Grief – Revisited

This has been a tough and emotional week due to the loss of a family member, one of my best friends mom passed away.  She was really like my mom as well. I no longer distinguish between blood and chosen families, they are one because they all have significance in my life. I have been numb for most of it, and still haven’t processed it all yet.  The crash hasn’t happened yet.

The funeral/viewing was yesterday. The family decided to have a private viewing where only a few were invited to come, and to spend alone time with Donna. It was more intimate than any viewing I had ever been to, and I think I finally understand the originally intent of a viewing. It’s not meant to be a mass of people going up to the deceased, and paying respects for a split second. It is one last time for closure, and to spend time with them privately that you might not have had a chance to do so. It gave me an entirely new perspective on funerals. I took my time with her. I spoke with her, and expressed my gratitude for her and her family accepting me as one of theirs. I also expressed my concerns, and to send her strength to her family that could use her fortitude. She was one of the bravest, most sassy, and stubborn women I have ever known. The service was informal, and kept as “light” as possible. With mingling until 1:30, and then there were eulogies given. It’s what she would have wanted. It was perfect. It was Donna. The room was filled with pictures, memories, and moments in time that were captured and shared by her husband John and other family members.

happiness in my life

She fought until she couldn’t anymore. She gave us all she could give, and went out on her terms. She was ready. It reminded me so much of my Nana and her last day.

I have felt my Nana’s presence strongly in the past couple of weeks. I still don’t know what she is trying to tell me, but I am ready to hear it. Maybe Donna will help, too.

The Universe/God/Narnia has a plan and a reason, and sometimes that reason sucks at the time. I started to write an entry about the fluidity of friendships, and it has morphed into this. There are a number of friendships in my life that have become distant for a myriad of reasons, and some have already started to be mended. Life happened, choices were made, and we were all in pain for different reasons.. Sometimes you have to take care of yourself first because you are not capable of taking care of others. Learning that lesson this year was quite painful and hard. The grieving process has brought us closer together again.

grief is

It still hurts. All of it. I am sure it will hurt more in the next couple of days when it really settles in. I have cried plenty. I started crying at 9:30 yesterday morning and continued periodically until we left the funeral home at 2. I even sent a text to one of my best friends saying, “it’s too early for me to be crying.” She said, “Love. and it’s never too early to start crying.” I am crying now as I write this.

lauren funeral

It was not that long ago when I rarely cried. And never in public, except for once.  It’s being vulnerable, real, and present. It’s about letting it all in, and then letting it all out. I held all my emotion in for so long because I didn’t think I was worth the opportunity to express my emotion in public. People bond via emotion, and I am realizing while writing this that Grief brings us together. If the silver lining is that this brings more amazing people into my life, and relationships to mend, I’ll accept those gifts.

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Light and Shadow

I
Breathe
in
the

Cold,
Damp
air

as
Darkness
surrounds.

Light
is
bouncing Off
the River
in a
kind of

Dance.

I Let
the
Darkness
Surround
my

Five
Senses

as I
Submerse
myself

in the

Restorative
Energy
of

Light

and

Shadow.

Never Left

There are
days
where I
don’t
feel you
at All.

Then there
are
Days
where You
are
Fully
a Part
of my
Being

Almost like
an
Alien
has Taken
over my
Soul.

Like you
Never
Left

Us.

Then the
Pain

Resumes.

I
Remember
sitting by
your
Side
during

Hospice

I
Read
your
Diary
to
You
as you

Sleep

of your
Travels.

with your
Sister.

I
Remember
how much you
Liked I
When I used
to
Read to
You.

All while

Me
thinking

This is
NOT
My
Nana.

You
went out
on your
Terms.

In
true
Megill-Hubbs
Tradition.

Disappointment

The
moment
when
you Realize
They are
Not
the
person you
Thought
they were.

When
Reality
that you
Cannot
drop
Everything,
and
wait
while
they get their
Shit
together.

They
realize,
you have

Changed.

While
they
haven’t.

When
You
realize
that you
have to
factor

Yourself
and
others Relying
on
You
into the
Equation.

Since it
is no
Longer

Just about
the

Shit

You will
Put up
With.

It’s
how it
Affects

Ones
Mindset.

The
rigidity
of your
words,
attitude
still

Haunts
my
Mind

But soon,
it won’t
Matter.

they
won’t
Change,
and
Accept
it’s Not

about
their
Needs
all the
Time.

Capturing the Moment

There is something about capturing a moment in time that is magical, and almost visceral.  In certain pictures you can feel the emotion being conveyed in that moment. It is a gift to be able to capture that moment, and preserve it for a lifetime of memories.

Maria Spillane being recognized for achieving National Vice President in Arbonne. Photograph taken by Alexis Krukovsky.

Maria Spillane being recognized for achieving National Vice President in Arbonne. Photograph taken by Alexis Krukovsky.

The record is there, and you can immerse yourself in that moment at anytime.  Anyone who has lost someone close to them, you realize how important pictures are because they bring you back to that time and place. The part of that memory you hold dear is an important gateway to the soul, and it’s easy to get lost in it.  The most important part is to take the memory and hold it close to you, and keep it with you as long as you need it.

It doesn’t need to be that dramatic, though.  It can be sending a friend a picture when they are away, or finding a hilarious event and reposting it.  It brings you back to time, place, and emotion.

Belonging, Terror, and Love

I have been pondering the past month about the many things that have changed in my life so much in three years.  Since I was in middle school, I have been searching for and also running from belonging to anything outside my family.  I’m fortunate enough to be comfortable with my family, which has always been my rock.  I’ve just expanded it a bit.

I didn’t belong to anything in middle school or high schooI, beyond an environmental club and to a certain extent my church youth group.  Even that was superficial.  I think everyone to some degree goes through bullying in middle and high school, and it affected me greatly-I know I am not unique in those aspects.  It was typical middle and high school tormenting, and it left deep scars of trust issues.  The groups I thought I belonged to, I really didn’t.  I felt awkward, uncomfortable, and painfully self-conscious most of the time.  So I retreated, and built reinforced concrete walls.

It was simple in mind.  Belonging equalled trust that inevitably lead to hurt, which led to me being terrified of letting myself get close enough to feel worthy of belonging.  It was one more thing to lose, one more heartbreak, and it was just easier to cut myself off emotionally.  It was damned effective.

At my community college was the first time in a very long time I felt I belonged somewhere, and it wasn’t superficial.  I found my beloved Garden Club, the Garden Elite.  I am not sure whether it was because some of them were older that I felt more at ease, or just because they were an exceptionally accepting group that made even an awkward newcomer feel welcome.  For whatever reason, I did feel welcome, and more importantly, I let myself feel that I deserved to be included.  As I am writing this, I am realizing what a defining period it was in my life.  I trusted people a little, and it didn’t hurt.  There was just acceptance, love, and I will forever be grateful to them.  I am still in touch with those people today.

Garden Elite 2002. Left to right: Monica, Taylor, me, Lauren, Dustin

Garden Elite 2002. Left to right: Monica, April, me, Lauren, Dustin

After college was a struggle to belong again, and I was back to feeling like I did in high school.  The scarcity mindset had returned, and I wondered if I would ever feel good enough at anything again.  Fast forward to three years ago.  I found friends, a tremendous group of people, and an organization who’s entire philosophy is to empower people.  I feel a true sense of belonging, love, and appreciation I never thought I would ever receive again, or let myself feel like I could let people in without fear.  I found my group, who is a part of my extended family, and to finally feel like I belong somewhere, and that I am worthy of it, is an indescribable feeling of gratitude.  I have surrounded myself with people who love and accept me for me.

Vision and the “New” Reality

I was sending a text to a friend tonight who needed some encouragement.  And all of a sudden I could SEE my path like it was a reality.  And it IS a reality, which is the key to my whole being right now.  I can see myself at the center of the most positive, enlightened people on the planet, and giving them the gift to change their future.  I see myself sponsoring an Olympic C-1 paddler to get their dream of representing their country.  I see myself helping EVERY kid who wants to get on the water (paddling, whatever) when they do not have the opportunity to do so.  I see myself helping hundreds of people learn how to paddle and learn their sense of confidence.

You are allowed to be human.

You are allowed to be human.

I feel calm, almost at peace.  Except at the same time my soul is humming with certainty and purpose.  For the first time ever, I have a very clear vision of what is to come.  I have had a series of epiphanies the last few months, and they have all lead to THIS moment in time.  It has never been this clear, and never with this kind of inspired action.

The best part of my above vision?  I get to that level of achievement that by helping other people get what they want.  For those that know me, it is an innate part of my personality.   I crave it like people crave chocolate.

The weirdest part of tonight was I did not consciously make a decision.  My mind and soul decided for me.  All of a sudden at 9:00 this evening, the timer went “Pop” and it was like an explosion.  And right now, it’s like an all-consuming fire running through my veins to cleanse myself and I really want to run like 10 miles.

I feel epically, utterly different than I ever have before.  Different than last month by ten-fold.  I feel it with a certainty that is unlike any other I have felt before.  This is my life, and I am owning it starting TODAY.