Dear Strong Soul: If Anyone Can Handle This It’s You

“I couldn’t find my words this past several months because I was out of words you expected me to say. I was out of what might feel comfortable. Comfortable for you to hear and more importantly comfortable for me to say…”

I have been struggling for months now to find my words because I thought I’d shared all that I could share to help with the process of loss. Last night I found them again. Life is all about timing. Painful yes. But a much needed lesson in allowing others to hurt authentically.

We made my best friend cry last night. Her dead sister and I. Unashamedly. Unabashedly. Uncontrollably.

It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced, and that’s saying a lot from someone whose job it is to bring you to tears.  As I watched her little face crumble into her chest I shoved my tongue hard into the roof of my mouth to distract from the heat of my own tears that were threatening to pour over my cheeks. I found myself looking upward and to the left to avoid being pulled into her discomfort. I was working and as such that demands a different part of me that cannot be taken off balance.

In one fell swoop her deceased sister had moved the conversation from laughter to profound discomfort. I was completely unprepared although I should know this energy well enough by now to have been ready for just about anything.  Over this past year since her death she has provoked me to issue ridiculous and often off color comments via text to her older sibling.

“Tell her she forgot to shave her belly button” among other things that should likely never be shared publicly.  My friend wouldn’t care what I shared here but that’s really not the purpose of my thoughts today.

I had no idea that she was in such profound pain.  She is so forthcoming about her journey through loss in her own blogs that I missed it somehow?  Maybe because we are too close to recognize it? Maybe because she is a lot like myself, she counsels the grief of others? Maybe because I hold her up as my example of how to be strong.

That’s it.

I hold all five feet of her as my idea of strength.  In fact, if I am honest about this, I can well recall the moment that her text arrived to me on the morning of her sisters tragic death. “She’s gone. My sister is gone” and the first thought that swept over me was….

“You got this girl. You got this. If anyone can handle this, its you”

I never told her that but I think she knew that’s what I was expecting.

So she did. She handled it. She swept through what had to happen in the days to follow. She got up, she brushed her teeth, she put on her eyeliner and she took charge. Exactly what I expected is exactly what she did.  I never saw her break. Not even as she stood in front of the colorful flowers and the urn at the funeral home and recited her own version of her sisters life and how she might expect others to handle her death.  And my friend handled it the way she thought her sister might expect.

She handled it the way I might expect. The way her mom might expect. The way her friends might expect. Her clients might expect.

She simply handled it.

And then last night as her sisters words about sex on the dining room table faded off into the inevitable giggles, she turned that table and took me to the truth. The room suddenly emptied of those that were physically present as I watched this little sister pull her broken older sister into her arms and rock her like a child.

And that’s not what I was expecting.  And I don’t think that’s what my five foot Wonder Woman was expecting either as her eyes darted quickly and then somehow slid down her face like wet paint and splashed into her broken heart.

In fact just this morning she recounted to me that it had all caught her off guard. Not that I needed that confirmation because it was written all over her brown eyes as she struggled to hide the fact that she knew…that I knew….

That she had been handling it because she was expected to handle it.

I knew the look.

Intimately.

And I will expect that many of you do too.

It caught me off guard too. A scene swelling in my mind of my caped crusader curled up into a ball that made her no bigger than the pillows on her couch.  With her sister in her awful polyester navy pants and bright red blouse wrapped tightly around her trying to console her pain. Not what I thought I would see. Not what my friend thought I would see either.

But something I needed to see. And something she needed to share with someone other than the little bear that was made of her sisters clothing. The little bear that was hidden under her chest as she curled up like her throw pillow.

I couldn’t find my words this past several months because I was out of words you expected me to say.  I was out of what might feel comfortable. Comfortable for you to hear and more importantly comfortable for me to say.

I’d like to thank Kerri. The little sister that died because she couldn’t hit a possum. Because her heart was too big to cause pain. Because she talked about bleaching her backside. And sex on the kitchen table.

And because she showed me what real strength looks like. It looks like a throw pillow wet with tears wrapped around a small bear. A wee Wonder Woman that breaks apart in the early hours and then unravels herself to her full five feet as the sun comes up. Brushes her teeth. Puts on her eyeliner.  And handles it the way she’s expected to.

The way I do. The way you do. The way all that feel so deeply do. Every single day.

And now I am left wondering why something so incredibly beautiful and courageous is something we don’t talk about.

Because it opens our own discomforts? Our own what’s “not expected” of us?

Perhaps.

Lets change that.  Because my intention going forward is a whole lot of….

“Well I didn’t expect that”

Of course not. Because you are doing what’s expected. In grieving, in losses, in love.

Stop it.

Show me. Show others. Show them the truth. Because they might be hiding their own.

Show us what we don’t expect you to do.  And then we can heal together.

Sending love to those that are curled up and crying before you stand up and do what’s expected.  I got ya. xo

 

Tania

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Next Best Thing

Ridiculous maybe. It’s how my heart works. Maybe yours does too and that’s why you’ve stuck with me through the narrative above.

Maybe you’ve felt disposable and that’s why you’re still with me.

Maybe it would help if you knew that I’ve felt that way too. Maybe if we are honest we can truly say that we feel like this today, or we felt like this yesterday.

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Margery Williams Bianco The Velveteen Rabbit

Somewhere out there is a worn out Steiff teddy with a hole in his foot and a nose stitched from heavy black thread. He was a gift to me as a baby, some 50 years back now, my companion who sat patiently in my pram waiting for me to grow old enough to love his fur off.

If you happened to find my old friend, I lost him one day two decade or so ago, during a move. It was only in the aftermath of unpacking that I discovered him missing and I was devastated. I can only imagine in my romantic mind that he zipped across the country in a U Haul and found a new home with someone that needed him. If you happened upon him, the slice in his foot a testament to the interest of a ten year old in all things medical. Craft scissors as scalpel I had only sliced but an inch when I realized that my friend was straw filled. I never forgave myself for causing him harm, so you may have found a worn band-aid stuck to his course fur. Oh, if you tip him the right way you might still hear the growl, its hard to say because it was beginning to fade in the years that I loved him.

I never replaced him. I couldn’t replace him. Wound into every sharp piece of straw were a thousand childhood giggles, a plethora of adolescent pain, and a smattering of fear of an adulthood I wasn’t necessarily prepared for.

You might have wondered at the worn places where his fur was rubbed clear off and replaced by something that resembled a blank needlepoint canvas.  One or two sharp mohair tufts existed in the middle and I would wake with red scratches on my neck from curling him up in my arms.  He was my best friend and I hope that whomever he found took from him the comfort that he so steadfastly offered me in my early years.

I will never fully understand how or why I lost him along the way, but he will always stand out in my mind as my old friend. Broken and wobbly where his knees bent. His head lopsided where he loosened in his neck joints. Two poorly constructed eyes and a tightly sewn nose with one black thread that stood straight out like an unruly whisker.

He was…the most beautiful friend in my world. I hope you treated him kindly despite his ugliness in appearance. I hope you understand that he wasn’t disposed of but lost one day by a young mum who still looks for him on every antique store shelf and at your local yard sales. Not out of nostalgia but out of a need to reconcile my guilt at feeling that an inanimate straw filled toy might feel that I simply let him go.

Ridiculous maybe. It’s how my heart works. Maybe yours does too and that’s why you’ve stuck with me through the narrative above.

Maybe you’ve felt disposable and that’s why you’re still with me.

Maybe it would help if you knew that I’ve felt that way too. Maybe if we are honest we can truly say that we feel like this today, or we felt like this yesterday.

It’s hard in our present world to not feel like something better is right around the corner. Technology is flipping devices our way with the speed of Grandma at the church pancake breakfast.  So much so that it is getting hard to keep up.

Way back in the day there were no ” no down payment, take 24 months to pay” that allowed us to rid of the furniture that we tired of after a short 6 months. Toss to the side of the road to become someone else’s “old but new to me”. By the time we got around to replacing something it had been completely used up, bereft of any plushness in the pillows, torn at the seams and it shifted sideways when you sat as if it may fold in half at any given moment. More often than not it would make its way out to the garage or the tree house, sometimes it found its new home among the paneled basements, but unless it was in two or three pieces, it stayed. Filled with memories of TV dinners on the aluminum fold up trays, memories of first kisses or when the baby peed all over the new upholstery. If you searched in the creases you might find pennies, or if you were lucky a quarter or two. Finders Keepers.

Today we have build a bed, build a shelf, build a bear even. A much cheaper version of things once crafted with care, now easily erected ( for the most part..have you ever read IKEA instructions after the age of 50?) and just as easily discarded when the mood strikes for a new color or new shape.  When the fiber fill rolls up and creates empty pockets, we wander in search of something that is better filled out, more comfortable to rest upon. Something prettier than what we had before.

It is most uncomfortable when you notice that we have started the same practice with each other.  Just today I read about a young man that took his own life at the urging of someone that boasted to love him. As I scrolled through the texted conversation that ensued prior to his death I was overcome with the painful realization that the words that flew were no more than instructions on how he could dispose of himself. Her words screamed to me, to him; that he was replaceable. His own words in reply were of a young boy scrambling to hold on to the end of an old couch that was tipping with each syllable that she presented. “I have to go to the beach with my mom, I’ll do it later”. There he was gripping onto something familiar, something that had been with him for years and something that felt safe. But to no avail. He asked for one more moment to say “I love you” and she doused it with “They know how much you love them already”.  Carefully deconstructed I read “You’ve loved them enough, that will get them through this, and now it’s time for you to go” Something else will replace you…eventually.

The usual comments followed on the news thread. I was grateful to see so many that shared the pain of the family left behind, those that empathized and were so deeply affected by a death that was so needless. I was then truly horrified at the comments that suggested the young lady had done no more than to encourage someone who didn’t want to live in the first place. “So what” “She only helped to deplete the surface population” “Waste of space”.

Like the corner unit that no longer fit into the decor it was perfectly OK to break him down and to throw him to the roadside.

It is not OK at all.

It’s reprehensible. This is not OK. It’s inhumane.

Souls are not disposable.

Human souls are truly no more than the teddy bears that we wore the absolute hell out of because if we did it right; we loved them too hard to let them go. They stunk, they were stained. Their ears fell off, their stuffing gave way to holes that you could stick your thumb in and use as a carry handle. They were no less important just because their eyes fell out or their mouths drooped into the corners. No less important because they could no longer sit straight up at the end of the bed but sat flopped because the joints wore out. We cried on them, drooled on them, dragged them through the yard, in the wagon and stuffed them into our bike baskets.  We wrecked them with love.

We don’t love something until it falls to pieces and then replace it with the next best thing available.

I don’t comprehend the thought process of a disposable world.

I hope I never do.

I think I’ll flood the world with teddy bears.

If you find mine. Call me. He was loved into ugly. And he’s completely irreplaceable.

 

#buysomeoneabeartoday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead Ends

 

Death in hospital corridor

I was fairly absent after spending more than five hours in the emergency waiting area. Staring non committed into space, I was only mildly aware of the usual activity taking place around me.  The ten year old to my left was still kicking the magazine table, his mother was still ignoring him, and the young woman to my right was still curled up under her coat snoring lightly. Just a typical day in our local hospital. The young lady snoring was spread out over a four seat “settee”, yet no one seemed willing to rouse her to make space for the stream of bodies that kept moving though the entrance doors. Perhaps she had dozed from her pain. No one really knew and therefore all were reticent to waken her.  So they stood, leaning on doors and windows.

My attention was firmly recaptured as I watched the triage doors open ahead of me. A mid age lady was being half carried, half pulled from the trauma bays on the other side. The gentleman with her had his large hand across her left brow as he pushed her face into his shoulder in a protective way. As they stumbled past me I glanced to them and her face came into clear view. Tear stained and contorted, she was quietly sobbing and trying to do it privately. It was her contortion, the grimace across her lips that told me all I needed to know.

Dead ends.  In the last breath, dead ends normal.

And the face becomes distorted in confusion and not knowing where to begin.

Dead Ends. It ends conversations, traditions and how we do things from here. Dead ends families, ends friendships and romances. It ends routines and it ends what we expected for the day after.

My heart shattered for her as I watched her move away into a new way of normal. I don’t know who she lost that day. I tried to not interfere in that story because it’s intrusive and not any of my business. It didn’t matter. What mattered is the blessing I sent behind her that she once again find life after dead just ended it.

Dead ends. It ends the taste of your morning coffee. It ends the sound of a voice. The aroma of the perfume or the aftershave. Dead ends how well the roses grow, the way the hand-towels are hung. Dead ends how good the pie tastes, and how we laugh at funny movies. Dead ends Santa pictures and boy scout meetings. Figure skating and proms.

Dead ends life as we have learned to live it.  So when someone is grieving, it is not only grieving the physical loss, it is grieving the normal that we have grown to know and to feel safe inside of.

The rest of the waiting area glanced up cursorily, their lives unchanged. The chatter returned, the slurping of cold coffee resumed and the child beside me finally bored of kicking the table.  But beyond that door, dead just ended.  And I felt it with her.  It reminded me…

Be oh so gentle on those that are grieving loss.

It matters in no way what type of loss someone is struggling with.  For those grieving a child, dead ends birthday cakes and Christmas mornings, graduations and wedding plans. For those that lose a spouse, dead ends the weekly grocery list, the way the bed is made and how the toothpaste tube is rolled.  For those that lose a parent, death ends the rules of sibling engagement. Death ends the Sunday roast dinner. It changes the landscape of the family.  For those that lose a pet, dead ends the usual morning snuggles, the daily walk, or the warmth across cold feet during the evening TV ritual.

Dead ends. It ends text messages and phone calls. It ends greeting cards filled with love. Dead ends what’s normal and the best made plans. Dead ends arguments, cheating at Monopoly, and sharing KFC on the beach. Dead ends routines, ends expectations and how we dance from this day onward.

And that’s why it hurts as hard as it hurts.  Dead ends what we have come to accept as living.

Dead ends and life begins in unfamiliar surroundings. And yet we want to rush it along.  We ask a lot from those that grieve.  We ask them to return to life as normal, yet dead ended everything normal for them. Be kind. Understand that they don’t have any idea how to be normal from this moment onward. Because normal included…

Waking up before their five year old to enjoy the moments of solitude before he/she came bounding down the stairs demanding waffles.

Knowing mom will bring her homemade pie to Thanksgiving so dessert is covered.

Looking forward to the birthday card that holds the typical 25.00 cheque because Grandpa refuses to do gift cards. And being grateful because you are 25.00 overdrawn this week.

Giggling with your best friend over bad wine in pajamas and bare feet with badly chipped polish.

Popping three pieces into the toaster. Two for you and one for the dog.

Dead ends more than one life. It ripples and changes the rest of our story.

And we have to allow for that. We have to give time to those who grieve. We are not allowed to decide for them how long that will take. We are not allowed to tell them to get on with it, to find something new to replace the old, or to demand that they heal according to our plan for them to heal.

Toothpaste tubes rolled up the wrong way have started many fights that have ended on hugs and giggles. Demanding waffles at 7 am has ended in sharing wild variations of the monster under the bed dreams of the night prior. Chipped nail polish has ended in spa days with good wine and chocolate desserts.

Every action becomes a habit and every habit becomes a breath of the life we know.

So let them be. Let them cry and grow angry over waffles. Let them sit with old greeting cards and the cheque that was never cashed. Let them sit with the leash and stare through the window at the trees they once walked through. Let them never want to make moms pie because they can’t make it taste the same way.

But let them.

Let them learn to walk again. Let them learn to live.

Because dead ended that.

 

 

In love, in light, in gentleness and in patience.

Tania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Poppy And The Tinsel

christmas_in_world_war_two
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/topics/christmas_in_world_war_two  Getty Images

“In many ways, Christmas 1940 was the first war-time Christmas of World War Two. Celebrating during heavy rationing and restrictions – whilst surviving heavy bombing and coping with the threat of invasion – was a battle in itself”  bbc.co.uk

I typically decorate for the Christmas season in the middle of December. It has absolutely nothing at all to do with honoring our veterans, but more to do with my own personal choice to not be pulling tinsel off my socks for more than two weeks. And I will admit that I am no fan of the consumerism of the season beginning the week of Halloween. There is a huge line between personal freedoms and the exploitation of the same to increase the bottom line. But I digress.

On November 10th of this year, the children of my city will be standing on the roadside eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa at the end of a long and colorful parade. There are some that are very upset about this.  As the floats begin, and the marching bands tune up we will see these kids as they lean their toes just off the curb edge, dancing, smiling and laughing. I love these moments. I enjoy the parade but I far more enjoy the little ones who are oblivious  to the hardships that our veterans and our ancestors endured in a time not that long ago from now.  I said it. Oblivious. And I would like to thank our veterans for this. I would like to thank my granddad Clifford for this.

My Grandad was a WW2 veteran and a prisoner of war.  And his grandchildren meant the very world to him. Far before November 11th each year, huge packages would arrive in the mail filled with “choccies”. Each child would get  a card with the note inside wishing us a “Very Happy Christmas”  He loved this time of the year. And with very good reason. Because for him, there were several Christmas seasons that did not offer the opportunity for chocolate but instead nothing more than stale bread which he was lucky to get if the rats didn’t get to it first.  The memoirs he wrote are painful at best yet they finish with a wish that all generations of his family to follow enjoy the beauty of the freedom that he fought for.

And so each year until his death, he celebrated the season well before the season began.  And he did so to serve as a reminder that there was something to celebrate. And every single Christmas morning the phone would make the telltale ring; one long two short, that would bring his voice over the line, excited to speak to each and every one of us as we lined up in the kitchen waiting our turn and getting tangled in the long curly cord as we handed off to the next. He lived for these conversations. He fought for these conversations. And that’s how we remember him; excited to be sharing a celebration with the family he fought for.

Not once do I recall his phoning through on the telltale ring on November 11th. He chose instead to reflect on this day in his own way. And we chose to reflect on his service in our own way. With the simple act of adorning our jacket with one red flower.

Most veterans are humble humans. They did not go into the line of fire with the expectation of anything less than to provide freedom and peace to the generations that would follow.  I can say this with absolute certainty, having spent many years caring for our veterans in the long-term care environment. Each November 11th we would honor them and they would stand so proudly in their best suits, sometimes just a pair of sweat pants, but a little red flower would sit over their heart. And they would often be seen pushing one single tear from their cheek.

They were the first out of bed on tree decorating day just a few days later. Every year. Patiently waiting in the lounge room, those with little physical limitations would jump up to help us bring in the boxes. Those that could not help physically, sat and smiled at the anticipation of twinkling lights and a Santa shaking his hips to “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree”.

They would have been no less exited for this experience had it taken place the week before we stood in solemn silence.  Once or twice it did. And there they were. Ready and willing to top the tree with the star. Because for them it wasn’t about what they DID. For them it was about what they accomplished. And if that meant that we could begin to celebrate the beauty of Christmas on November 10th, then they were all set to do so.  This is what they fought for. To allow us the freedom to choose for ourselves.

To those who struggle with feeling a disrespect in welcoming Christmas before November 11th, I understand your choice and encourage you to fully embrace it.

To those who wish to herald the celebration of remembrance with a tree sparkling through your front window, I understand your choice and encourage you to fully embrace it.

The veterans fought for freedom to choose. The veterans fought for peace.

And fighting over a Christmas Parade isn’t reflective of their intention at all but disrespectful to what they achieved for us.

My children and grandchildren understand the significance of the poppy. And in quiet respect they will drop their heads for a moment to honor those that fought so hard to give them a life free of the discomforts of war. And whether they do it in front of a tree full of candy canes or in front of a war memorial is insignificant. All that matters is that they remember.

And all that matters is that we all remember.

I have been blessed. I have shared stories with our veterans. I have been kissed on the cheek under the mistletoe more times than I can recall by members of our forces leaning heavily on a cane or reaching up as I bent over a wheelchair. They lived for these moments. They died for these moments. They gave us these moments.

And that twinkle that they talk about Santa having in his eyes?

It’s reflected in the eyes of the men and women who fought to keep it there.

Celebrate as you will. Because the intention of that soldier buried deep into a trench, his head low against the bullets…

Was to give us that very gift.

In love. In light. In remembrance of our freedoms.

Thank a veteran today.

22083979 - christmas bauble made by deocupage

 

When Sorry Seems To Be

“What do I gotta do to make you love me, what do I gotta do to be heard?”

***This is a difficult topic. Trigger Alert***

“What do I gotta do to make you love me, what do I gotta do to be heard?”

Elton John

This blog has been nearly a month in the making. Will I bring to it the understanding and the compassion for those that need it so much?  I don’t know, but I can only hope.

I’ve had a fairly emotionally charged few months. My client base has begun to swing to something I hadn’t quite expected in my world. The #METOO movement have found their way to me. Was I prepared for that? Not at all.  But as I sit here tonight I have to wonder at the universe and how it seems to bring us to where we  need to go. Where I needed to go. To share the words that I need to share.

They always show up so stoic. Facial expressions so perfectly stone.  I keep the tissue boxes on both sides of the chair so that they have something to find when both arms inevitably reach out in a panicked need to find something with which to stifle the embarrassment of the tears that they’ve grown so adept at hiding. But not with me. Not in my world. In my world someone from the spirit side just said “I’m so sorry” and the facade of granite slips to be replaced by the most painful tears I have ever encountered. It’s hard. It’s hard to watch this and even harder to feel this with them.

And then..like a script that has been long learned they inevitably respond with “No, no, tell them it’s fine, I understand. They don’t need to be sorry” as they dry the last tear and return to the granite expression that we started with. “I am strong. So many had it worse than me. I am unbreakable. I am OK. Don’t worry about me”  Well, you’ll forgive me beautiful souls, because I do worry about you. I worry that you feel unworthy. I worry that you feel of little value beyond that of the gratification of those that would take advantage of you. I worry that you’ll never cry like you just did for me. I worry that you can’t get your head around the words…

“I am so sorry”

And I worry that you won’t accept them because you can’t imagine the pain of breaking. So many years of wanting to hear the words, only to find yourselves unable to handle the aftermath of a heart shattering into a million pieces because you’ve learned to believe yourself unworthy of the apology at all.

And I worry that because you see yourself this way, that you will continue to perpetuate this cycle of allowing. Allowing others to take advantage in all other avenues of your life. In your work, in your relationships, in your hopes and in your dreams you hold for yourself.

And most of all, I worry that you say you understand. Because you shouldn’t have ever learned to have to understand this at all.

I simply want to wrap you into my own arms and tell you that I am sorry. From my heart, not the hearts of those that caused you such hurt. I want to say I am so sorry from  the understanding of someone that understands you.

And I do.

I understand. I understand how you hate the words. I understand how you can’t trust them. Not now, and maybe never. And I understand how very wrong that is. You deserve to know that you did nothing to create that. You deserve to say how unfair it is that you don’t know how to accept them. That you are scared to accept them. And you deserve to know that it’s OK to feel this way.

You deserve to know that you deserve to fall apart.

And…

You deserved to hear these words before you met me.

And I am sorry that I have to be the one to interpret them to you when it’s too late to hear them any other way.

To those that are broken and piling bricks to hold it all together. I see you. You are the gentlest and most compassionate humans. You have learned in your discomforts to never want to create that for someone else.  And in understanding that this is the only way to love.

I am just sorry you had to learn it the worst of ways.

For anyone that chooses to victim shame you owe a mountain of apologies also. The words “I don’t believe you” are devastating and cruel and you should be ashamed.

For anyone that has placed someone in the position of cringing at the words “I am so sorry” you have much soul searching to do to find appropriate words to fix what you so badly broke.”I am so sorry” won’t cut it because they don’t know how to believe in that.

And do it soon. Because it’s your job. Not mine.

How dare you make them wait.

Do it now. Change your words.

Because sorry seems to be the hardest one to hear…

Sending love and light to all that need it today.

Tania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fine Feathers

“Have you humans ever stopped for a moment to consider how angels are made?”

“Well no, but now you have me concerned that death is impending and I am starting to feel itchy. Can you allow me time to at least pull off the road before you take me because I really don’t think it’s cool to take the trucker along with us”

“Pluck em out. Leave the holes. Fill them with light. And shine Angel. Shine”

~the universe~

It’s 8 am on Thanksgiving Day here in Canada. I stumbled from bed at 6:30 am to ensure that our bird was prepped in time for a family get together later today. Last years was a fiasco when, after seven hours, I discovered that the bird had cooked to no more than a sickening shade of serous pink; this no thanks to an oven that I hadn’t recognized as broken. It was a flurry of panic as I dragged it to my daughters home and somehow managed to heat the BBQ to hell temperatures and cooked it in two hours flat. Today I am taking no chances, and have obsessively wandered in no less than four times this past hour to ensure that my oven is indeed hot enough to handle 20 pounds of bird.  So far so good. I’ll put my daughter on alert just in case.

I thought today was a good day to talk feathers. Or rather, to talk about “fine” feathers. These ones are significantly different than the course ones that were taken from Tom the unfortunate turkey recently. I’m sorry Tom. Maybe vegan in the next go round. I’ll try harder.

I got to thinking about feathers yesterday while on a long solo drive. Well, no, that’s not so much the truth. What I was thinking about was the ridiculous hold up on a highway full of construction cones, reduced lanes and the fact that my coffee wasn’t nearly as hot as it should be.  My chosen background music kept leaping tracks so I would be half flight into my incredible styling  rendition of a love song when it would lurch to something obnoxious and screechy. I finally acquiesced, rolled my eyes heavenward and muttered out ” Fine. I give up” and turned off the offending noise.  I leaned into my wheel to stretch my shoulders and heard a voice from the back seat.

“Let’s talk about it”

I’ll admit I hadn’t expected company yesterday and almost went off the road. My apologies to the transport driver to my right who saw the whites of my eyes. He sure did look frightened for a moment.

“Talk about what? My obnoxious vocals?”

“No, although it was mildly entertaining sitting here listening, that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about your fine feathers.”

I glanced down at my hands for a brief moment wondering if someone had roofied my coffee.

“My WHAT?”

“Have you humans ever stopped for a moment to consider how angels are made?”

“Well no, but now you have me concerned that death is impending and I am starting to feel itchy. Can you allow me time to at least pull off the road before you take me because I really don’t think it’s cool to take the trucker along with us”

“You’re funny today”

“Thanks. It’s been a hell of a week. Humor is my survival instinct”

“How you doing Tania?”

“Oh, I’m great. There’s a body absent voice sitting in my car and my coffee is cold. Just a perfectly normal day. Otherwise I am fine thanks”

“Good to hear. And that’s exactly what I want to talk about today”

The last hour of my drive was about to get interesting.

FINE Feathers

Do you know that heaven is full of fine feathers?   To the pained soul these feathers represent a soft place to land when the human journey becomes too difficult to bear. And for the most part this is the truth. The angels that you  reach to in times of discomfort most certainly do offer for you a gentle support for the moments that your legs start to buckle.  But are they fluffy and pristine in shade as your illustrators may present?  Are they all holy and all knowing?

No they are not. And today I want to set you straight on the makings of an Angel. Today  I want you to understand why you find such comfort in their presence.

“I’m fine”

The catch phrase of the hurting. The words of the pained. The ramblings of compassion.

You’re not fine in truth. Let’s be honest about it. You have struggled with so many discomforts that you have become accustomed to them and accepted them as a part of the journey.  The gentlest and most pained souls knows these words all to well. And they use them often. It’s far easier to shrug off any and all discomforts under the veil of “I am fine” than to create discomfort to anyone listening. It’s much easier to bind them to your physical self and create an energetic wall that few, if any will ever break down.

If you have ever heard the words “You are so strong” uttered then you might just be on your way to becoming a genuine true blue Angel.

So here it is.

Angels are created from pain. They are not what you expect to discover on your arrival into your version of heaven. Angels are put together slowly, like tedious needlework each bearing a unique pattern.

And if I am honest we’d like less to join us. Or, I should say, we’d love to have you, but could you stop building your own version of wings first. We’ll gladly give you some on arrival.

Whoa. Well you weren’t expecting that were you!

Well let’s get right to the facts.

Feathering is incredibly uncomfortable and not something that we require you to do. No one asked you to martyr yourself into a set of heavy wings! But it would seem that the tools are right there down on earth with you. Every item you need to sprout your own shoulder adornments are within a fingers reach.

Emotional abuse. Physical abuse. Sexual abuse. Self abuse. Wars. Politics. Physical Illness. Spiritual Illness. Mental Illness.  Judgements. Lack. Greed. Identity. Bullying. Hate. Fear. Loneliness. Shame. Resentment. Anger. Self denial. Addiction.

With every small discomfort a small feather grows. Maybe an inch. Maybe a foot. Maybe no more than a millimeter. Regardless of the size of the attachment it creates pain. It’s easy to recognize it if you are paying attention. For every time you say “I’m fine” when in truth you are struggling, you will become aware of a discomfort that you cannot put your finger to.

We call it the emergence of fine feathers.

And we’d be happiest if you might stop giving them nourishment to grow. Because in all truthfulness we are getting mighty tired of pulling them out when you get here. It hurts us more than it hurts you.

Ask yourself how many times a day someone inquires into how you are. And reflect back on how many times a day you respond with “I’m fine”

And the discomfort of a new tuft occurs.

Angels are the humans who empathized but didn’t speak up. Angels are the humans who determined that by remaining silent of their own pain, they could best assist with the pain they recognized in others. Angels allow. They swallow the bitterness, they push the resentment aside and they help you. And it’s incredibly beautiful to be the person that wishes to take on the discomfort of thousands or one. But it serves you no good in the long run as the weight of your wings drag you down in the physical sense before ultimately pulling you upward. And only  here will you find respite from the feathers you have been carrying.

Your sacrifices will not go unrewarded. This much is true. As you ascend into love your wings grow lighter, the heaviness dissipates and you are free. But you are called upon to remind those on similar journeys to speak up. To speak out. To be vocal and reflective of struggles that they are enduring. You become the angels that stand by when called upon from a dark room through sobs. It’s a difficult job because most do not understand the reason they are there. We are not here to simply comfort but to commiserate the same pains..the same feathers..and to ask you to learn from us. To let you know as we wrap our feathers close, that we share your hurt and are hopeful that you find a new way to heal it.

You are slowly beginning to understand what we have been trying to do. One by one, you are stepping ahead to announce that you are not OK. You are stepping out of the darkness of your own rooms and being honest about what you are. Who you are. Why you are.  Speak out not for revenge of abuses but the healing of abuses. Speak out not for the celebrity of your voice, but for the voices that haven’t found their stage yet. Speak out to change the world not to challenge those who resist the change. Speak out to find the acceptance that you are not alone. Speak out to find your value in a world that often tells you you have none.

And then…come to us in your darkened room!. And tell us what you’ve done. So that we can celebrate with you. And pull from your backs the weight of a feather.

Angelic feathers are things of great beauty. They emanate light and provide a soft place to land when the human journey becomes too much to bear. But our hope is to create the light without the need to carry the weight in your world.

Yes, you are incredible. Yes, you open your wings wide to give comfort to those in pain. And yes, you swing them in tight to yourself to not burden others with your own. Feathers are both a gift and a curse. So lets just pull them away.

Earth Angels. Drop your weight. Pull the feathers one by one to reveal the holes that you have filled.

Light shines best through the broken. Not through the blanketed.

Shine your light. Let others find it. And change the world.

You’ll get your feathers one day. But instead of wedging them into the pain, we will drop them down to dance softly over the light that your holes have created.

Love one another.

And shine Earth Angel. Shine.

***No truckers were harmed in the “making of an angel”*** phewf.

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I Am Grateful

The other day I met a young girl. She was 17. She died suddenly on the end of a giggle. That’s all she recalled from the moment it ended. That she left on a giggle. And I my first thought was swift. “You are grateful for the experience of dying on a giggle?” She took me to the moment. I experienced the love of life on her final breath.

And she smiled softly at me and said…

“Wouldn’t everyone?”

We are closing into a weekend of Thanksgiving here in Canada. And it’s not necessarily the day that provokes my words, but the opportunity to share them at a time when we are asking ourselves what we can be grateful for.

The other day I met a young girl. She was 17. She died suddenly on the end of a giggle. That’s all she recalled from the moment it ended. That she left on a giggle. And I my first thought was swift. “You are  grateful for the experience of dying on a giggle?”  She took me to the moment. I experienced the love of life on her final breath.

And she smiled softly at me and said…

“Wouldn’t everyone?”

And for that I am grateful. Because she showed me the way to find grateful in all of life’s moments.  And even for someone such as myself who desperately tries to lead the way forward, it has been difficult at times.  But I am grateful for the opportunity to try my best while being human at the same time and learning to find the gift in that also.

And so I will start backwards. At the beginning and work up to the present moment.

For All This I Am Grateful

I am grateful for the first breath of air for it allowed me to be. Without that gift I would not be sharing this today.

I am grateful for the parents that stumbled about trying to understand what parenting looked like.  They gave me the gift of  asking myself the same hard questions when my turn arrived.

I am grateful for the siblings that taught me that we all take different experiences from the same home.  They gifted me the understanding that we all see things uniquely and choose to take joy or discomfort.

I am grateful for the teachers that called me unmotivated. They provided me the gift of determination that would prove me wrong in my own belief of the same.

I am grateful for the man that said “I do” when my walls whispered “do not”.  He gave me the gift of unconditional to understand that broken is just as worthy of love.

I am grateful for the children that challenged me daily. The children that got lost in the broken and called me out on it. They gave me the gift of vulnerability and the ability to hear that I was not the parent I expected to be. And to be comfortable acknowledging that imperfection.

I am grateful for the bosses that made me try harder by asking for more than I felt I was willing to give.  They gave me the gift of understanding my value.

I am grateful to the patients that sat on their buzzer. They gave me the gift of patience and the ability to recognize that demands are often a cry to be seen.

I am grateful to those that held my hand while they passed from the physical world. They gifted me the experience of the peace in allowing.

I am grateful to the people in my life that forced me to let go. They gave me the gift of understanding what I can and cannot accept in my world and the voice to express those boundaries in the future so that I can learn to stop letting go.

I am grateful to the friends that are not fearful of offending me. They gift me with the ability to learn more of who I am and what I need to be whole.

I am grateful for good people. It gifts me the pleasure of expecting more beauty in the world.

I am grateful for the bad people. It gifts me the understanding that no balance can be struck without their existence.

I am grateful for those that inspire me to be more of what I am.  Whether in beautiful ways or painful ways I accept the gift of learning something new.

I am grateful for difficult times because it gifts me the beauty of reveling in the good ones.

I am grateful for the good times because they gift me the promise that difficult times end.

I am grateful to the grieving because they gift me the understanding that love is the most powerful thing we share. Because without it the pain of  grief would not exist.

I am grateful for a world that is in turmoil for it gifts me the ability to understand how we each find new ways to coexist despite the appearance that we cannot.

I am grateful to those that leave the earth. For they return to remind me what I need to grateful for. The grass under my toes. The ocean as it sings. The aroma of baked bread. The importance of family. The need for hard times. The gift of good times. The taste of sugar. The feel of cashmere. The pain of loss. The smell of dog breath. The sound of chewing. The smell of peppermint candy canes. The sound of church bells. The movement of breathing…

The music in one last giggle…

We have so much to be grateful for.  Even not recognizing that provides a gift. The gift of learning it.

And that is everyday until you do.

One day you will go back to love and forget how it feels to learn it.Imagine for a moment being there and not knowing how it found you.

Lets be grateful that we do.

Oh. And I am grateful for turkey and cranberries for it has taught me…yum. 🙂

Have a beautiful and grateful weekend.

Love

Tania