Does the world seem to be getting smaller?

I think we’ve all had many emotions these last few months, from anger, isolation, frustration, sadness to feeling totally overwhelmed. I look around and wonder ‘what in the world is going on? or why am I feeling like I need to get something done, but no idea what?’

Often this is due to an unexpected call from a friend stating, ‘did you know?’ And, of course when the surprise, sadness or deafening shame of not being able to be there for another overwhelms me. I don’t want to feel this way, I want to truly be able to offer support, both emotional and social, be there with them at the time of tragedy, happiness or overwhelming stress.

I begin to notice the feelings most often expressed by others or me that of feeling overwhelmed. Not enough hours in the day nor minutes in the hour to get through those ‘things that need to get done’. We all feel lost at times, trying to accomplish what? Are these items so small compared to others that we have put them off? Is this the time to tackle getting the pictures in a photo album that only you will look at? Or the time to go through all the boxes in the attic or garage that wait for only one holiday? Or, maybe, items that are in stuck in a closet for a future project?

Slowing down and considering what is going on in our lives and what is important to us individually makes a difference. It helps us focus on the ‘important’ emotions and needs/desires we have for our present and future.

Let’s hope our future is a good one.

The colors of loss

Most days I function well, as do others. But, some of those days, it’s difficult. No, not due to physical pain, but more due to emotional pain, what I feel, what I experience, what I remember.

Sorrow, thoughts of what would have made that situation better, actions I could have taken, words I could have said. All suddenly consume my thoughts and actions at a moments notice. The thoughts of what if? or why? are paramount in my mind. I find no peace or contentment in that moment.

That’s the problem. I am not happy at those times. I am not content. I feel stagnant, unable to move forward and berating myself for the inability to work out the issues that keep me in place.

I try to focus on the positives, take a moment to enjoy the here and now. For me that’s the rear of the house, the woods, squirrels, and birds. It’s also ideas that flit across my mind drawing in some of the magic around me – fusing color into my senses. I know it’s about enjoying the moment and feeling the sorrow but curtailing the anger as I don’t know who it’s focused at, me or the one I have lost. Definitely hard to do!

If I remember the person who has passed and good memories, the positive they brought to my life and others the colors of their life take shape and help heal. Though that person is now gone, those pictures remain.

That Holiday Time of Year

This time of year is when we all come together and wish each other well, or try to.  What happens when, during a family gathering, old resentments and hurt feelings are suddenly just there?  Can we escape? Is seeing another person the end of our desire to be with others and enjoy talking, doing?  Yes, this does happen.  To me, to the person next to me, etc.  It doesn’t happen all the time, and I’m glad I don’t focus on this most of the year.  But November and December are difficult months for those of us who have had overwhelming emotional upheaval (death of a significant other, move, trauma, chronic pain, loss)  this past year.  The ‘family’ gatherings that are a focal point of most celebrations carry sadness, isolation and fear.

Our families may be made of siblings, parents, grandparents, nieces, nephews, etc. or of those people who are not relatives (friends, neighbors, community members). Are we certain of fitting in to either picture.  What if we do not? Is the feeling of isolation one that we must endure?

The question is, do you push yourself and suggest to others who seem to be part of the isolated to join you?  Or, do you avoid those who appear to be alone? Do we have that type of courage?

It comes down to the choice – do we feel better when we give of ourselves, or do we feel better when accepting an offer?  I have been in both situations.  And, I enjoy the giving of myself,  and my time.  I receive greater emotional satisfaction when I have made someone else’s life a bit better.  And what I have done may not be noticeable to many, but it’s made a difference to me.

That’s what we hope for.  That we mean something to another, we have an emotional support or bond with another.  This makes us human, and one of those who receive gratification at the holiday time of year.

Life’s Work

When did that child stop taking my hand to walk down the hall to pick up his sister from her afterschool class?  Did I miss something in the progression of time?

I don’t think I stood still long enough to recognize the time passing.  I was always on the go, needing to do this and that, driving one here and the other there, wishing I had a moment to myself.  The days of not being able to go to the bathroom without a knock and someone yelling, “Mommy!!”

Now my child has his first job offer, and offer that is better than my first offer, by far!  And, he’s ready to head off into the large work world.  I hope he does well, enjoys himself and takes the time to stop, look around himself, and listen for the sounds of everyday.

My life’s work has been to raise my kids, and I and my spouse did pretty good.  They are good kids for the most part.  (Besides being awful at home at times, they are the perfect angels at someone else’s home!)

Friends hope for the day when they have grown-up kids.  But, the parent burden continues to be part of my life.  I worry about them still and am available to help out. I  I had promised myself, a much younger self who voiced this a lot to my spouse, “they need to grow, experience, and learn” from life’s disappointments.  We needed to allow them to learn from their mistakes.

But, being a mom means you kiss the boo-boo, wipe away the tears, and help them stand back up. Parenting is complicated, it never ends.   It’s a life’s work.


I’ve often wondered if people were to look back on their lives, how they went through the day, how they treated others who they came into contact with –  those questions asked, answered, wondered about, etc, would it be as a positive or negative influence on others in their world? Do I need to make a difference?  Or do I need to maintain and adjust to the world around me?  Am I a square peg in a round hole, or do I fit with what I do and identify with? I don’t know!  But I do think about these questions and wonder if it is a sign of age or a thought process that comes with realizing wanting and needing are totally different.

And what of those big choices – is it ever decided which is the right path to live a life?  Do I reach out to a different interest area group to discover if I want to go further, or do I stay in my comfort zone? Choices are hard.  The concern we are treading into the unknown is scary but the option may make life so much better, adding to a life of great enjoyment.

Do we want to make a difference in the world, influence others? Or, follow and let others pave the way.  It takes ‘guts’, that unexpected feeling of fear mixed with delight in exploring the new next step, to move from the steady stream that is our life path.

These are really, really tough questions.  They bring up the past memories of our lives, how we remember them, the emotions we felt, the choices we made.  It may be that we have yet to reach a goal, or it may have passed us by.

What I want, when I look back is a feeling that I did well, and am satisfied with many of my choices. I may leave the sad parts of my life in a fog of memory, difficult to find, but I hope to find a sense of wonder and delight in those moments of pure happiness. This is definitely OK.




A choice taken, the ability to be with another and give of yourself.

Lonely Keyboards

It was obvious that a new, possibly final phase had been entered when Mother got lost walking home from the shops, a journey undertaken every second day for many years. Closer examination—forensic, domestic—suggested her weight loss was not illness but forgetting to eat.

A few weeks of regular meals in the new accommodation and she was looking fuller and healthier. Happy pottering around the paths of the facility and stopping for a cigarette on her favourite bench. Then she started wandering further. Down the street, across a main road. Traffic sense intact yet, with so little language now available, not exactly safe.

She always liked walking. As long as she was walking she was happy.

Happy? An assumption, but one borne out by seeing the negative contact prints. The police got a bit grumpy about picking her up and depositing her back at the facility. The facility got grumpy about…

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Sadness is something we all experience at one time or another.  It can be due to the wrong word said in anger, the inability to repair that beloved teddy bear, or the death of someone important to you.  Sadness overwhelms us, making the thought of that person a feeling of loss.  An experience of never being able to reach for that emotional connection again.

Memories remain.  But they are not the same.  The picture is a bit clouded over.  The sounds muffled.  The feeling dulled.  Nothing remains the same.  We are still here and that most important person/experience is gone.  There is a hole where contentment, happiness and that feeling of fulfillment had been held.

How do you replace it?  How do you cope?  What can you say that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes and sadness to your soul?  You are drowning in sorrow, believing the loss is too great to bear, overcome with despair.

But, being part of the world we come to understand sadness touches all of us. Sadness remains as do memories.  Though with each remembering something changes,  colors brighten, sounds are sweeter, emotions more loving.

With the need to look ahead and be part of the present, looking at a future, we carry the sadness.

Life’s Decisions

I wonder a lot if I’m doing the right thing.  Am I helping or hindering?  Am I being a parent or a teacher demanding perfection? Am I the confidant or the crying child wanting to be soothed?  I can see myself in all these roles, changing from one to the other, questioning the choice I’ve taken.  As always, concerned as to ‘what’s the correct choice, the best choice, and how do I get to where I know for sure’?

Decisions, alternative choices, options.  These are difficult areas, unknowns in outcomes and emotionally charged.  The best choice depends on the situation.  I prefer to be more accepting and look at the whole situation I’m presented with prior to making up my mind.  But I am also aware that in making a quick decision the alternatives may not be thought out well.   Do I take the best option, or the easiest alternative, or the most politically correct stance?  Decisions are difficult.  They exist and therefore produce an outcome, an alternative that may lead to a great change or a horrible experience.

So how do I decide?  Do I take knowledge from previous mistakes or grand results and make an ‘informed’ decision?  If  knowledge of what has been tried before is the only way to decide on the present with a resulting future, do I take the risk of new or stay with the known?

Maybe knowledge doesn’t grow on trees, but what we gain in each days’ experience does make connections with past memories. It’s a lifelong process of learning the whys and where’s and hows of actions. We each remember life differently, and these memories are kept by each of us, taken out at times and explored.  Sometimes remembered well, sometimes only a whisper waiting for the thoughts to co-mingle with other memories bringing with them joy, hope, sadness, anxiety, despair, and love.  Memories of a lifetime’s decisions, alternatives, and actions.

So, does this mean as I get older, I’ll make better decisions?  I certainly hope so, but also hope  with those decisions where I take the wrong turn don’t end badly. And if they do, I hope I can see the good, that glimmer of positive in each outcome.



Stress is a normal part of life.  What is not normal is the amount of stress we accumulate and take on as part of the modern world.  When is the last time you took a moment and said,  “I’m not doing anything for the next hour but enjoy doing nothing?”

The modern concept of living is a daily schedule filled to the brim with activities and goals.  When we don’t reach most of those goals or participate in activities we view ourselves as failing in a monumental way. We feel we are lacking in something. Maybe this is the perpetual goal of ‘keeping up with the crowd’, a type of mentality that encourages cooperation, inclusiveness.  On the other side, what happened to individuality?  Can we not follow our own dreams?  If we do so, and don’t fit into the approved social scenarios are we then excluded from all group interactions?  How do we find that fine line of being yourself or loosing your individual identity within the group?

Is it really that important?  That’s the greater question.  When is the I more important than the group?  Is there an age, a social environment or designated life skill role?  Or, does it really matter?

Is the norm stress?  Is stress a part of life that is acknowledged, but is almost automatically adjusted to, a concept we have innately  learned to dance with?


Fear and Loss

Fear of the unknown, fear of grief, fear of loss. These are some of the fears that become more of an issue as we age.  We fear and grieve the loss of others, the loss of friendships and lifelong relationships with that one person who knows us,  both the good and the bad.

We fear the most important conversations,  especially those that need to occur before the loss.  The “I’m worried your health may not improve”, “time may be short” conversations. We need to hear its okay to go on, to live with grief, to cry, to express our emotions and be heard as the living.

Those whom we will be grieving want to express their fears and worries, want to tell us when we can no longer push for a medical miracle,  when it’s time to allow a graceful bow out and stop facing fear with anger and hostility.  We need to be able to hear the desires of the other and realize it is their right to define their fight.  We need to recognize the fine line between our wants for that person and the fight they don’t have the strength or desire to continue.  We need to allow their choice, how they live and how they die.

Death with dignity is not all that grand. We don’t usually go out with a roar, but a whisper. But is is our choice.