We, us, survivors

Good Morning Lovely Blogland.

I hope life has been treating you well. I hope you are smiling when you read this blog today. I got an email from my sweet daughter…it said  “Mom, do you want to renew your blog domain”???  & so here I am. I feel a tad guilty that I neglect you…(the blog) not my child. I was gifted this blog from her, and, she supported my interest in penning my thoughts, ideas, loses, triumphs and cockamamie analogies. She even mentioned she liked my style of writing.  It’s funny though, I never exposed this blog publically to my family. A few, very few don’t even know I write. A couple of people, maybe,  have read a post or two, most no nothing about it.  I didn’t start out to discover notoriety or fame. I admire the women bloggers, who seem to even earn a decent living doing this! Brilliant and talented women, who have a purpose.  I have a purpose, a thought, an  experience, everyday even.  I manage a full time job, so perhaps my dreams of being a “serious, badass, blogger are on hold…for now at least.

So, just this morning, I am  so, totally, avoiding taking some online quizzes for my job. I have like 6 of them to complete. I put it off to the last minute, being totally overly stressed and pressured at work. I’m in sales, so it’s all about sell, sell, sell.  I try my best and it really takes a lot of focus and time and effort to close deals.  Honestly, my mind and heart are in a different space. I am grateful to have a job. I am grateful to wake up and breathe and see the sun rise. I am amazed that I still wake up and I am able to function. Self realizations, lots of self care has gotten me where I am for today.  Life, and the realities of living with addiction and being a survivor of a suicide loss, well, it changes you….in many ways.

So, this morning, I read a few blogs and was making a Egg frittata/soufflé and it dawned on me. See, LeeLee, your amazing secret talent..like.. you can take 5 ingredients in your fridge, leftovers, veggies, whatever,  and turn it into something awesome. WHY don’t you blog about this recipe? Take a pic or two?  Ahhhhh, how good am I at avoiding the quizzes today!  It’s in the oven, it smells good, I’m feeling accomplished here.

I have been sleeping extra long lately. I read many moons ago, how imperative, important, SLEEP and rest are for grieving and healing. I sacrifice an old movie re run, or reading some articles and dive into my warm bed. Sleep comes easy and I feel better when I sleep soundly.  I don’t recall many dreams, so I am sleeping deeply and restfully. That is a huge part of healing. I always feel for people who have insomnia.

I also try daily to meditate. Practicing breathing is the key to relieving stress.  Same with Yoga. I try and squeeze time every morning to practice both. It centers me, and reminds me to set a daily intention. All of this helps with grief, with moving forward, with acceptance and self awareness. It keeps you mindful, and honest. I seek out women who are gifted and crafted in their practices and dedicated in finding your true self, your inner voice, inner peace, your center.  Women, who care and show me how to self love and self care for my body and mind. I am grateful for my coach, Tina, she has helped me the last year with severe stress and anxiety and healing my broken heart. Her technique in massage, and hypnotherapy and meditation have literally been my life boat. She is now a certified life coach.  My daughter gifted me a couple of sessions for Mother’s day, and I met this angel of light and mercy.  I can’t ask for much more today than that.  I do have a wish list, I do have secret hopes and prayers.  I am seeking answers and along my journey, I am learning to let go. For me, it is the most challenging and most painful process.

I also attended the National AFSP survivors day luncheon. A beautiful, warmish, autumn day on the Island.  This event is held nationwide, on 11/19, across our country. It is a day for survivors to gather and connect. They share an educational video, a video montage of our loved ones lost to suicide and then organized  break out groups for survivors to share their story, grief, listen, learn and find love and strength and hope with each other. A powerful lunch, given by AFSP, it is an emotional day, filled with a mix of emotions, but the message that AFSP sends is Hope.  There is hope after a suicide. The complicated grief and traumatic death of suicide is like no other. These support groups and organizations are crucial for survivors. I like to volunteer and take part in the walk and events, it keeps me humble, it honors my brother’s death. & umm…oh, and yeah, it still hurts like hell. Yesterday, the facilitator asked us to close the group with saying our loved ones name,  and if we liked, to send them a message.

My message to him yesterday was:

My brothers name is Thomas, he died 1/7/15 from a gunshot.

Tom:

Love surpasses Death

#lifeisworththefight.

love you, always missing YOU, till me meet again…

 

Peace to all of you

 

Leelee

 

Faith, strength & Life goes on…

Hello BLOG world. I’ve missed you more than you know. I am a great silent blogger these days. I have hundreds of blogs filed in my head. I have 1000’s of pictures of all my adventures, trips and memories. I just don’t have 4000 hours to blog about it.  I dream of hiring someone to just get it done for me. To be my ghost writer/blogger twin. I even hinted as much to my talented graphic design daughter. I think I got a speech AND an eye roll.  So she begrudgingly saved all my pics and asked if I still wanted to keep my website  domain open and renewed (Uh…Hell yes),  and preached to me about her full time job and freelance work. I get it. Everyone is super busy. I however, refuse to become a zombie social media freak. I won’t sit on my phone while I have lunch or dinner with family or friends. I won’t chase a Pokémon cult around town. I won’t post my life on FB or even Insta. I have my reasons right now. I won’t ever close my leelee moments blog. I will just do the best that I can today.  prioritize and to live. I intentionally choose that. I have leelee moments all the time! I just suck alittle at penning them here for you.  Sometimes, I daydream, and I see myself in 10 years being a real true blogger! I guess I aspire to become that.  In the meantime, I have little moments, like today, a quiet, sizzling humid, hot Sunday.  I relish and cherish them so much.

So, over a year ago, I attended a support group locally. It is a non for profit support group, specifically created for survivors of a loss from suicide or loss from a drug overdose.  They have 5 skilled and trained facilitators, specializing in traumatic grief and loss.  It was an 8 week workshop  “Healing through Art Therapy”. Very cool, very safe and comforting after losing my brother Thomas, last January to suicide. The community volunteers each week to cook dinner for every one.  love and compassion. I met a variety of survivors there, and we all formed bonds quickly.  Last evening, 12 of us attended  a wedding reception for 2 members from the support group. It was a beautiful historic victorian in E. Setauket, Long Island. We all gathered to celebrate.  What struck me instantly was everyone was smiling. Genuine and real smiles. There was not a lot of sorrow,  plenty of laughter, dancing, drinks and dinner were enjoyed.  I instantly realized, “Life goes On”…no matter what.  A year and a half ago, that statement would sting me and upset me to the core. I could not connect or feel the joy in celebrations. He was gone, he was the party thrower, he was the center and the glue.  The anchor, my big brother, who did it all, gave his all to everyone was no longer here with us. I grieved. The journey and road is very long and winding. I remember being mentally exhausted. I was grateful to rest and sleep whenever I could.  So, soon it will be 18 months since his death. I still miss him everyday, summer time is particularly painful, he loved it so much.  But, last night was profound. All 12 of us survived a death from a suicide. All 12 of us are breathing, living.  For fuck sake, LIFE does go on. Except, last night, gave me some hope. I saw the smiles and healing. I saw the strength in this group to forge on, even in the worst circumstances. Celebrating a union of marriage was renewing and sweet. We are all able to breathe and accept and find peace, even for a moment. The journey is not easy, but it is so worth it.

Peace & Love to you all

 

~Leelee

BLINK! It’s Spring!

I took a sabbatical, a breather, a pause. We must do that you know. Just step back and evaluate the current, the immediate and decide what takes priority. That is what life teaches us. We are thrown a ton of curve balls, obstacles, challenges. I always have said. It is how we handle them, deal with them, and God willing,  triumph and most importantly, learn from them.  I have also learned along the way. Life does not “stop”, it doesn’t really wait. You are either in it or avoiding it.  The hardest lesson by far. Letting it go and relinquishing the thoughts that you have control.  As a mother, this is very difficult to accept and to not want to fix, or make it better. I am learning. My children are grown and yet they need me in a very different way now. I pray I can be the mother they need, when they need me.  There is nothing more important to me.

When 2016 rolled around, I thought, I prayed, things would be easier, simpler, our family would continue to heal and we would take a positive step forward.  Life just doesn’t work that way. So, I dig in hard, scrape my knees and crawl through the mud and pray. I do it everyday. I meditate and ask for guidance and inner peace.  Spring gives me instant renewal and hope. The ice and snow melt. The daffodils and tulips symbolize new growth, new hope.

My nephew Thomas married last week in Texas. We flew down to join and celebrate his marriage. I could see and feel the love between them. I am grateful he found a loving soul, who deeply cares for him. That does my heart good. The only thing missing was his father, my brother. I felt his loss all week long.  I am sure he did too. Again, life does not wait, it just keeps giving.   Knowing he has a partner, a lover, a friend, a wife, fills my heart with Joy.  Love is a beautiful thing. I think he was happy we all attended.  We toured Austin and had some good eats, Taco’s! & BBQ, the weather was awesome and so was Austin.  The only thing missing was you Tom…always missing you.

 

love & hugggs

~leeleeDSC06112

Winter, yeah that may Be happening!

Good Morning, quiet, peaceful Sunday.  My built in weather forecaster, mentioned that we MAY get some real snow in a week or so. I am thoroughly amazed that some people track weather for a hobby. I mean, they look ahead, watch the patterns, they must worship the doppler or weather radar. It’s crazy to me, It’s as if mother nature doesn’t have a mind and a plan of her very own. Silly. I’m a New Yorker, therefore, if I awake and I see that magical, beautiful, white stuff, I take it all in, snow is so pure and beautiful to me and then feverishly WISH for a snow day!  I have 101 idea’s, crafts, decorating, cooking, organizing. I love a snowstorm!  I use it as a mental health me day.

My forecast is more like….am I shopping today? Where first? What can I foolishly talk myself into buying? Silly, right? I can’t resist the 50-80% off clearance sales. I clean up after the holidays, always have. I find cool, useful, beautiful gifts for a fraction of their retail. I often wind up with a few bags of goodies for next year. I wish I had words for 90% off fairy lights…yes, fairy lights…I know, so pretty, but really, I don’t have any fairies yet. This is a shop o holics life I suppose.  Perhaps, it’s a sign, like, I need a fairy around me? or a fairy Godmother? I’m down for that.

I shared last week that we had a small  memorial service for my brother Thomas. We met and we spread his ashes at the gravesite, and I read some of my loving words and we gently, laid him to rest. I thought it was important today to share how this helped me with my grief and healing. I did not know how healing and important his memorial would be. I did not know I would feel a bit of closure and peace from doing it. It was important to me, to acknowledge him. One year passes, some days, nights were endless with grief, other days too busy to obsess. What the service gave me was peace. Perhaps, acknowledging his life, sharing about his pain and suicide, writing about this beautiful, vibrant, loved man, that is so deeply missed, was healing for me. I felt love and compassion and I spoke about accepting and forgiving him. I talked about leaving the anguish, the pain of him leaving there. I talked about moving forward and living life. Living the best we can. I wanted hope to reign. I wanted our children to fully understand, life is worth the fight. Although, he could not fight anymore, we can.

This week, I kept having flashbacks of the balloons we released. We wrote a message on them and released them into the sky. My balloon got tangled in the big oak tree. I fretted for a moment and watched the others soar and climb so high and so fast. I was walking over to my Grandparent’s grave and I looked up and saw my start balloon start to wiggle. It was in deep in the branches and it wiggled. I giggled and watched. It stopped. I looked up again, and it wiggled even more, and then it shot up fast. I instantly felt warm, I felt him, and I thought…he was like that all of his life. Fast, smart, climbing, pushing, shooting to the stars.  I remember watching it soar & rise, and how fast it caught up to the other balloons. I watched it race and chase the other’s and I thought to myself, he was always chasing, running, soaring. He just never slowed down enough to enjoy the ride.  I hope you do now my brother, I love you to the moon & back.

 

Peace*

 

~leelee