Dear Sarah (2)

I have to believe you were an angel with a lesson for us all about unconditional love. Tolerance. Acceptance.

Though you were judged, more about you never passed judgement. Even when people expressed hate toward you, story you showed them love. You celebrated each person for exactly who they were, nothing more or less.

That’s not to say you were soft, or a pushover – you were a damn firecracker. But you could defend yourself and your stance in a heated discussion, and then buy your adversary a drink.

Because all that really matters in this life, is love. Love is the only thing you leave behind, and the only thing you have with you when you go. I wish you had known how much you were loved.

We can’t change what happened, but we can change ourselves and live the legend that you left us.

May we never miss an opportunity to give love to each person we meet, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.

Dear Sarah

It’s taken me a month just to be able to look up the website of the charity we were asked to donate to in your memory. I remember you mentioning it a couple of times, about it but I had no idea how deeply it spoke to you. Or how it would now speak to me. The first paragraph of their vision broke me down completely:

“You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, health to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you’re part of a bigger story. You need to know that your life matters.”

I wonder if you did know. I wonder if you knew that every person who met you, felt blessed by your presence. I wonder if you knew the impact you had on everyone around you.

I’ll never know.

Support the To Write Love on Her Arms movement by clicking here.

Lessons learned

I’ve spent days wracking my brain and my heart, price trying to understand why. Not just why it ended, see but why it happened. With each of my relationships in the past five years, patient I’ve known why that person or relationship came into my life and what I needed to learn from the experience.

The Adventurer came along two years after I started my business. For two years, work always came first – I missed family events, lost touch with friends, and certainly never made time for a man in my life. I won’t say that he made work drop in priority, but I finally made an effort to have a life outside of my career. And shockingly, the business survived. In fact, it grew. I found as I developed more balance in my life that I did a better job of my work. And so even though I was sad when the relationship ended, I walked away better for the experience.

With the Farmer, it was a little less about the relationship itself and more about what he personally taught me. Having said that, I will also always be grateful for the respect and courtesy he showed to me that I deserved. Back to the real lesson, though – I was in the middle of some serious family conflicts, and the Farmer guided me through the initial steps of repairing those relationships. He also made this stubborn, hard-headed woman see the importance of forgiveness. That people make mistakes, mistakes don’t make a person. And sometimes even if they aren’t sorry, you have to forgive them.

And then there was the Bad Boy. It was always tumultuous, but when it was good it was great. And that was the first relationship in which I began to open up and give myself to the other person. Though it was never “all in”, I learned a lot about being transparent and honest with both the good feelings and the tough ones. I knew when I walked away that I would be a better partner in my next relationship.

Try as I may though, I couldn’t see what I was supposed to learn or take away from Mr Right. I opened my heart completely, the relationship developed more quickly than any other, we started planning our life together… and then I had a bad day, I made a mistake, and he walked away. Nothing could convince him to forgive me or give me a chance to make it right.

I thought maybe there was something I was missing – a key element I wasn’t even aware of was making him that angry and unrelenting. Something to give me clarity on what I was supposed to have learned from the relationship. So I asked him to sit down with me and explain his perspective on what had happened.

There was nothing new. Nothing I wasn’t aware of, hadn’t apologized for, hadn’t learned from in the moment it happened. All he kept saying was, his career is more important than anything else and he can’t be distracted by a relationship that takes effort. I just shook my head in bewilderment (and then argued a bit) – how could any 31 year old man, who understands the short lifespan of his chosen career, not see the importance of having the person in your life who will be there whether the job is or not? How could you walk away from something that’s so positive in your life, convinced that the two can’t work together? And let me tell you, I did more to support his career and business in two months than I bet any other single person has. Logo, branding, photo shoots, social media development… don’t tell me I was detrimental to his career.

Now, did I add unneeded stress and distraction at one of his most important competitions of the year? Yeah, and I couldn’t be sorrier for that. Does that mean I don’t support him and wish for his greatest success? Certainly not.

So as I was driving home, trying to control my tears and figure out just what the Universe wanted me to get out of this, I realized maybe it was nothing. Maybe this is just supposed to be affirmation of how far I’ve come. Because five years ago that was me – putting career first, holding onto every “wrong” I felt someone dealt me, closing myself off to protect my heart getting hurt. Maybe in this instance I’m the teacher.

The things that matter

I saw this on Pinterest  and loved it. It just hit home.

My entire life, pharmacy I had a list of “traits” that I was looking for in a man. You know, the ones all us ladies have: good looking, well employed, honest, responsible, blah, blah, blah. Plus a few unique ones such as agricultural background, doesn’t want kids, accepting of my spiritual beliefs… It wasn’t until this spring that I began to look at things differently, to open my mind and my heart.

I realized that not one of those things mattered. Yeah, sure, honesty and responsibility are important characteristics, but that’s all they are – a couple of small characteristics of a complete person who is so much more. And let’s be real – there are moments when each of us will act out of character to who we really are. It only took me 29 years to understand that I shouldn’t be looking for traits, but rather opening my heart to find the person who would help me become my best self, who would love me at my best and my worst, who I would want to give all of myself to.

And when I changed my heart, it changed my life. God, the Universe, whatever you want to call It – It doesn’t provide just because you ask, It provides when you are ready for what It will give you. I asked for a lot of things for a long time; when my heart was really ready for what I needed, then it was provided.

When I met him, it was like an “aha” moment. I learned about my spirituality and belief system. I took another step in my personal growth. And I saw a glimpse of the rest of my life.

I am gaining a better understanding of the things that matter.

Jun 25, 2011 - Life    No Comments

Lightbulb

I had an “aha” moment as I was crawling into bed last night.

They say people come into our lives for a reason, order a season or a lifetime and I’ve always believed that. But in that moment of clarity, dosage I really saw how the reason/season people have shaped my life over the past ten years. I also realized just how very much the type of influences I needed at different points either appeared or came back into my life at the right time.

College years were filled with people who gave me the tools I would need to launch my career (along with the fun friends who made a million memories I’ll always reflect fondly on). Without their presence, order I may not have had the confidence to pursue the jobs that prepared me for the launch of my own business.

In the early years of the business, I often marveled at the number of entrepreneurial women in my life, and felt so fortunate for their support and advice. Certainly without them the hurdles would have been tougher, and I might well have missed opportunities that they helped illuminate.

Then once the company was established, house bought, savings established, and the void inside me ever more obvious, I was blessed to have the guidance of people who helped me begin the personal growth and awareness I needed to tackle.

And now as I work to dismantle the protective layers I’ve so long enforced, and allow love to emanate to the world around me, I find the people who are best suited to help me do that are (re)entering my life.

I know I have a long way yet to go in this leg of my journey, but as I look back on how accurately the tools for success have been placed in my path, I’m no longer intimidated. Everything needed, will be provided.

———

As I thought back on the people who have contributed so much to my life, it was a wonderment to realize there is one person who has been an influencer at each stage of my life since we were young kids. Thank you, my friend.

———

Jun 23, 2011 - Family, Men, Women    2 Comments

One Strong Belief

With the encouragement of my friend T, advice I’m going to use some of the #Trust30 topics, medical  an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself.

::  today’s prompt::

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?

(Author: Buster Benson)

I am going to pull from my “interview” on T’s blog for this one…

Having a child should be a thoroughly well-thought-out decision. A lot of people, men and women, start a family without ever really thinking about it. But ask any parent how often they think about that decision once their kids are born and they will tell you “constantly.” It is the biggest choice anyone can make in a lifetime – the greatest responsibility you can take on, one you can’t undo – it’s a life. I think that deserves careful consideration and thought as to whether you are really prepared to give everything that commitment deserves. Some people are. I am not.

This quote says it so well:

Source: etsy.com via Laura on Pinterest

Jun 2, 2011 - Family    No Comments

Brotherly love

I know, about it I’m supposed to be querulous, but today I’m appreciative. So if you only like my bitchy posts, check back next week. [nevermind, just read till the end]

My brother rocks. He’s my roomie and one of my closest confidantes, which you know puts him far above just a blood relation in my books. “J” didn’t do anything over-the-top to deserve this salute. Yeah, he finished supper and did dishes while I went to yoga (pretty awesome of him), but it’s in the every-day-life that I’m most grateful for my bro. He’s loving, he’s caring, he’s sensible, he gives excellent advice when needed and he listens when that’s all I really want someone to do. Mostly though, he’s patient when I’m difficult. He’ll certainly tell you I’m not easy to get along with (I think he’s exaggerating), and he puts up with it all.

The thought of him someday moving out, moving on to a life all his own, scares me to pieces. What will I do when he’s not here? When he has a family that takes priority over slushy drink nights? I mean sure, I will probably will not miss the disaster he tends to leave in the kitchen, on the dining table, the coffee table, the entry table, the entryway floor, the carpet… But I’ll miss him more. And I might even wish I could curse his messy ways when he’s gone.

All I have to say is he better give me A LOT of cute nieces and nephews to fill the gaping hole left in my heart when he moves out.

May 28, 2011 - Family    No Comments

The shoe’s on the other foot

Though I can’t think of anyone I know personally, symptoms I’ve often been shocked by characters in movies and songs who have walked away from loved ones who are ill. You know, generic the ones who leave their wife battling MS, here their child struggling with addiction, their elderly parent dying of cancer…

While I don’t sympathize with them, I’m beginning to have much more compassion for their struggles than I did before.

In the past four months, we have watched a transformation in my grandma the likes of which I’ve only seen before on screen. Whether it’s the dementia or depression or both, my sweet, loving, wouldn’t-say-shit-if-her-mouth-was-full-of-it, grandmother has turned into an aggressive, outspoken woman who will (and has) give(n) most everyone a very blunt piece of her mind whether requested or not.

Until this winter, I can’t recall grandma raising her voice in anger. But I won’t soon forget her altercation with the lady who unknowingly sat in g-ma’s friend’s chair at lunch. You would have thought that woman had committed a cardinal sin for the tongue-lashing Grandma gave her. And it almost resulted in my formerly mild-mannered grandma being kicked out of the retirement home.

She has always been the type to lead by example rather than preach with words. Grandma has never smoked, never drank, never cussed, and though my brothers and I are all guilty of at least 2 out of 3 of those, she would never call us out on our bad habits. That certainly has changed as she now takes advantage of every opportunity to instruct us on cleaning up our acts.

As her memory worsens, so too does her frustration with herself and those around her. Twice in the past week she has gotten very upset at us “not having visited her in WEEKS” – hardly a day goes by that at least one of the family doesn’t get in to see her. And let me tell you, trying to reassure an angry old lady that you have not forgotten her, and were actually there the day before and will be back the day after tomorrow, well let’s just suffice to say it’s a losing battle.

Never will I turn my back on the woman who helped raise me, who has been the unwavering matron of our family, who I’ve come to call my friend in adulthood. But I certainly have a more open heart for anyone who has walked through a door to realize the person they used to know on the other side, is no longer there.

Jan 17, 2011 - Family    No Comments

Hanging in the balance

“God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, about it
courage to change the things we can, treat
and wisdom to know the difference.”

My grandma is one of the most beautiful people I know. She’s been a role model for me throughout my life, and now in my adult years I’m blessed to call Grandma a “friend.”

We were fortunate to grow up on the same farm on which our grandparents lived, with just a few steps from our door to theirs. Our parents often traveled with show and sale cattle, which meant lots of sleepovers with Grandma. The bros and I have many a memory of grandma making us Sunny Boy porridge, scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. The scrambled eggs were the best part, but grandma always held them hostage until we finished our seedy (read: yucky) porridge. When we got home from school, she always had a snack ready for us before sending us out to do our chores.

Many kids go their entire lives without knowing their grandparents well; we knew just how lucky we were to have that opportunity.

After Grandpa was moved to a hospice, I moved in with Grandma to keep her company and help ease the transition to an empty house. What I thought would be a 6-12 month stay turned into 3 years during which time I got to know her as a person, not just a grandparent. And what began as an idol-worship relationship 29 years ago grew into a true appreciation of the woman.

Tomorrow we’ll move Grandma into a room in a so-called “senior community.” After suffering several injuries from falls recently and requiring round-the-clock care from family at home, she decided it was time to go somewhere “she wouldn’t be such a burden.” Though I certainly didn’t concede her burden belief, I was desperate for her to have the care and attention of professionals who knew how to help her.

But now with the time at hand and Grandma heartbroken to be leaving her home of 64 years, guilt and remorse for my part in this decision are making it harder and harder to follow through with. When she begs me to stop my aunt from making her move, it tears me apart. And when the pain is at it’s worst and she tells me she doesn’t want to live any longer, it’s all I can do to keep it together as I try to calm her. Though I know much of what she is saying is the dementia talking, I no longer know what the right answer is.

They say any action done out of love it the right action, but what if the person on the receiving end doesn’t see it that way?

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