Self Care Sunday ~ Grieving is self care

Rumi 20 years and her death is still my reason. My sister died on March 9, 1999 around 4:30am with me and other family members by her side after two weeks on life support and a battle with a terminal illness. During those two weeks, I sat with her. I talked to her. I read the newspaper to her. But mostly I sat in silent prayer. Honoring the beautiful soul that made such an impact on my life. When it became clear to me that it was end, I made her promises and those promise are still the reasons for my choices today.

I promised her I would live the life I was capable of living. I didn’t live up to that promise for a long time. I promised her I would live up to the beauty she saw within me. I was so blinded by self doubt and bad influences in my life that I couldn’t see myself as beautiful. I also made sure I thanked her. Anything good that is me is there because she loved me and believe in me. I am who I am because that beautiful soul loved me and took care of me since the day I was born.

How exactly do you commemorate the 20th anniversary of the most painful day of your life? I am honoring her by finally living the life I am capable of living. No more playing small. I am making choices that are authentically aligned with my truth now. That’s the only way I can live now. Emotionally, I recognize a need for support so I went out to dinner with friends last night (Friday). It was a beautiful night out. I am going to philly for a day with the family on Sunday. Today, Saturday, I am honoring my body’s need to slow down. I am also allowing myself to feel melancholy for what I lost. I am reflecting and being thankful for how I’ve grown and changed in recent years. I am remembering where I came from with gratitude. I am reaffirming my commitment to embodying love and light as I moved forward in this life. Mostly, I am just missing my sister and wondering how the hell it still hurts so bad after 20 years. The pain of grief never really goes away. You just become desensitized to it. It’s like the chronic knee pain you’ve learned to live with as you get older. I’m still walking but my heart and soul are wounded. So today is a day for me to just allow myself to honor that feeling without pressing myself to be happy or social.

On a positive note, I received wonderful news on Thursday about a career related situation. It looks like the strategic risk I took a few weeks ago is going to work out better that I even imagined. It’s partly official but not totally buttoned up yet. I can’t celebrate yet. The dust should settle in the next week or two. A new beginning will hopefully be on my horizon by the end of March. The best part of this is — even if it does go sideways, I can live with it. I did the right thing for myself and for my Program. If I end up back where I used to work after all of this — well, that must be where I am meant to be. This positive news is helping to keep my spirits balanced on a tough emotional day.

Grief

ACTION
This week’s action is to honor where you are. Feel what you need to feel. Cry if you need to cry. Hit bottom if it’s the only way for you to rise up to the top again. Show yourself some love and compassion today.

(C) 2019 Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC – All Rights Reserved
Everything is always working out for my highest good 💙🦋

Grief

Loving Kindness Prayer💙
May you be safe
May you be healthy
May you be happy
May you be loved

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DISCLAIMER: Poetry, views, thoughts,and opinions expressed on this blog belong solely to the author and Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC

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That One Person ~ Poetry

Burning Joss Prayer Painting ~ Nik Helbig

Burning Joss Prayer Painting ~ Nik Helbig

That One Person ~ Poetry
By: Linda A. Long

What if
You lost
The one person
Who you
Let all the
Way in
The secret
Thoughts, hopes
Wishes and fears
That you
Bury deep
In your heart’s
Garden of beauty
And wisdom

What if
You lost
The friend
You trusted enough
To share
Who you
Really are
Without any
Fear of
Judgement
Or pretenses
To be
Anything other
Than who you
Are authentically

What if
You lost
The one person
Who saw you
Loved you
Championed for you
And supported you
Through every
Up and down
Of life

What if
You lost
The one person
The one person
You talked
To the most
Laughed with
Over life’s challenges
Cried with
Over life’s heartbreaks
Celebrated with
Over life’s triumphs

What if
You lost
That one person

I lost
That one person
I lost
That person

Dear God
I am grateful
You blessed me
With a good friend
I ask
You to
Guide and protect
Me as I
Find my life
Without that
One person that
I trusted the most
I ask for
Your grace
And intuitive wisdom
Ask for you
To bring
Like minded
Caring souls
Into my life
And bless
Me again
With the
Gift of a
Beautiful friendship
(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC

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Art Credit
Burning Joss Prayer Painting ~
Nik Helbig

My Reason – In honor of a friend

Visible Darkness Pat Erickson

My Reason – In honor of a Friend
By: Linda A. Long

Your death
Will not be
My excuse
It will not be
The chip
On my shoulder
The reason
I take a drug
To escape
Or have a
Drink to
Feel numb

Your death
Will not be
A reason
I feel sorry
For myself
Under perform
Stay in bed
Give up
And
Lose hope

While your death
Broke me
It will not
Destroy me

Your death
Will be
The reason
I rise
The reason
I reach higher
Dream bigger
Try harder

Your death
Will be
My life force
My motivation
My inspiration
My Power

Your death
Will be
My reason
To live

Your life
Will be in
My memory
And move
On with me
Throughout
My lifetime
Your life
Will be my
Reason
To believe
Your life
Will be
My reason
To rise

Your death
Will not
Be my excuse
To fail
But my motivation
To succeed
Your life
And memory
Will remind
Me to rise
Rise
As a
Warrior
I will rise
In your memory
I will rise

(C) 2018 Linda A Long – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC – All Rights Reserved

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Photo Credit
Visible Darkness by Pat Erickson – Fine Art America

NOTE In Loving Memory of Karen Grant – My Reason.
This photo was taken at the Kenny Chesney Concert in June 2011 two years before Karen was diagnosed with Peritoneal Cancer and one year before I had to stop drinking alcohol due to Chronic Gastritis and autoimmune issues. It was a fun day. I was also 40 pounds heavier in this photo than I am now. The most important thing about this photo is it was taken when Karen was healthy. This is how I will remember her beautiful face.

Broken Halo

Fallen Angel Sorrow Art

Early in the morning on Thursday April 19, 2018 my beautiful best friend, Karen, lost her five year battle with Peritoneal Cancer, a rare aggressive Gynecological Cancer.

Karen was diagnosed five years ago after having severe bloating and stomach pain for three months. Her first surgery was supposed to be a complete hysterectomy. However, when they went in, they found tumor wrapped around her Colon. They removed 18 inches of her Colon, her Gallbladder and her Appendix in that surgery and advised the odds of her making it were slim. She made it.

One month later Karen had complete and total hysterectomy followed by aggressive Chemo. She lost her hair and a lot of weight. Again, they advised she probably would not make it. She made it.

They gave her 18 months to live and ensure there was understanding that Peritoneal Cancer never goes into remission. Karen had a six month break from Chemo but more or less received Chemo for the last five years. She was given 18 months to live and lived five years. She had me and all that loved her convinced she would beat it. She did not.

On Saturday April 7th, Karen reached out to me to say goodbye. She told me it was almost time. I asked to be with her and hold her hand. She told me she knew I lost my sister to a terminal illness in the same fashion and didn’t want me to do another death bed vigil. She also told me she wanted me to remember her strong. We said our goodbyes over the course of three hours. Every day from April 7th to April 19th I sent Karen a message in the morning that said that I loved her and I was lucky to have been her friend. I was told by her family she treasure each messaged but it would have been too hard for her if I was there and saw her that way. She wanted me to be remember her strong.

She was the best friend I ever had. I am not sure what life looks like without her. If you are the praying type, I ask you pray the healing of my mind, body and spirit because I feel very broken and lost. I also have my own health issues going on and had 10 tubes of blood drawn this morning.

My good news from yesterday was… I got the call about Karen only hours before I was giving the most important presentation of my entire career to two Directors and two Group Managers who will determine the future of my career. My boss was standing next to me when i got the call about Karen. I never told him my best friend was dying. He was in shock when I told him this was going on the whole time I worked for him. He asked if I wanted to reschedule the presentation because my Directors would understand the situation. I told him my Directors would understand but Karen was a hardass and would not understand. She would expect me to honor her by crushing it. I hung a Post-it note on my laptop that said, “Crush it for Karen” and off I went to do my presentation. I was very relaxed. I smiled and spoke authentically. At the end, one Director (a female Director I never met in person before)said, “I am very very impressed” and the other Director(a man who works in DC I’ve met and bonded with) said, “I am pleased as punch!”. My direct supervisory followed me out of the room and said, “GREAT Job. Now go take care of yourself. I’ll see you in a week!”. I thank Karen for the inspiration. I crushed it for Karen! I left the office immediately after that meeting was over. I am officially on Leave from work until April 30th.

I spent yesterday afternoon with with Karen’s sister and her long time boyfriend and caretaker. I spent yesterday evening with a couple of friends and spent last night making phone calls to tell folks I loved them. I went to Karen’s Mom’s house this morning and then focused on caring for myself this afternoon. Now, late on Friday afternoon I am starting to allow myself to feel again. I was strong for two days. It is time for good cry again.

Karen’s services should be Tuesday with her obit in the Sunday paper. Her sister was meeting with the Rabbi today.

Karen was a Country Music lover. She once said to me, “everyone needs some country in their life Linda Long!” She took me to two Country music concerts, Kenny Chesney and Darius Rucker. In memory of my beautiful best friend, Karen Grant, I am sharing “Broken Halos” and “Somewhere With You”. I needed Country in my life today.

(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit: https://www.elvenstarart.com

I Will Be Brave – A Tribute To A Friend

Art butterflies

I Will Be Brave – Tribute To A Friend
By: Linda A. Long

I will not
Pretend to be
Strong any longer
I’ve been doing
That since
You were diagnosed
Five years ago
I will allow you
To see and know
That I am sad
I am sad
Your body
Is slowly down
I am sad
You will be
Losing this battle
I am sad
The world
Will no longer
Know your
Beautiful face
I am sad
To lose
My beautiful friend

As you approach
The end of
The battle
I will tell you
Your bravery
Changed me
And showed
Me the way
Your courage
Challenged me
To open up
And love more
Your compassion
Empathy and love
Showed me
What a true
Friendship really was
And demonstrated
To me
The importance
Of authenticity
And loyalty

As I’ve navigated
Life and faced
Adversity
Your example
Reminded me
To not to lose
The battles
In my head and
Most importantly
Your example
Taught me
To show up
Show up
For the people
I love
What will I do
Without you
My good egg
What will I do
Without our
Beautiful friendship

As time slips away
I reflect
On our three hour
Coffee dates
At Starbucks
Sushi with
Seaweed salad
Stuck in our teeth
Hugs
Laughter
Grape Vodka shots
Wine and beer Sunsets
Truth and direct honesty
Between us
I will cherish the
Never ending
Stream of
Written messages
Between us
Daily Check-in messages
Weekly wrap-up messages
OMFG messages
You would not believe
What just happened messages
And most recently
The message
I never wanted
To receive
The message
That said
You wanted me know
Just in case
It happens fast
You wanted me
To know
It is almost time

No
I won’t pretend
To be strong
I won’t
I am sad
I am sad
To lose
My friend
I am sad
The world
Is losing a
Beautiful soul
I am sad

I am sad
But I will
Put my chin up
I will carry on
I will live bigger
Smile wider
And love deeper
Because
You were in
My life and
Your shining example
Will give me
The courage
To reach for
My highest good
With love
In my heart
I will be brave

The words
I have to say
Today are
Thank you
I am grateful
You allowed me
To be your friend
I am thankful
You were
In my life
I love you
My beautiful friend
I love you
I am sad
But I will
Be like you
I will be brave

(C) 2018 Linda A Long – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC – All Rights Reserved

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NOTE: I was home today feeling sorry for myself because I have a chip fracture in my foot and I am stuck in a boot for three weeks. I got a message – a message I knew was going to come soon. It was words she couldn’t bare to say out loud but knew she had to say them to me. My friend’s battle with Peritoneal Cancer is coming to an end. She is not on hospice but it will be soon. They gave her 18 months to live almost five years ago. She fought it hard but the Cancer is throughout her body.

I remember sitting at the table in a sushi restaurant five years ago when she told me she was diagnosed. I shared this whole journey with her. We started messaging each other daily a few years ago. Some days our chats were light-hearted while other days our words were heavier; filled with tears instead of laugther. For us to spend an hour “chatting” instead of talking is pretty normal for us. Today, she needed to tell me things but wasn’t up to a visitor or talking on the phone but she wanted me to know. I am sitting here trying to wrap my head around life without her and hoping I can see her one last time.