There is an Elephant in my Room!

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Last week was my parents’ wedding anniversary.  The first one Dad celebrated solo.  The plan was for my sister & I to be around him as much of the day as possible to try to make it a little easier.  Since it fell on a Monday, and I have class Monday nights this semester, the best I could do was stay for the weekend then head back home after lunch on the anniversary date.  Distractions worked.  Evidently better than we thought because he didn’t realize it was July 1st til after I left.  It may have been months, but we are all still adjusting to losing Mom.

Bright spot in the day for me was learning that I had won a contest on Facebook!

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Not just any contest but one from Lower Cape Fear Hospice and LifeCare Center’s  Begin The Conversation program. Talk about life’s interesting timing! Not sure there is room on the internet for me to say enough good stuff about hospice.  We really would not have been able to deal with losing Mom in any way near as well as we have without them.  Locally, I was extremely thankful for the grief programs offered.  There was a great comfort knowing that even though I was home, I could still have support resources to help.  The program I went through was focused on adults who have lost parents and the specific focus of the group really did help.

Know what else has helped? Having had “The Conversation” – Which is the focus of the Begin The Conversation program.  Knowledge really is power.

What is Begin The Conversation?

Their mission states is better than I ever could:

Mission

The objectives of Begin the Conversation include: 1) the understanding of possible healthcare choices, including timely hospice and palliative care services; 2) the knowledge about ways to record decisions, using advance care planning forms, legal documents, toolkits, and other resources; 3) encouragement to have end-of-life conversations with loved ones, family members, clergy, and physicians.

Basically, knowing what your loved one would want IF anything did happen is ideal for everyone.  They have the comfort of knowing that their wishes are carried out, or more likely that their loved ones aren’t going to be stressed out trying to plan or do everything, and we who lose someone have some guidelines in place to allow us to do what we think should be done while we also try to deal with adjusting to losing someone.
Key is understanding the options available.  After understanding the choices, put them in writing.  For some cases having them spelled out will help in legal situations.  Other times it helps to be a reminder of what they want.
I remember the first few times coming to my parents to see the big orange DNR posted on the fridge.  Was the first thing you’d see walking in the door.  It hurt.  BIG TIME.  But after a while I got used to seeing it and it hurt less.  Even when the sight of it grew less startling, I knew what it meant.  Do Not Resuscitate.  If something started going wrong with Mom, they were not to take extreme actions.  Very hard to grasp emotionally, but learning to get used to that sign, helped me get used to the fact that she was at the point where things were not going to get better and we had to learn to let go – for her.
Her coming to terms with passing in a lot of ways felt like giving up.  We as a family wanted to inspire her to fight on, even when the odds were not in our favor.  There comes a point where you just can not keep putting up the fight but there is beauty in the grace of letting go.  Looking back, finding peace with her decision probably prolonged the process and certainly it took away some of the stress of constantly searching for a long term plan.  Instead of planning the next round of attacks, we enjoyed as much as we had left together.  Turned out we had more time than we could have imagined and it went by quicker than we wanted.
Honestly.  In writing this post, I have tears in my eyes.  It still hurts.  But the pain is from missing her.  Not from wondering if we could have done anything differently.  Which truly is a gift.
Truth is we all will lose someone.  It will always hurt and we will never be quite as ready as we want to be.  Still there are things that help greatly.  Discussion, tough as it is, really does help.  Doesn’t need to be done at the end or after someone is diagnosed, but that certainly should be done then.  Every adult should think about what they would want IF something happens (which it will at some point).
Get it out of the way.  Think about it.  Talk about it. Then live knowing you are prepared.
Sure it is a bit scary and tough to think about.  Doesn’t get any easier the longer you put it off.  I promise it can make it all a lot easier when the time comes, which I sincerely hope is a long, long way off.

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Grateful for the T shirt too which I hope sparks conversations as I wear it proudly.  Also couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that I won elephant related gifts!  Truly is the year of becoming an ElephAUNT.  Will have to let my nephew try out the stress elephant next time I visit.  Which thankfully will be soon.

Dream. Dash. Do?

Some days just rock a lot harder than others.  Days like today just make me smile and hope that no matter how difficult other days may be, there is always hope for more like today.

Especially ones where surprises arrive!

Got the gift cards from Courtney Out Loud!!!  Can’t wait to go checking out Pier One’s stock.  Maybe tomorrow will include a trip to each of them to compare.

Til then, Baxter & I are dreaming & doing our happy dance again.  (& yes I busted out the Valentine’s-ish quilt I made a few years back).  Feeling really inspired again lately & wishing I had the time to make something else.  Very soon.  I played around with the fabric today, but just couldn’t quite decide what to make in time.  If only my craft stuff were able to be as organized as these rooms! Or hell if it had a room….

Craft Room Inspiration

But no time today for that it seems.  I had a date to dash off to.

Met up with a couple of photog friends to brainstorm & catch up… dream about something that if/when it happens will be pretty amazing.  I’m excited for sure.  Which left me inspired to want to take a million and one pictures and dream about this & that in how to edit them and display & all that good stuff.

But no real time for that either.  Off to meet someone.  Inspired by conversations the night before hearing how successful relationships started in various ways be it in a beer tent being polite, intrigued by an online profile a bit too real or even by that one face that just didn’t seem to go away. I had hope for what could be.  The profile seemed ok.  Maybe this one wouldn’t end up making me wish I had a panic button in my purse.

So I went. First good sign – he actually looked like his profile pictures.  Second good sign – he was polite.  So we chatted. We walked. Drank coffee & watched the sunset across the Cape Fear River.  Somewhere along the way it dawned on me that there wasn’t that much in common, but he was a good guy.  The things I expected based on the profile pictures weren’t really there.  It dawned on me that based on those pictures, I read more into them than I should have & basically was expecting him to be similar to an ex!  Turns out he isn’t anything like that ex, except they are both nice guys, but the things that I had in common with the other guy & actually liked aren’t there in this guy.  Hate missing those pieces & hate that I realized I wasn’t even really giving this guy a chance to be himself without comparison.  But such is life. There is a lot of good there, but common interest maybe not.  Perhaps a friend might be a great fit with him.  Time will tell it seems.

When it was time to dash off from that it was errand running time.  Then home again to spend some time with Baxter & the birds.  Perhaps even get in a bit of reading before I crash.

So maybe tomorrow.  Dream today.  Do tomorrow.

One thing is blatantly obvious to me.  I have more desires than dollars or daylight.  If only I could just add a few more hours to a day.  At least I feel this one was about as packed as it could have been.

General goalsfor the coming year & next few months…

  • 100 Days challenge – 100 days straight of intentional moving 30 minutes each day - Back on track & no more slipping. One day of 99 isn’t going to get me down. Maybe soon it will feel more habit-ish & I will start thinking of bigger goals than just consistency.
  • 10 on 10 – give $10 to a non-profit each month on the 10th – gave to the Cape Fear Literacy Council
  • Read more! - Still stunned that I have already basically read more than last year & its not even the end of January. Downloaded a couple of new ones today & starting #6 tonight.
  • Budget each month prior to the month & stick with it - stupid money. Meeting up with friends out for dinner/lunch… isn’t so great for the budget, but well worth it. The other stuff I have been spending on isn’t so much but fun. Pay day is Friday at least.  I can get there.

As for the more traditional resolutions:

  • Try one new thing each week – Attended a new group for crafters tonight along with a friend I hadn’t seen in way too long.  So many ideas brewing.
  • Cook something each week – Potluck at work was incredible! The drinks, the shrimp lo main, the pizza, the chicken nuggets, the pineapple cake, and coconut & mango sorbets delish! Even got compliments on my black beans & rice.  All love goes to my not so secret ingredient – Adobo!
  • Take one photo I love each week – Feeling so inspired lately! I HAVE got to update the scavenger hunt page soon.
  • Continue my love affair with Post Crossing thinking I need a cool way to display these soon.  They are waiting patiently in a box til I do.  Wondering where the next one will come from.
  • Floss daily – check. nothing in between the teeth.  Why did I think this should be a goal this year? Didn’t I realize I do this daily now?
  • Meditate more – at least weekly – sorry. nothing to report here… move along.
  • Daily food picture –  366 dishes – clearly this has been sponsored by chicken and fries.  No more.  I have GOT to eat better.  Or at least in a way where I can be more enthusiastic about the pictures.
  • Spend an hour with someone else outside of work each week – easy peasy this week. reconnecting with so many & even met someone new today.  Thinking tomorrow is going to be a stay home & chill day, but this weekend certainly has made up for the past little while of being a deadbeat hermit.

PIER ONE GIVE AWAY WINNER!!!

In honor of my recent bout with the Sinister Sinus Infection, I should give away these adorable tissues to everyone who read thru the sniffy complaining & whining.

But unfortunately I won’t be.  Lets just move right past that whole illness thing & go on to better days! I know I am ready.  The stuffy nose may still be here, but I am feeling better.  Soon back to normal.

Oh & if you really are in love with those tissues, you can easily snag a package at Pier One Imports.  Seriously they are too cute to use, but I would anyway!

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I am lucky enough to have a couple of Pier Ones in town & there isn’t a time I go in there where I don’t feel like a kid in a toy store – wishing I could at least pick one thing to take with me since I’ve been such a good girl.  More often than not, my wishes exceed my checking account, but the dreaming is always fun.

Yesterday I made it through the entire day of work and all the chaos of being out most of the week.  Came home, checked my personal email &  felt like that kid being rewarded for being good! I won a gift card to Pier One!  Not even joking here.  One of my favorite blogs to dream with Courtney Out Loud, was doing a contest & of course I entered.  One of the ways to enter was to comment with what you would buy if you won.  Which lead to a couple of hours of dreaming & the verdict was either the new bed I have been wanting or a chair to replace the ottoman that has been pulling double duty as both the intended ottoman & sewing stool at my desk.  Both choices would be MAJOR improvements.  Imagine my surprise when I won!

So now the fun challenge begins.  Do I keep dreaming about ideas or hold myself to the two choices? Whatever I end up doing, its going to be GREAT!  Spending the $50 prize and more cash will not be a problem in Pier One!

So a BIG THANK YOU to Courtney Out Load & Pier One.

You have truly made a cruddy week wonderful!