Monday, September 30, 2013

light and love

I really want this blog to be about light and love, but right now I'm just feeling apathetic. I hate this feeling and I'm having a really hard time getting out of it. Usually I can find ways to move beyond these kinds of feelings, but all those tools just aren't working right now.

My family and I just got back from a nice long drive in the country - this is one of my favorite things to do and it usually cheers me up if I'm feeling down, but I just don't feel any different this time. It's autumn here in Maine and the leaves are beginning to change so the drive was beautiful, but my heart just wasn't in it.

Maybe I'm still grieving from my friend Jenn's passing last week. Maybe I'm picking up on some negative vibes around me. Perhaps my filters just aren't doing the trick right now. Maybe I just need some new tools to find that light and love inside myself. I know it's there - it never goes away - I'm just having a hard time finding it right now.

Maybe I just need to let myself be sad for a little longer. I'm not sure if it is even sadness I'm feeling - I'm just kind of numb. Writing about it is one of the tools my therapist encourages me to make use of so I suppose just writing this post is probably going to do me some good.

I feel bad that I'm in this weird headspace right now. One of my greatest sources of light and love is my marriage and today is my 18th anniversary. I want very much to celebrate how wonderful it is to have been married to my soulmate for all these years, but I'm just not feeling much of anything.

My birthday is coming up in a couple of days and I want to be able to celebrate that as well, but I just don't see this feeling or lack thereof to go away anytime soon. Maybe I am just grieving. Well not just - grieving is an important process and takes different forms for different people.

I'm feeling really down on myself because I can't seem to get out of this funk. I've tried knitting my way out - using some positive visualization - trying to think of things I'm grateful for, and lots of other things. I still find myself back in this moment of self hatred and guilt. Not a fun place to be. Not a great way to feel. I don't actually hate myself - I'm just disappointed in my inability to find my way out of this funk. And now instead of this being a place of light and love it has become a place of darkness and antipathy.

I'm sorry guys - I don't mean to be bringing you down, but as Jenn used to say - I'm keeping it real. The reality is I'm not feeling so great right now. It won't last though. I'll turn it around and maybe I shouldn't be sharing this bit of negativity, but I want you to know where I'm at. This isn't it - this is just a moment in time that will pass and I'll find the light-filled hopeful Hope again soon. But until I do - this is me. This is where I'm at. This is a moment in my life and though my life is good, this moment is kinda yucky.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

good night dear friend

My dear friend, Jenn passed over yesterday. Goodnight my sweet friend. May your journey continue with great light and blessings. I know you are looking over us all sending us light and love. I wish only the best in the next life for you. I'll miss you. I was blessed to have someone as special as you in my life. I am grateful for the lessons I learned from you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

a mixed bag of emotions

Wow, I'm feeling such an overwhelming number of mixed emotions this morning. Yesterday was a very powerful day, but also very sad for me. It was also uplifting and filled with glorious blessings. I'm feeling pulled in many different directions all by what is going on inside of me.

I visited my friend in hospice yesterday. There were a number of us there to help support her and help her on to the next stage in her journey. The room was filled with love and acceptance, joy, hope and also pain and sadness. It was a blessed event and I am so honored to have been invited to be a part of it. My dear friend was surrounded and supported by love and it was beautiful to see.

As wonderful and powerful as it was - there was still a sense of sadness that soon my friend will have moved on and will no longer be present with us in the same way. I'm feeling mixed emotions. I'm sad for myself and those around me who will be affected by her leaving this plane of existence, but I'm feeling peaceful and almost happy that she is going to be moving on in her journey to the next step -something new and exciting for her to experience.

I lost my little boy 7 years ago now and while in my friend's presence and surrounded by all the love uniting us and her I was struck by the thought that he would be waiting for her on the other side. I don't know why this thought came to me - perhaps he wanted me to know that he would be there to look out for her and help her in her journey. It was a connection that I felt to both of them.

Now that I've visited her once, I feel the need to spend more time with her. Admittedly it was shocking to see such a change in her, but it wasn't as painful as I'd anticipated. She's still the beautiful, wonderful person she always was and her spirit, though not completely present, is filled with love and light as it always was. I'll miss her, I'm surprised by how much, but I'm truly feeling blessed that I got to know her and I'm blessed to be with her as she makes this journey. I just hope that I have in some small way helped her along and shown her and those around her unconditional love of some sort.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


I don't like confrontation and I don't like making others uncomfortable, angry or sad. I like to fill my environment with light and love, so when I get caught up in a situation that could result in confrontation - I run away as quickly as I can. It may show cowardice on my part, but I just want balance and harmony in my life and will do what I can to achieve that.

Now, I'm well aware of the fact that life is not all rainbows and lollipops. Bad things happen or rather uncomfortable things happen and I don't have control over what others do or say, but I can choose not to let myself be caught up in other people's drama especially if it's not my place to be.

I know that I can't always avoid confrontation, but when I am confronted with uncomfortable situations or confrontations I try to remain centered and balanced and do what I feel is best for those involved and when I can't help another with my presence then there is no need for me to stick around.

I've been abused in the past and at this point in my life I refuse to let anyone treat me as less than I deserve to be treated. I try my best not to hurt others or say things that might make them uncomfortable. I do not always succeed, but I try. I do this while also trying to be true to myself and sometimes being true to myself means just walking away. I do not have anything to prove. I will often know if I'm right or wrong and getting into an argument with another person isn't going to change anything most of the time.

I'm a big believer in turning the other cheek, so I just walk away for my sake and the sake of others. Maybe it's not always the right thing to do, but I find it easier much of the time. I try to make healthy choices and I don't always succeed, as I've said before I'm a work in progress. My life is about the journey not some destination, so I just keep moving along.

So if I walk away, don't take it personally - odds are it's not about you - it's about me taking care of me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I originally started writing this post a little while ago, but scrapped it all because it felt a bit like I was whining about the challenging things happening in my life. Making a situation outside of myself all about me, so instead I decided to change my thinking and write about what I'm grateful for.

I'm grateful that I have a wonderful loving family. That even though the kids have colds right now, they are normally quite healthy and happy. I'm grateful that I have my friend Jenn in my life and that I've been able to be there for her over the last year. I'm grateful for the lessons about dying she has taught me, but more importantly the lessons about life.

Jenn went into hospice while we were on our vacation and I've been sad ever since I heard. I'm grateful that places like hospice exist to help loving beings like Jenn with their transitions beyond this life. I'm grateful to Michael Franti for visiting my friend and making one of her dreams come true. I'm grateful that the facility she is in was open to that visit. I'm grateful to Jenn's friends and family for showing her such support and love.

I'm grateful to OA for helping me find a way that food doesn't have to run, even though right now I'm so sad I'm letting food rule. I'm grateful for the lessons I'm learning about myself through my failures and successes. Over all I choose to be grateful for life itself.

I will strive to live a life of gratitude at all times and I will fail from time to time - remember I'm a work in progress. When I'm distracted by challenges and negative thinking I will change my thought process and remember that I am grateful.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

what a vacation

Well that was a challenging camping trip. All in all it went well, but we had a couple of major melt downs that really put a damper on the trip. Both I and the girl just fell apart and had a stereotypical mother/daughter power play. Now I try very hard not to get sucked into these sorts of confrontations, but I am human and sometimes circumstances cause me to make bad decisions or no decisions and let myself fall into old patterns of behavior and I just mess up. That happened this past week while we were away. I got so upset that my behavior became irrational and I took it out on my family. I'm not proud of it, but there is my humanity staring me in the face once again. Nothing I can do to change what already happened, but I have made amends to my family and they have all forgiven me for causing an uncomfortable evening our last one of camping. All is well now and I've taken the opportunity to grow and learn from my mistakes.

It certainly doesn't excuse my behavior, but we got some unexpected news while we were away and I felt as though I was selfish and letting a friend and community down, by not being home while stuff was happening. Was my reaction rational? No - I had no control and really there was nothing I could have done to help had I been home. I just wasn't expecting it and let myself feel guilt and sadness that overwhelmed me and then led to some bad reactions/decisions on my part.

My family loves me dearly and have all proven this over and over whenever I have an outburst by forgiving me almost immediately. They never hold grudges against me. I'm slower to forgive than they are, especially when it comes to forgiving myself. I'm working on it - yes, I am a work in progress and I do not apologize for that. The journey is the point - the process is all there really is - there is no destination only the journey and I'm trying my best to journey well.

Blessings to all and especially to me - I need them today.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A chair for Sheela and a blanket for Finn

I noticed that the most popular post so far has been the one about whether to take our beloved Finn camping with us. Well, we did and now we're back, so I thought I'd talk a bit about our trip today.

We took both dogs with us - our elderly Finn who is 16 years old and our younger dog Sheela who is 4 I think. Anyway, Finn really seemed to enjoy the trip as usual. We had an old blanket for him to lie on so his old bones would be more comfortable. We set it by the fire and Finn was just such a trooper. He curled up on his blanket usually at my feet. The funniest part of seeing Finn in this natural environment was that he actually started lifting his leg to pee again. He hadn't done that in a least a year because his backend has gotten so weak. It was a joy to see him wagging his tail and snuffling around the ground. He got really cold the last couple of nights, so he'd lay on his blanket and I'd cover him with my sweatshirt - he'd snuggle down all comfy enjoying the fire and the company of his family. It was a blessing to have this time with him. It was a wonderful goodbye of sorts. I realized while away that the time to let go is close and having him with us definitely made it easier to accept this eventuality.

Now Sheela on the other hand was a handful. She felt the need to bark at anyone who walked by the entire time. She only barked at passing cars for the first day or so, but almost any little thing would set her off. It was incredibly frustrating. She's also very thin and and has short hair, so she was cold most of the time. She, however, wouldn't just curl up in front of the fire. She felt the need to be on one of us most of the time. If there was no lap available she would curl up in the closest chair and we'd cover her with a blanket. Talk about high maintenance. As my Beloved hubby says, "it's a good thing she's so cute."

We are home now and Finn has slept almost non stop since we got here. Sheela has been blessedly quiet and is currently curled up in a spot of sun on the floor - yes Sheela on the floor is an anomaly. We are safe and comfortable and clean after our adventure. It's good to be home.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Saturday, September 7th is the anniversary of the death of our dear Arlo Edward Becker, our youngest son. He would be 6 years old today if he'd lived.

It's amazing to me how much of an impact this little being had on my life when he didn't even get the opportunity to live outside my womb. His death is the worst thing that has ever happened in my life, yet I don't regret it. Losing Arlo was the most intense painful experience I've ever been through, but his spirit was just to good for this world. His very short life profoundly affected me and many of those around me. I still mourn to this day, but I also celebrate that I knew him at all.

The year we lost Arlo one of the things I did to help me heal was to spend time in nature with my other children. We went camping - just the three of us and our family has gone camping every year since to the same campground at the same time to memorialize this little life. We call it our Annual Arlo Edward Memorial Camping Trip. Every year I take the box that contains Arlo's ashes with us, so that he is with us on our trip. Gosh that sounds a little morbid, but I swear it's not. I just leave them in the car - it's only a symbolic gesture of remembrance.

We leave for our trip tomorrow - this is the 7th anniversary and I can not help thinking what fun he would have at 6 years old whacking and chopping away at his big brother and sister with sticks in the woods, throwing rocks, climbing trees, constantly being told - "Come back closer to the site so I can see you!" I think of him often, but it's only this once a year that I let myself think of the whatifs. What if he'd lived, how would our lives have been different, what kind of kid would he be. Whatifs are not particularly healthy, so I don't spend too much time thinking that way. I simple acknowledge those thoughts and move on to enjoy some special family time with the boy, the girl and my beloved.

I won't be posting for a few days, but I'll be sure to fill you all in our trip when I get back. Thank you all for reading my little blog - it means a lot to have the support of my family and friends. Blessings to all who take the time to read my words.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

bad decisions with good intentions

Hey all. I've just had to look one of my decisions squarely in the face and realize that though it was for the best intentions, it was the wrong decision. There seems to be a lot of those in my life the last few years and I have to look at myself and the situation honestly and openly. I fucked up. Again.

Now comes the part of me that starts to analyze and even though I tried to convince myself my intentions were good - were they really or was I just a coward and couldn't face the real reason I made that decision.

It gets complicated trying to analyze the reasons behind my decisions especially when I've been lying to myself and I'm not even aware of it. I don't want to admit to myself that I sometimes make decisions more because I'm scared than for any other reason. I'm trying to hide from pain - usually emotional pain.

In the past I would eat to hide from my pain - that's one of the reasons I'm a compulsive overeater, but now that I'm working the OA (Overeaters Anonymous) program I'm not hiding in food anymore. I now often make bad decisions because I'm still afraid to honestly and completely feel my feelings and deal with them. At least now I'm aware of it, so I can attempt to be better.

Trying to do what's best for myself and others is no easy feat for me. Putting myself aside and making self destructive decisions is more familiar, but I'm trying to let go of past unhealthy patterns. Now I try to make decisions with more balance for myself and others. What's best for me, usually works out being what's best for my family - imagine that. My therapist had a hard time convincing me that once I could take better care of myself, I could take better care of those around me and lo and behold it was true! Except when I'm making decision based on unacknowledged fear instead of sound reasoning and feelings.

I want desperately to beat myself up, but what would that really accomplish? It wouldn't change my decision or the pain that it caused another. All I can really do is acknowledge my mistake, apologize for it if necessary, learn from it and move on. Now I know that I can and often should make different decisions.

Today I decide to be thankful for my bad decisions and the growth that occurs because of them. I decide to not beat myself or make that same mistake again and to express my love and compassion toward myself and those around me.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

bountiful harvest

Well it's harvest time here in Maine. I just processed 3 pounds of green beans to put in our freezer and I'm feeling really blessed. Our freezer contains tomatoes and peas from last year still waiting to be eaten up as well as a little corn and the green beans from this year. For some reason we seem to be eating it all faster than I can freeze it this year, which is interesting. The kids love fresh vegis especially corn, so it gets eaten instead of frozen much of my dismay. Of course the plan is to get even more in the freezer this harvest time if possible. Love eating locally grown vegis in January - it makes me very happy.

Monday, September 2, 2013

tough decisions

Our annual camping trip is coming up, but I'm really struggling with whether or not I want to go this year. We go every year on the anniversary of the birth/death of our little Arlo Edward - we call it the Annual Arlo Memorial Camping trip. It's a special time for us to be together as a family and think of the little life that would have been part of our family - though I have to admit he is still part of us in some small way.

Anyway, this is an important trip and this year I just don't know if we should go. We are on the cusp of losing another family member and I just don't know if he's up to the conditions of camping anymore as much as he has always loved it. My Glen of Imaal Terrier, Liberty's Finn McCool is 16 years old and he is dying. He's been my best friend for years and has helped me through some of the hardest times of my life and all I want right now is to keep him comfortable for however long he has left.

I struggle daily with whether it's time to let him go, but he seems happy most of the time. He still trots out to the food dish every morning and evening even though his back-end doesn't work so well anymore. His ears perk up and I get lickies whenever I see him. He's always loved camping, so part of me is tempted to take him along just one last time before he dies. I'm torn......

I suppose we could go and if he's struggling or is obviously uncomfortable we could just come home. I don't know - this is hard. I've actually had months longer with him than I expected, so I ultimately feel blessed. In May it really seemed like we would have to let him go very soon, but he's still plugging away. He sleeps a lot, but at his age that is to be expected. He also tends to have a lot of accidents in the house, but again it's expected and doesn't really bother me all that much - we just clean it up. The little day to day hassles are worth having just a little bit more time with him.

I keep expecting that look from him - you know that look that tells me that it's time to let him go. I'm not ready, but I know and trust that I will be when he lets me know that he is. Until then, I love him and kiss him and spend time just watching him sleep. He is truly one of our family and will leave a hole when he is gone.

I guess all this rambling has helped, because I think we'll go, see how he does and if he's not doing well just come home. Phew - it's good to have that decision made. Now to run it by the family and see if they agree.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

the threat of depression rears it's ugly head

Okay, so those of you who know me - and I'm guessing many of you do who read this blog do - know that I struggle with depression. A couple years ago I had a serious bout of depression that lasted over a year that was in direct response to a physical ailment that I was struggling with. There was underlying grief from the death of my son while I was still pregnant, that had been festering for years - the physical condition was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

 The funny thing about depression is that if you've suffered with it long enough  - I have off and on for over 30 years - it becomes the answer to any out of the ordinary feelings or symptoms that come along.

Case in point - I've been exceptionally tired the last couple of days and all I want to do is stay in bed. Sounds reasonable right - I mean I've been staying up far too late reading the last few nights so it stands to reason that I would be tired. I think the appropriate response is to want to sleep more, but my conditioned brain automatically thinks -DEPRESSION! Am I depressed? No I don't think so - I think I'm just tired because I've been staying up too late, but any time I get really sleepy during the day I get paranoid that the depression is back.

Depression is a big dark scary place, but I've spend so much of my life depressed that it is almost comfortable or at least familiar. (btw as I write this the cat is snoring across the room and it's making me smile - so much for being depressed) It's been such a constant in my life that when I'm not depressed I look for it thinking something must be wrong, but it isn't. I'm happy and I'm allowed to be happy - depression does not have rule my life. I now, after many years of therapy, have the tools to fight it. If I want to and that's the crux of the matter, do I want to. Yes, I do - right now - will that change? I don't know, I hope not.

The last 3 years have been hell for our family, mostly because of my depression. Now the temptation for me would be to feel guilt about that, but I didn't get depressed purposely, so there is no guilt - anymore. There used to be - I admit that freely, but depression is an illness - one I didn't choose all those years ago and statistics show that the more often one has depressive episodes, the more likely one is to have more episodes. I have tools now to fight with  and I choose to fight for my right to happiness - and sadness too. I have the right to feel feelings in a healthy way and that is my goal in life. Another is be honest about my struggles so maybe others can learn from my experience.

I know my family appreciates all I've done over the last 3 years to get better and come back to them. I appreciate all they've done to support me and help me through that part of my life journey. We are a unit and the last three years has shown me how important we all are to each other.

Once again all I can say is that I am truly blessed.