Giving Thanks: Day 4

Today I want to say that I’m thankful for my mom.  She taught me how to be strong through hard lessons.  She taught me what an education meant, and how important it would be to obtain one.  She taught me that the odds are typically not in our favor, but it’s up to each individual to go beyond those odds; to pull myself up by the bootstraps and go on.

She is the only link I have left to my aunts, my uncle, and my grandparents.  I knew that one day we would travel this road without them, but it’s certainly been harder than either of us ever imagined.  This is our first holiday without my Aunt Evelyn.  Although I grief differently than most, I still feel the pain of her loss.  When my mother talks to me about the loss she feels, I can see that she is trying to make sense of the world without my aunt.  It’s not an easy task by any means.  However, we must move forward, and as she has told me time and time again, “Pull yourself up by the bootstraps!”

The Month Of Thanksgiving

I am a few days late, but better late than never.  So, here goes:

I am thankful for my son. He means EVERYTHING to me. He has been through so much this summer.  He has dealt with judgment from sources who have no right to judge.  He will never get that from me.  That’s the beauty of unconditional love.

Carl Rogers encouraged us to embrace our children, faults and all (Hergenhahn & Henley, 2014).  It is heartbreaking that not all parents understand this let alone employ it.  At a young age my child has been required to process one of the greatest rejections he may ever face.  However, he is becoming stronger for it.  He is excelling in school, and he is growing spiritually and personally.

Secondly is my husband.  I feel like I haven’t seen him much since I started the Ph.d. program in April, and even more so since I started back to work in August. He too has been through a lot recently.  He is one of the strongest people I know.  I only wish I could be that strong.  He is an awesome dad, too.   I love him more than he will ever understand or know.

Death is a part of life, and grief is a natural process that all humans must go through with the loss of a loved one (Stassen, 2016).  What is excruciating is watching someone navigate through that loss, feeling helpless and impotent.  That’s what I’ve been doing since July.  The loss of my father-in-law has changed everything for our lives.  As a result, my husband is much less carefree and has transformed to his very core.  Coming up on the first major holiday without his father will be especially difficult.  Still, I have no doubt his strength will win out.

I am thankful for my dad.  He taught me how to laugh. He taught me how to play the drums.  He taught me how to sing.  He introduced me to The Blues Brothers and Saturday Night Live in the 70’s.  We share a love of the same music.  He’s taught me more skills than I can possibly list.  He is an awesome grandfather, too!  My dad and I have an extremely similar thought process.  My mom often tells me that we react the same way to various situations and say the same things when presented with challenges.  We both share the commonality of road rage (LOL), but we also share a lot of endearing qualities.  He is truly one wild and crazy guy!

More to come 🙂

References

Hergenhahn, B. R., & Henley, T. B.  (2014).  An introduction to the history of psychology (7th

ed.).  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Stassen Berger, Kathleen,  (2016).  Invitation to the Life Span (3rd ed.).  New York, NY:  Worth.

Tuesday’s Tales: The Joy of Remembering

15727392_10210578145123688_1486390073001210304_nI recently lost a loved one, and although it’s been hard, I must admit it’s not as hard as it has been. Why? Because I believe that this life isn’t the end. I have hope. Why do I have hope? Because I embrace a belief system that thinks outside of the box.

This post isn’t to indoctrinate you. It’s simply to share a viewpoint and to help you through any losses you’ve had. It’s a way to show you that just because the sun is setting in someone’s life, it doesn’t mean that their light is snuffed out. Every time the person crosses your mind, their light shines. Each time you put on their favorite perfume or see a flower that they loved, you keep that person alive.

For those of us who have “gifts” and can actually commune with those who’ve gone on before, death tends to be a little easier to accept. Still, there is a void. There’s no more opportunity to speak with the loved one on the phone or to hop in the car and see them. So, don’t doubt that there’s grief for those of us who can “see” someone once they’ve passed.

Remembering someone is inspirational, which is why I added this as the very first post for Tuesday’s Tales. My aunt Evelyn would have been 91 on Christmas Eve and we lost her on Friday the 16th. It was difficult seeing her go, but I knew her anxiety and suffering ended when she transformed. That is what gives me joy.

Each of us carry our own cross. We battle our own demons. Therefore, when we die, we can truly be free from the confines of the flesh. Knowing that should be inspirational and encouraging!

I don’t believe in the hell-fire scenario. But no matter how I look at it, I know my aunt lived a very Godly life so if anyone was ready to go, she was.

The last piece of inspiration I want to share for this post is that you can absolutely mourn. Many people think that grief makes them weak. That is false. Take as long as you need. At the same time, find peace in the fact that the person is no longer limited to their body.

As beings of timeless light and energy, we can do whatever we want when we pass away from this particular life’s journey. We are, as I said, FREE. We are no longer held to the standards of this world, but can move far beyond that. So, when I see my aunt, I know she is happy and she is content for the very first time. She is with the folks she remembers and loves. THAT is the most inspirational fact of losing someone we love.

Wait… I’m not ready… He’s just a little boy!

78011F1I saw a post on Facebook and the waterworks just started flowing (I have included the link so we can all have a really good cry together http://www.scarymommy.com/growing-up-saying-goodbye/ ). It was about a mother’s experience watching her child grow into a teenager. As I type this, the tears are still coming.

I am currently teaching a psychology class about child and adolescent development. On the PowerPoints, I include photos of my son to help the students relate. I have to be honest, there are times as I’m teaching that I can feel the emotions welling up inside of me because those pictures signify an era already gone. It’s time I can’t get back and that’s what pains me the most.

I don’t have regrets. This is different. I am supposed to raise this beautiful young man to be a caring adult. To be81714F13 separate from me, relying on himself to thrive. But, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that prepared me for this.

My child is taller than I am, and I’m pretty tall. Tonight, because he knew I had injured my back, he waited on me hand and foot. He is growing up before my very eyes and I’m powerless to stop it, but that is the nature of the beast. This is supposed to be happening. So, since I know this is the natural order of things, I should quit sobbing right?

I can’t. Every time I look at him I still see the baby I held in my arms. I still hear his hysterical laughter from a time I took him to the grocery store and absolutely everything was funny to him. I still watch him breath as he sleeps. I just stand there, shaking my head, wondering where all of the time has gone and contemplate how fast things continue moving.

Teaching this class has taken me back in time. It’s a double-edged sword really. Remembering all of the 79955F12things that helped my son develop is fascinating from a scientific standpoint, but then I see the man he is and wonder where I was when all of these changes started happening. Well, I was right here.

It’s such a roller-coaster of emotion. And then I look at him and he is doing just fine. Before, he would tell me, “Mom, I don’t want to grow up.” Now, I can see him beginning to embrace it and that’s what every parent is supposed to want. And I do want that. It just hurts my heart.

I have three of his voicemails on my phone. If I ever have to get rid of my phone, I’ll probably flip out. The first one is from when he was in elementary school. The next one is from a couple of years ago. The last one  is recent. When I listen to them, I can hardly believe it’s the same person. This high, tenor voice of this sweet, innocent child has transformed into a deep, man voice. But, that’s my child… It’s the same person and this is all part of the journey.

5BPE0123He still thinks it’s cool to “camp out” in my room, putting a sleeping bag down beside my bed. He still thinks it’s awesome to curl up on the couch and watch a movie like Kung Fu Panda. He still wants hugs. But there’s this part of him that is caught between the world of a child and the world of adolescence. I remember how difficult that was. Still, he smiles and wants held.

No matter what either of us do, time is marching forward and the inevitability of what awaits is realized by both of us. What happened? Where did my two-year old go? The one who laid in my bed laughing at the shadow puppets I put up on the wall. The one who let me rock 10325534_10207484561546032_7329734074876613506_nhim to sleep. The four-year old who play Thomas the Train with me. That little child; that boy… he’s still there locked deep inside trying to adjust to all of the profound changes happening to his body and to his mind.

I really don’t know what the true point of this post is other than to try to stop myself from crying, but it isn’t working. So, I’m going to close, go blow my nose, walk into my son’s room, kiss his forehead as he lay fast asleep, and then go to bed all the while knowing another day will dawn perpetuating the reality that my baby is growing up.