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Tag: grief

True gratitude includes being thankful for the stuff that sucks too.

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We all know the things we are supposed to be thankful for. We celebrate them as often as we can- having food, shelter, family, love, good health etc. That’s the easy part.

True gratitude and insight, I believe, comes from being thankful for all the things that suck too. Without the dark there is no light, so to speak. After a three year stretch of navigating rough seas, I am trying to find light in the darkness, and understand how to be grateful for the things that haven’t been easy.

Today, I am thankful for suffering multiple losses in a short period of time. The grief was a testament to the fact that I am a well loved human. I had grief to wade through because I knew love. I knew companionship and support and joy through others, both human and animal. I loved sincerely. I am grateful that even though the loss is painful, it is there to remind me of love, and not everyone has that.

I am thankful for the lessons that the stress and uncertainty of this pandemic has offered. It showed me that we are capable of doing hard things together for the sake of others. I am grateful for the people who disappointed me during all of this, because it helped me reevaluate relationships that were draining me and helped me to better appreciate the ones that filled me up. It allowed me to learn how to say no. It gave me strength to stand up for the things that I think are important to stand for, and the tenacity to see them through.

I am thankful for pants that are too tight, or feeling guilty for not exercising enough because it means that I always have enough to eat. It means that my children don’t know what it is to be hungry. It means that my dogs eat better than some humans.

I am thankful for balances on credit cards and lines of credit and sometimes having to wait until next payday to make a purchase, because it means that I have appreciation for the things we have. It means that I understand the value of hard work and the value of privileges we enjoy. It means that I value the time of others, and don’t take them for granted. I am thankful for the lesson it teaches my children of having to work for what you have instead of expecting it to be handed to you.

I am thankful for illness and injury because it gives me empathy for others who are suffering.

I am thankful for mistakes because without them we would never learn anything new. I am thankful for doing it wrong a million times before getting it right because it teaches us perseverance and hope and determination.

Today, I want to be thankful for the things we usually wouldn’t want to acknowledge, because it’s been a rough few years, and I think the next few are likely to be challenging, and finding the calm among the storms fills me with hope.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Should We Have the Right To Choose The Moment Of Our Death?

The_death

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This week in Manitoba, a patient was granted the right to have a physician assisted death. You can read the article here if you want all the details, but as you can imagine, the person is terminally ill and in a great deal of pain.

The Canadian Federal Government has already ruled that Canadians should have access to physician assisted death (suicide) in such cases and the legislation is currently being drafted.

Still, it is a topic for MUCH debate, and as opinionated as I am, this one has me conflicted.

The greatest single factor in shaping my feelings towards the issue is one of faith. My first thought is about fear.  We are generally so afraid to die, and our loved ones are so afraid to let us go that we have become obsessed with preserving life at all costs.  And to me, that’s because we have lost our faith about life after death.  Us humans have become so arrogant in our earthly lives that we no longer believe there is anything greater out there.  So to me, when a patient has decided that they can no longer endure the pain of this earthly existence, it is time for us to let them go, because they know that there is something better waiting for them and are no longer afraid.  They have made their peace, and so should we.

On the other hand, it is pretty clear that we are not supposed to kill others or ourselves.  Is it up to us to decide when life ends?  Is it our job to kill what God has created?  Will we be punished for our decision, regardless of the fact that it was made out of love and respect and compassion?  Is sin ambiguous like that?   Is it the intent behind an action that determines if it really is a sin? Or is it the action itself?

And of course, there is the legal and mundane risks associated with allowing assisted death.  How do you determine if someone has the right to die?  Will there be a clear set of criteria?  A checklist?  In the case that a patient has become so ill they can no longer make decisions for themselves, can a relative decide that it is their time?

I can only conclude this:

Nobody will ever be able to determine how they will feel in a desperate situation until they are in it.  Sure.  We all think we know how we feel about topics such as this until we are truly having to make that decision.  A final decision.

I like to think that I would be strong, and tough it out to the end so that I could spend as many meaningful last moments with the ones I love as possible.  But I would never ever want to drag it out to the point where they are overcome with grief and uncertainty and the quality of their lives is non existent.  Love doesn’t look like that.

Does it?

We allow our pets to be put down to ease their suffering, and I think the hardest part of that is not knowing when it is time to do so.  When I lost one of my pups last year, I didn’t just grieve for her passing, but I struggled really hard with wondering if I had made the decision because I didn’t love her enough to continue to care for her.  I gave myself a real hard time about that.

And I know that people are not the same as pets. Ok?  But it makes me think that as long as the patient is the one making the decision, it will help the loved ones to know that they didn’t sell them short, or abandon them, or whatever.

So.  Should people be allowed the right to die?

Yes.  As a society I believe we should.

And as a human and a Christian, I believe that the moral ramifications of that is gonna have to be between me and God.  It’s not like you’re going to pray for a lightning bolt to strike you down.  God works his will through people, so maybe this is no different.

What do you think?

 

 

Assholes Should Not Make Babies

dandandandaniel.deviantart.com

dandandandaniel.deviantart.com

I read this morning that Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra are having another baby.  You know, those asshole “fan favourites” from Teen Mom?   The article made me feel irritated.  Don’t get me wrong, I love babies.  I love pregnant people.  I wish that everyone could experience the love of a child.

But here’s the thing.  The tone of the article and the attitude of these people just rubs me the wrong fucking way.  So, you have a baby at 16 or whatever, and decide to give the baby up for adoption.  The parents graciously allow you to have contact and a relationship with the child.  Everybody wins, right?

That’s the way it’s supposed to be.  The problem I have with this show, and this big announcement is that is takes the life of a baby and makes it cheap.

The only contribution these kids have made to society is to get knocked up and document it on reality tv.  And you know what?  Kids make mistakes.  Shit happens.  But I can’t help but think that part of the reason this couple decided to have another baby was to get back in the news.  Because that’s their ticket, you know?  I can only assume that they are otherwise pretty much useless people.

One quick google search provided several articles that insinuate she got pregnant again so she could get back on the show that made her famous.

As a mother, I just can’t imagine how anybody could not feel the loss of giving up a child or the challenges of raising one.  Hell, I want to beat my own head against a wall half a million times a day raising two babies, and I’m a fucking grown up.

I just keep thinking about all the good people out there who can’t have kids and deserve them.  And can’t afford IVF or the fees associated with adoption. And yes, teenagers who get pregnant by accident and give the babies up sometimes help these couples, but the process and emotional ramifications of that are lifelong deals.  This bullshit makes it cheap.  It takes the heartache that some of those girls go through and makes it seem like no big deal.

Babies are hard work.  Their lives matter.  So Catelynn, no matter how “excited” you are about “keeping this baby”, get a goddamn grip.

If you have any reasonable amount of maturity in you at all, stay away from the cameras, and don’t turn your unborn child into a circus slideshow.  your job is to love and protect and provide.  And by provide, I mean get a job.  And by a job I mean you work and get a paycheck.  Not you get pregnant and sell your story to shit magazines.

Fucking people.

People Suck: Monday Edition

So I read this article the other day.

It describes a lawsuit in which a woman, who hit and killed a teenage boy riding his bike, is now suing the family of the boy she killed.  She stated emotional trauma and post traumatic stress disorder blah blah blah blah.

I guess you can imagine which side of the argument I’m standing on.

Where the hell does this crazy bitch get off?

Yes.  You are suffering PTSD. NO shit, Sherlock.  You killed someone elses child in a horrible and tragic accident.  The guilt and trauma of that day will haunt you forever.

Part of the justification for this ridiculous piece of bullshit litigation is that she “is also a victim”.

Maybe.

So does that give her the right to further victimize this boys parents by suing them for a million dollars?  Tell me…..will that make her feel better about herself? The investigators concluded that there was nothing she could have done to avoid the accident.  Nothing. 

So my theory is that if she’s gonna feel guilt and trauma over something that was tragic and awful at least now she has a real reason to feel guilty.  Because now she is doing something selfish and cruel.

To me, guilt is not a valid response or feeling unless your actions have intent behind them.  Feeling guilt over things we cannot control is misplaced, but you should feel guilt over something you do to intentionally harm or hurt another person.

I get that she will never get over this.  But you know what, Lady?  You’re not the one who lost a child.

I don’t know if she has children of her own or not.  But I can tell her this:  Loving a child that you have birthed is love and devotion like no other thing on this Earth.  And the pain of having that child taken from you I can only imagine is the cruelest torture  someone could ever endure.

So I’m sure that the mother of the child that died is grateful of the reminder of her pain that you are giving her.  Because I’m sure it doesn’t haunt her every second of every day.

And yes.  I’m sorry that you too carry pain.  But let me go ahead and speak on this boy’s mother’s behalf when I say this:

You suck. You are a horrible person.  Not because of the accident that happened, but because of the choices you are making after.  You are cruel and selfish and mean.  You think you know pain?  Spend one second in the lives of these parents.  And then go fuck yourself.

Hold On

I haven’t been blogging so much these days, Bitches.  It’s not for lack of desire, it’s for lack of arms.  As in, I only have two and since I also seem to have two children, well, you know.

There have been a few things on my mind recently.  And one so very sad story that I can’t stop thinking about.  I’m not sure it’s appropriate to tell someone else’s story, so I won’t, really.  Let’s just say that someone else’s loss has changed the way I look at my family.  Especially my tiny monsters.  Especially them.

The second you become a parent, you immediately know what it is like to truly love someone else.  I’m not talking about butterflies in the stomach, can’t wait for him to call, put on your party dress love.  I’m talking about taking a bullet, lay down your life, would sacrifice anything and anyone else to keep them safe love.  The kind where even the thought of spending one day on Earth without them is enough to make you feel sick to your stomach.

The second you become a parent, all those stories in the news about a child dying from cancer or in an accident hit you so hard, because it makes you imagine something you never want to think about.  You can immediately empathize with the strangers on the screen.  Parenthood seems to bond people together because you have a common cause, I guess.

I spend a lot of time making jokes about the weird things that my kids do.  Some folks are taken aback at the things I say.  That’s how I deal.  I make jokes in difficult situations because I figure if we’re still laughing, we’re not sinking, right?

But this.  I can’t.  Not ever.

All I can do is remember to love every single tantrum.  Every freak out and every spilled cup of milk.  Every single explosive shit up the back diaper and sleepless night. I love the giant boogers and the screaming when I try to brush her hair. Every morning that I spend trying to tidy the kitchen from the disaster of the day before.  The nights I spend driving my Buddy around just trying to help him sleep.

I can do less work and play with my children.  I will stop resenting the interruptions when I’m on the phone or trying to practice and be thankful that I can choose to spend that moment putting a train set together.  I will remember how it takes 30 minutes to get them both dressed in the winter for 10 minutes outside before our balls freeze off.  I will stop apologizing when I say no to more work, because I’m not sorry, nor should I be.

I will love them every second of every minute of every day even when I am crazy from exhaustion and my last nerve is being danced on.

Because you just never, ever know.

Hold on to your babies tight.  Make them know they are loved.  Don’t worry about tomorrow, just cherish today.

365 days

The alarm clock goes off, and she walks down the stairs, past the two closed bedroom doors where her children sleep, and starts a pot of coffee.  It’s a day like any other day; except today, she remembers for the 365th time, that only one of her children are sleeping behind those closed bedroom doors.

And for the 365th day in a row, her heart feels like it is being ripped from her chest and her breath can hardly come out. She wishes and prays that it was all a nightmare that she can shake off.  She’ll go upstairs and wake both her children up for breakfast and let them argue over which cartoons to watch.

And for the 365th day in a row, she wishes she could go back in time and relive that last morning with her lost child.  A morning that started out just like this, like any other day, except it would end in a life shattering moment of violence and evil and pain.  And she wonders what if my child had been sick and home from school that day?  What if I had made that dentist appointment instead of putting it off?  What if what if what if?

We grieved worldwide with the families of Newtown on this day last year.  We wished and hoped and prayed it wasn’t true.  And today, 365 days later, we are reminded to love our children harder.  To hold them tighter.  To be thankful it wasn’t our child, and wonder how it could happen to anyone’s child.

My heart still grieves for these parents. Their grieving will never be complete.  Parents are not supposed to bury their children.

And in their bravery, these parents have asked us to honor their children by being kind to one another.

Kindness is the only cure for any of this.  For all the hate and fear in the world.  Your kindness may save someone elses child.  It may save your own.

Heavy heart today, friends.  Heavy heart.

And The Wolf Turned Into A Butterfly

funlava.com

funlava.com

When I was a teenager, I worked at a summer camp called Anglican Island.  It was some of the greatest summers of my life.  Getting paid to live away from home, at a camp and resort on Lake of The Woods.  On top of all that, I made some of the best friends I have ever had.  Most of us are still in touch one way or another to this day.  Some of us are very close.  But all of us, I think, would be there for one another in the blink of an eye when needed.

These people that came into my life in the summer of 1994 are part of a community that expanded into spiritual weekends held during the winter months, church services, dances, and regular social activities.  It wasn’t culty.  It wasn’t weird.  It was a community full of love and fun and shared faith.  And we all grew up together, and supported each other through the hard times and the easy ones.

At the center of this community was a man named Jim Wolf.  He was a large, burly man with a beard and a slightly bent over walk.  From afar he looked like any regular person.  Up close, he had the kindest, warmest eyes I have ever known.  Despite his size, his demeanor was gentle, and full of understanding.  He could listen and interact with a bunch of teenagers and twenty somethings and never get bored.  He never made you feel like your problem was too small to be heard.  He was full of love, and made you feel so.

I swear, when Jesus said we should be more like Him, Jim Wolf listened.  He walked the walk and talked the talk.  He suffered his own personal tragedies, and it never changed him from what we all knew him to be.

I think its amazing when any adult is able to positively impact the lives of so many young people, but even more so when it is a priest.  What group of teenagers wants to hang out with a middle aged priest?

We did.  He became a significant adult in our lives that we could confide in.  That we could turn to without ever feeling judged.  And who always had an anecdote or piece of advice that made sense to us.  We loved him like a parent.

And now, two days after this world has lost a soul that truly made it a better place, I find myself deeply sad and reminiscent of the time I spent with him in my life.  I find myself grateful to have known him.  And regretful to not have seen him for many years.

Our world was better with you in it.  You will be deeply missed, Jim.  Our hearts are heavy today, but yours is light.  You finally are reaping the rewards of all the good you have done for so many. You used to talk about metanoia.  How we needed to change into (metaphorical) butterflies for our faith to be complete . You helped us change for the better.

Your metanoia is complete….so fly butterfly, fly.

Somebody Lost Their Child Today

I’m sure there are going to be a lot of people writing and sharing their thoughts on the Boston Marathon bombing yesterday.  How could we not all be thinking about it?  The scenes shown on the news and on the internet are pretty graphic, but even so I suspect we are only seeing the tip of the gory iceberg.

I don’t have any conspiracy theories or maniacal thoughts about what I would do to the people responsible, once found.  The police and FBI will do their jobs and find out what happened, I’m sure.

I think we get desensitized to events like these when we see the daily bombings in the middle east.  The violence an ocean away makes it feel like it doesn’t really happen.  There is no connection to the people on the screen.  And to be honest, I’ve chosen to just change the channel, because I hate to watch things that I don’t have the power to impact. But when you see it here, on the very continent we live on, it makes it real.  This happened to my American brothers and sisters, and it feels like it happened to me.

So I started thinking about loss.  True loss.  The kind that you can never get back, the kind that can’t be undone.  Death.  Innocence. Sight, maybe.  Hearing, maybe.  Security.

Yesterday, we had a snowstorm here.   A pretty mild one, but annoying in the middle of April.  And while we were all busy bitching about the weather, somebody lost their child.  Somebody lost their spouse, parent, sibling, or friend.  Somebody lost their leg.

Yesterday, while we were busy having the Monday blues, somebody lost their child.

And we will get another Monday next week.  And we will likely complain about it, and wish it were Friday.  And that child will still be gone, and that parent will have a real reason to hate Mondays.  And that parent won’t notice or care to complain about Monday or anything else.  Because they lost their child, and they would rather take all of our complaints at once and deal with them than be left with this.

This loss.  This grief.  This pain.

And I keep thinking to myself, there are parents who lose their children every day in those countries an ocean apart.  Every day is a Boston Marathon bombing for them.

How can this be what humans have come to?  Or have we always been this way?  Only now we have bigger guns and more efficient ways to hurt one another.  And that’s our goal, isn’t it?  To make each other hurt and suffer unimaginable losses.

And yet in the aftermath, and during the crisis, we somehow manage to help each other no matter what the race, or religous belief, or sexual orientation.  We push aside our stupid inconsequential differences and help one another.  Because loss is universal.  We can all identify with that pain.

So let me say this to you.  When we are busy complaining about things that are inconvenient, or hating someone because they look different or act different or believe different than we do, turn on the news.

Somebody lost their child today.  And yesterday, and tomorrow.

Find your grief and your anger and use it to help and love each other as if ever day were a crisis day.

Because you know what?  This is bullshit.   Our behaviour is bullshit.  It’s time to stop, and love, and end this.

Because one day you could be the one who lost their child.

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