Be kind to yourself- you deserve it

a communityBefore I write for the day I always read what shows up for me to read. Quite often it inspires me to write about a particular topic. Today it reminded me of my writing yesterday when I talked about how wonderful other’s blogs are to read. I felt the same way today.

So many days I can start out feeling down and the blogs lift me up. Some are funny, some give me ideas to try and some I feel that I can say something that may help. This really is a community of comrades.

rest

Today has been so calming. I found that more company were not coming and was able to relax. Little got done but that is ok. The vines in my yard are going apace and will continue to do so since I have no plan to tackle them at the moment.

Sometime we have to give ourselves permission to take some down time. The world will not end if my yard is not perfect or my house spotless. We frequently push ourselves too hard and forget that everyone needs rest and think time. We cannot be healthy or creative if we don’t take this time off. Be kind to yourself.

 

Keep sharing!

why meI have long felt that that pain and sorrow have an important place in the scheme of things. They come to us unwanted and hard to accept. We wonder “what is the point?Why is this happening to me?” We feel lost and abandoned. Suffering is lonely. It removes us from our everyday world and causes us to live within ourselves and our pain. Nothing else matters. We can’t see past it. We can’t make plans. We just live in limbo.

The up side of all of this is not readily seen or understood but it is there. For those of us who share on Word Press it should be noticed more easily. I offer this short poem as an explanation.

The pain of aloness

not belonging

not accepted

 

The pain of sorrow

grief

anxiety

 

Is an instrument

carving out the soul

to hold and heal

Someone elses

pain

 

shareOur sharing on Word Press is an example of this. We share in the hope that our own struggles, journeys, ideas for healing…will help someone else. We share and find the belonging and acceptance that eludes us elsewhere and a life of meaning and importance.

Keep on sharing!

Memories

best-memoriesYesterday my brother-in-law flew in to visit us. He and my husband have not had lots of time to visit each other over the years and this visit ia wonderful thing. They are having a wonderful time sharing memories of childhood and information about the family. We don’t often take advantage of renewing memories and sharing information.

My mother and my aunt were the last two of their generation. When they died all their memories and information were gone. I often think of something that I wish I had asked when they were here.

Two years ago my best friend died taking with her the only connection to my childhood. I don’t think I realized what it would be like to lose that connection. It was so wonderful to be able to pick up the phone and say “remember when?” Now that link is gone.

This is not an unusual happening in life. If we are blessed enough to have a long life there will be many connections to our past that we will outlive. My grandmother lived to be 100 and I can remember her saying that there was no one left who remembered the world she grew up in. It is clear that it is a loss.

dr seuss

If you have elderly relatives take the time to record their memories. It doesn’t matter if they are written down or recorded. There are some online companies who will set up a line that can be called and memories recorded for posterity. What a wonderful idea. My daughter wrote down some of my grandmother’s stories and I am working on the stories my father told. He was a wonderful storyteller and I don’t want them forgotten.

Past history will disappear quickly and once gone it is gone forever. Take the time to keep those memories.

Our memories are selective

Today is my husband’s birthday. He turned 80 years old. He can hardly believe it and neither can I. Time flies. It is hard to believe that in June we will have been married 55 years. It is so funny to think back to the 1960’s and it seems like yesterday.

1962 pontiac

Things were so different then. We did have color TV but no cell phones. Some people who were rich had car phones but they were bulky and the signal was erratic. We drove a 1962 Pontiac convertible. The windows rolled up with handles. The top did go up and down automatically. It did not have air conditioning. We lived in Army housing and sat out on the stoop at night to have fun with our neighbors. We had little extra money and our favorite thing to do was to play games or cards with friends. We only had one car.

We went to parties at the officer’s club and the dress code was strict. Men were not admitted at night without a tie and women always wore dresses. We did wear shorts and trousers at home or with friends. Bikinis were not seen at local swimming pools. People would have been shocked. Men never used “bad” language in front of women and no one ever used the “F” word.

Long distance calls cost money per minuet so the calls were short. Our communication was primarily face to face. We knew our neighbors and had volley ball games in the courtyard in front of our quarters.

Birth control pills were a new thing and there were questions about their safety since they were much stronger than the new ones. We could talk to our next door neighbors through the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. and my husband and the guy nest door had fun conversations while shaving in the morning.

Life seemed simpler then. We talked a lot with friends. We shared meals that we made ourselves and played games rather than watch TV. We spent more time with friends than we do now. These memories are fun to recall.

selective memory

However, everything was not perfect. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Blacks were suffering major discrimination. LSD was one of the drugs of choice. Everything was not idyllic. It was time moving away from the simpler 1950’s into the chaotic 60’s. My husband was later to spend two years in Viet Nam.

When we deal with memories we can choose which ones we want and disregard the others.

New progress, new companions

Life-journey-experienced-problem-solvedI began this blog to follow me through changes that I need to make in my life. I don’t know how much progress I have made but there has been some. My anxiety is more under control and I have begun some new habits that focus me.

I have enhanced my prayer life which had slipped considerably. I have added “praying in color” which is a book that my daughter gave me a few years ago and I never pursued it. This has been a wonderful thing for me. I am not in the least an artist but it if wonderful to take colored pencils and create prayers. I am doing them on black paper and enjoy creating light from darkness. I can also look back (they are in a spiral sketch book) and see who I have added to my prayers.

I do occasionally do Mandalas and love doing those. They help me when I am in crisis. For me, they consume time and I have to feel the need to do one. I have saved these also and can look back over trials and tribulations. It is helpful to see where I have been and how far I have come.

Prayer is a real way for me to “center down.” Meditation for me is also a prayer. I don’t do that enough.

encourage

Since writing this blog I have encountered so many wonderful people who have understood and encouraged my journey. I have been enriched by reading their blogs. The community is a comfortable and comforting place to be.

Thank you all.

Stupid words

words can hurtPeople can say stupid things. It is amazing to me that they don’t really think about what they are saying. When I ran a grief support group I heard some goodies.

 

 

You can have another baby (to someone who just had a miscarriage)

God needed another angel in heaven ( to someone who lost a child)

¬†Your husband wouldn’t want you to be sad (to a new widow)

I’m sure things are better now (to someone whose wife died a few months ago)

God never gives us more than we can handle (to someone who lost two teenagers in an accident)

Everything will be alright (to someone diagnosed with a fatal illness)

Sometimes when we don’t know what to say we can fall into the trap of saying something stupid or offensive. We may not mean it that way but that is how it comes out. When people are going through tough times they don’t need to hear these kind of answers. They need to hear

Can I bring dinner by tomorrow?

I’m going to a movie tomorrow can I pick you up?

I am so sorry

I will call you soon (only if you really will)

Give a hug

Cry with them

Solid concrete help is what is needed. Only say what you mean. If you can help try to do something specific. Don’t just say “how can I help?” Instead ask if you can pick up children, run an errand, offer a day out. Each individual needs different things. You have to gauge what will help.

compassion-is-a-verbMost importantly offer compassion and love. Nothing is more needed. If you have suffered a similar loss you may understand better what they are going through but don’t assume it will be exactly the same. Just being there is critical. Don’t just say something…..do something!

 

Touch Heals

Communal_BathA recent article was about the pain lessening effects of touch. A study was done with couples that showed just holding hands reduced the level of pain. I have been a nurse for a long time but I have always believed that touch heals. I have been with patients in the hospital who are in pain and can’t have more meds yet. I have gently held their hand or stroked an arm while speaking soothingly. They almost always calmed and were able to rest more comfortably until med time.

We humans have lived with others (i’m sure) since we lived in caves. We have been communal and depended on each other. I don’t think we are meant to live life alone. That doesn’t mean that we have to live with someone in our home but that we need community. Community is one place (hopefully) where touch can happen in safety.

touchIt has been my experience that human touch is critical to our health. Babies who are not cuddled and held in the beginning of their lives do not thrive. Many of them have significant social disorders later in life.

We need touch. In my role as Parish Nurse I used some form of touch with everyone I visited. I never had anyone not want that. (I know some people don’t like being touched)

With all the issues in our society today touch has become an iffy thing. We are often afraid to touch knowing that it can be misconstrued. It is a tragedy that this is the case. We all need touch to be whole.