Tag Archives: love

I Could Use A Hand

Have you found yourself in a situation where you really could use a hand?  A helping hand?  A strong hand?  A loving hand?

Did you sit around and wait for one to show up or did you ask for help?  If you’re not one to ask for help, I get it….then please don’t be the one who complains because nobody is there when you need them.  People CANNOT read our minds.  AND if they’ve never been through what we’re going through, they really don’t have a clue as to what’s needed.  Truly.

Until someone goes through the loss of a loved one, they cannot imagine the rollercoaster that you are on when you lost your sweetheart.  They really have no clue what would calm your never-ending mind babble, tend to your achy breaky heart, comfort your whirlwind of why’s or come visit to offer a quiet long hug.  Really.

A mom who is raising a girl has no clue what it’s like to raise a boy.

A woman who did not go through menopause has no clue what a hot flash is like.

A sister who has never been a Troop Leader cannot fathom the joy of the troop getting a WIN.

What’s in your way of asking for help?  Pride? Ignorance? Selfishness? Lack of Trust?   Whatever it is… think about the people who said “If you need anything, let me know.”  They MEANT it!  They are waiting for you to take them up on it.  They really really really want to help but have absolutely NO idea where to start without stepping on your toes.

Are you able to offer a helping hand to someone?  If you are, be sure to follow-through.  Or if it’s a really CLOSE friend…then just show up.  I remember when a friend did that to me… It made my day!

Go make someones day.

xoxo

Your God-girl

Tracy

Crash Into Me

Crash Into Me….

Sometimes in the middle of chaos you begin to realize what you need and what you deserve.

You start to find your voice. You start breathing again. You uncross your arms. You let things go you should have let go a long time ago.

And maybe people told you that, in fact they did but you had to land there.

I have landed there.

Mommas I think I crashed actually.

I’m going to be honest I am crying while I write this, it probably doesn’t help my community is in the middle of a shutdown. I’m trying to change jobs and worry I really won’t have one. Add to it I have been in a relationship where I feel like I have been relegated to swimming in jello.

We take two steps forward then inevitably we take a giant step back. While it’s better than any I have been in for a long time.

I still am in a place where I am allowing myself to not be in a relationship I deserve. I have the last few years holding my breath waiting for a change that doesn’t come. I have mentioned this before, somewhere along the way I bought into the belief I deserve to not be loved a hundred percent.

I have been living in the land of broken promises.

Changes that never happen.

Who taught me I deserved this? My Dad definitely doesn’t treat my Mom like this.

So where?

I know what I want. Why am I so afraid of having it? Why do I settle for half?

I had a pretty lengthy conversation with my best guy friend about how I should take steps up. Not just steps. I am an adult. I deserve to be in a relationship with someone who is also an adult. Or acts like it. I deserve to be more than afterthought. I deserve to be the first thing and last thing someone thinks of. I deserve to have bad days. They deserve them to but let me hold your hand.

Don’t shut me out. Fight for me. Make me feel wanted. Needed.

I don’t need someone in my life. I am capable of being on my own. But if I am going to make space for someone in my life they better be worth a spot at the table.

There is a quote “never be afraid to fall apart; it presents an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you’d been all along.”

Yup

Love to you  Mommas, so much right now.

<3 Caprise

Not Just Good But Greater Good

Not just Good, but Greater Good.

Can you imagine what your Greater Good would look like?  Close your eyes and imagine.  Who would be there?  What would you be doing?  How would you be acting?  What would you say?  Where would you live?  Etc, etc etc.  Now, understand and know…. that you have not even come close to the actual Greater Good that is available to you.

God’s Ways are over, above & beyond anything our puny little minds can concoct.  We are one small piece of sand on the Pacific Coast.  We are one minute being in the galaxy of endless galaxies.  We are a blade of grass in a field at full-on harvest.  Do you believe in the grand scheme of life, there is far more available to you, coming to you, waiting for you?  Open your arms & be ready, because it is there.

I am part of the Greater Good of all mankind.  I am an instrument of God’s love in the Greater Good of my life.  I wake up every day expecting the Greater Good to show up.  I see, hear, feel and stay open to every bit of Goodness that is for me.  I’m being used every day in ways I’ve always imagined possible.

May we both walk through life with our heads held high in anticipation for what is next.  May we be ready for it when it comes and handle it with courage and grace.  May we be beacons of greatness to others who are waiting for theirs.  May we move forward, press on, stand tall, dig in, love big, express peace, share joy, give back, believe in more, take it, own it and share it with the world.

Are you ready?

I am.  I’ll meet you there.

xoxo

Your God-Girl,

Tracy

Second Chances

Everyday I am grateful for second chances. I have made huge mistakes in my life and there are times I begged for a second or even a third chance, but not always did I deserve them.

I recently got a second chance at love I never expected. In my previous engagement I broke trust and broke a heart that didn’t deserve it. I will never understand how he found it in himself to forgive me, but he did.

How do you mend a heart you broke?

This is something I’m struggling with every day. I never set out to break a heart, but I did and now I want to spend my life making it up to him.

It hasn’t been easy.

I struggle everyday with being good enough for his love. He’s too good for me and I know that, but every day I get to spend my time proving my worth to him.

Love after divorce is the hardest thing I have ever done. And I have done it twice now. With the same person. I keep making these mistakes and he comes along to pick up the pieces. It isn’t fair to him to continue to be the one that makes me whole again. But I can’t live without him. I have learned that now. It’s the reason we keep coming back to each other and I have been to bitter and full of rage towards love to realize it. I keep running from the only thing real in my life.

Because its scary. Its overwhelming.

To love someone with your whole heart gives them a chance to break it.

But I deserve love, in all its forms, and I’m learning to accept love in all the ways he shows it. Whether its taking my car for an oil change when he knows I’m busy, or taking me to dinner after a long day at work. Acts of kindness like this made me uncomfortable I was so used to negative interactions I had no idea how to respond to it, I shut down and tried to find the negative. But the truth is I cant. I’m in a healthy relationship for the first time in my life and it feels good, its new and scary but it feels right.

Serendipity

Love Is A Powerful Thing

Love is a powerful thing

When you love another, ….do you love full out?

My hope is YES!!!!

Do you spread your heart wider than you thought possible?  Do you go deep within to reveal the power of your love?  Do you trust yourself enough to love at full throttle?

My hope is, YES!!!!

Do you love with no conditions, no guidelines, no presumptions, no expectations?

My hope is YES!!!!

Love is certainly a multidimensional thing.  I love my mother.  I love my son.  I love coffee too, but that’s a different kind.  I’m talking about the kind of love that comes from your heart.  Your open, vulnerable, God-thriving heart.  The place where your sacred self dwells, the place where maybe only a few have tread.  Where the sweet essence of raw, real, true love… lives.

The world is so good at teaching us to be careful, to watch out for the other shoe to drop, to be on your guard, etc etc etc…..  sooooooo in that space of watching and protecting, we wall ourselves off from what may be coming right at us.  Love that’s ready to embrace us, pounce on us and scoop us up.

When we question and doubt the love from another we take the chance of having none.  Look at yourself and see where do you doubt your own?  Where do you deny, give up, sell out on yourself?  Where do you not believe, trust or value your own heart?

When you know…like you know…like you KNOW….. that you are made of love, by love, for love… things will change.  Your life will change.  Your heart will change.  You will send your love out to the world, through your words, through your actions, through your smile.  And love will be all there is.

xoxo

Your God-girl

Tracy

Why I Exercise

People ask me “Why do I exercise so much??” It’s about doing the one thing you need in your life.  I have been active for years… you know when you find that one thing that really makes you feel good about yourself and you love doing it.  

Don’t worry, This isn’t going to be a blog about why exercise is important, although it is.

I did not love to exercise as a kid. I dreaded running the mile in gym class… I would fake being sick or I would hide in the bathroom. I was always always the last to finish. 

It all changed after college, when I joined a gym and then I started to really enjoy it.  And I also spent many hours doing the Kathy Smith walk to fitness videos at home. I soon realized that working out made me feel good about myself.  My confidence increased tremendously and I loved it. Ladies, confidence is key in life.  

Now many years later, my friends and co workers constantly give me crap on how active I am. They hate to join any Fitbit challenge with me because I win every time. They make fun of me constantly for being active.. and I am not one to brag about my 25,000 steps or getting up at 5 am to work out. Yes, I am one of those people.

When I married to my husband, he could never understood why I wanted to work out. It was a constant battle. I was a stay at home mom with my 3 kids for 8 years.  Anyone who has kids knows how much work they can be and how important it is to do things for yourself.. working out, pedicure, massage, cocktails. Whatever it is, it makes you feel good about yourself or what you enjoy.  My ex husband loved to fish and hunt, he did it for himself… same thing as working out.

There were parts of my life that I exercised to lose weight however now I exercise for so many other reasons. I exercise to clear my head.. let’s face it that moms with 3 kids and an ex husband probably have some stress they need to release.  I exercise to feel good about myself. And I exercise so I can drink wine and eat nachos…

And as my life got more chaotic with kids and work and activities, I had to find the time to do that thing I loved. I found the time at 5 am and it works for me. I do it at 5 am because it gives me focus and balance for the day.  And without it, I feel off for the day. In that 45 minute of working out, I can plan my day, I can sort through any stress, and I can listen to my favorite music without any distractions.

I did not want to give it up because I knew how important is was to me.. so  I had to find the time. It took some time to get used to getting up that early and being more strict about getting enough sleep.  I could have just let them go or made excuses that I didn’t have time, but I knew I needed this in my life.

If it’s important to you, find a way to fit it in. If it makes you a happier or more focused person, do it.  It will take determination and maybe some changes, but if it’s what you need, stay with it. Do not feel guilty about it or make excuses, for doing something for yourself or something you need.  Whatever it is, just make it a priority.

https://www.snarkydivorcedgirl.com/

Why Do We Need Our Friends?

Growing up I had my friends.. I did everything with the same people throughout my high school years. Sleepovers, football games, decorating yards with rolls of toilet paper each weekend….  In college it continued.. I was never overly popular, but I had my true friends.  It  has continued through my life…

I now watch my teenage daughter, now almost fifteen now  sit and laugh with her friends.  It is 5 pm on a Friday and its USA theme and the football game… her and her friend are frantically searching around the house for USA apparel and face paint. I just laugh… I love listening to the laughter and shrieking.  The many Friday nights, I am awaken out of a deep sleep by the sound of popcorn popping at 1 am.  They spend hours face-timing each other on their new school clothes and the outfits they are going to wear for the next week.   All of these things I love that she is experiencing….

I did not realize how important my friends were until I was well into my forties.  Its crazy how you meet those people in high school or college or at your kids soccer games and these are the people going to trust with everything in your life.  The friends you can’t get thru a day without.  They understand you more than most people in your life.

These are the friends that show up at 2 pm with a six  pack, just for fun.  (Yes, we live in Wisconsin and we drink beer)

Not until my divorce did I ever ask for help.  My friends never knew when I was suffering or drowning in life.. and then It changed.  I was the friend that held it together for everything.  Then I realized to survive through my divorce, I needed to ask for help.   Through my marriage, I handled everything from parenting to finances to vacations..I handled it all.  The summer of my divorce I was a mess.. I was happy one minute and crying the next.  I remember going to a country concert drinking two gingers and crying thru all of the fun.  One of my not so great moments.. but without those friends I would have not survived.

My friends would drag me out of the house and listen to me talk endlessly about the process of going through a divorce.  All of the nitty gritty details of the financial details, custody, splitting of your favorite memories, or how much you miss your kids.  They would ask me to go for a hike or walk many nights just because they knew I needed it.  I am a pretty independent person, so showing my friends that I needed help was very hard for me.  I know years later that I’m so grateful for them.  To many people am sure I looked like I had it together, but the truth is I needed my friends. I needed them to be my sound board. I needed to them to give me advice and encouragement to get through my divorce.

They push you…. My friends push me to do the things that I think I can not.. maybe it starts in the high school by asking your crush out and then continues later in life..now it’s  pushing you to try dating again age 45. They push you out of you comfort zone and get you to believe in yourself.  They help you text a guy back at age 45 and wait frantically for his response.  I would not have accomplished half the things I have done since my divorce without them.

They comfort you…Most of the time my friends are the first place I turn when I’m feeling lonely from missing my kids, when I’m stressed over fighting with my ex, or when just can’t concentrate on anything. These girls are the ones that can pull me out of my funk.  Having friends that you can trust and confide in has got me through most of my last 5 years.  We all have those nights or days that we just feel like crying.. sometimes it’s for no reason at all.  The moments when you burst into tears and maybe have no idea why… You need those people in your life to get you through it.  The days you wake up and feel like a bloated whale for no reason and you text your friends with crying emojis and they tell you how beautiful and funny you are…

They will be honest with you….The good friends will be straight with you. They will not just agree with your opinions and thoughts, they will tell you when you are being a little crazy…I’m a laid back person and i like to trust many people. I was very inexperienced and naive when I went thru my divorce, I did not have a lot of divorced friends and I thought I could trust my ex and I could be vague in our decree. Fast forward 5 years, my friends now tell me when I’m being to vulnerable with my ex. They tell me when I need to stand up for myself and get it documented. They will remind me of what has happened in the past and how to protect myself.  I need those friends in my life.  They always have my back.   They will also be the ones that see things differently and tell me when to get my head out of my ass.

Why do we need our friends?  We need them to get thru life.. mine have helped me with so many decisions.  The are the ones that push us when we need it.  It takes me a long time to get comfortable with people, so I cherish the friends that I can be myself with and tell them everything… these are the friends that we need.  These are the ones I love…

 

Snarky

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com/blog

Sometimes The Grass Is Greener

Lately I have heard several people say that “the grass isn’t always greener.” Some have implied that it is never greener, in fact. I know plenty of instances when this is true. We all know the anecdotes or have personal friends who have been involved in an affair. Affairs are most often great examples of this. Most who break up a marriage or long term relationship to be with someone else end up regretting the decision, or at the very least the way it came about. This is not at all to negate the byproduct relationship, maybe it is awesome, but sometimes the factors involved in breaking up the first relationship overshadow the love in the second. Examples of this are issues with children. They could be resentment, acting out, angst in general, astronomical child support, and honestly plain old logistics. If there are no kids involved it could just be alimony, separation of monetary and physical possessions, internal wounds on all three sides, and distrust and jealousy in the new relationship because of how it came about. With all of those things taken into account, it certainly does not sound greener. And when applied to these circumstances, I would argue that at least eighty percent of relationships broken up by a third party meet the criteria of the grass not being greener.

However, my experience is different. When I chose to end my 16 year marriage (17 by the time the divorce was final), it was not for a third party. It was to ensure there never was a third party. It was so that I would not be a cheater. It was so that I could avoid all of the things listed above. My thought process that I would not have to deal with some of those things was flawed, but I digress.

My marriage did not break up because we “fell out of love.” I firmly do not believe that to be a reason for divorce. If you do, I am not trying to offend, but that is not part of my belief system. I believe in the concept of limerence as outlined by Dorothy Tennov in 1979. Limerence can be summed up as the feeling of being “in love.” She proposes that the longest shelf life of limerence in people who have requited cohabitational love is two years. That is the maximum. I believe that. I also believe Joanne Woodward, who by the way was married to Paul Newman (who was smoking hot), her quote was, “Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.” Another line from one of my favorite underrated movies, which coincidentally covers this same topic is from The Story of Us, it is spoken by Rob Reiner’s character, “Love is just lust in disguise, and lust fades, so you damn well better be with someone who can stand you.” I say all that to say, I was once possibly “in love” with my ex-husband. That feeling faded, and we were never able to get it back, but it was well within the beginning of our marriage, and was not at all the cause of our divorce.

People confuse limerence with actual love. I know I have a time or twelve. However, they are completely different things. What we see in fairy tales and romance novels, that is limerence. What we see in nursing homes or nurseries, that is love. This will sound cheesy, but the story The Notebook is a good example of both. When they were kids, they experienced limerence. When Noah built that house for Allie, it was arguably a work of love. There is some gray area about forbidden love when it comes to limerence, meaning it can elongate it. But when he returned to the nursing home every day to read their story to her over and over again, he was being self sacrificing, showing real love and devotion.

I cared for my ex. I truly did, but it was not limerence and it was not self sacrificing love. I did not love him with a fraction of what I felt for my children. I cared for him, but we were not partners. Love really had nothing to do with why our marriage ended. What my marriage had was a fundamental incompatibility that neither of us knew we had at the beginning.

We got married young. I had just turned nineteen. We had dated for exactly four months, lived together for probably three. As you sit there and shake your head, read that again, I was nineteen, enough said. And listen, if you are reading this and you got married young and you have made it work, I commend that. But you either put in some hellacious work, or you were very compatible. At that point in my life all I wanted was a return to the family life I left when I left home at seventeen. Psychologically, I was probably not ready to leave home at that point. I point that out just to say that I was not in a place I should have been making lifelong decisions. People tried to talk me out of it. Of course they did, as they should have. I used to tell people that your mindset when you got married was not the problem, but rather it was your mindset when you decided to get divorced that was the problem. That statement is not categorically untrue, but it is a very blanket statement and it shows my age in that it was very black and white. It is true that there are some things we enjoyed in common, unfortunately the things we did not share outweighed those.

When I made the decision to end my marriage, I felt like a failure. I know that is a sentiment many of you know well. I had such overwhelming guilt. It did not help that I was the only one who wanted the divorce. I found myself on the floor crying and praying so many times. The irony is that inside my marriage I never cried. I never cried though I was deeply wounded, I just did not realize it. The pain manifested in other ways. I was truly a failure then, honestly. The failing did not happen in the leaving.

So back to the topic at hand, “the grass is not always greener,” is an expression I have become intolerant of. I always took this to mean that it wasn’t greener in another relationship. I never considered that it could mean in being alone. Honestly, when people say it to me, I think they most often mean in another relationship. And you know what, my grass is greener now, alone. My daughter has told me that I never seemed as happy as I do now when I was married. My friends are telling me that I seem relaxed and happy. I was so afraid that I was a person incapable of happiness. It turns out, I just was not capable of being happy in that situation.

So, now I water my grass the way I know it needs it. I fertilize it with the right kind of fertilizer for that particular grass. I have learned how to do this through trial and error, and sometimes it is more error than anything, but I came out the other side. It took time, but my lawn is the healthiest it has ever been. And bonus, I proved some people wrong in the process.

Stronger Than Yesterday,

Alice

Look Up Look Out

Look Up…Look Out…

This morning was a tough one. The darkest thoughts that come along with living alone started to rear their ugly heads and take over my thinking. I felt myself going down the rat hole. That is NOT a good place to go. I know that for certain. I started to oppose the deep dark voice.

“Ohhhhh…. NO…. Not Today!!!”… “This is NOT happening today!” and then immediately, it bit back with, “You will always be alone”. I reminded myself that those are the fearful words of the liar when I look IN. I dug my heels in and proclaimed with some gusto in my tone… “Nope! Nope! Not Today!!”. And another lie crept up….“Friends” What friends?”. The argument went back and forth for a little bit. I stood strong, reminding myself of what is right and good and beautiful in my life. I reminded myself of my wonderful friends and my talents and what it is that brings me joy every day.

I know for me… when I listen to the liar in my head, I can sometimes get overwhelmed with what I don’t like about my life. It can quickly take over, pull up a seat next to me & stay for the afternoon.

So…I recited scriptures that give me strength and courage and it reminded me WHOSE I am. I sat and remembered how important it is for me to look UP.

…..I opened my affirmation journal and started to read:

New friendships are developing now.

Meeting people and making friendships is easy and effortless.

Women want to know me.

The way is made ready for relationships to grow.

I create relationships with people….for our highest good.

Perfectly wonderful people appear to spend time with me.

Perfect relationships come to me now.

I am in the right place at the right time.

My circle of friends expands.

The way I felt as I was reading my journal went from sadness and desperation to exuberance and love. I picked up the phone and reached out to others. I invited conversation and shared laughter. I sat and remembered how important it is for me to look OUT.

When I feel like I am alone I am reminded that not only do I have an abundance of friends who love and adore me but also that I am God’s Beautiful Child….all is good.

XOXO

Your God Girl

Tracy

The Caretaker Of Broken Dreams

The Caretaker Of Broken Dreams..

“We’ve buried dreams, laid them deep into the earth behind us. Said our goodbyes at the grave, yet everything reminds us. God knows we ache, but he asks us to go on… how do we go on?”

~Ellie Holcomb

I’d been wandering through the same leaves, the same graves… struggling to remember exactly where he was. It had been years since I’d placed my hands on the earth that held what remained of a brother I never got the chance to know.

The caretaker must have seen my wandering. He gently approached me and asked who I was looking for. I couldn’t help but notice the kindness in his eyes… his voice. He didn’t ask me what grave I was looking for, he asked me who I was looking for. I told him my brother’s name and he gently led me over to his grave… mere feet away from where I was standing. And isn’t that the thing… so often when we feel utterly lost, we’re closer than we know to finding what we need?

I traced his name with my fingers, brushed leaves off his grave. Funny how we want to tend and take care of things for people we love who are gone. I think sometimes these small, tender acts simply remind us of what once existed, remind us of what’s been lost.

I never used to visit the cemetery. When they put up a memorial for children who’d died in a local park and my brother’s name was etched into the stone, I didn’t want to attend the ceremony. Who wants to feel the weight of that loss again and again? For many years, I’d it pushed down, held it at bay, the pain and grief of loss. I thought that maybe if I held it down, swallowed it deep, maybe I could avoid the crushing ache of it.

And for many years… that worked. Or it worked as well as it can when your body is holding onto an aching sadness. Because the thing is, you don’t just lose a person, you lose the way it feels like your life should have gone. You lose what you thought would be your life. And you can only hold that for so long until it comes busting out.

25 years after losing my first brother, I lost the only other brother I’d known. And his loss was sudden, traumatic, and crushing. What was the last thing I said to him? Did he know how deeply I loved him? Was there something, anything I could have done to save him? That loss sent me reeling, and yet I quietly pushed it down. How do you put words to grief that shakes the foundation of what you thought you knew?

Three weeks after losing him, two surgeons took out my womb, and my hope for carrying more children ended more abruptly than I was ready for.

Although, who is ever really ready to bury a dream?

And in the months that followed, it felt like I dug a grave of loss so deep I’d never climb out.
I buried a brother, then the dream for more babies, a job I loved, a place I loved, a marriage, the life I’d known for the last decade of my life. All buried in quick succession. And in burying those dreams you bury other things. You bury relationships, spaces, and places that you once fit, things you used to be sure of, your sense of worth and belonging.

And again, I pushed it down, held it at bay… Until I couldn’t anymore. One morning several months later, I woke up and the tears came and wouldn’t stop. They bubbled over until my body trembled at the weight of what they meant. I was fully feeling the loss. And they’ve been coming ever since.

And at first that scared me. I felt ashamed. Was I falling apart? Was I weak? Why couldn’t I keep it together? Why couldn’t I just put my chin up and move on? Life is hard for everyone, and my trauma is small in comparison to other people’s. So why was it a struggle just to get out of bed and face the day?

The caretaker told me there was someone with the same name as my brother and asked who he was to me. I told him that was my grandfather. I thanked him for helping me find my way and watched him go about the care of a place that holds many buried dreams. My eyes scanned the sea of graves and I wondered… How much care and compassion must he have to know the names on gravestones? My breath caught at the nature of his work. But more than that my eyes welled at his kindness.

I knelt next to the grave, raked my fingers through the ground, rolled up my sleeve and laid the tattooed ashes of one brother alongside the grave of another. And my heart broke at the beauty and devastation of that moment.

It had taken 27 years… but I was fully feeling the loss. I was acknowledging that it mattered. Sometimes we need to say their names. We need to speak about the broken places. We need to dig our hands in the earth where our dreams have been buried. We need to allow grief to be part of our story instead of trying to move forward as if we are the same. Because we aren’t.

I ran into a dear acquaintance at the grocery store recently who looked into my eyes and genuinely asked me how I was. The care and compassion on her face was evident. And as we embraced she said something I will never forget “I’m on your side… no, there are no sides… I’m in your corner.” I looked at her and nodded “No, there are no sides…” I repeated. She told me how she’d read an article recently about how no one brings casseroles to people going through divorce. And she reminded me that it’s okay to gather up your people and weather the storm with them, without explaining where you went. She reminded me that sometimes the places and spaces we so desperately wish were a safe place for our pain, simply aren’t. And that maybe the beauty in all of this is that we can be a safe place for someone else walking a similar road someday. Because there is nothing quite as healing as knowing you aren’t alone.

So how do we go on…? How do we put one foot in front of the other in this life that now feels new and unfamiliar? How do we make sense of the loss, acknowledge it, feel it, and yet still move forward? How do we live it and not lose ourselves in it? My deeply insightful answer is this: I don’t know. I don’t know how to do this well. Maybe none of us do. There is no manual for this. No one can tell you how to bury dreams and carry loss well. We just find our way, wrack our hands through the dirt that carries our loss, and attempt to wrap our arms around people walking a similar road… letting them know they aren’t alone.

And cemetery caretakers and women in grocery stores may just be balm to our wounds, if we let them. What I find deeply beautiful about pain… is the way it brings out compassion.

So might I say something? Today, be the cemetery caretaker and help someone who is a little lost find their way…. Be the woman in the grocery store and stand in someone’s corner without needing to know the story. Be the balm to someone’s wounds. Err on the side of compassion and write the note, send the flowers, make the casserole, pay for the coffee of the person behind you, wrap your arms around someone. Give them the balm of your kindness, help them find their way. Or, kneel next to them in the dirt, ask them how they really are, and trace the pain of their losses. It’s what will help them go on.

Death, loss, divorce, the estranged family member, illness, childlessness, financial crisis… the list goes on. We’ve all buried dreams. We’ve all racked our hands in some kind of dirt and whispered “this wasn’t how it was supposed to go.”

I sat there for awhile, arm stretched out, brother next to brother, fingers etching a grave, hands feeling the dirt. And then I looked up to see the caretaker tenderly digging in the earth. I don’t know why. I do know it felt an awful lot like love watching a man carefully shovel dirt and tending to loss in such a profoundly intimate way. Maybe we could all learn a thing or two from the caretaker who spends his days carrying losses and helping people find their way.

-Michaela