If I had my life to live over again

I received this in my email yesterday and found it delightful.  I’m thinking about my own list now. — Chris

If I had my life to live over again,
I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax.
I’d limber up.
I’d be sillier than I’ve been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances,
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

I would, perhaps, have more actual troubles but fewer imaginary ones.
you see, I’m one of those people who was sensible and sane,
hour after hour,
day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments.
If I had to do it over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else- just moments,
one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute.
If I could do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had to live my life over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances,
I would ride more merry-go-rounds,
I would pick more daisies.

– Nadine Stair, Louisville at 85 years of age

Puppy Surgery!


Sorry I haven’t been posting this week but our little pug puppy Maddie had surgery on Monday. She had an impacted baby tooth removed and was spayed. We’ve been busy trying to keep her quiet so she wouldn’t pull her sutures. That is more than a job for both of us combined. This puppy was overly endowed with energy. And speed. And dexterity. She’s been on lead when she wasn’t in her playpen. Her older sister can’t understand why we won’t let them wrestle and run sprints around the house like normal.
I’m exhausted!!! And frazzled!! With another week of this to go!!!!!

My Extraordinary Life

I have an extraordinary life. I have two criteria for determining that:

  • I wake every morning before my alarm, energized and looking forward to the day and the adventures it will bring. I love waking up in the morning.
  • I go to bed at about the same time every night, relaxed, content and satisfied. I sleep like a baby.

Rinse and repeat.

That’s what goes into living an extraordinary life. Having a zest for living, for being alive, and for eagerly anticipating all that life and the Universe is bringing to me.

I didn’t always live life like that. All too often I was in victim mode, being buffeted around and wondering how to get off this wacky carousel we call life. It wasn’t fun.

Then I went through the survivor mode. I wasn’t feeling victimized, feeling like a permanent and professional victim any more. Instead, I felt like a survivor. I was proud of that. I was proud that I made it through the day and came out the other side alive, and ready to fight again.

What a way to live! Being in survivor mode sucks. Big time. You’re proud of what you’ve overcome and just hanging on to that, thinking that if you can keep on surviving that someday things will change and you won’t have to survive quite so much. That things will get easier.

Somewhere along the way I finally noticed that I wasn’t just surviving any more. I was starting to thrive. The trouble was that surviving became a habit. A deeply ingrained, etched-in-stone operating system in my head. I didn’t know how to break out of those grooves, even though they weren’t playing music I enjoyed any more. It had gotten boring, like a first music lesson where you had to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb”  over and over again until you got it right. Or blood began pouring from your ears, whichever came first.

Now I’ve gone beyond thriving and I’m into the exquisite freedom of living. Living for myself and on my own terms. Free from the past heartaches, from “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, to quote Shakespeare.

Every time I’ve made that giant step up the emotional ladder I have wondered how I did it. I spent so long in each place praying for more, for different, envisioning what my life would be like if only fill-in-the-blank changed for the better. The funny thing is that when the shift came, I never knew how I did it. It was frustrating because when I hit the next stopping point I’d try to repeat what was obviously a wining process only to come up empty. I had forgotten how I did it before.

When I was in the Army, I was injured while on a mission. My knee had gotten smashed up and had to be rebuilt. After the tissue had healed sufficiently, I started physical therapy to retrain the muscles to respond to my nerve’s commands. The physical therapists started by wheeling my roommate out of the room. I thought that odd. They explained that this was going to be a painful procedure and there was no need to traumatize someone else. Ominous thought.

They placed electrodes around my knees where the nerves attached to the muscles and the bones, then they started cranking up the juice. At first it was just plain weird to see my leg moving on its own without any conscious direction from my mind. Really weird.

Then they cranked up the juice a little more and the pain hit. I screamed and the reason why they took my roommate out became apparent. Over and over it went. Time after time. Electricity. Pain. Leg moved. I sweated and tried not to scream or cry like a baby. Then they’d have me try it on my own. I focused and concentrated and grunted and tried as hard as I could. The leg didn’t move. More electricity. More pain. More attempting on my own. Finally a ray of hope. I could move a little. A teeny, tiny, little movement but a consciously directed one. That’s what counted. My brain was starting to take over. My muscles were learning to listen.

I practiced that little movement all through dinner, all the while I was watching TV that evening. I was determined to master this so that I wouldn’t have to endure that pain again. Over and over I moved that leg, a tiny wiggle but a definite one, until I finally fell asleep out of exhaustion. I was so proud of myself. And relieved.

The next day the therapists came again with their machine of torture. “There’s no need for that”, I proudly exclaimed. “I practiced all night and I’m really good at this.”

“Show us”, they commanded.

And I did… nothing. My leg had already forgotten how to listen to my brain. A few hours of sleep and all that hard work was washed away. I felt defeated and humiliated for bragging like I had. They tried to reassure me that it was normal, explaining nerve fatigue and other technical mumbo jumbo I wasn’t hearing in my pity party head.

Eventually I did learn how to communicate to my leg and it has taken me on some marvelous hikes over the years.

I don’t know how I retrained my head then, and I don’t know how I retrained it through years of victimhood, survivorship, and thriving to make it to living an extraordinary life, but I’m committed to remembering the process so that I can help others do the same thing.

We all have within us the ability to live extraordinary lives. Really, we do. There are a few things we have to learn about taking control of our brains, and our lives, but we can get there. And it’s so much fun when you do. It’s the ultimate freedom, the ultimate high.

Hugs and high fives!

Chris

Life Tool Box: Anne Stock

Yesterday I wrote about my Life Tool Box.  I’m still thinking about the things in it, all the things that help me through life, that allow me to be me.

Some of the tools are real and physical like my Blackwing 602 pencils and plenty of paper to write on.  Some of them are physical like my copies of the Tao or “Think and Grow Rich”.  Others are books in electronic form that live inside my Kindle.  Some are the memories of people and the things they taught me.  Anne Stock was one of those people.

When I was a young teen, my parents would bring in Anne to babysit.  I was the oldest of the four (and later five) of us, but still a little too young to handle that many kids.  I was angry at first that they didn’t think I was grown up enough for the job, but that quickly changed to joy as I realized what having quiet time with Anne would mean to my life.  It was a blessing, a miracle, a treasure beyond belief.

After the other kids would go to bed, Anne and I would sit up and dream.  It started with the Sears Wish Book.  For those who don’t know what that was, the Sears mail order company put out a catalogue they called their Wish Book.  It was in full color and amazing.  Everything you could ever want was in there.  We’d thumb through page after page of items and imagine that we were buying them.  We didn’t stop at clothes, but included furniture, kitchen appliances, everything and anything in our wish list.

We didn’t just look at the pictures.  Anne taught me how to weave a narrative of what my future would be like.  Where and who I’d be.  What I’d be doing.  What I’d be wearing.  What my house looked like.

She taught me to visualize in great detail, and with emotion, what I wanted my life to be.  And it has become that.  Not in exact detail, of course.  I’m glad we’re still not wearing saddle shoes or white gloves and a hat when we leave the house.  But it came true in the spirit of my intentions.  Happiness mixed with occasional joy.  A comfortable house in a quiet, safe, pretty town.  Having fun with life.

What is remarkable is that I lived with a mentally ill mother who could be at times violent, always unpredictable, and inevitably denigrating.  I should have turned out to be a whimpering shell of a person, lacking self-esteem and being unable to trust or to love.

I turned out to be a confident woman, one who enjoys life, loves to laugh, loves to love, and who cares deeply for others.  So much of that comes from Anne Stock teaching me how to envision a better life than the one I was living.  I am so thankful that she was in my life when I needed her the most, during those teen years when I was trying to discover the adult me.

Who was your Anne Stock?

Have You Listened to Yourself Lately?

Cee and I have done a lot of our own grief work over the years. We’ve gone from grieving, to surviving, to thriving. It’s a wonderful feeling. But for all of that, we found ourselves stuck in a funny kind of way. We were stuck in what I will call the Habit of Grief. When we do or think or say anything for too long, for too many times, our brains become hardwired, becoming what  we call our reality.

With Cee, we were always looking over our shoulders, waiting for another round of near-death struggles. (You can read her story here.) Even when we were as sure as we could be that she was beyond that, every time she coughed too much (Lymes had a lung component to it) or was too tired (as chronically ill people tend to be), we’d get ready for disaster. But disaster didn’t come.

We’d heave a big sigh and get on with things, all the while still subconsciously looking for the warning signs. Life was a constant repetition of breath holding followed by a big sigh then more breath holding. It’s not a fun way to live.

Now she’s healthy and we don’t need to do that. But how do we get out of the habit? By pivoting and practicing something new until it becomes old and “normal”.

Here’s a practical example. When someone would ask Cee how she was feeling, she’d say, “Not bad”.  Not bad. That implies not really good, either. Isn’t it at least one notch below “good”? Yet when I asked her what was wrong, she couldn’t find anything.

Me: “So, that means you’re good, right?”

Cee: (Reluctantly) “I guess so.”

Me: “So why not say that? Why not say you’re good?”

Cee: (Mumbling) “I don’t know.”

The reason she wasn’t able to say she was good was because she was used to saying she was bad. She was just used to it. It had become a mindset, a hard-wired-in-her-brain mindset. It had become her reality and she wasn’t even aware of it.

We’ve made it a practice to change those two little negative words, “not bad”, to a positive life-affirming word, “good”. It’s made a huge amount of difference in how she views her world.  Now she’s proud to announce with a big smile, “I’m healthy.”

Hugs and peace,

Chris

 

Depression, Suicide, Photography

I had a wonderful story to tell you for today’s post, but Cee distracted me with another blog that deserves to be recognized for exceptional writing.  I would like to present Jenn Mishra of “Traveling at Wit’s End”.

Jenn writes about her own battles with depression and suicide in a frank and deeply personal way.  She also tells how a photography project helps keep her grounded and moving forward.  Her photography is incredibly beautiful, a delight to view.  Her story is compelling and courageous.  Please read her blog and let her know how much her words resonated with you.

Cee and I have family members who battle depression.  We’ve done the same when Cee was critically ill, chronically suffering.  I’ve worked for years with grieving children and their families and have heard their heartbreak when suicide struck their family.  There are no answers for them.

But there could be answers for all of us if we would just talk about depression, about suicidal thinking.  The only shame about mental health is when we don’t talk, and we don’t listen, and another life ends early.

Here in Oregon where we live, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for young people, topped only by traffic accidents.  We have the 8th highest suicide rate in the nation.

If you would like information about suicide in your state go to AFSP’s suicide statistics page.

If you are in crisis, please call the

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Here is a link to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signs.

With much love and appreciation,

Chris (and Cee)

Grief and Joy

We’re five days into June and I’m still trying to catch up after last week’s laptop melt down.  Should we talk about what happens to us when our electronics die on us?

Before that event, I was writing a post about grief and joy.  When I’m helping people work through the death of a loved one, they are often surprised when I warn them that there will be times when we will laugh together.  In the depths of their pain, they don’t believe it to be possible.  But it is, and it does happen.

Just as we have to allow ourselves to feel the pain of loss, so we also have to be willing to feel the lightness of laughter when it comes.  Staying sad won’t bring anyone back into your life.  But as we take those steps to recovery, smiling, laughing, enjoying life once again are natural outcomes.  And let’s be honest, isn’t that why we’re all here?  To go beyond the loss?

I thought about this topic the other night when some laughter rang out during our support group.  No one gasped, or looked guilty, or stopped the laughter.  We had been tackling some heavy subjects, and it felt good to step back, take a deep breath and crack a joke.

Even if you can’t reach high enough to embrace joy and laughter, you can try for happiness, or calm, or just a quiet moment.  Little changes can add up to big relief.

The other reason why I thought about the topic is the arrival of June’s newsletter from the Action For Happiness group in England.  They included a graphic (click here to download) with some wonderful ideas for bringing joy into your life and the lives of others during June.  I thought I would share it with you.  If you are up to it, find something that you can share with everyone in your world.

Smile.  Hug someone you love.  Lift your face up to the sun.  Find happiness again.

Many blessings and lots of cyber hugs!

Chris

 

Dog Tag Memories

Dog tags.  For years they were always with me.  Day and night, dangling over my heart.  I don’t know what became of them once I took off my uniform for the last time.  I kept them for a while but they were lost somewhere, some time ago, in a move from here to there.  

Mine were from the Vietnam era, the 1960s and 70s.  We didn’t have the fancy silencers on ours that they have today, those little coverings around the edges that keep them quiet.  Ours did tend to clink together, easily giving away your position if you were trying to be stealthy.

They always give you two of them, you know.  One stays with your body and the other goes back for the identification record.

I’m mentioning all of this because in the United States, we are going to celebrate Memorial Day this weekend.  I know many other countries have a similar day when they pause to reflect upon the sacrifices that brave men and women have made to keep others free.

Let us remember not only those who gave their lives, but those who lost their lives in other ways when they came back so damaged that they are now homeless and unable to adjust to civilian life.

The wounds of war run deep and can be so very hard to close.

How many of you have suffered the loss of a family member or close friend?  How many of you have memorabilia, like dog tags, or a flag, or medals?  Do you have a story to tell?

With deep love and respect,

Chris

Isolation

When I went through the certification training to teach the Grief Recovery Method, I had a personal moment of enlightenment.  I discovered that living with loss forced me into isolation.  And with each successive loss in my life, isolation become more and more my modus operandi, my way of living life.

I thought I was so clever to analyze the patterns of loss and come up with that revelation, until the instructor pointed out that he had written that on the white board for us during the very first day of class.  His comment had gone right over my head, until I stumbled across it by accident while doing my homework.

I didn’t come up with that on my own, but I did live it for decades without realizing it.  Now I hear people in my groups come to the same clarity of understanding.  Isolation is the most common trait of grieving people.  Why?  Because grieving people make us uncomfortable so we tell them to get over it, to move on, to get busy, to get a life, to get over it.  It doesn’t matter if the griever is dealing with death, divorce, or any of the other seventy-two losses we have on our list, people don’t want to hear it.  It makes them uncomfortable to see how close their lives are to that kind of pain.

So grievers end up shunned by society, pushed away by their co-workers who need them to be normal and pulling their weight, ignored by all the people who are busy getting on with things.  They learn to live a life of “less than” the way they were before their loss.

What I also learned in my Grief Recovery training is that there are ways of breaking out of isolation.  We can   see this trait in ourselves and change how we respond to loss and life.

Have you ever felt isolated?  Can you trace that feeling back to a loss in your life?

Hugs!

Chris

 

I can’t hear you any more

Something I hear quite often from the grieving parents and children I work with is that they can’t remember what their loved one sounded like.  They have plenty of pictures and other mementos, but they are missing a voice.  I’ve seen children become quite upset by that, as if their parent will be truly gone only when they are no longer heard.

A voice.  Something we take for granted until we no longer hear it saying, “I love you.”  Or telling a story or joke.  Or helping you talk through a troubling time in your life.  Or giving you encouragement when you need it the most.

The quality of a voice.  How it sounds when a person is getting sleepy, or excited, or happy or sad.

If you would like to have a voice to remember, here is a wonderful article on “Grief and Oral History” to get you started.  Or you can visit StoryCorps for some good ideas of recording your own family’s voices.  Start now before your world becomes too silent.

Many hugs!

Chris

 

 

 

Take a Laughter Break

When we work through our losses it can feel like our lives can be too heavy to endure and we often find ourselves overwhelmed with our day to day life.  One way Chris and I have found to help on those days is to take a laughter break and just be gentle with ourselves.

Since I had a chronic illness for well over 30 years, Chris and I have found ways of relieving some of the daily stress.  One thing we do the hour or two before we go to sleep at night, we don’t watch the TV news since it is usually violent or depressing.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there were at least one news station that reported all the good things people do or the funny things that happen in the world?  That would be worth watching at nights.  We also don’t watch any violent TV shows either.  We watch lighthearted shows or comedies.  When we go to bed we are fairly content and it helps us get a peaceful night’s rest.

The saying goes “laughter is the best medicine”.  Laughter gives us a break from our pain.  Laughing at something even for 30 seconds goes a long ways to healing our hearts.  Having the ability to laugh tells me that even if I am feeling sad or I am stuck in grief, I’m capable of feeling happy and healthy.  That 30 seconds of laughter will soon last for an entire minute.

Here is one of my favorite comedians.  I hope you enjoy your laugh break for the day.

This is my entry to WordPress Daily prompt of Laughter.

Hugs, Cee

email: cee@cee-chris.com

 

 

Baby Steps

It’s taken years, but Cee has convinced me that taking baby steps is much better than trying to quantum leap over life’s challenges.  She’s so smart!  Baby steps, to me, were things people did when they were sick or feeble.  Not so!  There is a wonderful advantage to breaking things down into tiny steps instead of trying to take the world by storm.

I was reminded of this today as I listened to an inspirational audio.  The young woman who was speaking asked the listener to relax, and take a few deep breaths, then remember something or someone who brought you joy or made you feel good.  Then she said that if the thing you brought to mind was something big, like a person, you were to break it down into something easier to appreciate.  Break it down into baby steps.  Think of the person and what you appreciate about them.  A smile?  A silly sense of humor?  A caring touch?  A good hug?  She said that the small things will stay with you longer.  I liked that idea of baby stepping through appreciation.

As I went through my day, I practiced baby stepping through appreciation.  I loved the smell of the fresh air after a gentle rain.  I noticed that some or our irises have opened, and I truly appreciated their beauty.  It’s been a fun day of baby steps.

The energy generated by those baby steps of appreciation sent ripples out to other people.  When I stopped for coffee, the barista recognized me, asked my name and introduced herself.  Merissa, you have a beautiful smile.  Thank you for asking my name.

In the next store, the young man who was checking me out kidded me that I must really like him because I always come through when he’s on duty.  He introduced himself as well, and I will be sure to greet Jacob by name from now on.  Cee reminded me that I had previously pointed out his “You Matter” silicon band, and mentioned that I, too, wear one for suicide prevention.  Thank you, Jacob, for brightening my day.

No matter where we are in loss and the feelings of grief, we can still take time to pause and take a baby step back to stability, to happiness, to wellbeing.  Focus on the little things, one after the other.  Baby steps will keep you moving forward, at least a little bit at a time.

(About the picture… I found a lot of pictures of human babies taking little steps, and they were cute pictures, but there was something about this duckling that made me giggle, so I just had to use it.)

Many hugs and a big smile,

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

Tranquility of Mind

Yesterday I was reading something and the author used the word “recollection”.  That word struck a chord in me, so I had to look it up.  Merriam-Webster says recollection means “tranquility of mind”.  That’s how I feel when I think of my history now.  I can recollect my losses and I no longer feel the pain or emotions of loss and grief.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite of it.

Chris has always been amazed that I have fond memories of childhood.  My childhood was not the sort to leave anyone with fond memories.  I was very sick as a child.  I was molested as a child.  I should be still living in the pain of my past, but I’m not.

That’s what I like about doing your own grief work.  You can change your past, and by doing so, change your future.  Yes, I still remember the bad times I had as a child, but I processed those.  I even showed you how I figured out how to process as a very young child, by writing my story of my dog’s death.

This photo Chris took of me about 15 years ago when we were visiting Oregon for the first time. Photo taken at Agate Beach, Oregon.

This is the promise of the grief work that we do ourselves and that we teach people to do:  you can own your entire life and be proud of your life.  It’s yours.  Every experience you’ve had is what makes you the person you are, strong, compassionate, loving.  To do your grief work, you have to let the love back in.

You don’t have to just live in the good and deny the bad.  It’s all there.  There’s no shame, no regret.  The pain disappears.  The memories are still there, but your recollection will be “tranquility of mind”.

I guarantee it.

Hugs, Cee

email: cee@cee-chris.com

 

 

The Circle Game

I heard Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game” playing the other day and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.  (The song and lyrics links are below.)  It speaks so much to loss and grief.  It’s a poignant song about a young boy growing to manhood and how his hopes and dreams are changed by the losses he encounters going through life.

We’re captive on a carousel of time…

The song’s chorus talks about going round and round, and being captives on a carousel of time.  Isn’t that how grief works?  We never quite get over it.  We just experience one loss after another, some small, some big, but always adding to our load, stuck on a seemingly never ending carousel of time.

We can’t return, we can only look behind from where we came….

And how often does that happen?  We spend too much time in the past, living with painful memories, having trouble moving forward.

Cee and I tell you that we are Certified Grief Recovery Specialists but we haven’t really explained much about the Grief Recovery Method (GRM).  It’s a practical and proven way to break that never ending circle, to get you off the carousel of time.

How can I explain GRM in a nutshell?  We start by giving you a better understanding of loss and the part it’s played in your life.  We talk about how the world deals with grief, and the ineffectiveness of what we refer to as grief myths.  Then we help you chart the losses in your life, so that you can see how they’ve influenced your beliefs, attitudes and behaviors all these years.  We work together to unravel your relationships, one at a time,  that you would like to complete with a person, living or dead.  Your grief generally stems from having unfulfilled hopes, dreams and expectations, and communication with someone that was never voiced.  There are things you still need to say to that person so that you can get some peace.  We help you say them, and bear witness to that.

What does all that accomplish?  It gets us out of the circle game.

(Joni Mitchell is a very talented Canadian singer, songwriter and artist.  She’s been a favorite of mine since high school.  —  Chris)

The Circle Game

by Joni Mitchell, L.A. Express

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, when you’re older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town
And they tell him,
Take your time, it won’t be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Songwriters: Joni Mitchell, 1966

The Circle Game lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing

Your Turn!

We would love to get some feedback from you.  Give us some guidance about what you like, don’t like, or want to see more of, please!  As most of you know, this blog is fairly new (since 23 February 2018), so we’d like to hear what you are enjoying, want more of, or even less of.

Much love and very gentle virtual hugs to all of you,

Cee and Chris

cee@cee-chris.com and chris@cee-chris.com

More Losses!

We’ve revised our Loss List.  We thought we were doing a good job with our 47 items until I found someone else who had 64 losses on their list.  No, this isn’t a case of loss list envy.  It’s important because grief is our reaction to loss, and if you’re ever going to move beyond the things that hold you back in life, you need to recognize and understand the impact your losses have had on your life.

So what are we adding?

  1. Estrangement from family.  I can’t believe we never had this on our list.  This is a huge issue with so many families, and for so many reasons.
  2. Entering or leaving military service.  This is another I can’t believe we forgot, since I’m a veteran.
  3. KIA.  We list MIA (Missing In Action) and POW (Prisoner Of War), but don’t have KIA (Killed In Action), so we will rectify that oversight as well.
  4. Grieving someone you didn’t know at all (like a celebrity).  Remember when Princess Diana was killed?  Or the shock we felt when Robin Williams died by suicide?  Or, if you’re from my era, when President Kennedy was assassinated?  True, these events didn’t have the impact of more personal losses, but they touched your life story.
  5. Grieving someone you only knew online (cyber loss).  We can make some good friends on line, and we feel the loss when they are no longer with us.
  6. Getting clean and the loss of drugs.  We know that sinking into addiction is a loss, but so is getting clean and sober.
  7. Death of the partner in an extra-marital affair.  This is one thing you will probably have to grieve alone.
  8. Grieving someone you can’t remember (ex. a parent who died when you were an infant).  Yes, this is a real thing.  I’ve worked with children who have problems with this.
  9. Grieving someone who died before you were born (an older sibling who died before you were born).

So that’s just a preview.  There will be other additions.  More things to come to get you thinking and remembering.

Lots of hugs,

Chris

Changing Expectations

Cee had a revelation a few days ago.  We had a great day, with plenty of physical activity, time spent cleaning up the house, planning the future and working on our business.  And we were astonished by that.

We shouldn’t have been.

She discovered that we have come to expect bad days, low achievement days, sitting in limbo days, because that is all we have known for fifteen years.  Lyme disease, and the grief that came with it, reduced the quality of our lives to barely breathing.  We were couch potatoes, not by choice but by the control Lymes had over both of us.

We don’t have to live that way any more but no one told us to change our expectations.

Drat these lives for not coming with instruction manuals.

Here’s the thing… when the circumstances of our lives change, we have to adjust our expectations, too.  Sometimes that is painfully obvious, like with the death of a spouse.   With something like a disease or illness, that isn’t always so obvious.  Cee came out of a debilitating coma with the expectation that life would return to normal, but it didn’t.

But what do we do when there are good things in our lives?  Do we think to change expectations?  Probably not.  We’ve become hard-wired the other way.  So when, like in Cee’s case, you are getting healthier and more able to move, what do you do with it?  Do you even recognize that there is an opportunity for new expectations?

Nobody ever tells you that when a life pattern changes, you have to change your expectations, but you DO have to change.  Expectations come from your heart, not from your head.  You might know that something isn’t going to happen like it used to, but that comes from your head.  Your head is telling you one thing, and your heart is saying another. You have to get the two of them in alignment with each other again.

Bad things are going to happen.  Good things are going to happen.  That’s what life is all about.

Can you think of a time your heart held onto old expectations, old dreams, good or bad, even when you head was telling you not to?  Did you adjust your expectations or not?

Lots of virtual hugs,

Chris

Chris@Cee-Chris.com