We stumbled upon this garden in the fall. It’s called a memory garden. In the center of the garden is a curious little tree with strips of ribbons hanging off it. The strips have peoples names on them. Or they would if the rain hadn’t washed them into illegible smears of ink. You put the name of a loved one who has passed away on the strip of paper and hang it on the tree. Seen through the little gazebo below.
I’d like to go back and take another look at it. Maybe put my moms name on a piece of paper or ribbon and tie it to the tree.
I must say, this grieving stuff is hard. There are days I don’t want to get up and go out the door to work. And others where I get up and get going just fine, only to get there and want to turn around and leave within the first few hours. I keep wanting to stop and get a whole bunch of lottery tickets so I can win the lottery and not go in ever again. Nothing against the place I work. I just don’t want to be there lately. Staying home and wallowing in my grief a bit longer sounds good to me. Maybe it’s better I don’t, but I want to all the same.
I’m finding that I’m feeling angry at God. They were singing a song about the God who saves at church last week. I was pissed off. God didn’t save my mom. I stopped singing and started having an angry conversation with Him in my head. Why didn’t He save her? Why doesn’t He bring her back? I sat there crying angry tears. Perhaps he did save her. It just doesn’t feel like it from here.
I tried to look up the song they were singing last weekend. I hadn’t even heard it right. The chorus goes like this:
You’re the God who stays
You’re the God who stays
You’re the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You’re the God who stands
With wide open arms
And you tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart
From the God who stays
Wow. My head is such a jumbled up mess right now I hadn’t even heard the words right. The song is titled ‘The God Who Stays’ by Matthew West. So I had to have another cry because He is the God who stays. Despite my pain, my hurt, my sorrow, my anger, my grief. He’s the God who stays.
It’s really hard to tell what will trigger grief. I started crying on the way to work a week ago when the song Maybe it’s Okay by We are Messengers came on. (mentioned here.) I wanted to pull over and turn around and go back home.
My sister and I are both trying to be okay with not being okay right now. This grief thing is a process. It may never be all the way okay again. Or at least not the same. There are moments when I’m okay. And moments when I’m not. There are moments when my B.S. tolerance level is down below zero. Watch out. She-Hulk may emerge when this happens.
Grief sucks… I miss my mom. I want her back already!
To my mom: I know you’re in a better place and free of pain. But I most certainly am not.
Do you ever wonder how some people can be so positive despite bad things in their life, and others can be negative even when things really aren’t that bad? What do positive people do that helps them bounce back from bad things that happen to them quicker than people with a negative view on life?
I am in the middle of a long string of months with very limited income coming in, and was looking forward to getting my tax refunds. Only to have a letter come in the mail from the state telling me that I needed to pay all of my taxes for the last year, despite the fact that I’ve been faithfully paying my quarterly taxes, plus they tacked on fees and interest on top of it all. At first I felt like, because every time I think I have some small bit of hope that something good is going to happen, and it doesn’t end up happening, that meant my federal tax return wouldn’t come as well. Then I decided to be positive. The federal one is still coming, nothings going to happen to it, and the state one is the smaller one anyway. And I moved right along with my new positive thoughts. Only to have them all come crashing to a halt when I received a letter from the IRS a week later regarding my federal return as well. Also wiped down to zero, no taking into account all those tax payments I made throughout the year and telling me I owed all of last years taxes plus fees and interest. Did I go through the roof at that point? Yes, I did. I was pissed off! And I let myself be pissed off, because I think sometimes the stages to being positive are similar to the stages of grief. Should you deny the negative feelings and just jump right to the final stage of acceptance and moving on? No. (Kudos to you if you can.) The key is not to allow yourself to stay in the negative feelings for days and weeks and months or even years on end.
One thing I’ve noticed about positive people is: they find things that make them happy and do them. These are some ways to bounce back from the curves life throws at us:
1. Go out and spend some time taking photos in nature. People may think I’m crazy, always taking photos everywhere I go, but in the process of taking on the hobby of photography, I’ve learned to look for the beauty all around me. Oftentimes I’m out in nature staring in wonder and amazement at all of God’s creations. I can see the fingerprint of God all around me and I am in awe. It makes me forget my problems and humbles me when I am in the presence of an awesome God. And in that process I am grounded and not thinking about all of my problems. As I am again, when I go through all of those photos in the days after a wonderful adventure.
Gorgeous red gerbera daisies
2. Throw a virtual party on Facebook. My Auntie Leilani is sick a lot. And yet, when she is feeling better, you know it. All the sudden she’ll start posting funny stuff on Facebook, and one of my favorite things she does is post a virtual party where she comes up with a theme and then posts a whole bunch of fun photos and invites us all to come join her out in cyberspace for her virtual party to celebrate that she is feeling better. She takes that negative stuff by the horns and tosses it right out of her life, until the next time she’s really sick again. She has learned to to live life fully while she can, because who knows how long the good times will last? What a great example of living life to the fullest despite chronic illness always knocking her down!
3. Jump for joy. Yep, I’ve mentioned this one in a previous blog post, but it’s worth mentioning again. I feel like I’ve been doing this more and more lately, and part of that is because I can either chose joy or sit in a corner, curled up in a ball, rocking back and forth, trying to self-sooth myself because things are really tough right now. And yet, sometimes, the very day after I’ve been out jumping for joy, I can feel really down. It’s like Satan comes around like a prowling lion trying to steal your joy, and I’ll try to look at the photos taken on my latest adventure to cheer me up, but sometimes that only helps for a short while and then I’m trying to figure out why I feel so down now that I’m having a normal day at home. Is it because I’ve just had a lot of fun, and now ‘normal’ feels too mundane, or is Satan really out to steal my joy? Which brings me to the next thing…
Jumping for joy at the Hulda Klager lilac gardens.
4. Put Satan back in his place. Yep. You heard me right. Right now, I keep getting this feeling that every time I have an ounce of hope or joy in my life; every time I take a step forward, things go backwards again. So, if I am feeling really frustrated as hell at being in this ‘Job’ time of my life, I just let Satan have it. I take my Gandalf stance from the Lord of the Rings movies, pick up my fake ‘air’ staff and I let Satan have it – either in my head or out loud. Out loud can be at varying degrees of whisper shouting, if people are home, or just outright shouting if no one is around. I then pound my imaginary staff on the ground and I yell: ‘SATAN, YOU SHALL NOT PASS! YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. I COMMAND YOU TO GO BACK TO THE FIERY DEPTHS OF HELL WHERE YOU BELONG, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST!!!’ Or something along those lines. And if I think people must think I’m crazy when I’m out taking photos. Can you imagine if they saw me commanding Satan to go to hell? Hahaha. That’s some awesomeness right there in the craziness, you’ve got to admit! And it makes me feel better in the long run.
You shall not pass!
5. Meditate. If you’re bummed, but not quite feeling up to yelling at Satin, taking some time to meditate or dwell on God’s word can be a good, calming way to find peace and positiveness in your life.
Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God.
6. Look for positive uplifting quotes. I like to lift myself up by reading positive quotes and have two Pinterest boards that have wonderful quotes in them: Words of Wisdom for ones that seem wise, and a plain old Quotes board. There’s something about reading positive uplifting quotes that lifts me up as well.
Take every chance you get in life, because some things only happen once.
What are a few things that you do to stay positive? And if you’re in a funk where you’re temporarily not feeling positive, know that it’s normal to not be positive at all moments of your life. But when you’re down, just be down for a short time while processing those thoughts and feelings that are making you down, then get back up and find the things that make you happy and go do one or more of those things. It will help get those positive vibes going in no time. And if, like me, you find Satan trying to steal your joy after you’ve fought so hard to find it. Try yelling at Satan. Sounds crazy, but it does makes me feel better.