Sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all

The song by Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton “Say Something” is one of my favorites because it “speaks” to me. I don’t really care to read about other’s opinions as to why JT wrote the song. I look at music, art, writing, as an expression by someone to positively impact another’s life. So, in my case, it has impact but for probably very different reasons as to why he wrote it.

We all go through difficult times in life. Mine came when John Boxx died. I lost him 3 weeks shy of our 20th wedding anniversary. But the 2 years leading up to his death were the most traumatic and life-changing. What he endured was horrific, but it was also equally horrific to me nd his family and friends. You have to experience grief to understand that not everyone grieves the same. However, I only wanted to be comforted with presence of another human being. Someone experiencing a devastating loss can’t think straight and can’t tell otherrswhat they need because they need everything!

JT’s song, “Say Something” brings me back to a very dark and lonely time. I experienced a period in my life where I only wanted companionship and the touch of a hand. I couldn’t say something because I didn’t know where to begin. However, it’s human nature to want to find the right words to say, text or message to comfort the griever. But if that doesn’t work, it’s more comfortable to sever ties. (my experience, not everyone’s). The griever only wants to know that he or she hasn’t been forgotten or become a burden, and the one who is no longer here is not forgotten either.

I had a wonderful lunch with a friend who was not only my chiropractor, but she and her husband were spiritual supporters – to remind us that faith gets us through unbelievable pain, suffering and brokenness. I reconnected with Tammy Albano, and she and I had lunch last Friday – Good Friday. She represents what I interpret from JT’s song. She was present, used the two ears that God blessed us with but didn’t use her mouth. She was there with me for approximately 90 minutes and listened. That’s all I’ve wanted for the past 3 years.

So, thank you Tammy and Dr. Tony and their extremely talented son, Nicholas. I know John tried to provide insights on what to expect with a teenage boy but . . .. He also was a master at listening, something that I try to practice but know I’m not a master like him. One of my favorite “1 liners” from him was that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. That’s why he was so successful and loved (by most, except the sales people who called on him!).  He was always present with two ears and only provided input if asked. What a talent!

So yes, at that time it was my first loss,  I was “maybe looking for something I can’t have” — comfort and companionship not words. But I’ve learned that “sometimes the greatest way to say something is to say nothing at all.” Bea present . . . just listen . . . and just say nothing at all (Justin Timberlakd YouTube.com video Say Something). Thank you, Tammy.

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A Day Can Change Your Life

March 8, 2016 . . . a day that changed my life. After 7 long, lonely months, I had to make a change. I received a phone call that told me the crew that was supposed to build the log cabin would be there on March 8. I had spent over 5 months just to get to this point, and I was bound and determined to complete the construction.

It took days before I could gather up enough courage to go out and see the construction start and be fulfilled. I got to the property after lunch time and introduced myself to Glen, the crew chief. I stayed for a few hours while watching the process of stacking logs start.

I met the four-man crew, Glen, Raymond, Charlie and a very handsome, but quiet man Roger. There was something about Roger that intrigued me and he was also very good-looking.

The second day I showed up, Roger wasn’t there. Glen’s son-in-law was there instead. I introduced myself to him and asked, “so are you taking Roger’s place?” He said no and that Roger would show up the next day.

Long story, short version . . . Roger and I were immediately attracted to each other. After my loss, I didn’t think that I could ever feel attracted to another man. I didn’t take my sunglasses off for weeks. I didn’t want Roger to know I was watching him. Needless to say, he was watching me too.

But destiny and God had a different path for me and Roger… we collided into a wonderful and roller-coaster-ride relationship. I had to build the cabin, sell my old house, take care of a blind rescue pup, try to explain to family and friends that I couldn’t fathom the thought of going back to work. We were drawn to each other in a God-wink moment.

Little did I know God’s plan for me. John was taken away too quickly, but he left me self-sufficient and confident. He made sure that I could fulfill our dream of building the log cabin.

In the process, I met a man who melted my heart. I believe that John hand-picked the man who would be perfect for me. They have so many similarities, it’s scary… and yet there are so many differences. But, I know John knew I couldn’t exist alone… he didn’t want me to be alone and unloved.

Thank you, God, for giving me the strength and fortitude to build the cabin.
Thank you, God, for bringing Roger into my life.
Thank you, God, for giving me another chance to love.
Thank you, Roger, for sticking by my side through thick and thin.
Thank you, Roger, for staying with me despite all of the obstacles.
I just give thanks…

Bea-utifully Broken

“Beautifully broken” coined from a friend I had for a season.

Suffering a loss I never expected, she was there for me.

Beautifully broken, I managed to make it to the other side.

I completed a dream that I never thought I could achieve.

Beautifully broken, I met a man who gave me hope, made me feel like a woman again, made me feel loved again.

Beautifully broken — but unlike Humpty Dumpty — all my pieces have been put together again. My husband loves me despite my broken-ness and weaknesses, and he makes me feel alive again. God is Good and sometimes healing takes longer than you want and definitely longer than others want. Bea positive and you can achieve your dreams and desires.

The Empty Pillow

Once upon a time, birds of the air, beasts of the Earth, creatures under the sea were created. God was pleased but not complete. Man was added to the masterpiece. Day after day, Man watched over the birds, beasts and sea creatures.

Night after night, Man slept alone and woke up to an “empty pillow”. All of the birds, beasts and sea creatures had companions. God with all His mercy and compassion realized that Man also needed and deserved a companion, so Woman was created. No more “empty pillow” for Man!

That is a very simplistic summary of how I believe we were created. It convinces me that we were not meant to live in solitude. Some people we meet along life’s pathway are friends. If we are blessed, we find a “significant other” who is our best friend and true love. Some of us bear a child or children who we love and nurture, and some of us have fur-babies we can love and cherish. Throughout our relationships, we share laughter, tears, fears and successes –but most of all, love.

In my short life, I’ve crossed paths with 1000’s of people and adopted eight fur-babies. Some people were placed in my path for a season, and I’m blessed with those who are life-long friends and family. The hardest lesson I’ve learned through all of my relationships is this: What do you do when you wake up in the morning only to find an “empty pillow” – an unexpected void in your life?

I’ve experienced and somehow endured many, many, many “empty pillows” — each heart-wrenching no matter how long the relationship lasted. But as I said good-bye to each “empty pillow”, whether they left planned or unplanned I managed to endure. As the song sings “only the strong survive”.

For me personally, God always provided a new opportunity. With each “empty pillow”, a new friend or family member or 4-legged rescue was placed in my life’s pathway. Each was an opportunity to fill my void with a new “pillow” at precisely the right time. These new “pillows” will never replace the “empty pillows”. However, I’ve learned that all my “empty pillows” have provided new life and love to another.

I, too, have been given a new beginning. At just the right time when God knew I was ready, He blessed me with not only a best friend but a true love. My husband and Frankie make sure I don’t wake up to an “empty pillow”. My husband is my life and gives me a reason to wake up each morning.

We never know how long our relationship will last before we wake up to yet another “empty pillow”. Despite the grief with each situation, I managed to “push through” and “keep on going on”. I learned that it doesn’t matter how long the relationship lasts, but the gift of spending time and love together is what is important. Experiencing and appreciating the special bond between me and my friends, family members, and pets – but most of all my husband, my life-partner – gives me lots of love and “pillow talk”!

Bea positive and embrace each day with thanksgiving and anticipation to love fiercely and whole-heartedly with heart and soul. Someone will cross your path who needs a “pillow” from you or maybe they will provide a much-needed “pillow” for you. Bea-lieve because it happened to me.

For RPD

For 7 long, lonely months my only solace was writing.  In that time, I wrote a book about love and loss.  My purpose and message was to inspire others to chase dreams, pursue meaningful relationships and love fearlessly – with heart and soul.  It wasn’t until I met you that I realized that the message was for me.

On March 8, I met you and you provided a little spark that was so desperately needed, a start to a new chapter in my life.  Your eyes, smile and strong, rugged hands mesmerized me as you built my log cabin.  I hid behind my sunglasses all the while watching you.  Ani-Tsalagi broke the ice between us.  In April, we started seeing each other.  On May 4, you walked into my house and never left.  You have been by my side, supporting me and loving me with your heart and soul ever since.  You’ve put a smile on my face, brought laughter to my days and a reason to love life again.

We’ve been through a lot in just 10 months – building a relationship, building a log cabin, selling a house in Riverview, packing and moving and living in temporary housing and now a marriage – our love and our “peas and carrots” relationship kept us together.

You’ve made me the happiest woman in the world, and I am so grateful that you came into my life.  Our rings were selected with purpose.  My engagement ring has two diamonds — “one for your best friend, one for your true love”.  My wedding band has three rubies — your birthstone — and another two diamonds — my birthstone.  Your wedding band has three diamonds — my birthstone.  I proudly and happily take you to be my life-long partner, my best friend, my true love, my husband. 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning says it best:

            “How do I love thee?

            I love thee to the depths, breadth and height my soul can reach.

            I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears of all my life.

            And if God choose, I shall love thee better after death.”

RPD, I love you with all my heart and soul, ‘til death do us part.

The Reunion

What is life all about?  Family and friends and love.  If you don’t have them, you have nothing.  So what happens when you feel like you’ve lost all of them?  You get in a hole that you can’t dig out of, or can you?  I was there and didn’t think I would ever see light or life again.

When you’ve lost a loved one, you’ve watched them die in front you, how do you recover?  You think you have family, friends, people who will help you dig out.  You probably do but you don’t think so at the time when you’re devastated and in deep despair.  The grief is so deep that you can’t think straight . . . or let me be blunt . . . you can’t think at all.  You just want everything to go away.

Your family is your blood and yet, they don’t understand what you’re going through because they haven’t experienced the loss and grief that you have.  They try to comfort you but there is no comfort.  They try to express words to help you but they only make things worse.  The hole gets deeper and darker with each passing day.

And yet, at the end of the dark tunnel, your family sticks with you.  They never stop loving you, and they never give up on you.  While they can’t help you through the grief, they pray and hope and never stop loving you.  They never lose faith that you will snap out of it.

That’s what happened to me.  After 9 long, lonely months, I finally saw light.  It came in the form of a new love . . . not one that I was looking for.  It was so sudden and so profound that it was scary and unexpected.  But it was the little spark that I needed.

After a couple of weeks, I accidentally pocket dialed my sister.  I almost hung up and then she answered.  She was so ecstatic to hear from me.  She even told me that she hoped for facebook posts to know that I was ok.  It was the best phone call I had after so many months of silence.  She told me that my parents were coming to visit for Mother’s Day, would I come?  I wasn’t ready to speak to them, let alone see them.

Roger, my light, convinced me to call my mother on Mother’s Day.  I was so apprehensive, but I did.  It was the most healing moment.  I will never forget the call.  I called my sister’s cell phone, and she told my mom that “someone wants to talk to you.”  My mom asked, “is it  Bea?”  It was the only thing she wanted for Mother’s Day.  It was a short conversation but worth the few minutes.

Three weeks ago, my new fiancé called my father to let him know he had bought a ring for me.  A week later, my parents drove down to meet Roger.  It was the first time that I saw them in 15 months.  So ironic that a new relationship, new love, new home was the catalyst for the reunion.  It was so overwhelming and yet the moment I needed.  I had to feel the love and comfort that only parents can give a child.

The reunion was just another step in my long journey.  I have someone who loves me for me . . . for all my faults and foibles and dark moments.  But most of all, I have my family who never left my side . . . never gave up hope . . . never gave up on me.  Bea Positive that life is worth living . . . life is all about love . . . all about family.

Crossing Rainbow Bridge

For many of us, our pets are our “kids”. My very first dog was a runt, Schnauzer-mix that I adopted while living in Austin, TX. I named her Rhiannon – yes, after my favorite Fleetwood Mac song. Rhiannon was my constant companion, and she moved with me to New Orleans, Atlanta, Tampa, Rock Hill, back to Atlanta and lastly Chicago.

Rhiannon was just shy of 18 years old in July 2002. John and I adopted little Aries, our first yorkie, three months before she passed. We were living in temporary housing due to my job transfer to Chicago. Rhiannon was slowing down and having more frequent seizures. It was a Sunday afternoon, and as we were walking around, she stopped and just looked up at me with very sad eyes. I held her muzzle in both hands as tears rolled down my face and told her, “it’s okay to go, girl, I know you are so tired.”

About 2:00 a.m., we awoke hearing her in distress. John and I rushed her to the emergency vet. I was hysterical. After what seemed forever, the very kind lady vet met with us in the room. She told us that Rhiannon’s heart was shutting down. We made the heart-wrenching decision to let her cross Rainbow Bridge peacefully, the first of many similar decisions we would make on behalf of our aging, sick “fur-babies”.

In memory of Rhiannon, John wrote this poem for me. For anyone else who has experienced losing a beloved “fur-baby”, I hope you find some comfort from John’s beautiful sentiment from Rhiannon to me.

“I’m smiling down upon you

From doggie heaven up above.

They say that’s where good dogs go

‘Cause they’re filled with so much love.

 

I can run and jump and play again;

My hip’s as good as new.

And over in the corner . . . guess what!

There’s that old shoe I used to chew.

 

I can see squirrels to chase them,

And I catch a lizard now and then.

I can bark when I want a treat.

It’s good to hear myself again.

 

It’s lonely here without you,

But we’re never far apart.

‘Cause I’ll always, always, always

Be running through your heart.”

~I love you, Rhiannon

 

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