Week of Mar. 18th

My Goal this Week in Learning 2 Love & Be ConnectedHonestly, I did not set a goal for myself this week. But nonetheless, there are lessons to be learned, if you are open for them and I believe I am…

My Experience this Week: This is the first week since my New Year’s Resolution to begin this journey of Learning 2 Love and Be Connected that I haven’t set a goal for myself. The past few weeks have been so emotional for me, with losing an Aunt and my husband losing his Grandmother. But I was also dealing with the 5th Anniversary of my Dad’s passing (read post from Week of Mar. 11th for background) plus trying to celebrate my birthday. So, when Sunday came around to set my goal for the week, my heart just wasn’t in it.

The interesting thing about being on this journey is that the concept of “loving and connecting” is always on my mind and in my heart as I go through the routine of daily life. I have felt a shift in how I perceive and relate to people and the world around me but also realizing how much I am connected to…everything! So as I stated above, although I didn’t have a goal set, there are lessons all round us if we are open to them. Being on this journey has opened my soul in ways I had not expected.

So, midway through this week I received some not so pleasant news that my Oma (Grandmother) was in hospice care again. She has been ill for some time with Congestive Heart Failure and Alzheimer’s but still able to have a meaningful life. At first, this news, although unsettling and sad, did not spark an overwhelming sense of loss in me. It sounds heartless when I write those words but honestly, I am not really close with that side of my family – at least not as close as I am with my Dad’s side. And the details surrounding the reasons why are not important but the feelings of semi-abandonment or neglect (for want of better words) were suddenly in the forefront of my heart.

I started asking myself why I felt this way. When I called my Aunt to see how things were going and I was able to talk to my Oma, I started crying. Not just from feeling sad that her time on this earth might now be limited but also from a desperate feeling of longing – longing to feel loved and important. She immediately remembered me and during those brief moments, I told her I loved her. Then like a flash she was gone and didn’t know who I was but I felt blessed that I at least was able to get those words out.

Growing up I always felt that somehow my Mom, sister and me weren’t as important. It seemed like all my Oma’s energy, attention, love and money were spent on other family members. Almost like we were wicked step children. Those feelings have made it so difficult for me to desire a connection with them and I have not allowed myself to work through those feelings and be honest with myself or with them.

So once again, my goal became to reflect and pray. As I started thinking about the past, how things developed, how I felt and what I needed to do or say in order to feel a sense of closure so I would have no regrets – I remembered something that Marianne Williamson had said during an interview with Oprah on the series Super Soul Sunday: “Only what you are not giving can be lacking in any situation”.

That is a powerful statement. I mean think about…as an adult, anytime you have felt wronged, hurt, alone, angry, betrayed, etc…what were you not giving that contributed to the outcome? I can honestly say that I have never told my Oma how I felt. And I certainly didn’t make any extra efforts to connect with her because I was too busy asking myself why she wasn’t trying to contact me and be a part of my life. Hmmm…at what point do you give up trying? Well…my Dads motto during his whole ALS struggle “Never, never give up!!” And if I am honest with myself…I did. Not only did I give up, I was too stubborn and settled in my hurt that I neglected to be the bigger person.

So now the challenge becomes what to do next. Perhaps try to make a trip to see her and hopefully she remembers me? Should we spend some time just being together or talk about my feelings? Not sure…I guess time will tell. Prayer and meditation do wonders at providing answers if you are patient (not one of my strong suits).

For now, on this journey to Love more deeply and be more connected…I have to be strong and own my piece of how I feel and why. Embrace it and realize my feelings aren’t wrong, they just “ARE” and I can choose how I feel at any moment. So I can choose to let go and just LOVE!

~ Hoping you find a way to be connected ~

🙂 Victoria

 (Please also check out My Poetry page for an update)

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Me and My Oma

 

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Week of March 11th

My Goal this Week in Learning to Love & Be Connected:
This week’s goal was to embrace the joyful memories of my father and allow myself to feel the sadness from remembering that this week is the 5th Anniversary of his passing. But also find a way to be happy and enjoy my birthday.
My Experience this Week:
My father passed away the night of March 14th five years ago, the night before my birthday. It always amazes me how much that day still affects me. Just when I think I will breeze through it, the morning comes with sadness and grief because I still miss him so much.

He survived for 3 weeks when the doctors gave him 1 to 2 at best. But that was my Dad. He always said “doctors don’t know anything, they’re just “practicing” medicine”. He always knew in his heart and truly believed in his own power to make things happen. So it didn’t surprise us at all that he lasted 3 weeks. Just like when he was diagnosed with ALS and was given 2 to 3 years to live…he knew he would put up one of the strongest fights ALS has ever seen. And he certainly did…more than 17 years in fact. I am still blown away by his courage, strength and faith through all the ups and downs.

I can still remember the last night I was with him in the hospital before we brought him home. It was just him and me…he had fallen asleep watching the history channel (one of his favorites besides old western movies) so I used the remote and changed the channel to something I wanted to watch. He immediately woke up, looked at me and said “Hey, I was watching that”. I said “no, you were sleeping”, to which he replied “I was just resting my eyes”…LOL…if I had a dime for every time I heard that I would be rich by now. We laughed and started talking about “stuff” – we always talked about everything going on in my life and he would give me advice – this night was no different. He always knew just what to say.

And one point, he looked at me and asked me what was wrong. I started tearing up and said “I’m not ready. There is still so much we need to do. What about my wedding?”. He held my hand and said “I’m sorry sweetie. Everything is going to be okay, you will be fine and I know I don’t have to worry about you. Don’t you worry…I will be there on your wedding day”. I said “it’s not fair” and started crying, holding his hand and resting my head on his arm while he went back to sleep. I sat there watching him breath for what seemed like hours and I started asking myself and God how I was ever going to deal with this. How was I going to have the strength to say good-bye, to take him home knowing this is the last time, to let our family and friends know what was happening, to witness his last breath, to have a funeral, to say a eulogy, to watch a burial, to live without him. How, how, how?

I always thought that after more than 17 years of preparing myself for that day it somehow would have been easier. But it wasn’t. Loss is loss and a broken heart is broken whether you knew it was coming or not.  Those last 3 weeks were some of the most blessed, fun, scary and depressing days of my life. To say I was close to my Dad is a huge understatement. He was always tough on me but he truly was my best friend in so many ways. And I will always be grateful!

So this week, in my year long journey of learning to love more deeply and getting more connected, I wanted to spend time in quiet moments just thinking about him and letting the feelings come – whatever they were. And in the quiet stillness I could feel him near me, and I could hear his voice saying “everything is going to be okay, I am always with you”. The message was so clear and so overwhelming I just cried. But not all the tears were for sadness, because I also felt a slight reassurance that he is not far – that he is watching over me and my family in ways he never could when he was on this earth. And when little miracles happen in my life I can’t help but wonder if he is helping the stars align for me to make them happen.

The second part of my goal was enjoying my birthday. For the 5th year now I have mourned my father on the 14th and then tried to wake up on the 15th in a joyous mood to celebrate my birthday. Each year it has been a little easier and somehow I am able to smile and enjoy my day. Perhaps a little help from him and the Holy Spirit! But I also think it’s because I try to focus on how much fun he must have had celebrating my birthday for so many years. Now that I have a child of my own, I totally get how happy that day is when you remember your little baby coming into the world. I also have amazing family and friends that try to make my birthday special and I am so, so blessed!

This year my birth-DAY turned into a birth-WEEKEND…I was able to spend time with almost all the people I love and care about starting from Friday to Sunday. I felt so LOVED and honored to have so many wonderful people in my life that wanted to spend time celebrating with me. It was a very special weekend and I felt my Dad enjoying it with us! I don’t know if this time of year will ever be “easy” for me and I have no idea if being without my Dad will ever get easier, but knowing that when I am still and quiet, I can connect with him anytime I need him, and in a small way it helps to ease the sadness. The love we shared keeps us connected…always…

I love you Dad and miss you!

🙂 Victoria

Week of Mar. 4th

My Goal This Week: Well…as they say “the best laid plans”…I had a goal set for this week and by Wednesday life had other plans and things changed. So my goal for “learning to love” this week became: get through the week as best I can.

My Experience This Week: On Wednesday this week we found out one of my Aunt’s passed away. Although it was not a huge shock as she was in her nineties but still not expected as she was full of life and vigor. I actually had not seen her since my wedding shower a few years ago. But nonetheless, the news was sad and was harder the more I thought of her.

Technically speaking, she was not an Aunt by genetics but she was my grandmothers’ best friend (for decades) and we all grew up calling her our Aunt and it certainly felt that way. And like my grandmother, she was the sweetest woman you would ever want to meet. She had a way of making you feel special when she was in your presence – like you were the most important person in the world to her at that moment. That is a rare gift. She loved life, loved to dance, laugh, play the slots and have fun. She always called you sweetheart, honey or some other endearing nick name and was always concerned with what was happening in your life. She will be greatly missed but perhaps now we all have another angel looking out for us and maybe helping us win a few dollars at our next gambling venture.

But then, just as we were wrapping our arms around that news, we learned that my husbands’ grandmother had passed away. His family had been caring for her and visiting her for weeks as they knew she was nearing the end of her earthly life. But although she was in her nineties as well, it was still very difficult news. Being there for my husband and his family as much as I could became the second goal for the end of the week.

Upon hearing the news, we immediately drove to his Aunt’s house to be with his family for those precious final moments. Saying good-bye is so painful – even if it’s only good-bye for now. When you care so much and see your loved ones going through this pain – you wish there was a way to take it away. Especially if you have been there before and know what they are going through. But all you can do is comfort, hold and share your love with them while they work through the process of grieving their loss.

But what I was not expecting this week was the memories all this brought back of the loved ones I have witnessed in their last moments and how much I still miss them no matter how much time as passed. My dad used to say when I experienced pain or loss growing up “sweetheart, time has a funny way of healing all wounds”…so funny that now I can understand what he meant. All wounds heal over time, but the deeper the wound, the large the scar left behind. When it comes to the most special people in our lives, the deeper we love them, the deeper the scar their loss leaves but healing is still in progress under the surface.

My father was already ill with ALS when my grandmother passed away. So, we knew we were on borrowed time where he was concerned. Watching him grieve for his Mom, I can remember thinking “how am I going to get through this when it’s my dad?”. The only answer I have is by the grace of God. We all experience different forms of loss in our lives and somehow, from somewhere, the strength we need arrives and we can do things we never thought were possible.

I guess the ultimate end result or lesson for me in learning to love this week is that by the grace of God we are all connected to each other, to God and to everything around us. Because of that connection we can never be separate from God, each other or everything around us. There are times I feel more connected to my grandmother and my dad now because their souls are limitless and connected to mine in a powerful way. There are times, when I still miss them tremendously and some days it’s harder than others but I do feel blessed in the comfort of knowing they are able to offer guidance and a helping hand in my life more now than ever and the more I connect with that love of them, the more little miracles I witness in my life that could only have come with a little help.

~ Hoping you are staying connected ~

🙂 Victoria

Week of Feb. 25th

My Goal this Week:  Well, in the past weeks I was working on a really big goal that was very emotional, draining and uplifting all at the same time (read previous weeks goals for background if you are just joining). So this week I chose to slow things down and simply meditate and pray for continued “release” from the feelings I let go during the previous goal.

My Experience this Week:

This week’s goal didn’t have the same concrete resolution that I experienced in the prior week’s goal but nonetheless I did learn something unexpected.

When I was pondering the idea of writing this blog I knew it would be a risk. After the 2nd post I realized how much I am opening myself up to the world in a way I normally don’t with my closest friends or family. That feeling of intense vulnerability is scary at times. But when I came up with the idea of setting weekly goals to really challenge myself to Love more deeply and connect with the universe, God and all that is out there – my plan was to set goals throughout the year and keep a journal for my own growth. So I thought “why not journal about it through a blog?” But once I got started and realized how personal these goals would be and how intertwined they are with my family, my friends, my life, etc. I second guessed myself. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea?

But a little voice inside me said to go for it…so here I am! I think often times we don’t listen to that “little voice” inside – which is really the voice of God, the highest power of all that is, trying to lead you on the right path. That book that 4 friends have mentioned to you, that program that was on when you were flipping channels and you learned something or heard something you needed to hear, that person who you thought of twice and suddenly calls you – these are not coincidences – they are the inner workings of a master plan and if you try to connect to that power more (through prayer, meditation, quiet time, etc.), you will see more of them!

This week brought me to a realization that even shocked me! And because this is all so personal, I intentionally leave names and event details out of my writing. Those details aren’t as important as the end result anyway. Plus the last thing I want to do is hurt anyone’s feelings. I knew these posts would reach my family and wondering what they would do or say weighed heavily on my mind and heart. Then I thought, perhaps that is where my true growth will come from?

This week I received a message from a family member about my blog that challenged me in a whole new way. The message wasn’t from anyone I would expect. In fact, it was from one of the people that were part of my “letting go of past feelings” goal from the previous 2 weeks. This person was following my blog and wanted me to know, in short, that they “were proud and forgave me”. Now I have to say that when I first read that message I took a deep breath and couldn’t even speak. At first I was incredibly angry (my immediate reaction is to FIGHT back and defend….remember?) and I thought of a thousand things I wanted to write back in a message. And to be perfectly honest, none of the things I wanted to write were very nice.

After all, I was the one with all these feelings I was trying to let go and work on forgiving other people. Honestly, I was totally upset that this person had the nerve to tell me they forgave me! If I did say or do anything, I was only defending myself – right? Well, seeing my face, my husband asked me what was wrong and after we chatted I went upstairs to calm down. I ended up calling another family member that I am close with and we discussed my feelings for a few minutes and the advice I received was certainly not something I felt I could do…..nothing. “Nothing” I thought…that’s crazy! I have to do something, right?

After I hung up, I sat in our bedroom, closed my eyes, took a deep breath and prayed. “I am so hurt and angry” I mumbled and then I said “Holy Spirit, I am open and willing to see things differently”. This was a prayer that Marriane Williamson talks about in her book “A Return to Love”. And I now say this prayer quite often. And believe it or not, it really does work.

I literally only prayed for couple minutes when the answer came to me like a flashing light. This person that sent me the message has a journey and a path all their own. Just like me. And if along the way, during a time when our lives intertwined, they felt that they needed to forgive me for something I did or said that hurt them, who was I to take that away? Who was I to say that their feelings were wrong? That they don’t deserve the same peace of forgiveness that I am trying to experience. Maybe I did and maybe I didn’t do anything “wrong” – each person’s reality is their perception of the life around them. And in their perception, they needed to forgive me for something, for what I am not certain, but I do know that their journey is not for me to judge, control or try to explain. We all do what we know how to do at the moment. (Wow, that is a powerful statement when you think about it.)

Coming to that final place and having the strength to not respond was very powerful for me. (I really like having the last word…the Pisces in me perhaps, or maybe a trait I inherited from my Father who always got the last word, LOL). I am sure I will have more opportunities in the future to learn to LOVE rather than to fight and defend…but I know now that I have it in me to choose my battles more wisely and to stop and pray before I react or respond to things that have such an adverse effect on me (which usually means a lesson in at hand). A prayer for guidance and the willingness to see things differently provides more strength than I could have imagined.

I hope all of my friends and family know that I am truly blessed to have been through all the good and the bad in my life because it made me who I am today! I wouldn’t change a thing – everything was for a purpose – a higher purpose. We are all here to learn the lessons needed for our souls to reach a higher state of being…a higher state of consciousness…a higher state of LOVE. After all, God is LOVE! I am on a journey this year and love sharing it with all of you – I love you all!

~ Be connected ~

🙂 Victoria

Week of February 18th

My Goal this Week:  Actually, if you are following this blog weekly, it is the same goal as last week (Feb. 11th) – to release the feelings of the past by burning my “journal” and trying to let go. Such a large goal – it took 2 weeks.

My Experience this Week:  For the full detailed experience during this goal, please read the update for Week of Feb. 11th – I wrote about both weeks at one time. This was a huge goal and I didn’t want to separate the experience into 2 different posts. Thank you for caring and following my journey!

~ Be connected ~

🙂 Victoria