When We Are Dying We Will Embrace The Love Of Those Around Us

It’s a brisk September morning. The chill in the air is minimal, but after a 90 degree day it feels freezing. A few yellow leaves drop to the ground as I walk with my daughter. The kids are back in school so there is much activity. Many dogs accompany their families on the walk, and we see many bike riders pass on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail outside of DC.

It’s mornings like these that I treasure. Walking my children to school, talking and laughing along the way, saying hello to passing friends and neighbors. Life is fleeting, my children are growing so fast, time is so precious.

I come home to a quiet house, the silence is both welcoming and unsettling. I pet our bunny Peanut and hamster Zaychu to remind myself that I am not all alone.

I think for a few moments about death because September 25th will be the one year anniversary of the day I almost died from multiple bilateral pulmonary embolisms. I am so grateful to be alive, but am still haunted by that day. I am still trying to recover both physically and mentally.

I look at the devastation that is going on in Houston, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and once again I am reminded of my blessings. I sip my chamomile tea as thousands of people are struggling to find drink, food, shelter and clothing.

We never know when tragedy will strike. We never know when we will require assistance. We never know when our last day will come.

That is something that we all have in common. That is what makes us human.

I remember the tough year I just had, and see the tough times many people in the world are facing, and I feel saddened.

Then I look up from my keyboard and witness the humanity, courage and love that always follow each and every tragedy. Each and every personal loss.

It is like a tide that ebbs and flows throughout our lives. Sometimes we’re up. Sometimes we’re down. But, hopefully we will have loving friends, family and community members around us as we tread carefully through this life.

There are constant reminders of the fragility of life. There are constant reminders of the heroes and helpers who help us pick up the pieces.

They are there without a moment’s notice. They are not there to seek accolades. They are just there to help.

If we all try to be like them, then our world will be a much better place.

When we are dying we will embrace the love of those around us. When we are dying we will think about whether or not we made a difference in other people’s lives. When we are dying we will think could we have done more? Could we have loved more?

The answer is always yes.

We can always do more to make ourselves and others happy. We can always do more to make others smile. We can always do more to help our neighbors who are without food, shelter or healthcare. We can always do more by standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

One year ago I almost died.

This anniversary means so much to me. I will raise a glass to old friends and new. I will hug my family and celebrate that I’m still here. I will try my best to appreciate each new day that I’m given. I will try my best to help others however and whenever I can.

I will think about what will happen when I die a little more often now after surviving my blood clots.

When I die, I know it will be with a clear conscience and a full heart. But that time is not now.

Now, it’s time to live.

 

 

 

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Nothing’s Gonna Change Our World…Unless We Do

‘I read the news today…oh boy’ – Manchester looks like its been at war.  ‘A crowd of people stood and stared,’ they’d seen terrorism before. Beatles lyrics are currently racing around my head, music is my comfort today.

Twenty-two people killed, including children as young as eight years old. More than fifty injured. The distressing news just keeps coming. It’s getting so hard to hide my sadness and tears from my children.

How do I protect them from the news? How do I protect them from this increasingly dangerous world?

Images of the Newtown tragedy flash through my brain, as I see a mother cry for her missing daughter. People/children were once again going about their day. People/children were once again murdered.

With no warning. With no reason. With no emotion.

They are now gone. Their families are still trying to find them or find out if they are among the victims. Their families all have our sympathy, our thoughts, and our hearts. We hug our own children safe in the knowledge that they are okay today.

But what about tomorrow?

What new tragedies await all of us?

Today a bridge of pain connects us to Manchester, just like many bridges before. This pain seems unending in recent years. This pain is heartbreaking.

I wish it would stop.

I tell my anxious daughter a few details of the bombing, because I know that she will find out about it at school. I want her to hear my words first. I want her to see my face when I say this is a horrible tragedy, but this is far away, it will not directly affect you.

I never spoke to her about how I was in New York City on 9/11. How I walked for miles among traumatized ashen people. I never told her that her Aunt lost her best friend in the bombing of Pan Am 103, and worked in Tower One of the World Trade Center. I never told her how close to home tragedy has struck. But I have said those words of comfort to her before, about Newtown and a few other tragedies, because I needed to calm her fears.

My words which usually speak passionate truths were carefully edited, carefully cooled down to help her deal with the news. To help her deal with the fact that the safe little world in which she currently exists is shrinking. With each bomb blast, shooting or death from cold hands she will be unwound. Her idea of safety is slowly being liquidated to pay off the debt of her survival. Her artistic brush is forced to paint a picture of a world in frequent mourning, over mornings such as these.

When I was younger I frequently watched the news with my mom. I am not able to do this with my daughter, for it is too often filled with tragic headlines and scary events.

So instead I shield her from as much devastation as I can, surround her with love and comfortable things, and pray she will gain the strength to get through such difficult times.

I let her see me write blogs and poetry often, I tell her that getting out our emotions in a positive way is a blessing and a necessity. She hears the tap tap of the keyboard and the click click of the mouse as I pour out my feelings. I hope she always remembers these sounds. The sounds of subsistence, the sounds that help me get through my toughest times.

I am glad that she has her art to ease her mind. I hope that it always does. I hope that the stroke of her paintbrush can help her survive, thrive and put some color into this often gloomy world.

I often tell her that we should always help others when we are able to. That so many people need assistance, and that there is nothing wrong with asking for it. I tell her that it’s okay to pause her world in order to help someone in need.

After tragedies I feel helpless, sorrowful and weak. I wonder what kind of world we are leaving our children. But watching the kindness of strangers, bystanders and everyday heroes always lifts me up. These people make it possible to see the light in the darkness, the way through the pain.

I want to be one of these people. I am trying to teach my children to be like these people. The light-bringers, the change-makers, the bastions of hope. People who see others as equals and worthy of compassion. People who feel it is our duty as citizens to help lift others up, because they know we will all fall down at some point in our lives.

Manchester needs us now. The world needs us now. We must take a long look in the mirror of truth, and put an end to our apathy. I have been looking in this mirror for years, I am ready to make a difference. I realize that it all starts with me.

And as the tears flow from the sights and sounds of a city that’s an hours train ride from Liverpool, I know that nothing’s gonna change our world – unless we do.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

 

I Will No Longer Be Silent

Last week I read a story about a local Virginia waitress who was given a receipt back from a customer that said “we don’t tip black people.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I couldn’t believe how close I lived to this restaurant, to this horrible racist act. I felt really sad when I read it. Sad for the waitress, and sad for our country.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that it is the year 2017. I knew that Trump’s rhetoric was unacceptable the moment he declared his run for the Presidency. I knew right then that I would never vote for him, nor anyone like him. I did however, expect him to tone it down at some point and at least act like had some humanity. But, as we all know now, he did not. He just keeps getting worse, and he has empowered and given voice to the followers of his that are racist and/or sexist.

I never expected him to win, though technically he didn’t. I had more faith in my country. I never expected so many people to vote for him. I never expected Russia to interfere in the elections, making them void in my opinion. But this is the reality we face now. The question is what do we do about it?

I am a chronically ill person and a mom. I don’t have a big following on social media, and I don’t really care. What I do care about is having a voice and sharing it. I also care about making a difference no matter how small, and helping others when I can.

I grew up in a suburb of New York City. I was shy, neglected, and allowed people to walk all over me. That continued for many years until I finally found my truth. I finally found my voice. I realized that telling the truth does indeed set you free. I found that having a voice and sharing it is very cathartic. It is also necessary, especially now.

There were not many African American children in the area I grew up in. I went to a high school that wasn’t very diverse. It was mostly Irish and Italian Americans. I remember one incident where some of the boys were bullying one of the only African American students for no apparent reason. They were being very cruel and calling him offensive names. I just sat there and watched and didn’t say anything. I was shy and too nervous to speak up, or to stick up for him when it mattered most. After a few teachers came and broke up the altercation, I went over to one of them and gave my account of the situation. I told them that the boy did nothing wrong and was treated very badly. To this day I feel guilty about it. He had no one to stick up for him. I just sat there silent.

Another incident happened when I was looking for an apartment of my own. The landlord said to me “you can’t bring any black people here, the neighbors won’t approve.” I was so broke and desperate for an apartment that I just nodded and said that I was interested in the apartment. Blind acceptance once again.

There are probably more of these incidents from my youth, but these are the two that stick with me. I didn’t have my voice yet or any confidence. I didn’t do the right thing. I didn’t recognize my own white privilege.

Something changed in me after the shooting at Newtown. I completely broke down and had trouble getting over it. I began to heal by recognizing other people’s humanity despite all of the darkness. I struggled to find my own. Where had it been hiding? What had I actually done to help others? I took time to look within myself and I didn’t like what I saw. Though I was a wife and mother, and had a wonderful family, I wasn’t doing enough. I wasn’t using my voice. I hadn’t found it yet. I started writing a lot and it finally became clear who I was and what I wanted to do.

I didn’t want to sit in the shadows anymore. I wanted to continue to find my voice and use it to do some good in this world. My writing is one of the biggest ways I intend to do this. But, as a neighbor, citizen and friend I can do so much more. I no longer intend to be silent.

Silence can shut many doors. It can overcome you and blanket you with guilt. It can cause you to lose yourself and ignore your own truth. It can hurt others, it can cause much pain.

It can allow a harmful, intolerant person to gain much power. It can end relationships, it can end lives, it can ruin democracies.

I am tired of seeing and reading about other people being bullied or harassed just because of the color of their skin, or because of their religious or sexual identities. I am tired of the the rhetoric of our 45th President.

I am just one person. But one person can make a difference. Whether it’s in their own households by raising kind children, or in their communities by not staying silent while others are harassed or persecuted for no reason.

I promise to use my voice for good and to no longer remain silent. I will speak up when I hear others disparaging certain groups of people, or I will walk away when I have to. But I will not participate by remaining silent or nodding my head when I don’t actually agree.

I’ve done that for far too long and I am sorry.

Please join me and we will help to make our country more compassionate and tolerant. One voice at a time. One word at a time. One kind act at a time.

I will no longer be silent…

I Am No One. I Am Someone. My Story of Domestic Violence

Many years ago an ex-boyfriend drove me deep into the woods of a small Connecticut town. It was a beautiful sunny day, and there was a very scenic view. I was enjoying the ride until he said to me “if you ever lie to me or cheat on me, I will bury your body in these woods.”

He then added “and no one will ever find you.”

He spoke these words so clearly and matter-of-factly, as if he had been planning this for months. He was totally serious and made sure I knew it. It was at the point that I knew I would never get out of this relationship alive.

I was dating a man similar to my violent abusive father, the cycle continued. Just like Julia Roberts’ character in “Sleeping With the Enemy,” I had to make a plan and gather the strength and courage to leave him.

We had been dating for a year at the time, and there were many signs of abuse such as yelling at me constantly, pushing, punching, grabbing me so hard that my arms were black and blue, throwing objects at me, threatening me and putting me down often. I slowly recognized these signs of abuse, but was stuck, torn apart, and felt like I had nowhere else to go at the time. Plus, I really felt like I could change him by smothering him with love and kindness. But that never works, people only change if they want to and receive the necessary help that they desperately need.

At the time I was no one. I was just a carpet for others to walk all over. I had no confidence, I had no inner strength, I had no soul. I was just walking down an endless deep dark path, and I never felt so alone.

Due to an abusive childhood, I thought that it was normal to be treated the way my ex treated me for awhile. I thought I deserved it. And like many abuse victims, I thought I could change my boyfriend into a loving man. I believed him each time he said he’d never hit me again, though the look of satisfaction on his face said otherwise.

I would look at other couples who were in love, and wish I was in love with someone kind. Instead I was dating a monster. This monster was very good looking and charming. He fooled many people. He made a fool out of me on many occasions. Nothing I ever did was good enough, nothing I did was ever right. I was constantly walking on eggshells, trying to please him so that I could have some peace.

But, I was fooling myself, for there is never any peace in an abusive relationship, and there never will be. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – “on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.”

I started secretly seeing a psychologist on my lunch breaks in Manhattan. The walks to these appointments were terrifying, but after each one I felt a bit of a release. I was finally able to tell someone, I finally showed my bruises to someone. The look on my psychologists face said it all, and she slowly helped me gain the courage to leave. All of the shame and fear I had been feeling came pouring out, like an endless ball of pain. It was finally unraveling, I could finally breathe again and dream that happiness would someday be within my reach.

Soon after, I left my boyfriend after a heated fight. I ran into some policemen on the walk to my mom’s house, and they escorted me the rest of the way. I did not tell them what had happened.

I had run out of the house, fearing for my life, and left with only the shirt on my back. I had no other possessions, but I had my life and I had my dignity. My family took care of me until I healed, and figured out what to do. I finally told them and my friends what I had been enduring. My ex tried to keep me away from these friends, but once I told them they said to run and never look back.

I was weak and did look back a few times and called my ex out of loneliness and desperation. We even got back together for a few weeks. But the same cycle of violence occurred and we broke up for good soon after. I was lucky that he convinced himself that it was not worth it, and I never saw him again.

I continued counseling for a few years which helped me to figure out a plan. My plan was to be alone for a long time until I learned to really like myself for the first time in my life. I learned to embrace the quiet and treasure my solitude. My hobbies of writing poetry, rollerblading, kayaking, and photography helped save my life. These hobbies filled my time and were my constant companions.

They would never hurt me. They would only enrich my life and help me grow.

These hobbies built up my body and my spirit, and they allowed me to move forward.

Please be aware of all of the signs of verbal and physical abuse. Teach them to your children. Let them know that they cannot treat people this way, and that they should never allow anyone to treat them this way. It is not acceptable to abuse others.

It is true that love and relationships can be hard work. They can have many ups and downs. They require lots of patience and lots of respect. They should, however, be mostly filled with love and happy memories. It should not feel like hard work all the time. You should not change who you are to be with someone.

You should never accept anyone hitting you.

If they do, quietly walk away. Ask others for the support you need and deserve.

You are not a punching bag.

And whether the abuse is physical or verbal, you do not have to stay.

Make a plan, and leave right away or as soon as you can.

It is much better to be alone and alive, than it is to be abused.

Someday, when you are removed from your horrible situation, you will learn from it. You will learn to like yourself again. You will grow and blossom into the amazing human being that you are. You will live again. You will find happiness. Many have walked in these same footsteps. I was one of them. Let us lead the way. You are not alone.

Just keep saying these words over and over until you believe them. Then go ahead and take your life back and learn to live it!

I am someone. I am good. I am compassionate. I am special. I have great worth, and no one can take that away from me. I will unravel this ball of pain that consumes me. I will transform it into a great ball of light. This light will brighten my world. It will lead the way to better things. It will help me move on and be happy. It will help me love again, and share that love with the world. Life is a circle, not a cycle. My cycle of abuse is over. I will not let it overtake me again. I am finally free….

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

If you ever need help you can use the following resources:

  • If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
  • For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or  1-800-787-3224
  • http://www.ncadv.org/

 

 

Yes, Virginia…We Need Stronger Gun Laws

Virginia, throughout America your little friends are crying. They have been affected by their parents, and other Americans, cynicism, divisiveness and apathy. They know the scary things which they see on the news. They comprehend the violence occurring every day on their streets. Their minds are not little. They see the bloodshed. They feel the loss of their innocence. In their great big worlds dreams are being replaced by fear, art is being replaced by a picture of their friends mother crying at their child’s burial. They are not too young to grasp the fact that their classroom closets are now our inept way to cope with the reality of gun violence in our nation.

Yes, Virginia there is a need for stronger gun laws. Those of us who are willing to put politics aside and march toward a safer, more peaceful world know this. Your world should be filled with joy and fireflies, sprinklers and bike rides, carnivals and endless laughter. We should always put you first, and do what we can to protect you from harm. So that your world will be like an infinite poem, one that provides a rhyme and reason for your beautiful life.

We should not turn a blind eye each time we hear a story of another child killed by a gun not stored safely, or by a person intent on doing harm to school children or innocent bystanders. Over thirty thousand beams of light are extinguished each year by a gun. This light should not be forgotten, these flames should continue to burn in each one of us.

Not believe in gun laws? You might as well not believe in the pursuit of happiness which our forefathers fought so bravely for. So many people are fighting every single day for you and your happiness Virginia. They walk the streets, they make phone calls, they attend tough meetings. You may not see them, but they are there just as sure as the princesses that fill your dreams. Many of us choose not to see these unsung heroes, but many of us do and march to the beat of the same drum.

You can take apart this drum and see the rim, tension rods and tuning screws, but you cannot see the depth of the heart that beats for you and for all Americans. These hearts are strong, these hearts are united, these hearts want you and all children/people to be given a chance to lead a full, wonderful life. They believe in stronger gun laws and background checks because they work and save lives, not because of a secret agenda. Their agenda is pain. Their agenda is a mother’s tears. They want these tears to stop flowing. They can see the reality of the situation, but they remain hopeful. They want to fill your world with this hope, and they want you to revel in the beauty of this nation. The beauty of friendship, the beauty of community, the beauty of love.

No gun laws? That was never the intention of our forefathers, for they knew we must create, amend and uphold the laws of our land so that we can all be safer and free. Many years from now, I hope you are able to look back on a wonderful childhood, free from the fear and constraints of a violent society.

We have the ability to make that happen. We are the adults, and yes you should believe in us. You should believe in childhood fantasies and fairy tales. You should walk the streets with a smile on your face, and lots of love in your heart. You should believe that we will keep fighting for you and never let you down.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

* This blog post is inspired by, and follows the format of the famous editorial “Is There a Santa Claus?” which was printed on September 21, 1897 in The New York Sun

 

A Letter to My Children on Mother’s Day

I will always treasure every moment
I spent with you dear child
you are my baby and will always be
through many moonlight miles

I hope your days are always filled
with more happiness than you can accrue
and when I am no longer here
the moonbeams will send my love to you

Dear Children,

While you were in my belly I thought a lot about being a perfect mother. I dreamed of you under a starry sky and a bright full moon. I felt like I had been waiting my whole life for you, and I wanted to make sure you were happy. I pictured being Martha Stewart in the kitchen, having a house worthy of Better Homes & Garden magazine, and endless days of laughter, fireflies and fun.

When you arrived I knew the true meaning of love, and wanted to fulfill these goals more than anything.

What I didn’t know then was that I would not accomplish many of these objectives due to Chronic Illness, Lyme Disease and Anxiety. These dreams slowly drifted away as the pain increased, my brain got more foggy, and my strength diminished.

Though I knew that there was no such thing as a perfect mother, I wanted to be as close to perfection as possible. I set the bar very high, and I could never come close to that goal.

You are my little moonbeams, and I prayed to the moon for your forgiveness.

I read you books when I could, played games when I could, and took you to the park when I was able. I walked many moonlight miles with you, I would walk anywhere with you. I cooked you nice meals, and baked awesome allergy friendly treats as often as possible. I watched the sprinkles fall from your fingers, just like I watched the rapid passage of time.

I thought that despite my health issues, life sure is very sweet.

I would destroy the bar I set, and set a new one. This one would focus more on love than longevity, and more on feelings than frequency.

I would learn to enjoy whatever time we had together, and make memories that would last us a lifetime.

I knew that no matter what, I had already accomplished my greatest goal, bringing two incredible children into the world.

You are incredible.

Never forget that.

You show compassion when others are in pain, you hold your little umbrellas up to me to shelter me from the rain. You sit at the buddy bench with those who need a friend, you live your lives with joy and kindness that certainly does transcend. You help plant our garden with seeds of hope, you help me get by, you help me cope. You are as peaceful as little doves, have taught me the meaning of unconditional love. You are more special to me than words can say, and I will love you til’ my dying day.

I am so blessed to have you in my life.

I am sorry for my shortcomings, or for anything you have missed due to my illnesses and anxiety.

But I am not sorry that you failed to miss what the meaning of life is.

Being kind and true to yourself. Being able to put others in need before yourself from time to time. Spending as much time as possible with those you love. Never taking them for granted, never forgetting to tell them how much you care.  Love yourself, others and the environment. Never stop growing your mind, your heart, your soul.

I am so proud of you.

I am so happy that I get to spend Mother’s Day with you.

There is no one else I’d rather be with. There is no one else like you.

Thank you for all of the joy you have given me, and continue to bring to my life. I hope all that joy comes back to you two-fold.

I hope you will always remember what I have taught you.

Always live your life to the fullest.

Always remember how much I love you.

Always remember that that light that shines within you is greater than the light of any moon.

 

 

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The Race

I have moved slowly my whole life. I have been called a turtle and an Ent among many other things. I have never felt the need to rush, and my lifelong anxiety prevents me from acting quickly even when I try.

I was always one of the slowest runners at school, and the slowest walker on the crowded streets of New York City where I grew up. I cook slowly, I eat slowly, and I get ready slowly. I think slowly, and right now I am typing this blog slowly.

It has always taken me longer than others to get most things done. I was glad when I met my husband that this didn’t seem to bother him. My turtle pace was just fine with him.

When we had kids it was hard for me to keep up with hungry babies, fast moving toddlers, and now busy young children. I adapted and kept up the best I could.

Then I was bit by a tiny tick and developed Lyme Disease. Added on to my already full plate of Anxiety, Interstitial Cystitis, Fibromyalgia, Pre-Menstrual Dysmorphic Disorder, Endometriosis, Vulvodynia, and slow-moving turtle syndrome, I felt completely overwhelmed. It felt like I was caught up in a never ending cycle of Chronic Illness.

How would I get anything done now? How would I get through this?

Slowly. One day at a time.

Lyme Disease completely took over my body and brain for awhile. I have improved about fifty percent over the last 3 years thanks to my doctors and antibiotics, but my brain is still affected, and it is difficult to remember certain things.

There is no cure for Chronic Lyme Disease, and so I continue to fight, and move even more slowly. The waves of Lyme haze run through my brain, and I still struggle to be set free.

There were many days when the guilt of not being enough, and not doing enough for my family was crushing. There were many days when I didn’t have the strength to cook or even take a shower, let alone play with my children.

This guilt followed me around like a shadow on the ground, the writing on the wall. Until I decided to stomp all over it, and to write a new story.

In this story, it is okay to be a sick, extremely slow-moving turtle. I still have worth, I still am able to give and receive love. I strengthened my shell, I developed new goals. I have a new outlook on life.

I decided to feel beautiful inside and out, even though I looked disheveled on most days. I decided to tell my family that I love them at least twice a day. I decided that it was okay to plan one fun thing a week for my kids to look forward to, for me to look forward to. I decided to try hard to brighten other people’s days, or to help others more when I am able to, through my writing and other avenues. I decided that was enough, I was enough.

Though I can’t do as much as I used to since my turtle power is low, I have learned to cherish all that I can do.

All of us move at different speeds. All of us are facing many difficult trials and tribulations. All of us are part of the human race.

We don’t have to win it, we just have to consciously and compassionately be in it.

 

 

What My Neighbors Taught Me During The Blizzard of 2016

I live in Northern Virginia in one of the areas hardest hit by Winter Storm Jonas. My town’s recorded snowfall was 36 inches, but with the snow drifts it was even more.

We were very lucky that we did not experience a power outage in the freezing temperatures, and that our house was stocked with food. My husband is a registered nurse, and we were fortunate that he was off during the storm, because the wonderful emergency and health workers out there have to go to work in any weather condition.

A day after the storm ended, he cleared our front steps and part of our driveway, but the large amount of snow required many breaks be taken. During one of his breaks, a neighbor, who we do not know, proceeded to use his snowblower to clear our entire sidewalk, as well as the sidewalks of many of our neighbors. He did this out of the goodness of his heart. It was a pure act of kindness, and we were all blessed to witness it.

The next day I was so relieved to see that they finally plowed our street. Two of my biggest concerns during the storm was what would we do if the power went out, and what would we do if we had an emergency that required an ambulance, or a trip to the ER?

These thoughts terrified me, and multiplied with each inch of fresh fallen snow. My son suffers from life-threatening food allergies, and I have had to call an ambulance for him recently due to severe croup. I suffer from Chronic Lyme Disease, Asthma, and other chronic conditions, and am often sick or requiring an ER visit. Plus, an accident can happen to anyone, even while at home, and the roads were impassable.

The first day we were barely able to get out the front door, so when that snow was gone, I felt a little less anxious.

The plows had a very difficult time clearing the snow, and worked on our street for what seemed like hours. When they were through a huge pile of heavy snow remained blocking my driveway.

My husband was at work, and I had very few spoons left, but I knew that for our safety, I had to clear the area.

My ten year old daughter offered to help me, but was unable to do it for more than a few minutes. It was hard work removing snow from a huge area of what was now over four feet post plow.

It was a beautiful sunny day, but I wasn’t feeling very sunny inside. I was tired, nauseous from my daily antibiotic, and wishing my husband was home.

Then like a ray of sunshine two of the young high school/college age girls from two houses down came over and said that they were going to help me. I couldn’t believe it, it was incredibly kind of them. When I was their age, I was nice, but in a complacent sort of way. I was wrapped up in my own world and problems, and I don’t think I ever went out of my way to help a neighbor shovel. I was very impressed with these girls and glad that my kids saw them helping me.

snowmaggedon 2016 girl neighbors helping

After a few minutes of shoveling and chatting, another neighbor came over with the kind gentleman’s snowblower (which cleared our sidewalk the day before.) This was a great sight to see, and our mound of snow would be cleared in no time! He removed all of the remaining snow quickly, efficiently, and benevolently.

snowmaggedon 2016 mike & snowblower guy

The street was filled with neighbors helping neighbors, and was as it should be. They all helped each other clear their driveways, and rescue their buried cars. This lasted for hours, and continued after I went inside to rest.

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I’m incredibly grateful to all of them, and appreciate their kindness. They didn’t have to help me, but they wanted to. They represent the good in this world. They are an example of the kind of positive stories/acts that should continue to go viral, to drown out the negative ones.

I will never forget the Blizzard of 2016, and I will never forget what my neighbors taught me:

  • When you don’t have many spoons left, there is always someone to lend a helping hand.
  • We are surrounded by good people, we just have to take the time to realize it.
  • If you have a snowblower, shovel or a smile, you can make help make someone’s day.
  • We should all be considerate, and try to help our neighbors more.
  • For every unkind person, there are many more kind people to make up for it.
  • If you are the recipient of an act of kindness, point it out to your kids, then maybe they will realize its value and strive to give back someday.
  • Heroes are all around us, and are born from everyday acts of grace.

All of us face many storms or difficulties in our lives, some more than others. But if we learn to open our eyes and see the acts of kindness that are born from such storms, we can help each other get through.

We can help this world become a much warmer, brighter place. We can help each other melt any hearts that may have become icy, or burdened by piles of snow.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie/Nuts About My Son

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Ten Things I Want to Teach My Kids in 2016

1. Loving yourself is more important then loving a selfie of epic Kardashian proportions.
2. Being kind is more important than being pop-u-lar like Galinda.
3. Feeling worthy is more important than what you are worth. So when your bank statement is low, your spirits can still be high.
4. Let it go is a good mantra, not just a good Disney song.
5. Being sensitive is a sign of strength not weakness. So be sensitive and don’t Rickroll anyone.
6. Princess Peach can do anything Super Mario can. Lookout 3D World!
7. Darth Vader is cool and interesting, but not a person to emulate. (See #2, and use the force of compassion.)
8. Create your own reality, don’t borrow it from “reality TV.”
9. Love is love, whether you live in a pineapple under the sea, on Sesame Street, or on Main St.
10. Humpty Dumpty cannot be put back together, so don’t tear anyone apart.
Have a safe & Happy New Year!
Kathy ❤
Poetologie

How the Newtown Tragedy Made me a Better Mom

I think all moms remember where they were when the news broke about what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Though it took place three years ago, the memories are still so vivid.

What happened was a mom’s worst nightmare.  It will always haunt my dreams.

I remember counting the minutes until I would be able to pick up my daughter from school that dark day in December.  She was in second grade at the time, and close in age to the 20 young children who were killed.

I never wanted to hug her more.

I never wanted to let her, or my 2 year old son, go.

That night when I put both of them to bed, it was like no night before. Everything had changed.

My senses were heightened, my fear was raised, my love for my children had never been more clear. They were all that mattered, and I was very lucky to be able to tuck them into bed that night.

I turned on the news once they were sleeping, and it was very hard to watch.  I think I cried the whole night through.

The crying lasted for weeks.  I think my husband thought I was losing it.

Though I was very lucky to not have been directly affected by the tragedy, it caused me so much pain.  I had to find an outlet for this pain.  I had to try to do something to help.

I lived about 5 hours from Sandy Hook, so going there wasn’t an immediate option, plus I knew that they did not want many outsiders visiting.

So I started a Facebook page called “Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown.”  The only purpose for this page was to say that I was sorry.  I had never had a page before, and I had no idea what I was doing.  I only knew that I had to do SOMETHING.

I didn’t care how many people saw my page, I would have been happy if only one Newtowner saw it & felt a little comfort from it.  I wrote a poem for Newtown, through many tears. I was glad to have something to occupy my time while I worried about my daughter while she was at school.

My page only grew from there and I was able to reach and talk to many people from the town, and even raised some money for them.  I really didn’t know what to say at first other than I’m sorry, but I managed to find words for the past three years.  I wrote many poems, including 26 individual poems for each beautiful Angel taken too soon.

Through the work on my page, and contact with many residents of Newtown, I have become a much better person and a much better mom.

I followed the stories very closely and watched many news reports. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the grace, humanity and love pouring out of the residents of Newtown, including some of the parents of the victims.

They came together and supported each other through one of the worst events in recent history.  People all over the world sent cards, gifts and prayed for all of them.

The many images of love, began to shine a light on the darkness.

I felt my own darkness lift, as I saw the best of humanity come out to help a broken town.

Watching all of “the helpers” these past three years has really affected me in a positive way.  I started to gravitate to these stories more, and it has managed to change me in many different ways.

I now seek out inspirational people who are trying to make this world a better place.  I read their stories, I commiserate with them, I learn from their life lessons. They are my heroes and role models.

Many of the families who have lost loved ones at Newtown have started charities or foundations in order to continue their family members legacies of kindness, service and love.  They are managing to help so many children, people, and animals lead better lives. Though they will always be grieving, they have not let this stop them from helping others.

This has truly humbled me and brought me to my knees a few times.  If they can manage to do this after all they have been through, why can’t all of us?

If they can still find hope and see the good in others, after what they have lost, why can’t we?

Many of these families share pictures and memories with the world of their beautiful loved ones.  They are showing us what extraordinary children/people they were.  They are showing us how they are still making a positive difference in the world.  They are showing us what great parents they are.  They are showing us what true love is.

I have learned to open up and share more because of them.  I have learned to be more charitable and search for ways, big and small, in which I can help those in need.

But most of all, I have learned to appreciate my kids more.  My time with them is not guaranteed.  I must make the most of it.  I must show them how to be kind and compassionate by the way I treat them and others. I must tell them often how much I love them, and how much they mean to me.

I will never forget the 26 Angels of Newtown.  I will never forget the lessons I have learned from a little town in Connecticut that was shattered by pain. A town that is still learning how to heal through hope and kindness.

I will always remember what they have lost, and try to make my time here on Earth count.  I will do what I can to make my family and others happy in the time I have left.

I wish more than anything that I could turn back time and make the tragedy never happen.

But I can’t.

So I will continue to love with all my heart….

 

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown

You can find out more about the 26 Angels and their legacies via this link to the family run website:

http://mysandyhookfamily.org/