Posted in Blogging, Feelings, Hope & Inspiration, Writing

Music and Grief unite to create Joy

Last week my husband Dwayne and I were on a road trip from Sundance, WY to Albuquerque, NM for our Amateur Radio convention for our area of the country. It’s a long trip, but we don’t mind road trips periodically, especially when we have our SiriusXM to listen to Radio Margaritaville. Singing along in the car is a great way to pass the time and miles. 

My turn to drive usually arrives after lunch in order to provide a rest break for Dwayne, who always loses his steam mid-afternoon. As I listened to his light snores, I decided I needed something new so I hit channel 8 for the “80’s on 8” station. As I drove through Colorado, I sang along to many of my favorites from the “good ole’ days” until one particular song came on and I suddenly felt as though I was in a sci-Fi movie where I was sucked through a whirlpool and immediately transported back in time. I was suddenly in the back seat of my sister’s car, on our way to the hospital the night my dad died. I was driving while simultaneously  I was again that scared teenager, numb with grief in the dark of the evening hours, in the back seat of my brother-in-law’s Crown Vic. I could see the road ahead of me that I was driving on, all while being in that car in 1988 again…all at the same time.

The experience was surreal as hot tears trickled down my face.  I didn’t understand what was happening until my ears recognized the music. It was then I realized….I was hearing the song on the radio that was playing as we drove to the emergency room that night, nearly 26 years ago.

The grief of that night returned like a shock of thunder, racketing my body and soul. I was short of breath, I felt numb and confused. I was that 18 year old once again. I reached over and gently hit button 1 to return to Radio Margaritaville. When Dwayne asked why I changed the music, I caught my breathe and told him simply, “that song was playing on the radio the night my dad died.” 

After all this time, I find it hard to believe I’ve not come across this song. I don’t believe it showed up in order for me to relive the grief, that doesn’t make sense. The sting of the grief was temporary and my composure returned in about an hour. However, what I believe the song did do, was light the proverbial fire in my belly to write again. I’ve been craving time to write, I’ve missed it. For some reason I’ve let life get in the way which is stupid, because in effect I’ve been denying a part of me.  My brain immediately began crafting up what to write about this experience. I knew this was just the whomp on the head from the Universe I’d been waiting for. 

 I guess the periodic moments of pain are okay, as long as they are periodic. Memories are there, they don’t go away. The secret is not to dwell in them or live in them. You can’t change the past by living in it, which is why I know this reminder from the Universe wasn’t about going backwards. It was about moving forward. For that, I thank you Universe and I thank you Dad. Thank you for the reminder to get back to doing what I love in the present and doing what brings me joy.

Posted in Ankylosing Spondylitis, Crohn's Disease, Crohns, Hope & Inspiration, IBD, Living with Pain, Meditation, Reiki

The lesson in Freezing your Fanny off

A year ago for the first time, I participated in a local fundraiser for our ambulance service called “Freeze Your Fanny.” It’s a four mile route that can be walked, or you can join the runners racing each other. I seriously thought my friend Trudy was crazy when she suggested we do it. Seriously – 4 miles?? When it’s 20 degrees out there? What did we do? We signed up and we walked it!

This time last year I hadn’t really begun my exercise program yet, and didn’t believe I had it in me to accomplish something like this.  However, encouraging each other, we decided to give it a go. Not only did we live to tell the tale – we then signed up for our first half marathon – the Mickelson Trail Marathon in Deadwood, SD. It was 13.1 miles (at least it was warmer because it was in June) and you can read my experience about it in my post Putting One Foot In Front of the Other.

Well, it’s one year later and today was our second time in the “Freeze Your Fanny” event. Last year we got a purple sweatshirt. When I wear this year’s sweatshirt, I have no fear of being lost anywhere….IMG_6468

When we had the opportunity, we ran. Yes….”She who has Ankylosing Spondylitis” ran!! It was six below zero, my legs were cold and I definitely froze my fanny off somewhere in the first mile (I really should go back and look for it but I’m happy to have lost a little of that junk in my trunk!)

What really surprised me about this experience? It was fun! I had fun – walking, running….it was all fun! Seriously, in my entire life, I never would have thought running out in -6 weather would qualify in my category of “Fun stuff to do in my life”….now I can’t wait to do it again next year.

Last year, getting through those four miles was a struggle – simply because walking four miles was so new to me…and everything hurt while I did it, and when I was done! I was exhausted at the end of it, and pretty useless for the rest of the day….but I did it, and that was enough to give me courage to keep going.

I began an exercise regime, changed my diet a bit by paying better attention to what I ate. I added supplements to help with staying healthy which can be a challenge with Crohn’s Disease and only one kidney.  I continued with my daily meditation practice and resumed my Reiki treatments; for myself and others as much as possible.

In one year, my life has changed radically. Changes like what I’ve experienced don’t happen overnight, it doesn’t seem like it’s been a year already in fact!

Patience, dedication, and a belief deep down in your core – that’s what can help you achieve what you think is impossible. What is particularly exciting for me about accomplishing the walk/run today is that we got out there in spite of it being -6F….yes, that’s SIX BELOW ZERO…it was so cold my ponytails got frost on them from my breath!!  Rather than being upset about it – we laughed!

FYFO

Go ahead and choose to go out there for a walk or run and Freeze Your Fanny off!! Have fun with it and try to do just one thing you always thought impossible – you might just surprise yourself!

If I did it….you can too!

Posted in Ankylosing Spondylitis, Blogging, Hope & Inspiration, Writing, Zero to Hero

Zero to Hero Day 27: Putting One Foot in Front of Another 2.0

The assignment today is about looking back, which I don’t normally practice. I much prefer the view through the windshield, rather than the rear view mirror. However, this particular task is rather timely because the homework was to pick a post of ours that had the most views/likes etc and then expand on it in some way.

Tonight, I’m going to share all the cool sh*t that’s happened to me since I wrote the post “Putting One Foot In Front of Another” in June 2013. I don’t actually have to click back through my blog to re-read the post because that story was published (my first published story – Woot Woot!). There’s me holding it in the photo, and I have it pasted to my wall in my Writing/Spirit room.

Holding my first published story

Being very new to writing and coming out about my invisible illnesses of Ankylosing Spondylitis and Crohn’s Disease, I was quite scared about putting it all out there….I’m so glad I did. When the Spondylitis Association’s Program Manager Elin Aslanyan and other staffers from the Spondylitis Association of America saw my tweet promoting this piece, they came and read it….and liked it! (I mean really – does this kind of thing happen in the real world???) Continue reading “Zero to Hero Day 27: Putting One Foot in Front of Another 2.0”

Posted in Hope & Inspiration, Writing

Memories on my sister’s birthday

For some reason, the decade and half decade seem to be milestones that we celebrate in our lives. Why is 55 more profound than 52 for example? For today though, I am thinking about 55 because if my sister Judy were still alive, we would be celebrating that milestone birthday with her.  Instead, it is a day of remembering.

My sister and I had a lot in common, although I don’t believe I really appreciated or realized that fact until recently. She gave me my first set of Rune stones. She believed in fairies, and of the power in nature. We colored Tarot cards together when she was going through chemo. She loved to write and tell stories, in fact she dreamed of writing a book. I hope to accomplish that goal for both of us. I feel her with me a lot when I meditate and write. You don’t have to believe in life after death…but we do.  We shared an understanding and wonder of the energy of life. I only wish we could still talk about these things. Continue reading “Memories on my sister’s birthday”