Prodigal Blogger Returns

I have been so caught up in my own drama the last quarter of the year that I haven’t been posting and blogging.  So, my prompt for myself is to think of ways to drag yourself into the new year.  I’m going to find some kind of craft to do for charity and get started on it. The best way to put aside your self absorption is to do something for someone else.  Find someway to help others and then journal about what you gain from it.

Times Past

I have been having a rough year!!! No, really!!  My daughter lost custody of our grandson  in December and that has been very hard on everyone in the family.  At the same time my Dad was fighting stomach cancer and then in the Spring, he died.

Since then, I have been taking care of my Mom, who in addtion to her poor health has been slowly losing what faculties she had.  Last week, she lost them all and had to be hospitalized to keep her from hurting herself or my family.

Needless to say, inspiration for scrapbooking or journaling has been impossible to find.  I haven’t been able to write about how I feel, because it is too awful to give words to.

I did manage to make one layout.  I was trying to remember better times and was thinking about how music has always been a big part of my life and how I express myself.  Then I started thinking about how the bands I listen to now are different than what they used to be.

The layout is about what all of my notebooks looked like in high school.  The next layout will be on what I listen to now and the fact that while I listen to new stuff, the old stuff is still in my CD collection and on my ipod.  I think that if any of your journaling is geared toward memoir, then you should include the things that interest you.

So, here is the layout and some quotes about nostalgia.

“Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.”
Albert Camus

“True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories”

Florence King

“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.”

Peter De Vries

We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it.  ~George Eliot

Backward turn backward o time in your flight Make me a child again just for tonight…
Elizabeth Akers Allen

Nostalgia is recalling the fun without reliving the pain.

What My Notebooks Looked Like In High School

What My Notebooks Looked Like In High School

Good Grief

I found an article about journaling when you are grieving; whether it be loss of a human or loss of a pet.(anyone who has a pet knows they are missed as much as people when they pass on)  Here is the article and the url where I found it. The questions are personal, so I doubt that I post my answers here, as they would be meaningless to others.  But I have started answering them.

Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak, whispers the o’erfraught heart and bids it break. (Shakespeare)
How to Write and Share Your Story of the Loss of a Loved One

(by Harley King)

The Power of Writing to Heal the Pain

“One of the best salves for healing the pain and grief that you feel is that of writing. The process of putting your feelings, thoughts, and experiences down on paper will give you the opportunity to work through the pain and the sorrow.”

Unfortunately, many people in our society don’t feel they can write. Many feel that writing is something for professionals with creative talents. It is not something that the common person can aspire to. Yet the writing process is one of the most powerful techniques you have for clarifying your feelings and working through your emotions. By opening yourself up and expressing your pain and grief on paper, you will release the emotions that are suffocating and depressing you. Giving vent to our anger and pain through writing sets us free.

14 Guidelines for Grief Support Writing

I want to share with you a process that if you follow it will begin to heal your wounds and help you to recover from your grief.

1. Write for fifteen minutes every day. Discipline yourself to write even on those days you don’t feel like writing.
2. Write longhand with a pen or pencil. Do not use a computer. (**See my note at the bottom)
3. Begin either with the phrase, “I remember,” or “I feel.”
4. Write about the good times you had together with your loved one. Write about the bad times. Write about the death.
5. Write without stopping for the full fifteen minutes. Keep your hand moving at all times.
6. Whenever you run out of things to say, begin again with the phrase, “I remember,” and keep writing.
7. Write without thinking. Give free rein to your emotions and feelings.
8. Feel free to say whatever you want. Don’t worry about what others will think.
9. Be as specific as possible in your writing. Put in descriptive detail.
10. Don’t try to be creative or cute.
11. Don’t worry about spelling, or grammar or what your English teacher taught you. You are not writing for a grade.
12. It is okay to cry while you are writing. Keep writing through the tears. Don’t stop.
13. Keep writing as long as you need. If you wish, you can expand your writing time to 30 minutes or an hour.
14. Do not share your initial writing with others. They may not understand you expression of your pain or may be hurt by the things you say.

Writing and Sharing Your Story

Once you have begun to heal your grief through Grief Support Writing, you may want to turn your experience into a story that will help others heal their pain and give them the needed support.

Using the techniques of Grief Support Writing, write out a response to each of the following questions. Be sure to be specific and concrete with the details of your story. Put in details that will help others to picture the story.

After you have written a response to each question, edit your material into a chronological story. Put the story away for three or four days, then rewrite the story as many times as needed to make it read well. Reading the story aloud will help you determine if it sounds good.

Once you are satisfied that you have written it to the best of your ability, submit it for publication or publish it yourself and give to family and friends.

Questions To You Help Write Your Story

1. Identify your loved one’s name (if a pet: type of animal, breed, male or female)
2. If a pet: Describe the how you acquired your pet. Was your pet a gift? Adopted? Purchased? Found? What were your thoughts and feelings? Why did you pick his/her name?
3. Describe 4 – 6 special moments that you and your loved one experienced together?
4. Describe the kind of relationship you and your loved one had. Was he/she a friend, a soul mate, a member of the family or just a pet?
5. Identify the lessons your loved one taught you about life.
6. Describe how your loved one died. When did your loved one die? Month/Year? How old was your loved one when he or she died?
7. If a pet: If you had him/her euthanized, describe the experience. How did you make the decision? Did you stay with him/her when he was put to sleep? How do you feel about euthanasia? Did you feel guilty?
8. Describe your emotions or feelings when you lost your loved one. Did you find yourself in shock and unable to believe that your loved one was gone? Did you ever feel like withdrawing and hiding from everybody? Did you experience any anger at yourself? Your loved one? Your family and friends? How did you express this anger? Did you try to strike a bargain with God or others to allow your loved one to live? Did you feel guilty? Has the sadness ever been overwhelming or paralyzing? Have you ever felt that you have accepted the death of your loved one?
9. Describe funeral or burial arrangements. Any prayers? Any rituals? Ceremonies? Burial or Cremation? Why?
10. If a pet: Describe what you did with your pet’s special toys, dishes and leashes. Did you keep them? Give them away? Bury them with your pet? What have you done with the photographs of your pet?
11. If a pet: If you had other animals around your house when your pet died, describe how they reacted? Did they seem to notice that the pet was gone? What expressions of grief did they display?
12. Describe how you coped with your grief and pain? What helped you to work through the pain and grief? What type of support did you receive from your family and friends? Did you join a support group? Did you grieve by yourself? Did you share your grief with others? Did you seek grief counseling? What has helped you overcome the pain?
13. Describe other experiences that you have had with a loved one’s loss. How have you coped with the losses? What have you learned from the different losses? What do you remember about the first loss of a loved one that you experienced?
14. If you ever experienced the death of a relative or close friend, describe the loss. What is the differences between the experience of grieving for a human being and grieving for a pet? What are the similarities?
15. Identify what you learned from the experience of a loved one’s loss. Did you learn something about yourself? Did you discover that you were stronger than you thought? Did you discover that you were not as strong as you thought?
16. If a pet: What advice would you give to someone who was grieving for his or her pet? (For pet loss stories by other people, read the book, It’s Okay to Cry, by Maria Quintana, Shari Veleba, and Harley King. Available through or by calling 1-800-247-6553.)

**Note about writing in longhand versus the computer: Some people, including me, write much better on the computer. I can sit and stare at a piece of paper and not think of anything. At other times I think of things way to fast to write them down – losing the thread of what I was thinking and getting it all jumbled up and not being able to read it later. Because I can type much faster than I can write I don’t have those problems when I write on the computer. Also I find that I can think much better without the distraction of the pencil and paper. Also when I type I can write about more personal things. I have written things I didn’t even know I was thinking until they appeared on the page.
Nothing works for everyone and I think you should try it both ways to see which feels more natural to you.

What’s Up With Me

I’m sitting here feeling emotions so strong that I might be overwhelmed by them. I know that I am nowhere near the worst part yet. I can’t face my fears head on and I can’t run fast enough to escape them. I am just going parallel to them for now. I know there is going to be a place down the road where my path and these fears are going to converge.

I am so tired of running this race with death. For the past 6 years, I have had the constant fear of my husband dying, because of his neurological condition. I have been slapped in the face by my own mortality the past few years after my diagnosis of Systemic Lupus Erythmatosis. I think my case is going to be the long drawn out chronic condition, but I know a bad case of some infection could wipe me out. Just when I seemed able to travel along with death for a piece, companionably, my Daddy has been diagnosed with cancer.

He has always been the one who would make things right in my world. When I have run out of options, I can go to him for advice and help. My Dad and Grandpa are/were ministers, so I have relied on them for spiritual guidance as well as the practical kind. I’m gonna be on my own now and I don’t know who I am going to rely on.

I do not know if I am strong enough for a world where my husband or my Dad no longer reside.

I found an old photo of my parents, when they were young and full of promise and did a scrapbook page. You can see it here.

Let The Dead Bury The Dead? One of My Top 100 Things That Make Me Scream

This particular scripture makes sense in theory, but I suspect if you went to a family funeral or stayed home from one and quoted it, you would be disowned and possibly the victim of homicide and maybe vigilante justice.

I kept thinking about this one at the hospital the other day.(I had some surgery) Last week I was worried about my Mom being at home by herself while my Dad was in the hospital. Then my daughter was supposed to have some tests run to see if she needed surgery.  After I waited all day to see what the doctor told her, I called her and her boyfriend told me she decided not to go take the test because she wasn’t feeling well. But, she wasn’t home because she went to work.

Pardon me for being logical, but if you are too sick to go to the doctor, wouldn’t it follow that work should be skipped too? I am not a self centered person, but couldn’t she have called me and told me?

I suppose I didn’t cater to my parents sufficiently either. Neither my daughter or my parents bothered to call me and check on me after my surgery. Apparently my husband was considerate and called them and let them know I am alive.

Should I back off from worrying about others? It sure doesn’t get reciprocated. I hope the scripture means to put things into priority categories. I do not know how to not care about others.

This is on my top 100 things list. I want to scream when people do not realize that I am strong, but still need to be treated in a considerate manner.

Self Imposed Stress

Lately, I have felt so overwhelmed with things to worry about. I have decided to put the brakes on and try to put a name on my individual stressors and see if they are worth being stressed about and if I can do something to make things better or accept that some things are beyond my abilities to fix.

The first thing I discovered is that I worry too much about what might or could happen. O.K., I already knew that, but chose not to acknowledge it.

I am going for a scavenger hunt to find greater wisdom on this problem. Check back and see what I find.

BTW, If you have any words of wisdom, I’ll be glad to take them under advisement.

Christmas Blessing or Curse?

We had our family thing on Christmas Eve this year partly because my daughter planned to go with her fiancinators family on Christmas Day, and because my brother was originally supposed to be in for the weekend. He had to change his plan because he got stuck in Chicago making a run in his truck. One of the things I HATE about Thanksgiving and Christmas is that even if I do the cooking, someone else always has a reason why we should do it when they want to. I would be perfectly happy to eat a bologna sandwich under the tree but my husband thinks Christ and the 4 Horsemen of the Appocolypse will come if we don’t have the whole kings feast for Thanksgiving and Christmas and he got worse about it after his mother died. Not that he didn’t insist that we have our own dinner when she was alive. My Mom wants to make the dinner but is not physically or mentally capable of doing it and so makes these grandiose plans and at the last minute, I have to try to pull off a hail Mary pass in order to have some sort of meal.

This year, in the midst of this my spoiled daughter told me she wasn’t going to do anything for her brother for Christmas because he was not nice enough to her to deserve it. I had a hard time not blowing a gasket. I mean, I do alot of stuff for my family without respect to who deserves it and when we get right down to it, we are all undeserving of the good things we get and we usually don’t deserve the bad things that happen to us either. She seemed to have at least a pretend change of heart after I told her I sorta felt like my life must have been a wast if all of the things I did for her because I enjoyed doing them and enjoyed seeing her happy left her feeling that I only did things for people when they deserved them and that was what she learned from me.

Of course, I know that isn’t the example I have set for her, she just needed a knot jerked in her tail.

December 24th, I woke up hurting all over and feeling like I had not even enough energy to breath. I guess the stress was making my Lupus act up pretty bad. I didn’t need to butI was almost too depressed to get out of bed Chritmas Eve and start all of that family togetherness. I didn’t need to put on any blush, because I had a nice Lupus rash on my cheeks. Oh, well maybe a little eye shadow and mascara would remove the corpse like pallor. Once I forced myself to do it, it turned out much better than I hoped for.

Everyone had a nice time, ate well and enjoyed their gifts and I felt like my life wasn’t so wasted after all, seeing their smiles.