Life & Loss

We’ve had a somewhat difficult week or so, I haven’t posted about it because I’m naturally a very optimistic, cheerful person, and I knew a post like this would be anything but positive really.

Our sweet neighbors brought a very small, young puppy home with them from Mexico, their niece, who is a vet down there, was taking care of it, but gave it to them since it was sick and needed more hands-on care.  My son and I were over at their house and fell in love with the sweet puppy, it was a poodle – chihuahua mix, and had the sweetest temperament.  Our neighbor who was doing the caretaking for this little puppy, the mother of the family, is getting older, and didn’t really have the time to devote to round the clock feedings, etc. so I offered to take care of it for a month until it was old enough to adopt out.

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It was so fun taking care of it, bottle-feeding it puppy formula, keeping it in my purse everywhere we’d go – my son and I both fell in love with it.  My husband even gave us the green light to keep it, he was even becoming enamored with it’s sweetness.

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We had it 3 days… and on that third day, we came back home from my son’s soccer game that his team had won, he was full of joy and felt like a champ – having made 2 goals for his team that day.  I told him once we got in the house to go check on his puppy, it was the first time we’d gone out without him tagging along in my purse.  He went to go see his pup, and laughed saying he was sleeping really weird, “Mommy you’ve got to see this!”  When I came into the bathroom and saw him, I knew immediately something was horribly wrong – his little body looked twisted, and when I picked him up to check on him, I could tell the Rigor Mortis had already set in.

My son handled it ok, he was devastated that evening, but we explained that the puppy was sick and more than likely was in pain. I had thought the puppy was getting better, but in reality he had still been vomiting and unable to really keep very much down.  When death comes, the suffering of this life stops.  He wasn’t in pain or sick anymore, but this was still not a lesson I wanted my son to have to learn at such a young age.

That feeling of loss… of devastation is simply part of life, as natural as the highs we feel when a new baby is born, or when we’re surrounded with family and loved ones.

This past week, my father was admitted to the hospital for a few days as they tried to figure out what was wrong – he was dealing with severe symptoms from a bad reaction to a new medication he had just been put on, and ended up staying for a few nights.  He’s always been so rational, so logical, but under the influence of the drugs and their reaction in his body, I witnessed him reduced to a man talking nonsensical, and irrational… someone I didn’t even recognize.  I faced for the first time, the fear of wondering what on earth I would do without him in my life anymore.  I feel so young to lose my dad – he’s almost 70, but both his parents lived well into their 90’s almost reaching 100.  I can’t imagine not having him and his witty humor, his wonderful nature, around for the next 20-30 years as I raise my children.  I can’t imagine them not knowing him.

Even the feeling of imagining him gone leaves me feeling dead inside.  Empty.  And I have to consciously remind myself that it would not be the end.  That when God takes him, it will be his time.

He’s back home now, and slowly recovering, but the incident has brought home to me, the severity that everything can change in an instant.  The only thing constant in life is that there will always be death, there will always be loss.  At least in death, there is no more suffering, and we can look forward to eternal life.  We have a hope that those who don’t have faith never will understand.   When we grieve, it is different… we don’t grieve as those who have no hope, we grieve with the encouragement that we will someday be with our loved ones forever, in a place where there is no more pain, no more growing old, no more tears, and no more death.

Death, where is your sting? Oh Hell, where is your victory?

Those People Who Choose

I had a conversation with a man about how someone I knew was able to deal with having an “unfair life.”  They had gone through various circumstances where they felt that they had been almost deliberately (as if, by fate, or worse, by God) been dealt a bad hand.  Unfairness.  When we feel like justice has truly been betrayed.  When we ourselves have felt betrayed.  When we experienced or watched injustice in action, play out right in front of us, and were unable to make any contribution to righting the situation, but instead looked on in desperation while the events around us were .

The thing is, everyone has had a somewhat unfair life. Really. Someone’s life might seem perfect if you just look at one aspect of them, but I bet there was something or even quite a few things, that were utterly unfair. It really comes down to how we choose to deal with it for whether it makes or breaks us.

One of the greatest lessons that you or anyone will ever learn in life, is that life itself, is just not fair. That life is hard… full of problems for every person (even those who look like they’ve had it easy – I assure you, if they were asked and were honest in their answer, there would be something very dark in their past). No one gets out of life without something being ridiculously unfair. And that’s what makes great epics and legends, its the stories of those people, really any person, who chooses to do amazing things IN SPITE of their hardships or how unfair their circumstances or life was. Those are things that are remembered, and those are the people that choose to not be defeated by “unfairness,” because we’ve all had our share of it.

Happiness Is…

Cuddles with my Ese

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Meeting a lizard… and him not running away.

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Twirling & dancing with my son by a fountain….

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A long & flowing vintage dress….

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Art

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Brilliant Colors hidden in the flowers ❤

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Looking at things from a distance…

Or perhaps,

from a new perspective:

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A beautiful piece of furniture.

Sunny Day Adventures

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

I’m still in a kind of funk since the miscarriage… just totally not myself.  I was told it’s one of those things where you go through all the stages of grief.  It’s hard to feel like you’re grieving for something that is misunderstood, I confess, I really don’t even understand how to deal with it.  But enough about that… life is still so beautiful.  These are some pictures of a recent adventure we went on.

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The water was so peaceful.

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Loss & Betrayal

Horrible and devastating things happen in life.  There is no way to escape them.  People will hurt you, hate you, despise you, ridicule you, even if you are a genuinely good person.  Even if you are a devoted friend, employee, or advocate – these attributes to your character will not always stop someone from betraying you and turning completely against you, or pursuing to harm you.  Even if you are the one helping them the most!  There are two things which I personally think are the hardest to bear in life: the pain of betrayal & the pain of loss.

When I was barely 14, I went to the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C.  I’d never seen such human cruelty, and even though I’d read about it – Corrie Ten Boom’s survival through a death camp in The Hiding Place – nothing could’ve prepared me for the stories we heard and read and the things we saw in the museum.  There were tv’s playing footage of Nazi officers dragging naked women’s bodies over te rough ground – the piles of the dead, literally piled on top of each other scattered everywhere – these things are burned into my mind. It was beyond inhumane – it was insanity. 

There is one Jewish psychiatrist, Victor Frankl, who truly amazes me.  He was trained in Freudian psychology, which deemed that the experiences in your childhood are what determined your character – for the rest of your life. He was among the people seized by the Nazi’s, and who had to endure their horrific and torturous death camps, and through his experience, changed psychology forever.

“His parents, his brother, and his wife died in the camps or were sent to the gas ovens.  Except for his sister, his entire family perished.  Frankl himself suffered torture and innumberable indignities, never knowing from one moment to the next if his path would lead to the ovens or if he would be among the “saved” who would remove the bodies or shovel out the ashes of those so fated.

One day, naked and alone in a small room, he began to become aware of what he later called “the last of the human freedoms” – the freedom his Nazi captors could not take away. They could control his environment, they could do what they wanted to his body, but Victor Frankl himself was a self-aware being who could look as an observer at his very involvement.  His basic identity was intact. He could decide within himself how all of this was going to affect him.  Between what happened to him, or the stimulus, and his response to it, was his freedom or power to choose that response.

In the midst of his experiences, Frankl would project himself into different circumstances, such as lecturing to his students after his release from the death camps.  He would describe himself in the classroom, in his mind’s eye, and give his students the lessons he was learning during his very torture.

Through a series of such disciplines – mental, emotional, and moral, principally using memory and imagination – he exercised his small, embryonic freedom until it grew larger, until he had more freedom than his Nazi captors.  They had more liberty, more options to choose from in their environment; but he had more freedom, more internal power to exercise his options.  He became an inspiration to those around him, even to some of the guards.  He helped others find meaning in their suffering and dignity in their prison existence.” (Covey) 

You have the chance to choose.  You can’t control what happens in life – what other people may decide to say or do to betray your trust in them.  You can’t control death and the excrutiating pain of loss – loss of life or loss of a relationship, a love, a family member, a friend.  Even if injustice is occuring to you, you have the ability to move beyond it – even when you’re currently enduring it! 

Only you hold the power of your self-awareness and choices, if you choose to realize it. 

You hold the key to decide how it’s going to affect you – if it will run you into the ground, or propel you beyond your wildest dreams.  Let the pain of betrayal or loss inspire you – God will take care of vengence, it is not your’s to dwell on – however tempting that may be – vengance is a double-edged sword, the moment you plunge one end into your perpetrator, the other end also plunges into your own heart.  Do not harm yourself and be distracted by revenge, instead let your pain inspire you and develop you – and teach you lessons you never would have learned.