The Beat Goes On

No matter the year, the time of year, life and its beat keeps going on. And on. If we like it or not, it does. Things we don’t want to happen do. We cannot stop it. Since this long awaited year began a few days ago, we have learned of three families who have had someone pass away. There are those who will say terrible things about 2020 and the “curse,” but that’s not right. It’s life. It’s our human experience. We lose people.

One was a man in Ohio, who dated a friend of ours. Even though the relationship ended, there is still a feeling of loss. You feel bad for his family, and for his former girlfriend. Losses that are sudden are difficult. I believe he was in his 70s.

One was the mother of my good friend. She was about 90; I believe. They lost her a long time ago, to dementia. It is a blessing, yet there are still feelings and a significant loss. I believe once you lose both of your parents; you become orphans, regardless of your age. Sure, you’ve been on your own for decades (hopefully) but you still can see your parent(s) and talk to them (Lord willing). It was another sudden loss, even in these circumstances, you want to say goodbye.

The last one was tougher to hear about. A young 47-year-old man, a friend’s son-in-law. I haven’t been able to verify yet, but I think he just married her daughter last fall. They worried about having the wedding during COVID. If this is true, it’s a wonderful thing they did. Life is so fragile. You just never know. Now, his wife and children are wondering what, why, and how? This is hard to witness and experience.

So what can we do? We can learn to just be there. We don’t have to do anything but listen. Don’t offer platitudes of, “He’s in a better place,” “She is so much better off,” or “God only gives you what you can handle.” When your grief is huge, those things do no good, except alienate your friend from you. Any comment of, “Let us know if you need anything,” is most often to no avail. I’ve rarely called anyone to help. Most of us don’t. If you call and offer something specific, “I’ll bring over some lasagna,” “Let me pick up paper products for your families to use,” and perhaps one of the best things is call them after everyone leaves. Everyone else goes home after the funeral and resumes their own lives.

A person who has just experienced loss cannot resume their life as it was. I know if I outlive the Babe, there will be something HUGE missing from my life. From our bed, to our couch, to our dining table. Experience tells me I will live through it; experience also tells me I don’t want to have to feel all of it. But you have to. The more you feel and talk about, the sooner you will heal.

When our dad died, even though we knew he wouldn’t live until Christmas that year, it was still a shock when he died. He died on December 7, 1988. What a day of infamy for our family! In less than a month, we experienced Christmas and his birthday. A lot to cope with. Mom is a rather stoic person, and she would not talk about anything about his dying. She didn’t allow us to talk about him in her presence, so we all were quiet. It was very dysfunctional and all four of us grieved in terrible, destructive ways. Some turned to more drink and more drugs. Some isolated ourselves to insulate against the pain. The pain went to other people because of that.

This is a topic no one wants to discuss very frequently, and it’s one that should be part of our education. You should know how to do your income taxes and learn how to grieve. How the adults in a child’s life handle grief is what the children will mimic as they grow older. Break the cycle of stoicism and silence. We can only learn by what we observe. Let’s be mindful as we continue into 2021. All the “bad things” about life remain with us, despite new goals and a refreshed attitude.

Learn to Deal. Don’t sidestep. You need to meet it head on. You’ll get through it better. You’ll help yourself and others by talking. Telling stories is healthy and necessary. Your stories are how your loved ones will live on. It’s our duty to talk and listen. I hope my kids will talk about me, and I hope it’s good!

My friends at the Centering Corporation in Omaha, Nebraska, are an excellent source of information about grieving. They have books, materials, workshops, and support for those of us who grieve. They have an impressive story, check them out. It is a treasure for when we need it.

As I remember my friends and their losses today, I hope we all are kind to each other. I hope we are all patient with each other. I hope we are loving to each other. Forgive old wrongs. It’s ok to stay away from someone toxic, forgiveness can have boundaries attached. We can learn how to do that.

This year will have its share of joy, kindness, loss, change, love, and whatever we put into it. Leave out the negatives. Kick hatred, malice, gossip, meanness, and nastiness to the curb. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be how you want to be about. It will make all the difference in the world. Thank you for being here today. I’ll see you tomorrow. Blessings.

Christmas Eve Day, 2020

Gosh, what to do? I have three songs to talk about and only two blogs. I see some doubling up for today. Another song I love to hear this time of year is another one we sang in Church choir on Christmas Eve. I previously knew it to me as “When Blossoms Flowered Amid the Snow,” And I believe Latin was the language we sang it in back in the day. This is Heidi Joy’s version of Gesu Bambino. I absolutely love her voice. We did not attend this concert at Omaha’s Holland Performing Arts Center, but we enjoyed her Christmas performances at a Lutheran Church in Papillion, NE. They were wonderful.

As I look out the window and see our modern version of a “White Christmas,” I’m grateful for our lives. I’m grateful I started writing and have made new friends with the same interest. I have new things to explore next year such as; should I form a publishing company, should I print a children’s book in the first quarter of 2021? I know I’d like to, I took December off from writing my novel, now is the time to circle those wagons and dig deep. I’m writing some revealing things and to make those things real to a reader, I have to make sure they love the character and her struggle. I’m hoping they will, and I will reach out again to Carol Gino to ask her a few writer questions. She was great at answering a couple I had before. As I mentioned yesterday, I am totally immersed in her book, “The Nurse’s Story.” I’m standing right next to her in every patient room, feeling the pain she felt for them in her heart. I want to write that way. More practice!

I will get there. And I’d like you to come along on the adventure! In the next week or two, I hope to; contact an artist, contact an attorney about LLC’s, go talk to a local publishing company we work with at the VFW Post. They do marvellous work, and I will learn a lot. It might be a good thing for me to go forward for the children’s book, I’ll have something to show for my hard work. More hard work on the way. I’m ready.

The other Christmas song is another creative one, one that blasts you out of your funk until you realize it’s Christmas! Be Happy! Celebrate our Saviour! All really is right with the world. It’s the Carol of the Bells, complete with pyrotechnics and laser lights of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Enjoy a listen! See, you’re fully awake now. I hope you can find at least one thing to celebrate this Christmas season. Music, children, church services, neighbors, or friends. Or all of them.

It’s time for me to go make a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies. We’re giving a dozen to each of five neighbors; and the Babe is home to be my delivery elf. My wish for all of you is a magical Christmas. May you feel the love of God and your families this Christmas Eve, and have a beautiful morning tomorrow. Remember the reason for the season. We’ll see each other tomorrow. I have one more song for you to hear. Be Safe!

2019 Winding Down

With Christmas over, many folks are taking the tree down, exchanging gifts that weren’t right for them, spending gift cards and cash they received, and all the things that go with after Christmas sales. I read a great meme today that spoke of not forgetting the Christmas spirit after the decorations are put away. Let me second that statement. Don’t forget to be kind to people, hold a door for the people behind you, tell someone they look nice. You never know what those around you are going through. That doesn’t change because the calendar does.

As we look towards 365 new chances, let’s remember that although we have a lot of chances, let’s spend them as wisely as we can. Many of us, me included, spend too much time on our smart phones. I try to justify it because it’s either crossword puzzles or grueling strategy of solitaire that I’m spending some time on, that can keep my brain functioning. In reality, it is time that could be used more wisely. Since my goal for next year is to publish several books, I have a lot to learn about that whole process. Learning the ropes is the perfect way to keep me focused so my goals don’t go by the wayside. If I need to take a break and relax, playing those games is perfectly ok. Brief breaks, not lost days are allowed.

Today has been a relaxing one. Cozy clothes, watching the rain and grey skies, and starting to read, “Show, Don’t Tell”. I need to do a lot more showing than telling with my book. I’m beginning with the first five chapters, that my editor has reviewed. I’m nervous, yet exhilarated to be starting back working on my dream. I’ve also found “WordPress for Dummies” which will help me grow the website and blog in conjunction with book releases. Being self taught on WordPress is a blessing and a curse. I’ve learned some things by accident, and have added features that were needed. I can now load a video for you all to see, it was just a matter of paying a little more annually.

If I get really gutsy, I will vlog, too. I’m not crazy at all about having my photo taken or being recorded while talking, but in today’s world, I may need to do that to market my books and myself. Adjusting to new things keeps a person young. Just so they catch my good side, I’ll be happy.

Although the Babe and I don’t exchange gifts, I did acquire a lot of books during December. Some about writing, some reading for pleasure, and some books by John O’Donohue, who wrote about Celtic Wisdom, Blessings, and Beauty. I look forward to reading all of them, in between many works of fiction, stories about young, unwed mothers and a real story about a woman named Carol Gino, a nurse and author, and her relationship with Mario Puzo, the author of The Godfather. I’m really looking forward to that! I need to unpack all my other books and find a good storage area for them. Three years of not seeing my books displayed is long enough. Don’t you think?

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it and will see you here tomorrow. I’m ready for and look forward to the new year. Who’s with me?

These ornaments will remain out all year, in my studio. Reminders of my future and the good ways to spend my time.