Category Archives: grieving


I have been meditating. FOR FOUR DAYS.

Laugh all you want, but it feels like a miracle that I have been able to keep it up for that long. I have tried meditation before, but it always seemed to make me more anxious. I attributed it to a couple of things; the main ones being I just wasn’t ready and my mind really didn’t want to be turned off. When your mind is used to racing at a million miles an hour, and it isn’t attuned to the present moment, it can be very difficult to quiet it down – let alone turn it off.

When I am able to sit peacefully and sink into my body, it creates a calm and peace within me. I believe that when I meditate I am creating a connection to the core of who I am. I have noticed that as I am learning to become more present in my physical self, I am able to recognize that I am not my thoughts, I am simply the awareness of my thoughts. Being able to recognize this is so hugely important. Especially when I tend to attach so much weight to my emotions and my thoughts.

I am trying to get to the essence of who I am by being in tune with the present moment and making every single moment matter. I am training my mind to focus on what is literally right in front of me (right now it is the weight of my dog sleeping on my legs). I believe that when I am able to do this, only the here and now matter. I am trying to break free of the past and the future.

We all have the bad habit of worrying about the future and perhaps lamenting the past. My tendency to project myself years into the future never get me anywhere emotionally healthy. My tendency to get all nostalgic or relive the past does me no good.

I have this awful scenario that I invent in my mind when I am feeling anxious and my thoughts are slamming around in my brain; out of control. It goes something like this: The year is 2024 and I am turning 50. I have 2 children who are almost 18 and nearing the time when they leave the house and I am an empty-nester; all by myself. I have only recently begun my own business in counseling, and the income isn’t what I had hoped it would be. I am wrinkled, gray-haired and have no partner in my life. My future is bleak, dreary, and downright terrifying.

I cry every single time my brain goes there (right now too); to a future that does not exist. I try to distract myself with being busy and trying to focus on the positive; empowering myself for a future of success and happiness. But I don’t think that is the answer either. Of course positive thoughts and being gentle with myself are important, but even more so is pulling myself back to this moment and letting go of my addiction to time. When I am right here, solidly in my physical self, there is no time but the present. And the future and the past simply do not exist. I don’t even need those positive thoughts to help me feel safe and secure in an imaginary future filled with success and happiness. They don’t matter.

I can’t predict the future, nor can I change the past. My perceived future with my husband and my children, living and loving under the same roof, are gone. Futures have a way of falling down in mid flight. Relationships and financial success are not recipes for happiness or security. My INFJ brain wants to analyze, dissect, and plan, plan, plan. It loves puzzles and working through life-problems with the goal of finding the answers; solving the puzzles. Retraining my mind to settle down and learning to pull it back to the here and now, are two of the most difficult challenges I have faced (and I have faced more than my fair share of challenges).

I think that meditation is the answer to much of what ails me in life. I am an emotional creature. I am continually driven by my emotions. Getting out of my head, and into my body, and freeing myself from the addiction to time, has become my number one priority. Putting down my phone and focusing on my children when they are right in front of me, babbling away about something or other, is all that matters. When I am doing the dishes by hand, and accepting that is the only thing that I am doing; nothing else matters.

When I strip myself of my wandering and obsessive thoughts, and ground myself in my body, I dissolve into the present moment at hand.

I am free.

As I sit outside

I feel peace within me

Radiating from me

I feel a blade of grass tickling my leg

I watch as an ant ascends my boot

I hear the wind wrapping itself around leaves just beginning to bud on the trees

A distant chime from someone’s backyard

The warm spring air moves around me

My hair floats in wild strands around my head

Yet I am still

No cars

No children

No voices or laughter

A magpie cackles behind me

I have found what soothes my introverted soul in the middle of my hectic day




I am ready to go back inside



Meaningful connection. I am coming to understand that it is the life force that sustains me. I believe, with my whole self, that the moments where someone sees me for who I am, when someone completely ‘gets’ me, are the moments when I feel the safest in my life; grounded. I seek connection with people every time I am out and about. I seek connection in my daily interactions with co-workers, with the person I am dating, with friends, and with my children. When I cannot find it, or it does not satisfy or live up to my expectations, I am left feeling a bit panicky and, yes, disconnected.

If I am at a party or out with friends, and the conversation is trite and surface-level, I feel more alone. If I go a whole day without a check-in from the people in my life who really understand me and accept me for who I am, I feel scared and invisible. Connection is a need for me; it might be the most important and meaningful one in my life. Without it, I feel adrift. Without connection, I feel as if I am floating away, completely alone; with my intense thoughts and emotions. The most terrifying part of this is when I believe someone close to me sees me for who I am, intimately and deeply, and it turns out they don’t. That realization is like a fast and painful punch to the gut and it can leave me reeling for weeks and make me very wary of future interactions with that person. It hurts.

I don’t know how to sustain a conversation about work or the weather or hobbies. I don’t understand how to engage with people who don’t want to talk about relationships, life, love, hurt, pain, death, and the universe. Yes, I know I’m intense. I know I struggle with casual.

I have come to accept that part of the reason my marriage failed was because we forgot how to connect with each other. We stopped seeing each other as a couple and instead operated as a family. We stopped connecting as two people in love and in life. Our sex life suffered, our marriage suffered, our entire lives fell apart as we grew more and more distant. I know it was having children that broke us and, of course, it wasn’t their fault. It was our fault for not working hard enough to balance the family-life and our relationship outside of that unit. We broke; and the result was that our family broke too. I remember bringing our first child home from the hospital and sobbing. I was heaving with tears as I turned to my husband and said, “You and I will never be the same. It won’t ever be just you and I again.” I was scared. I sensed the immense shift; the permanent change in our relationship.

I was right. Nothing was ever the same for us again.

I think much of my need for connection is an INFJ thing. From a post by Koty Neelis on Thought Catalog:

INFJs get frustrated when they make an attempt to connect with someone and the person fails to share their enthusiasm. INFJs can read people extremely well, so when they make an attempt to connect with someone on a deeper level or discuss something that means a lot to them, they can instantly tell when the other person isn’t on the same wavelength as them. This leads them to wonder why they even bothered at all and makes them more hesitant to reveal other things about themselves in the future.

That blurb makes SO much sense to me. It helps me to find forgiveness for myself with something that worries and troubles me. It helps me to feel less alone. Why can’t I function without meaningful connection in my life? Does that mean I am frightened to be alone? That somehow I am not secure in who I am? This is something I am still puzzling through. I am trying to understand if this is an insecurity or completely valid and okay (I am trying to understand why I want to understand at all); I can never just let myself be. Sometimes I detest being an INFJ. I feel like a mistfit, a weirdo, and an outsider and none of those things feels good.

I long for connection. I am constantly searching for people who see the gaps between the cracks. Individuals who looks at the world from a different angle; a different lens. I want people who reflect back to me the version of myself that I know to be real; that I know to be true. I do this for people nearly everyday and it is rare that it is reciprocal in nature. I am looking for people I can let into my private, inner universe. That space that fills my heart and my soul. I long for these qualities in my friendships but more importantly in my intimate relationships. I deserve and want someone who chooses me every single damn day.

And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.


A Gentle Sadness

*First of all, I would like to apologize to my readers for having been gone so long. It wasn’t my intention; I have been healing and processing so much, I didn’t have the energy to write.*


I have come to accept that there is an undercurrent of sadness that gently flows beneath everything that I do. It is there, every morning when I wake up. It is there, every night when I crawl into bed. It’s no longer a rage or maelstrom of emotion that feels like it will swallow me whole. It is a ripple, a gentle sadness that I have begun to make peace with, accept, and make room for in my heart.

In the beginning, I had no control over my rage, hurt, and sadness. The emotions would hit me so hard that sometimes, I would fall to the floor, completely debilitated and unable to function. It wasn’t healthy or reasonable to let my feelings take control like they were. I was missing work, crying in the bathroom, staying in bed until three in the afternoon. I wasn’t functioning; by any means. After a time, I began to block the intensity of the emotions simply as a means of survival. I moved into a state of self-preservation and put up walls made of steel. And all of these things were happening subconsciously; it amazes me that my brain knew what to do in order to help protect me and keep me going.

And now, it would seem that I am stronger than I ever have been. The emotions are back, but they are manageable, and I am in control. I no longer have to block them. I have opened up a door to my heart and I am welcoming them in. What I have noticed is that the emotions are no longer a tidal wave sweeping me off of my feet. They are calm and somehow soothing; like a deep and loving hug. I used to be terrified of feeling anything at all; happiness, sadness, despair, it didn’t matter (I have never feared anger. Anger has always been easy for me). I have come to accept this gentle sadness like an old friend. Something that will be by my side, accompany me, and hold my hand.

As I continue to navigate this path in front of me called grief.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


Beauty in Breakdown

I am giving you permission to fall apart.

To crumble and drop to your knees.

To cry so hard you can’t catch your breath and your whole body trembles.

I want you to know that it is okay to break and feel like you are losing your mind.

It is okay to feel hopeless.

To hit rock bottom.

To go places so dark and so desperate you feel terrified;

of getting lost there forever.

But forever isn’t a place you can inhabit.

Forever is an illusion.

Forever does not exist.

And even when you feel like you can’t go on and there is no hope,

I promise you that there is.

You are going to pick yourself up off of that floor.

You will find your strength, your hope, your resilience.

Never forget that tomorrow is another day.

But today, you are allowed to break.

There is beauty in breakdown.


I am So Sorry

Sometimes I feel like you left because you were bored and restless.

I feel like you left because you were unsatisfied with our marriage, our family, and your place within the life you and I had created together. I don’t think you wanted the responsibility of having a family or a mortgage. I believe that you wanted your bachelorhood back, you wanted to be single again, because the life we had created together felt stifling. You felt trapped; and you wanted to get the fuck away from me and my addled brain. 

When I feel the devastation as I wake up on Thanksgiving this morning (or any holiday), my brain automatically goes straight to the happy memories. It goes to the space left in my heart where the man I used to love lives. Where the family that meant everything to me still resides, and always will. And it hurts. It wrecks me. At least it used to. I know now that a trip down memory lane is not a place that I want to visit. It is not a place I need to dwell on. It is a land of fairy tales and happiness; hope and longing. It isn’t real.

A part of me continues to question whether it ever was.

In this moment, I want you to know that I am sorry. I am so so sorry. For not choosing you or us. For only seeing my life with you as a part of something bigger; our kids and our family. But there we were, you and I, the most important part of that equation, and we stopped choosing each other. Instead, we chose resentment, complicity, boredom, stagnancy, denial (heaps and heaps of denial). We chose the kids; not each other. We ignored the not-so-invisible monster in the room. The huge beast that was sitting there screaming at us: “Watch out!!! This is getting closer and closer to dangerous territory! Neither of you are happy!! It is time to stop ignoring that!!”

But we didn’t stop. We kept trudging along. We kept marching to the beat of someone else’s drum; society’s drum. We were caught on the relationship escalator and we didn’t know how to get off until it was too late. The escalator broke down and chucked us the fuck off. And now, here we are. Living lives that are separate and apart; we are no longer a couple.

And sometimes that hurts. A lot.

But I know, deep in my heart, that we are both happier. More satisfied. More alive and awake and aware. And we have these new lives to navigate. New horizons and paths to choose. And perhaps one day I will meet someone and we will look at each other the way you and I used to look at each other. And when that happens (or doesn’t), I will make sure that I choose them Every. Single. Day. Because I don’t want to wake up a year from then, or five years from then, and realize I was making the same mistakes I made with you.

I am so so sorry.



I am in love with this word.

The sheer power in evokes for me internally is enough right there. But it is so much more than that. It is strength, fierceness, power, fighting back, never giving up, never surrendering. It means that when life throws you a curve ball, you catch the damn thing and throw it right back. It means that if you stumble into your hole in the sidewalk, you climb back out. It means that when you break, you pick up the pieces of your shattered heart, mind, and body, and you put yourself back together. One piece at a time. You rebuild yourself, and reemerge even stronger than before.

It means that no matter what knocks you down, YOU GET BACK UP.

Who actually possesses this amazing quality? What makes a person resilient?

I think it comes down to a couple of things. First, I believe it is a quality inherent in some people. I think people who are naturally resilient are confident, secure in themselves, and have a solid ability to regulate their emotions (especially in the face of adversity). When the shit hits the proverbial fan, they don’t take off running in the opposite direction, they square their shoulders and face off with whatever it is that is coming their way. I am not saying that only certain people embody this characteristic. I am merely stating my opinion, that it may come more naturally to some than to others. For many of us, resiliency is a quality that we need to work on – continuously.

I know that I do.

I have found, over the course of this very exhausting and debilitating year, that I lacked an acceptance of what it was that I was going through (emotionally speaking). I wanted off my emotional rollercoaster as I went up and down and back and forth through the grieving process. Denial, anger, confusion, hurt, rage, fear, depression, despondency – the adjectives are many and seemingly endless. But, it would seem that I have finally moved into this state of acceptance and awareness that I was unable to achieve until now. I feel as though I am finally embodying resilience. I believe that this is because I had to go through the emotions, hit rock bottom, and claw my way back out. I know now, with certainty, that I am strong enough to get through pretty much anything at this point in my life.

What I have come to understand about all of this is that I do not think that resiliency only means embodying that ‘never give up’ attitude. I think it also involves recognizing that sometimes you need to fall the fuck apart. And more importantly – accept this as part of your journey. Fighting against an intense emotional torrent gets you literally no where. Letting yourself be vulnerable and being able to sit with your feelings, no matter how totally terrifying and shitty they may feel, is just another form of resiliency. Because, without that deep emotional processing, you will most definitely keep falling into that abyss; over and over and over again.

And that is the space from which you truly pick yourself back up and continue to fight.

I have finally found that light at the end of my tunnel. It has been a very dark and very terrifying journey. I tried to put a time limit on my grief, I tried to control it and make it stop. It was only when I just gave in and let go that I began to heal. But I believe that it was all a part of my process and my journey. It was one hell of a shitty year.

What I want you to know is this: The pain and the hurt have an ending point. I am here to reassure you that the next stage in this horrific journey that is grief, is you coming to realize that you are strong enough, you can get through this, and that you are safe. So, please do not despair. Do not give up.

Hold onto hope; it’s there, within you.

I promise. You are going to be okay.

How do we create a true resiliency within ourselves?

From The American Psychological Association:

Make connections. Good relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience.

Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events.

Accept that change is a part of living. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.

Move toward your goals. Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly — even if it seems like a small accomplishment — that enables you to move toward your goals.

Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.

Look for opportunities for self-discovery. People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss.

Nurture a positive view of yourself. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.

Keep things in perspective. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.

Maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.

Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.

Additional ways of strengthening resilience may be helpful. For example, some people write about their deepest thoughts and feelings related to trauma or other stressful events in their life. Meditation and spiritual practices help some people build connections and restore hope.


Birthday Thoughts

Today is my 43rd birthday.

One year ago today, I wrote my first blog post. I was so distraught and so completely rocked with grief and emotion, my head and heart felt like they were exploding. I was working through SO MUCH and I needed an outlet. So, I bought a laptop, and I started writing. Straight from my heart, straight from my gut. All of my hurt and my pain came pouring out of me. And, one year later, I have this amazing written history of my life and my struggles and my victories and most importantly, my progress.

This post was originally going to be about all of the things I have learned about myself this past year – a victory post. And yes, I have come a long way; from literally hitting rock bottom (at least a dozen times) to squaring off with my demons and winning. I have come to understand myself more than I ever thought possible. I am beginning to believe that there is a light at the end of this tunnel and that light belongs to me and no one else.

I am the creator of that energy, that power, that resilience.

But in this moment, right now, I am so completely overwhelmed with gratitude. It feels like it is choking me; I am surrounded by LOVE. I am literally being flooded with it as my community, my tribe, my friends, my family, send me messages of “happy birthday”. A year ago, I did not know that I had a family of friends waiting for me. A group of people who would love me and lift me up and catch me when I fell. A literal tribe of friends who have my back completely.

I felt so alone.

So, here I am, sitting in my bed once again, crying on my birthday. But the tears are different this time. They are tears of disbelief, wonder, thankfulness, joy, and love. I can say with certainty that I love my life. I love my children, my family, and my friends. And most importantly, I am finding a love for myself that is deep and profound and never ending.

I have a new tattoo – it is a phoenix on fire. I had no idea that a year ago I had predicted that I would be okay; that I was a phoenix. But I am; I absolutely am. I am rising from these fucking ashes and reclaiming my power.

Accepting love, feeling love, and exploding with a disbelief and a certainty that I am okay.

My post from a year ago:

Today is my 42nd birthday.

I woke up all alone in my bed. All alone in my house. There should be laughter and chatter and people and love, but its empty, and my life feels empty as a result.

My husband moved out this past October – taking some space. My kids are with me half as much as they were just five short weeks ago. I did not choose this. I did not want to have a life without my family intact.

I opt out. I choose happiness over this shit storm of uncertainty and heartache. I want my goddamn family back. I want my husband back. Not the asshole who hurt me time and again. Not the one who betrayed my trust and my heart over and over. Not the man who lashed out and said damaging, hurtful things. Not the man who shamed and blamed me. Not the man who fell in love with a 30-year-old who lives in a fucking van. Not that man.

I want the man I spent the last 16 years building a life and a family with. The man who had my back at every turn. The father of my children. The man who laughed with me and looked at me with awe, care, and compassion. The man who adored me, who loved me, who would never have given up on me.

And now? I am invisible, unworthy, and forgotten. I am supposed to be someone I cannot be and I am stuck.

Or maybe, this is not the case at all. Maybe this is an opportunity. Maybe this is a beginning, a chance, a new hope, a new start. A new life. One where I learn to roar and soar and be the most amazing version of myself there is.

Perhaps I will grow, change, and step out of this shell that has bound me to others, to my husband, to my children. I have been leaking out the very essence of myself, for what feels like forever. I have been losing what I needed the most.


Maybe this is the new life I always needed (and possibly wanted) without ever consciously knowing it. I will find my path; it is infinite, open, and endless with possibility. I am strong, I am empowered, I am fierce. I am the Phoenix and I will rise from these ashes. I will cry out and soar above all of this shit. There will be no stopping the invincible self that lies within me; that has always been within me. My strength, my inner fire; they are there, alive within me, and on their way out.

Step out of my way. I am beginning to roar.