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Posts tagged ‘journey’

200

They will tell you; you can stack misery, you can pack, disappear, you can even wear your sorrow — but come tomorrow you must change your clothes. Everyone knows pain. We are not meant to carry it forever. We were never meant to hold it so closely, so be certain in the belief that what pain belongs to now will belong soon to then.

For my 200th post, I wanted to share a video that is a reminder for all those (everyone), of what we need to remember in the moments our life and mind have a tendency of clinging to. To that which no longer serves us but has become a comfort zone. Something that acts of no use, but a reminder of what you used to be, and what we never want to return to.

 

I guess more than anything, I post it because 200 posts later, I can say that the pain belongs to the ‘then’.

 

It sometimes hurts to type the truth, especially when you were convinced it could never be possible.

 

200 posts later, I know that it is…and so is everything else.

Feel

Though I love to come her to share my thoughts, experiences and words, there are moments that I come across things that speak so poignantly that it must be given the space to spread to those who deserve to hear it.

 

This letter is one I found this evening that I know so many who have lost, struggled, hurt and suffered, should read.

 

Written by a stranger. But a human. Who has gone through who knows what in their lifetime.

 

May it impact you the way it has for me:

 

There will be days when the tears become waterfalls upon your cheeks Feelings cascading down your skin soaking you to the bone, to your soul.There will be nights when you are so overcome with the weight of being alive that you cannot sleep. You turn and toss in the sea of bed sheets. There will be years when the emotions you held in for so long, for too long, breakthrough in waves and currents that you have not yet learned to swim in.

Breathe my love. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to be emotional. It’s okay to sit with the feelings and try to understand them. It’s okay to let them hug your body for a while, till you are ready for them to let go. And if it takes longer than most to say goodbye that’s okay. You feel what you feel till you don’t feel it anymore. It takes time. You will not drown in the ocean of emotion. You will float on your back and feel it all, every ripple, every wave as the sun leans in to kiss away your tears.

For every person that told you, “you’re too emotional” I stand before you with arms open wide and say it’s okay love, it’s okay to be emotional.

I love you,

Dele

2013

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties,” – Helen Keller

 

Well, 2013, we’ve had our moments.

 

Good.

 

Bad.

 

Awesome.

 

Terrifying.

 

Everything in between.

 

But you have not conquered me, and for that I am forever grateful and with a reflective heart, shall share some of my favorite moments, because focusing on the shitty is just kind of faux pas and SO last year!

 

 

So with no further ado….

 

  • Going to India- It’s truly has been my favorite stop in my travels. It touched some part of me deep down in my being. Its people. Their smiles. Their spirituality. Their gratitude for life. It was utterly amazing. With some of my highlights being: “working” at the orphanage, the Shreya’s crew and guests and driving around the madness of Bangalore. Thank you for allowing me to visit you. We’ll meet again.
  • Yoga Practice- It’s only natural that it follows India, as it was in India that I was taught their traditional hatha yoga, that I practiced for 3-5 hours a day. Once returning home, I’ve so gratefully been able to carry on my practice nearly every day of the week. Namaste!
  • The AWP- We had our first gala. Launched WidowU. Held over 18 events! Connected with around 1,500 military widows! Created an amazing team. It’s my passion and purpose. Most importantly, all of the amazing fellow military widows I have the honor of taking the journey with! They inspire me beyond words. I’m so grateful to be a part of it.
  • My family- We had some big health scares and I’m just grateful for initiatives and steps taken to ensuring more time with those I love the most. I’m also so glad to having a talking niece! They’re a bit more fun when they can talk!
  • Friends- For those that have been in for the long-haul, those that I’ve reconnected to, and those that have recently entered. I’m grateful for meaningful conversations, drive-in theater dates, food explorations and guidance. Thank y’all!
  • Officiating my first wedding- I was honored to be asked to officiate for a dear friend and her amazing (now) husband! I could have never thought to have been asked, but so grateful to be a part of such an amazing love story.
  • Hawaii and Mexico- Any time on the beach and with those you love is amazing. Add in dolphins, snorkeling, margaritas and sunsets…pretty darn awesome!
  • New York- I’ve been there a bit this year, but all for amazing things! Surprising AWP fans at a school, meetings for AWP partnerships and awards.  It’s been great to us all!
  • Music- Whether it be in the form of ACL Festival, Karaoke, Pandora, SXSW or my LP collection. It lubricates the heart and soul. I don’t think you can ever use the word lubricate without it sounding a bit inappropriate. Forgive me.
  • Spiritual Awareness I had already started a path of awareness in the past couple of years, but in ’13 I loved taking my modern Buddhism course, teaching meditation to other widows, learning about and utilizing Reiki, crystals, essential oils, making malas and getting acupuncture! I’ll leave out the millions of books and notes I have…but they’ve been a part of the journey, too!
  • Happiness- It was somewhat of a “Bigfoot” for a while. Some mysterious and ever fleeting object that seemed more myth than reality. But it’s real and pretty awesome to be immersed in.  Even more than that…it’s a choice. I’m glad I chose to have it become a huge part of 2013.
  • Michael- Ok, he’s got to make any list of mine! I was able to connect with him in ways I never knew possible, and lets just say that we could have filmed “Ghost 2” with the interactions we’ve had 🙂 I feel more than ever that he such a guide and part of every step, decision and interaction. Love you, baby!
  • Everything Else- Conversations, Maximus and Brutus, Queen Latifah, AWP Supporters, Getting rid of cable, A new AWP Logo and SO MUCH MORE!!!

 

There you have it.

Pretty good roster! And I have no doubt, a primer for all that 2014 holds!

AS my motto goes:

Let’s do this shit!

7 & 8

-11

If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.

~ William Penn

12.23.12

On December 23, 2005, he said I was the kindest person he knew.

A year and a half later I never had the chance to tell him that it was he that was the kindest. It was he that chose me for some odd reason and showed me what true kindness was. It was he that I prayed to god every night to keep alive over me. It was he whose life echoed and echos on through those I had no clue his kindness had touched.

Now, 7 years later, I woke up on the sofa. It was a hard night to try sleep in my bed. I awoke knowing that I could take this day that was the moment that solidified our eternal love, and for once, not make it a day that was harder than any other. This day was going to be the day I wanted to live up to the vows he wrote to me. Today was going to be a day that I echoed his life, even more, to strangers who would never know his name or sacrifice.

My best friends sent me flowers and survival kits full of tissues and chocolate, but I knew there was much more to be done.

I jumped in my car and headed to Wal-Mart. I purchased the needed items. Heavy duty sticky notes, “Hello, My Name Is” labels, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and 4 gift cards.

“$25 on each please.” I asked the cashier.

“And I need you to do something for me. Keep one and give the next 3 to the next 3 people to check out.”

“Are you sure?” she asked hesitantly.

“Yes.”

“Well, Merry Christmas!” she replied.

I walked out as I heard her tell and hand the first gift card to the next to check out.

I exited with a smile.

I got into my car and started preparing the notes and labels for their mission for the day.

-15

I drove off and stopped at the first ATM to leave one gift of kindness. Then off to a Redbox.
-17

-12

Then off to Starbucks where I ordered a drink and 3 more gift cards.

The lady was going to grab a bag for all three when I stuck a label on each and asked her to give one to the next 3 customers. She couldn’t believe it, and even gave me a free drink coupon. I looked in my mirror at the young man in the truck that would get the first one and I drove off.

All of this had taken place in 15 minutes and my heart swelled…and so did the tears in my eyes….this was the feeling I had when Michael read his vows…I was living them out loud 7 years later…but had just begun…

I headed to the nearest shopping center for a continuation. I stopped at another ATM to leave a message of hope before heading to Marshall’s to leave a message on the bathroom mirror and on a couple of cars before departing.-14 -13I knew there was a nearby bus stop that would be my next location. I pulled over to see a single dad with his two kids, lovingly playing with them while sitting on the bench and smiling with pure love. I put together another bag of things to ensure their day and Christmas would be a better one, handed it to him as he looked at me in shock and uncertainty, and walked off to turn and see the kids smiling and waving to me. It was amazing.

As I drove off, I saw a group of world travelers, with a lack of means and two dogs, asking for any sort of help. I pulled over, gave them water, dog treats, and some funds to buy a couple more meals, shook their hands, shared some laughs and a photo and departed. Their spirit was amazing.
-10
I drove to the next town where I left a couple other messages and goodies in random spots before heading to McDonalds and grabbing a snack wrap and the tab of the stranger in the car behind me.
-16

Next was Half Price Bookstore, where I grabbed some 80s records, and while checking out, a gift card for the next person to check out. The kind-hearted cashier told me she would remember this for a very long time. I smiled and exited and left another note on a random car.

I then headed to pick up our favorite food we used eat together…sushi…where I tipped 50% and while walking back to my car saw a young couple and their young children,  and left one more note for the end of the day on their mini-van.

-18

These individuals weren’t any worse off, any less happy, and less loved than I. But they are individuals I feel forever grateful for. They were strangers that became saviors, friends, and  ones that I admired.

They let me give them what I have always felt in my heart I was given too much of. Even when I didn’t deserve it.

I don’t know what will happen. How may people I may have freaked out or may have made their day better. But for 24 hours, I have felt pretty damn good on a day that has always been hard to bear without the person that chose me 7 years ago to be his wife. A person that showed me a level of kindness that I can only try to live a quarter up to.

We danced on December 23, 2005 to Louis Armstrong’s “A Kiss to Build a Dream On”. One set of the lyrics stated:
“Give me a kiss to build a dream on
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss
Ah sweetheart, I ask no more than this
A kiss to build a dream on..”

kisses

That kiss he gave me led and leads me to thrive, to live, to give, and to show kindness the way he did….or at least a fraction of the way he did. And for the first time in a long time (outside of my daily AWP mission), I felt it the way I did when kissing him, when knowing that all was possible, because I saw it in each person and stranger, and others that I don’t even know that were affected by the kindness he inspired me to show on the toughest, but most beautiful,  of days.

Happy Anniversary, baby. So in love with you. SO grateful for you. So eternally inspired by you in every way.

**Update**

 

12.23.13

Today marks 8.

8 years since the most remarkable man chose me to spend the rest of his life with….and he did…if only for a year and a half in flesh.

I prepped the night before…jotting down what great deeds I would do, not only in commemoration of this special day, but the people and universe that surround and house the spirit and love that we share.

I awoke, opened my eyes to the sun shining through the blinds and said aloud “Happy Anniversary, my love…let’s rock this!”

As I showered, Sam Cooke’s “What a Wonderful World” played and I my heart filled with the mission at hand.

The mission to share a fraction…an ounce..of the love…unconditional love…I had been shown during his time on earth.

This year was different, I wanted to spread kindness, but throw in bit of us…who we are…what we love.

I warmed up with a stop at Starbucks, buying giftcards for the two cars behind us and leaving a 300% tip to the warm smile that handed me the green tea latte.

I found joy in looking in the rear view mirror at the unsuspecting person that I hoped to share a bit of sunshine with.

-6

Next, I stopped to get flowers, hoping that our favorite (tulips) would be available. We used them in my wedding bouquet and Michael loved surprising me with them on occasion.

With my heart open to whatever was available, I smiled to find red and white ones waiting.

I then googled “cemetery”. It led me to a small back-country haven, in which I headed to the back corners.

-3

Once there, my heart led me to one headstone, cracked in half due to time’s grip. No longer bearing a name, all it shown was a poem that I have no doubt I was supposed to read:

This lovely bud so young and fair
Called hence by early doom
Just came to show how sweet a flower
In paradise could bloom.

I laid a bouquet of tulips, and offered it the attention I know a loved one past would have appreciated.

-3Next, I set forth to my favorite used bookstore.

At arrival, I headed to one of Micheal’s favorite book series “The Dark Tower” by Stephen King. I found the oldest edition of the first book of the series and inserted enough for its next reader to buy the whole set. As I placed its message, I remembered the moments in bed where Michael would read aloud to me. My heart swelled knowing that that memory may be passed on to another lucky soul who falls in love with a Stephen King reader.

-10

I headed out, also ensuring that the next two book lovers left with their books on us.

As I left, I bought a mildly inappropriate Christmas card (the best ones, in my opinion) and found a man who looked as if he deserved a laugh and kind deed.

I hope it made him smile.

-12

My next stop led me to a random car, where I placed another bouquet on the windshield.

As I was plotting my next route, I was honored enough to see the elderly couple return to their car, find the flowers, sit in their car seats and simply inhale the flower’s fragrance with a smile. It was one of the best moments.

-11

Next, being a lover of the sweets 🙂 I placed many a treats on many a cars:

-4

One of my last stops was at a place that embodied so much of what we love…FILMS!

My dear friends know just how many 12 hour film marathons I’ve attended, and Michael knows just how many sofas we imprinted while watching our favorite foreign films.

I wanted to make sure other people could enjoy such a blissful aspect of our intertwined passions, so I headed over to the Alamo Drafthouse to buy multiple gift cards for the next groups to arrive.

-13

The gentleman preparing the gift cards responded with ” I thought all of humanity was lost…thank you.”

I thanked him.

He was giving me much more than I was giving monetarily.

I entered my car, with my list of acts of kindness completed in hand, and smiled with the same joy I felt as if Michael was by my side.

-5

I ended the evening with a dear friend, at a favorite restaurant, sharing some of my favorite memories of my journey with Michael. She surprised me with dessert, and I was humbled to know the staff felt honored to share in the celebration, as well.

-9

I conclude this remarkable day with gratitude.

Gratitude for the messages sent. Love shared.

Gratitude for those that let me show and give them something they undoubtedly deserved.

Something that I believe to be the greatest resource our society has.

A resource the kindest being I knew shared with me to their last ounce.

Love.

Happy Anniversary, baby.

Thank you all.

Built

weddinghghg1

“A song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment. Which is pretty amazing, when you actually think about it.”
-Sarah Dessen

This Monday will mark our 8 year wedding anniversary.

As I’ve said over the years, I’ve never defined Michael’s life by his death, so the anniversary of his death has never had the burn of the day that symbolizes him and our time together…

Our wedding day.

A day that symbolizes our love.

His love.

The unconditional love he showed myself and everyone else.

The pain and angst enveloped me at times, but one thing always takes me away from any sadness that wears on my soul:

Hearing our wedding song.

He let me choose it, and when the time came for our first dance, we swayed (mostly due to lack of dancing skills) back and forth, lost in the moment, tunnel vision only into each others eyes and the warm glow of our hearts melding even deeper into their eternal bond.

After his death, a year and a half later, the words of the song have guided me through dark moments. They’ve reminded me that everything that I’ve been able to do, survive and embrace, has been built upon his love…his kiss.

And I’ll keep on building.

Happy Anniversary, my love. SILWY

Give me a kiss to build a dream on
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss
Ah sweetheart, I ask no more than this
A kiss to build a dream on

Ill-Equipped

tumblr_lxfrhuYm881r22us0o1_500_large

It’s a funny thing.

The breaking of the shell that once encased a broken heart.

A shell that unveils a stronger, more resilient heart….person…life.

No longer protected by the bitterness and loathing of what occurred, you find yourself open and vulnerable to the elements of a life you’re ready to live.

With that comes some of life’s irritants; insecurity, doubt and apprehension.

Today, while sharing in these struggles of living fully, a dear friend stated something so poignant, moving and true.

She mentioned how someone told her how ill-equipped she was to be doing what she was, yet she was beyond successful and living a life by her terms. She didn’t meet the “prerequisites” of what usually must be done to reach that state of life, yet she was doing so at a level beyond most.

She told me that to ensure me that what I was doing and how I was living was more than enough.

She made me realize that I am ill-equipped for the norm. For the anticipated. For the path taken by most.

But it made me realize that I was equipped for the extraordinary. The unexpected. The path least taken.

With that comment, and my realization, I smile.

Smile as I stand bright-eyed and bushy-tailed towards all the elements that are bound to cross a soul wide-open to life’s experiences. A life that was never equipped for the anticipated. A life that proudly takes in the unknown.

And hell, I look forward to every second of it!