Tag Archive | grief

Collateral Beauty

collateral beauty

I recently watched the movie Collateral Beauty which I had to watch again for there was just so much to notice, to understand and to assimilate into my life.  If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.  Truly.  It’s that profound.

There’s a richness to the tapestry of the movie that I wouldn’t even try to explain to you in my blog.  Yet, if you have watched the movie, please reach out and share with me.

In the movie we realize:

Love, Time and Death

connect every single human being on earth

we long for love

we wish we had more time

and

we fear death.

Here’s the trailer for Collateral Beauty!

Please let me know what you think!

Shine On!

xo

Just Be Sure To Notice The Collateral Beauty

justbesuretonoticethecollateralbeauty

Have you ever lost a loved one?  If you have, then you know the devastating sadness that accompanies our every waking moment afterwards.  You know the daze in which we spend our days and nights, questioning God, the Universe – that incessant question of…

Why? 

Following the Why?

Trails the How? 

How will I go on after losing this special person in my life?

We all pass through grief in different way, in different times.  Some of us cha-cha through the stages of grief, moving forward and backward as we heal.  Sure, they say time heals all wounds, but wounds change us in ways we could have never imagined.

tears

itwascollateralbeauty

I recently watched the movie Collateral Beauty which has profoundly impacted my life.  I highly recommend it to you.  Here’s a clip of  Collateral Beauty Explained.

May in watching the clip you find peace and healing as you grieve and may you open up to the profound connection to everything in life.

Shine On!

xo

Swinging With Mom

swingingwith mom

There are times in life when we question whether the truth should be revealed or if we should leave well enough alone.  Having a parent with Alzheimer’s, I hop on the porch swing with Mom daily.  Growing up in the South, her childhood home had a porch swing which we all remember fondly.  Due to her disease though, I never know where we are on the porch swing when we come together to enjoy an afternoon.  Sometimes we are in the past, sometimes we are in the present and sometimes reality gets muddied.  It changes sometimes very quickly so I am never sure where she is at any given moment.

Mom is a happy and healthy otherwise.  When she is in the moment, a great Present of Presence, we talk about the day and enjoy a chocolate milkshake because everything is happier with ice cream.  We laugh and joke and nothing makes me feel better than to hear her laugh.  I will say outrageous things to her just to see if she’s actually listening to me or if she is taking her cues from reading my expression.  I will ask her to recount  funny stories from her past, sometimes initializing stories I have heard hundreds of times before, just to hear her tell them to me again and to share a laugh.

Her sister passed away earlier this year and because they lived in the same home, it was hard on Mom.  With Alzheimer’s, they stay calm in the moment when something doesn’t trigger a memory and believe me, I try to stay in the moment with her often.  But when I went to visit the other day, chocolate milkshakes in hand as per our tradition, after a few moments, she told me how sad she was that her sister Mable had passed away.  I wrote about it here.  She told me how she missed her and how she was sad that she hadn’t attended her funeral.  I assured her that she had and that she had been with her whole family, seen her childhood home and reminisced over countless photos surrounded by her loving extended family.  She listened carefully and calmly told me she didn’t remember any of it, but that she was grateful that she had been there.

Then she began to talk about my Dad who passed away years ago.  She was angry that he hadn’t been talking with her and she didn’t know where he was.  She was embroiled in the hurt and anger that she felt because he wasn’t here with her.  I debated for quite awhile as she told her side of the story and how if he wasn’t talking with her, then she would not reach out to him (mind you, she didn’t know how to get in touch with him).  I took her hand in mine, looked into her eyes and spoke the words I dreaded saying again.

Mom, I am sorry to tell you this, but Daddy passed away.

What?  He’s dead?  Tears began to well up in her eyes and I immediately felt so badly.  We have had this conversation countless times since he passed away and it hurt me to tell her and have her hurt again.  But in my heart, I didn’t want her to feel that he had abandoned her by not being here.

Yes, Mommy.  He passed away a few years ago.

Oh, I didn’t know.  Oh my, where is he buried?  Did I go to the funeral?

As I began to answer her questions, it soothed her to know that she had indeed been there, that his funeral was greatly attended and then I threw in a few giggles that only our family could at a time like this – because I couldn’t stand seeing her so upset.  I soothed her sadness with love and light and hugged her, trying to heal her hurting heart.

I guess I”m losing my mind here.  I just don’t remember anymore.

It’s ok.  It happens to the best of us Mom.

It’s better sometimes to allow the grief to fade and to concentrate on today, on our milk shakes and our happy times.

So, I snuggled up to her, like only a daughter can, on her bed, by her side, holding her as if she were my daughter and reversed the roles.  She held on tightly in my embrace and my heart overflowed with sadness and yet, with gratitude for this one precious moment.

Moms comfort their children throughout their lives.  That’s what we do.  But sometimes, there comes a time when the roles reverse and we are our Mother’s Mother.  We comfort and soothe in the maternal way we learned through our Moms.

I wish she didn’t have this disease for it has robbed her of her memory.  But I am also truly grateful that she remains in there, loving us with all her might and knowing who we are.  Sometimes we just know that these moments are precious and are to be treasured.  Isn’t that what life’s about?  Stringing together those precious pearls of connection?  And swinging on a porch swing, sipping a chocolate milkshake and enjoying the calm in a Southern hospitality way?

Shine On!

xo

 

Le Petit Prince ~ What does that mean – Tame?

lepetitprince

The Little Prince

By  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Dear friends, have you read this book?  I just finished it for the first time and I find it fascinatingly chock full of mini life lessons.  Although I’m not altogether sure I understand everything the author is trying to relay to us as grown-ups, there were passages which I found to be worthy of further thought.  I would love to hear your thoughts on the book if you have read it so that I can learn from your experience.

For example, on relationships:

“I am looking for friends. What does that mean — tame?”

“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. “It means to establish ties.”

“To establish ties?”

“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….”

and…

“So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near–

“Ah,” said the fox, “I shall cry.”

“It is your own fault,” said the little prince. “I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . .”

“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.

“But now you are going to cry!” said the little prince.

“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.

“Then it has done you no good at all!”

“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat fields.”

and…

“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”

and..

“One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets himself be tamed.”

and…

“I remembered the fox. One runs the risk of crying a bit if one allows oneself to be tamed.”

As in yesterday’s post about love, I guess I am running on a theme these past few days.  There are those who swear off closeness with others when they’ve been hurt.  They are reminded all too often that even though there is a precious gift in connecting with someone, taming, as in this story, there is weeping when ‘one lets himself be tamed’ as well.  We allow our souls to connect for a time and when/if they become dislodged and disconnected, we weep for the hurt.  It happens often in many different types of relationships, as you may understand from personal experience.  It needn’t be a love relationship such as a marriage or dating, although that is hard when it ends.  There can be other types of separations, disconnections, that can be just as heartbreaking.  Friendships and family relationships can grow apart or even break altogether, having served the life duration of the relationship and still, there is that bit of crying when the ties are severed.  It’s a part of relationships sometimes, that they have a time limit, a life cycle so to speak.  We grow together, tame each other by feeling that special closeness and then, through experiences, we separate and move on.  Sometimes neither person wants to do this, but perhaps circumstances are not in our favor.

I welcome the weeping at the end, for it means that the relationship was special, unique and one that I shan’t forget.  Like the fox who is reminded of The Little Prince when he sees the golden wheat, I know in my heart, that it has done me good.

How about you?

Shine On!

xo

You Can’t Make Someone Love You

youcantmakesomeoneloveyou

Once I was told, “You can’t make someone love you,” and a surging feeling of sadness enveloped me at that very moment.  I struggled to understand what she meant by the seemingly offhanded comment.  If my heart is so full of love for someone, why couldn’t they love me?  It seemed preposterous at the time for I truly believed that love could conquer all problems.

But in this case, I found her words to ring true.

My love could not conquer all problems.  Without love on both sides and a willingness to listen, to speak honestly and to be vulnerable, there is no healing or reconciliation.  Relationships can be messy as I’ve learned, although truthfully, I’ve known this for a long time.  Haven’t you?  There’s that old adage of “he said, she said,” which really means “he thinks, she thinks” and there’s little middle ground to forge a bridge between them when both sides don’t listen and share, give and take, and do so without keeping score.

It’s been a life long lesson for me that I am still learning, albeit slowly.  Behind my rose-colored glasses there’s a girl who still believes in love and who still loves with her whole heart.  Another friend once told me that my heart breaks open wider because I love with my whole heart and that most people do not open themselves up that wide and with so much vulnerability.  I felt sad, but I can only be who I am.  Innately, I love with my whole heart and truly, I have had that heart broken wide open, shattered beyond recognition.

But in slowly gathering up the pieces, one by one, holding each piece of my heart tenderly, I’ve put my heart back together.  I’ve restored my soul and chosen to live my life again, with whole-warmheartedness, continuing to love with my whole heart and not just with the broken pieces that I took time to mold back together again.

There are those whom I’ve met, who have been wounded to the core of their beings and they vow that they will never love again that way.  I understand the feeling of needing protection and of guarding our hearts.  Feeling broken-hearted is utterly painful and as humans, we try to safeguard ourselves from pain in every moment.  But there is something precious in loving with our whole hearts, that I can’t let go of, as I believe it is innate with me, a part of me that still believes in love.

I agree that we can’t make someone love us, but we can still love them.  Obviously not in the stalker way, but with a small piece of peace in our hearts.  Love their essence, love that part of them you once treasured, love the memories of your entwined journey that were beautiful.  Let go of the past.  Move forward into the light.  You can survive a broken heart with grace and dignity.  Allow your heartlight to shine radiantly as you move forward in peace.  A loving heart like ours never dies.  Our heartlights may dim for a bit, but love is a precious gift that we give to ourselves and we give to others.  Let your heart be full of love.

Shine On!

xo

Sundowning and Alzheimer’s Disease

sundowning

Confusion, extreme confusion, often comes during late afternoon or at night for those with Alzheimer’s and so that’s why it’s called sundowning.  Lately, we’ve seen it come and go at all times of day, with no predictable time frame.

Watching a loved one fret and worry is exhausting for the loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia and for those of us who care for them.  As the mind whirls into a vortex of unpredictability, thoughts firing at random, words tumbling out nonsensically, a helplessness sinks in and an urgency to help in any way possible to allow for peace and tranquility.

When sleep can be encouraged, it seems to dilute the chaos in their minds, allowing our loved one a little peace.  Changing the subject to one of love and beauty helps as well, but sometimes that button cannot be unpushed, the channel cannot be changed and we all whirl in the frenzy for a bit.

Have you ever experienced this as a caregiver of a loved one?

It’s not easy to remain untouched by the emotionality of the situation, let alone what is unknowingly coming out of their mouth.  Thoughts flicker, reality surges and fades and my heart breaks wide open with sadness for I cannot even begin to fathom how hard this is for her, let alone for me.

This disease is just so hard and old age, as the adage goes, ‘ain’t for sissies.’

Shine On!

xo

 

 

 

Alzheimer’s Disease and Telling a Loved One About a Death

alzheimersflowerMy Mom recently lost her sister with whom she lived in a memory care facility.  It broke my heart to deliver the news to her, so I remained mum for a while and didn’t tell her.  She believed our Aunt was still alive in the hospital for longer than she was, as we contemplated how to tell her the sad news.

But God and the Universe had different plans.  For you see, her resident friends who knew Aunt Mable were also concerned about Aunt Mable and wondered when she would return home.  Mom was told that she was still in the hospital getting treatment, but in truth, she had passed away.  Little could any of us know that one little lady, who is wheelchair bound, blind and has hallucinations along with memory issues would be able to succeed in calling the hospital in hopes that Mom could talk with Aunt Mable and get more information.  A miracle unto itself that she accomplished this with her cell phone.  Sadly, she got the news that Mable had passed away and in a loving manner told Mom.  I know she thought she was helping, but her announcement wasn’t what we had planned.  We were trying to get to Mom to tell her ourselves in person.

Looking through the eyes of an observer, this little lady’s heart was in the right place.  She saw our Mom upset and wanted to help and when I see the situation with a loving heart, I am grateful.  But in that moment when Mom reached out to me, sobbing that she had heard that her sister had passed away and was frantic, I felt powerless.  I had wanted so much to shield Mom from the pain and be there when she found out in order to help her through her grief.  In the end though, life unfolded as it was meant to be.

It is hard for anyone with memory issues to remember, let alone to keep the information that a loved one has passed away, for their ability to remember fades and rallies, moment to moment.  The acceptance of what feels unacceptable (a death of a sister) is too much for the mind to handle and it fades, only to return after a bit and the grief begins again.  It’s a roller coaster for all involved as we try so desperately to soothe a broken heart as the knowledge comes and goes, along with the grief.

There’s no easy way and from my experiences, the only rule is to keep a loving heart, flow with the moment’s understanding and continue to offer love and support to Mom.  That’s all we can do in every situation quite honestly.  Be open, be kind and love.

May you find your Sunday to be filled with peace and love, this is my wish always.

Shine On!

xo