the outside world to make me happy again!! This comes from the inside! I am going to give credit to my faith because without it, I would not have this attitude. I know where my son is! I HAVE to be ok with that. I would be lost too if I didn’t. This is what I believe has happened to those who have lost their friends after the loss of their child. They became lost too! They became a person their friends do not recognize. Maybe our bereaved parent used to smile a lot and now feels guilty for smiling. Maybe this bereaved parent stopped doing things outside the home that used to bring them joy and that event now brings them guilt. Maybe that bereaved parent is too tired from going over all the things and joy they will not have now instead of remembering all the joy they did have. Stress and anxiety causes doom and gloom and is hard to be around without more stress and anxiety. It does not mean those friends that seem distant don’t care. It means they can’t make someone else happy and have more than likely stopped trying. This situation can change, but it will take the bereaved parent to reach out when they are ready. And, they NEED to be ready to live again and try and find their way back.

I have given this same advice about ‘happy from the inside’ to friends who are getting divorced as well. A person hanging on their arm is not going to make them happy on the inside. It only dulls the pain superficially. They have to find happiness within themselves before they can share it with anyone and truly be happy. True, some can bring the happiness out of us. There has to be a willingness on our part within that path. Losing a child should not make a person feel guilt from experiencing any happiness. Your child would not wish that for you. Finding a way out of the gloom and despair can, and will, take time. As solid as I feel today does not mean I sprang right back up. I still have moments and that is ok too! Life happens!!

A loss of any kind is difficult. Many of us hold onto that heartache as the last thing we have of someone. But what would I be doing in my life if my son was still here? Remove the laundry and cooking, I would still be living life. I would  still be thinking of him, and I do! I would still be going out with my friends and laughing at their silliness, and I do! I would still have a life, and I do! This, in no way, shape, or form, diminishes my sadness over losing him. It will always be there. But right now, I still have family I need to tend to, a job that pays me to be there, and friends who have been more supportive than they even know—just by being in the same room!!

I am not the same person I was before. I am incomplete, but whole. I am happy, but with sad moments. I am happy, but still grieving. I am a mom who lost a son. I cry because he is gone, but I smile because he was here! I am no longer alone in a crowd…

#aloneinacrowd #eliminatingdoomandglooom #happinessisfromtheinsidefirst #loveyourself

A parent who loses a child: the Sanskrit (ancient India) word is ‘Vilomah’ …

I saw a post the other day on Facebook that stated: a child who loses their parents is an orphan. An adult who loses their spouse is a widow or widower. What is a parent that loses a child? According to writer, Karla FC Holloway, the word is “vilomah,” which means ‘against natural order’ in Sanskrit. Makes sense, I guess. At least, that is one interpretation. I choose to continue looking for a more appropriate word.

To me, determining the natural order is not something we can prove in this case. Who decides the natural order of things? It isn’t me. The fact my son died first went against my hopes and wishes, but I am not the one who decides the order of the universe. Mother Mary lost a son. It was written in the scriptures. Maybe my son’s was too. When it is commented that it is wrong to bury a child, I feel guilty for outliving mine. Of all things we feel, guilt is already among the top! I don’t want others putting that on me more than I have myself! Not to mention, our only guarantee at birth is death. Period. That IS the natural order: we are born and we die. So I opted to continue searching for a better word to describe this situation.

I choose the word “incomplete.” I will be incomplete until we meet again in Heaven. Parents in my situation are like a bicycle tire that is missing a spoke; a table with three legs that needs a brace where the forth leg was; a puzzle that will never be able to put the missing piece in its designated spot; a street with a pot hole that causes a bump every now and then that rattles us. We still function and look very close to our original state, but a piece is missing. Incomplete.

Never again will I be a whole family, even as additions are made through the birth of grandchildren and marriages. Never again will a complete family photo be taken. Never again will my children be in the same room together on Earth. Never again will my heart not have a hole in it. I could go on and on and on. Incomplete.

We can search ancient languages and find words that have similar meanings. We can create a word that sounds good, you know like they did with words for Ebonics. That language was not identified until 1973. But, I believe there is already one in Webster’s dictionary. I stand by my original claim. I am incomplete.

Until we meet again in Heaven, I will always be incomplete and missing my son. I will recall the days I was complete and whole. I had him in my life for 24-1/2 years! I will savor those moments and years in my heart. And as always, I cry because he is gone, but I smile because he was here!

#vilomah #incompletewithoutyou #missingpuzzlepiece #lostchildcreatesahole

Everyday Angels and how they roll…

There is a story about a town that had impending flood warnings. In an attempt to evacuate those who were left as the floods neared, a rescue squad went to those homes offering to help them leave. One older couple refused and said their life had been there. They knew that God would provide for them because of their faith through the years. After several attempts to persuade the couple, the rescue personnel left to assist more town folks.

As the waters hit town and rose, the couple, now on the second floor of their home, were approached by rescue personnel in a boat. Rescue pleaded with the couple to get in the boat and be taken to safety. Again, the couple refused saying with their faith in the Lord, He would provide.

Now, the town was succumbed to floods and the couple was now on the roof of their home. Again, rescue personnel were there and flew over in a helicopter offering a ladder to take them to safety from the floods. As before, the older couple refused and said with their faith in the Lord, He will provide.

Well, the older couple drowned. As they met St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, they asked, “why, with our faith in the Lord, did He not provide and save us?” Peter’s response, “but He did provide. He sent rescue squad, then a boat, and finally, a helicopter.”

I have used this story to express that angels are sent our way everyday, miracles in my interpretation. We tend to overlook the obvious messengers and who may have put them in our path. To me, there are few coincidences.

This past weekend, I was at a dinner to thank over 170 volunteers for their service with a non-profit organization I belong to that assists in rehabilitating those who have taken a wrong path. They not only try to get them ready to re-enter the workforce, they help them rebuild relationships with the Lord, their families, and their children. For many of these recipients, it is the first time someone invested anything in them. Most are in their situation because of learned behaviors and have not been shown any other path. As I share this story, it reminded me, though little in part, my part is big in picture. I could be the rescue squad, or the boat, or the helicopter. I just have to make sure I am listening when the message is sent to me and make sure I deliver the message intended.

My point in sharing all of this is that no matter what we go through, we need to look for and become those messengers. God is everywhere! He shows up through us and our actions. He sends us where we need to be and puts people in our path for a reason. I have no doubt of that!!

What part can we play in this? It doesn’t matter if it is big or small, it is needed! So many people want to blame God for the bad that happens, but no one wants to say there was another path they could have taken. There may have been an offer we refused, a gesture that would have changed a course someone was on, and the outcome. God never leaves us, and He offers many opportunities we are blind to many times over. He gives us strength we didn’t know we had. Satan, however, will lure those in under false beliefs and take all things good: freedom; families; homes; faith in good and God. The minute those things are gone, the Devil’s work is done. The Lord’s however, never left.

Let’s be the messenger put in the path of those who need us. Let’s be positive, without judgement of one’s past, and focus solely on the future. We were all born sinners and have done things we may not be so proud of. Don’t let that define you. Redemption is ours to own, and ours to offer.

#godisgoodallthetime #everydayangels #messengersofgod

It happens on the same day, every month! deja-vu…

It has been exactly 18 months!! How has a year and a half gone by? We are back to time standing still and going so fast at the same time. It appears the 20th of each month will be a “trigger” for the rest of time!

I think the only way I have gotten to this moment is by keeping my son alive in my heart and speaking about him as if he is in the room next door, a vision I hold tight!! I don’t normally spend my time tallying how long he has been gone because I choose to focus on the time I had him here. The 20th of each month changes that mindset. The ache of that day, August 20, 2017, will never go away and I know that. Since then, on the 20th of every month, a dose of reality hits hard.

At mass this past weekend, the priest (Fr. Henehan, who actually baptized my son way back when!) spoke about what our focus should be and how we can easily lose that focus. Guess he didn’t read my blog about the ‘focused diversion!’ Faith is my focus, and getting through this short term so I can meet my child and all my family in the long term. Long before he passed, I knew our life on Earth was the short-term part of our life. Even if I live to 100, it is the short-term! I think I could have given the homily today on the be attitudes. I am not a saint, but I believe I am following those pretty well. I don’t believe our religion is all about suffering, but it is remembering who suffered and why.

My faith in knowing there is a plan is what has gotten me here. The sadness I feel when I know he is gone from the short term is my selfish side. I wish I could have had him longer. That is not the way it played out. It was also mentioned at mass that when we have no faith to lean on, it can cause a person to be very sad! I can see how that can happen. I rejoice in knowing my son had a place to go. Still doesn’t mean I was happy about it, but I know he is in His loving care.

Since rainbows give me peace, it would be really clever if my son, or the powers that be, could have one sent on the 20th of each month! I won’t my hold my breath. Even if it isn’t on the 20th, I would still love it, find peace in it, and believe in part it was sent directly to me.

I will spend the rest of the day thinking of my son (as I so often do anyway) and be sad about the time he has been gone, and rejoice for the time he was here. I won’t dwell on the things he didn’t get to do and I didn’t get to witness. I will hold onto the memories of the person. Those memories will include a crap load of man-made spittoons out of empty plastic soda bottles and empty chewin’ tobacco tins; memories of stinky clothes that smelled like the inside of a garage; cut up t-shirt parts that only contained one actual sleeve (I know what happened to the other one and so do all his hunting buddies 😳); and a serenade we enjoyed every time he took a shower as we turned the volume to ‘off’ on the tv so we could hear!! He is missed every day!!

The 20th of every month will be a constant and consistent date with memories that will make me cry because he is gone, but as always, make me smile because he was here! 😘❤️🌈🕊🙏😇

#eighteenmonthsbutseemslikeyesterday #gonebutneverforgotten #onesleevewonder #itsdejavueachmonth

A letter to my son on his birthday…

It’s your birthday…as I grab a Kleenex to dry my tears!!! On this day, 26 years ago, you blessed our world! This is a day I choose to try and celebrate but am doing so with many mixed emotions.

We are starting today with a mass for you, just as we did last year. Isn’t any easier this second year. I know the parishioners will all be praying for you! Most of them know me now thanks to you! You were pretty popular, or should I say “well known” in our little town. I told you before how it was getting to be the same with you as it was with my brother Denny whenever someone would say, “hey, are you related to…?” I had to ask if it was a good thing or a bad thing. I remember leaving Wal-Mart when you were maybe 3 and the cashier said “bye Cody.” You looked at me amazed. You asked me “How’d she know my name?” I responded with, “it could have been the the hundred times I had to yell, ‘Cody, put that back,’ ‘Cody, get over here!’ ‘Cody, leave that alone before you break it!’ Pretty sure all of Walmart knew your name!!” Not positive, but it was a damned good guess!! I must say, the rest of your life didn’t seem to take a different path from that moment on…!!! 😜

I knew you were not perfect, but you were mine, and I loved all those things about you. You were a God-fearing, God-loving person. You had faith. Some of the things you did made my hair gray. Ok, A LOT of them changed my hair color, but that only means I knew how my mother felt many times over because of having boys!! You definitely kept us in colorful conversations! I can’t change the past and no one is perfect, me included. I want to remember the human side of you. To do so, I need to remember those not-so-perfect times too.

So how do I celebrate today? I am going to start with all the stories and memories you left us with! I will be playing the videos of you singing over and over so that I can hear your voice. It always makes me smile first! I say “first” because it usually is followed by a tear, or two, or three! Wouldn’t trade some of those moments we captured for all the money in the world! They are priceless.

One of your friends sent me a picture of you the other night. I loved it because it was one I had never seen before. It kind of brought you back to life for a minute. I don’t get many “new” with you and I believe those situations are very limited. It made me smile. I love that your friends keep in touch and reach out to see how we are doing. It’s another moment that brings you back to life for a split second.

The day you were born, I knew I was in for a ride! You came into this world raring to go! You thought you could go through life with a smile (again like Denny) and it almost worked! You were smarter than you ever gave yourself credit! I brought you into this world, but it came with no guarantees. None of us come with a guarantee. You were my rainbow child, born after I miscarried. Now, rainbows are a sign to me, a message so to speak. If they are not, I don’t want anyone to tell me otherwise. They give me peace! No one else should care if it is exaggerated. I am grateful for the wonderful, hair-changing, hair-raising moments I was blessed with! Your dad and I miss you and so does your sister and the rest of the family. You have a beautiful niece that I know was sent to us with a little help from up there!

I know death will never change the love I have for you. I know time will never heal the wound of losing you. I know faith will carry me through until we meet again. Until then, there is a place in my heart that you will always be in, never to change and never to age. Forever 24 in actual age, but forever my baby, my child!

I celebrate you today! I celebrate that God gave me you to hold and love! I celebrate the life you lived up until your last breath. As always, I cry because you are gone, but I smile because you were here. It’s your birthday! I will celebrate the gift of you!!



#itsyourbirthday #wecelebrateyou #forever24 #gonebutneverforgotten

Changing the focus of dreaded days ahead…

I read recently how when you dread days ahead knowing they will be hard, we actually make it worse. I thought long and hard about that statement and realized it was spot on!!! As I noted in previous posts, this happened over the holidays!! I kept telling myself to brace myself for those holidays knowing they would be sorrowful, I guaranteed they would be by doing so.

I have another date coming up that I am anticipating a similar reaction to… my son’s birthday. He would be 26 this February. The picture of him is forever 24 in my mind. He won’t age any more than that, but I still have visions of him as a small child. Those are the images that grab my heart and has me even sadder (if that is even possible!). Looking ahead to this day is truly building up the anxieties. I want to celebrate the day that I had my son, the blessings he gave me in those 24 years, and all the memories he left me with. Knowing I am going to spend the day reliving his life makes me realize again that memories are all I have left. I think I dread that realization the most!

How to avoid this anxiety may be a challenge. Let’s talk it out. What I have read after the initial article is to live in the moment you are in. My son is constantly on my mind anyway. I don’t want to tune him out and pretend the future isn’t going to happen. So, I will live in the moment that is constantly on my mind anyway. I’m still afraid if I don’t try and brace myself, it will be like a freight train the day of. Am I convincing myself that this is a no win situation? I will do my best to hold my head up and persevere. It is all I can do, live each day as it comes. I have also come to realize that shedding tears and being sad is not a sign of weakness and is just part of the ongoing process. I would like to meet one parent who lost a child and does not mourn on those occasions when their child would be the center of attention otherwise (ie: birthdays, holidays, graduations, etc). These occasions highlight the void even more, and that is ok. I would be more concerned should those days come and go as if it were just another day on a calendar.

When one of my son’s friends get married, I will be sad thinking I will never get to witness his wedding. Same thing with the birth of a child, his friends turning a milestone age like 30! These moments, even though my son would not have been the center of attention as on his birthday and such, are still a reminder of all the things he will not get to do and I won’t get to witness. I have to anticipate those hitting me harder than expected. Again, if I don’t anticipate them, I am afraid of my reaction when the realization does hit. I don’t want a freight-train realization. I feel I will be more prepared for my reaction if I think about it ahead of time. Maybe this is another self-diagnosed OCD aversion I have. I do like to be organized.

So what I have just talked myself out of is dreading these days. I will look forward to these days because of the emotions involved. I want to feel the presence of him. I may be living a “ground hogs’ day” and that is ok too. I don’t want to “NOT” think about him. If I dread the days, it implies I don’t want to think about the day. Far from it!! As stated, I think about him every day. I need to turn this dread into a positive. I get to think about him, talk about him, and enjoy those memories with all my family and friends. I am hoping they are looking forward to celebrating the fact we have those memories as well.

February 10th is going to happen every year. I want to celebrate that day. It will be a day of reminiscing about my son and all the wild stories he left us with. It will also be a day of tears. No way to avoid it and that is ok. I will not over-anticipate my sadness because those days bring memories to the forefront and allow me to bring him up in conversations with reason (as if I needed a reason most days). Again, I smile because he was here. I cry because he is gone.

#cantbeavoided #celebratethelife #hewouldbepartyingtoo


Time is a funny thing. Actually, I believe it is an oxy-moron, along with so many other things in my life lately. It can go slow. It can seem fast. It can also stand still. Time can determine endurance. The fact in all of this is that time does not change. Sixty seconds will always be sixty seconds. Funny how that happens!!

Today marks 17 months since I lost my son. Time has been strange ever since. Times that didn’t seem to have significance before now hold so much more meaning. Moments within that time frame have stood still, blew by, and have forever changed my view on the little things that take place every single day. I can’t get back to before seventeen months ago. Anything prior to that fateful night is where my life ahead of me had been taken for granted. Not anymore!!

Life, in general, is a blink of an eye. Most will leave this world with loved ones left behind. Make every moment count! Live life!! Most of all, enjoy life!! My son did just that!! I still wish I had more time, but that was not meant to be. If I had more time, knowing he would still go before me to Heaven, would I have done anything different? Again, hindsight!! I can’t say yes or no because it wasn’t up to me. I had that opportunity with one brother. I got to tell him how grateful I was for all the good times we had. I didn’t get to change the end result. Again, that is not up to us.

Time. None of us are guaranteed any more than the moment we are in. Seventeen months to some, a blink. To me, a lifetime. So many things have happened: good and bad; happy and sad. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can say today. It may be the one memory you give yourself or someone else that will sustain you or them for at least seventeen months or longer. It may be the thing that brings a smile in a very dark moment. Don’t wish it away. Relish in it. Make the most of it!!

#livinglifeforward #timeisnotagiven #memoriesareallwehave #seventeenmonths

Everyone has a story…

I have posted before how I am not unique, just different. I am realizing now that I may not be so different after all. I have encountered some wonderful people recently who have reminded me again that my suffering is not unlike others, just slightly different. And, like before, this only provides me with more strength, more reason to go forward, and more faith.

Those who do not understand faith, or the power faith provides, think suffering is a way God punishes us. First off, God does not punish us. He provides strength and guidance, but we have to be open to it. Suffering is a part of life, and is certainly something Jesus went through — and on our behalf!! It is in this suffering we know what grace is and allows us to appreciate with gratitude the times we are more fortunate.

We all have a background and episodes in our life that were not pleasant or something we choose to experience had we been given the choice. This could be, as in my case, the death of a child; or it could be the death of a parent; or a childhood less than perfect and with dysfunction. Whatever the situation, I hope to learn from it, grow as a person, and hopefully become much more understanding of what is going on around us. If we are not understanding of those around us, we could be part of the problem instead of the solution.

Example: today, someone shared a story about a person at a gym who was there for the first time and did not quite know what she was doing. Judging from the context, she was overweight. A group of three people were laughing at her and video taped her struggle. The woman stopped working out and went into the locker room where a bystander found her crying. Do these people who were laughing and joking have any right to judge? Turns out the woman had just lost a parent from a condition caused by excessive weight and she was headed down the same path. In her attempt to change her fate, she joined the gym. Luckily, the person who followed this woman to the locker room had also turned those people who laughed into management with a formal complaint. They were permanently banned! The one who came to her defense had her go back into the gym and encouraged her to continue with her by her side, together! This is a prime example of our ignorance in a situation and how this could have turned out very different for the woman who had just lost a parent. It could have been a road block she could not hurdle had it not been for this person who followed her into the locker room. I hope that I would have followed her into that locker room as well. If you feel this way too, think about this story the next time you want to assume or laugh at a situation.

I have learned to not ask why I have things go differently than I would have liked. The plan will be revealed soon enough. That may be when I meet our Lord at the pearly gates. I have to be ok with that. I can only hope I am a better servant to those who may be suffering and give hope that they too will get through the situation they are in.

We are all in this world together. We are more alike than we are different. We also have a story behind us that has led us to where we are today. This includes stories of good fortune, stories of hope, and stories of suffering. We must continue to be understanding without knowing or assuming anything. Be the best version of yourself. Pray for those who may be suffering. Pray for peace, strength, and comfort. Be patient and kind.

#everyonehasastory #bepatientandkind #onechapteratatime

What 2018 taught me about myself…

We all have turning points in our lives when we can recall the events that have led us to certain epiphanies. I had several of those moments in 2018! Those moments have taught me a lot about myself, my abilities, my weaknesses, and my strengths!

By the end of 2017, I realized I was very different than I was when the year had started. Ending 2018 is a bit of a repeat, but in a different way. The first of everything you had done before, but are now experiencing after a tragic loss of a loved one is the “first of the worst.” This experience lasts for an entire year up to the one year anniversary of their passing. As 2018 began, there were still several “first of the worst” I had not experienced yet: my son’s birthday, my birthday, several major holidays, and the one year anniversary of that fateful night! Trust me when I say the first is the worst, but even the second time around has a bit of a sting to it!

The first thing I learned this year is we all have battles others may know nothing about. Show kindness always. I am amazed how many people have gone through the loss of a child! I don’t assume anything anymore because we don’t know! I am grateful at how many of those in this ‘club’ have reached out to me since my loss, and how many have been given my contact information after their loss! I want to say there is strength in numbers, but in this case, it is strength in the number of those praying for each other and just being there so they know they are not alone.

I am not the same person I was the year before this all happened. My priorities are so different from what they were. I want to help others, but the process is assisting me as well. I look for the positives in every day and the positives in others that I may have overlooked before. I take nothing for granted and appreciate the little things so much more! It is amazing how those little things are what people remember the most!!

I have realized I can cry and smile at the same memory at the same time!! I also know it is ok to cry. Crying is not a sign of weakness! Sometimes, moments just get to you, but I am going to be more upset if some of those memories don’t bring tears! I also love that I can still laugh at some of those memories. The fact that it can be the same memory is just another oxy-moron situation I find myself in. I cry because he is gone, but I smile because he was here!

Going forward after losing a child does not mean you didn’t love that child with all your heart! This is the only direction they would want you to be moving in. If I dwell in the past or all the things that won’t happen now because he is gone (things that were not guaranteed), I will live in perpetual sadness. I figure I have at least another 20 to 25 years on this Earth if all goes well. I cannot live that being sad every day. I am also not guaranteed those years and need to live life. Period. My son would want that. If not, I will die of a broken heart and leave nothing but a trail of tears. I want to meet up with my son and have him proud of me for living for both of us!

I have also realized I am very OCD and spend as much time, if not more, editing Facebook when I am reading posts. I want to educate people on the proper use of “you’re and your”, “there and their”, and “to, too, and two”!! I am sure there are more!! If the misspellings of these words do not bother you, please let me know the secret!!!

There are many other self-realizations I have experienced, but these top my list! Some may call these experiences a part of life. I call them “life-changing.” I am not better for having lost my son. I am changed. My focus has changed. My goals have changed. I want to be better. I want to notice the positives. I want to make sure his life lives on through me. I want to look at 2019 as another year of finding out who I am. I am hoping for happy times, recalling past moments while making great memories, and hoping for continued positive changes in my future.

We are in control of many things. We can’t change the past or the sadness that came from certain events. We can change how we deal with the sadness and how we proceed going forward, knowing we are better for having those loved ones in our lives, even if it was not for as long as we had hoped for. All our lives have meaning and purpose. I don’t want to ever forget that!! Spread that word!! Remember, life is not about birth and death, but everything in between! Live and live well!! Happy New Year!!

#anotheryearaddedtomydash #liveandlivewell #lifeismeasuredinmoments

Ending another year on the calendar…

A year ago, I was struggling to think about a new year. 2017 was a very hard year, but I worried about leaving it and moving into 2018 because I didn’t want to move forward. I wanted time to stand still. Seeing the year in my rear view mirror felt like I was turning my back on my son. I realize it was a last-ditch attempt to pretend August 20th had not happened. But it had. 2017 was going down in infamy and there was no changing my mind! But I was swayed…! Everyone was wishing us a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I had just celebrated Thanksgiving without “happy” and Christmas (I thought) could have no “merry,” but it did. Found out grandbaby number 2 was coming. A ray of hope for 2018!

So, now, I was faced with even more mixed emotions! My only resolution was to survive it the best I could. And I did. I chose to find a positive in every day. I posted them on Facebook for about nine months. I still find them in each day, I just don’t post them. Not going to lie, some days were a struggle to find one. But this practice allowed me to find the hope in each day. It really is a life changing process. I felt better about each day and realized those positives did not mean I was turning my back on the memories of my son. I could still mourn his loss, but still had much to be happy and grateful for. The fact is, before taking time to acknowledge those positives, I felt guilt when I thought I had anything good happen. I realize now that I don’t have to feel guilty. My son is still a part of my positives!! Always was and will continue to be ever-present in my life!

My granddaughter was born in July 2018! After my daughter struggled for four years to conceive, finding out a couple months after her brother had passed that she was pregnant, we concluded this child was more than a gift. She was hand-picked for Earth by her uncle in Heaven. No doubt in my mind!!! As I conclude 2018, I have been blessed!

Heading into 2019, I have one resolution. I want to continue to find the positives. I won’t pray for miracles. These positives are little miracles we take for granted every single day. I won’t pray for sunshine because there is a purpose for the rain. I know the devil puts his mark out there and I prefer to trump it with my faith in our Lord.

Every year will have its struggles. I do not believe 2019 will be any different. But each year also brings some pretty significant highlights as well. I will face those highlights with praise and my struggles with faith and hope, looking for the positives. I am grateful for the time I do have and want to take nothing for granted as I extend my dash in the middle.

God bless and may 2019 provide many positives to all!!

#2018to2019 #positivethoughtswillfollow #neverforget

Wishing for one more day…

The holidays are among us, no escaping them. As a religious person, I relish in the meaning of Christmas and all it represents. But this season brings with it emotions not so joyous. This can be a very depressing and mournful time for families. With Hallmark telling everyone love is in the air, it highlights the low for those who pray to be loved and have that wonderful connection, but don’t. For some, it is a reminder of who is missing! As families start the jubilation of the season, I am reminded again how my family photo will not include all my children, but I will continue to hold a photo of my son in each one, especially at Christmas! It’s a small way of making my wish come true to all be together for one day this time of year!

We all have a habit of wishing away our days. On Mondays, we wish it were Friday. We all do it. There is a country song that talks about a dream of “one more day?” The end result is wanting for one more, and then another, and then another. It would never end and that is exactly what our real wish would be, that the days never end. But life does end. It ends for all of us, eventually. It is our only guarantee in life. What we don’t get is one more day. What we need to do is take advantage of the days we do have. Don’t wait to tell someone you love them. Don’t wait to fulfill those dreams. A big pile of money doesn’t fall out of the sky to allow us more opportunity. That seems to be the biggest reason we put things off. Let’s stop doing that. I am not implying to go in debt. Let’s make our wishes within reason. That means identifying what truly matters. When the thought of someone NOT being there one more day, our priorities align more accurately.

My mother buried two sons before she died. My oldest brother died in an instant. We didn’t know it was coming and neither did he. This was hard on us, but I am happy for him. He ‘lived’ up until that moment. Death was not a thought for him. He wasn’t counting down. My second brother wasn’t so lucky. He was diagnosed with cancer just weeks after turning 40. His last few months on this Earth gave us an opportunity to let him know how much he meant to us, and for that, I am grateful! But what he suffered through during those months was indescribable. I was relieved for him when the Lord called him home. He said our oldest brother had sat next to his bed all night that last weekend, and then he passed on the 8-year anniversary of my oldest brother’s passing. An act of God!! I have seen both sides, immediate and prolonged. What would one more day mean? Are we wishing for the right things or should we take advantage of our days NOW?

We don’t, in general, get to sign up for how we leave this world. I pray for those who do. Those individuals who choose their own path out of this life are trapped in a living hell we know nothing about! What would they wish if they allowed themselves one more day? I am sure it would be that loved ones know it was not their fault. I am speaking about depression. The Christmas season can be horrible for those who suffer with depression, for various reasons. For those who suffer, I pray they find a way out of their nightmare that doesn’t leave their family and friends wishing for one more day…

As the holidays approach, the void is evident. This year, call someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Plan a trip you have been wanting to take and find every excuse not to put on a calendar. Buy the outfit that is more than you want to spend, but know how much you really, really want it! Visit a nursing home and hear stories from those who have no one to share them with. Life is about living.

I can’t get another day, but I can hold onto my memories and make sure I don’t have any regrets going forward. I will have another day with my son and all those I have lost. It will be glorious and endless. Until then, I don’t want to spend another minute regretting the fact I failed to take advantage of an opportunity! I don’t want to say “if I had only __fill in the blank___.” Don’t wish for time. It is not guaranteed to any of us. Take moments and create memories. The line should not be “what would I do with one more day?” It should be “what am I going to do with today?” Live, and live well!

More than a name is missing…

Well, my fear is coming true! Made out my Christmas cards and am missing a name at the bottom. Last year, I had my son’s name in my Christmas card closing with thanks to everyone for all the love and support after he had passed. It had only been four months. In my head, my heart, and my house, it had not sank in he was gone until that holiday. This year, even though I put his picture in my collage on the front of the card, his name is missing in the closing… I literally choke up every time I try to say it out loud.

My biggest fear when my son passed 15-1/2 months ago is that he would start fading out of view. This Christmas card reflects my fear!! I know he will live forever in my heart and always be in my thoughts and actions, but this stings!! I also know eventually, he would have been removed because he was an adult and could do his own card. That, in itself, would have broke my tradition. Guess I am more upset on the cause of this break in tradition. His growing into his own would have been acceptable. Now, the choice for me was removed.

When we leave this world, we take nothing with us, but we leave more behind than we realize!! We leave a legacy, whether it is large or small could depend on our age when we join our Lord in His kingdom. Some actions of others can be traced back to this legacy! I know I don’t see a mud truck without thinking of my son sinking his truck completely in mud! I mean COMPLETELY!! Mud inside and out!! Just so you know, mud is much harder to remove than you think!! I don’t look at camouflage anything and not think of him. Funny story, when my grandson first started talking, everything was “Uncle Cody!!” When he would see someone in camouflage, he would yell “Uncle Cody!!” It was so cute!!

We are all different because of him and the things he did while he was here. He was a protector by nature. He would always stick up for the little guys! I loved that about him!! I love that he loved music—all kinds of music!! He speaks to me through music still today! I think I am needing to share stories to remind myself he didn’t completely fade off into the sunset… he is, and always will be, close to my heart!!

As I re-read this, I have decided I will sign his name on the card. It is just in invisible ink that only I can see… No one fades if we promise not to let them!!

Merry Christmas!! 🎄🎁

#merrychristmas #livesonimmy heart #memorieswillsustainus

The first of everything after someone dies…

When you lose a loved one, the first of everything the entire following year starting with the first 24 hours and for the next 365 days can be a struggle, a nightmare, a mountain, or a blur. It could be one or more or all.

I have two members in my bowling league (that I know of) going through this right now. One lost her husband and the other, her mother. Both are devastating losses. They have both just experienced their first Thanksgiving and are dreading Christmas! It can be difficult to think of those holidays being different than the last 50 years as both of them had that, if not more years, with the loved one they lost. Trust me when I say those feelings and struggles happen after less years than that. I had half that with my son and I will find holidays difficult for many years to come.

My family picks holidays to leave this Earth. My father had an aneurysm on Mother’s Day. My oldest brother died on Thanksgiving Day. Eight years later to the day I lost another brother to cancer. I lost my mother five years later, but it wasn’t a holiday. We did, however, change the funeral arrangements to avoid burying her on her own mother’s birthday. I lost a third brother after he suffered a heart attack on Memorial Day weekend just two years after our mother. This changed almost all of our holidays to a perpetual Memorial Day. God has a plan. We don’t have a holiday where those members are not ever-present in our hearts, our minds, and our stories we share.

Here is my suggestion to all those going through the first of the worst: do something different, yet something the lost loved one would be happy you are doing. We all have to adjust and create a new normal. Even the new normal will change over time. It is a given. Our first Christmas without my son came with elating news. We found out our daughter was expecting. Now my worst Christmas had joyous news. A memory I will cherish, even though the wind blowing the wrong direction caused tears that first year.

Don’t try to be strong the entire time. It is ok! Celebrate the memories! Don’t be afraid to create new memories. The only constant we have is change. Nothing is guaranteed. God gave us our time with loved ones and will continue to give us time with loved ones. It just might be with different loved ones. We have to learn to accept that. That void in our holidays is proof of a life and love.

All things happen for a reason and may test our faith. Have faith in Him and know you are never alone, even if you are sad. The dates play a role we don’t even realize. It’s like the planets lining up and helping us make sense of a universe so complex. I love my family, those living and those who have passed. Holidays seem to highlight the void they left. It doesn’t mean we have to act as if they were never here, or fear those ahead. The first Christmas, New Years, his birthday, Mother’s Day, etc. were far from easy, but I thought about him and the life he had and the memories he left me with during each and every holiday that came and went. My son was with me in my actions, my thoughts, and my stories. I cried because he wasn’t here and smiled because he was!!

My heart goes out to all of those dealing with the first of the worst!! Please know you are not alone! I am praying for your peace, strength, and comfort for not only the first 365 days, major holidays, and moments when those triggers flip the switch to a flood of tears, but all the days that follow when you still have that never-ending question—“why?” We will never truly know, but trust that we will all find out in due time. It will all make sense. We are better for having those loved ones in our lives, even if it wasn’t for as long as we would have wished for!!

#thefirstistheworst #missingthoselovedones #loveliveson


Thanksgiving Day has been a tradition to acknowledge those people and things we are grateful for throughout the past year. It is a celebration of great harvests and prosperity. Basically, a day set aside to eat and enjoy the fact we are here at all. This should be done every day, not just once a year.

Fifteen months ago, I had a loss that would cause many to cease being thankful for anything going forward. I choose to not look at it that way. I want to be thankful for the 24 years I did have with my son. I don’t want to go forward appearing ungrateful for those years. So many scenarios could paint this situation to have an even worse outcome. I know that sounds impossible, but it is true. We can always take a situation to a step worse than it was, mine being no different.

Twenty-four years ago, Thanksgiving Day, I lost my oldest brother suddenly from an aortic embolism. Eight years later, I lost another brother to cancer on that exact same date. This day is still celebrated for all the things I am thankful for, which includes those memories I have with those I have lost! I choose to think God had a plan lining up those dates and those losses the way He did. It will make sense later, but it doesn’t mean I turn my back on Thanksgiving and forget all the good things that have happened to me.

This holiday is not celebrated everywhere, but many countries have something similar. It may not have started with pilgrims and Indians, but the good news is it exists. Period. My challenge is to continue to be thankful for something, anything, every single day going forward. The good should always out weigh the not-so-good, even if we have to accumulate the positives over several days to build up the value. Kind of like that one good golf game you talk about for years to come. Doesn’t matter that a hundred golf games sucked, as long as you can hold that great game up to replace them.

I am so thankful for the time I had with my son and the memories that I will cherish with all my heart. I cherish the time with all my family, those here on Earth and those in Heaven. This is life. This is love. I am blessed. I want to never forget that!

#thanksgiving #choosegratefulness #bethankfuleveryday

It is sad when no more tears will come…

I have come to terms with the fact we cannot be responsible for someone else’s actions or reactions. Not everyone has though, unfortunately. A person may have cried and cried over the actions and reactions of someone they have loved and should continue to love hoping one day, happiness and joy will be there instead. How does a person find peace when they don’t get another chance to change the ending? What advice do you give someone in this situation? What happens when they have no more tears for someone because of the other person’s actions, can they just draw a line?

I feel for those who are at that point and the stories that cause those situations. It could be a variety of scenarios, most are abusive, even if not intentional. That could include both physical and mental abuse I am sad to say. This story is about a person who was raised with a loving mother who died young and a father who showed no warm emotions…ever! I know there are always two sides, but this is her side. No one will be able to retrieve his side, unfortunately. Growing up with a father who showed no loving gestures, placed blame, was greedy and selfish, makes it difficult to be warm and fuzzy to him in return. The woman is now 60 and has two adult children this man knew, but didn’t really know. She’s not sure he even remembered their names. He was very disconnected from their emotions and their life. Now this father/grandfather has died. My friend and her only surviving sibling have chosen not to attend the funeral. This whole situation is just sad to me!! What do you do when you can’t cry anymore? She struggled for so long to come to terms with the distance, but now, there is no hope of reconciling and hearing him say “I love you” and “I’m sorry.” For that, I am truly sorry… for her and him. There are no do-overs after you die. What you have done, and what you have not done, is now a permanent marker on your soul.

Here is what my thought is: go forward with your life and know you tried everything and anything humanly possible for a door to open that remained locked. You also now know how you NEVER want to treat someone you should, by God’s grace, love unconditionally. Let those in your life see you smile and be willing to tell them when they are the reason you are smiling. Don’t let someone make you beg for a compliment or attention, and vice versa. Life is too short to place blame and rely on others for our happiness. Again, you cannot blame someone else for your actions and reactions, but you can use their influence to show you how you never want to treat others or be perceived.

I listen to situations and, sometimes, I forget how sheltered I was. The majority of our behaviors are learned by those around us. We absorb those behaviors without really knowing it. We can watch tv and see how others behave in their gatherings, but a little voice in our head reminds us those are actors. It does give hope and plant seeds of how life can be.

I fully believe my family could have been a tv show!! It would have been a sitcom, but that’s ok!! Some stories of my family are too hard to make up to not be true!! One of our mother’s favorite famous personalities was Erma Bombeck. If you don’t know who she is, google her!! She was so funny!! I sit here and wonder if we provided her with material! But I would not change the way I grew up for anything!!

My life was not full of expensive things, plush carpets, and fine cars. My life was full of laughter, stories, mishaps, and LOVE!! It is a learned behavior, and I thank my parents for all the things they sacrificed to raise eight children who were above all else—friends!! Doesn’t mean we didn’t have our fights, arguments about things unfair, or even the occasional law enforcement encounter for a brother, or two. I have not, and hope to never, run out of tears for those loved ones I have lost. My dad has been gone more than half of my life and I still miss him!! Burying my dad, my mom, three brothers, and now my son, I will never run out of tears! But I cry for joy when I think of them too!

For my friend, moving forward and past wounds of hurt and neglect, she can cry for joy she has survived. She can look to the future and know the last action from this person has been closure of a long and hurtful relationship. No more looking forward to rejection and condescension from a man who should have looked forward to being there and building her up to be the best she could be. She should relish in the fact that she not only survived, but saw a better path to take. She can thank her mother for those genes.

Life is too short to take those in our lives for granted and to miss out on positive opportunities! Finding the positives and the strengths in others is only going to make us better as well. This world has too much negative in it already! Think of how many lives can be changed by being positive and supportive!! I want people to smile when I am gone because of the positive mark I have left on their life, but if I left that mark, I would rather they tell me while I am alive to hear it!! You?

#lifeistooshort #lovewhatgodhasgiven #bethebestversionpossible #cryforjoytheywerehere

Are you motivated??

It is funny how conversations coincide with other situations. Mass tonight, the priest mentioned motivating lazy people and how hard it is. In my head, I was screaming how I just said that to some people at work the other day!! I thought to myself, “Lord, you DO hear everything!!!” My comment was, “you can’t motivate lazy or make Grumpy Happy” (the last two are very different dwarfs.) I was challenged in my statement, but I think we were talking about two different levels.

I don’t believe you can motivate lazy from the outside. When I refer to ‘lazy’ I am talking about people who accept a “C” because it is passing, so why bother for an “A” type of lazy. You can’t make people want to take that extra step. It’s an attitude, not an ability. I see it every day! I look at resumes and applications for my job. When an applicant puts that they quit a job because they weren’t being put on the schedule to get hours, they don’t understand they are probably not being put on the schedule because there are other employees who work harder at the job and go for the “A.” I do believe you can motivate through incentives, but I don’t believe those are long-term. If the person doesn’t love what they are doing, it’s a means to an end for them.

I looked up the question of where motivation comes from. I know it’s psychological, but I wondered what drove it. The answer had several facets, but the most prominent ones had to do with attitude (as I suggested) and what a person’s personal goals are. If your attitude is that you will fail, you will set your self up for failure. So, why try, right?

Another part of motivation is showing up to work. I am referring to those employees who use sick time as fast as they earn it (when they are not really sick). Do they not realize someone has to do the work?!?! This is a big form of lazy to me.

I would love to know how to motivate people to want to better their situation and always reach for the sky!! If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing to the very best you have to offer!! I can’t stress that enough!! Find out what makes you tick and then the rest will follow!! I think a huge thing is people want to chase a dollar amount, which leads to disappointment when it doesn’t happen right out of the gate. If you love what you do, the money is a smaller factor. If you find the money and hate what you do, it’s a long 30 years to retirement.

Follow your dreams, love what you do, and be happy! Happy is such a motivator!! Grumpy, not so much…

#doyourbest #motivationleadstorsults #youcantmotivatelazy