Friday, February 19, 2010

How to Write....

Over the last year, I have learned that there is a correct way to send/write a sympathy card.  And, considering most people feel really awkward about writing those types of cards, I thought I would give you a few pointers.  To get it out on the table, there is no 'right' thing to say....there are a few 'wrong' things to say.  One of which is writing that you know how they feel....no....you don't.  Even if you have been in a similar circumstance, you do not know exactly how they feel...even if they are in your family.  Grief is different for everyone and everyone responds differently.

All sympathy cards look the same after the first 2.  So, my recommendation is to send a personalized note.  The lame sympathy cards that are available just get old to those that are receiving them.  I know you have no idea what to say and you feel Hallmark does....nope.  One of my favorite things to read were the sentiments written by people about specific things that they remembered.  If you know the person that passed away well, write one of those.  Or, if you know their family member, write about what you remember they were close to that person about.  For example, for someone that didn't know my Mom but knew me, "Ann, I know you will miss talking about KU basketball games with her.  But, if you ever want to talk basketball, I would be happy to."

Make it personal.  Let them know that you are praying for them.  That actually really helps to provide comfort...or at least it did to me.

The appropriate time to send your thoughts.  Everyone sends cards at the beginning.  You are bombarded for weeks with cards.  But, then it all stops quite suddenly.  And the grieving person feels exceptionally lonely.  Therefore, if you haven't gotten around to sending the card for three months and you feel exceptionally guilty....don't.  You should send the card.  In my experience, I really enjoyed the cards that I received 'after the fact.'  They helped to remind me that I was not forgotten.

So...my advice is to stay out of the sympathy aisle at Hallmark.  I know they are doing their duty but a personal note is a really nice gesture.  I have decided I will never buy another sympathy card for someone.  I have all of Hallmarks current one's and I don't need to see anymore.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Concept of Blogging

Over the last 10 days...there have been some interesting thoughts rolling around in my head.  I have hurt a few feelings, stepped on a few toes, and made a few people think by the blogs that I have written in recent months.  And, while talking with a trusted friend, I was advised that I just needed to grieve more privately and not in this out there fashion.  In the beginning, that sounded like a logical solution.  Then, I thought about it.  I know that I could easily just journal like some people do or I can keep doing it.  As of right this minute, I am voting for keeping it going.  Writing and publishing holds me accountable is some strange way.  I know that there is a long list of people that read on a regular basis for entertainment, for a laugh, for my reality, or because they got lost on the internet.  Those people are choosing to read what I write.  They might not agree, they might not find it funny, but they are choosing to read because for some reason, they want to read what I have to write.  And, I know, there are quite a few that are laughing...and taking it for what is is worth.  My thoughts at that exact moment. However, the disclaimer should be.....my thoughts are opinionated and the trauma of the last 7 months have caused my brain to work in a very different way.  I don't write to offend.  I write to heal.  And, every day, that takes effort to do.  Effort to put one foot in front of the other and effort to remember that I am doing the best I can....with what I have at that exact moment.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This Milestone Birthday

So...in approximately 5 weeks, I turn 30.  No, I am not one of those women that is having a massive breakdown about the loss of my youth....not even close.  But, it has caused me to ponder a few things.  Me, over analyze?  Nah....only every day.  Over the past few months, I have been telling myself that I am thrilled to be turning 30 because that means I get to say 'see you the hell later' to year 29 and a few other choice years that happened in my 20s.  I learned that your 20s are certainly about growing....and I experienced plenty of what some would call 'growing pains'....otherwise known as emotional disasters.  Maybe I should share a few of the high and low lights of my 20s.

Turned 21.  Yes, that was a big deal.
Finished at KSU and left Manhattan.  Yes, I still miss it.
I lived through Nursing school.
I witnessed my first death.  Unfortunately, it was the first of quite a few.
I saved someone's life....that happened more than once too.
I made some kick ass friends.
I bought a home.
I lived through grad school while working full time, taking call, and working a part time fun job.
I fell in love with the wrong person.
The wrong person broke my heart....more than once...because I allowed that to happen.
I met my amazing therapist.
I met Bryce....and Moxie.
I feel head over heels in love.
I got fired.
I worked for a really despicable company.
I got married.
I moved.
My Mom died.
I cried for 3 solid months.
I sold my home.
I quit my career.
I found an amazing office/career.
I gained weight over the course of the last 7 years.
I lost weight over the course of the last 7 months.
I started running.
I tried out to be a National Spokewoman for the GO RED campaign (don't know the results yet).
I became a better person.

That, in a nutshell is a very abbreviated list, is the last 10ish years.  It all looks kind of funny written out together.  And, some of it explains why I have almost gone crazy more than once.  I swear there have been times where checking into the 'loony' bin has looked like a very attractive option.  Yet, I have survived.

So, as I look to my 30s, I wonder.  I wonder what my first birthday without my Mom is going to be like.  This will be first year that she has not called me at just after 7 am to wish me a Happy Birthday.  It will be my first birthday as a wife.  It will be my first birthday in a career that I can actually not work on my birthday if I so choose.  It will be the first birthday that I will be decorating a grave in thanksgiving for my life.  It will be the first birthday where I will not hear the story about 'how I almost died having you'.  And, strangely enough, the queen of the 'birthday season' is not really sure how she wants to celebrate.  Do I celebrate like I usually do...which is at every excuse I can think of?  Or, do I just let it ride.

There is part of me that wants a huge celebration...for a variety of reasons.  And, then, there is part of me that is not sure she wants to celebrate at all.



 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Kind of a Big Deal....

Ok...so many of you have seen the movie Anchorman....where Will Ferrell is well....kind of a big deal..so to speak.  Well, I am hoping after this weekend that I am kind of a big deal too.  A couple of weeks ago I heard an ad on the radio show that I listen to in the am about the Go Red for Women Casting call.  For one second, I thought about it and then quickly rationalized myself right out of it.   I know one of the women who was a National Go RED for Women spokeswoman and she had a heart transplant.  So, I assumed that I probably wasn't qualified for the campaign.  However....because it is me....I did a little digging.  I found out that the American Heart Association is looking for women to speak out to raise awareness for heart disease both at the local and national level.  And, those women just have to have a vested interest in the cause....Well, let's see, I have high blood pressure and have been on meds for almost 10 years, my Mom died of a massive stroke and she had open heart surgery at 38 years old, my grandmother has had multiple strokes and TIAs, and my Dad has had 5 heart attacks....Do you think that counts as a vested interest in heart disease??!?!  Vested interest doesn't even cover part of it....My gene pool is a death sentence.  However, I am busting my ass to avert my risks....like trying to eat well and getting my happy ass to the gym at least 5 days a week.  So....Since I finally realized that I was a viable candidate, I called and got more information.  Which means that tomorrow at approximately 1 pm, I will be shooting my audition video in my Mom's red suit and my killer red heels at the local Macy's.  And, I am hoping, praying, and visioning that I will be called to be notified that my video has been sent on to compete at the National Level.  I want to do this.  I need to do this.  I feel like I HAVE to do this.  And, well, I would be damn good at it.  I can speak eloquently and there is no question in anyone's mind if I am passionate.  And, the AHA is looking for both of those things....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

IT'S UP!!!!!

www.halfmaryforproudmary.com

Check it out friends and make your tax deductible donations!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Musak

Funny how much music means...and how those meanings change over time.  Wow.  That was impressive wasn't it.  Nope, it sounded pretty lame but it is as good as I can come up with after time at the gym.  The problem is that my brain is so flippin' out of control crazy at the gym that afterwards my brain is fried.  My brain gets overloaded with focusing on the fashion mishaps of others, the sarcastic remarks I make in my head, my ongoing thought provoking monologue that goes on while I run, and making sure that I am listening to good music.

Music is very important to working out.  I have seen people work out without it and I wonder how the hell they do that.  It's not possible for me.  So, I thought long and hard about my playlist for my workouts.  It is an interesting mix of country, pop, yelling music, and a few melancholy pieces.  The yelling stuff tends to be the most motivating...the melancholy is good for cool down.  Once again...yet another revelation.

However, what I found really interesting tonight are how much some of those songs have changed in their meaning.  One song on the list is City of New Orleans by the one and only Willie Nelson.  When I was in college, I thought it was just another cool Willie song.  But now, the song is about business to me.  It's about being out on my own, being my own boss, and doing my own thing.  One of the other songs on my list is Get to Me by Train.  First of all, I must preface this with saying that I love Pat Monahan of Train.  His voice is gold to me.  Not even sure what he looks like, but I like it better that way...I can imagine he's hot.  At one point a few years ago, the song was about the man in my life.  It was about getting to me anyway he could after we were away from each other.  now the song is about my Mom's spirit.  It's about finding her with me in everyday things.  It's funny to me how their meanings change over time.

Music can make or break your day.  It has been known to turn around a rotten moment.  Sadly, though, music programs are getting cut all across the nation because the school districts don't have enough to pay the teachers...and their aren't enough teachers with the patience of Job to deal with the kids.  I am sure that our tax dollars are going to be wasted by our politicians for programs that don't work rather than something that can change a kid's life forever.

hates mondays at the gym.

I hate Monday's at the gym.  Everyone sucker who fell off the wagon over the weekend is there on Monday.  In fact, you can't even get a parking spot sometimes b/c these failed weekend dieters are here taking up my space. So,this am, I protested.  I said, "hello 545, I am up. but I am not going right now with the rest of the idiots."  Since I make my own schedule, I am going this afternoon with the mamas that go.  Sounds good to me.  I will avoid the am rush and the pm rush.  And no, I don't' feel bad for the vat of chips and queso I had on Friday night.  I work out on a regular basis so I can eat that....or I could skip it and lose some more weight...I voted for the chips last week.  Good for me.  And, my Mizunos and I will be on the track this afternoon.  Double good for me.