“Often the best gift you can give yourself is time alone – some time to ask your questions and listen quietly for answers.”

time alone 2

This past week has been a tough one for me, emotionally. Next week will make 1 month since my son passed and I’ve been doing everything imaginable to keep myself busy. The moments leading up to his death still find a way of creeping into my head but I realized that I have to learn how to live with those thoughts. The sad thing is he didn’t accept his fate & pass peacefully in his sleep like in the movies. The truth is he was in denial about his illness. The moment the doctor told him there was nothing more they could do except make him comfortable, he begged for his life. He pleaded with the doctor to do something, anything to help him. He fought hard till he took his last breath. That’s something that will haunt me forever.

My husband & I were the only ones that physically cared for him day in and day out for the past year while he was ill. We took him to his bi-weekly chemo appointments and to the hospital in-between those appointments. The nurses taught us how to change his feeding bags that were attached to his body when his body weight was dangerously low. The nurses taught us how to drain his catheters when they were attached to his lungs so he wouldn’t drown in his own fluid. My husband & I had to alternate giving him blood thinner shots because he was in danger of getting blood clots in his lungs. Not to mention the countless times he refused to take his other meds because they tasted terrible & I would plea with him to take it just to find the pills sitting there in the morning. I bargained with my son on a daily basis to take his meds, eat, exercise, rest and do all the things the doctor recommended that would help his treatment work better.

My son was stubborn and if he didn’t want to do something he wouldn’t do it. At one point over the summer, when his treatment was going really well, he refused additional treatment. The oncologist warned him that if he didn’t continue chemo the Cancer would come back with a vengeance. His famous last words “I’ll take my chances”. Oh my naïve son, how foolish you were. Six weeks later he was hospitalized for a month because the Cancer did come back and spread. He learned his lesson and accepted chemo at that point but he was never the same again.

Now, not only do we have to deal with my son’s death but we have to deal with my parents blaming us for not doing enough to help him. Can you imagine that? Not to mention no one volunteered to help us and we also had to care for 2 younger kids (one who is disabled). It’s been an incredibly tough year and we’re still reeling from the blame being placed at our feet for his death. My family also wanted, what I coined as a “Kardashian Funeral” and as a grieving & traumatized mother I wanted a private service. Well I got criticized for that as well. My family wanted to please my son’s social media “friends”. The very friends who threatened to crash the hospital when they found out where he was when he sent his last tweet. But the irony is no one once stopped to ask me how I felt or what I wanted.

The smoke has cleared & now I can see how selfish all these non-involved individuals have been. All these people who were trying to call the shots and go over my head only made cameo appearances in his life when it was convenient for them. Not one time in this past year have they ever called to say “Do you need a break?” “I’ll take him to his next appointment” The only two people that were EVER there for my son when it counted were my husband & I.  Yes the other people loved him but they were non-factors in his medical care.

Sometimes you need time alone to reflect and listen quietly for answers. They say to forget what hurt you but never forget what it taught you. Well my eyes have been peeled wide open.

“When asked if my cup is half-full or half-empty, my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup.”

Always be grateful for the peace you have in your life. It doesn’t mean you have no problems it means you can look past your problems & still feel gratitude for the good. Living your life with a positive outlook is always a good way to start & end your day. The things that happen in between is part of life.

It’s important to count your blessings especially when your day is not going well cause sometimes you need to remind yourself of the positive things. The good is not material, material possessions do not make your life better cause there are people who have it all and are still miserable. The peace you have within is first & foremost and no one can take that away from you. 

Each day that you can open your eyes with peace in your heart you should count as a blessing. 

“It takes one minute to make someone’s day, and one word to destroy someone’s life”

One Word

Do you think before you speak or do you just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind?

I normally think before I speak and if I’m upset I try not to speak at all but a few times in my life I’ve erupted when backed into an emotional corner. It’s not what I said but how I said it. I don’t lie or exaggerate to hurt anyone’s feelings but if I’m angry….really angry I yell & curse and that’s not something I’m proud of, but I’m human.

Everyone makes mistakes and the key is to recognize your mistakes and learn from them. I’ve been working really hard to forgive the people in my life who have hurt me time and time again. A very wise person once told me to remove the toxic people from my life in order to see an improvement in my self worth. What if those people are my parents?

I always thought your parents are supposed to love and protect you? Not mine. My parents have been the center of every drama filled moment of my life. I keep giving them chance after chance and nothing ever changes. This time I’m changing, I’m walking away for the sake of my children. I find it necessary to break that ugly, verbally abusive cycle. I was raised to be respectful, mind my manners and respect my elders but what if the same isn’t being reciprocated? What if you find yourself the center of blame, ridicule & verbal abuse time and time again? Then it’s time to walk away.

If I had a friend who was in a verbally abusive relationship I would advise them to walk away. Just because it’s my parents why should I stick around and take it? It’s about time I take my own advice.

It’s all about self preservation at this point. It’s time I start loving myself again.

“Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you chose your life, you didn’t settle for it.”

I chose my life

Are you satisfied with where you’re at in your life right at this moment? Are you comfortable, getting by or struggling? I don’t mean financially, I mean in general. We all struggle with something, that’s to be expected but are you happy with the choices you’ve made thus far?

Life is totally what you make of it. If you’re not satisfied with where you’re at you should be working towards your goal or have a game plan in mind. You have to prioritize things in your life if their getting in the way of your goals, which means you and only you have to sacrifice. In addition to working towards your goal you should also chose to make yourself happy.

Only you have the power to choose how your day turns out! Do 1 thing every day that makes you smile, happy or laugh. Life is tough but it doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. A bad day doesn’t mean a bad life. Ok, you had a bad day, now what? Do something to cheer yourself up, don’t wait for someone to cheer you up. Cheer yourself up and continue to work towards your end goal.

Think about where you were 10 years ago and think about where you are now. Has there been an improvement? Think about where you want to be 10 years from now. Only you can make it happen.

“In the end, some of your greatest pain become your greatest strength.”

greatest strength

I think the death of a loved one is the most profound pain you can ever feel. The first week after my son’s passing was the absolute worst but I can assure you it does get easier. The pain lives with me but it’s not as heavy. What’s been hard for me is replaying his last week over and over again in my head. I’ve thought about his last few months & second guessed myself.

Pain is a part of life and you MUST learn from it. My son’s death impacted the gaming community a great deal. The lesson they learned was to go for regular check-ups and to address any strange symptoms. My son ignored all symptoms until the pain got so bad it forced him to go to the Emergency Room.

It’s so easy to lay down & let the pain consume you but I refuse to do that. My younger kids are watching me and my husband is also deeply affected by this. We all get our strength from one another. They say make the most of each day and that holds true for me now more than ever.

So a lesson to everyone: each day you wake up make sure you kiss slow, play hard, forgive quickly, take chances & have no regrets cause you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

“Sometimes, the person you’d take a bullet for ends up being the one behind the gun”

taking a bullet

Today my son was finally put to rest. The service was beautiful. Father Dan discussed the story about how Judas betrayed Jesus, which I thought was coincidentally so fitting for all the drama that has taken place since my son’s death. *Maybe this sermon wasn’t a coincidence but a message? He stressed how in life we must pray for those who do us wrong. He said to always have love in your heart because God see’s all & deals with things in his own way. I left todays service with calmness in my heart because I knew my son was at peace & I felt that I was being sent a message. I know my son is looking down at me and smiling because I did right by him.

When people betray you for no good reason it stings at first but there’s nothing you can do about it. You have to learn from every experience whether it’s good or bad. You can’t make someone love you. You can’t make someone be loyal to you. Love & Loyalty comes from the heart & that’s something that has to come naturally.

Jesus continued to love Judas and keep him close until the end even though he knew Judas was enshrouded by darkness. I will not allow the darkness of betrayal to overcome me. I must keep love in my heart because at the end of the day God is the principal actor in what is being played out.

When my son was still in the hospital a priest came to bless him while he was still alive. That priest told me that God has a plan and that one day I’ll understand it. I hold on to those words & hope someday I can figure out the meaning of everything that has taken place this past year.

God has a plan. I will keep my faith strong and my love flowing.

“Blood makes you related…… Loyalty makes you family”

Loyalty

Death can either bring a family together or tear them apart. Unfortunately I experienced the latter. My son’s death brought out the worst in some of my family members. Unspeakable actions were committed against me and I am committed to moving forward from this. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason and the trauma I’ve experienced opened my eyes to life in general.

Bad experiences will happen to everyone but what do you do about it? You can let it destroy you or learn from it and let it make you stronger. You can’t control other peoples actions but you can control your response to their actions. I am taking all the positive from this traumatic experience because I believe peoples true colors came shining through. I am walking away from it all.

Yes I saw the bad that came out in people but I also saw the good that came out in others. I am blessed to have people in my corner who showed me so much love and compassion and that trumps the negativity. I know everyone grieves differently but that doesn’t excuse bad behavior.

So what did I learn from this? I am stronger than I thought I was, the toxicity in my life revealed itself and I now know that my circle is even smaller than I thought it was. Family isn’t always blood.