Post by Category : Motivational

Celebrating Hope  0

IMG_6180aabbBORDERn[2]Madisyn GreyFathers day.. a beautiful day full of celebration and contentment. A day of downtime and remembrance. For others it is a day where there is hopelessness, sadness, looking for guidance that is no longer there – a day full of remembrance that you can no longer “touch” and a day of remembrance that you wish you would not “feel.” It is just too painful, too real, to “in your face” on a day that is about celebration. It is a day among happiness where you wish you were invisible, you hope that people do not see your jealousy, your anger and gut wrenching sadness that will consume you if you let it. But know that you have greater power than that; YES! Acknowledge this feelings: be angry, be sad, weep, shout but then move through it. Move through it because as in everyday, today you will EMBRACE THE LOVE MORE THAN THE LOSS! You will find hope in those you love the most. If you are a #Widow you will let your children know that you will mourn with them but that today forward you will have your special day to celebrate this great hero in both your life and theirs. You will find your special way, together because thats what we do -as much as we are our children’s support system they are ours! Together we will shine on and move through this life remembering that beautiful being that taught us such valuable lessons in the time we had together on this earth. And to all of the sons and daughters missing their dads, the grandpas that are no longer with us that maybe raised us – shine on – no one can take away their spirit that resides deep inside your heart.
Our loved ones “being” can only be removed from our souls if we allow it! They will always be with us. Great contentment, joy and love reside in our “space” when we go towards our “grief” versus running away from it. I know this because I am a work in progress. Its hard work but together we’ve got this. So today find hope. My hope today is this song that I want to share, that I have shared several times. She is my strength, she is my “will” to keep going, she is my “light” and more than anything she is her daddy’s daughter and this song exemplifies who she is to me and how everyday I will keep working through my grief in the hopes of inspiring us all to “shine bright” even in the midst of great loss. Happy Fathers Day, Mark! – Our love “sparked” beauty way beyond the physical. https://youtu.be/SUNTU5oYx3c

Seasons Greetings, Grief!  2

FSTD8BRG33OXPTO.LARGESEASONS GREETINGS! Well, it feels so loud these days. It seems as if people are shouting it when in truth their tone is probably no different than it has ever been. This year it just seems loud! Upon the death of a loved one life becomes foreign. It is almost as if you are in a different Country and cannot comprehend what other people are saying.
You move each moment as if you are walking on thin ice.
Will today be the day that you break? Or at the end of the day will you wipe your brow knowing that you maneuvered around that crack for yet another day?

SEASONS GREETINGS. No one speaks your loss. Even if someone else has been through a similar situation you do not want to hear about it. You nod graciously and find yourself consoling them. Words come out of our mouths that say –
“I am so sorry – my loss must be bringing up such hard memories for you.” How do we get to that place where we nurture other people and their grief instead of our own?
Maybe it is a survival reflex? Maybe if we don’t “feel” it we do not have to “own” it. But somehow in that moment of loss we have to embody it.
We become the representation of grief to our family, friends and the world around us that sees us.
Still today people say to me – “You remind me of Jackie Onassis, I think it’s the way you hold yourself and everyone around you together.”
I have never been “fake” in my grief I have always moved through my grief honestly and proficiently.
People have commented “you were chosen to go through this, only the strong survive- you are a survivor, there is a reason for this and when you look back someday you will reap the rewards of your loss?”

SEASON GREETINGS!! Really? I will be better for this someday? Because all I want right now is to be planning the Holidays with my beautiful husband who was “mowed down” by a red light runner two weeks prior to the birth of our daughter.
I want my daughter to be able to go shopping with my husband so she doesn’t have to feel yet again that she has gotten me “nothing” for Christmas even though I am telling her that her love, her beautiful hand made cards and her happiness are all that I need to make this a beautiful Christmas.
I want to look forward to New Years Eve where I can toast with my husband this life that we are getting through together and this daughter that we are privy to parent.
I want my husband back and I can’t have him back. I want him back for me! That’s what I want for Christmas!
I want him back for my daughter so that she can see the pride on her fathers face and know what love between a dad and his daughter really is.
I want him back for his parents, his brother, his nephews, his family and his friends. I want him back so that my parents do not have to “worry” about me being alone and I want him back so that my brother can feel whole again.
It has been 11 years. I want him back for me so that I can get rid of this gapping hole in my heart that will not seem to heal. That’s what I want for Christmas.

Season Greetings. This holiday season if you know a widow or a widower, someone that has experienced the pain of losing their children or children that have lost their parents, grandparents, brothers or sisters please bless them. Please hug them. Please pray for them. Loss is foreign. It is the “elephant in the room” that will not go away.
It can be a very daunting and lonely time… these holidays. The one gift you could give to all in grief is that hug – no words. We do not want to hear “they are in a better place, wait until you see the rewards for going through all of this or worse yet there is a reason all of this happened.” This Holiday season honor who we are and who we have had to become in our loss. Be patient, be kind and don’t walk away because it’s easier for you. We are trying to speak your language again, the truth is we are healing but we will never know the same words, thoughts, feelings or friendships, life just tastes different now. Most of us want that wonderful feeling again of Saying “SEASONS GREETINGS!” With an outward smile but on the inside we are shouting “SEASONS GREETINGS, GRIEF.” I am most certain that Jackie Onassis felt the same.

If you have experienced loss and know these feelings maybe this is why we are finding each other now.
Don’t be ashamed say it loud and proud: SEASONS GREETINGS GRIEF!
Acknowledge it; embrace it and them move through it. We don’t want to get stuck in it but have permission to divulge it.

“OPEN TO RECEIVE”  18

IMG_0046Two weeks ago we ventured into NYC for Madisyn’s very first Broadway Audition. We knew going in that it would be a great experience but the chance of her getting the part was “slight.”
It was the learning experience we were truly after.
I am so proud of her for going into the weekend with a great attitude. Of course she wanted the part- but she is young and new to this whole arena and has much yet to experience.
Day of the audition she would walk in and out of the “holding” room where we would meet after each one of her try-outs. I walked in and out of that “holding” room with great pride for all of the children that were eagerly hoping for a chance to be on Broadway.
Looking around the room it could be anyone’s moment. As the day was coming to an end Madisyn was still up for consideration.
I could start to see and feel the anticipation on her young face. It takes a lot for these kids to embrace these emotions and know you could be the next one cut.

I ventured back out of the “holding room” and into the hallway where I had a private moment. I wanted Mark to be with us. I asked him loudly to present a heart IF he was in fact watching this all on-fold with Madisyn.
I asked him to help her to be happy and content no matter the outcome. Within seconds of asking…I received – as I walked back into the “holding room” I stepped over this heart- surely it had to be there all day? Or was it? I walked in and out that door a dozen times! I gratefully thanked him and knew within a moment that he was with us- he sent a tangible gift as a sign of his never ending “my heart is always with you Melis, just remember that.”
Honestly – I was STUNNED!!! Emotionally grateful as I stepped into that room for what would be one last time.
I heard my name being called; I was one of the parents that were taken into a separate room. I walked back out that door gently stepping over the Heart that I was privy to receive. We were called into the room to be told that our children were no longer needed that day – they were cut and would no longer be considered for this role.
No matter how or what you know going into an audition you are still disappointed because you know that your child will be sad that this is where they are no longer “needed.” It is hard because none of us like to see the disappointment on our child’s beautiful face. But I was ready to go to her because I knew I was not alone in sharing this news with her.
She was disappointed but grateful for this opportunity- she said that this audition and many others that she will encounter will help her prepare for the role that she will someday “get” when that “role” is ready for her. What an amazing gift that child is.
I share this always so that you continually “open to receive.” Do not close the doors to the infinite possibilities of spirit – the gift you will receive in opening your heart and mind are endless.

Time & Courage to Face the Empty Space  0

It has been 10 years and it still aches as if it has been 10 minutes. Life is furiously passing me by. I am strong. I have dealt with my husband’s death but not the aftermath that piles up such as the closet, the drawers, the pictures, the same bedroom set. Can you relate?

People often comment on my being so courageous. Am I really?

As I look around my home (10 years later) my husband’s physical life still has a position in our home. In every room, corner and closet.

I believe my fear is that the last remnants of my husband physically living in our home will now be absent due to his substantial presence that he so faithfully depicted.

If I clean out, get rid of or throw away his material presence will the vast hole in my heart “grow” beyond repair?  Or will that hole slightly diminish knowing his love is still present and cannot be depleted by physically removing items out of our home that we shared.

With the absence of his “items” will there be a fresh vibrant space that will allow new “light” to shine in? I am reminding myself that unlike materialistic “things” Love is ever- present, everlasting and irreplaceable.

In my heart I know it has never been about tangible “things” that has kept his memory alive but about the intangible gift of love that has lived on and taken on a new form in his untimely noticeable absence.

I have never felt it necessary to clean out until now. In order to move through my personal grief journey and not get “wedged” in it –it is time. I know now that getting rid of the “things” will not take the immeasurable love away that I was so privy to receiving when Mark was physically present in our home. In fact I can hear him whisper– “Clean out! Get Rid! Let it all go.” The murmur awakens me; in my mind I see that playful smirk on his face – one that conveys to me, “ I will always be with you, no matter the time, distance or space. “ Comfort has set in and I am now ready to clear the clutter.

I have judged myself harshly and have kept this a secret to the outside world for fear of being criticized. No matter where we are in our grief journey (whether it be 10 minutes or 10 years) none of us has the right to be critiqued.   We did not enter this journey voluntarily. From the moment we lost our partners, life took on a whole new formula. We were headed down one road and suddenly hit a big curve! We had to take a turn down a road that was unknown; there was no map and no GPS to guide us. We all took the road that we were most comfortable knowing at the time.

I am writing this in hopes that someone else out there is seeking solace.

We are in this together. We are a force to be reckoned with and each of us has our uncomfortable grief space that we are terrified to share for fear of judgment.

Trust me…trust yourself…you will know when the time is right.

If you can relate, I am hoping that by sharing my “space” it will ultimately allow you to know that wherever you are in this process it is exactly where you need to be.

*This post was first written for Modern Widows Magazine. http://modernwidowsclub.com

10/24/13 An Honored Love Lives on  2

IMG_2633- always my support IMG_2629-the great love IMG_2628-A kiss IMG_2627- take the cake       Today marks 10 years that you were taken so suddenly. It is unimaginable that I have walked these last 10 years without your physical presence. Your love changed my life and I live my life in gratitude (in part) because of it. I fell in love with your pure heart! When your love entered my life it became a huge part of who I am today. No time, space or distance will ever lessen my deep love for you. Our attachment to one another is still on a deep level- just in another way. My belief is that once you have loved someone- you don’t just stop. Your love will run through my veins for the rest of my life.

I am much less since you were taken in a tragic and preventable car crash yet I am much more because of who you were and how you loved me in this life and the magnitude of love that you have surrounded me with in your Death.

There will never be a day in my life where I will not mourn your absence.
You taught me to visualize, believe and achieve!
You taught me there is nothing in this life I cannot accomplish (if I believe in it) and that you would always support me! You showed me this in life and you have showed me this in spirit.

I thought that losing you in a moment was hard.
Raising our daughter without you is excruciating.
She needs your love, understanding and advice.
There is a slight emptiness about her that I cannot begin to satisfy.
“They” say that what you’ve never experienced you could never miss.
That is not true when it comes to the value of the human soul! I believe you are the “slight emptiness” in our daughter’s life.

When we married we promised to love, serve and protect each other well.
When you passed that night at that intersection I was able to come say goodbye. Once again I promised you I would love, serve and protect our family well and that I would make sure our daughter would be born into love and light, not tragedy or negativity. My promise to both you and our daughter is ever present in our lives today.
I do not believe that a vow dies when one spouse has to physically live on this earth without the other.
I believe that love goes on just in a different form; I have vowed to show our daughter just this.

I will always honor your memory through THE MARK WANDALL FOUNDATION (http://themarkwandallfounadation.org). I will educate and raise awareness regarding traffic safety and compliance through the NATIONAL COALITION FOR SAFER ROADS.(http://ncsrsafety.org) I will always make sure that the Mark Wandall traffic safety act is protected! “Those” that do not believe cannot stop me! Your love is much bigger than any of the negativity that people throw at me. I will continue to inspire and educate people on the value of life insurance and that LIFE INSURANCE TRULY EQUALS LIFE ASSURANCE! You were a gift to the financial industry! You “practiced what you preached.” You are a legacy in the Industry that you loved so much.

Through all of our causes I will show Madisyn Grace how great her father was in this life! I will show her what love truly is and never to accept anything less than the love that her father and her mother shared!

Love is a gift to be never taken for granted.
Our love together was not long enough and in fact it was way too short
but I will take that love and be grateful for it because most are never privy to experience a love like ours in a lifetime.

Your loss was my greatest fear in this life.
I miss you. I love you in so many ways! I am completely shattered and lost without you but I have truly been “Marked by Grace.” If that is the gift that I am given in this lifetime then I will take it, be grateful for it and share it always.
Continue to guide and support me. Help me to never lose faith, to always be on the side of hope and forever surround me with Grace.
May your gracious love always be present! I will forever be grateful for your life, your love and the resiliency to keep moving through each and every moment without you.

Today I celebrate you my love and the gift of love you so profoundly bestowed on my heart.

*There was never a moment in our lives where we were not laughing, loving or taking care of each other!
The pictures included in this blog are a grand, simple example of this.