The never ending mountain

 

Grief; ultimately the hike of your lifetime, a steep decent into the muddy, dark mess that sticks to your boots pulling you into its sinking sludge. Sometimes a light stroll through the memories, a rainbow follows a storm and you appreciate the change. Out of nowhere a harsh incline appears as if out of nothing it feels as though you are not going anywhere but if you look back the reflection is faint. You have come further than you realise, one foot in front of the other, drag, pull, skip, jump but don’t stop. You must keep climbing. Moving forward into the hard fog for it will lift at the slighest moment to show you new beauty. The colors around you are constantly changing, the landscape never the same. New fears appear as past loss is accepted but that is the way we grow. We learn to accept, we challenge our normal, feel the hurt and keep climbing.

 

 

Sometimes the smallest things can seem like a huge hurdle to get over, take a breath, have a moment for yourself and start again.

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Share your thoughts.

 

Thanks for reading

Namste

Sheri

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Why God is not a part of my Grief

 

Nature has been a place of solace for me. Walking amongst the trees, staring at clouds, sunset or sunrise. Feeling the rain on my face. But there are those that maybe have not experienced a great loss and do not see that you find comfort in simpler things perhaps over words.

“They’re with God now”, “God needed another angel”, “it is Gods plan”, “Don’t be sad they are with God”, “it is not meant to be”, “Time heals”, “God loved them more”

Just a few things that people who blindly follow religion or a  church might say, to those who do not, may not or will not understand. Why you would say something so unnecessary or hurtful and confusing.

Do you know my faith? Or have you assumed I am Christian. Do you so boldly state what you believe and that you know my child, parent, sibling, friend is actually with God (your God?),  or summoned by them,  gone because of them… Perhaps a question of how are you may be better. Or offering to walk alongside in silence.

If one accepts it is Gods plan, then there is the following questions that I have witnessed grievers deal with- Why? why would God do this? Why does God cause suffering? If God cared or loved me he wouldn’t have done this! Many people question their faith after a trauma, tragic death or unexpected loss.

I believe in science but I would never say to a women that suffered a miscarriage the scientific reason that perhaps their body could not carry a fetus to term, just as I would not say it was not meant to be, or God had a different plan.

By putting my thoughts, beliefs or opinions on someone elses grief that takes away their right to how they  feel, I am imposing myself and ignoring them. Not allowing someone to feel their own process of grief or thoughts and reasons why is a disservice to their journey.

Many times, at funerals a pastor or minister will say ” do not grieve, do not be sad” immediately taking away the right of the griever with the excuse that God will made this so and therefore you need not “suffer in grief”.  But many know that to move through your grief and loss you MUST feel it. Allow it to overtake you when it comes. It is a process with no timeline. I ran into the women that officiated my daughters funeral, she was officiating my Grandmothers funeral a few months later. She said after a very insincere hello, that I must be doing better because well 4 months had passed since my daughters death and that is double the time she lived. I could tell she was proud of herself for this “revelation” to me, as though I had not considered every possible equation as to the months I carried her, the months she lived, the time that has passed since she is gone. I felt she thought she was comforting me with those words and all I felt was anger. How dare you tell me how I should feel. That because her life was short my grief must be too?

I have just learned a childhood friend has died, he was only 39.  His mothers funeral was the first I had ever been to, she died of a brain hemorrhage when we were kids. He and his sisters had a much harder life, I assume, after that loss,(we moved away a couple years later).  I have thought of them often, how they the ages of 8, 10 and 12,  how they must have felt losing the one constant in their life, entering their teen years and young adulthood without her comfort and guidance. Now he has passed, some will say he is back with her, I think that is what all want to hope for. But no one really knows, so I will just say to his dad and sisters, I am sorry. I am sorry he is gone. Sibling loss they say can be as hard as losing a child.  I look at my boys, they are best friends, each others first friend, comrade, confidante. They have a bond that will only be broken with death.

Rest In Peace Curtis Hall

 

Thanks for reading,

Namaste

Sheri

 

What 37 years on earth has taught me!

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37th bday  The morning of my 37th birthday. October 2 2017

I’ve always struggled with sleep, as a child I remember making up games in my mind to make myself fall asleep, I would sneak into my parents room and sleep on the floor, as a teen I would read until I passed out. So no surprise on this day – October 2nd – my 37th b-day I was awake at dawn. I tossed and turned desperate to fall back asleep and finally got up to enjoy the quiet of the morning before the chaos began. I poured my coffee and sat down to watch the news.

Well you know by now what I saw. My heart broke, I was in shock, not again. My husband and I have been to LV a least a dozen times in the last decade, we always are on the strip or at a concert or show. Had we been there for my b-day, which was considered, we would have been at the country music festival (we love country music) were this heinous act of  gun violence occurred. We decided not to go because we are going to be running in the Rock and Roll Marathon in LV in November, which is celebrated at the end by a concert. I am not sure we will attend. But we should not let fear win right? Except that in the USA  this year there have been 273 mass shootings (a mass shooting is defined as 4 or more people being killed) last year there was 483! read more in the link below.

http://www.abc15.com/news/data/mass-shootings-in-the-u-s-over-270-mass-shootings-have-occurred-in-2017

So is it safe to travel to the US? We recently- last spring- went to Disney land for the first time, my kids leading up to it did not want to go and I could not understand. The answer came after much interrogation, they did not want to be killed, I said why would you think that? they said everyone has guns in America. Hmmm, yes they have a point. I explained as best I could that there are police everywhere and most places have measures to prevent people bring guns in, although yes there were metal detectors at Disney land most places unfortunately allow guns in the United States, something not legal in Canada. I understood their fear. It is undeniable that America has a gun problem and the debate was proven to be over when 20 babies were killed by an automatic riffle at Sandy Hook 5 years ago and nothing was changed or fixed about their lax or non existent gun laws. It is unfortunate that a country as big and powerful as the USA is more obsessed with their sick gun culture and ‘right to bear arms’ than the right to healthcare or to walk safely in their country without the threat of gun violence.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/us/if-sandy-hook-didn-t-change-america-s-gun-laws-nothing-will-1.2454880

My kids woke up, I turned off the news and wiped my tears away. They came down the stairs singing happy b-day. Bitter sweet. I hugged them and we started our morning.

Houston Trail

Something I have learned after 37 years…

Whenever I have felt overwhelmed by grief, tragedy and heart ache I need to go outside. Walk amongst the trees in the forest and breathe.

I’ve learned that life gets so much more complex as we age, as people die around us the undeniable reality of our obvious and eventual demise can feel overwhelming

Death also gets ignored by many. Some rush through life trying to be successful, creating a fortune, for what? To be buried in a gold casket? I truly admire the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates that spend their fortune helping others, eradicating polio in Africa- a pretty noble thing to spend your time and money on in your retirement years. Or Oprah Winfrey opening a school for girls in Africa, or Facebook founder Mark Zukerburg donating 100 million to education in the US.

I’ve learned that flashy things are just that things. Things that end up in the landfill.

I’ve learned that I’d rather have enough than a feast.

I’ve learned that real people, honest people, even though honesty can be a hurtful or a hard thing to swallow at times, is much better than the fake people.

I’ve learned that no matter how many push ups or chest presses you do, your armpits and under arms will still get flabby ( and so will your knees- no amount of running will stop that ).

I’ve learned that after 35 you finally stop being so harsh on your body.

I’ve learned to appreciate when it’s quiet.

I’ve learned not to take things for granted. Even when your tired and frustrated, a tug at your sleeve for a hug, or an I love you with a smile can be amazing.

I’ve learned education can change perspective and direction.

I’ve learned that you’re never to old to make mistakes and to keep learning.

I’ve learned that kids are pretty darn smart and much more resilient and accepting than adults.

I’ve learned it is ok to let people judge you, as I have learned it really does not matter what they think. Most do not know you well enough anyway.

I’ve learned no matter how hard you give to others they wont assume they need to give back until you ask.

I’ve learned it is ok to say no.

I’ve learned it is ok to yell and get angry, and it is also ok to say sorry and accept responsibility.

I’ve learned that exercise can do more than just keep your body healthy, but your mind too.

I’ve learned too that there are more ignorant people in the world than I’d hoped as a younger person.

I’ve learned we only get one life and don’t know what comes next, so try your best to cherish it and that does not mean be happy all the time.

I’ve learned that music and dance can heal and rejuvenate the soul, but also trick the mind into feeling young again.

So, I went with my BFF to see the amazing singer, dancer, performer, the person I saw at age 10 at the first concert I had ever attended. We went to see Janet Jackson and danced and sang the night away, and I hadn’t  felt that good,  in a long time.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Namaste,

Sheri

Life is short, turn up the music

hope you

I love having dance parties with my kids, more so my daughter because she too loves to dance too, its harder to get my boys even the biggest (dad) one to dance, whenever music is on I move and cannot help it, my subconscious reminds me of my love of movement, it reminds me how I for…. 4 years? From 17 to 21 spent three nights a week a dance club; loved EVERY minute of it. I was in a dance contest with Sir Mix-A-Lot at an iconic bar( to the locals of Delta BC) called Cheers (demolished in 2016 after 40 years) and yes who could shake it the best, it’s a little harder for a skinny white girl with no butt, but I won anyways 😉 or at least I remember being one of the last ones on stage. I danced many a nights and problems away. But then I had kids, at twenty five, thrown into solitary confinement.

I grieved my old life like you wouldn’t believe, don’t get me wrong I cherished my new world of diapers and unconditional love from this thing I grew and needed me to feed it. But It was a drastic change; freedom to isolation, so sudden. You go from doing whatever you want to doing almost nothing when you want to. We had no close family, or local family to be correct. I remember the first time I went out with a group of moms, seven years after my first was born, yes it took me that long, and maybe why I was a little bitter. I remember not knowing how to move, or talk or act even. I, who normally was a quick witted person (at least eight years before pregnancy I was) had nothing to say or if I did it came out not making much sense.

I remember trying to awkwardly dance and feeling so stupid. I went home and cried. I cried for the me that I had lost; the one who used to dance and have fun. Fast forward to eleven years after my first born, somewhat comfortable being a stay at home mom, although I never thought I would be, I always thought I would go back to work, I worked usually six days a week for years before having kids, I loved picking up shifts and making money, I loved socializing. But when you don’t have other childcare and have to pay more than half of what you make for it you may as well stay home. And dance anyway.

I do enjoy being with my kids more than I ever thought I would, I learned an incredible amount from them mostly how to let go because things are constantly changing and the bonus is the dance parties with my girl. Its like they say or I think there is a saying like this, – life throws obstacles at you but you have to dance anyways. That’s a saying right? So go and turn up the music and forget the rest because life is too short.

I hope you dance today.

Thanks for reading

Sheri

dance

Why we write; why we share #lost

** WARNING*** may make some feel uncomfortable, especially those that do not like acknowledging feelings or life.

I want to be real for a second or truthful since I try to always be real. I am unhappy, I have an amazing husband, three smart kids with an angel watching over us; a house, a car, free time to work on my body and mind not to mention food whenever I want. I have nothing to complain about really. Except that inside I often feel sad, I feel less than, not good enough. I go to bed with ambitions of what I want to do the next day but wake up every morning with no inspiration or want to do anything. I watch others around me having their first or last babies and think enviously of the beautiful journey they are starting, do I want more kids? No I have birthed four; my selfish mind does not want to put my body through that again. Sometimes I dream that if I had a large sum of money I would open an orphanage or home for kids that had no one, I want to help but do not know how so I do nothing. I have three beautiful kids to care for but they are getting older and in our amazing democratic Canadian system they become less and less needed of me, they are privileged white kids after all and get mostly the best access to fill their wants and needs with so many extras that some can only dream of. Do I have another baby and make that my life? Just keep having babies, no. Why would I not adopt then or take in foster kids, my husband would never agree to that that is why, after being together for sixteen years, we are ships passing in the night with a few lucky but very random moments together to remember why and how much we love each other. I have gone to University thinking that would ‘fix’ this void I have and yes it does feel good to complete a paper, class or essays after researching new topics, it is an amazing extravagance to be able to learn for fun, I realize that perhaps more than I should which is why I feel like I am wasting time when I should be helping others, that’s what we’re here for right? Then I give myself an out, I have kids that are not grown, I cannot just fill my time helping others when they still need me. So I do little things, donate, volunteer when I can but it is never enough to make me feel like I am doing enough. I look at women younger than me that have accomplished so much in terms of a career, god I wonder what it would feel like to live in a tiny apartment and put on pretty business clothes everyday and go to an office, yes the lamest dream ever, I know but when you have been at home with kids for eleven years and you know there are still at least fifteen more to go you dream lame escape wonders. So back to my incomplete self, how do we feel enough when surrounding us is a world in peril. I imagine what a yucky world this will be in a hundred years and am thankful I will no longer be a part of it though I am sad to think that my children and possible grandchildren will have to deal with it; live in it. Maybe it will be better but what I have learned in many courses, classes and workshops, it will not and that’s a sad, hard fact because greed, hate and guns have taken over. So maybe I need to go live in a hut on the beach or a cabin in the woods and become that crazy lady who lives alone maybe then I’d feel at peace. But it is doubtful. Even this, writing to strangers on a blog trying to decipher feelings through words, posting on facebook to get reactions or kind words. Or those that search for fights or arguments to have on social media out of boredom? In reality all we all want is to be heard and understood, to have a connection to one another. I guess it is why we share. Why we write. #lost

 

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

Capture your Grief Poetry 11-15

Altar

Christening

Marriage

Funeral

Service

To rejoice

To love

To cherish

To remember

To dread

Or

Is an altar a business based on your feelings

Or

 A need society has imposed

By Sheri Hall

Music

Fills your heart with a memory

Clears your head from thought

or

Floods your head with memory

Hurts your heart with thought

By Sheri Hall

 

Season

Sparkles in their eyes while a different kind shines in yours

Memories to be made while ones haunt you from before

Laughter becomes forgetfulness if only for a moment

A season can bring many things to light

A summer breeze drawing a calming breathe

A winter chill forcing us to hug tighter

A fragrant bloom making us smile

A falling leaf reminding us we all die

By Sheri Hall

Dark; Light

The dark part of you mind that you run from to find the light

The brightness that makes you cringe and want to hide in the dark

A light chat about the weather can turn into a dark chat about life

A dark sorrow shared can turn into a light weight lifted

Without one there can not be the other

By Sheri Hall

 

Community

Surrounds you; crushes you

Feels you; sympathises you

Feeds you; helps you

Loves to leave you patting themselves on the back

Helps the struggling; counsels the lost

Paid minimally; unappreciated  by their boss

Government; society; a mixed up bunch of ethics

Want versus need gets ignored through greed

Community can mean so many different things

All becomes irrelevant; traveling into the wind

By Sheri Hall

 

Thanks for reading,

Namaste,

Sheri

f0c47d1320fb2fe769d047d5fc34df45Up next 16,17 & 18

 

 

 

 

 

Feb. 14 2012

I was naïvely hopeful, ignorantly wistful, my baby had a setback, that was all. We would be discharged very soon and back home to deal with our new reality. I was so focused on what had to be done to live with and take care of a child with multiple disabilities that I had no room for any other reason or facts. I needed to deal with the very arduous task of the hard future, ordering machines, thinking about lifts or special classes or needs necessities. I was blindsided.

She was admitted on Feb, 12 2012 after turning blue in her fathers arms, he screamed for me, I yelled to call 911, I gave her CPR, the attendant told me to lift her neck, a rush of quietly gasping air rushed out, oh ya. I forgot that part; guilt saved for later. She was breathing; gasping. the ambulance came within minutes. Amazing.

The next day a blur, the day after that Valentines day. I walked to the store, down the hall from the PICU in BCCH and bought these three, with so much hope. I bought Lily the little grey elephant thinking it represented her so well, her brothers got what also represented them and they still sleep with them on their bed until this day. I knew or thought, naïvely, at that time, that I would buy her a big one just like her brothers got the next year. I wanted her to pick the one she wanted. Except that did not happen, the next Valentines with her never happened. Forever a heart holiday, just now a broken reminder of one. Not the hopeful ending that everyone is comfortable with but the truth.

lilys-elephant

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

Capture your Grief Poetry Days 8-10

 

Resource

1 800 grief; if only it were so simple

Wanting for a space for it to be free

Holed up in your soul crying; banging on your heart to be let out

Book after book, searching for answers

If only there was a number to call

The other end knowing  all

By Sheri Hall

Memory

Those eyes pierced in mine

A memory that fades over time

Her smile etched on my heart

Harder to see the longer we’ve been apart

Memory is a funny thing

The ones we wish to stay linger at the edges

The ones we wish to forget

Haunt us; dredges

Our souls cry for the memory of a last touch

Our mind remembers the last breath

To jump into a memory for a moment would be bliss

A painful fall; willing to risk

By Sheri Hall

Support

Awkward glances, wayward looks

Silent pity

The imaginary hallway that forms as you move pass

A parameter appears where there seems to be a shield

Forcing the uncomfortable ones aside

It is ok, their support will come

A time appears when you look others in the eye; again

You see their shy smile

 You understand over time; they want to support but did not know how

They gave you space; that was their support

Others came in unabashedly

Some even annoyingly

The support you appreciate most after all is the silent ones

The quiet notes left behind

The understanding nods

The support we do not always see

But after time we feel it

We learn it was there all along

By Sheri Hall

 

Thanks for reading,

Namaste,

Sheri

f0c47d1320fb2fe769d047d5fc34df45Up next 11,12 & 13

Dealing with Grief

I want to share some thoughts on the grieving process and hope you will share your feelings and thoughts as well.

I have encountered many types of loss over the last ten years and as I am an analytical person I tend to look for similarities, differences and coincidences or circumstances in things.

For example when I first attended a bereavement group, after trying individual counselling (with four different counsellors- two women, two were men, neither helped, because in my mind, though they had been trained in psychology and counselling they clearly had never experienced a raw grief circumstance, I am basing this on their comment and reactions, anyways, at the bereavement group I met a lot, too many, parents that had lost children and babies of all ages to all sorts of circumstances, in the two years that I attended and I will never forget the first time I went. I shook the whole drive there, I cried the whole time being there, blubbering my way through my reason for going. I felt so comforted, in a morbid way I guess to hear their stories and know that I was not alone in my feelings. Fast forward to a few months in and I had gotten to know quite well a few of the moms and dads that regularly attended as well as listened to a few random people that came and went every week, ones son was killed by a drunk driver, ones child fell out a window, shocking and troubling to listen to, when you feel the pain in someone’s voice. But after listening to the ones that had older children die, I started to feel like maybe I was not deserving to feel the grief I was, after all some of these parents watched their kids suffer for months, some years with terminal illness, some were so in shock at their healthy 3 or 4 year old being suddenly diagnosed and dying immediately, it was so very heartbreaking. I was living in a bubble of other people’s pain and you know it was easier than focusing on my own pain. But I also remember feeling like, wow these people deserve to grieve more than me because of their loss being more prominent than my two month old dying.

As I lived through the fog of raw grief which in my opinion does not start until after the shock wears off, which can take a few weeks or months, for me it was almost six months when it hit me, when I allowed myself to re live what we went through in such a short time. And I was suddenly stuck in raw grief; I was back at that first meeting as a blubbering fool. I remember one of the dads telling me after a long rambling of me sobbing and saying what’s the point to life when this stuff happens, when there is so much suffering, I kept saying why, why. And he came to me after and said that his wife (who was not there that night) had said such similar things not long ago, they had been going a year before me so this was over a year into their loss and seven or so months into mine, I was sad to know that she felt the same but also in knowing my thoughts were not random, were not crazy, I felt comforted.

Then comes the realization of firsts, around a years’ time, the first Halloween, Christmas, Birthday. And this is when most people think that after the first you should be done grieving and moving on.

This is so wrong.

Grief is a struggle to live through and learn from without the judgment of others.

But you find yourself pretending you’re “better” because you don’t want them to think you’re stuck because unfortunately that is what some think. Because for example when their high school friend died in a tragic car accident they remember being really sad for a few months but after that first year it didn’t really affect them anymore and they relate this loss to your loss.

I too have lost many acquaintances and friends from high school, a few cousins and few close friends, and a few co- workers. It sucks, yes, it’s hard, yes, it’s sad, yes, you feel for their lost life, their family, but it’s not the same as when you lose your mom who is your best friend and she dies suddenly after fighting breast cancer. Or when your child of seventeen gets diagnose with terminal cancer, or any ones child dies, or when your spouse gets killed in an accident or when your best friend or sibling that you cannot live without suddenly dies. I am not saying these people have a right to grieve more, I just believe that their grief is very different than the other. It is very different when someone dies of old age then when someone dies tragically from suicide or murder or a genetic malformation but sometimes we lump loss together, and ‘sympathy lasts longer than grief’ but someone living with or through their grief will often tell you they do not want sympathy, they simply want to be allowed to grieve in their own time, they want to feel sad when they feel sad and they want not to be judged or ignored. It is a different type of grief it is still grief and I am not trying to dumb down one to the other, I just feel that those that think you should be ‘done grieving’ are the ones that have experienced only the preceding types, the ones where you feel sad for a short time, I think that is called empathy not grief.

I invite you to share your thoughts on grief.

Thanks for reading.

Namaste,

Sheri

Capture your Grief in 18 days

February 1 2017

In 17 days on the 18th of February it will be 5 years since my daughter Lily died unexpectedly in my arms, I say unexpectedly not because we did not know something was wrong but we were so surprised at what we were suddenly going through and although we learned of many complications in her tiny body that made it impossible for her to live, we learned those in the matter of a week, the last week of her life, after many scans and x rays, until that point we had a healthy pregnancy followed by a traumatic delivery that was to leave her with a disability, the seriousness of it to be determined as she grew. But she did not grow, she died. She died after they told us she would never breathe on her own, after they told us she needed a tracheotomy and 3 heart surgeries but was not nearly healthy enough to survive 1 surgery  let alone 4 and so we allowed them to remove her breathing tube and she died in our arms. I remember that day like a dream. I held her so tight praying for her to breathe on her own, I remember not wanting to look at her in case her face was blue; not wanting that to be my last memory of her. I remember walking down an incredibly loud hallway that was filled with silence, back to our car, not to return to that hospital for a year but that time to see her memorial tile that now sits outside the NICU. Numb with the shock of what just happened.

So in honor of the 5th year of her lost life I will be writing my grief in poem or short story form with Carly Marie’s Capture your Grief as a guideline ( photo below).

I will post them like the poem writing challenge of December, in groups of 3, although feeling overwhelmed today I may just be able to do 1. -Sunrise

Thank you for reading,

I hope you enjoy and implore you to write for yourself, to heal yourself, to help understand your grief or life changes that leave us feeling lost and confused.

Namaste,

Sheri

f0c47d1320fb2fe769d047d5fc34df45

 

Sunrise

The dawn of a new day

The first light seeps in

the thoughts come rushing back

the ones that kept me awake

praying for morning to come quickly

The memory of the previous week

was it all a dream

can I disappear into the sunset

and return with you in the sunrise

I wish I did not have to open my eyes

I sat for hours on a bench

 watching the sun come over the tree tops

 wondering where you have gone

dreaming you were watching this morning sky with me

But alas there will be many more without you

The beauty of them has not left me blind

so I assume I will be okay

the words it paints across the sky

fill my heart with hope

that tomorrows’ sunrise

I will be fine in time

By Sheri Hall