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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Mentors, Belief, and Reflection

Mentorship

I have been fortunate enough to have many mentors throughout my life. The first one I ever had was Carter Blankenship, and he taught me most of what I know about shoes and a little about workwear. He passed away two weeks ago. He was one of the first people to ever believe in me, and he called me his protégé. He looked out for me, taught me certain tricks of the trade with people, and he was proud of me. Always.

word cloud - mentorship

I have been thinking about him periodically in the past few months, and how much I wanted to get in contact with him. I just didn’t know how. When I find out he passed away, it hit me like a two-foot wave in the ocean. I felt a sense of loss and shock that I hadn’t felt since my Nana passed away. I am not comparing the two; please do not misunderstand me.

Belief

His family had a celebration of life ceremony today that I went to. Truth be told, I really didn’t want to go. I knew I needed to go, I owed him that much. I didn’t really know how much the man had meant to me until today when I was headed there. The emotions were like the waves during an outgoing storm at the ocean. Violent, but subdued. Periodic but all-consuming. It was a tough ending to a tough week.

Ocean Fury taken in October 2015 by Alexis Krukovsky. (c)

I hadn’t met his family, except once in passing years ago, but he talked about them consistently. He was always proud of them, as well.   I looked for people who may be able to help direct me to the family members to introduce myself. The first person I met was Bridget, and is an old family friend. A very lovely, no-nonsense woman who was helping to clean up, and she introduced me to Melissa (his daughter) and later Adrienne his wife. Adrienne knew exactly who I was as soon as I said my name. I was slightly taken aback by this because I hadn’t seen Carter in at least seven years, and probably closer to ten. He talked about me to his family, which he didn’t do often apparently.  He also called me his protégé to his family.  It was one of several moments of gratitude and humbled pride.  I spent several years getting to work with and learn from him, but still.

 Reflection

Some of us went back to the house to help bring in everything, and to relax. There were stories upon stories, laughter, and bonding. From what I knew about Carter, it was exactly what he would have wanted. Laid-back, relaxed, and people having a good time while remembering the man we all loved. He was always a bit of a trickster, and helping to carry everything back to the house was his way of getting me there.

I went not knowing what to expect, and left with a lighter sense of spirit. I also left with new friends, and a deep down belief that he was proud of me. Even still after all these years. I am not sure what the point of this entry was other than a sense of gratitude of the people I have and have had in my life.

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.

Grief, Trust, and Belief

I am not a big trust person.  It takes a long time to earn it from me.  I have been working on steadily for the past two years.  Every once and while, though, I get this urge and almost necessity to speak with someone who I don’t know very well.  I did that tonight, and it was about something deeply personal for both of us.  I honestly didn’t know what would come of our conversation, which started about a family event this past week.  It was an open, genuine, deeply “real” conversation that was both terrifying and quite striking.  And it morphed from a conversation about grieving and that process to one of an oddly fulfilling personal awakening.  The cool part was it all stemmed from my friend Kayla’s firm belief that my Nana was immensely proud of me.

When you spend almost your entire adult life being closed off from the world, and to open yourself up little by little is a bit daunting.  It makes one vulnerable and exposed.

I have had people tell me, “you are such an inspiration.” And I would say, “thank you so much, and I am glad I was able to do that for you.”   In reality, I never understood why I was such an inspiration.  FYI, this is not me being modest, I honestly didn’t know.

Kayla, my friend and colleague, clued me in tonight on why I am so inspirational (her words).

I met her last year in Vegas, and she was brand new.  Apparently, I said no matter what it was, “Arbonne is amazing.”  To me Arbonne is not about the paycheck, which can be incredible.  It’s about the relationships, personal growth, and self-discovery along the way.  And that is why I am an inspirational being in Arbonne (this is what others have told me).  I have persevered much longer than other people may have, because despite some setbacks, I kept going.  Because I SAW the potential, I saw where I was going, and I saw what I could become.  I hadn’t seen that before really, EVER.  I didn’t believe in myself, and I relied on others belief in me until I gathered my own.  My personal definition of perseverance is doing something long after the excitement and what you said you were going to do has worn off.  I am a person of my word, and yes, this is a lot longer than I thought it would take.  It IS happening.  My Nana saw it in me the last time we spoke, and it has provided a fuel for me to get it done.  She was proud of me.  She saw greatness in me, and she believed it to be possible.

I didn’t know what this blog entry was going to be about.  I almost just free-wrote it, and this is what came out of my head.  It’s important part of this journey that I am on to trust myself.