I Had The Time of My Life!

May 12 marks three years since Mike left this world. It seems like it has been forever. 

I’ve been thinking about this day for a few weeks now and I kept coming back to the songs that give me comfort and make me smile; bring me joy! I’ve listened to them a lot over the past few weeks wondering if I should write something. If yes, then what on earth would I write. I wrote some Last Thoughts for 2018 on January 1. What else do I want to say? And then I listened to the song, I’ve Had the Time Of My Life, by Bill Medley and boom! I knew what I was going to write; I knew exactly what I was going to post because: 

I’ve had the time of my life
No, I never felt like this before
Yes I swear it’s the truth
And I owe it all to you!

Click over to that last link.  I can close my eyes and imagine that is Michael and me dancing.  There was that much magic and chemistry.

So I thought I would share photos of us over the years that we were together; 13 years!  Just enough time. For those of you that don’t know, Michael had a massive stroke on August 26, 2004. He had aphasia and apraxia! He was my hero. So 12 of those 13 years I lived with Michael and his stroke because I had a stroke on that day also.

So fasten your seat belts.  Here comes the memories.

Therapy at The Medical University of South Carolina

Michael was approved to be in an experiment through the Medical University of South Carolina.  Click over to read about it.  He was featured in the Post and Courier.

Michael Loved His Grandchildren

Michael Loved My Grandchildren

Michael and Bailey

We decided that we were ready to get another Scottish Terrier.  Michael was adamant that we had to go and meet all the puppies.  He held each one of the puppies and chose Bailey.

Michael Loved Having Fun

Michael and Me!

Cheers to you Michael!  There is no one compares with you!

So I will end with a Beatles song that is poignant for this day, this moment.  I loved you Michael!

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

Finding the Sweet Spot

So the sweet spot for me is remembering! Remembering all that we had! The sweet spot for me is feeling grateful for all that Michael taught me and gave me. What is your sweet spot concerning the loss of love?

Living With A Cutoff!

I spent the past four months chronicling the break up with my oldest son with the intention of posting it on my blog. I titled it “The Unseen Cord That Never Breaks.” It turned out to be five pages.  I read it over and over and thought about posting it and finally decided not to post it. It is ready for my granddaughter.  It’s important to put my story down for her. My intention is to tell my side of the story. But here’s the important part, the part I am choosing to post. It is important to identify how I feel each day.  I don’t want to get stuck in the story and live miserably. I want everyday to be a conscious act of remembering my oldest son with love.  

It’s important to note here that it has been six years since I have seen my oldest or heard his voice.  It was his decision for the cut off at his wife’s insistence.  They are now divorced. I will call her M. I know what he said the reason was but it just doesn’t ring true. Mother’s know these things. At this point though it’s not important.  What is important is to continue to love him from a distance. That cord never breaks. That’s called unconditional love.  

The first time I met her!

Yaya and GDM
The first time I held GDM.  December 2011

I was able to care and love her once a week for the first year.

My last time to see her!

Granddaughter and Yaya
This photo was quickly taken. It is the last time that I saw her in December 2012.

So how do I feel? When I think of my oldest I feel empty, disconnected; sad and sometimes angry. Sad that I am missing out on what is going on in his life; missing out on my only granddaughter’s first years of life.  She turned seven years old this past December.  What does her voice sound like?  What is her favorite color?  Does she play with dolls? Does she like dresses? So many questions that will have to wait for another day; another year?  

I’m angry that my oldest didn’t take up for me! Really? I don’t do angry well. There are times that I just want to throttle him and give him a piece of my mind. That would really help things wouldn’t it?

You may be thinking to yourself, what have you been doing for the past six years? The first year I sent books to my granddaughter via JMF. The inscriptions were so important to me.

Then I received a note in the mail from JMF.  WOW!  This will be another blog about my great disappointment in JMF.  He is a coward.  

So my granddaughter never received Zen Shorts.  It’s waiting for her.

So no more books for my granddaughter. If my oldest wants me to know his address he will give it to me.  I am just trying to honor him and his wish. Sounds crazy but there you are.  

Last summer, 2018, I texted my oldest to ask if he would be willing to meet me.  I asked for professional help with the text to make every attempt for success.

Text Message

No response!  I went to his house, yes I did ask for the address, and I sat on the steps to his house.  The house felt sad.

July 2018
I went and sat on the steps of his house.

So where’s the sweet spot in this mess? The sweet spot is small but terribly important to my well being.  It is to believe that unseen cord never breaks. I choose to intentionally send him love and well wishes each day AND believe that one day we will be reunited.  

So have you ever encountered a cutoff in your family? How did you handle it? How did you reconnect? What’s it like now? I’m looking for stories. It’s a lonely feeling.

It’s My Birthday!

Today is my birthday and I am in Little Rock, Arkansas!  I am traveling, training and coaching in early childhood classrooms.   Lucky me to do what I love; my passion.   So the traveling piece got me to thinking of my Aunt Erma.  

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Every summer I  spent weeks visiting my favorite aunt in Jackson, Mississippi.  She was the fun aunt who loved me and spoiled me.  She was the aunt who loved adventure and I loved listening to her stories of riding on camels and elephants; of her travels to far off places.  I adored receiving postcards from those exotic places.  I still have those postcards.

In 1962 she bought me a plane ticket to travel from Jackson, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee via Memphis.  It was a present; graduating from sixth grade was a big deal back them.  I had to change planes and I was solo; all by myself!  My first flight on a plane ever! 

I still remember that day; walking on the tarmac, turning around to my Aunt to capture this photo; getting on the plane with my purse and book, feeling so big.  All by myself.  It was a window seat and I don’t believe I ever opened the book.  My nose was pressed on the window and I was in total awe of what I seeing below.  

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And then we landed in Memphis.  My first landing ever! And to this day I remember that landing because when the wheels touched the ground there was a “bump” and my nose hit the glass.  To this day I press my nose on that glass and remember my Aunt.  And I always say “thank you!”  

Thank you for giving me the “gift of the world,” my ticket into the world.   This ticket changed my life forever and that is why I am writing today.  I love to fly!  I love the adventure.  I love the window seat.  I love pressing my nose on the glass and to feel the bump and remember the love of my aunt.  I love you Aunt Erma!  Happy Birthday to me!

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Last Thoughts For 2018!

It’s the beginning of another year.  2018 was the second year without Michael.  Now I’m ready to write about the last week with him, May 2016.  I think about that last week but more specifically the last day; the last morning.  I’ve savored each moment, grateful for each moment.  

Mike and J b&w
Folly Beach July 2015

Monday

Mike is home from the Medical University of South Carolina on Monday late.  Of course he comes in a medical transport with two gorgeous women.  That’s how Michael does it.  Bailey was delivered by Moonshadow just in time to welcome him home.   The living room was literally transformed in an hour thanks to a wonderful neighbor helping to carry the couch to the garage and a chair back to the living room.  My grandmother’s quilt is just the right touch to the hospital bed.  I’m as ready as I am going to be for what is to come because I really have no idea of what is ahead of me.  I just know that it is important and that I must stay focused.  I must be present.  

Monday night with Mike and Bailey.  It’s Dancing With The Stars night.  We loved this show.  All night long I would say to Mike, “ I love you!”  And he would respond, “I love you, too!”  Over and over this night was one of “I Love You’s!”  For that I am forever grateful.  

 

Tuesday

The hospice nurse arrives to do the long entrance examination this morning.  As I walk her to her car I tell her that Mike’s daughters should arrive by Thursday.  She exclaims that I must call them immediately.  It is imperative that they get here quickly.  I’m shocked but call them and get the ball rolling.  There is no time to cry.  There is no time to feel sad.  The daughters are on their way.  

The second night is different.  This night Michael wakes up and calls for me around 2:00 AM for help.  It’s not good.  I mean it is really scary bad and I am all alone.  Thankfully I now have the Hospice 911 number.  I call that number and immediately I have a friend, no I believe it was an Angel.  She coaches me how to give him the morphine.  She calms me down by breathing with me.  It is so hard.  It is freaking so hard and I am all alone.  Bailey is right beside me as this Angel talks to me for probably an hour.  Mike has fallen asleep.  His daughters are on the way and should arrive in the early morning.  I finally fall asleep.  

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Bailey only left his side to take care of her business.  

I wake up and Michael is sleeping with Bailey by his side.  The Hospice nurse arrives at 8 AM and to my astonishment he tells me that Michael is in a coma.  I thought he was sleeping.  My world turns upside down again.  How many times can the world be turned upside down?  I call JWF, my youngest.  Please come and hurry!  

Bailey never leaves his side!

Bailey never left Michael!

Wednesday

So Michael is in a coma.  Michael is dying.  This is real.  It’s happening and I am in uncharted waters.  I call our closest friends.  I call his precious speech therapist.  I call our neighbor.  Each of them come.  And with each visit peace, acceptance and gratitude appear.  Our closest friends arrive.  We circle the chairs around Michael’s bed.  I turn on our favorite music.  We pour drinks and for 3 hours we tell stories.  We remember the good times together.   We laugh and we cry.  Peace, acceptance and gratitude visit.  

JWF arrives around midnight.  I am keenly aware of how grateful I am for his presence.  I sleep beside Michael all night and wake up early.  It’s just Bailey and me awake and I realize that there is a sweet moment here.  I quickly make a cup of coffee and download Cat Stephen’s Morning Has Broken.  I take Michael’s hand and sing this lovely song and watch the sun rise holding Michael’s hand.  I memorized this moment. It’s Thursday morning.  

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Thursday

Thursday morning, the Hospice nurse calls to ask if she can come by in the afternoon and give Michael a bath.  I am thrilled at this opportunity.  Michael was a fastidious man and he loved his clothes and shoes.  He’s a good looking man!  Maybe this is why he hasn’t left us?  He doesn’t look like Michael.  So another Hospice Angel arrives and together we shave his beard, wash his body, his hair and slather cream over his whole body.  We change him into a pink shirt.  Oh he always looked so good in that pink shirt!  Thank you to my Mom for teaching me how to say good bye in this special way!  

His daughters and JWF return to the house and we begin to notice that his breathing has changed.  It is noticeably different.  We surround him and hold hands.  Each of us begins to spontaneously share something that we loved about Michael.  Slowly, slowly his breathing is shallow and then he is gone.  Just like that he is gone.  We are holding hands, tears streaming down our cheeks with no regard of wiping them away.  We are frozen in the moment.  I don’t remember how long that moment was.  I memorized it as I took in every person in that circle.

Bailey immediately wants down with Michael’s last breath.  She knew he was gone.

Saying Goodbye!

So a lady from Hospice comes to verify that the death is not suspicious.  She does her thing and then calls the Sheriff’s office and then the funeral home is notified.   I remind everyone that Michael’s wish was to be cremated immediately.  Once the funeral home comes we will never see him again.  Now that was hard for me to put my brain around at that moment.  No viewing of the body like we do in the South but that is what he wanted.  So I asked JWF to find a lovely bottle of wine with enough wine glasses.  The funeral home person arrives and we again surround Michael with our wine glasses raised.  We toast Michael one last time in this house as they roll his body out of the front door.  Good bye my sweet love!  I had the time of my life with you!

Some Thoughts

I keep wondering why I am writing this, especially this post; sharing these moments with the world.  First of all I want my grandchildren to know the story, my story.  I want them to know who I am.  The second reason is that I hope that I can bring some kind of hope and inspiration for someone as they say goodbye to the person that they love so much.

Here are some things to consider:
❤️  Take photos!  Take photos of your hands.  Paw prints are great!
❤️  Be present!  You can never have a do over.
❤️  Remember the good moments and state them out loud.

Morning Has Broken

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Michael Clay Boomer, Jr.  

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

Sweet the rains new fall, sunlit from Heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day

Your Turn!

So what are your thoughts?  What are your experiences?  I believe that we are better together and I love reading other folks stories.

I’ve thought and thought about Michael’s last week and wouldn’t change a thing.  I can only hope that JWF was paying attention.  I just want lots of Motown Music when I am dying. James Taylor would be welcomed.  I want to dance as I leave this world.  Cheers to you Michael for teaching me that I am lovable.  I really did have the time of my life with you.  Oh, that’s another song!

It’s My Wedding Anniversary!

September 2, 1972

Wedding Photo
September 2, 1972

Today would have marked my 46th wedding anniversary.  I can truthfully say that I do not miss JMF one bit.  I’ve been reading in my journals from that time; getting back in touch with what happened, how it all happened.  I believe that what I experienced was trauma.

 I’ve never used that word or even thought about that word.  I feel it’s a bit presumptuous to even think that I experienced trauma.  Right?  However I am choosing to think differently about this word now.  The betrayal, the affair and the many lies were deeply disturbing to me.  Agony, suffering, pain, anguish, misery.  Yep! My world was turned upside down and I literally didn’t feel safe.  Sleep wasn’t my friend and I would vacillate between intense sadness and rage. I would throw plates off of my deck.  I’ll write about that later.

Today!

Now I have the great honor of training as a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor and often mention my divorce and his betrayal in my trainings with the intention of helping.  After a recent training, a woman came to me and slipped a note in my hand.  My first thought was that I had offended her in some way.  I asked if I could read the note with her.  Thankfully she agreed.

My heart stopped beating and I held my breath as I began to read her note.

Note

“I know you didn’t come here for this.  Yesterday I was in your class and you mentioned that you had been married and your husband (now your ex) cheated on you.  My question: How did you heal beyond it?  How long did it take you?”

Well those questions have lingered in my heart and brain since that day.  How did I heal beyond it and how long did it take?  Well here’s the news!  I am not healed.  I choose to work on it each day.  It’s a journey.  Some days are easier than others. Some days I don’t think about JMF.  Other days I think a lot about JMF.  It’s been 21 years and somedays it feels as though it was yesterday and other days it seems as though I was never married and it wasn’t at all real.  Today is one of those days that I feel the reality.

Perception is a funny thing.  I can fall into moments of “he is a dirty bastard and he must pay” or “poor JMF.  Blah, blah, blah!”  But that focus is not helpful.  The focus should be on me, not him, which changes the direction of the energy.   I have a choice.  I can choose to be a victim and then act as a victim or I can choose to be set free and write my own story.

So I continue writing my story each and every day.  If I think about JMF I can wish him well with about 60% authenticity.  Folks this is progress from finding a journal entry recently that expressed my desire to shoot him!  This is progress.  I can only aim for 61% and then 62%.

So back to the questions.  How did I heal and how long did it take? 

I continue to heal through journaling, surrounding myself with friends that encourage me and lift me up.  I sought professional help and made sure that it was a good match.  I read and read and read more books that lift me up. Harriet Lerner and Brené Brown.

And then there is music!  I love music.  Here’s a song that saved me in 1997 and 1998.  This song actually happened to me!  Thank you Gloria Gaynor.

Make sure you scroll to the bottom for today’s song.  The focus has changed.  Thanks Demi Lavato!  I’m not sorry!

I Will Survie

At first, I was afraid, I was petrified

Kept thinking, I could never live without you by my side

But then I spent so many nights thinking, how you did me wrong

And I grew strong and I learned how to get along

And so you’re back from outer space

I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face

I should have changed that stupid lock

I should have made you leave your key

If I’d known for just one second you’d be back to bother me

Go on now, go, walk out the door, just turn around now

‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore

Weren’t you the one, who tried to hurt me with goodbye?

Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?

So where am I today?  I’m not sorry!

Demi LoLovato  Sorry Not Sorry

Now I’m out here looking like revenge

Feelin’ like a ten, the best I ever been

And yeah, I know how bad it must hurt

To see me like this, but it gets worse (wait a minute)

Now you’re out here looking like regret

Ain’t too proud to beg, second chance you’ll never get

And yeah, I know how bad it must hurt to see me like this

But it gets worse (wait a minute)

Now payback is a bad bitch

And baby, I’m the baddest

You fuckin’ with a savage

Can’t have this, can’t have this (ah)

And it’d be nice of me to take it easy on ya, but nah

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Being so bad got me feelin’ so good

Showing you up like I knew that I would

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Feeling inspired ’cause the tables have turned

Yeah, I’m on fire and I know that it burns

Baby, fineness is the way to kill

Tell me how it feel, bet it’s such a bitter pill

And yeah, I know you thought you had bigger, better things

Bet right now this stings (wait a minute)

‘Cause the grass is greener under me

Bright as technicolor, I can tell that you can see

And yeah, I know how bad it must hurt to see me like this

But it gets worse (wait a minute)

Now payback is a bad bitch

And baby, I’m the baddest

You fuckin’ with a savage

Can’t have this, can’t have this (ah)

And it’d be nice of me to take it easy on ya, but nah

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Being so bad got me feelin’ so good

Showing you up like I knew that I would

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Feeling inspired ’cause the tables have turned

Yeah, I’m on fire and I know that it burns

Talk that talk, baby

Better walk, better walk that walk, baby

If you talk, if you talk that talk, baby

Better walk, better walk that walk, baby

Oh yeah

Talk that talk, baby

Better walk, better walk that walk, baby

If you talk, if you talk that talk, baby

Better walk, better walk that walk, baby

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Being so bad got me feelin’ so good

Showing you up like I knew that I would

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Feeling inspired ’cause the tables have turned

Yeah, I’m on fire and I know that it burns

Payback is a bad bitch

And baby, I’m the baddest

I’m the baddest, I’m the baddest

The Nude Beach

How It All Began!

JWF has finished his first year of college.  Thankfully he had a philosophy professor that adored him and saw the content of his heart; really appreciated my son.  Finally!  The professor was from Jamaica and led the January term to Jamaica to study Rastafarianism. That’s a another story for another day.  

August 1997

It’s been seven months since JMF has left.  Six months since I found out about the affair.  My youngest, JWF, is home from college.  My oldest, JJ, is living at home.  

I am exhausted, literally and totally exhausted.  I need a break and then it happens.  JWF’s philosophy professor from college offers to give me his condo in Ocho Rios for a week. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and the excitement of just leaving the country and thinking about something else.  Right?  I can hope can’t I?  

August 14, 1997

So off JWF and I go to Jamaica.  We are both excited and he is is ready to share all the sights and sounds of Jamaica with me.  One of the sights was a resort that JWF missed the last two days of his stay this past January.  I believe that he had run out of money.  

We entered the resort!  It’s a couples resort.  It’s all inclusive.  What an adventure for sure.  Drinks are the first order of business.  Remember that it is an all inclusive resort.  Then we head to the beach where JWF stands at the front of the beach with his arms out and literally announces to the entire beach crowd, “I am not her gigolo.  She is my Mom.”  The crowd applauds.  Let the fun begin.  

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JWF with drink in hand and the Nude Beach in the back ground.

I can’t quite recall when I noticed a small skiff motoring back and forth from our beach to a small island.  I inquired as to where it was going and voilá, “ a nude beach?”  Excitement ensues.  Now I had made a list of some things I wanted to do after JMF left.  There were the usual suspects of a tattoo, a wild affair and I really had put a nude beach on the list.  And here it was.  A nude beach?  JWF looks at me, sees the look on my face and exclaims, “You are on your own Mom.”  Yes indeed, I was on my own.  So off I set with my bathing suit on, my hat, sunglasses, beach towel and a book.  I boarded the skiff.  Thankfully it was just me.  I asked the man motoring me over to explain how it works.  “I’ve never done this before.”  He proceeds to tell me that once I step onto the island I must take everything off, literally everything.  I ask, “even my hat and my sunglasses?”  With a twinkle in his eye he says, “Yes!”  Then he smiles!  

So I get off the skiff and with great trepidation, take my bathing suit off leaving my hat and sun glasses on and walk to the pool that has a bar.  It is crowded with couples.  Remember that I am at a Couples Resort.  I quickly find a lounge chair and settle in with my book.  Thank goodness for a broad beam hat, sunglasses and a large book.

So here I am checking off something really big for me!  I begin to realize that JMF is the only man that I have been with my entire life.  What’s out there?  I begin to use my wiles and investigate.  Somehow my book fell.  I had to pick it up.  Somehow my hat blew off.  I had to retrieve it.  Oh the things that I learned on that day.  

I’ve always heard the term, “hung like a horse.”  I had only my imagination to know what that meant.  Now I know.  Now I had the image.  Yes indeed, that young man was hung like a horse.  

Letting Go Is The Theme From My Journal

“Letting go is the theme for this trip.  Something to begin and continue when I return. I hope I can hold this Powerful thought.  Letting go of JMF yet staying connected that will lead to a successful divorce.  Recognize my fears.  Let it unfold. I’m sitting on the balcony of our condo in Ocho Rios looking out on the bay.  Our condo sits on the mountain and commands a wonderful view of the bay and the Caribbean.  It is breezy this evening.  Our balcony faces the east so there is no direct sun.  There are the normal noises of a town; sirens, cars and yet unique noises; a rooster crowing and a dog barking. ”

 

Last Journal Entry

“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?   Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself.”  Lao-Tzu

Yes I can!

What are your thoughts?

Have you ever found yourself in a place that you had to hit the pause button?  Was it hard?  How did you manage it?  Did you allow your mud to settle?

Have you checked some items off your list?  How did it feel?  What was it? I am looking forward to all of your comments.

 

 

 

My Daddy is Dying.

Daddy
This is a photo of Daddy from his days at Mississippi State University, circa 1935.

My Daddy is dying.

This is evident but when?  I’ve spent two weeks with Mother  and Daddy; making banana pudding, salmon, anything that my Daddy will eat.  He weighs nothing; skin and bones.  My sister is with us.  It’s like we were in the beginning, just the four of us and it really is sweet in a weird sort of way.

It’s been two weeks and I begin to feel anxious about work, and decide to return and just check in with folks, touch them; connect.  I drive 8+ hours home and arrive the next morning at school and immediately know that I am in the wrong place.  I can feel it, sense it.   And then my sister calls.  Yep, this is the confirmation that I am in the wrong place.  Daddy is being taken to the hospital via an ambulance.  I tell my sister to put the phone to his ear and I tell him, “Wait for me to get to you.  Wait for me.”  And wait he did.

I load my two Scottish Terriers into my Volkswagen Cabriolet and on the road we go within 30 minutes.  The speed limit in Virginia is 70 miles per hour.  That translates to 80 miles per hour for me.  Only this day is different.  All bets are off!  I am going to my Daddy.

Scottish Terriers
Gus and Maddie, my trusted Scottish Terriers.

I had been to a Conscious Discipline workshop by now and heard Dr. Becky Bailey talk about this exact scenario.  If you encounter a driver that is driving really fast, then wish them well.  Make up the story!  Well my story is not made up.  My Daddy is waiting for me.  He has made a promise to me to wait for me before he dies and I am going to do everything to keep my promise to get to him as quickly as possible.

Of course, the Virginia State Trooper stopped me close to the Virginia/Tennessee border.  Gus and Maddie were not happy with this.  They could sense the urgency of the trip and growled at the State Trooper.  I quickly told the State Trooper my story.   He answered in kind and quickly scolded me,  then escorted me to the Tennessee state line.  Sweet!  He kept me safe and no ticket!  Tennessee’s speed limit at that time was 75 miles per hour.  That translates to 85 miles per hour.   So off I went at 85 miles per hour.  The speed limit is a suggestion.  Right?

I don’t think that I really breathed the entire trip.  It really was as if the the seas were parting as I  drove and folks just moved over for me.  I could feel it.  No one ever honked or did any gesturing.  It felt encouraging.

I arrive at the hospital in Dayton, TN,  secure the pups in the car and literally run into the hospital feeling desperate to find my people.  Finally I find the room.  I walk in and find my Mother sitting in a chair, “zoned” out.  My sister is at the bedside with Daddy but looking tired.  I breathe.  I breathe again and again.

A nurse comes in right after me and announces that my Dad will get a breathing therapy.  This is when I called a halt to everything.  I reached out to Mom and I told the nurse that we wanted to know what the benefits and objectives were of the breathing therapy and we wanted to talk to someone.  We wanted to know if Daddy was dying.  My Mother and sister seemed relieved to have me there.  This is so hard for all of us.  They are exhausted.  I am running on adrenaline.

The nurse came back and reported that yes, he was dying.  I made the decision, with my Mom’s blessing, that there would be no more breathing therapies.  And that is the moment that all three of us were on the same page and knew the gravity of the situation.  We surrounded my Daddy, my Mom’s husband.  We held his hands and began to softly talk to him.  It was minutes, literally minutes and he peacefully died.

And then Daddy is gone.  He’s really gone.  You know how the movies portray the main character reaching up and closing their eyelids at death?  Well that is just bull shit because I reached up to close his eyes and it didn’t work.  They wouldn’t close.

Daddy and me
This is my Daddy and me at my wedding in 1972.

And this is where I find the sweet spot!

The usual stuff happens with nurses.  Blah, blah, blah!  And then my Mom assertively yet respectfully directs a nurse to bring her a washcloth and a bowl of warm water.  I remember looking at my sister with “what is this?”  She responds in kind.

My Mom begins to gently, calmly and lovingly wash her husband’s, my Daddy’s face, arms and legs!  It took awhile and during that time my sister and I literally clung to each other weeping silently and trembling, our bodies shaking.  It was the most loving act I have ever seen in my lifetime and I was overwhelmed with grief and love.  It is a wonder that my sister and I could stand.  I truly think it is because we were clinging to each other to support each other.

But here’s the thing.  At that moment, I promised myself that I would remember this moment when my Mother died.  I would pay it forward because it was the sweetest act of love that I had ever witnessed.  What a sweet spot!  

Paying It Forward!  That is the sweet spot or at least I thought!

Now my Mom is dying!  It’s December 2012, twelve years later.  Her birthday is in November.  As usual I go to celebrate her birthday and leave as if it is the last time I will see her.

My sister calls at the beginning of December and reports that Mom isn’t eating.  This is the beginning of the end.  We talk everyday about what’s going on.  My sister is the best at keeping me posted.  At about the tenth day she says to me, “I think she is waiting for you to come.”  So off I fly!

And this is the gift that I just realized at this moment in time that she gave me.  She also waited for me. That is the sweet spot.  I always thought the sweet spot was the next paragraph but it isn’t. It is that she also waited for me.  

Mom and Me
This is Mom and me at my youngest’s son’s wedding in June 2007.

And I kept my promise.

I asked the nursing home staff if I could help in preparing her body.  Thankfully they said yes without any questions and I have a new friend for life.  This sweet person asked me to pick out some pajamas and warm socks for her to travel in as she was being transported 3 hours to Spring City, TN.  Now really isn’t that just cool?  I followed her lead and we washed my Mom’s face, arms, and legs.  We put great smelling cream on her whole body and then dressed her in warm jammies and soft socks.  Softy and gently my tears flowed and dropped on my Mom.  Over and over again.  I talked and talked about the memories that she created for me and how grateful I felt and how much I loved her.

I covet your stories!

This ritual was never, ever shared or talked about in my family.  What are your stories?  I have never heard anyone talk about this kind of ritual.  I really want to hear from you!

How do I say good-bye to my wedding ring?

It’s happening, it’s real!  Sort of like The Velveteen Rabbit.

I found a voice message from JMF on July 25, 1998, that the divorce was final and that he and Doo Dah were getting married in October.  I’ll be posting about our first meeting on that day at a later time.  Yes, on that exact day!

I began thinking about my wedding ring early on but I can’t find any notations in my journals.  I just remember feeling the angst about what to do with it.  I didn’t want to just tuck that ring into my jewelry box only to be discovered by my sons at my death.  It was a ritual that put that ring on my finger and it would be a ritual that would take it off of my finger.  So what would that ritual look like?

I began to play around with ideas ranging from building something in my garden to hold the ring to finding a place in the outdoors to bury the ring but ultimately water won!  Water has power.  Water has the ability to cleanse and rinse; to make clean.   We see it in the weather each year with hurricanes and floods.  It is difficult in the beginning for sure, raw and emotional.  I’m not surprised that water won.  I am a Pisces!

So I began to think about rituals.  What is a ritual and what is their power?  Rituals are really an everyday part of our lives.  We’re probably unconscious of the small everyday rituals but very aware of the big rituals.  Think about Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Hanukkah and Passover.  And then there is the big ritual, a wedding.

So could I create a ritual that includes water and give my wedding ring back to the universe?

I have loved the ocean since I was a small girl.  My aunt and uncle would take me to the Gulf Coast for vacations.  I was swimming and jumping off high dives at the age of three.  I was water skiing at four years old.  So going to the ocean was an easy choice.  Water is a vessel of healing for me.

I made reservations for a house at South Hatteras, a different kind of place than where we would typically stay as a family at the Outer Banks.

From my journal. . . . August 19, 1998

I’m beginning to feel…. at ease. . . . comfortable . . .me.. . in this new way of being?  Even though I’ve been living this way it just seems different today.
As I went to bed last night I thought I could pretty much sum it up with one short sentence.

I’m not me when I’m with JMF.  

August 21, 1998

I biked yesterday somewhere between 32-40 miles.  By the time I arrived back my thigh muscles were in trauma.  I think it was because of the rest on the ferry ride and then I had 3 more miles to go.

 

So Here’s What Happened on August 20. 1998

My plan was to bike to Ocracoke.  It would require me to take a ferry from South Hatteras to Ocracoke.  I would take my ring off and throw it into the Pamlico Sound.  So off I went on my bike with my back pack loaded.  I was ready until the time came to do it and I just wasn’t feeling it.  So I trusted myself.  I enjoyed the ferry ride over and biked to the end of the island, ate lunch, journaled and rode back to the ferry.  This time I was ready.

And guess what?  Six Navy jets appeared in the sky as the ferry crossed to Hatteras.  Yes indeed those jets were placed there just for me.  I quickly took my ring off, kissed it and tossed it into the Pamlico Sound.  It felt good.  It felt right!  The ring was in the perfect place. And the folks around me realized what was happening and applauded and somehow made a circle around me; surrounded me.

US-Navy-Blue-Angels-maine-wedding-photographers_2178
These are the Navy Blue Angels that came to honor the moment of letting go of my wedding ring.

Reflections on February 28, 2018

This moment in time was really hard , both physically and emotionally, as I think about it and yet I trusted myself enough to keep moving forward.  Trusting myself and listening to my feelings was the sweet spot.   I trusted myself with the ring, not to just throw the ring away but trusted my instincts and listened to my feelings and found just the right moment, to seek that sweet spot for that ring.  Okay let’s be real!  The Navy Blue Angels was pretty sweet!  Right?

So what about you?

What rituals have you created in your life to honor these important moments that just may be sad moments;  moments of letting go?  What are your stories?  Were you aware of your feelings?  Were you aware of what was going on around you?

I look forward to your comments below.

Pools Of Sadness

Notes from my journal

January 12, 1998

I find myself in sad places, trying to make sense out of what has happened.

When I am in this state it is as if I’m in a pool of sadness, no energy flowing in or around me.  It feels dead and lifeless.  It’s no fun.  I make myself stay in this place.

Feeling Buddies
These are the Conscious Discipline® Feeling Buddies®. Can you find sad?

My first response is to get up and get out of it but I’m trying to look at sadness in the face.  Look at it and identify every part of it.  Maybe it’s the identification that is “making sense.” Maybe each day will be incrementally better.  That’s what I’m betting on.

My goal is to sit in these “pools of sadness” so that one day I will find that the pool is dry and because of the sitting and careful attention,  the ground will be fertile and new life will grow.

It is the process that is most important now.  Paying attention everyday is what is important; mindfulness.

January 13, 1998

Sadness.  Pools of sadness.  It’s all over me and yet I’m so grateful to the Universe for loving me so much.

Sadness.  It is a good and right place to be.  Necessary.  I must pass along this way to get to my freedom, true freedom.  Maybe this sadness is the acceptance that this has happened, to accept this.  I must touch it and the touching is feeling the sadness.

The pools of sadness are calm and quiet.  They are not like the raging white waters I’ve been through last year.  I feel as though I must bathe in them, get soaked by the sadness.  I trust myself that I will get up and walk out of the pool and let go.  But first I have to accept.

This is a necessary place to be.  I have to tell myself this or I will move on.  That’s my nature, move on to the good feelings.

January 14, 1998

Pools of sadness.  I’ve noticed that choosing the word to use can put me in a different place to stand.  The struggle to freedom or a journey to freedom?  It can change my mindset and how I view the process; positive or negative.

When I think of this pool of sadness, it’s not a bad or scary place.  It’s a place of warm waters, healing waters that are running over me, washing me, healing me.  This place is not familiar to me and there is no other person with me but there is a loving presence.  I know that I am safe and loved.

This place is new to me and so I’m not real sure about it.  My tendency has been to look away from pain and sadness and run towards the good feelings.  Accept this reality.   Bathe in this reality so that I can let go.

February 12, 2018
Reflections

I recently went back and found these three separate entries from my journals and was intrigued by them.  These entries were made a year after JMF had left me.  It is also about 2 months before I first heard about Conscious Discipline®.  

Angry, scared and sad came to visit me in 1997 and 1998.
So how would I know how to handle angry, scared or sad?
I didn’t!

I didn’t know how to handle these feelings because my parents didn’t believe that feelings were important.  My Mom would say to me to “wipe those feelings off your face.”  That’s the way it was back in the 1950’s.  You can’t teach something that you don’t know.  So I had no idea of what to do in 1997 and 1998 with these big feelings.

Thankfully my therapist, SL, encouraged me to journal in January 1997.  Journalling had become a way of life by 1998.  Journaling was my friend!  Baring my soul and becoming real to myself felt good and right.  This is how I became friends with my feelings.  I began to accept these feelings so that I could slowly feel the feeling and let go.  And this was was the sweet spot; becoming friends with sad and allowing myself to sit with sad.

It has taken me years to identify how my Mom dealt with my feelings.  She ignored them!  I learned how to ignore my feelings at the feet of the ultimate ignorer of feelings.  Here is a link to some videos that have helped me to identify how my Mom handled my feelings.

So here are my friends from 1997.

Big Angry
This is the Conscious Discipline® Feeling Buddy® Angry.
Big Scared
This is the Conscious Discipline® Feeling Buddy® Scared.

1998 was the time for sad to come and be with me, comfort me; become my friend.

Big Sad
This is the Conscious Discipline® Feeling Buddy® Sad.

As of today sad isn’t gone entirely. I believe that’s called life.  Sad comes to visit on holidays, birthdays and sometimes unexpectedly.  I am learning to welcome sad and tell myself that I am safe and that I am loved.  I’m learning that feelings are like the weather;  feelings come and go.  The weather forecast tells me what to wear.  My feelings are my emotional guidance system and tell me what to do.  I am going to be honest!  I really don’t like sad but at least I can welcome sad into my life; give myself permission to sit and be with sad and know that I can handle it.

Your Stories

What resonated with you as you read from my journal entries from January 1998?  Pools of sadness were a recurring theme in 1998.  What are your stories?  How did your parents handle your big feelings when you were growing up?  Are you able to sit with angry, scared and sad and welcome them into your life?  What would it take to become friends with angry, scared and sad?  How would becoming friends with them change the trajectory of your life?  What is your sweet spot?

How do I tell my parents about his affair?

March 1997

It’s been 2 months since JMF moved out, since the separation.  It’s been a few days since the news and I am still reeling that JMF has been having an affair for a year.  I begin to wonder and worry about how on earth am I going to tell my parents about his affair They are worried sick about me since I called them back in January and they continue to voice their need to see me.  I finally agree to fly to Knoxville and meet them in Pigeon Forge for a long weekend.

Wonder and worry are my friends for sure.  Affairs are not common in my family, non-existent.  How on earth does one talk about affairs with parents?  I speak with my therapist and she assures me that I will know what to do in the moment.  Give me the words for goodness sake!  I’m on my own.  I fly down, rent a car and drive over to meet them.

I walk into the house and before my Mom even hugs me, she puts her hands on my shoulders and squarely looks me in my eyes and says, “How old is she?”  I am shocked but I quickly answer, “I don’t know!”  So where did that come from?  My Mom is real?  She knows about these things?  How can that be?  I ask where Daddy is and she replies that he is out on the patio.

I walk out to the patio and sit down.  How do I tell my Father, my Daddy!?  I sit down and just tell him the story simply and succinctly.  Then I asked him a question.  I don’t know where this question came from but there it was.  “How is it that you never had an affair Daddy?”  He looks at me, smiles and with the softest face and loving eyes he said very slowly, “Sugar, I didn’t need to because I went fishing and hunting.”  And then there was silence!

And that silence was the sweet spot!  There was no judgement.  There were no reprimands.  There were no “he’s a dirty bastard.”  There was just silence, acceptance and the feeling of finding that sweet spot.

January 2017

As I look back on those first few months of separation, I can see sweet spots!  My heart is full of gratitude that both my parents reached out to JMF immediately.  I mean within 48 hours in January, to say that they loved him. Here’s the good news!  I was proud of my parents for that!  I just didn’t know to call it a sweet spot.  My Dad would call that “walking the high road.”

The other sweet spot was that my parents were finally seeing me as an adult.  It only took 46 years.  It didn’t happen when I received my BA or getting married, having children or receiving my M.Ed! It took this event to finally cross that bridge to being an adult with them and wow did it feel good.

Your thoughts?

What are your stories?  Have you ever had to tell your parents something uncomfortable, unpleasant?  When did you become an adult with your parents? Did you find a sweet spot afterwards?  I look forward to reading your stories.

My Mom and Dad.
This is my Mom and Dad, taken at their home, probably around 1998.