Posted in grief, inspiration, motivation, widow

The blank pages in between

next-chapter.png

Here I am at another new beginning.  After all I’ve been through in the past couple of years, my perspective on life has changed.  I truly understand the meaning that tomorrow is not guaranteed.  This journey I have been on has brought me so many unanswered questions.  I have asked why? and how could this be happening? more times than I would like to admit.  I have no answers for these questions.  I don’t know why Pat had to die, or why the house had to be destroyed and rebuilt, or why I am now a widowed single mother of three young boys.  I don’t think I did anything to deserve these challenges, but I think there is a reason for all of it.  I don’t believe in coincidences, so there must be lessons to be learned or opportunities to embrace in order to live my life.

My life now…there is one thing I know for sure about this topic…I don’t want any regrets.  I don’t want to spend my days doing things that do not fulfill me or lead me to happiness and peace.  I have spent my past 42 years saying “someday”.  Someday I want to write a book; someday I want to be a part of something bigger than me; someday I want to travel the world, go to Paris; someday I will find peace and be.  Someday is not something I am promised.  I have to go out and make that someday today.  That is where I find myself at this moment.

I have been teaching for the past 5 years.  I love my girls more than anything.  I adore my co-workers and completely believe in the mission of the school I have been working, but I am not passionate about teaching.  It has never been my love in life.  It was a means to the end I really wanted.  I have continued teaching because it supports my family and it’s where my experience lies and basically, it is who I am.  But it’s not anymore.

I have jumped.  I took the leap and quit the job.  I am closing that chapter of my life and starting a new one.  I am unsure about what that chapter is going to be about, but I am ready to start writing it.   I am tired of thinking of someday.  I want that someday to be today.  If I fail, I fail.  But there will be no regrets.  Don’t get me wrong…I am scared shitless with this, but it’s something I have to do.  This past year without Pat has been such a time of growth and reflection for me.  I have continuously reevaluated who I am and what I want.  The answer is pretty simple.  I am a completely different person than I once was, that is for sure.  I see things differently, I love differently and what I want is different.  I don’t care about the little things, and honestly some of the medium size things.  I am much more simple with the things that I want…peace, love and happiness.  That is what I am searching for.

I recently took a college course on the study of the Bible.  During this course we studied the Old Testament and the New Testament.  It brought me a sense of peace and understanding to many things.  What I found most interesting about the Bible was the two blank pages that fall directly between the Old and New Testament.  There is nothing there, but so much took place during the time in between.  This is how I see my place in the world right now.  My old life has ended…the chapter has ended, the lessons learned, the love felt, the gifts given.  But the next chapter is unknown and unwritten.  I am living on those two blank pages.  I am ready to find out what is next for me, but I am highly aware that these blank pages may last for some time and  a lot of work will need to be done on those pages.  But this is where I am.  In between the old and the new.  I am not the poor widow anymore who needs to be coddled and taken care of, but I am not yet the butterfly bursting out of the cocoon into new life.  I am somewhere in the middle of the two.  And I am okay with that.  At least that’s what I need to keep telling myself in order to keep my focus.

I want to start anew.  Everything is new in the past year…almost every aspect of my life has changed.  Now I am ready to start anew with my career.   I don’t want to settle and I don’t want to do something just to do it.  I want to find my path in life and stick on it.  What I am finding about this process is that there may not be something I want out there.  I may have to make my own way.  And again, I am okay with that….scared, but okay.  Deep down inside I know I will figure it out and find my way.  I don’t expect anything over night and I don’t think it’s going to be easy.  But the one thing I know is that it is going to be on my terms.  If I screw this up, I did it.  I can’t blame someone else.  And if I fail along the way, that’s okay too.  At least I took the jump, took the chance and gave it my best try.  No regrets and no looking back.

Embrace the moments you are given.  Do with them what you can.  Appreciate what you have.  Love those around you.  Don’t forget to say I love you, I’m sorry and I forgive you.  Tomorrow is  not guaranteed.  Make today what it is…a new beginning; another chance to get it right.  Don’t worry about what may or may not come tomorrow.  Focus on what matters today and do what you love.  Live from your heart and be open to whatever comes your way.  With this focus and this determination, I know I will find my way.

 

 

 

Posted in inspiration, motivation, Uncategorized

Not what I had planned.

Time is passing and things are changing.  Everything has changed.  The past ten months has been nothing but change.  I am looking for a small piece of normalcy…a place to rest my head and feel comfort.  We have been sitting in a holding pattern for far too long and it is time to take a step in the right direction.  We have healed a great deal- not completely because I don’t think that is possible.  But healing we have done.  The holidays were tough.  Tougher than I thought they would be, but we made it through.  The new year feels like the right time for a new perspective and I want that, but the reality of it all is that this is my life now.  It’s not the life I had planned on.  I thought I had it figured out.  I was lucky enough to find someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, not an easy thing to do….I married the man of my dreams, started a family,  planned a future together to grow old as a couple.  That was what I thought my life would be.

Nope.

Not happening.

The life I thought I would have will never be.  That’s what I know.  I’ve been working on what that means now.  It’s a tough job.  A journey without any roadmap, let alone a compass to try to direct me in the right direction.  Being a single parent is no joke, especially since we live in a world of couplehood.  How quickly people have forgotten that it is just me doing the job of two.  It sounds like it’s double the work, but it truly feels like 10 times the work.  I do what I can do and hope people understand.  I am doing the best I can.  I’m doing Ok.  We all are.  It’s just not what I ever thought my life would be.

So now what?

This is where I find myself here in 2016… a place of discovery.  I have found me again…I’m stronger than ever before…and I am weaker than ever before.  But I am me.  I am good with who I am.  Not a small feat.  I see happiness in my future and I see a life again.  Not sure exactly what I will see along this new path, but I know I am going somewhere good.  Pat is with me all the time.  His spirit surrounds me and pushes me to move forward.  “Smile everyday” is what he told me to do.  He wanted me to be happy, and not finding happiness and living again would be no tribute to him whatsoever.

So this is my plan…

Be happy.  Smile.  Enjoy the simple things.  Love unconditionally.  Laugh.  Live.  Breathe… What more can I do.

letgo 

Posted in inspiration, motivation, self confidence

The Road Ahead

walkingalone

The road of life has so many twists and turns that there are days it feels more like a roller coaster than a road that you are on.  Each of us have our own path we must follow in life.  It is a path we create from our choices and decisions, or sometimes a lack of choices or decision which draws us in a new direction.  I find myself looking at the path I have traveled before today which led me here, right here, right now.  I see some misguided turns I have made, but mostly I can say I am proud of the roads I have taken in life.  Unfortunately I have hit a few roadblocks which have slowed me down, actually they have brought me to a sudden halt in my life.

People are quick to judge and question you about the way you lead your life, but what right do they have to do that?  Basically it is because they are viewing YOUR life from THEIR eyes.  They can only see through the view they have chosen to take on their path and if it doesn’t match your view, they question it.  Maybe out of disapproval, maybe out of envy. But either way, its not for them to say.  Your path is yours and that is how it should be.

The important thing is to remember you are in the drivers seat of your life.  Nobody else.  You may have different passengers along the way and perhaps you may make the mistake and let someone else drive for a short period of time, but in the end,  you are charting your course and making your own decisions.  You have the power within you to be happy, to be successful, to be loving and to be giving.  You need to decide what you want from life, and head that way.  There is no one stopping you but you.  Or in my case…me.  Time to start back up and head back onto the road.  There is so much more for me to see…

Posted in Uncategorized

Just Breathe

ImageIs there any other way?  I never thought so, but now I know differently.  Somestimes I find myself not breathing at all…or even worse too many breaths at once leading to a sense of panic.  One day at a time, moment to moment, one breath at a time.  That is what I am told.  I guess that is all I have right now.  It’s hard to think or plan too far ahead because I don’t know what’s coming next.  I know there is no way to control life, and trying to control everything is a bad way to live, but a little sense of control brings security and right now I have neither,  In reality we never do.  We don’t now what tomorrow is going to bring, so we carry on as if we have forever doing our day-to-day business of life.  Sometimes that business is meaningless, or pointless.  Trying to get more money, more things…for what?  We run around trying to have more and forget about what is truly important…happiness.  Whatever that means to you.  Why wait until you retire, or the kids are grown, or you have X amount of money, or whatever…that day may not come.  We have to live for today…today.  We hear this all the time, but how many of us actually embrace this?  Life keeps moving on no matter how we spend our time.  I want to spend it right…My husband, my boys, my family, my friends…peace, love.  That is what matters.  Being happy where I am in the moment.  I have always had trouble doing this, but now is the time to change this.  Take a risk, do what I dream, no looking back, no regrets.  Fear is the only obstacle in my way.  No more.

I am going to take each moment one breath at a time.  Remembering to breathe and take the moment in.  I may not have control over all this that is happening right now, but I have control over my thoughts; control over my breathing.  When I start to panic or lose control over the moment, I will breath in and out and take the moment for what it is…One bump in this journey of life.  This moment will be gone too soon and we will be on to another.  There is truly nothing I can do to change the place I am in at this time, but living the moment right will be a step in the right direction…and eventually, with great positivity, we will continue towards our happiness in a new-found sense of freedom, and love. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Letting Go…

be stribg

Letting go is difficult for all of us.  We are so comfortable in what we have and what we do everyday.  Change sucks.  Who wants to make a change and take a risk when you have absolutely no idea where it is going to lead you.  You know where your going tomorrow, if you don’t make any change.  Of course you can’t map out every second of your day…things can change on a dime.  But that is out of your control.  That is the unexpected crap of life.  I am talking about choosing to make a change when you are comfortable in your day-to-day because you  know you should.  There comes a time when we know our story has come to an end.  This chapter, is better, is closing and a new one needs to begin.  It could be as simple as a haircut…as in my case recently, or leaving your job, your hometown, your marriage.  You know that feeling and only you know it.  People may try to talk you out of it and say your crazy for making this drastic scary change, but that is their fear.  That is them being afraid of the unknown.  You know what you need to do, even though you may not know where it is going to take you.  I believe in being somewhere for a reason and having people in your life for reason…and sometimes the reason is to take you somewhere you have never been.  Sometimes it is to take the next step and enter into the new chapter of your life.  Don’t be stuck in where you know you no longer belong simply because you are afraid or it is the safe thing to do.  Stick to your gut, know your heart and live your life.  Fly on your own spirit and soar to great heights.  We all have so much to give and do…Don’t let anything hold you back.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Long Road Ahead of Us

journey

This new life journey began quickly.  He was going to begin treatment as soon as possible since the cancer was aggressive.  One of my new roles was being a “secretary”.  I was responsible for scheduling all doctors appointments, recording medicines, temperatures and and complaints.  I had to organize the kids as to who was taking care of them when and where and make the drop offs as smooth as possible.  Sometimes the kids were shuffled between two or three different places in a day.  They didn’t really seem to mind, since they were being spoiled rotten.  Everyone was taking them to fun places and letting them have a good time

I wasn’t so nervous about this role because I felt I had some control over it.  I could keep my focus on being organized and detailed in my note taking.  I became OCD about documenting everything he ate, drank and medicines he took.  I took his temperature a lot and would watch him sleep…not sure he knows this.  While he slept, I would read up on his illness and the treatments he was going to be having.  Taking in this knowledge helped me feel like I was a part of the solution.  I wanted to help and fix this for Pat, but I couldn’t.  That pissed me off.  I wanted to take away his pain.  Since I obviously couldn’t do this, I just tried to take care of everything so he didn’t have to worry about anything else.  As time went on, my role as secretary changed from being a  crazy note taker, to being the one to call the doctors and keep track of all the paperwork.

On top of all of this, the new school year was beginning and I was heading back to work.  I had to organize my classroom, redecorate, write lesson plans and attend all the back to school meetings.  I didn’t know how I was going to do two full time jobs, but I didn’t really have a choice.  I would leave the hospital for a few hours and work in my room, then head back to sit with him until bedtime.  While at the hospital, I would write lesson plans and map out the first few weeks of school.  I felt like my brain could never shut down.  I was either focused on him or on work…not to mention the three boys of my own.  They were heading back to school as well.  I had back to school shopping to do for them and I wanted to spend some time with them.  This wasn’t really going to be in the cards for a little longer.

When I had a chance I would take each one out for a quick shopping trip and then back to the hospital.  Everything was about quickness and not being away too long.  I didn’t want to be away from Pat because in my head I was the only one who could take care of him.  The love I felt for him powered me to continue pushing forward.  If I felt like I couldn’t do everything all I had to do was thinking about letting him down, and I would be right back to it.  I want to take care of everyone, I want to help.  That’s who I am…That’s what I do.  I don’t think I fully comprehended the challenge that was in front of me.

Posted in Uncategorized

Part II

part 2

And then…

Lymphoma of the bone marrow.  This was what the doctor was telling us, but all I felt was a blow to the stomach and my lungs deflate.  It was the most surreal moment.  It was as though I was outside of my body watching the conversation unfold.  I knew the doctor was speaking to us, and I knew I needed to hear everything he had to say, but I was somewhere else.  I had to shake my head to return to the conversation and focus on his actual words.   He gave us the prognosis and a brief description of a plan of action that really made no sense at the time.  When he left the room, I  had taken on a new role…caregiver.

I ran to my boys and hugged them all and then made all the necessary phone calls, where I repeatedly broke down sobbing. I took the boys home and began making plans for the next few days.  I would hold it together in front of the boys, but when I stepped away I would break.   At one point, talking to my sister explaining what was happening, I fell to the ground in front of my house, hyperventilating, asking why, why, why.  This couldn’t be happening to us.  I knew I was going to have to be stronger than I had ever been before in my life.  I just didn’t know if I was capable of this.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m one tough chick, but this was some serious shit and I had three boys and now a sick husband to take care of.  I know it wasn’t the truth in the matter, but it was my reality…this was all on me.  There was no room for me to make any mistakes.  I had to be everything to everybody and I had to do it right…right now.

This was going to be a long tough road and we had no map to follow.  We were heading out on an unknown path and I felt all alone, even though we were in this together.