The ghost of my past, three Musketeers, and letting go…

It is amazing how your heart can actually hurt in your chest when you are missing someone. This weekend I feel like I am living with the ghost of my past and I am trying to figure out the message all of this sadness is supposed to be teaching me. The loss of three extremely important people over the last several years, two just last year, has taught me a lot about life, it has reminded me to be grateful for the time shared, for the wonderful memories, for what I have now and to be sure to tell those I love that I LOVE them every chance I get. So why is it I continue to grieve sometimes many years later, why do I still feel so lonely and hurt so deep?

I am beginning to feel like grieving is triggered by difficult things that I am dealing with while living out my life. The memories of those who have left us is a reminder to smile because of our time spent with them but the deep void of not having them here can make us feel extremely lonely. These three musketeers are killing me this weekend. One was a best friend from my past life, one was the love of my life and the other a recent best friend. People I shared my deepest feelings with because the trust was so strong I never felt vulnerable. Perhaps I am feeling lonely right now because I don’t have anyone in my life I feel as close to as I did with them.

It takes time, love and compassion to gain complete trust in a best friend. It also takes knowing that in a moment that person would drop everything to be there for you if you needed them to be. Knowing that they would alway be the first to answer or return a call or text because they loved you. The kind of best friend you can tell anything too, who knows when something is bothering you without you saying a word. The kind of friend who can be brutally honest with you and you understand their honesty is to help you because you know they care so much. This is different than family because you share selectively with family. I’m not saying that I don’t have wonderful close friends here for me now because I do but I feel a void in that I don’t have that one person who I feel that complete trust with and that is where the sadness and loneliness is coming from. I’m sure a big part of that is also missing them, not being able to hear their voice or having the ability to just hug them.

This weekend I got a phone call from Wes, the boyfriend of 16 years to my best friend “Victoria”from my past life in Florida, she passed away last summer. I knew in time he and I would talk, I wanted it to happen, looked forward to it but dreaded it at the same time. For those of you who know me well you know that my past is littered with bad decisions, that I was in a verbally abusive relationship that was becoming physical and that I left that all behind in the dark of night leaving no trace of where I had gone to many. It was an extremely difficult decision and sadly it did not only effect me but others that I cared deeply about, Victoria was one. When I left I was sure I shared with her the details of what was going on in my life, she was upset with me because we were not only friends but shared a commercial space so my decision to leave changed her life as well. Our relationship during my time of preparation was tarnished and it hurt me deeply, I couldn’t figure out why my best friend didn’t understand my decision for the sake of my well being. On Saturday my conversation with Wes brought much more light to the situation than I had known, I now realize that I was so ingulfed in my world during that time, exhausted from the drama, embarrassed by the situation and with drawn on so may levels that I never clearly shared with her like a good friend does in detail what my reasons were for leaving. I failed in that regard and finding out now, knowing how confused she was with my decision and how badly I hurt her is an eye opener, especially because she is gone and I can’t have that conversation with her now. Two years ago when I found out she had to have a triple bi-pass I let go of my ego and called her to tell her I loved her and I was sorry for anything I had done in the past that had hurt her, I told her that I missed our friendship and I hoped she would forgive me. She did and today I am extremely grateful I made that call. I was not aware of the details I discovered yesterday when I made that call two years ago but I feel better knowing she forgave me especially hearing Wes say she was happy and relieved after my call.

We learn so much about ourselves in time after decisions and actions are made. Strange how we all preceive things differently, it reminds me how our view of the world is all so different. I find comfort with who I have become since starting my life over ten years ago, I am a very different person than I was back then. I think Victoria would have loved me more for the person I am today. Dina and Todd knew me as my new self, I have no regrets with them because I was able to share myself in a more muture state, openly and with complete honesty. I hope that even though I told them how much I loved them when they were alive, my actions convinced them of their importance in my life.

God sure has a way of stirring it all up sometimes, in the end I guess it only makes us better if we are feeling it, processing it and being grateful for the lesson no matter how much it hurts. The past few years have me thinking about heaven a lot. There is a curiosity there that keeps me enguaged and has taken the fear out of death, not only for myself but for those I love. It is humorous to me the vision I now have created in my own mind of those three different personalities, those three musketeers looking down on me, having all the answers now and smiling while enjoying the view. It is comforting believing that we will all eventually be together in the end enjoying that view when it is our time to go!

In closing I hope that my sharing might remind us all to be more honest with ourselves and others while we have the chance. We don’t always see things the same and we have to realize that conflict often is from mis-communication not necessarily anger, anger is more the result of ego. We also have to learn to let go of the past, forgive not only others but ourselves and allow the goodness that comes with surrendering to take over our emotions. Sending love to all of you, pass it on…

Missing my friend and re-thinking my life…

If felt like the longest day of my life, I kept pushing the thoughts aside and continued to focus on working, not crying, not thinking of anything just getting through the job without anyone knowing inside I was falling apart. I didn’t get any sleep the night before, at 2AM I got the call saying she was missing, and the voice at the end of the line asking when had I seen her last and when had I last talked to her. I sent out a bunch of emails, read her FB page and started trying to put a time line together. I laid in bed all night praying that this was all a mistake, that in the morning everything would be ok, that life would return to normal. After 2 restless hours of sleep I awakened at 6AM, showered and was out the door. We were in Chattanooga a little after noon, grabbed a quick lunch and then the first call came in. The police were headed over to where she was staying to see if she might be there, I had a sinking feeling, knew I needed to stay focused on work no matter how upset I felt and began trying to focus on anything I could to keep my mind off of what was actually happening. Ten minutes before we arrived at the location for the shoot the call came in, I listened as my friend struggled to say what I had feared, in a sobbing thin voice she said Dina had passed. I remember saying in a steady strong voice with no emotion “thank you for letting me know, I will call you later I have to go to work”. We stopped a minute later for directions, as I sat in the car and watched Tamara talking to the woman in front of the car I felt a sick sinking feeling in my stomach. I watched their lips moving not hearing a thing but was strangely aware of how pretty the sunlight looked on their shoulders, how good the crisp air felt from the recent flash of fall like weather. It was as if I were in a weird dream and everything was happening in slow motion, in silence…I was numb.

The day felt like the longest day of my life, I was quiet, focused and stayed busy. My phone was ringing off the hook, text messages, voice mail, call after call….I put it in the car and stayed focused on work. I would grab it and glance at the list of calls and messages, my Dad had called so I quickly returned his call, his voice was crackling, he had read my earlier FB post about a missing persons report on my friend, he was worried about me, I told him I was ok, I was working and needed to go, I would call him tomorrow and I loved him. Back to work…more than 26 phone calls, 12 text messages, some multiple from the same person and I couldn’t bring myself to listen to one because I had to stay focused. We arrived back in Nashville, I helped unload the gear, said thank you I was glad I had spent the day working, hugged my friend and got in my car. It was as if the second the door closed a water fall of tears appeared, one minute I was gasping for air the other I was hitting my hand against the steering wheel saying NO this is not real, this is not fair. When I got home I listened to all of my calls from the day, they began with what is going on, we are worried about you, please call or text back, at a point the messages shifted to I am so sorry, please call I am worried, and more than 8 calls ended in I love you. I have been on a crusade the past rear to speak from the word of LOVE and while in this day of grief I was reminded of the love for both my friend and for myself, each time someone would say that word at the end of their message I would cry and then I would say I “I love you Dina”.

Friday September 16 was a difficult day, because it marks the day I heard the news that my wonderful friend Dina had passed away. She was a beautiful person, she always had a smile on her face and was always looking for the next adventure. She would light up a room when she walked in, she was compassionate and admired by everyone. She was that person who no matter what time of day or night, no matter what you were dealing with or what you needed, she would be there if you needed her, never ever expecting anything in return. If you had a dream Dina was the first to tell you what she thought you could do to make it happen. She supported all of her friends and found joy helping others achieve their dreams, it was as if her dream was to see all of her friends dreams come true. If you were a singer, a writer, a chef, an artist or anything for that matter she would be out there acting as your rep spreading the word. I met her in 2008 at a party that one of my kayaking groups was having, I was trying to get past loosing my ex boyfriend who had recently passed away and we immediately became close friends, not long after I met her, she lost her mother and was gone for a while in New Orleans dealing with the details. I feel fortunate to have had Dina in my life as a great friend. Our circle of friends expanded and it brought so much joy to us both. We talked about life, about death, about men and about purpose. When I started ReTune Nashville she was the first person to jump on board ready to get out and start helping people any way she could. She inspired me because she was always so happy, so motivated and so positive about every thing she was involved in. She was that friend that you could call anytime to go do something fun or to just hang out. She loved to cook and she loved to help people. It is so hard to believe she is gone, she was my age, she appeared to be healthy and she seemed genuinely happy with life as a whole.

It has been over a month now and I am still having a hard time with all of this, sometimes in life things are so difficult to understand. Each time I loose someone close I re-evaluate but this time it feels deeper, I have really felt lost, not sure of what I want anymore, what I want to do with my time or even what direction I want to take from this point forward. My life feels so empty, so lonely…single, self employed and wondering what next, what can I do to make my life feel fullfilled. I know if Dina were here she would say, “get over it it’s time to make something happen, use your talent and make a difference in your life and other’s.” She always had a way of calling you out, and telling you to stop making excuses. I constantly need that kick in the butt especially now because I feel stuck, frustrated and irritated. I have forced myself to be sociable on occasion but felt more like hiding away by myself. I miss my family, I have thought more about their health, their age and how much time do I have left with them. I hate that I am so far away but I do love where I am. I suppose this is all a part of the grieving process. I wonder WHY a lot….when I feel like I have finally found a balance it seems like there is something that always kicks me backwards a few steps. I believe that all these “LIFE” things are a constant reminder to me of what is important. Life is simple, the people around me are a gift that I must appreciate while they are here and loving one another is the key to happiness. So where do I go from here…I will do all I can to be the best person I can be, I will put one foot in front of the other and take baby steps forward, I will pray regularly and see where I am taken next. I really don’t care so much about my direction anymore as long as there is laughter, love and happiness. The one thing I am sure of is that offering what ever I have to give of myself to others, expressing myself and being kind through love is what makes me happy. While I am a little off kilter at the moment missing my friend and re-thinking my life I know in time I will eventually get back to a better place. Sending love out to you all…please do me a favor and pass it on!

The death of a friend, an enlightening dream and the search for goodness…

Is it me or does there seem to be a lot of negative energy out there lately? I have felt like I need to spend more time alone than I normally do because I have not felt comfortable outside my home, it is as if the energy everywhere is heavy and uncomfortable. It is more of an un-settling feeling than the act of others complaining in a negative way although that is happening too. I am not a big TV fan but if I do turn it on I have purposely choose to NOT watch the news or anything with drama which is 80+ percent of what seems to be available anymore. I have changed my music spin to include more mellow vibes. I have been trying to exercise more, eat less and be healthier with my overall choices. I guess I have been spending more time being spiritual and trying to figure out how to just feel good, stay positive and be happy.

I recently had a strange dream and I have been trying to decide whether I should post my thoughts or not. Someone I lost a few years ago came to me in my dream and spoke to me about life and death. I guess maybe this dream was brought on by recent events I have been dealing with emotionally. A week and a half ago I lost a great friend, Victoria from my life back in Orlando whom I was very close to and she was only 51 years old. It seems so unfair and I am still in a state of shock. My mind has been trying to understand, to deal and to heal. I have lost 5 extremely important people-2 family members, 1 significant other, 2 great friends and a pet in the past 5 years and each time it kicks me down and makes me question life and why we are here.

As I struggled to sleep the night this dream occurred I was restless, my back has been bothering me and the house has not felt cool due to the intense heat wave. TG came to me in this dream, he passed away in 2008 from addiction and perhaps the news of Amy Winehouse’s death influence his visit with all the public discussion on her addiction. What ever the case it was a very vivid and enlightening experience. In the dream he was smiling at me and he told me he was happy. I told him I knew he was in Heaven (earlier post about him being in Hell due to the nature of his death), he smiled and said that when a person dies they are stripped down to the core of who they are, the goodness that they are born with which is their spirit and that goes to a wonderful place that I could never imagine because it is beyond human understanding. All the bad stuff goes somewhere else and is no longer a part of that spirit (he did not say where that part went). He went on to explain how throughout our lives, with all of our experiences and choices we often lose sight of our goodness, our judgement, we start to express anger, and other negative emotions. In time if we do not allow ourselves to notice this constant negativity we slowly grow into that role and we become what we think. We become something so far away from what we are intended to be and with all of that distance comes depression, unhappiness, lack of integrity and anger. He said that because we begin to dis-like who we are subconsciously we begin doing things out of character in our unhappiness. Things like cheating, substance abuse, overeating, constant negative judgement and others as they begin to mask our unhappiness. This happens because it is easier to put that energy into making others wrong than to look within our selves and deal with the pain and guilt we have created. If we don’t recognize what we are doing and make changes we continue to hate who we are and live with self guilt. If we can at anytime stop the busyness, the noise of life and recognize that gift of goodness each one of us are born with we will realize how good it makes us feel. If we allow that to resonate long enough it will bring us back to who we are supposed to be, if not we will go through life feeling lost from time to time, staying busy to keep us from feeling anything and later regret the things we did or didn’t do. There were many other personal things TG and I talked about in that dream but in the end he smiled and said he had to go, I said I knew, he kissed me and I awoke from the dream.

It was a lot to take in, I made myself turn on the light and write every single thing I remembered so it wouldn’t be lost the next morning. I don’t know the truth of our dreams, if we subconsciously make them up or if there really is a way for loved ones who have passed to come to us when we are sleeping. When he kissed me before he left he asked me to look into his eyes. It was what made me fall in love with him early on in out relationship before he became intertwined with addiction. He had beautiful deep blue eyes you could get lost in. It was something I couldn’t do later because of the pain I saw when he was slowly killing himself after the addiction started. When he asked me to look into them I was scared of what I might see but was relieved when I saw no pain..only happiness. I am unsure what this dream is supposed to mean, if anything but it deeply moved me. I feel better about his passing and content that even if I made it up as a way of letting go that is all ok because I know he is with God now. His death makes me want to give, to share and to love deeper than ever before so he gave me more than he ever knew.

It is hard to loose people you love that you are close to, Victoria’s death has me thinking more about what I want to accomplish, she always appeared to be the healthier one in our group, she ate better foods, exercised more and was always doing. I was with her the first time I ever traveled outside the US, and repeated the trip more than once. We backpacked throughout Portugal and Spain, visited Amsterdam and got lost once in the Paris airport, missed a flight and laughed so hard people thought we were crazy. I am so grateful that those beautiful memories will always be with me. Her death makes me want to see more of the world, to take more chances, to be more than I have allowed myself to be. It has made me question so many things yet be grateful for so many more.

I am still pondering the idea that the goodness we were born with is still somewhere in each and everyone of us, some of us just have no idea what that was because we have allowed ourselves to drift so far away. I want my goodness to shine brighter than it ever has and I want to see others do the same. Together we can change the negativity around us one person at a time and I know the core of all goodness starts with LOVE…pass it on and see what happens!

The roller coaster of life, death, religion and hell?

I started this blog years ago to share in hopes of helping people.  I have not figured out as of yet how to really get it out there and feel it touches very few people but still, I am here.  Although I often open myself up and share pretty deeply, there are things we all keep to our selves.  Things that no one, not even our closest friends or loved ones know of or quite possibly would even be able to understand.  I have posted things from my heart that people said I should not put out there because of what others would think.  I have said things that some believed I should remove because it would make others think of me in an undesirable way.  I have shared my thoughts and people have stated they thought I might need to seek professional help.  At the same time these things have gained praise, compassion and gratitude by others who’s emails have made me feel I am doing the right thing.  The truth is no matter what I share there will always be judgment of some kind.  As humans it is what we do and it is expected.  Although there are places I will not allow myself to share openly here, I feel there is some reason that little voice in my head keeps telling me to post what I am experiencing.

I believe that some people truly need help, that in-balance exist and that often prescribed drugs need to be taken.  I believe my high’s and lows are natural, that life is not always an upward plane and that at times we have to feel, to be humbled and to experience life.  If we are feeling pain yet know in our thoughts that it is supposed to be that way because that is the course of life I think we can keep things on track once we have the experience, regain our focus and then allow ourselves to move forward knowing it all leads to a better place.  I don’t want to hide, I don’t need to take some pharmaceutical drug a doctor thinks I need and I know that a bottle or recreational drug is not going to keep any painful thoughts from being experienced.  Numbing the experience is not going to make me a healthier person.  Life is our own journey, we set our path with each choice we make, we allow ourselves to place meaning on everything that comes into play and our thoughts determine our next move.  That being said no matter what, we are all going to hurt at times, we are all going to feel sad and sometimes…lost. We all experience health issues, break ups, broken hearts, broken friendships, losses and death.  At the same time if we look deeply into each of these things as they happen and allow ourselves to feel the hurt yet see what was also good in the experience we will eventually grow as an individual.  It is why people who have lost loved ones to tragedy often find a way to help others in need.  That those sad or seemingly negative experiences often lead to very uplifting and motivational publications, movies, businesses and organizations.  It is often what it takes in our lives to trigger something that helps us discover our purpose.

With all that was said above are you wondering what this post is actually about?  Well, I can’t say there is any one thing and although I honestly feel very happy with where I am in life for some reason at times I just feel a bit like a roller coaster (and I am getting really tired of some of you women blaming it on “THE CHANGE”).  This is life and lately my lower points happen when I see or remember something that reminds me of Todd.  I have never experienced the death of someone I have been intimate with, that I truly and deeply loved and that I feared would die because of their life style yet never believing it would actually happen.  Life is strange that way. I go through stages when it comes to Todd and lately he has been on my mind a lot.  I am wondering if maybe there are years of  emotional stages you go through when death has come in a tragic manner.  I think of him when I grab the remote, when I hear certain songs, drive by a certain place…there are things everywhere that make me think of him and not a single day goes by where he doesn’t filter through my mind.  Recently a friend gave me a jacket they had that was Todd’s, I went through all the pockets hoping I would find something he might have left, that he might have touched.  I didn’t want to but needed to wash it because it was extremely dirty, as I pulled it out of the dryer I couldn’t’ help but wonder what he had done the last time he wore it as tears fell down my cheeks.   I have been considering contacting some local establishments that deal with helping people who suffer from alcohol and drug addictions to offer my experiences with Todd and the reality of what can happen.  It would be a very difficult thing for me to do in person but I feel driven in some way to move in that direction.  Right now I am allowing my life to move forward on the ideas that come to mind and what I feel in my gut, this is one of them but I have yet to take action.

Several weeks ago I had a discussion about religion with a person I have not known for very long, we talked about Todd and some of the circumstances leading up to his death.  This person began to tell me in a polite yet Godly way that Todd more likely was not in Heaven, that he was in hell because of the sinful things he had done.  Now before I go on I will say that Religion and Politics are two things I don’t openly care to share or discuss, I feel we are all entitled to our choice in these areas and that judgment lies deeper in these two areas than any others.  That being said I have always admitted openly that I do believe in God and I am a spiritual person.  When this person made that statement it not only bothered me but it disturbed me.  I told the person they were entitled to their belief but I choose to believe differently and then ended the discussion.  I choose to believe that God does not punish, he loves, he forgives and he understands that as humans some of us are weaker than others.  It is not my place to judge other peoples actions, choices or where they end up, I don’t need to waist the energy on judgment of others I can only worry about my own actions.  I do have a choice in my thinking and what I choose to believe when it comes to Todd.  Todd was a wonderful loving person who also suffered from many painful things he could not overcome.  It has bothered me for several weeks now but in MY heart and mind Todd is in heaven and I know he will be there with a big grin on his face when it is my time to go.  I am not sure why I wanted to share that but I did want to get it off my chest and this seemed like the place to do it.

I realize this blog is a bit scattered in thought with this post but that is ok.  I am not trying to write a book, say something that will get me praise or earn friendships. I am just sharing and that isn’t something that should be proofread and edited a million times in hopes of pleasing everyone.  I love who I am, I love what I do, I love my family and friends and I feel very confident in my skin…I recently celebrated a birthday and I love that another year has allowed me to grow into the person I am right here…right now!  Love, love, love I can’t say the word enough, sending love out to all of you until next time!

WARNING: DEEP THOUGHTS…only those of a positive mind should read!!!!!

Sitting in silence tonight it has come to my attention that perhaps as an artist I am only supposed to focus on that which makes me happy now and to take action so that I am not stuck.  This must be so because I will then have a force that moves me in a forward motion rather than sitting still.  I know that worrying about the present and re-living the past does nothing for me and is not healthy in mind.  If the only thing I focus on in the present is what makes me happy and that I believe the happiness comes from purpose, I must take each day as it comes.  With that in mind perhaps when I am old…and I know I WILL be before I pass, it is my past that will be the most beautiful thing I will see before me.  As life teaches me to see, to feel and to learn I know that when I am no longer able to move my body, when I am no longer able to do the things that bring me joy, when I no longer have those I loved who lived before me to share my past…it is at that time in my life that all I have done will live in my mind as memories and THAT will bring joy.  It is at that time before I go knowing that I did all I could do with no regret and in order to give of myself and to myself, in those last moments before my breath weakens and is no longer a part of me….I truly believe that life will make sense.