Losing Happy

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Losing Happy
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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On June 14, 2018 we had no choice but to put our most precious Bichon Frise Happy down. She was in kidney failure and suffering. It was the day before she was scheduled for surgery. It would have been her third surgery for removing bladder stones. The bladder stones never really went away.

Happy was a heart stealer, anyone and everyone took to her. She was regal and intense and sweet. She had a mind of her own, she let you know what she needed and wanted. When you pay attention you really can connect and communicate with an animal.

From the day that we brought her home she was a family member, she was our child, she was our baby. We loved her, we took care of her and we protected her. Happy was smart, she was tuned in and she was sensitive. On a rare occasion if we corrected her, she immediately responded with affirmation of a lick or cuddling up. She always seemed to understand us and we felt that we understood her too.

Happy traveled with us, slept with us, ate dinner with us and was that family member that was always so easy to be with. We joke that we preferred her company over some people that we knew. She was pure delight.

Love is ongoing and a learning experience, we learn to love and we learn to give love and to receive love. Happy was one of our best teachers, as she was easy to love and she freely loved us all in return. The exchange of unconditional love is what we will miss the most. She never failed to greet us with kisses and expressions of happiness to see us.

Happy was a pure bred Bichon Frise and named after our first Bichon Happy, her full given name was Happy Again and that was exactly how she made us feel, we delighted in her, she brought us so much joy and so much genuine love. Real love where you give and you give and it is all given without any expectations.

Our hearts are broken, we are beyond tears, but we know that heaven has a new angel and we know that because of Happy we are better people, who learned to love better and to love deeper and to love without any conditions.

But we are also at peace, we are at peace because we know that we all shared in a good and meaningful and loving exchanges of life and living life. What more could we really have asked for?

We let her physical being go in love because we knew there really was no other choice, but Happy Again will live forever in our hearts, in our memories and in our prayers.

We love you Happy and we already feel the void of the gift of you, the gift of your presence in our lives … RIP sweet baby girl!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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The Lives We Touch

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The Lives We Touch
By Bernadette A. Moyer

lives

My Uncle Lou recently passed on, he was a doctor. He was a huge personality and he loved what he did and was good at it. There is no way to tell just how many lives he touched, how many people he made a difference to and just how many people will remember him now that he is gone.

His obituary states that he was a medical doctor for 61 years. What I remember is a man that truly was larger than life. He was a tremendous support to my mother, his sister. He was always giving; he always had something to offer and to give.

As a little girl I remember the many times he came to visit my grandmother, his mother and times we visited him and his family. These memories are from long ago, yet it is impossible not to think of them with his recent passing.

The only way we do justice to life is by living it to its fullest. He was 88 years old. If I live that long, I will have 30 more years ahead of me, there is nothing like a death to drive home for us just how numbered our days here are, there will be an ending one day.

But how many lives will we touch? Who will remember us upon our passing?

Many years ago a significant death in my life taught me “life is for the living, live it.” And today I would add, “Touch as many lives as you can, and be touched by as many lives too, because that is all that truly matters the most in life!”

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadtteamoyer

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Hurting Hearts

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Hurting Hearts
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Our hearts are broken after witnessing mass murders in Las Vegas, Nevada. Who does this? What kind of a person kills 58 people and wounds over 500 more and why? We want to know why? While we still demand an answer to what kind of “why” response will it ever be good enough. It won’t!

What causes such hatred and anger in a human being that they would go on a killing mission? Prepare for it, plan on it and then carry it out? Thank God most of us will never understand that mindset and those horrific actions.

This story this event is so hard to process and I knew it would be even more difficult when the faces and the ages and the professions of those murdered would be published. These are people who should have had years and years of living life ahead of them. People that have families and friends who are left to grieve their loss and all the while trying to understand why one human being would do this to any other human being. People that should never have died so young were killed as though they didn’t matter by someone who didn’t even know their name.

Most of us will never understand this and that is a good thing, to identify with this crazed mass murdered isn’t normal for anyone that values human life.

Today I cried, it was tears of anger and shock and grief and loss. As if these murders and gunshots of hatred in Las Vegas wasn’t enough we lost an icon rock and roll star who also died unexpectedly and too young. In a recent interview Tom Petty talked about his desire to travel less and do less shows so he could be there for his grandchildren. It was as if he knew how much he missed out on with his own children and acknowledged that this time things would be different, he wanted to be there.

What can we take away from death? What should the lessons be and what should we do next? We can’t control what other people do, we can’t control many things in life except for what we do and how we handle what comes next.

Grief and loss are tremendous teachers and if nothing else they are supposed to drive home that all we really have is the here and now. The way that we treat people says so much about us. Kindness counts. Every single day we are afforded opportunities to respond with love or with hate. It is a choice.

Whatever was motivating and disturbing the Vegas killer he chose to respond with hatred. There is a lesson here. Hate and anger and killing never ever look good on anyone, not ever. There is no justifiable reason for the killing of innocent people. And the cowardly way in which he chose to murder from a distance and to their backs and then take his own life.

Everything in this event is difficult to process …

What should we come away with? How about what can any one of us do? There are two parts here for me; first and foremost we must live all of life to the fullest. Our days here are numbered and we should live like the Tim McGraw song, “Live like you are dying” do the things that matter to you, spend the time with the people that you love, live life without regrets so when the end does arrive, you know that you did live fully.

And the second thing is to check your anger and hate, let it go, use if for the fuel to do good. Hate and anger although normal emotions in humans can be controlled and redirected into something positive. Always try to lead with kindness and with love. Sometimes it is difficult to do but always, always worth it. Something good can always come from something so horrific … if we seek it, we will find it!

“And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter and I gave forgiveness I’d been denying” Country Music Artist Tim McGraw and song written by Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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The Lost Child

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The Lost Child
By Bernadette A. Moyer

lost child

My grandmother on my father’s side, (my nana) lost a son (Jimmy) when he was just seven years old and just weeks after his first Holy Communion. She never got over it. It was an unexpected illness that quickly took his life. I imagine that a part of her died too. She talked about him all the time. She cried about him often.

I was just a little kid that visited her and I knew very little about death way back then, but I sensed enough to know and witness her heartbreak, sadness and uneasiness. She was tormented by her loss. It showed itself in her verbal and consciousness and stream of thoughts and words. Her actions showed intense grief. Today I can’t help but wonder how different her life might have been if Jimmy had not died so young.

The lost child changed her; it changed how she related to everyone including the remaining family members. How did it affect her marriage? How did it affect her relationships with her remaining four children? How much of the way that she was determined how her children became? Really we can never know but I think a reasonable person could agree that everything and everyone in that family was altered as a result of such a loss, like the loss of a child.

We can lose a child to death, to estrangement and to mental illness, where there maybe different types of loss, losing a child brings a wide range of emotions with it. We lose a piece of our hopes and our dreams. We lose a piece of ourselves and a part of our futures.

Mothers put so much of their own wellness on how their children are doing; they want their kids to be healthy and happy. I’ve read somewhere that “a mother can only be as happy as her saddest child.” I sure hope that isn’t true, but I do appreciate the thought.

I’ve never known the death of a child, thank God, but I have known losing a child. My first child was lost to me through estrangement on July 4, 1998. This year marked 19 years, she has been gone longer than I had her. For me she is a lost child. I too grieved her intensely and often talked about her too. I think that we talk about our lost children so that we can somehow keep them alive. It is all so unnatural for any parent to lose a child, regardless of the type of loss and a loss is a loss.

I changed. Initially my world was forced into an upside down position. Everything that I once held so near and dear in my own life like being a mother was shattered. I had to look at myself, I had to look at her and I was forced to look at everything. Being a mother meant everything to me, perhaps more than it should. I was consumed with grief. I went through all the stages from denial to acceptance. It felt like a death to me. A death of my child and a death of a part of myself, today I am different, very different. I see from a broader perspective from more of a life experienced, my head learned much, my heart initially shrank but then as the years passed by my heart grew larger with more acceptance and a greater understanding. Funny how that can happen, but it did.

Remember when the best stories ended with the phrase; “and they lived happily ever after”? After you experience enough life you soon realize that not everything ends with “happy ever after” but that does not mean that your happiness has to end.

You find new and different things that make you happy; you learn over and over again that true and sustained happiness comes from within.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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When the Road Runs Out

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When the Road Runs Out
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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There is nothing like aging to fully comprehend how much road you have already run and that the road is not without an ending. There is a time when the road runs out for each and every one of us. We are born and we will die. It is a given that our life is not infinite but rather has a finite ending.

The older we become the more there is in the rear view mirror. And sadly the less there is up ahead the road that we are on. I’m in a really good place. Less stress and more love are the saving graces in my life today. It all points toward choices.

I owe so much to my husband Brian. He has been my rock and a steady loving partner for 25 years now. Without him, I would never have known true love and the importance of a long lasting committed marriage. I did not witness this growing up, he did. We have had our hurdles. Raising kids was probably the biggest challenge and due to our unique situation we did everything out of order. We had kids, bought the house and then got married. All three kids presented unique challenges and we are lucky to have survived them intact and stronger than ever.

What we are born into and what we experience in our formative years matters. Each child would know the loss of a birth parent. My husband and I would learn early what it meant to have children with a spouse who would never know them and die so young. Their road was cut short. Our lessons taught us to appreciate everyone and everything even more because you never know when you will run out of road.

It seems that it is important to us to have our affairs in order. We both know of each other’s final wishes. We have made peace with things that happened in our lives we accepted the outcomes.

As you travel the road of life, maturing and aging you know longer care about what other people are doing or what they say or think about you because you know yourself better than anyone else. You know that life is precious and that you want to spend it with the people that love you and bring out the best in you. You unhook yourself from people and from situations that are not healthy. You just don’t want to waste your time.

We are 57 years old and traveled on the road for 32 years before we began traveling the road together. Having a life partner that you get along with and genuinely love makes the road so much easier to maneuver. We can’t imagine it any other way.

We look back and we see that a tremendous amount of road has been covered. We have had so many life experiences, so many blessings and in every range of emotions. It has truly been rich.

We look forward and we see the road ahead that contains more travels and more love, God willing. I still make lists of the things we want to do and to achieve. And yes even purchases we still wish to make.

I began my road as an O’Connell girl and although that is where I started from, I could not be more pleased and proud of my road and all that I have become. I would hope that everyone feels that way. And that if you don’t then you should think about making a change and possibly choose another road.

They say that when you are young you read about who just got married and when you get older you read about who died. Our focus shifts, we become so much more aware of both our beginnings and our ending.

On this date 6 years ago, my mother ran out of road when her life unexpectedly ended. Her affairs were not in order. I pray that she has peace and I look forward to the day when we meet up again.

We all know that eventually in this lifetime, we will run out of road … and that is exactly why it is so important to do all the things that make you happy and spend your time with people that add joy to your life …

An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hand

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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And Then We Die …

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And Then We Die …
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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But have we truly lived? We all know that death is a definite, no one escapes it! If I live to be 100, I will only have known and experienced 100 summers and 100 Christmas holidays. It doesn’t seem like that is a whole lot so I have tried my best to live as full of a life as I can live.

When I was widowed at just 23 years old, I learned how quickly and unexpectedly life can be taken away. Through the years I have encountered people who when they learn this fact say, “oh I am sorry.” But for me it was a huge gift. It drove home for me how precious life is and that I wanted to get the full experience out of every single day and every single experience. I learned NOT to take anything for granted, our time here is not a given and it is limited.

I learned to appreciate the here and the now. My husband was also left at just 32 years old, when his wife Stacey unexpectedly died. Together we are mature beyond our years and often associate with people that are much older than us. Our peer group never really got it. Why would they? When I was 23 and declared a “widow” my peers were immersed in living while I was trying to comprehend death.

This “gift” has strengthened my faith in God, my understanding of life and of death. Initially when it first happened I couldn’t understand it. Then one of my older work associates stated, “Find a tree and visit that tree. Visit it in the spring and the summer and then again in the fall and the winter. That is life and that is death.” I learned this almost 30 years ago and it has been the view of life that I have come to understand. We are living and then we die just like that tree I visited in every season and every stage of its life.

When my first husband Randy died I had the following poem, Comes the Dawn, read at his funeral in 1983. I still live by it today. He was the one who shared it with me and it wasn’t that long before his passing that he shared it. Although his death was accidental and unexpected, I have often thought to have shared this with me, he might have known he was coming close to the end of his life and it was his way of saying good-bye.

Comes the Dawn

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security

And you begin to understand that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head held high and your eyes wide open

With the grace of a man, not the grief of a child
You learn to build your roads
On today, because tomorrows ground
Is uncertain for plans

And futures have a way of going down in mid-flight
After a while you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden and decorate
Your own soul, instead of waiting
For someone else to bring you flowers

And you learn that you really can endure
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and learn … and you learn
With every good-bye you learn

(Author Unknown)

Through the years, people have told me, “Your life is so interesting!” Some of it is by design and some of it is purely by life circumstances. However, I can and do appreciate it all. I do my best to squeeze every moment of life out of this life, this life that God has given to me.

As much as we know that death is coming nothing really prepares us for it, or for the loss of the people that we eventually lose to death. My mother was famous for saying, “We live in hope and we die in despair.” I don’t know how I will die but I do know that I do live in hope. I hope and I pray for love, for health, for understanding, for compassion amongst other things and I hope and I pray that when my time ends here on earth I will know that I have lived fully and with few if any regrets.

And as much as I know that I want to live, and to live for as long as I can, and with as much zest and exuberance as I can, I also know “and then we die.”

So let us all live and live fully and with no regrets …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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Inez Totani’s Daughter

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Inez Totani’s Daughter
By Bernadette A. Moyer

Inez

It is coming up on the 5th anniversary of my mother’s death. I am Inez’s daughter, her second born daughter. Yesterday I visited her gravesite. I shed no tears. My heart is filled with love and with peace. My mother had many wonderful qualities as she was a brilliant nurse, an excellent student and a force of life. Her weaknesses were in the men that she chose. Both of her husbands were men who were abusers.

You couldn’t tell her anything once she made up her mind about something or someone there was no changing her mind. Any facts that flew in the face of how she wanted things to be were dismissed and destroyed.

My mother would have been proud of me for standing up against a child molester and for taking a stand. The only problem is/was that the child molester was her second husband.

In my mid-fifties, I no longer need my mother’s approval nor do I really need anyone’s approval. I know who I am. I am Inez and Bernie’s daughter. I am Ariane’s mother. I was Randy’s wife. I am Brian’s wife. But most importantly I am my own person and a really good person.

You never know what you would do in any given situation until you find yourself there. Hind sight is always 20-20. We are a wealth of all our experiences.

Yesterday as I drove through my parent’s small town in Northeast Pennsylvania and the little farm where I spent my early years, I am proud of where I come from as a small town country girl. I know my roots but I also celebrate the full and rewarding life that I later secured for myself.

My parents taught me that if I wanted something I needed to work for it and I have worked for the lovely life I lead. My parents taught me that it is through the struggle that we find enlightenment. My parents taught me to persevere. My parents taught me to have faith, to have faith in God and faith in the world and ultimately to have faith in myself.

On this Good Friday and just a few weeks from the anniversary of my mother’s death I know that my faith is stronger than ever before and that I have forgiven all those who have hurt me and disappointed me. I have forgiven my mother.

I believe that my mother watches over me and that when I do pass through this life, she again will be one of the first people that will greet me. I have faith. I have forgiveness. I have God. I have love.

Being Inez’s daughter is only part of my journey and only part of who I am … I am grateful for my life. I am happy to be here and I thank God that I was able to come out whole and through it all to the other side.

Peace and love …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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