The Art of Living Lost: Oh Good Grief!

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IMG_6054Thursday, November 19th was National Children’s Grief Awareness Day.  In honor of the people who lovingly dedicate their time to support our grieving children, I’m re-posting a BLOG I wrote describing our personal grief experience.

So, is there such a thing as Good grief?  Good food?  Yes.  Good wine?  Absolutely!  But Good grief, who knew?  As parents of triplets, Chris and I were a team; disciplined and organized.  Three babies, two parents?  No problem. Changing, feeding, dressing, reading, math, history; somehow, we got it done.  After Chris died, I wondered how I would adjust to raising kids, managing a home and running a business.  When it came to grief, we just ambled along.  I asked the kids questions from the age appropriate checklists.  Are you angry?  Are you depressed?  Do you understand that Dad is never coming back?  No, no and yes.  We were fine, right?  Life went on.  So what if I cried in the car every day and I took five-hour naps? We still got up, got dressed and did homework.

We. Were. Fine.

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The Art of Living Lost: P.S. I Love You!

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Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand. – Patti Smith

Last year this quote added a bit of a tail to the drifting kite that was my life.  At the time, I didn’t know who Patti Smith was but I made a vow to personally thank her for the light she brought into my life.  Fast-forward, I’ve repeated the quote many times and when I sat to research Patti, I realized the full genesis of her quote and immediately fell in love.

For those of you who don’t quite understand the artistic differences between Patty Smyth, Patti Scialfa and Patti Smith, let me explain; Patty Smyth is the artist who’s famous for the songs The Warrior and Goodbye to You.  Patti Scialfa is the stunning red-head that was the first permanent female member of the E-Street Band. The Patti Smith who initially voiced the prophetic quote at the beginning of this BLOG is a true Renaissance woman.  She’s a painter, a poet an author and a singer. She’s a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister and a friend.  In 1978 she released Because the Night a song she co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen.  Bruce would go on to re-release the song in 1986 followed by a rendition released by 10,000 Maniacs in 1993.  Ironically, Patti’s resume as a musician doesn’t come close to describing the genius of the person I met on Saturday at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. [Read more…]

The Art of Living Lost: He Had Sugar

51lbs of Halloween Candy, 2015

If you live anywhere north of exit 145 on the Garden State Parkway you know that when I say, “he had sugar” I’m talking about diabetes.  In honor of National Diabetes Month, I thought I’d throw out a few words on the topic of “sugar”.  According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.  29.1 million people have diabetes and, it’s currently projected, that at least 1 in 3 people will develop the disease in their lifetime. [Read more…]

The Art of Living Lost: The BEST Job Ever!

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IMG_5782What would you do if you could do anything?   This was a question I asked myself on my seemingly endless road to self-discovery.  Once upon a time, I was a successful career woman and that achievement afforded me the opportunity to travel all over the world.  I learned about business and economics first-hand and met the extraordinary people who would one day comfort me through the great storm of bereavement.

However, that was the old me.  The new me wanted the freedom to raise my kids and just-BE-myself.  It was with this in mind that I decided to pursue one of my dream jobs, Fright-Fest ghoul. Yes, I said it, GHOUL!

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The Art of Living Lost: Secrets Behind the Fall of Wonder Woman

My friends call me Wonder Woman, which always makes me laugh because while they find me unique in what I can do, they never write to Regis and Kelly or Kelly and Michael extolling the graces of my life well lived. Instead, they secretly fuel my need to be everything to everyone. Or more accurately, they make me believe it’s admirable to be a crazy woman – working, loving, and caring for all the things in my life until I privately crash with exhaustion. It’s this collapse that has inspired me to share the details of my descent into overwhelming loss revealing how that experience helped me discover my true strength; appreciating that the best thing about being lost is the joy you discover along the way!

When my husband Chris passed away in January, it was the end of a defining chapter in my life. He was one of the few people who knew me; he gave me the courage to be big and bold and understood that behind the big, was the small. I met Chris when I was 24 and we dated and were married for 23 years. I only mention this as a point of comparison; in the 24 years I lived before Chris, I learned to walk, talk, ride a bike and drive a car. In the 23 years I lived with Chris, I learned to earn an income and to be a wife and mother. After Chris died there was such a fundamental shift in my existence; many of the pieces of my life no longer fit together.

The good news is, that while parts of my soul were seemingly torn away, other bits grew in their place. Words like fortitude, honor, freedom and strength tiptoed into my vocabulary. It’s hard to watch your husband be zippered into a bag and taken away by the coroner. It’s harder to tell your children, “your fathers dead”. That’s fortitude. Expecting your mother-in-law to live with you and share in the joy of your kid’s lives forever, that’s honor. Buying a home based solely on your earned income to debt ratio; that’s freedom. Getting out of bed every day; that requires a strength that even I can’t describe.

Welcome to my joy-filled journey.