Left Behind

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Left Behind
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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No one wants to be that person, the one who gets left behind. Sooner or later we all have that experience and it never feels good. Whether we are left by choice, by divorce or by death, being left behind is hard and it is a scary feeling.

We build our lives with others, we have friends, we have families and we have our pets. When they leave and we are left behind we feel that void. That special place they once held now is an open space.

Our bichon Chipper is grieving his sister Happy who passed over just a few weeks ago. We have never heard such deep intense cries from him in all our seven years with him.

Every time when of our children grew up and left home, we almost immediately replaced them with a furry baby. Each dog has held our heart much like our young children once did, today we grieve Happy. It drives home again, that feeling of being left.

Yet with Happy is was a soft pain and loss because we have so many happy memories with her. She was just so easy to care for and to love. It was natural.

“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.” – Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

From day one my husband Brian and I acknowledged that one of us would be “widowed” again, one of us would know that feeling again … that feeling of being left behind. We do everything in our power to honor all the time that we share together by living our best life and living it as centered and honest as possible.

So many people live within us… we remember … we grieve… we rejoice …we are better for having known them and loved them …

Each of us finds that day when we move past the loss … past the grief … and truly celebrate what once was and what was once shared. We learn once again that life is for the living and that we must live it!

“If you focus on what you left behind, you will never see what lies ahead.” – Gusteau, Ratatouille

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

When Your Holiday Season is Shaping Up to be Less Than “Norman Rockwell” Like

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When Your Holiday Season is Shaping Up to be Less Than “Norman Rockwell” Like

By Bernadette A. Moyer

“Tis the season!” For some people and some families the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are wonderful and a time for cheer and for celebrations. And for other people it may be a time of dread.

Recently I read a social media post that stated “wish I could just fast forward to January” they knew they would struggle with the holidays and with their fractured family and broken heart.

Sometimes the dread comes from a job loss or an illness or a death in the family. Many adults with children feel extra pressure to provide a “magical holiday” experience for young children while on a very tight budget. We see images on television and in our stores of abundance and an expectation that we can and will all afford these celebrations. Truth is some people just can’t do it, they can’t keep up because of their finances or because of their grief and sadness.

What we need to remember is that although the holiday season is often dubbed as “the most magical time of the year” this isn’t necessarily the case for every single person. Some people actually suffer from the “holiday blues” and for them this could be the saddest time of the year. Even in families where it appears to be “Norman Rockwell” like, it isn’t always perfect.

I’ve had absolutely great holidays and I have had a few where I just wanted to pull the covers over my head, go to sleep and wake up when it was all over. One year I had no family, no money and was starting all over in my career and at that time I had a little girl that was counting on me to make it special.

There was another year just months earlier we experienced a child estrange and this could have potentially thrown us all into a holiday funk, but it didn’t.

The first sad Christmas I experienced, I vowed it would never happen again and that year I made food, we went to the first screening of a newly released film playing in a local historic theater. And then by 9:00 in the evening we were snug in our beds. The next day I woke up refreshed and stronger for the experience. That year was the bench mark for what I never wanted to happen again. My heart wasn’t right and I was just so sad.

The year of the recent estrangement we changed all traditional holiday plans and headed to Key West, Florida. According to our son it was “the best Christmas ever!” Christmas day we were sitting on Smathers beach taking in the hot sunny weather. Not at all traditional for a gal born and raised in the Northeast but still a happy holiday spent with my husband and our son.

You can and you will get through the holidays and I am convinced that the sad ones are designed to make us appreciate all the happy ones. I also believe the sad ones serve as a shake-up that it just may be time to try something new and different for the holiday season.

Remember not every person out there is happy and having an easy time of it. Holidays bring about past memories with family and friends. Some for happy memories and some may drive home for us the void left from our lost loved ones.

Tips for Handling the Holidays Alone

  1. Don’t pressure yourself, go with your own flow!
  2. Take in the FREE sites, shopping malls and heavily decorated areas may make you feel better.
  3. Grab a coffee or a meal out, learn to be alone and to be okay with it.
  4. Churches have all kinds of Bazaars and cookie sells, support them and take home a few treats.
  5. Volunteer at a hospital, or food kitchen or pet rescue center.
  6. Go to the public library and stock up on must reads and films to view.
  7. Write! Write letters, cards, poetry, notes, express yourself!
  8. Contribute a toy for “Toys for Tots” or other meaningful charity.
  9. Go see a new movie, a new play or a live concert.
  10. Gather with friends and family and people that love you!
  11. Make new traditions and travel.
  12.  Don’t want to be in the public? Pamper yourself.
  13. Stock your refrigerator with healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Exercise. Walk. Move about.
  14. Take long hot bubble baths.
  15. Get your music, books and movies stacked up and ready so that when the holidays arrive you have your entertainment choices at your fingertips.
  16. Sleep! Often when we are sad and depressed we are lacking proper rest. Give yourself permission to sleep it off.
  17. Paint a room or engage in a mini home improvement project.
  18. Do something productive, the end result will make you feel better. Go to the gym and start your New Year resolutions early.
  19. Make cookies, make food. Create healthy dishes with vegetables and fresh fruit.
  20. Can’t afford to travel? There are amazing television shows and archived libraries that have travel destinations recorded for viewing, imagine yourself there!

No matter what is going on in your life and what circumstances you find yourself in this holiday season, just know that this too shall pass. Sometimes a down year is just what we need to inspire us for the next year. Not every holiday season is going to be “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Count your blessings, find gratitude in what you have, focus on what you have now and not on what has been lost and you are sure to find the holidays as peaceful as they can be. And if this is the holiday season that grief prevails, remember that grief can be a gift. You can and you will make it through the holidays …

Grief teaches us many life lessons and tears are the shedding so that the old can be let go and the new may be embraced. After the rain, the sun always returns and so often shines even brighter!

The holidays are coming, so what is your favorite holiday movie? Or your favorite holiday music?

For me, I love the movies; The Holiday and The Family Stone and for the classic movies; Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life. And for Christmas music I enjoy Aaron Neville’s version of Such a Night and when Bing Crosby teamed up with David Bowie for Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Remember 2018 is a New Year and a chance for all that is good and wonderful, believe it and receive it!

Feel free to share your story by writing me at bmoyer37@aol.com and “like” my page at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer