Tag Archives: memory

Grief And Ghosts

It has recently occurred to me that I may qualify as an “expert” on grief.  I have been an estates and trusts attorney for seventeen years.  Meaning, for seventeen years, I have worked with families as they navigate their worlds after the loss of a loved one.  As one would gather, some of those losses are expected, some are sudden and tragic, and some leave a family in a state of turmoil for years.  As my career was opening my heart to loss, I watched my healthy, vibrant mother be diagnosed with, battle and die of lung cancer as I was pregnant with my second child and chasing my first.  Shortly after she died, my dearest friend was diagnosed with lung cancer as a young mother herself, and I relived the entire process, treatment and death all over again.  In the months before she died, my father died suddenly and I delivered a stillborn.  My life changed dramatically and for over a decade, grief has perhaps been the central experience of my life.

I have waded through the loneliness and grief only those have suffered loss know in a 107 year old house, mostly as a single mother to three spirited children.  My house is surely haunted.  It’s a large white colonial that desperately needs painted, the floors creek, the attic is amazingly creepy and the basement once perfectly served as a broiler room scene for Freddy Krueger in a Halloween eve haunted house.  Repair men have found secret rooms (that’s rooms – plural) and there is a back servant’s staircase with a light that has flickered and baffled electricians throughout the 14 years I have lived here.  A woman once cleaned my house and declared she would never be here alone again.

Life is always a mystery, and that’s the only way I can explain that it is this house, and the ghosts and spirits that have shared these last several years with me, that have supported me through my sleepless nights and constant pains of loneliness.  It seems counter intuitive, but stories of ghosts, hauntings and lucid dreams have been a part of every culture and religion since the beginning of time – and we are so quick to sensationalize the dark stories that we lose sight of the beautiful ones.  

It was in this house my father sat in my dining room with my toddlers in their footie Santa pajamas and ate monkey bread while they basked in the magic of Christmas morning giggles.  My mother prepared for, set up and planned my eldest son’s first birthday party here in this house while unbeknownst to me, she was waiting on a cancer biopsy.  She was careful with what she wore that weekend so I wouldn’t see the bandage and wound on her neck because my celebration of my baby was more important to her than her own fears.  My dear friend Tasha, my former roommate, bridesmaid, godmother to my first born and life’s soul mate, planned and celebrated parties in this house that ranged from sacred baptisms to wild, feisty, sexy, girls-only parties that ran into the early mornings.  And my baby Roman, who was delivered with no heartbeat only weeks before I lost my father, sits in a beautiful tiny urn, right next to my mother’s ashes, wrapped in a simple white rosary in my dining room.  To me, they share in every chorus of happy birthday sung in that room, every Christmas eve feast, and listen to each story unfold over chicken and dumplings about playground antics, volleyball victories or even scoldings for my son’s constant, unbreakable habit of leaning back in his chair.   

Their spirits live in this house.  I feel them when my kids chase each other through the house like maniacs and when we snuggle up to read bedtime stories.  They live amongst the ghosts that were here before them and come out when my daughter sings, or when my youngest snuggles his kitten, or when my oldest watches horror movies with his friends, and they visit me in my dreams.  The ghosts in this house, and in my heart, have allowed me to thrive, grow and raise these inspiring, bold and fearless children and keep joy the heart of this home instead of unbearable sadness and loss.  So yes, my house is haunted, and I pray one day when grief brings you to your knees, yours is too.

~Michelle

Photo Memories

Photo Memories

Over the past weeks that we have been staying at home, Im willing to wager that you have been taking more pictures than normal. And even if you havent, when you do, the dilemma always is how can I make my pictures look better?

All new phones come standard with high quality cameras and the ability to edit photos right on the phone. Since I use an Apple iPhone, I am familiar with its built in editing capabilities…. and they really are very good, But I often find that Id like to do additional things to my photos.

Snapseed (free) is a very robust Photo editing app and has become my go to editing app for my photos. In addition to all the standard editing functions It has features like the ability to easily erase features in the picture, like telephone wires or a stray objects that are distracting. It also has very advanced features that were only previously found in expensive apps. I highly recommend giving it a try.

Group shot (.99) is in app that literally performs magic. You know all the times you took a group photo that was perfect except for that one person with their eyes closed. With GroupShot the trick is to take multiple photos of the group. Then you can replace that one person with their eyes closed with them in another photo where they have their eyes open. Its as easy is swiping over their face in one photo and then swiping over their face in another photo and presto the first photo now has everyone with their eyes open.

If youre a fan of filters, Prisma (free w/ in app purchases) is an app that will transform your photo into what looks like a painting or water color. There are so many options that It is often difficult to choose which one to use, but the results are amazing.

After playing around with some of these apps, you will be amazed at what a good photographer you really are. You will have finished products you are really proud of.

~Steve

Understanding About Why My Marriage Didn’t Work

It’s funny how years later, the past seems so much clearer.. I finally understand why my marriage didn’t work and it doesn’t make me sad.

I was going through my old pictures and cards this week.  One of the many projects, that I have put off for years, but now being stuck at home I’ve finally motivated myself… I’m sitting in my storage room in the basement by myself going thru all these old keepsakes and bins. 

I came across all my old birthday, mothers day, and anniversary cards from my ex husband.  I sat there and read them all.  I think for the first time I realized how much thought and love he put into writing those cards.  I just wish he could have communicated all those thoughts to me out loud during our marriage. Reading those cards now, it was crazy to read the paragraphs he wrote about how much he loved me.  At the time, when I was married he could not communicate many things to me. He couldn’t communicate how he felt about me or ask what we both needed in our marriage.  And at the time, him writing those thoughts once a year wasn’t what I was looking for in our marriage.  Eventually the lack of communication was one of the main reasons our marriage ended 

I sat there thinking about when did I fall out of love with him.  Those cards seemed like there was so much love between us, but in reality it wasn’t like that.  I believe that I was in love with him when we got married and started to have kids, but somewhere through the next 13 years I fell out of love.  The communication started to dwindle, we started to do activities separately, and I felt like I wasn’t the same person I was years ago. I remember feeling like I was never appreciated and that he had no input in any decisions.  We eventually had little to talk about.  I felt like I was constantly trying to get him to communicate or show any interest and he just couldn’t. 

It’s a hard thing to think about.  Did I love him in the beginning? And when did it change? What was the exact point that I just didn’t care anymore?  Marriage and relationships take constant work from both parties.  I know that by the time I realized our marriage was in trouble, I didn’t have much effort left. I honestly had already checked out.  We spent over a year in marriage counseling separate and together.  Unfortunately for my husband at the time, I learned more about myself and realized I was not in love with him anymore.  We were both trying to make changes in our relationship but we just couldn’t connect. 

Yes I could have stayed in the marriage and had a good life, but I wanted more for myself. I remember even thinking maybe I could stay and we could just be friends. Crazy thoughts.. but I’m sure many of us have had them.  I wanted to be happy.  It might sound selfish, but I couldn’t spend the next 40 some years with someone that couldn’t talk to me.. couldn’t ask about my day or be excited about the things I wanted in my life.  And as time went on, I turned to my friends for all those things.  Or I didn’t even tell him the things I was excited about….i just went through a lot of motions of being in a happy marriage, but I wasn’t. 

Looking thru all these cards now, didn’t make me sad.  I know that he wrote what he felt.  This is hard to write about because I don’t want to sound heartless but reading those cards didn’t make me sad or regretful.  I have many great memories of our time together.  It just made me understand maybe more about why our relationship didn’t work.  And it’s ok that I’m not sad about it…

-snarky 

 

https://www.snarkydivorcedgirl.com/blog

Navigating Loss

Navigating Loss…

This is a special blog post from me, when I am upset I write…

A few days ago one of my lifetime best friend’s lost his Mother…she was a Light, a force of nature, an amazing human being, a treasure and everything to her incredible family.  My heart is broken for them and I have been thinking about him and his family non-stop since I heard the news.  I know what it is like to lose your anchor humans— what it is like to have to get through the wake and the services, what it takes to keep going through the motions when you can’t even comprehend the impact of the loss.  When I talk to people about the death of a loved one, I tell them the truth…”there is nothing I can say that will make this better, nothing that I can do that will make it shatter you less…what I can promise you is that every day it gets just a little, tiny bit easier to tolerate…”

That IS the truth, when you lose your foundational humans you don’t ‘get over’ that…it is never, ever the same…it is different and in time you will recover to the point that it stings less…yet a day won’t go by that you don’t miss them and want to tell them things…you learn to navigate their departure and you teach others what they taught you and you carry on their legacy and you talk about them and keep them very much alive to your friends, children and family…they are ALWAYS a part of you, no matter where they are.

However, in those first weeks and months it is almost intolerable what you must walk through and it is knowing this that keeps me praying non-stop for my bff and his family…I am praying peace and strength and love for them…

I texted him a note today to remember to FEEL his feelings moment by moment, the most horrible thing about grief is that if you stuff it down it will come back and eat you alive at the worst possible times…you have to feel your way through the catastrophic losses…feel it and keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep walking…you WILL get out the other side.

In addition to feeling all the ‘feels’, remember to celebrate the life of the person that has gone on…they would want you to do that…A’s mom would want her clan to celebrate the hell out of her, she was a vibrant woman and she left a legacy of children and grandchildren that is just incredible—- the whole clan is gorgeous, smart, witty and goes out of their way to help people and do what is right…Shelia got the job done in spades…these are some of the BEST people that I know.

I cannot shield them from these moments or what they must face walking through the next few days, however I can pay tribute to them here and use it to help all of you understand that this isn’t something that you ‘get over’—-this is something that you learn to navigate with time.

You are all stronger than you think and you do have what you need to get through your most difficult circumstances…I promise you…you do.

Be gentle with yourselves during times of great loss, have Grace for what you are walking through…losing foundational people is one of the worst fire seasons…

For A and his family know that I am covering you up in love and prayers and that my heart is with you all…

XO, Noelle

The Cabin

The Cabin..…so grateful… little did I know when my parents bought our cabin 30 years ago it would be the place that I love so much.  It is the place to go that makes everything so clear… It is one of the things that I am so grateful to have in my life  And honestly,   Its not the place, but the experience.

Most of my high school years were spent riding with 6 people deep in a Delta 88 for 3 hours… packed like sardines and we only stopped once. We all dressed in winter gear because my dad kept the air conditioning on so cold.  My dad has his rules and everyone knew it.  You also got to bring one bag and anything else went on your lap.

Even back then, the cabin could take all my stress away…the cabin is where I spent every weekend with my friends tubing and water skiing until we couldn’t hold on anymore. I would come home sunburned and sore… we spent all night playing the broom game and badminton.. we would lay by the bonfire until morning. The cabin is where we first drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes. It’s also where we learned to fill my parents liquor bottles with water.

Every 4th of July celebration was at the cabin with my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins… the famous jart tournament, where someone always got hit by the end.  My uncle always broke something… Turkey on the grill, Devon’s potatoes, along with special K bars were tradition.  And we always celebrated birthdays at the cabin, along with my annual summer cabin party.

And now 30 years later, my kids get to experience the freedom of the cabin. I love to tell them the stories of my summers… but what I love more is watching them experiencing it.

The time they get to spend with their grandparents is priceless. They get to listen to stories from the past. They get to her the endless stories of “Hatchet Hannah” the crazy lady in the woods from my dad.. it’s still told the same way he told me 30 years ago.  My kids get to experience yard games and bonfires.. they get to enjoy the freedom of the outdoors. They spend weekends with their cousins making so many memories. They are learning to water ski and bait hooks.

When I hear them playing the same games by the bonfire that I played 30 years ago, I just smile and laugh… even with all the technology and changes kids are still the same… they love games, the freedom, and laughing until all hours….

My kids need this time at the cabin…. I try to keep my kids lives as simple as I can… but they are busy. The cabin takes them away from all the craziness and stress… they need downtime and simplicity just as much as adults. So some weekends we skip activities and commitments, just to go to the cabin.   They need to experience nights of running outside and playing yard games, laughing by bonfires, and swimming for hours until they are exhausted.   I am hoping the cabin will make them forget the stress and chaos that they face at home.  Maybe they will forget about the constant running from activity to activity throughout the week.  And forget about the pressure from trying to be the best at everything these days and take some time to enjoy just being a kid.

My kids will experience and learn so much from these summers.  They will probably not realize it until years later, but they will eventually.  And my kids will make their own memories to tell their kids years from now…

Thanks for reading!

Snarky

https://www.snarkydivorcedgirl.com/

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

I want you to picture a young girl sitting in the stands at a ballgame. She’s accompanied by her dad, and maybe even her grandfather. You are able to notice the absolute joy on her face as the innings go by, and as she becomes more intrigued with the game itself.
That little girl was me; (and honestly is still me today). The beloved American sport of baseball has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. I used to walk by my grandfather as he sat and observed the game silently from his chair at home. The voices of the sports commentators from the TV often remind me of those little moments I shared with my grandpa.
When I started growing up, my dad made sure to take me to these baseball games to give me a feel for the sport. I began to enjoy it more than any other sport I had watched before. Over the years my love for baseball began to grow, but for different reasons.
Although I found the game incredibly interesting and intriguing, it began to mean a little more to me than before. I no longer was able to attend these games with the frequency that I used to. This time apart from the sport has made my love for it grow increasingly because of what it has come to mean to me.
Now, when I think of baseball, I picture all of the amazing memories I made with my dad in those days at the ballpark. I think about the happiness it brought me and him.
This sport also reminds me so much about the passion my grandfather had for it, and how happy he was to know that I was enjoying it just as much.
Making memories are so important!
Without them, we have nothing to look back on about the times we spent with those who we love.
I’ll be forever thankful for those memories that I hold so close to my heart, and I think that we must make sure to continue to make memories will all those whom we hold dear.
-Dani

Reclaiming My Missing Pieces

I am reclaiming my missing pieces. The first time I stopped liking something because of a broken heart I was in high school. I was a big fan of a certain variety of Liz Claiborne perfume. My ex boyfriend’s new girlfriend wore it too.  If I remember correctly I threw out almost a full bottle. It goes without saying my working class parents were livid. It was not inexpensive, but I couldn’t bear to smell like her.

In the years that followed music.

Movies

TV shows

Restaurants

Type of foods

Even certain objects.

This one is easily the most embarrassing I have a beautiful charm necklace. It’s simple but it has my three favorite things on it: a shoe, cassette tape, a unicorn.  I stopped wearing because a woman who was hitting on my boyfriend at the time was obsessed with unicorns.

As I type this I realize that was ridiculous, but when you are hurting or are hurt you find ways to run away from it. Protect yourself. Even if it means sacrificing some of your favorite things.

You know I even changed my hair because I didn’t want to have the same haircut as someone who had hurt me?

And truth be told, it’s a great haircut.

Not only do women drastically change their appearance to get over a broken heart so women give away pieces of themselves. I am starting to realize those pieces I gave away I should have held onto tightly. By tucking them away or throwing them away, I was letting the people who hurt me, hurt me even more.

I might add, that girl in high school had no idea she cost my parents $50 and I can’t imagine she’d care.

I ended up with a really awful hairstyle for awhile there.

Really awful.

The only person who suffered was me.

Sometimes it is good to give certain things up. Truly. You do need to walk away from memories or things to protect your heart, but what I’m learning in my old age is don’t give YOURSELF away.

I love unicorns. I love that necklace. I got it with one of my best friends. That is what I should focus on.

I enjoy an expensive perfume but I’ve outgrown Liz Claiborne as have millions of women.

I was listening to Brass in Pocket with my Dad long before I met that Lacrosse player who broke my heart, he doesn’t deserve our song.

There are still songs I avoid and if certain movies are on I change the channel,but now it’s because of me, not them.

Heartbreak is a slippery slope Mommas and I am by no means a sage but this is what I know…

If you love that song listen to it loudly

If that perfume smells fantastic wear it.

Be really sure about bangs.

Really sure

Those things were yours long before the heartbreak. But if it hurts too much maybe don’t toss them but find a beautiful box to keep them in until you’re ready to bring them back into your life.

In the meantime Mommas remember who you are. You are- as I like to say magical. Truly. You have other humans who count on you and love you with their whole heart regardless of what kind of perfume you wear.

 

Much love Mommas

<3Caprise

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

I am a person who unfortunately does not sleep much. That means while the rest of my house is sleeping blissfully at 3 AM, I am on Pinterest, social media or You Tube.

There are a few vloggers I follow regularly and they are celebrating marriages and babies and lives together and taking me along for the ride.

While I recognize some of these shares are beautifully edited the emotion is there and definitely gets me emotional.

I feel like I have been carrying around this suitcase of memories from my life before my divorce and I need to throw it away.

I didn’t realize how raw those hurts still were until I started watching those videos.

We all have an idea in our head of how things will be. Our wedding, children, marriage and you either work as a team,meet in the middle, or you don’t.

I also think you forgive a lot because you think it will change.

Once the baby is here.

Once she sleeps through the night.

Once we have been apart a year we’ll get along better.

My biggest red flag was me all wired up having contractions after being in labor for almost a day and my Dad never leaving my side. My ex husband however, not only leaving several times but when he was in the room he was on his computer the whole time. Not once did he comfort me.

Yet I chalked it up to nerves.

No

There would be things later that would show me it had nothing to do with nerves.

I can dwell in regret and compare or I can celebrate the fact I have G. Remember some of the funny moments from that time in my life.

I can be determined to make sure I speak up now with my person and if it feels like a red flag it probably is.

It is incredibly easy for many of us who have been hurt to not let it go. To let it lead us. I have done an absolutely fantastic job of building a very tall wall around myself.

But maybe the tape in our heads instead of coulda,woulda,shoulda should be:

I’m here

I’m badass

I’m a Momma and that makes me magical.

I say it a lot. Being a Mom is magical. We grew people!!!

When that suitcase feels like it needs to be unpacked, kick it back under the bed and remember who you are.

You are a Momma

Much love Mommas

<3 Caprise

Question Your Routine

Hey Teens!

This week I want to share something specifically with you guys.

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of my time writing and finishing up homework for the upcoming school year. This means that I have basically been locked up in my room and focused on my schoolwork. Any free time that I’ve had, I’ve used to call my friends, or catch a couple episodes of my favorite TV show. I notice myself not really interacting with family members; my little sister, in particular, often gets ignored. This is something that commonly happens. I often notice that it becomes part of my routine throughout the school year. It was really something that I never noticed until one of my friends brought it to my attention. He began to tell me about his own issues with unintentionally isolating himself from his family, and about the negative impact it had on both him and his family members. It really shocked me, that I was committing the same mistakes as him.

This really made me question my “routine” and what I should be doing with my free time. Family is such an important part of our lives, and unfortunately I am also guilty of sometimes isolating myself from them. I’d like to make a point of saying that although it is wonderful to have your form of escape, as I have mentioned previously, one must not forget the importance of bonding with family. Our loved ones take time out of their busy schedules to try and reach out to us. Sometimes we forget how incredible they are, and we fail to let them know how much we enjoy hanging out with them. Because of what my friend told me, I decided that it was time to change some of my ways. I realized that I needed to spend moments with the people I love most. Many times, we will prioritize certain things over what is truly important. Make memories with your family, and live every moment to the fullest. Go and question your “routine”.  

-Dani

The Kitchen Is The Place To Be At Our House

The Kitchen…. I finally bought a house about 3 years ago for my kids and I. I bought it thinking that everyone would have their own room and it had a family room in the basement. I thought this would be great, all of the kids could play and hang out. Do you think they ever use it? NO! I just didn’t understand it at first.. I would almost push them into the basement to use it. For the love of God, why do they not use this nice family room…

But my kids love to be in the “kitchen”… the kitchen is the place to be and it’s what I love. Growing up, I would hang out at my best friends house with all of her sisters and their friends. It was great and I loved it. I have such great memories of all the fun we had throughout high school. Late night movies, laughing, games, and telling stories.. That is what I remember.

After I had my kids, I wanted to have the house where my kids hung out out with their friends. I wanted them and their friends to feel comfortable and loved at our home. And I finally have it…I love that my kids friends feel comfortable in our house. They will get their own snacks or know where I keep all the glasses. I love that they know how to unload my dishwasher and clean up after themselves. Sometimes they do it better than my own kids. I love that my kids friends will go play with one of my younger kids than their own friend. I love that they have sleepovers at my house all the time

My house is nothing special, it’s older and outdated. However, they don’t seem to care and I love that. It means that kids don’t really care about all the material things, they just want to feel comfortable or familiar. Sometimes I will come home and they will all be sitting in the kitchen laughing and talking, all different ages and grades, just laughing about life, as they see it.

My kids, their friends, and my mom friends will sit in our kitchen for hours laughing and hanging out. I love this! Sometimes I will ask the kids, why do you want to be around us mom’s, why don’t you go and find something to do… but they continue to hang out.

Today’s kids grow up so different with all the technology and apps. I try and make sure I know what is going on in their lives as much as I can…I do all the parent checks on their phones and apps. But I also give them some freedom and independence, which is important. I grew up writing notes and passing them in class and my parents never read them. I also grew up talking on the phone until all hours of the night and my parents did not listen to my phone conversations. So, I do think my kids need some privacy, freedom, and independence growing up.

I do not know how I did it, but maybe it was from always making sure I have their favorite snacks…but I have always felt comfortable talking to my kids and their friends, asking them about their day, school, other friends, maybe teasing them a little…I also just talk to them in normal conversation and I think that is important.

Snarky divorced gal (www.snarkydivorcedgal.com)