At the 1 Year Mark

Posted 25 July, 2016 by javagirl
Categories: Uncategorized

In a couple days, it will officially be our 1 year anniversary from the day we walked into our new house in our new city.

Saturday marked the day when we locked our doors for the last time, after having a wonderful evening amongst friends in a house without furniture but a house filled with love. I’m quite positive all the happiness, the love, the laughter, was felt by the new family who entered the house the next morning…

Walking into that house 6 years prior, I fell in love with it. The signs were significant that I was doing exactly what I needed to do. My world was turned upside down, my future obliterated when Doug died. Finding this house made me feel like I had a place, that I would have a future – I didn’t know what it would entail but I knew it was the right decision.

It was five years later that I started feeling a pull back to this city, where my son was born and a city that I enjoyed so much. It wasn’t the first time I had wanted to be here – I was meant to live here…and I was going back home.

This past year has brought a time of transition but Lido and I rock transitions now…we know what we need to do to feed our soul, anchor ourselves and embrace all of the great things around us – even when it is a little difficult. Taking hikes in the park by our house allows us the quiet and the solitude to just be. Walking in silence, talking about things, opening our eyes to the little things around us, has helped in this transition to this new life out here. Lido has had his ups and downs but after the first few months at school, he flourished and now the only thing I’m worried about is the basic (and not so basic) parenting worries we all have for our kids no matter our circumstances.

The coast calls to us on a monthly basis. We have explored new areas and new beaches and frequented the old places. I am able to share stories with him. Stories of my life with Doug out here, where we grew up as a couple, just him and I. The adventures we had, the places we explored, where we celebrated. I wasn’t sure how I would react to being in “this place” and I’ve been surprised at my feelings of being surrounded by all of these memories – seeing the ghosts of our life, walking ahead of Lido and I. It brings me peace. A peace that I didn’t expect. Some of the more difficult places, as I drive by where I had “the phone call”, pulled over to throw up – well, that place is a bit difficult to pass but as I do, I hold it in love and ride the wave…

The sights we see on a daily basis are wonderful to behold and I’m constantly amazed at the beauty that surrounds us. I have loved this place for most of my life. Some of my first memories are of here, when my Mom and I lived here for a while…my green puffy down coat and playing in the water beneath a waterfall…many of you don’t know that I’ve lived here before. When I was three – this part of the country got into my bones and I always knew I’d return here.

I’ve begun to earnestly work on the house and make the changes I knew I wanted to make when I bought it. We are making friends and becoming part of the community more and more and reconnecting with old friends. Liam loves the stories I have about our life out here and more importantly – we love writing our new stories and that was what this move was all about – writing our story.


The biggest realization (or actually, reminder)  I’ve had over the past year is that this life we live, no matter our circumstances, no matter our past, is amazingly beautiful and when we embrace living it – even in the darkest of dark moments – our story is something to behold and it is equally amazing to see how moments can change everything and our biggest part in the story…to live it with gusto, with love, with compassion, with hope. There will be detractors and there will be people in your life that do not understand or tell you that you are running away or doing it wrong and it is up to you to keep putting pen to paper and writing YOUR story. When you stand firm in what you want in your life, what you want to surround yourself with, the people you want a part of your life – the voices of the naysayers and the detractors are hushed because of the roar of the supporters who love you and want to see where the journey takes you.

Life isn’t perfect and I make mistakes on a daily basis. It hasn’t been easy to be here the past year but without the hard parts, the beauty wouldn’t be as great. I’ve lost friendships, family…and those losses weigh heavily on me but I’ve learned that sometimes all you can do is send love to those people – from a distance – and that’s okay. I struggle with this but I stand firmly in wanting to live this life fully because honestly – why the fuck did Doug die? If I shrivel up, stay in my house, not get out and experience things…what does his death mean then? What does his life mean? What does my life mean?

Take a chance on life and live it fully. See the beauty in the simple and little things…the most amazing things do not need to be great. Support those around you – be happy for their successes and love them through their losses. Go out and live your life and take chances and be open to opportunities. Live love. Live authentically.

…and come visit us…its beautiful here.

Love always, in this life and the next,





Posted 20 April, 2015 by javagirl
Categories: Uncategorized

Gosh – I haven’t posted here for a while…

No worries though as I’m writing elsewhere as well but I thought I might visit this page a bit more often now that things are moving…and Lido and I are moving…

Yup, that’s right! We are moving!

I started this blog when Doug and I moved to Portland in order for family and friends to keep track of our adventures. Who knew Facebook would quickly become the place to track people…but I still like this avenue and that is why I am picking this blog back up.

To get you all (whomever you might be) caught up on our lives, we are headed back to the wonderful Pacific Northwest in just a few short weeks. The house has been sold, house-hunting trip has been scheduled, movers ready to move our stuff…

And I couldn’t be more excited.

Stay tuned…

Year Five

Posted 23 September, 2014 by javagirl
Categories: Uncategorized

Five Years.

It can’t possibly be true.

But it is.

This year, I found myself not in the tumultuous countdown of days but rather practicing the ability to block all feeling. I didn’t want to revisit the memories of our last weekend together. That last minute trip to the coast. I didn’t want to relive Lido’s birthday evening. I didn’t want to relive running from the car to the bakery shop to get cupcakes – a chocolate lovers for you, a sunflower one for Lido and a vanilla one for me. The smells, the sounds. The drive home from the birthday party that Saturday. Just you and me.

Unfortunately the practice of blocking all of this out means that it will come out eventually…and hit hard. It also feels so much worse when it seems that very few reach out any more. I still hurt. What you may be seeing on the outside, the face, the smile, the doing things, making memories – it isn’t all without pain. In fact, there is still much pain in every action. Every. Single. Action. Every day as our son does new things, learns new things, goes through growing pains, goes through happy moments – it is all still painful.

A phone call on the day he died wouldn’t kill you. A simple message. Nothing more than letting me know you are thinking about him. About us.

Not leaving us completely alone. No ties to you any longer. Not a part of a whole.

This is what has been on my mind the past 24 hours.

Then I remember those that have reached out. The note sent snail mail from a friend with a short simple note. The few texts I received from friends both old and new. These I hold onto.

I hold onto the memories I made with our son over the past week. It had been a long time since we traveled anywhere. It was nice. All I saw each day were hundreds of yellow and white butterflies. I even found a yellow and white butterfly shell on the ocean floor while I was snorkeling. They actually look like angel wings. Whenever I need him the most, I always seem to see yellow and white butterflies. They came in abundance.

I hold onto what I tell my clients – live life! Look for the people that are truly in your life and support you and love you. And above all else – Let It Go.

It was truly an amazing trip and we were able to take an enormous amount of donations to a school close to where we were staying. I’ll be blogging about that or at least sharing the link of the blog from the organization we worked with. We snorkeled and saw an amazing amount of starfish – massive starfish. Lido was a pro and spent a good three hours in the water one day just snorkeling in open water. He tans just like his Dad. He has his smile. He has so many similar qualities of the both of us. He is an amazing child and I loved when he woke up the day after my birthday – the day his Dad died – and said “Mom, I forgot to give you your birthday present. I can give you a couple right now though” and proceeds to give me the biggest hug and kiss ever. These are the very first words I’d like to hear on that day…it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Doug will always be in my thoughts. He is in my thoughts every single day. Please remember that as time passes, those that have lost, especially those closest to the loss – the spouse in this instance – still need your words. Still need your encouragement, your love. Don’t do it from afar. Even when it looks like I’m doing fine, I may not be. Even when it looks like I’m moving forward with my life, I still miss him with all of my heart. Most actions and most thoughts in my life include a part of him somewhere in my brain.

Year Five.


The Empty Guinness Can in the Cupboard

Posted 17 May, 2014 by javagirl
Categories: Uncategorized

Tonight I went to dinner with an old friend. A friend the that has known me, well, forever, when forever counted.

It was a perfect evening. An evening which included understanding without explanation. It included memories that only encompassed two words. 

My friend, you see, was one of the first people to arrive at my side after Doug died. She was actually the second person to arrive in the aftermath. I remember clearly the first. She arrived that next morning I think. I can’t honestly remember clearly btu I do remember that I was sitting on the sofa, directly across from the front door. I had been thinking about what I was going to say to her when she arrived and how I needed to keep it all together…

She walked through the door, I looked at her, seeing she was trying to keep it together as well and I only remember the embrace. Her breaking down in  my arms, sobbing. Not sure what to do, what to say…

My friend tonight – she followed soon after. They were there that second night. Sleeping in the same bed. A grown’s man dream of three women in the same bed together. 

Tonight, over four years later, once again, taught me something about friendship. About grief. 

It had been a long time since seeing my friend. She and I go back many years…decades. 

It was at one point in our conversation that she said, “I don’t know how this will make you feel and I’m sorry if you cry but I’m sure I’ll cry as well but I still have the empty Guiness can that I drank when we went to the crash site. I have it up in a cabinet above the stove. Sometimes, I open the cabinet and it falls over or I have to move it and I always think of Doug – I hate Guinness. That is the one and only Guinness I ever drank”. 

I remember that. Several of my and Doug’s close friends flew in to Portland within days of his death. I knew a few of them would try to go the crash site and I wanted them to go there without being disturbed and I wanted to go myself. So I made it happen.  I rode in a jeep with two of my closest girlfriends and found myself pointing out landmarks and talking about the coffee places we passed on the way as well as the size of the trees…can we say “shock”…nothing more from me.

We had to hike a ways back to the crash site. 

I remember looking at one particular tree that was set a little off of the direct impact site and just feeling his presence there. Seeing him leaned up against that tree smoking a cigarette and drinking a Guiness and reaching out to me. Just letting me know he was ok. 

I remember drinking a beer there. I may have smoked a cigarette. I remember just trying to be strong enough for his friends. For my friends. Trying to not completely break down. I think I eventually did. I honestly don’t remember. 

But tonight, tonight, I remember seeing a friend celebrating the road I’ve travelled as well as feeling that she hasn’t been there for every step. I could tell it weighed heavily on her. Then she shared the fact that she had that empty Guinness can in her cupboard, not sure what to do with it…

Oh, the gift of knowing that it is there. 

I have no words. 

There is such comfort.

The hardest thing about this is the fact that it took four years to share. And that is okay. One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with is knowing whether or not I’m the only one grieving Doug’s death. 

Sure, you could say that it is ridiculous to think I am the only one grieving. 

Grief though, can be very isolating as I have found it to be and I don’t blame friend or family for this – I just think that sometimes and often-times this is just how it is. 

Tonight, I looked at my friend and told her that I didn’t want to not know about these things. I want to know – it brings me comfort. It makes me feel less alone. It makes me feel that our existence is really worth something. Instead of worrying about upsetting me, worry about not telling me enough. 

I want to hear stories. I want to know how you are grieving. I want to know how you are celebrating. 

A mutual friend of ours once told me that he always flies a kite on the anniversary of the death of his Father and that he did the same on the anniversary of Doug’s death. I like that thought. I like thinking that day will always be treasured as a special day. A day of remembrance of a friendship, relationship, mentorship. I like thinking that every time my friend opens her cupboard, she sees a little bit of Doug hidden away. Possibly popping out unexpectedly when the time is right. Remembering the hugs and the laughter. Especially the hugs. 

It makes me feel so not alone in my grief. It makes me remember that it was all real. That it wasn’t a dream. 

You sharing stories may make me cry but those stores fill my heart. Those stories you have, that are unique to your relationship with Doug are the thing that keep me going some days. They make me remember that it was all real. That he was real. Even as I move forward in this life, these stories – these stories – are running through my storyline. They are connected to me. They are a part of me. 

They help me. They inspire me. 

The can of Guinness in the cupboard is the same story of the box of ashes in my closet…

It is a reminder of a brilliant, loving, amazing life. A life that may not have been center stage for you but one one that would always remind you of what is real.

I share this only because I know that my friendship has grown through the sharing of the Guinness in the cupboard…We all should be so bold. There needs to be no fear of upsetting the situation more. No fear of releasing the waterfall of tears…all of that is ever present in some degree or another. 

I want to know and hear how you are grieving. How you have grieved. 

I see how important it is that I share the same with friends and family that have lost deeply…

Sarah, I remember the beauty of your Mom on your wedding day. I will be forever moved by your love for her through her sickness and death. I will never forget your tender touch and soothing nature. What I saw in you, being a part of that moment in time, will forever guide me. I blame you for my reentry into a spiritual belief. That early morning/late night in the chapel, kneeling when I didn’t want to kneel…but finding peace through your peace…that, my friend, will forever reside so deep in my heart. I see your Mom’s death as part of my rebirth. I saw her spirit then, sitting before you in the waiting room, smiling down on you and exuding this sense of peace and knowing that you, you would be fine. You my friend, are amazing. Your Mom – man – I learned so much from her in such a short period of time. I want you to know that I think of her often. I look to her as a guardian angel – directing me to help those less fortunate. I think of her most every day. Honestly, it is when I think of you that she is taking the spotlight…

Angie. I remember holding you. Or maybe it was you holding me…You were the first to arrive. You were the first to try and get me out to have some fun. I look at your support and I hope you know that I see your losses in a new light. I feel them. I witness them. I have a new understanding and view of loss and all I want to say to you – I love you. I love you for being exactly who I’ve needed you to be. I love you.

Staci. Your story tonight made me realize that there are people out “there” that need to read this. That may have no words or not know what to do when they are standing front and just off to the side of a great loss. What is it that you say? What is it that you do? Share. Communicate and meet the person exactly where they are at the moment – that is what we have both walked away with tonight. You were the second person to arrive by my side. I will never forget sleeping in my bed, flanked by you and Angie. Thinking how Doug would totally love the fact that three beautiful girls were in his bed…I also want you to know, that I think of you and your loss of your father. I acknowledge and remember him. I don’t want you to ever think I don’t see that as part of your life or our friendship.

There are so many others that have made a huge impact on my life and my journey but this isn’t about that – this is about what it is to remember – to share. Share the stories. Share your memories. Share with those that have lost. 

The stories help more than you know. Sharing how you remember them, honor them helps heal. 

So long have I gone only knowing my own grief. Knowing only my own stories. Not knowing if his life meant anything to anyone but me…share. 

Don’t assume they know or understand that you miss them too. Share the little things. Share the non-things. Just share. 

My heart is full knowing that there is an empty Guinness can in the Cupboard that goes along with the box of ashes in my closet…maybe we need to have the two meet sometime…

Where the Cat is Laying

Posted 13 May, 2014 by javagirl
Categories: Uncategorized

Last night was rough.

Lately, Lido has been asking me to lay down with him when he goes to bed. I haven’t but maybe a couple times and last night was one of those times. There was a cool, almost cold, breeze blowing in through the open windows and the sun was just beginning to set. As we laid there we just chatted about different things. No real agenda. Just laying next to each other, enjoying our time. 

Then, Panda Kitty jumped up on the bed. We had been laying there enjoying the silence when she decided to take up space right next to Lido. She loves licking his hair, much like she did with Doug, and tonight she just cuddled up as close to him as possible. It was so nice laying there, hearing him giggle because Panda wouldn’t stop licking him or nudging up against him. 

I felt so at peace. I felt so grateful for the moment I was in. There were no outside thoughts entering my head, rather, I noticed how I was completely in the moment (except for that moment I recon). 


Lido said, “this is really nice but I really want my Dad to be laying where the cat is laying”. 



Straight through my heart. 

He covered his eyes with his arms and tried to keep the tears from surfacing. 

I just lay there. No idea what to say. No idea what to do. 

Only feeling the exact same sentiment. My mind taking me straight to imagining what it would be like with him right there beside us. Giggling with Lido. Just being. 

A sob broke through the wall his little arms made over his face. He turned over to me and just threw himself on me. 

I held him close. 

I tried wrapping my entire body around him, making no room for the grief, the sadness. 

We stayed like that for close to an hour. Him sobbing. Me, just holding him tight. 


Today has been tough. Its the end of the school year and we will be moving on to another new adventure at a new school. We’ve been cleaning the house and getting rid of things we no longer need or want. We’ve been inviting Mr. New and his kids into our life more and more. So many changes. 

Sometimes, honestly, I’d love to just keep things exactly as they have been. No new relationships. No new opportunities. Just staying exactly the same. Just the two of us. Just our thing. 

Its when the changes happen and the opportunities come that the fear creeps in. Its these moments that the loss feels so great again, so fresh. I miss the comfort that knowing most everything about each other brought. I miss the comfort of my unawareness of tragedy. 


This afternoon I had to just sit for a moment. To just cry. To say his name. To ask him to just give me a sign that he was around. To ask him for just one more hug. To ask him to just make me feel better. 

Through my tears, as I looked out the window, I saw something yellow dart past. Then again from the other direction. I was still crying and as if on cue, the moment I just needed a sign the most, the brightest yellow bird landed on top of the cherry tree we planted for him. That bright yellow bird looked at me through the window, cocked its head and flew off again. 

I dried my tears, smiled and went about my day knowing that he was indeed watching me, loving me and comforting me. I don’t get signs like this one very often and I certainly needed this one – one that I would never miss understanding. 


After picking Lido up from school, I told him about what happened. 

He asked if I had brought any snacks.


Ahhh…grief and children. They process in a very unique way. 

Training Wheels

Posted 16 April, 2014 by javagirl
Categories: Uncategorized

I bought my son a bike for his 4th birthday. A bright blue bike with shiny metal and training wheels – included a bell that he had to have. 

He’s ridden it about a dozen times in the year and a half he’s had it…and I may be exaggerating with that number. It’s probably less than a dozen times – a handful?

The first year, he always opted for his razor or one of the little balance bikes that were too small for him. I didn’t really mind as I knew the ‘real’ bike was a little too big for him. I was just anxious for him to have a ‘real’ bike. One I could teach him to ride.

Fast forward to this spring.

Several weeks ago, he wanted to take the bike out to ride and I run next to him. He always loves going running with me but (unfortunately) is too big for a stroller. So, we headed out with the bike he has so far ridden a handful of times and had a good, short bike/run. A week later as we were driving home from his school he says to me from the backseat “Mom, I want to go ride my bike but I want to take off just one training wheel. Just one okay? Just one.” 

We got home, grabbed the bike, headed down to the trail and took one training wheel off. It took two minutes of him trying to ride, knuckles turning white, and his little body stiff as a board with fear before he told me he didn’t want to do this – he needed both training wheels. 

Fast forward to a week after this outing and again, on the way home, he says to me from the backseat, “Mom, I want to ride my bike without any training wheels. I won’t both of them off okay. Both of them. Not just one. Both of them. Okay Mom? Okay?” 

“Okay buddy” I say to him a little surprised at how adamant he was being that both training wheels be taken off. It wasn’t until yesterday that we really had time after school (and the weather cooperated) for him to get back out there and ride. The sun was out, the weather was nice and as I was talking to a neighbor, he came up to me with his Spider-Man costume in hand and asked me, “Mom, can I put my Spider-Man suit on to ride my bike?” 

“Sure buddy, go put it on and we will head on out to the trail”.

So, we headed out, Spider-Man and his bike with both training wheels still on but being taken off once we hit the trail, riding in front of me – full of spirit and excitement.

At the trail, I could only get one training wheel off and honestly – he pitched a FIT. I started getting angry not wanting this moment to be ruined by a pissy five-year-old and plus, I really thought he needed to practice a bit more with just one training wheel on rather than just throwing the both of them off and riding off into the sunset with a broken arm or leg…

I talked him into trying out just one again and he obliged and as he rode off, he was practicing getting the other wheel off of the ground and as he did so he whooped and hollered and turned around saying “okay Mom – now both of them!!!”

We walked back to the house to get a socket wrench to take the other one off and as we were walking I had this conversation going on in my head ‘I don’t want him to get discouraged and does he really know what this means and can he really do it and what if he falls, okay, I have my cell phone shit its almost out of batteries and crap he’s only ridden this damn thing like five times and he doesn’t want the training wheels on – why the hell did i pay for the training wheels…’

The socket wrench was found. The lone training wheel came off and Spider-Man and I headed back downy to the trail where there was nice soft grass and no thousand pound moving vehicles to worry about…

We were in the middle of the path. Spider-Man on his bike. My right hand holding onto the seat, my left the handle bars. Both of his feet were on the pedals ready to go. “Okay buddy. You ready? Now just remember, balance with your butt. Relax your arms and just pedal fast and try going straight. I’ll push you off and be right here beside you.” 

“Okay Mom. I’m ready. Let’s go.” 

A slow jog started, my hands still clutched to the bike. I let go of the handle bars and picked up my pace to keep up with his pedaling and within seconds….

“okay Mom you can let go now”

And he was off. 

No falling. No broken arms. No broken legs. Just a little boy in his Spider-Man costume full of determination and belief in himself – riding ahead of me whooping and hollering “woooohoooo – I’m doing it Mom, I’m doing it!”

Behind him, I’m crying and jumping up and down with my arms raised and screaming “YOUR DOING IT YOUR DOING IT KEEP GOING KEEP GOING BABY”!!!!

I remember a moment about five years ago. Doug was sitting on the sofa and Lido was playing on the floor and Doug said “I just had this great thought. I just can’t wait until I teach him to ride a bike. That moment is going to be awesome. Just awesome.”

Yesterday, as I held onto his bike, the seconds before I let go, I just kept thinking of that moment – five years ago when his Dad was looking forward to this moment. The very moment I found myself in. 

It is the moments like these that take my breath away and I find myself walking both within the moment and outside of it. Taking in everything little thing that was going on, burning the sound of his whooping and hollering into my brain, the excitement, the smiles – everything – while grieving the loss of this moment for his Dad. 

I was taught a lesson yesterday. With the changes that are taking place in our life and embarking on new chapters – sometimes its best to just throw both training wheels off and go for it. I feel that I’ve been walking slowly but steadily forward, training wheels still on, fears still there but not letting them get too close to the surface to mess with my plans. After yesterday though, seeing my son make this decision, knowing he had been thinking about this for weeks, dreaming about it, running it all through his head, practicing in his mind – and then literally just going out there and doing it – well – I’m throwing the training wheels off too. 

It was a great reminder to live boldly. Live fiercely. 

…and wearing a Spider-Man costume while doing it, isn’t such a bad idea.


The ART of Creating Your Reality

Posted 26 March, 2014 by javagirl
Categories: Uncategorized

I just popped off an email to Unity here in KC as I have felt compelled to write to the ministers there for the past week. They are starting a new series this Spring “The ART of Creating Your Reality”. Since this past Sunday, as they announced the new theme, I have been looking back on the past four and a half years and how I have created my new reality. I wrote to them because I want people to know that no matter where you are in life, what you have gone through, if you have experienced great tragedy or have a blessed life – that things can change. Life is what you make of it. Life is meant to be lived. Life is meant to learn. 

Through the quiet that was Doug – the quiet humor, the quiet manner of him – well, as I’ve said before, I learned so much from him. I wanted to be a better person because of him. I still want to be a better person because of who he was in life, what he taught me in life and of what he has taught me in death and through his death. He is on my mind always and in my heart eternally. 

In creating my reality, I have learned so very much from many different experiences. Some were wonderful and spiritual experiences and some were experiences where I needed to learn a lesson and they were certainly going to teach me. I do not regret anything in my life. I do not regret any of the lessons I have had to learn or the experiences I have gone through. It has made me the person I am today and you know what? I am so thankful for who I have become and I am so very thankful to all the people that have stood by me, cried with me, yelled at me, hugged me, got me drunk, taught me lessons, let me grow. I am also thankful that I have seen the harshness that comes from death. The loss of friendships. The loss of family. The loss of expectations of people. It has opened my eyes to the beauty that surrounds me in every moment. It all has made me look directly at what is best in my life versus searching for something – a something that I never needed in the first place. 

I have certainly learned to live fierce and love fierce and I am happy to say, grateful to say that through all the muck and harshness that I have happened upon, a very wonderful person that embraces who I am, embraces my life and the love I will always have for Doug, supports me, loves me, loves my son. 

Man, this life really is meant to be lived. To be loved. To rid yourself of the muck and shine. Shine bright. Embrace everything new and embrace your past. I am Doug’s soul mate and it is strange at times to think that I have found this once again – and believe me – he had to work hard to win me over. I feel Doug’s spirit every day and it is nice to know that the heart I thought stopped beating and turned black is really truly capable of being completely filled with love. Love for Doug, love for Lido, love for my family and my friends and now love for Mr. New. I cannot begin to describe the change I physically feel – the change I physically feel in my heart. Only a person with such a great loss, my fellow widows (and others) – can really understand the physical – physical pain you feel in your heart. The physical pain of not being able to catch your breath. As the darkness fades and enlightenment – lightenment – comes…it is a new sensation. An energy that was always there within…I hope that others will find their reality and understand that we truly have the power to create what it is that we need, what we want in our life. Invite the love in. Invite the joy. Create your reality today. 

The ART of creating your reality

 Over the past week, I’ve felt compelled to write to you in regards to the spring series starting this week – The ART of creating your reality. The reason is that four and a half years ago, on September 20, the day after I turned 35 and four days after my son turned one, my husband was killed in a helicopter accident. He was a helicopter flight instructor for Hillsboro Aviation outside of Portland, OR and flying with a student who was to be sitting for his Certified Flight Instructor rating with the FAA the very next day.

That was the day when my reality and my future disappeared. At the beginning, creating a new reality just wasn’t in the cards. I was lucky to shower once a week, eat at least once a day and it was an extremely good day if my infant son was changed out of his pajamas. I had always been a spiritual person but at that time in my life, I turned my back on all of my beliefs because my mind could not wrap around the fact that my reality – this amazing, loving, compassionate, fun, kismet of a reality was taken from me. How do you move beyond something like this – how do you create a new reality?

This is a common phrase in the young widowed community – “my new reality”.  It is one of the hardest things I have ever created. Birthing a baby was easier than creating a reality from nothing. From grief. From a very dark place.

As I look back on the past several years, I have realized that I wasn’t creating my reality from nothing. Yes, I did lose so much. Yes, I did lose the future with my husband. Yes, my son lost his father and their future together. Yes, we lost. However, an amazing perspective was given, an amazing life was remembered and I became aware of all the things my husband taught me in his life – through his death.

This is where I began creating my reality. Not from the ashes but from the life. 

There was a lot of trauma I worked through. I suffered from PTSD for quite some time. Going to the grocery store was a challenge as I couldn’t bring myself to purchase anything because that damn can of beans reminded me of him making his famous chili in that damn red ugly soup pot. So, I ended up eating out a lot. Jalepeno’s in Brookside became our dinner table most evenings. But slowly, slowly, I worked through it all. Even though I really had turned my back on my spirituality and meditation and everything I used to be about – I made myself do the things I knew would eventually get me to a place of creation.

It really has been over this past year and a half that I feel that I have created the most. I stuck with looking at the harshness and stuck with the ART of creating. I really started listening to what was coming from inside of me – trusting my instincts and believing that diving deep was the only way to come back up to the surface.  I did what I needed to do to survive and then so much more.

I had moved my son and I back to Kansas City within weeks of my husband’s death. I also bought a house. I know many questioned my decisions at that time but honestly, I was working from shock and I needed control over something and it seemed that buying a house and moving all of our stuff here was the only control I had over my life. I think I looked at over 30 houses in 3 days and when I walked into the house I would buy – my current home – something in my brain, in my soul said this is the house. The house if FULL of windows. Coming from Portland – well – as you can imagine this spoke to me in volumes and especially because my soul was in such a dark place. I needed light! My soul said, this is the house where you will create a new reality. You will fill this house with warmth, with love, with a family, with friends. This is the house where you will create your new reality. I also really felt my husband there. I continued to feel him very close to me in this house for quite some time. I would walk into our son’s bedroom at night and it would be intensely cold and I knew that his spirit was there. I had to buy boxes upon boxes of light bulbs as it seemed that every light in the house was going out every other day. I had electronics fried and believe me, even though the house is over 80 years old – my electrical was just fine…my electrician became tired of checking it…

Granted, the thought of a new reality here in this house entered and left my mind within seconds but it has been the thought that has pushed me forward the past 4 years. It has always been with me. I have never known if it will all come to fruition but it was a tiny little belief, a tiny little light in my very, very dark world.

And you know what? This house has wrapped its walls around little parties, birthdays, anniversaries, tears, anger, moments of enlightenment, friends, wayward pilots needing a place to stay, other friends going through transitions of their own. I have used necessary renovations as therapy – a hammer and glass and tears streaming down your face can be very cathartic.

This house, the house that is too big for just my son and I, has been just the right size for the journey of creating our new reality. 

Who knew, that four and a half years ago – the little light in my dark world would shine so brightly today? Well, I did. I had hope. There was nothing left to cling onto but that.

I guess the reason I wanted to share this with you is that I want each and every person out there that is finding themselves needing to create a new reality, create and enhance the current one, whatever ‘creating your reality” means to you – that all it takes is just a tiny little light, a little bit of hope and faith that it will be – and movement. Movement every day. Even if that movement is just a tiny thought. The movement can be a simple action or a great action. No matter what, with that little light, hope, faith and movement – the energy will build. It will be all that sustains you on some days and on other days it will move you forward by leaps and bounds. We need to be easy on ourselves in this journey as creation is a powerful thing. It is hard work  but amazing work. I always see it as I said before – diving deep under water, into those dark places, not enough oxygen in your lungs and as you work on creating your reality – the one you know you want even if it is not fully defined – you leave the dark places to rest as you no longer need them, your start towards the surface noticing the beauty around you, the life around you, just above the darkness. As you create, your lungs expand, the colors are more vibrant, the light shines stronger and soon you find yourself floating gently towards the surface, taking a breath not out of desperation for air but as a new beginning and you feast upon the vision that surrounds you that is the reality you created.

It’s a powerful thing. It’s within you.

Amazing to realize, huh?