Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Now What!

Loss. Another loss.
 It's just a building,  but it was my property.  It is a large old building full of items I've collected from clean-outs,  some good old stuff to sell seriously, and regular household items for rummage sales.   It was 6000 ft. of valuable storage for the antiques, vintage and repurpose junque.   I also kept my painting and cleaning supplies,  tools and equipment for my Selective Residential Services business there. It was also an office and a big workshop. I had big hopes of restoring the building, making a studio there, but I never made enough money to make the improvements.  I thought of converting it into an apartment, but didn't have the funds, nor did I feel safe there.
 I could barely hold onto the warehouse, as they kept increasing the taxes.
 Severe weather has been beating up the old turn-of-the century structure-  lots of water damage, wind damage, roof leaks. The pigeons tore off the soffits,  Drunks are sleeping on the property, and  there's drug activity.
 It's not safe to go there alone, so I couldn't go there to work unless I had someone with me.
I've been fighting vandalism and graffiti, vagrants, and even a few  burglaries in the past.
 So, I finally lost my warehouse.  I knew it was going to happen, but I couldn't stop it.
When the city raised my taxes, I was battling breast cancer, and  my earnings dropped, so I fell behind. Someone bought the tax lien, and he eventually ended up with my building.
 I  took my lawyer's advice and let it go.  The process took about a year and a half.
In fact, it's not quite over yet.
  I guess I have to look at it  like this:  I had this huge building for over 20 years,
 and  now it's time to move on.
 I am  getting too old to handle this problem building anymore.

     What else can happen to me?  I better not ask. I don't usually think like this,
 in such negative terms, but it seems like I have had a lot happen to me lately.
 I prayed for a way to save the building, but it didn't happen, and I am losing it,
but I must trust in God because He knows what is best for me.

Here's a great song, amazing singer, singing exactly what I needed to hear.
Lauren Daigle's Trust In You
  "Letting go of  every single dream.
 I lay each one down at your feet."
  "My hand's are weary,  I need your rest."
 I feel like I called out and my prayers weren't answered,
as Lauren's song says,  He didn't "move the mountains, I needed Him to move, He didn't part the waters I wish I could walk through" I felt really bad, as I was going through the horrendous process of moving my belongings, but I decided I will trust in Him!
 As I am saying goodbye to the historical building I could never retore.
 I had hoped to own and work out of it, for the rest of my life,  but I know that it will be okay.
 So I'm picking up the pieces starting over.  Again.
 I am recovering from the trauma, realizing that it didn't kill me.
"There's always someone who is worse off"
 "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger!"
 "Well, God has something better for you"
"When one door closes,.... another door opens"
and my favorite"You'll be better off  without it"
This is what people were saying.  It was little comfort,
 but I am finding my help in time of need, from the true Comforter, .
 I am not okay, but I found that I can trust in God and everything
will be okay, I just can't go it alone.  I can come to God, just as I am, hurt,  troubled,
 lost, tired, and defeated and He makes it all okay. Listen to this song, by Citizen Way, 

I am counting on second chances, new beginnings.
 I am salvaging what I can, trying to pick out the best stuff.
 Tried to liquidate some stuff and raise some cash for the storage.
I have to rent a new place now. But my yard sales were disastrous, because it rained
 almost all month in May.
 "Pickers"  came in the warehouse, because it was raining,
 They threw my belongings all around and only wanted to pay
 me pennies on the dollar for the prices I asked.  What a mess!
Physically exhausting and emotionally draining.
  I did donate tons of clothing, and told  a couple friends to come take
whatever they could use.
  Then  we were moving and jamming stuff into a space that's not big enough.
 Right now it's hard to find anything.
But I have to stock my new antiques booth and find the good items,
clean them up, put price tags on each item, Then transport them and set them
 up in a booth that's too small and very expensive,
 and pray to God that someone starts buying something!
a scene from my booth at Carnival of Collectables
368 Cross Keys Road
Sicklerville, N.J.  

 But I am finding peace in  the chaos.
  I am thankful that I have had extra time to get in my building, and salvage my belongings.
 I am grateful to my sister, who helped me tremendously sorting, packing, and moving.
I am so thankful  for  my friend Connie,  for lending me her truck and taking a few loads away.
I praise God for giving me strength.

Wonderful things happened too, that brought hope.

     A woman came to my windy yardsale and thrust some bills into my hand.  She said she was a high school friend of my daughter's, and she heard I was in trouble, and God told her to do this. She gave me $25.00, and wouldn't take anything in return.  My sister and I hugged her.  I will never forget this kind gesture.

    I got a phone call, in the middle of a yardsale.  A fellow asked if I could clean out his mother's house, as she was no longer there and they needed to put it up for sale.  I didn't say no, even though I didn't know where I was going to put the stuff from another house.  I smiled to myself, thinking "I am already back in business!"
    It turned into a nice job, for which I am being well paid, and getting some lovely vintage treasures for my shop!

    During this debacle, I unearthed many long-lost  things at the warehouse. One surprise was a nice enamel top table, which I took to the antiques booth and it sold quickly!  My first substantial sale!  Just in time to pay the  booth rent!

    I'll be able to stock my booth at the antiques mall more easily, now that my belongings are moved to a new location, just a couple miles from my home.

    I've been spending lots of time with the grandkids, enjoying special end of year school programs, a dance recital,  and playing outdoors with them. Taking care of the children is very healing for me.
 I am happy each day, despite the stressful, horrible feeling of losing my property, and the inconvenient, enormous job of relocating.

 Life is still good, even when you face disappointments and hardships, God sends the right people, at the right time,  the little surprises, and everything that you need!  I will  trust in Him!

Love, Linda 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Happy Birthday In Heaven,To My Son!

It's my son's first Birthday in Heaven !

I can only imagine what the afterlife is like. 
I want to  know how it is.
Can he see me?  Does anybody who goes to heaven
 get to come back and visit,
 as an angel, like in the movies? 
  Or as a spirit, or another person?  Or a cardinal?
Do they get to meet their loved ones who passed
 away before?  I want him to find his grandfather, 
and my grandmother, and his uncle.
Do they send signs to us  down here on earth? 
 I can't see any.
I only know I miss him. I am happy he no longer suffers, 
no longer hurts, and he is in perfect peace.
 God has made everything perfect for Gary now. 
 But I feel an ache, a deep hurt that comes over me sometimes.
  A lot of the time.
 It stops me, distracts me from my work, makes me sad, 
comes when I least expect it, never gets better.
 I have to learn to live with it.

I want to remember everything, and lots of the details
of my fondest memories have faded.

You close your eyes and try your damnedest to relive a special moment,
 but it won't come back clearly enough, and that makes you sad.
When your children are young you are struggling so hard
 to do everything, be everything for everybody.
 You're exhausted  and do not realize that these childhood
days are so fleeting, and one day you'll wish they were little again.
When they are grown, you wish you could go back in time.
 Wish you could do some things differently.
 Sorry for the ways you failed.  You know you did your best
but you wish you could have made everything perfect for your child.

I know that only God can do that, and now
he has made everything perfect.
 Now my son is gone, apart from me, but with God.
Gary is with the Lord, in paradise, made whole again.
So very grateful for the love that I  shared,
that I got to be his mother,
that I was blessed with 42 years with him.
I try and focus on precious memories
of the tender moments and the happy times.

Thinking of Gary, with all my love forever.

Love, Linda

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Is anybody out there?

Five years on this blog, and is anyone reading it?  Feels like I am writing a journal. Especially when I pour my guts out.  Well, that's actually good therapy I suppose.  Actually maybe it's good no one reads it.  My ex-husband wouldn't like me talking about my son, being frank about his difficult adolescence. He'd probably say I shouldn't tell people this personal stuff, it's embarrassing.  Do I really care what he thinks?
 Cancer, who wants to keep hearing about that?  " You're done treatment, why do you still have to keep talking about it."    Uh, yeah, actually I do need to talk about it.  It entirely changed my life, threatened to take it.  I need to get information, news, and  updates out to others, I need to thank people who support me,  I need to celebrate anniversaries of when treatment ended, stuff like that. I have a facebook page that was started by my daughter, then turned over to me, called  Love For Linda, now renamed Love To and From Linda. My sister Beverly said, "Yes, of course you must blog about it. It's the biggest story of your life!

 Vintage Business......Maybe I should just talk about vintage stuff I sell, and not real problems. 
I'm not even an expert on that, certainly not making a lot of money at it.  Should I talk about having a small business in a terrible economy, insufficient income.  Struggling to pay bills. Who would want to hear that?  That's why my vintage business might not be that interesting.  Maybe after I become successful, then the journey might show others how to make it.  Having your own business with only yourself to depend on is hard. Not selling, no matter how hard you work is even harder.
 But I press on, selling on Etsy, and I have been sharing a booth at a local antiques and art center. April 1, I am taking over the whole booth, as the other ladies are moving on.
Might be a big April Fools joke on me,  but I am going to give it my all.
  I lost my son in August, and am still grieving, so this is another life-changing event that has happened, and God has given me grace, and I've really learned to lean on Him. I've written his story on this blog, but I still will always want to talk about him, and probably will do a post later this month on his birthday.  I will honor him, and try to help other bereaved parents, by sharing my story.

 I am on an emotional roller coaster,  with my recovering from the most traumatic year ever.  Fighting breast cancer was a real interesting project. Facing your mortality, having a life-threatening disease, but believing you can beat it, because you must. Because you know that God is on your side,   and He has lots of work for you to do .  Little grandchildren need you, aging mother needs you, needy boyfriend needs you.
 "Don't give up, be strong, fight like a girl, act like a survivor and thrive! " These are the messages from friends and family and the things I tell myself.  I get tired, discouraged, but  I don't let myself stay down, I just talk to the Lord,  keep pushing, moving.
 So, I am not depressed, lonely, or desperate. I have strong faith and lots of love from family.
Still I have fears, sadness and worries.
But do people really want to hear about your feelings?  Maybe not. But I want to share them.
 Yes,  being startled with the possibility of not being alive in a few years is not pleasant topic, But very real and powerful experience.   I now know what it's like to face my mortality. And the loss of a child, the worst thing that ever happened to me. Does it help me heal to write about it?
.   Can sharing it help someone else?

  I am fighting to live, I have so much to live for, so much I still want to do. I am following all the doctor's instructions, taking all the recommended supplements, exercising, eating right, getting enough sleep, being kind, praying constantly, studying my Bible, listening to music, reading books, watching classic movies I missed,  paying attention to politics and doing all the "right" things.

   I suppose I could speak about life  in general, with some authority, simply by virtue of being a senior citizen, with lots of life experience!
 I've learned a little bit.  Done a few interesting things.
I think I am at the 5th stage ? 

  I plan on attending events to learn about how to thrive, I participate in a support group, and am learning about  living beyond cancer. I am researching heroin addiction, studying antiques and vintage. So I am not bored, I have plenty of projects, lots of work, and not a lot of time to myself, so why am I writing this blog?

  •  I want to share.
  •  I want to learn from others,
  •  It's a kind of  social outlet. I am not reclusive, and it connects me with others.
  •  It's a creative outlet, I like writing. 
  •  I care and want to make a difference.  
  •  It's free entertainment, I don't have money for cable TV, so reading and writing a blog is satisfying and stimulating.

Okay, I think I have enough reasons to continue. I will take a couple more blogging tutorials, keep at it, pray for guidance and keep doing interesting things to talk about!  I am not a quitter.
 So please comment if you can.  I need a little feedback.  Is anyone out there reading my blog?

 Love, Linda 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

He's been gone six months!

    Six months since I lost my son.  It is not any more believable or any less heartbreaking. I am not used to it, over it , nor am I done grieving.  It feels like he died last week.  I am able to go on, because God has given me peace and I have so much love and happiness in my life. I have daughters who look after me, my mother, my boyfriend, lovely sisters and nieces, and so many friends who care about me, spend time with me. I can live with my loss because I know my son is with Jesus. I trust in the Lord and I don't know how anyone who does not have that assurance can deal with this kind of loss.  I am lucky (blessed) to be strongly supported.   My son would be glad that I am okay, and able to continue living a happy life.  But still,  there is a deep sadness, that underlies every occasion, every day's events.  At the same time, I am happy I had him for 42 years and I will never forget the love we shared.

 He would be glad that I am experiencing one year anniversary of when I finished chemo. My doctors think I am doing great.  He would be so glad that I am feeling good, and there seem to be no signs of recurrence! 

My daughter, Amy, handpainted this T-shirt.

      And  I am glad Gary is free, in no more pain.  I am extremely concerned about the epidemic of heroin addiction in this country and even heard discussion about it in the presidential candidates's debates., constant reports in newspapers and online.
I feel for all the families that suffer from loss of their loved ones,  and those living in the devastating grip of addiction.. I wish my story would change someone's life, so they wouldn't have to lose their child. I do not know what to do about this problem.

   I am disappointed that I am progressing so slowly, in finding my way back to normal.  (With both the cancer recovery and the bereavement process.)   I don't know what I should be doing. I still feel a little lost and a little broken, but I have to tell myself it's not my fault, I couldn't have saved him.
 Someone told me, "Remember the Three C's 
                                       You didn't cause it.
                                        You can't cure it.
                                         You can't control it.  "
There is a beautiful post I read about Mothers not blaming themselves . I was comforted by this article. www.stillstandingmag.com/2013/06/why-you-didn't-fail-as-a-mother/. This blog has many posts about how a grieving mother really feels and how to cope. I keep going back there to read more.
There is a page on facebook with so much help and support.www.facebook.com/StillStandingMAG

   I am sometimes pushing myself to do things, not really feeling the desire or fire in me. I am extremely grateful for my cancer to be gone, no signs of recurrence! But I am changed, and living with the aftermath of chemo and suppressing fears of it coming back. I must go on, and believe all will be well. The loss of my son makes me feel like part of me has died, but I am very much alive, and will live for the both of us! 

I just put one foot in front of the other.

I just pray, "Lord help me, I am weak, give me strength". And He does. 

One day at a time,  And each day brings it's surprises.  Little things mean a lot.

  Love, Linda

Sunday, January 24, 2016

It's Mother's Birthday!

It's Mother's Birthday!
 Blizzard conditions and baby Emilie, my granddaughter,
 just got out of the hospital, so no party this weekend.
But we will celebrate!  Mother is 85, and looks great.
 She has been such a champion this year, praying for me
 and giving me so much support during and after my
 breast cancer battle. She's been a pillar of strength and
 given me comfort and continual reassurance since
 I lost my son,  and she lost her first grandchild. 
 We talk every day on the phone, and we sing a special
song together, " Does Jesus Care?"   (Click on the title)
 Listen to  the words this comforting song! 
 Mother loves the Gaithers, and all gospel music, hymns,
 patriotic, country and 40s-50s  music. 

Elizabeth , "Betty Boop",  Betty Crocker, but "Mother"  to me.

She's a little lady, but a big prayer warrior.
 She taught me to bake, clean and sew, but most importantly
she showed me how to trust Jesus and believe in God.
Thank you Mother for all you've given me, and all of us,
 for your fine example and your tender love throughout the years.

Here's Mother with my baby daughter Julie, February 7, 1978

37 years later, here's Mother with Julie and her daughter Emilie.

She gave me six little brothers and sisters to love,
Mom loves this photo of all her kids, about 12 years ago.
 And more recently,  here we are celebrating
my brother's  60th birthday 

September 2015, Bobby's 60!
My,  we are getting old! 

There is nothing that pleases my mother more than to have
all her children together! 

It's my 5th Blog anniversary! 
Thank you for following, for your prayers  
 and for your thoughtful comments,
 they mean so much to me!

Wishing Mother God's richest blessings,
and a healthy life full of love and joy,
with the family and friends she loves so dearly!
Love, Linda

Friday, December 4, 2015

Heroin Took My Son's Life

    I have to talk about Gary, my son.  he died four months ago today.  His story is something I couldn't blog about while he was alive. The incidents of struggles in his life were too personal, I couldn't tell people his business, his problems. But now I feel it is imperative that his life and death not be in vain.
    I can't be silent about it. He died of a heroin overdose.  This Heroin problem and  drug abuse, including overmedication by doctors,  is a terrible plague that has to be faced.  Families with mental health issues should be able to get help, better treatments.

    I am feeling like the death of my child  is really hitting me hard. I am needing to talk about it, so  I have joined some online support groups, facebook pages, where I get encouragement, information, empathy, prayers, and links to action groups.
    I am finding out how big an epidemic this heroin addiction problem is.  So many kids are dying, sometimes from their first time using.  So many addicts are getting tainted batches of heroin cut with lethal poison, not that any of it was ever safe. Politicians are addressing the problem. Families are using their loves ones obituaries to speak out and help other parents or kids using heroin.
Heroin use and overdose deaths are on the uprise, doubled in the last 3 years.
   Here are signs, symptoms,treatments.
Heroin is one of the most destructive and painful addictions in the world.
 Learn more about signs, symptoms and treatments 
There are psychological and physical long-term effects of Heroin
Gary was a strong, kind person. He loved music, especially guitar.  He was quite an artist, but sometimes his work looked disturbed. My son didn't want to be different, he wanted acceptance. 
But he felt he never fit in, because he was mentally ill.  Some in my family have always resented me making that statement., but Gary realized he had problems.  I have learned from WebMD that 75% of addicts have some mental health issues, such as depression, ADHD, or bipolar disorder.   Many people use heroin to treat their anxiety, worries and other stressors.
    Gary was a beautiful child, smart, sensitive, kind.  But something went terribly wrong. He had sisters who loved him, and lots of doting aunts and  adoring grandparents.  Many cousins, and friends who cared, and loved him.   Early on at his school's recommendation, I tried to get help from mental health professionals, but never got a clear diagnosis. He struggled at school, in social situations, and didn't have a happy high school experience. He was the first "ED kid" who was college prep in his high school.  We didn't let him get pushed into alternative or vocational school, out of the academic programs, which they used to do with troubled kids.  But I deeply regret not taking him out of public school and putting him into a more protective environment, like a Christian school, or  the Quaker School nearby. Because maybe the smaller group, a stricter, more structured environment  would  have helped him.  I don't know if it would have made a difference. I just wish I could have another chance.   But I know that's silly, there are no do-overs. I am just sorry I couldn't make things right for him.  But  he did graduate high school, then served in the Navy for a couple years. I thought that would be the answer. He would fit in, get an education.   He started out fine, aced boot camp, was physically fit, strong, confident and  at his peak, full of promise.

     Then he went away, and began drinking with his sailor friends, but couldn't control it and fouled up, showing up late for classes. He soon got a less than honorable discharge.  I  always felt that the Navy just wanted to get rid of him, instead of treating his problem, to save money.
     But he got jobs, gritty ones.  Then he was probably still drinking and using drugs.  By now he was in his twenties, and having some mental health issues, requiring hospitalization.  One Christmas, I was visiting him in a mental health unit, and he told me he  had met someone special..  When he got discharged, he ran off with the girl he met in the hospital.  She had left her husband and 4 kids, because of her mental health problems.  They got pregnant, and I thought that would never work out. Months later they returned to our home state. He was determined to take care of his child, so he got a good job, then got an apartment before the baby was born.  That was 19 years ago, and I met his girl, with my brand new grandchild in her arms,  on their first day home from the hospital.  I  simply decided to love her, because Gary told me he loved her. She has often expressed appreciation for my welcoming her with open arms. I adored my grandbaby. They stayed together and had another child a couple years later, my first granddaughter.
 He made me a grandmother, the best thing that ever happened to me. Two precious grandchildren.

They had lots of ups and downs, and I am not free to share the whole story about their lives, but they did manage to stay married for  almost 18 years. I think they enabled each other and were codependent, but they did love each other.  Gary had lots of  episodes, drinking binges, drug overdoses, DUI tickets, even did some time in jail.  I stood at his bedside at least 6 times over the years, not knowing if he would live or die. But each time, he pulled through and started over, promising not to use drugs again. He struggled for years, losing jobs, his drivers license,  almost losing his home, and finally losing custody of his children.  But through it all he was kindhearted, and would do anything for you.  He helped his grandparents with their housework and yardwork, took in  homeless strangers, and really tried to be kind and loving to everyone.

  He told me I did not understand the power of addiction. I told him he was right.  But he could call me anytime and I would help him, God would help him.  There is help, but it's really hard to fight heroin.
He called me a lot.  I let him talk through his anxieties, anger, worries. I loved when he called to tell me of his hopes and dreams, when he was feeling okay. . He wanted to go back to school to study heating and air conditioning.    When he was well, he wanted to better himself,  have a career or profession.   But much of the time, he was not well, and I called it "disordered thinking".  I believe he used drugs to medicate himself., Take away the pain.  I always feared that I would one day lose him to drugs or suicide.
 He was also dealing with a back injury and in a lot of pain.   He was facing surgery, and anxious about that.

When the heroin took his life, I believe he had been clean, and not used illegal drugs for some time.
 I'll never know why he did that fatal time.
 I just wish he knew how much he was loved.
 I wish his life had been easier  and people more understanding.
 I wish he believed life was worth fighting for.
He was so worried about me.  He called me almost every day after my breast cancer diagnosis to tell me he loved me, did not want me to die, wasn't ready to lose his mother.  I told him,  "I really think I am going to live,  I am being healed."
  But that I was okay with my future with Jesus in heaven,  if I didn't make it.
 He was proud of me, and  how well I looked  and my attitude throughout my chemo , surgery and radiation treatments. I wanted to live,  I feel I have so much to live for.
    Gary helped me be stronger, he was one of the reasons I wanted to live!   He was such an encouragement to me.  We still had plans! I wanted to learn to play the guitar and write songs together, he wanted to help me with paint jobs, and have me over for dinner.
 Then suddenly, he's gone.
  But I am so  glad I had those talks with him, because I know how he felt about faith in God,  eternity, and what happens when we die. That's why I am so certain he is with Jesus.   He's gone, but not forgotten.  Never will I be the same. But I am so glad I had my son for the time we had together. I believe he is with his Savior, at peace and no longer in pain.

    Parents, grandparents,  I hope you will make sure your  children know they are loved no matter what, and they can talk to you about anything. 
  Children (of all ages)  I hope you know that you must tell someone when you need help.
Do not use drugs  but find real answers to your problems, because drugs take your life and hurt many people.  Don't try drugs for a fun time because you could get a fatal dose, even if you had tried it before and it was okay or fun.

If you are hurting from the loss of a loved one to heroin, please leave me a comment, and I'll tell you of the groups that have helped me, so we can help each other with the terrible grief that never stops.

 Love, Linda

Friday, November 6, 2015

Proud Mama!

      My daughter Amy just learned that she passed the New Jersey Bar Exam.  We have been waiting for months for the results. She has been unable to pursue certain jobs until passing,  and our family really needed some good news after a very difficult year.
       I am ecstatic!  I wouldn't care one iota if she passed or not.  I know she's brilliant, capable,  ambitious,  but I wanted her to have this success, the reward due her, after all her many years of  hard work.
       Praise God!  He has answered my prayers!
 Congratulations my darling girl!   Now,  may God bless you with a wonderful, meaningful and fulfilling career wherever He leads you! 

When she got her Masters from Montclair University
her future looked bright!

Then, last year Amy got her law degree at Rutgers School of Law!
Amy is so creative!  She knows I like the saying,
" Live well, Laugh often, Love much!"
 She made me these pink pumpkins  and helped me every way
she possibly could with her steadfast love and support! 
She enthusiastically cheered me on, and celebrated the successful
completion of each and every phase of my breast cancer treatment.
 She and her sister even gave me a big surprise "No Mo Chemo Party"
 and started a facebook group page called Love for Linda,
which I continue to add cancer info, important links,  and updates to.
 I hope it's encouraging and helpful to others, as everyone's support
 means so very much to me!
She's always there to help with my grandkids, enriching their lives
Fun times, and filling in for me when I am unable to mind them.
 They adore her!  She is such a loving, doting aunt and a wonderful role model.

Just one year ago,  when we attended a big gala event together,
I was beginning my fight against breast cancer with chemotherapy.
 I was wearing  my brand  new wig because I completely lost my hair.
 Throughout the  year,  Amy gave me many special gifts and treats, took me to
movies and other outings and went to some doctor appointments with me.
I was trying to show grace, but actually I was being spoiled,  and my daughters
 made it all  so much easier for me!
So I did what I could to help my daughter, all along the way, and I always prayed for her, even if I could do nothing else, and God heard my prayers and gave her strength, and ability.  We have been through a lot together.  Our family has weathered my divorce, cancer, the recent loss of my son and Amy's grandfather, and many years of tough schooling and many moves. But  Amy's been strong and resilient. She's persevered and stayed positive. She's become a  very dear friend as an adult to her mama, and I'm so proud and thankful I am blessed with her in my life!

    I am so grateful that God hears the pleading prayers of a mother for her child's wellbeing. He sends the right people to us to help us, protects us, provides us with all we need,  and is always there with us!  He shows me that all things are possible with God!

                I guess a mother is allowed to brag a little! 
Couldn't contain my happiness, had to share this! 
Love. Linda

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pink Stuff

I am posting vintage pink stuff on my facebook page, because it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I am recently finished with my treatments, it's been a long year, and now I am determined to live my life in faith, not in fear.
Since I sell vintage treasures on Etsy, and I thought it would be fun to ask everyone to post pink vintage things. But I am discouraged, because no one has participated.
Maybe you will enjoy it.
And please, get a mammogram and see your Doctor if you notice anything unusual.  Don't be stupid,  like I was,  thinking it's just a cyst, or it will go away.  Early detection will possibly save your life, and certainly make any necessary treatments easier, or require less treatments!

These are just a few of my favorite things, from my Etsy shop!

                                                                             Love, Linda

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Music is Love that Heals

Two months already, but I feel like I lost my son just yesterday. 
Why is nobody talking about him?  I want to talk about him, every day.
I want to see comments on his online obituary, but there are no new ones.
I reread the sympathy cards,
 and I tell complete strangers that I lost my son recently.
 I'm supposed to be depressed.  According to the Stages of Grief ......

I may be..., just a little.

I comfort myself with songs, like this one below.

 Music is so powerful.   I think  Gary would like this song.
 We talked about music all the time. He was going to teach me to play guitar.
 We battled over the heavy metal that he liked in his youth.
 I thought it was really bad, rebellious, angry music. I tried to guide him,
steer him away from things that I felt weren't good for him.
 In the end, I don't know if I was right or not, but I just did what I believed
was best, like a mother should.

   But he did broaden his musical taste as he grew older. I broadened mine too.
We liked a lot of the same  rock artists, and he liked classical and hymns too. 
 Sometimes he would sing to me over the phone, some lyrics he had written
  or a song that was meaningful to him.
 "Music is love that heals",   I once heard at a Guided Imagery Through Music Seminar.
 I told Gary that there are certain kinds of music that can improve your mood and calm you.
I was introduced to Pachelbel, and using it during meditation., What peace it brings!
 And Vivaldi-Four Seasons also impressed me, great for background while studying.
  I told my son, there is some music that can disturb you, and  you should make
 good choices and fill your head and mind with good sounds.

My mother and I still sing "Does Jesus Care", each night over the phone,
and I've come to depend on this simple reassurance.
 I listen to K-Love , a Christian  Rock station on my car radio.
My little way of making daily worship time.
 Amazing Grace, and God Will Take Care Of You, are two old- fashioned hymns
 that always help me.
I believe  God can speak to you through music!

I sing lullabies and Mother Goose rhymes to Emilie who's 17 months now, and she sings along and it's precious.  Tommy thinks that the new Chipmunks movie's music is great, and hums the theme songs of Star Wars, Batman,  and Spiderman!  We have eclectic taste!

 You can find all categories of music on You-tube.
 Some grieving songs I like are:
            Breathe-Amy Lee and David Hodges
            Missing You-Jem  
            A Better Place-Leah West
            Heaven Got Another Angel
            A Broken Life-Courtney Shane
 www.beliefnet.com/Inspiration/Galleries/Songs-for-overcoming-depression recommends  a list of songs that will help you when you're feeling down!

           I Believe I can Fly- R. Kelly
           Unwritten-Natasha Bedingfield
           Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay- Otis Redding
           Great Day To Be Alive- Travis Tritt
           I Can See Clearly Now- Johnny Nash
          You've Got a Friend- James Taylor
          Beautiful Day- U2

Keep a song in your heart!  Sing like no one is listening, it'll make you feel better!

Love, Linda


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Good grief!

I know there are stages of grief, that we must go through to heal. 
I think they overlap, maybe even cycle and return, when we think we are past a phase. 
 But still we will go through the steps to healing. 
 Four, Five or Seven -  Denial, Anger, and a couple more,
 depending whose books you read, and finally Acceptance.
 The reality of the loss sinks in slowly, and I don't think it ever goes away.
 I just have to learn to live with it.

Kubler-Ross Model  Stages of Grief

 So,  I guess I'm in Anger Stage. And depression, aren't they related? 
 Ugh!    I don't like myself having bad thoughts, but I do admit it. 
 I reread my last post, and looking back  now I see I was in denial  
 ("No, no..., no..." ,     "I still can't believe it",    
 "I wish I had more time with him", etc. )  
     And I suppose I feel a little angry. Because it's not over for me, 
although it seems like everyone has stopped talking about my son. 
 It's old news.  They've  moved on  to the next drama, It seems they don't  remember him
 or realize that I am still stuck grieving.  It's not their fault.
 There are birthdays, weddings, school and work, health problems, life is complicated.
  Life goes on. 
    So I have to forgive them, and I really do, because they just can't possibly know
 what I'm feeling..  I feel slight anger to the people that didn't respond, or come 
to the service at church, or call.  Don't they know I need them?  
 (A lesson here!  From now on,  I know I will always call,
even if I don 't know what to say
 There is nothing worse than indifference.)  
I know I am being  unreasonable, and I don't dwell on it, 
 I understand people are busy, or they had something else to do, 
  Just feel a fleeting irritation,  or disappointment usually.  
  I'm not saying my feelings are justified or rational, 
  I'm just explaining how I feel sometimes, and I think it's probably common
 for a bereaved person to have these thoughts. .    
    I am also sometimes angry at the one that may have caused the death, or didn't stop it from happening. Angry one minute, hen the next, I feel so sad for them and their heartache. For surely,they must be feeling horrible and guilty and ashamed. 
     In my son's case, there are enablers, misguided friends,disinterested family members,  and a drug dealer. Lots of people to be angry with,  who failed him.  Even his mental health providers counselors, who didn't know how to help him.   It wasn't any one person's fault, but many who  played a role over many years that contributed to his death, are targets for my resentment.  I know there is no sense in trying to figure this out, and nothing can bring him back. 
    Also I feel momentary guilt, anger with myself.  Should I have done something, could I have stopped it from happening?  I think any parent would feel this way.

   Then I remember God's grace, and ask for Him to give me grace and He does, and I'm fine.
 "Please God, don't let me be angry or depressed." 

 So I move on to thinking,  "How can I  make his life  and his death meaningful?"
 I don't want his life or his death to have been I vain.  That's why I must write about it.
 I must share the drug abuse hotlines, suicide warning signs, scripture verses for healing.
 I have to learn more about my son's problem, so I might help someone else's son.
 Everything I've learned about trusting the Lord for strength when I am weak,
knowing there is hope for a future, I must share what I can, as I move on.  

 I feel so many different emotions.
  I've read that I should allow myself to feel, then let it go.  
 Sad, then glad, sometimes grateful, then ungrateful,
 wanting someone to blame- then feeling compassionate. 
 Crazy roller coaster ride.  
 But mostly, just feel like everything has changed and a part of me is dying.
 I'm in a bit of a stupor, but I'm trying to act normal. 
 Going on living, working, playing, loving, laughing. 
I wonder, how did I do that?
  And I get through another day, and another. 
 Somehow, life goes on,
 and I find  goodness, purpose, and joy.

 I found  this poem.  The author seems to get it. 

Those of you who know me, heard about my trip to the beach last month. Just a couple  weeks after Gary died, and  I thought I should be feeling sorrowful.   I thought I would go and meet God there,  and start letting myself mourn, have a big cry, a meltdown. Then I sat there and nothing happened, but pure serenity, and calm.  It was the most beautiful peaceful time. I sat there a long time. I repeated this four times, each daybreak, I watched the sunrise, when no one else was around.  And still no crying, just total tranquility.  I think that's weird.  Or maybe God giving me comfort, and hope.  I did  ask for that, after all. 
I prayed, "  Dear God,   Help me I can't do this alone. I can't bear this alone."

But God assures us we are never alone, and I am not alone, He is always right by my side.
  In  the midst of deep sorrow, in the shadow of the valley.
  He's my strength. my defender, my refuge. 
 Listen to this song, which helped me so much through my cancer treatments, and now.  

You've got to hear this song, "I Am Not Alone"  by Kari Jobes
I am not alone, I have the Great Comforter by my side and I will be okay.
 I have so much living and loving to do!
Love, Linda 

US Nat'l Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK
  mental health issues?  www.NAMI.org