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Posts from the ‘loss’ Category

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My first trip to India with the most amazing, gracious souls I’ve ever encountered.   -Kaveri Vanita Seveshrama Orphanage

Every year on our anniversary I have tried to spread the love of a wonderful man by doing acts of  intentional love/kindness for strangers and family alike.

It has turned a day that for so many years was unbearable, into a day full of shared joy and excitement.

This year I’d like to ask your help in spreading the love! For the 12th Anniversary, having just 12 of you to help my mission of giving, would be the most amazing gift you can give to a day that personifies love.

Are you in????! Do you accept the mission? I know….what the heck is the mission, Taryn!?

Slow you roll, Tom Cruise….Here’s what I’m planning……..

It is no secret that my heart is deeply in love with India and the people who inhabit it.

It is in India that I have found the true meaning of surrender/letting go and trusting the unknown.

In India I learned the true meaning of happiness.

I learned how freaking lucky I am to have the things that so many of us take for granted each second (true story…I am kind of a master at not taking showers after not taking one for 20 something days there…I know…but really, it’s all about the baby wipes and Teen Spirit deodorant).

It is in India that I realized that Mother Theresa knew her shit(though I never doubted this saint)…because “I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?”

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So this leads me to the goal I have to make this day that encompasses so much love, into one that spreads love…to India 😉

I have stayed in touch with folks in India and was recently contacted by Gokulananda (go ahead…..say it 5 times fast…) who heads the Widow Initiatives in the Keonjhar District…..but first, let me digress…

I’m not sure if you know what it’s like to be a widow in India…I didn’t know until I was in Vrindavan where the “Widow Home” was…and never have I ever been more grateful to be a widow in the United States….to have the rights to pursue life after loss…to have created the AWP….to have the choice to rebuild after the ruins of tragedy.

Take a quick second to watch this clip….it sums it up pretty well (or google “Widow in India”…it’s pretty much the same across the board) what these women face.

 

Digression done and back to my buddy Gokulananda….who for typing purposes and because I think we’re cool with each other, I’m going to now call Goku on this post 🙂

So Goku’s been keeping me updated on all the amazing things they’re doing to educate all in the district on the importance of supporting widows and their children, while also giving the widows in the region opportunities to have a purpose and a plan to thrive after loss (which is basically my favorite thing in the world). Here are some pics of the ladies, their education initiatives, the children of the widowed they’re serving and some more eye goodies of good deeds:

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Goku rocking it….and rocking that plaid!

So Goku and I have been going back and forth, and having run a non-profit for 10 years myself, I know that donations are great, but I love when physical items/services can be given instead of money. So I emailed Goku to send me a list of what I ( or WE….if you’re in 😉 ) could physically send for them to use now….even more so, I want to go beyond that and if you decide to answer this call, you’ll send it directly to them in India (straight to the source!).

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So my dude Goku wrote me this:

….Thank you so much for your mail and your concern for the Widows and their Orphan Children.
The materials you have mentioned are very useful and is a dire need for the stakeholders.As per your mail we need the following materials:
White Polo Shirts(For Kids Only)
School Supplies(Note Books,Pencil,Pen,Markers,ABC Books for Kids Only)
Sandals(For both Widows and their Kids )
Water Filter is a dire need for every Widow family.
For Sarees,if it is not possible to arrange it in US,we are trying to arrange it from India.
Thank you once again in advance for your concern for the helpless Widows and their Orphan
Children living in India and supporting IDP Team’s effort in Widow Welfare,Empowerment and
Development.
With Kindest Regards.
In Solidarity,

GOKULANANDA OJHA


So there you have it! Everything that may seem small that could make a huge difference (cue Mother Theresa…).

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

These are items that you (or you and your kids/family) can go grab anywhere for very little moola (but make a huge impact with). I would also urge you to write letters of support to them, and as they learn english I have no doubt that those letters will be their aim to one day read. As you can see in the email, I had mentioned the difficulty in finding white sarees (mandatory widow garb in India…and maybe why I like to wear rainbows….we’re lucky!). If for some reason you know how to get some, that would be amazing!

Having spent time there I know that water filters are indispensable, and something as small as this $15 life straw will make a huge impact if that is an item you have the means to donate.

So there you have it! The mission! If you do decide to partake (THANK YOU in advance!) please take a picture of it about to be sent off or of y’all working on putting it together and attach it to the FB post or in the comments below! I’d love to meet the goal of 12 folks sending packages of love (and I promise, you’ll get soooo much out of giving it)… and the posts will let Goku know our little corner of the world is helping in a big love/small gesture kind of way (and maybe I’ll send him rad plaid or non-plaid pics of us coming together for them…I’m thinking plaid…yep).

I’ve included the address to the foundation/Goku below. Print it out and bring it to the post office in case of any confusion.

I am a widow because of December 23rd, 2005…the day I chose to follow my heart and marry Michael….

There is no better way for me to pay gratitude to him for choosing me to be his wife then to help those who are suffering because of their “I Do” ending too soon.

Thank you for taking this journey with me (Cue Mother Theresa…)….

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”

 

 

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Some of my favorite souls during my time of teaching in Baljeet Nagar.

MR.GOKULANANDA OJHA

MEMBER-SECRETARY

INDIA DEVELOPMENT PROJECT

AT:-AKHUPAL,POST:-BADAJAMUPASI

VIA:-GHATGAON,DIST:-KEONJHAR

STATE:-ODISHA,PIN CODE:-758027,INDIA

Tel:- +91 7377720394

<3

 

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Risking

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Taking a risk….

We have been taught that one of two things can occur from such an action:

Something bad, with  an unfavorable outcome..

Or….

Something magnificent, soul empowering and life-affirming.

So what happens when you take a risk and both occur?

Would it be a mutant? An “X-Men” of risks?

A grey area that few talk about or like to admit to?

Or is risking something of ourself….of our life, always going to have both outcomes?

You know what. That’s what I believe. Because at the end of the day, when we take a risk and our dreams come true, we forget to admit that even the magnificent is finite.

And when the “bad” occurs, we forget to see and honor the great wisdom that comes from the hardships.

And maybe, just maybe, by embracing that risk will not have one of the outcomes….but both….maybe that allows us to cherish, and be grateful, and honor the roses and thorns that occur from such a noble and courageous act.

Marrying Michael at 19 was one risky move….I can admit to that. Not only because of age but because he was Infantry in the Army in the middle of a war.

But you know what…. I refuse to look at that risk as one I shouldn’t have taken because he died and I was left a widow a 21 years old.

He was one of the greatest risks of my life.

And yes, a “non-favorable” outcome occurred that temporarily shattered me.

But if he had come back and lived another 70 years by my side, one of us would have eventually passed-on….and that wouldn’t be favorable either.

But the risk is always worth it.

I can’t decide the timing or the turmoil or the triumphs that happen as a result of such an action….but I want to keep risking.

I want to keep milking every ounce of beauty in the risks that turned out the way I planned, and keep honoring the teachings from the risks that didn’t (seem to at the time) end as hoped for.

And what is life if not one short or long and beautiful stretch of hoping, trying and loving and living…..but only if you risk to feel/experience it.

Risk on.

Something

22732_1339886731200_3772854_n“In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! We are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Something happened last weekend that awakened me.

 

It was an AWP Health and Fitness weekend.

 

We were ending the evening with reiki sessions.

 

I’d never done reiki, and since leading it, I hadn’t planned or set aside time to do so.

 

A window opened and one of the practitioners had come down, looking ready to depart, and I figured I’d ask if she had a free 20 minutes so I could at least try it.

 

She did.

 

She led me upstairs. I layed down. Closed my eyes. And just kind of waited.

 

I didn’t feel anything. My mind was wandering so I went to meditating.

 

I could hear her as she progressed from my head to my chest.

 

A slight touch.

 

Then she broke the silence.

 

I don’t know what occurred or what she truly is (being a skeptic on so much).

 

She heard him. She said things only he would know.

 

At first I kept my eyes closed thinking “This is reiki?!”

 

Then I went into “What does she know?!”

 

Then she continued to slam me with facts….court worthy facts that washed away any doubt.

 

Her hand shook on my arm.

 

She continued to spit out things that opened the well to my emotions like only Michael could do.

 

It was my Demi moment. He Swayzee-d her like she was Whoopi.

 

It was….. I don’t know. It was real.

 

20 minutes turned into over an hour.

 

She wasn’t a medium or clairvoyant, nor sought out.

 

It was something I’ll never forget. It was something that has reaffirmed all the crazy things so few believed. It was him.

 

All around.

 

Madly in love.

 

Guiding me.

 

And now I sound completely mad 😉 but honestly, I feel so drenched in love and assurance that I find it hard to stop smiling.

 

They’re here. Undoubtedly. All around. Listening. Lifting. Loving.

 

He hears me when I talk to him at night. He’s there with Charlie. He wants me to get up off my butt and outside more! He chose to spend his spirit-life as my guide. And we have lived many lifetimes together in the past and will again. Our love transcends time, plains, everything.

 

This I know.

 

 

Last Walk


Charlie…

Charlie is more than a dog.

Though my family had him since he was a puppy, in 2004 he came to live with me full-time. He became king.

Always having been an outside dog, he was thrown into a world where he didn’t have to fight to get to the dog bowl and got to sleep among pillows and soft comforters. An escape artist, he’d flee and be back within the hour, waiting on the front porch. The same porch he’d eagerly await my arrival after class each day. He was my best friend.

Michael and Charlie had a special bond. Something I was admittedly jealous of. Charlie would do special tricks and give extra kisses to Michael. He was a daddy’s boy.

When Michael got deployed to Iraq, Charlie was his wingman. Michael had a talk with him to watch over me and take care of me….Charlie never faltered from that agreement they silently made looking into each others eyes before Michael kissed him goodbye for the last time.

When I was sad, Charlie would quietly walk up to me and give me a kiss. He always let me know everything was going to be alright.

On May 21st, 2007, Charlie would have to step up to the plate even more. Michael had been killed and I was shattered. I refused to eat or drink, and Charlie, who never left my bedside, refused to do the same. He was the only reason I would get up….to ensure he’d eat to live another day.

I never thought I’d live longer than Charlie or Maximus. I even have in my will who each are to go to.

In the months following Michael’s death, I stayed inside, planning my escape route from Earth. And yet, Charlie, with his deep brown eyes, always found a way to ensure I face a new day.

He’s a quiet soul who reminds me of Michael. He rarely barked but was known for being a fighter….literally and hypothetically. He had sent a couple of dogs to the vets whenever they got to close.
(I remember one day, napping, when I heard a barking scuffle outside. Pillow in hand, I ran to find Charlie and a boxer going at it. Pillow’s swinging left to right, I feared for Charlie’s life, only to find that the giant boxer was the one harmed.)

As I ventured into a world I decided to fight for, Charlie rooted me on. I talk to him, you see. He’s the child of Michael and I, and I feel he understands what I’m saying…never doubts or challenges.

The next 3 year’s I would travel so much in hopes to bring the AWP to life, but no matter what, he’d be there at the front door to greet me and give me a kiss hello.

In October of 2010 things changed. One night while on the carpet with Papas (one of his 20 million nick-names), I noticed his eye looked weird. Right away I knew something was wrong and asked my parents to take him into the vet (I was afraid to face any bad news).

My dad called me. “Taryn…Charlie has cancer. He has a tumor growing on the top of his head. He doesn’t have much longer….”

No.No.NO. Our baby couldn’t go. I frantically started making calls within minutes of finding out and set up a meeting with a veterinary oncologist.

Many tests were taken, biopsies done, needles poked.

In November they called to let me know that Charlie had squamous cell carcinoma. I went in to see what the options were.

The doctors told me that I could put him through radiation and chemo. Once done with the treatments it could possibly add no more than a year to his life.

I agreed, and so began our new life of waking up each morning for months. Traveling over 2 hours each day. Things would look good and other times I’d bring him in crying, afraid that I had made the wrong decision. But Charlie fought, pulled through, and one night, even ran up to me and gave me a kiss. It was one of the best moments.

The radiation took a toll though, and the skin burned away and then his vision deteriorated.

I cried myself to sleep many nights, but even blind, Charlie would find his way to our bedroom and sleep next to me.

It’s been around 5 months since all of his treatments. 5 months I’ve been able to give him extra belly rubs. 5 months to whisper into his bushy ears how much Michael and I love him.

5 months to have something I wasn’t able to have with Michael….the ability to say goodbye.

I returned home two nights ago and Charlie’s health had deteriorated within hours. Although he had been eating and drinking while at my parent’s house, it became very obvious that he was just waiting to be back with me.

You see, I’ve wondered often if my actions to keep him here, to do everything in my power to keep him with me, were selfish. I asked Michael during the rough times to just let Charlie go in his sleep. But on Tuesday night, I asked Charlie to let me know when he was ready, and at one moment, he looked up at me…blind, but as though he could see, and I knew.

I knew that it was time to do for him something unselfish, and take him out of his pain. I think he breathes for me, suffers for me, feels indebted to his loving father to stay with me….I want him to know it is okay.

I’ve had him for 15 years. He’s been through every life-changing event of my life, but tonight, at 6pm, on his favorite spot in the house (the cold tile of the fireplace), Michael will have his 2nd love join him.

My dearest friends and family by my side, we will wrap him in Michael’s uniform (the one he slept underneath in the closet after Michael died.) Fill the pockets with letters to him and our loved ones he’ll be joining and spread his ashes with his father’s.

I’m in pain…but Charlie is in more. And tonight we will celebrate his furry life. Remember random memories, like how when I took him running he always ran faster than me, making me look even slower, so I had to buy a really short leash. Or the moments when a spurt of energy would hit him and he’d run around like a banshee. Or the time he sat up on Michael’s knees and kissed him farewell. Or how much you simply adore window surfing.

I love you so much, papas. I know you’re outside sleeping with the wind on your face, and maybe by the time you wake up, it will seem as if we were not parted for long.

You have fulfilled you daddy’s wish and taken care of me better than anyone or anything. I know I am strong enough now…and so much of that is because of the loyalty and love you have forever shown me. You are the epitome of unconditional love and I hope to embody your strength.

I love you. We love you.

There’s a stone I had made for Luke at the top of the hill road, where the pasture opens wide and the setting sun highlights the words carved into its face. “That’ll do, Luke, that’ll do.” The words are said to working dogs all over the world when the chores are done and the flock is settled: “That’ll do dog, come home now, your work is done.” Luke’s work is done too. He took my heart and ran with it, and he’s running still, fast and strong, a piece of my heart bound up with his, forever.

-Patricia McConnell

Wack

You know what…..The poster above has it all right!

Loves not wack, even life isn’t (though it has its glimpses). But death, death I’m pretty certain is wack.

Death didn’t take Michael out of pain or take him to a better place…he had all of that here, and at 22 ,I’m pretty sure he wanted to live down here with me a tad longer.

I don’t think I’ll ever know why death came knocking when it did, but I just try to remember the un-wack things that have been brought/been a part of my life than and now, and the wack is out-weighed. Hell, I’m even really thankful for the people and things the wack has brought my way due to its repercussions.

Death…your wack, and in embracing and accepting that fact I’m able to embrace and accept all that’s come after your visit.

Losing Me

And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

~Confucius

I remember the day. It was two months after Michael was killed and I found myself sitting on our big red chair, laptop in hand. Tears welled up in my eyes as I scrolled through the hundreds of photos I had of Michael. It would take a moment till I finally realized what I was doing. As I passed through each picture I would only look at Michael. When I finally looked over at myself, the real pain settled in my heart. A pain that recognized that I had not only lost my soul mate, but along with him, myself.

The twinkle in my eyes, the smile on my face, the glow of having my love near-by…all those things were gone, and I felt like an empty shell staring at what it once was when a soul inhabited it.

I must say, three years later, I know that those expressions I shared  in the moments where I looked up at him, kissed his lips, held his hand…those moments will never be recreated, as they were exclusive to the man that unearthed them from the person I was before his love came into my life. Yet on another note, as I’ve healed,  as I’ve grasped back onto the core or who Taryn is,  I’ve learned to once again love the life that still is before me. New expressions are exposed…expressions of love, laughter, happiness, and contentment.

I no longer mourn the loss of the person I was when Michael was alive. I can look at those same photos that once brought me tears and smile reminiscing over the feelings I felt at that very moment, feelings that manifested out of the rubble in a new form, shaped to the life I never thought I’d have, the life I will look back on in photographs with happiness…happiness over the person I once was, the person I became, and the person I continue to court on this strange, alien yet beautiful, life I call my own.