Today I am going to accept everything in my life – people, situations, and events. I know that everything in my life is just as it should be at this moment and I will not struggle. I accept – totally and completely. I am like water – flowing with life. I am still and grateful. I am listening and learning.
I grew up with my Dad telling me to live my life as an example…that someone is using each of us as a role model…there is always someone who is watching to see how we handle situations and life – especially the difficult times.
I’ve witnessed 17 deaths of family members and most of my best friends over the last 19 years. The youngest was a three year old niece. Sometimes my grief has been overwhelming and I’ve not been sure which death(s) I was grieving. My doctor told me at one time that she thought I needed to grieve and it would help a health problem. I’m not sure I know how to grieve. Is there a proper way to grieve? I don’t know. I’ve read books, listened to Oprah shows, listened to friends, observed …
Last month we lost a 46-year-old niece to ovarian cancer. There was an obvious transition from her “fighting” to “acceptance”. Up until she was placed in hospice care, she was grieving her loss. She wanted so much to see her two teenage sons graduate from high school, share their college experience, see them married and hold her grandchildren. Her fight kept her going.
Then she told her parents, shortly before her death, that she was ready to leave; that, knowing how much sadness her leaving would bring to others, she almost felt guilty about her excitement over the adventure ahead of her. She was very sad to leave her two teenage sons, her husband, her family and friends, but that she was ready and excited to leave. It gave all of us a lot of peace, but how can that be. Truly?
I am so fearful of dying that it’s very difficult for me to comprehend all that she said she was feeling. I have enough gray hairs to know that God gives us grace to face…when we need it, when we’re actually confronted with challenges and passages. Jennifer was a recent example.
She was involved. There were over 700 people at her “celebration”. She wasn’t a celebrity but she had lived life. She was involved. She made a huge difference in many lives. She was very active in her church, children and recovery ministries, her children’s schools, 12 Step Programs. If you had known her, you would understand….
On our way home from her celebration in California, I was again trying to make sense of death…her death…all of the deaths. Why do we live? Why do we die? How do I make sense of this? How do I accept it?
I do know that with each death and loss, I feel a new resolve to live life more fully. I feel my own mortality and feel even more determination to make a difference in some way. Peace came when I realized that one reason that we live our lives is to teach others. By how we live our lives.
At Jennifer’s service, I repeatedly heard from those who spoke, that she “showed up” – no matter what! She was there, whether or not she felt like it. If she had made a commitment or knew she could help, she “showed up”. She loved to sing. Really loved to sing. She knew how to be a good friend. She had a wonderful laugh – and laughed a lot. She was full of fun and joy – even when she had reason not to be, especially during her illness. She was courage personified. I want to be known that way. I’m paying closer attention….
Each person has made a very real difference in my life. And I’m so grateful for them all. I started thinking about those I’ve lost and what I’ve learned from each….
To hug my loves when I’m leaving. Really connect and tell them I love them. No matter the mood…. I was fortunate to have had that from my husband. He was much better at it than I. But I remember that lesson every day.
My brother-in-law was a constant support and father/brother substitute for those who needed him. He was an artist and couldn’t help himself…he had to create. He did it as an expression of himself, didn’t do it for anyone else. I can learn from him…
My friends, Eloise and Marcia, were loyal, fun, excellent Moms, and taught me so much about being friends. They still have a profound influence on my life…I’m so grateful for their lives that were much to short. They made such a difference in my life. I still miss them. A lot!
My sister was very outgoing and social, maintained long close friendships over her lifetime. She had a great sense of humor, loved to entertain, made everyone feel welcome. She taught me to hug.
Another sister was our family historian – to the max. She saved pictures, documents, stories, provided our family with a priceless record of our ancestry.
Another sister was a school teacher. She and her family lived many places during her life – Greece, Tehran, Sumatra, and other places. She was intelligent, a teacher in all aspects of her being. She was an amazing cook, fun and creative. I saw her very little but she gave me some invaluable advice and encouragement during her life. She was adventure and excitement.
My Mom was a little dynamo. She lived a pretty unconventional life, was very creative and could get tickled over little things, especially about herself. She was good at choosing to see something beautiful in everyone. She was a spiritual influence in many peoples’ lives.
My Dad was a prayer warrior. His faith and example was a huge influence to almost everyone he met and he made a solid difference in many lives. He was a teacher and minister. Quietly consistent. Corny too.
So many others, so many wonderful others. Some were in my life from childhood and they are truly part of me.
So what difference will I make in someone’s lives? How do I matter in this world and to my closest? I try to do meaningful things with my days, be courageous and accepting, interested and interesting, fun to be with, have hilarious moments. Enjoy, share, appreciate. Do some act of kindness at least once each day. I’m working on being “present”. Putting my phone down and connecting in person when I’m with someone. Listening. Responding. I will remember to let everyone know how much I love them by lighting up when I see them. No matter my mood.
Dad was right…all of these people have been examples in my life. Sometimes they’ve taught me what I don’t want to be. I hardly remember that part. I remember deep love, laughing til we hurt, sharing plays, concerts, love of life, courage, we were there for each other during painful times and for celebrations.
I am and will make a difference. I’m living my life…. I’m here so I matter. We all do.
My goal is to live fearlessly but I’m traveling backwards on this one.
I’ve been battling pretty severe hypertension issues this year, volatile and very worrisome. I’ve been to the hospital seven times now, admitted three, a myriad of tests complete and thankfully finding noting life-threatening. Stroke and heart attack threatening episodes – yes! Without going thru details of these episodes, I’m consistently told to come to the ER at my hospital when they occur.
I’m letting my blood pressure terrorize me. I determine to feel joy in my life but instead, feel fear, dread and anxiety. How many times can my brain and heart remain undamaged – at the very least – with these assaults on them? I’m now back in my place of wondering when it will happen again. I had four months in the early part of the year when my blood pressure was unpredictable and uncontrolled. When I checked my blood pressure – as told to do before I take my medication – one time it was too low to take my med, and a few days later, it’s 218/112 again!
OK. If this is a lesson – as I believe it is, I’m open and ready to learn. I’ve discovered life-changing messages during these months. With the last revelation – No words can never express…but thank you! I felt so changed that I had expected never ever to have hypertensive issues again. That was peace and bliss!
I had no events until four days ago when I was right back to the old numbers. I had some new symptoms with the elevation and was encouraged by my paramedic grandson to make yet another trip to the ER. And so I did. I chose not to have the suggested (by my grandson and offered by the ER doctor) CT scan of my head. The doctor, a long time and very well respected man – although yes, just a man – told my husband and I several times that from his exam and other tests, that he was 99.9% sure that he’d find nothing on CT. I was comfortable with waiting – and still am. I was given some signs to watch for and report immediately should they appear.
My anxiety is back. Full force. I’m angry and trying very hard to accept what is happening again and decide that today will be full of joy rather than fear and anxiety. I have many, many things to be joyful about. One is that I’m healthy. Uh…. and why am I feeling this angst and fear?
I walk 10,000 steps almost every day – per Dr. Oz. While I’m working on my physical health with each step, I’m listening to Eckhart Tolle’s, The New Earth, and Practicing the Now – for my emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. How many times have I listened…..and each time hearing something different, learning something new. His books have changed my life.
But there is that nagging, energy-tapping fear! When I get in touch and “feel” and “hear” what I’m telling myself, it’s about the fear of dying. I love life and want to live it out loud, want to “slide” into my death, without pain and on my feet. Yes, I believe that’s possible. I am dismayed that I’m letting fear swallow up my days – whining about fear of dying.
I used to be in denial about my death. I’ve always known that along with everyone else who lives, I’ll die. I’ve nonchalantly said those words. Adding that I didn’t like the thought of it, would probably be hanging on with fingertips, wanting to do or say “just one more thing”, but that I “just didn’t want to be in pain or fear”. Ha! Right! But it was off in the future then. Except for very rare times, it was not in my thoughts. I was very sure that there was something that I could eat, a vitamin that I could take, a thought that I could think…..whatever. “Something” would be there by the time that I needed it. It just was not a reality to me. I call it denial but it was more of something that would happen someday in the distant future. So distant as to not bother myself with thoughts of it. I loved that place. I so want it back….
Well now I’m in my 70’s, exceptionally healthy except that I have severe insomnia and am told it is probably the culprit. Studies are showing how it is related to hypertension. That is only part of my issue. Maybe this lesson is about death, another lesson about acceptance. I’ve discovered that my terror is death. I want to stay here. I don’t want to leave. I have family and friends that I love and can’t bear the thought of leaving. But even more than that, I’m finding, is the fear of the unknown. Aaaarrrrghh!
I have a deep faith in God, I have a theory of death that is personal and acceptable to me. In theory. If I truly believed it with my whole being, I suppose I’d have no fear. But obviously I’m not there yet. I’m working on it. Acceptance. Trust. I know I need to let go and live my life. I feel that I’m wasting my precious days with this fear. I’m miserable with anxiety and fear. Today. Tomorrow will be better. I’m going to use Scarlet’s line. I’ll think about it tomorrow.
to be continued….