Trying to find the words…

Uncategorized

It’s been right at three months since Timothy Sean Mallory was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was my lover, best friend, father of my children, partner in crime, and so much more. There have been moments when it felt like the whole world was crumbling around me. I really would have never imagined how awful it is to lose someone that you love so much and also share every facet of your life with. I have lost loved ones in the past, the most painful prior to this being my dad. Losing my beautiful lover is a whole new, awful experience, though.

The first month or two after the accident were heartbreaking, busy, and surreal. Most of my days were spent taking care of “things”, ranging from all the craziness and painfulness of planning and having the memorial (I still have a hard time calling it a funeral) to taking care of our financial and legal affairs. I suddenly found myself having to re-arrange mine and my children’s lives and routines into this “new normal” that we now had to live without their Daddy. Most nights in the beginning, I found it hard to function/cope without a bottle of wine or a Xanax or something to help me sleep. During this time, I’ve had so many people say to me “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.” My response is always the same: “I don’t want you to.” I would never want anyone to have to go through this. Of all these hardest first moments, having to tell my children that their beautiful father died was the most heartbreaking.

I try to remember the things I truly believe. Timothy is still here with us in some shape or form. All matter that is created can never be destroyed. His essence and spirit can never be destroyed. I feel his presence with me so much. The imprint he made on the world can never be un-done. I’m coming to the strange realization that it’s the permanence of our current life that is the true illusion. Change is the only real constant. Just because his physical self changed, does not make him any less a part of this universe: in heaven, as an angel, a continued energy force… whatever you choose to believe.

Everything is a first for us now, though. The first time I took our two youngest children (7 year old boy and 3 year old girl) to the movies by myself and without their daddy. The first time I ate at our favorite sushi restaurant. The first family get-together (on Mother’s Day) without him. The first time I made homemade potato soup without him. The first time I went to work and had to hold it together. Every day there is still some first without him. We didn’t do EVERYTHING together, but he was still a part of everything I did.

I was able to take almost two months off work, which I am very grateful for. I don’t know how I would have been able to make it those first two months if I had to function everyday like everything was normal. There were many days during that time when I may just break down crying at any given moment. The tears and pain may last for a few moments, or stay with me all day. I looked to the internet one night when I was in the throes of one of those heartbreaking moments to try to find advice and/or solace. I typed in “my husband died” and found story after story of women of all ages going through the same thing I and my family are. In ways, it was helpful. The women who spoke of losing their husband recently, as I had, shared similar feelings and issues as what I have dealt with. The women who were farther along in their journey, who had lost their husband years before, still spoke of pain, but they also spoke of hope. They talked about the pain still being there, but they eventually started to have more good days than bad. And may have even eventually found peace and happiness.

This is what I hope for. I know I will always love him. I will always miss him and wish he could have stayed in this life with us for longer. But I hope that eventually I (we all) will slowly grow from all this. That we’ll be able to remember him and think of him with love and happiness and less pain and longing. There have seemed to be more good days recently, but I know it’s still going to hurt like crazy for a long time. I love him too much and miss him too much for the healing process to happen any other way. But I do have good days. We have lots of people who have loved us and supported us through this, which means so much. I do still feel his love. I do feel hope and peace at times. And right now, I’m just grateful for that.

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To My Babies… The Hardest Letter I will ever write to you

For My Babies, Love

Out of all the things I’ve wanted to say to you during your little lives, this was a letter I never thought I would write to you, nor would I ever, ever want to. Our family is going through such a hard time now. Your father, who we all loved so deeply, died in a motorcycle accident at the young age of 45. I never, ever wanted you (or anyone, for that matter) to experience such tragedy. Most days I still can’t comprehend the idea that he is no longer living with us. How such a beautiful light could just go out so quickly is beyond my comprehension. And his poor, sweet children. Rowan is 3 (going on 16), Dylan is 6, Sebastian is 12, Sarah is 15, and Justin is 26. He loved you all so much. The love that I shared with your father was passionate, deep, strong, and sometimes crazy. But we were most beautiful when we were all together as a family. We truly made such a beautiful family.

I love him and miss him so much. I cry so many times just at the thought of not ever being able to hold him, talk to him, laugh with him, kiss him, and go through with all the crazy plans we had for life with him. But it is really all of his kids that my heart breaks for most. There are so many things that make the situation so tragic. From the idea of my love being injured and hurt so bad that his life was lost in the blink of an eye, to the fact of someone so charismatic, funny, talented, charming, and hard-working no longer living amongst us. To how many people loved him and are truly devastated by this loss. But the worst is for his beautiful children who lost their beautiful father. My heart breaks the most for all of you.

Dylan and Rowan, I know you both hurt so bad over this, and yet, you are so young that I can’t imagine that you really understand what’s going on. I hate the fact that you only had him in your life for such a short time. Dylan, you have always been a happy child. You are just as playfully mischievous as your father. But I know you are hurting right now. You don’t talk about it much. You talk about Daddy in good ways. You’ll talk about random stories about him, but you don’t talk about your pain or even how much you miss him. I’m pretty sure your strong little heart is just trying to be brave and keep going. Rowan, I know you don’t really understand at 3 years old what has happened. You just know that Daddy’s not here and you miss him. You tell me so many times a day how you want Daddy. It breaks my heart that I can’t give him to you. I found one of his t-shirts the other day that he wore frequently. It hadn’t been washed, and it still smelt like him. I rubbed my face in it and clung to it. A while later that day, you were upset about something, and I remembered the t-shirt. I gave it to you and told you to smell it. You stuck your face in it, and all the sudden you lit up. “Daddy’s shirt!” you exclaimed. It made you feel so good, just to smell his scent and hold that old cotton t-shirt. You carried the shirt around for days. I finally put it up, in the hopes it might hold on to his scent a little while longer so that I could give it to you when you start to get sad and missing him.

We were in the car today; Dylan, Rowan, and I. Rowan, you had just gotten an Elsa doll that sings “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen. As you were sitting in the backseat singing along, I had a sudden memory of your dad singing that song with you. He was really the one that got you singing it in the first place, when you were only like 2 years old. You would start to sing it, and then your dad would start singing along with you, loud and proud. You loved it. He used to sing it with you all the time. We all did. But your dad was the one that really started it. As the memory hit me while we were driving in the car, I started to get a little emotional. I turned and asked you, Dylan, if you remembered Daddy always singing that song with Rowan. You smiled sheepishly and sweetly and said yes, and I could tell you really did remember, too. I asked you how you were doing. “I’m good”, you replied, as is a pretty normal response for you. I asked you if you miss Daddy. You said yes. I was thinking how I don’t ever really see you get visibly upset about losing daddy. I see you get upset, much more frequently than normal. I know you miss daddy, but you just don’t normally say that you miss daddy and it hurts. As I was asking you if you missed him and starting to tear up myself, I think you must have known my thoughts because  you simply said “My heart is crying.” It was the most honest, poetic, adult thing I’ve ever heard you say. I know your heart is crying, baby. And I am so sorry that all of you are having to go through this.

I love you. I love you all so much. And your Daddy does, too. He is watching over us, with a soul that is at peace, loving us, wanting us to be happy. But it still hurts so much. I pray for strength to be a good mama to you throughout all of your lives. I want you to know how many people have loved and supported us through this awful time. I want you to know that there is still so much beauty in the world and that we can still have beautiful lives, no matter the pain we feel from not being able to physically live it and share it with him. I want you to know that his beauty and everything about him still lives on in all of you and in every life that he touched, which was so many. And I pray that I may let him live on through me, all of his quirkiness and love of life, so that you can still grow up with that piece of him in your life.

I love you all so much. Out of all the amazing and beautiful things your dad did in life, the most precious are the beautiful children that he gave us. I am grateful for you that are mine by birth, and for my stepkids (who already have beautiful mamas that love them). You are all wonderful gifts to us from your father.

I love you always and forever.

To the moon and back. That’s what your dad always said.

Sincerely,

Your Mama

 

To My Sexy Man

Love, writing

I never stood a chance. From the first time I met you, you enchanted me. Those that know me well, know the nitty-gritty, funny, crazy details of how we met and fell in love. Those are stories that I will someday giggle about with our children, when they are old enough to know what it feels like to fall in love. I never loved any man as passionately as I loved you, and I always love passionately.

When I fell for you, it wasn’t my first time, nor was it yours. We had both known love and felt it’s depths, both high and low. But the love I felt for you surpassed all that. At 28 years old, I was suddenly transformed into a love-crazed teenager. There was nothing I wanted more than to be near you, to hang out with you, to touch you. And that feeling has lasted FOR SO MANY YEARS. I have never fallen, and can never imagine falling again, in love so much with someone. You took my breath away.

That was so long ago. I’ve felt your body and held your presence so many times. We have fought and cried and loved so much. What I am so grateful for now, though, is how much our love has endured. Time, struggle, pain, heartbreak, healing. And after it all, I am still a love-crazy teenager for you. More than that, I KNOW YOU. I know everything awful and beautiful about you, and you know every ugly and beautiful side of me. AND WE STILL LOVE EACHOTHER. You are still the man that makes me hot, and the first person I want to hang out with.

It has not always been easy. Anyone that knows us well knows that. But we never gave up on our love. And I’m so glad for it. You have a beautiful soul. We have a beautiful love. We have a gorgeous, sweet family. And I love you so much, sexy. Always. Thank you for your sweet love ❤

 

 


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Importance of Nurturing Our Creativity

Happiness, Mind

One of the major pitfalls of mainstream American culture is our lack of acknowledgement of how important creativity is. Of course, we’ll all say it’s important. We can recite quotes and spout off statistics about the importance of creative thinking in business and life. We’ll pay ridiculous amounts of money to go to concerts or shows to watch someone else be creative. We’ll pay money for art or pretty things that someone else created while they were doing what they loved. But as a whole, the society that we live in puts much greater importance on making money and gives a lot less attention to the importance of just living and allowing ourselves to be creative, even in the little in-between moments. Art and creativity are only valued if it’s deemed to be worth money.

As children we are all effortlessly creative in our own ways.

Seeing everything for the first time, we see the world with such potential and limitless possibilities. From the time we start school, though, we are already being programmed to learn a certain curriculum in a certain way over a certain period of time. To regurgitate facts back so that we can make good test scores on information that we do not care about and will soon forget.

As adults, we are seldom encouraged to follow our passions or creativities unless there is a good paycheck expected to come behind it.

Do I have an answer to change our society from it’s petty, money-lusted ways? Not really. The machine is too big. The domination of greed too vast.

But I will suggest this: Do not underestimate the importance of even the littlest moments of joy and creativity in your life. It may be letting yourself be inspired by nature, falling in love with a melody, doodling a flower, writing a poem, cooking a delicious meal with love, or just coloring with your kid. (or writing a cheesy blog 😉 ) Whatever it is that puts you in the present moment and makes you appreciate the little things in life. Whatever it is that helps you imagine and dream. That is when you find your creativity. That is where ideas are born. It is important. It should be nurtured. Even these smallest moments of inspiration and creativity are not idle, wasted moments. And we should not treat them as such. For it is in these moments that we find the beauty of our humanity.

Psychological Benefits of Fresh Flowers in Your Home

Happiness, Mind

One of my favourite pastimes is making flower arrangements. I can’t help but smile during any part of the process: purchasing, cutting, arranging, finding the perfect container, and either picking a place in my home to display them or giving them to someone else who might be in need of a smile. I love it all. I’m not a superb florist. I’ve never taken a class. It’s just really hard to make a bad flower arrangement. I’ve always known that there was something special about flowers. They make me smile. They make others smile. Now, with today’s research, their positive effects on a person’s psyche is a proven fact.

According to research conducted at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, fresh flowers can be a simple and natural way to improve emotional health.

“The presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behavior in a positive manner far beyond what is normally believed.” *

The 10-month study showed that flowers have a healthy and positive effect on a person’s mood. Participants from all age groups experienced instant feelings of happiness and gratitude upon receiving flowers. Participants also experienced long term positive effects, reporting less feelings of depression and anxiety and a higher sense of life satisfaction.

Another study conducted by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D. and Harvard Medical School, showed that people feel more compassionate towards others, less worried and anxious, and have less feelings of depression when fresh cut flowers are present in their home. Study participants who lived with fresh cut flowers for just a few days experienced more feelings of compassion and kindness for others and less negative feelings. They also experienced a boost of energy that lasted throughout their day, even having more enthusiasm and energy at work, just from having flowers in their home living environments. This positive energy can also spread to others.

“What I find interesting is that by starting the day in a more positive mood, you are likely to transfer those happier feelings to others – it’s what is called mood contagion.” ~ Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D.

Having fresh flowers in your home doesn’t have to be expensive, either. With a little research, you should be able to find the cheapest, best place to buy fresh cut flowers. I have a nearby Homeland Grocery Store that sells small bunches of flowers for $3 – $4. I normally buy two or three of these and have plenty of flowers to make one large arrangement or a couple of smaller ones. During summer and spring, I pick roses and lilies from our outdoor garden and make flower arrangements for free!

So, if you are looking for a simple, natural, inexpensive way to add a little joy to your home, try having some fun with flowers. Of course, they always make a great gift for someone that needs a smile. But they are also a great thing to do for yourself in your own home. And shouldn’t we all try to surround ourselves with things that make us smile? 🙂

 

flowerbouquet2

“Common sense tells us that flowers make us happy. Now, science shows that not only do flowers make us happier than we know, they have strong positive effects on our emotional well being.”~Dr. Haviland-Jones

*Quotes and information obtained from…

http://aboutflowers.com/health-benefits-a-research.html

Discovering Green SuperFood Drinks

Healthy Living, Nutrition

 

I love to try anything new and healthy. Especially if it’s all natural and organic-hippie-fun. Especially if it’s easy. Extra especially if it makes me feel good. So, I have recently discovered what millions of other people have probably known about for years, green super-food drinks.

My discovery stemmed from my sister giving me a week’s worth of the health supplement, Kyani, to try. Though I liked the product, it’s a little expensive, so I decided to see what else was out there.

I ventured out to my local organic foods store where I told them I was looking for a “natural”, “organic” liquid nutritional supplement, in the hopes of finding something similar to the Kyani product. Being new to the natural-supplement world, I was now overwhelmed with options. In a good way, to be sure. I ended up checking out the green super-food powder drinks.

I started off with Garden of Life’s Perfect Food Raw Organic Green Super Food.

If you have never drank anything like this before, it is a very different experience. The powder is like dehydrated, ground up grass and veggies (which is pretty much what it is). That is also what it smells and tastes like. I bought the apple flavour and mixed it in a small glass of apple juice.

From what I have read, none of these green superfood drinks really taste GOOD. Some are just more bearable than others. My research also led me to many stated opinions that this particular product isn’t one of the best tasting. But it also seems to be a pretty good source of lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, and other good stuff. So, I suffer through the taste once a day.

I have now been drinking my organic green powdered drink for about a month.

The effects?

I really feel great. And I really shouldn’t feel so good right now. Lately I’ve had a lot going on. I’ve been busy and stressed and busy. But there’s many times during the past few weeks when I have noticed that I have energy when I would think I would be tired and worn. I actually feel healthier. I’ve noticed other things like my fingernails look thicker and healthier. My appetite also doesn’t seem to be as ferocious. The drink doesn’t seem to curb my appetite. I just think my body’s getting the nutrients it needs, so it’s less likely to feel cravings or want to eat for lack of energy.

I think the green super-food drink is a great idea. It’s highly unlikely that our everyday diet provides us with all those plant-based nutrients that our bodies crave. This simple, natural, organic product helps fill that gap. There are many products out there to try and much literature to help you pick. I have also read recommendations to switch products routinely to help get a more diverse range of nutrients. I started with Perfect Food Raw, but I have also tried Concentrace Greens Pak and I would like to try Amazing Grass next.

For more information, these are my two favourite websites:

http://superfooddrinks.org/

and

http://www.nicehair.org/food-for-hair-growth/the-15-best-green-drinks-powder-superfood-supplements-in-the-world

 

If you love things that are healthy and make you feel good, I would highly recommend giving this a try. The taste might not be that great, but the effects really seem to be worth it!

 

Do you have stories or information regarding health and natural supplements? I’d love to hear them! After all, the best thing about ideas and experiences is sharing them with others 😉

Dealing with Role Conflict

Happiness, Mind

It’s something everyone will probably experience at some point in their life. It is likely that you are currently experiencing it right now. Yet it seems that we hardly ever talk about it.

What is role conflict?

The emotional conflict arising when competing demands are made on an individual in the fulfillment of his or her multiple social roles.

Juggling work and being a parent. Going to college while struggling to work and make money. Doing something with your family versus taking some much needed time to yourself. Spending time with your lover versus making time for friends… With so many things going on in our busy lives, some amount of role conflict is pretty much impossible to avoid.

For me, I have all things listed above: children, work, school, family, friends, a home to take care of, et cetera. Role conflict is probably the biggest stressor of my everyday life. I can accomplish most anything, but trying to take care of them all at once is what makes it so difficult.

So, what to do to avoid and relieve the stress that comes from playing so many different roles in life?

Here are just a few tips and ideas:

(1) Most important of all…. Take care of yourself: mind, body, and spirit.

I cannot take care of anyone else if I don’t take care of myself. Eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep. Use de-stressing techniques like meditation and yoga. Feed the spirit with such things as prayer or communing with nature. Practice being “mindful” in the little moments so as not to find myself caught up in the hectic ongoings of everyday life.

(2) Plan.

It does not have to be a tight schedule to adhere to, but at least a simple list of the days expectations and what needs to be accomplished. And don’t set yourself up for failure by planning too much (probably my biggest pitfall). Be realistic in what you can do in the time you have and be proud of yourself when you are able to do so.

(3) Simplify.

Decrease the amount of “stuff” that we have so I don’t have so much cleaning and caring-for to do. This includes things like decreasing the amount of clothing and other “stuff” that I own. It also means making sure to not take on or plan more than I can handle. For example, I am only taking one college course this semester  because I didn’t know if I could handle more than that.

(4) Share.

Talk to your friends and family when you are stressed. That’s what they are there for. And they may be going through the same thing.

(5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Whether it’s getting a babysitter for the night so you can have a break, asking for help with a project at work, or making a chore list for the kids at home. Sometimes any amount of help can make a huge difference.

(6) Be gentle with yourself.

We can only accomplish and do so much. Be proud of successes and learn from mistakes. Let go of what you can’t change or control. And go on.

(7) Always remember to be grateful.

I am a mother, daughter, sister, lover, friend, aunt, niece, nurse, writer, student, child of God (just to name a few). And I am so blessed to be on this Earth with so many roles I get to play. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Breaks So Quickly…

Love, Poetry

It breaks so quickly, yet comes back together slowly and with determination

Made up of moon beams, hugs, and dreams of life in the sun with a happily-ever-after theme

It knows you for who you are, sees your weaknesses and your beauty

And it makes me flush with emotion from all this knowing

It makes me keep going, one dream in front of the other, steadily keeping pace with it’s rhythm

It belongs to you, or at least, I let you borrow it

Yes, my heart breaks so quickly, but it always mends back together

Slowly and with determination

It is strong from so many hugs, dreams, and moon beams

Live to Learn

Mind

I am a lifetime student. We all are.

I would have never thought that back when I was younger and was actually required to go to school. But when I started college years ago, I discovered that I really loved learning. I have a passion for subjects such as the psychological and biological sciences. I love to learn new art forms. I love physical classes such as yoga, aerobics, kickboxing, and dance. As an adult, I’ve taken cooking classes, guitar classes, painting classes, all types of yoga/pilates/aerobics classes. I took ballet for the first time at 19 years old when I enrolled in a beginning adult class. If there is an opportunity for me to show up some place and somebody teach me something, I am all about it.

Twice recently I have had the opportunity to learn new things (and also further my formal education) without any financial cost to me. With the assistance of a grant, I am back in college to finish a psychology degree I started years ago before I became a nurse. To fulfil a sociology requirement of said degree, I’m currently taking a Cultural Anthropology class. A required ethnography project sent me on a search that led me to a Buddhist monastery that has free mediation and Buddhism classes. So, one class that’s helping to further my formal academia, also helped to get me started in another class that’s teaching me about the wonderful practice of meditation and the history of Buddhism. One door opened to another door to another door. And I’m learning such fascinating things!

LEARNING IS SO GOOD FOR YOU IN SO MANY WAYS.

Learning experiences like learning a new language or skill have been proven to increase the size of the brain.

I think this is awesome! One study done by neuroscientist Arthur Kramer showed that just 45 minutes of brain exercise three days a week actually increased the volume of the brain. Brain exercise improves cognition so that one can better plan, multitask, and remember.

And formal education is not required to learn new things and exercise the brain.

You can watch a video to learn origami or teach yourself to sew. You can take up drawing or painting, all on your own. It is all still beneficial to the brain. I do believe, though, that the social interaction that comes from being in an actual classroom setting offers so many opportunities. To meet new people. To have different interactions. For a change of scenery. All of it.

So, if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn something new, or if you even have to go out and find those opportunities yourself… DO IT!! Learn to dance. Learn a new art. Further your formal academia. Learn a foreign language. Whatever sounds interesting and fun to you. It is so worth it. It is good for your brain, which is good for your life. And it could end up opening other doors you never even thought of.

“It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.”

~Descartes

Grateful for Gratitude

Happiness, Mind

Being that it is the month of the Thanksgiving holiday, the concept of being grateful is something you hear mentioned often. But gratitude is something I ponder frequently, no matter what the time of year. When life seems hard or I start to feel anxious or depressed, I find that remembering all the things I have to be grateful for is a great antidote to those negative emotions.

So often while we are in the throes of some stressful or hard time that life has dealt us, it is easy to forget and under-appreciate everything good that we do have.

Gratitude is the cure to dissatisfaction, jealousy, and even greed. It takes out the part of the equation that is focused on what we are lacking and adds in the beauty of all that we already have.

There are many documented psychological studies that show the strong correlation between gratitude and happiness. Being grateful requires you to think about the present, taking one’s mind off of the worries for the future and the heartaches of the past. Focusing on the things that are good in life invokes positive emotions such as hope, love, and compassion. This puts you in a better mood which increases your energy level and gives you incentive. These feelings make it more likely for you to take positive steps and focus on and accomplish goals.

The act of showing gratitude makes those around you feel the same. Having someone express how grateful they are for you is always extremely moving. It is so much better than just being complimented or even told that you are loved. Your expression of gratitude for others spreads the same positive emotions to them, and they in turn also experience all those other positive effects.

It is so easy to lose yourself thinking about the bad things in life. Every day is bound to be filled with some amount of challenge; a sick child to take care of, a broken down car, stress at work, problems in relationships. The list has no end. But neither does the list of things that we have to be grateful for.

Gratitude encourages positive thinking. Positive thinking attracts positive things into your life. More positive things in your life = more things to be grateful for.

These are basic underlying concepts shared between ancient religious beliefs such as Buddhism, “new age” ideas like Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, and proven theories of modern positive psychology. They all agree that remembering to appreciate the good and be grateful for it is a major part of being happy. And I love the fact that such a simple thing as being grateful can make such a big difference in our happiness.