The Real Afterwards

 

July of 2006 my husband was diagnosed with malignant melanoma skin cancer. Based on the oncologist’s discussions with us if he was going to live 6 more months, taking interferon cancer treatment would help him live another 18 months. The doctor was just giving a projection. My heart sank as she spoke her upbeat prediction with a hopeful smile.

As the weeks and months rolled on we went from test to surgery to test to surgery for three years. Every three months was another scan. The building up to the day of testing and the results following were either good or “we saw something and we are just going to watch it for another few months….” became our lives. He endured surgeries to remove moles that appeared to change, painful skin grafts and lymph node biopsies. He started the gruelling interferon treatments about two months after his diagnosis while I was still nursing his surgical sites. Jordon defied the odds. He was one of only five patients at Duke Cancer Center to make it through the twelve months of treatment. He was brave and wanted to finish the treatments for the sake of our son, Jackson. And he outlived the medical communities’ predictions.

During those days my life became dictated by life and death. I rode the waves of test results and doctor visits. That’s exactly what they became, waves of emotions. Unbelievable fear and sadness with intense amounts of love and compassion seeing the love of my life suffer like nothing I had ever experienced before. I took on some of his pain somehow. Somehow I would wake up with his symptoms. I would feel his nausea. There is an intuitive, empathic response we feel when we are close with our loved ones who are suffering.  It’s the prayer we make. “Give it to me, God…  Don’t let him suffer..” And God shares it with you to ease their suffering and you help relieve the one you love of their suffering.

From this empathic response ~ it began to happened.  My health and my mind began to bend and take on the enormous weight of what was before me. A year and a half later I buckled under that traumatic weight. I fell into severe depression, anxiety, and panic from the worry and the seeing and experiencing the trauma of the waves that continued to crash over me.  Just like the ocean. The waves never stopped. This experience turned into anticipatory grief, the trauma of what is to come. What could happen when you put a name to impeding death.

About two years into the waves of tests and scans and Jordon’s pain and suffering from the interferon- I fell apart. My doctor diagnosed me with a mood disorder instead of focusing on the disorder and chaos in my life. I don’t blame her. But now is the time to bring this to light. Anticipatory grief is a real process. It is a real, often misunderstood form of grief. It brought me to my knees and to the open door of a day hospital for psychiatric patients.

I felt out of place. I was stable but completely crushed and defeated by the fear in my heart and I had gotten to a point where I couldn’t stop crying and my emotional plate was full.  My sharing at group during those two weeks was about Jordon and the trauma of seeing him after surgery. Having to work a high level corporate job. Raising a 5 year old boy that couldn’t understand why daddy couldn’t play rough. Maintaining a home. Caring for a very sick husband. All the while keeping it together.

This is the basis of what drives me to help others understand grief in all its facets. Mine is different from yours or from hers or his. We need to re-define and re-adjust our approach to this human experience that we all will go through. The only way you escape grief at some point in your life is if you are the first to go. The time to share openly, honestly, and authentically is now.

Www.griefanonymous.com

2015 in review

I wanted to send out the Year In Review for my blog to those that follow me. Viewer from 137 countries and approximately 5,500 people a month came to read.  Thank you for continuing to stay with me on this journey and know above all else- LOVE CONQUERS ALL and we must do our best and utmost to LOVE ONE ANOTHER!  I am truly hopeful for 2016 to be the year of at least 2 published books!  Gotta have goals, y’all!

Love and Light to Us All,

Holly

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 54,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 20 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

For Better or For Worse

Its been a tough couple of days for me.  I don’t know why.  Lots of triggers and sometimes not so good memories.  Sometimes during the grief process not all of our memories are golden and cherished.  Old wounds.  Problems that never seemed to get resolved.  No marriage is perfect on a daily basis and I have never spoken of this here on my blog for the main reason of honor, love, and respect.

But with doing this I must also be truthful to myself and to bring to light a key process of grief and recovery many go through that isn’t spoken about often. But in doing so I must also state that tonight while going through the memories and the current situation I find myself in I was looking for some songs and I just heard out of my head in a gentle soft voice ‘Send her my love”. Jordon sent me a song.  The song’s title didn’t ring a bell to me and then when I saw it, I still didn’t know the lyrics until I played it.  It stopped me dead in my tracks with tears pouring down my cheeks.  All the words are real and of my collective experience with him and very much what he would say to me now…

What I will say about all of this is in the recesses of our personal lives and through the windows into our homes, we fight life’s battles with our families.  We seek to heal our own lives with those we are closest to.  Those most intimate connections we have bare the brunt of our externally impacted lives and we put trust into those we call family to help us through.  Our loved ones take the full force often times of weakest points of the challenging aspects of our personalities.  It’s in these relationships that we often grow and enrich our souls the most but often times its also cause of the most pain.  Jordon was that energy for me and I was for him.  When I feel anger or resentment or sadness thinking back at things that could have been different or better I remember the fact that he and I were there going through all that we did for a reason~ to be the mirrors to look into that we needed in order to heal and learn and love and to become better people.

I love you so much, Jordon.

For Better or For Worse.

Till death we parted.

And for ever more.

Healing Humanity: from my Native American Spirit Grandmother:

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Through Divine Light, God asked Mother Earth, the Sun and Wind, and Father Ocean to bequeath all the beautiful natural elements from every corner of the globe to create us in his image. And it was done.

In the hot regions of our Earth the soil was rich with ancient plant matter and volcanic ashes and sand. Precious elementals formed from the heat and from there came the dark-skinned beautiful beings. From the red-clayed cliffs and slopes of the mountains we shall take the vibrant ochre elements of this beautiful area and make the passionately-spiritual red-skinned souls. The salty rocks and seashores of the North are tough and rugged and majestic. The sun shines brightly here through reflected ice caps. Here the tall, light-eyed, light-skinned humans took hold. From the East humans emerged from the green landscapes and jungles and steamy heat. Shielded from the sun and warmed by the humid lush surroundings they become a golden yellowy hue.  All special, all gifted from the elementals of Mother Earth, and all Divine.

There is beauty in all color and hue and tone. We were all created with love and made of the majestic sources from Mother Earth. We must celebrate this beautiful capacity for this plant to create such amazing diverse humans. Yet we have fallen off our path and have forgotten our origins and intent. God created us all beautiful and all unique for our enjoyment and for the opportunity to live and to learn about others so that we may grow within. This was the intent. This is not what has happened. Mankind has fallen off this path. We got suck during our time of personal developmental understanding and personal recognition and we did not take the step to look outward for beauty and diversified existence. We stayed inward and began to fear the others. We caste them out when they came into our environment.  We threw them out when we came into theirs. We disdained their differences and called ours best. We did not seek to see the beauty of where they came from and we tried to assimilate them into what we considered good and right and beautiful. A terrible imbalance formed and the Negative Elements of the underground took this open opportunity to plant roots within our world. At some point the choice to stay within our personal views became the tipping point. The pendulum has swung to far and we now have to do our utmost to find our true path as a human race.  As One.

The pendulum is slowly beginning to swing back. We are starting to see the error of our ways. We are beginning to appreciate the beauty of our differences. We are able to reach out globally and are truly seeing the vibrant lives of others. We no longer only have to use the definitions our governments or our media give us to teach us about each other. We now have the ability to really communicate through the Internet and other sources in real time and see for ourselves. We see that you love your children. We see the beauty of your festivals and traditions and foods and songs. They makes us want to jump through our screens and join you in dance and song and fellowship. We don’t want to hear only about the negativity because usually it’s a small segment in a grand beautiful story. We need to not rely on what the headlines say because the story is in details that are often unheard. We need to focus on our humanity and our diverse beauty.  We need to forgive ourselves for losing our way on the path of humanity and right this awful wrong. We should all ask forgiveness of our ancestors in any of their transgressions and aspire to correct that which caused hurt, disease, hunger, poverty, and separation.  Our futures, all our futures depend on this. Love and its surrounding Light has risen up to meet this challenge because we are all worth this battle ahead. The fundamental core truth is in the end: Love Conquers All.

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A Prayer for Us All. It Starts with One for Another, and Through the Ripple Effect~ it can Change the Course of Humanity.

I want to share a prayer with everyone. This prayer is very simple, yet all encompassing. If you have lost your way through all the turmoil both in your own space and in the world at large, or anger has taken you off your path and negative energy has made you hit rock bottom then this is especially for you. It is meant for all, but with added healing for those in these circumstances. For as you accept this prayer into your life and be open to what comes to you, know you will receive from your asking for it. Your only responsibility you have after you say it with utmost intent and hope~ is to stay aware. Watch. Listen. Learn what comes to you from your feelings, chills or warmth, signs, and symbols that repeat themselves with pattern in your space. Oftentimes the last disconnect of communication between us and God is the asking and then not following through by being open and aware. We forget what we’ve asked for sometimes. This is where those that are here to help with answers to our prayers now wait for you to remember that you asked. Once you become aware of their presence~ your Spirit guides, deceased loved ones, angels, Archangels, and all that encompasses love and guidance~ then you will see how easy it is to communicate, to ask, to feel loved and supported ongoing. Below is one way to reach Them, and they are reaching out to you to say, “We are here.” A prayer is really “an ask”. We go to God to ask. All of us are at different levels of soul learning. Some choose not to ask at all. Some choose to ask and then they forget. Some ask for the wrong thing and then they get the right thing and do not recognize the gift in front of them because it’s not what they asked for. Those are not unanswered prayers. Those are answered prayers.

So here is my simple prayer, my all-inclusive prayer that was shown to me. Say this to yourself every day and every night and really focus on the words. Say them until it hums like a mantra.

God and All Above for our Highest and Best~Help me (reach your hands up).

And help me (look up)~ help you (look straight)~ help them (look out and down). Amen

This prayer I just described is a simple loving plea from you. “God help me in my life. And help me to know how to try and help others. “. This a service love prayer to serve your fellow man. And we all know the Golden Rule. It’s a part of this prayerful equation. 

Another prayer to help you is if you feel negativity around you and you need to find a quiet place in your surroundings and in your mind to bring back in good energy~ then say this prayer. Say it over and over again until you feel the positive energy rush back to you.. The first time you say it, it will begin to work. But you need to say it until you feel safe. Feel comforted. And feel peace. Like a mantra. Like a chant.

Only through Love and Light to me you shall pass.

This simple prayer above is a prayer of protection against the negative energies that are omnipresent in our daily lives ready to seize any opportunity of throwing us off our life course. With help from above and being open to the communication, we can work towards enlightenment, faith, understanding, peace, and love with an ease in our hearts knowing we are never alone and only what is wanted for us is our highest and best. Amen.IMG_1417

A Message from Above~ Love One Another

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Never give up your spiritual quest to know God! Seek out and find what resonates within you. Just as you are unique, so are the paths to find him. Learn everything that you can learn and never stop that process. We are all spiritual students for life. From spiritual learning and growth, one finds direction and purpose. God comes to us in many forms. He’s not a foreign concept in our minds; rather a familiar something that we gravitate towards and it resonates within our understanding of the world we live in. Through our history, our DNA, our tastes and interests, and our families he finds us and he connects with us.

Truly indeed, God loves us all! We are all his children and we are all worthy of living happy, prosperous, productive, giving lives. This kind of connection is of pure desire borne of love for each of us. This love is indescribable in any high word in any language, and he has it for us all.

We must seek him within our own understanding and we must try to realize that others see him differently from their own visions, own environment, and own belief systems. This is what makes us all unique and different and is one of the many yet important tasks we have to learn here as a human race. We as humans jump many of the hurdles that are put in front of us, but this is one we are losing on a massive, collective global scale. We need to embrace one another. Learn about each other. Accept one another. Show compassion and love for one another. This is the one thing that must change for the better; for our collective future depends on it.

Last night the bombings in Paris were the tipping point. The catalyst. We must for our highest and best from a personal standpoint to a global standpoint learn to LOVE ONE ANOTHER! We are at the precipice now on a global scale. We must through our actions rise above the hate and the violence and the intolerance to see the larger perspective of human oneness. What we do to others, we do to ourselves. Can we please take a small moment and pause to consider God’s love for humanity and the possibility of peace before we all plunge ourselves into a massive world war of hate and violence that will lead us to trying to wipe each other off the planet. We all have a great choice to make. Let us choose wisely. Either way, we will succeed.

Love and for Your Highest Best,

Holly

Accepting Belief Systems that Are Different from Our Own

I am putting my belief system out front for a reason.  Not to convert you or to make you think the way I do.  I am modeling my example for everyone to see how this aspect of GA should work for the greater good of all of us.  I do not want people to have to “check their faiths or non-faiths, or belief systems at the door” before entering a meeting.  After all, Tenet #1 is belief in a higher power or consciousness.  I want to be crystal clear on this subject and it is non-negotiable in order for GA to function as a support organization.  My beliefs are unique to me.  And I know what I believe could come under some scrutiny.  Any one of us could become subject to judgement. And that is not allowed with GA.  We want diversity and acceptance.  We want everyone to show their colors and not be afraid.  But we must not impose our belief systems on others.  Grief is a powerful pain and many use faith as a means to work through their pain, including myself.  Others will take a different path and that is okay.  I think this could easily become the biggest hurtle we have to jump with this organization and that is why I am facing it head on.  My fear.. Tenet #6 is Facing your fears. And so by posting this I am facing my fears of chapters of GA’s having issues with people not accepting each others belief systems.  So I am sharing my fear with you today in order to move past it and forward.  And also sharing my belief system too so that people who are worried that others won’t accept them can see that even the founder of GA is unique.

I have a Christian heritage.  And a minor in religion from college.  I also have Native American ancestry.  I have sough God my whole life.  But I don’t believe there is only one way that gets you up to see the Big Guy.  Below is a prayer I heard through meditation.  My heritage is Native Cherokee.  I incorporate my heritage into my faith so that make me unique.  I want to be respected for my beliefs.  I do not want to force my beliefs on others.  I want to share my grief through my understanding of faith.  Others will want to share their grief through other religions or no belief in religion.  All that Tenet #1 states is belief in the energy of LOVE and how we individually define that love.  Because after all:

The very essence of grief is loss; loss over something that was and is still loved.

One must have loved in order to feel loss. When we don’t feel loss, then there is no grief.  And we are here because of grief.  So we are all here for the same reason.  We have all lost what we love.  And the core of GA is loss of our loved ones.  Tenet #1’s higher power is LOVE in all its forms.

Please, lets let in  love in all its forms.  And celebrate!  Again~ let us become a model for the world at large that is facing dark times.

My Native American Prayer for GA:

The death of a loved one brings on the storm. It rises over the mountains and covers the lake with its shadow. We are very affected by this storm. The wind brings in resentment. The cold rain brings in judgment; trickling uncomfortably down our backs. The mud beneath our feet that soaks in brings in the guilt and anger. This unforgiving riverbank, in the middle of this storm in life is hard to handle, I know . The rain beats at your face, cutting with sharp drops. The wind blows a chill through your body. The clouds make life hard to see to the other side where the sunlight is breaking through.

The Great Spirit wants you to know that you are never alone. He is with you always holding your hand and loving you through the storm. Storms are a necessity in life. They bring in the water and purify the air. They wash away the old and bring forth the new. Know this process is here for you to learn and to grow and to love. You are an old soul to choose a life of loss and grief. You are ascending in this life cycle and learning life’s lessons from farther up the continuum. Take the pain and sorrow you feel and use it to develop compassion and understanding for others. Take the love in your heart and fill it with more souls so you don’t feel the void’s bite. Take the sting from your memory and let it be sent to Mother Earth for absorption, transmutation, and diffusion. Like I am in the sky, allow Mother Earth to ground you as you move forward in this new life of yours. Ground yourself with her energy and bring your life back through the life force in nature. Take walks. Breathe deeply. Think deeply. Look up into the Heavens and see us in the clouds, rainbows, and stars. We can speak to you more fully when you engage us there. Listen with an open heart and with faith that we will always be with you. Guiding you. Loving you. Amen.

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To Unravel is to Heal

To be tightly wound up in grief is not a good way to walk around on a consistent basis. But it seems it’s good for society~ for your coworkers, friends, acquaintances, family, and strangers alike. We, the ones going through grief, have to keep it together when we are around others. Society wants to see stoicism, pride, and a measure of control out of us. They are looking at you to show them that losing someone to death can be handled and managed, compartmentalized and tucked away for private moments of contemplative weepiness. We feel the unspoken pressure and comply for everyone, including ourselves. An outward display of overwhelming grief is scary to behold and very disconcerting and uncomfortable for others and ourselves to witness. It seems a common value we have placed on ourselves to suffer the real emotions of grief in private. And by private I mean~ totally by ourselves. Even our core families are often uncomfortable seeing an unraveling of grief and pain. People don’t want to see the raw truth because grief is an inevitability for all of us that is better put off for another time. To talk about the true day-to-day of what I experienced and witnessed during those last few weeks is undignified and not in keeping with what societal expectations are. Everyone wants a sanitized, sleepy version of what its like to see someone you love die, like in the movies. The hand grip, the closing of the eyes, and the sweet last staggered breath, the last kiss on the cheek. That is what people want to envision for themselves. And through love, they want to believe that’s what happened to you… Many, many times this is not the case. And it wasn’t mine.

But the truth is at some point~ the unraveling for the grief-stricken will happen. And sometimes it is multiple times. The first inclination and instinct many have is to stand back, to turn away, or close your eyes and cover your ears. The flashbacks, the scenery, the smells and sights and sounds of your surroundings, all of it will make its way to the top and bubble over in our minds. How could it not?? I am a part of closed grief groups online. Many talk privately about wanting to die. Wanting it to be over. And some sadly find a way to make that happen. There is an underlying aspect to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I know it is often a part of grief that no one is seeing or talking about. There needs to be an outlet. An understanding. A way to go through these feelings, this experience, and project it out of our bodies and minds all that we witnessed and experienced and to let it go into the universe for transmutation and diffusion. Reliving it doesn’t help, getting it out of us- does. Keeping this inside ourselves is the most unhealthy thing we can do, but it is also the expectation and sadly and oftentimes the advice that is placed on us by society, our families and friends and coworkers, and ourselves. We must find ways to emit this powerful destructive energy out of our minds and bodies to regain emotional and physical health.

The crucial part of this is to allow one who has suffered loss to grieve at their own pace, at their own volume, and not under anyone else’s timeline or expectation. If you really love them, show patience and ride the waves with them. This level of pain cannot be sustained and it often flows in waves, many times for years. God only gives you what you can handle and waves seem to be a natural form of release, just like the tides of the ocean. You must accept this in order to be fully vested in understanding and support of this person who is suffering. Do not tire of it, do not try and fix it, do not tell them to move on and get over it and suck it up. If they are living, eating, working, and communicating with you they are already crossing over hurdles you haven’t experienced yet perhaps.

One of the ways I let this energy out is through scream therapy. If I were to allow others to hear me they might call the police or an ambulance. Yes~ it’s that powerful. I get in my car and drive somewhere where I know I wont be heard and I let out the most god-awful scream I can muster. I am hoarse for days afterward sometimes. But I can feel this energy leave with the sound and vibration in my throat and it is cathartic, powerful, relieving, and forgiving. And afterward I feel at peace and can move through my day without shell-shocking others. I’m not really advocating public meltdowns, but I am trying to help people connect and understand each other through this process. This journal is for those that need to unravel. And for those that need to understand the unraveling. And to accept this, honor it, and heal, and to form lasting bonds with those that choose to stay. One day when this happens to you, you will have someone who knows and understands be there for you too!

This journal is for my parents. Thank you so much for your undying love, support, and patience for me these last years.

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The Lighthouse

photoI want to state my beliefs first. I believe in the universe, energy, God, spirit, focus, intent, and love. Pain and grief is a cleanser allowing you to enter and achieve a greater understanding of the process in life and why we are here. This process is the reason why the good die young. Have you ever met someone who right away you felt a connection and that you knew them? They felt familiar and comforting to some place deep inside your mind? There is a reason for that- we do know them. I believe we are all on a continuum and a journey and sometimes we go through our lives here on earth weaving in and out with the same people, yet choosing different lives to live to enrich our souls and to gain different perspectives that help us learn and to move farther on that continuum. I believe we all chose what we want and need and accept the challenge and then through birth we forget. That’s where free will comes into play and choices are made- life is a test and a journey.
I also believe there are no hierarchies in heaven and we are all on a continuum towards oneness with God and Spirit and each other. I think Jordon is far up the chain. He chose his path of difficulties for a reason and so do we all. Jordon chose the tougher path to gain a better understanding and a deeper meaning here on earth. His death serves as a reminder and a guide to us as to what is important and what to focus on. Anytime someone who is young and good dies young- it hits us all. The “why”question always comes into our minds. It causes a chain reaction of souls here on earth to understand the importance in life that they might not have otherwise understood by taking for granted the gifts around them or living in assumption that nothing will ever change. This can be mourned, but what can happen is a positive energy can overcome and an understanding and appreciation can develop. The choice is ours to take and we can see the beauty and majesty of our gifts on earth as it is in heaven.
I will give you an analogy of why the good die young. His death serves as a lighthouse. We are all on a boat at night. Look up and look out for there is a lighthouse guiding us around the rocks and craggy shoals of life. Soon we realize the triviacy of everyday problems, and our focus and path becomes clear. We begin to keep our eyes on the light it sends us. It casts out light-circling, warning, and guiding us to a safer shore. We now understand our course and know we are nearer to the truth and how to navigate our lives in a more steady and true direction. When someone good dies young it is a great sacrifice for our greater good-
The waves around the lighthouse serve us as well. Their rippling effect casts out waves that start where they begin and flow back to other shores across the sea-sharing what is learned by all, touching, and causing impact. If you feel this impact, that is good. Jordon is now my lighthouse and maybe he is for others too. I love my lighthouse.