Tag Archives: grief

My Easter

31 Mar

So I thought it was high time that I write in my blog. Originally it started out as a writing blog but as my photography skills got better my pictures kind of took over. And I am so grateful for all the positive response and new followers my pictures have brought me! But my talent has always been writing and so here we are.

Today is Easter Sunday and I consider myself a Catholic. But here I am blogging away but not in Church. I believe in God and the saints and the rituals of my religion but I have serious doubts about the politics of the Church. I have serious doubts about politics in any area in fact. But I have found it very hard to go back to Church even though I love so many things about it.

When I was growing up Church and Easter meant family. I remember going to Mass with my Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy and a gaggle of my cousins. Everyone lived closer to each other back then. We could take up three pews if we all tried to sit together, and we always did. I loved to hold hands with my family while we said the Our Father. I loved comparing our cute Easter dresses with Christy and Lauren and my Aunts. I loved standing side by side in the pews of the church with my family. I loved to pick out the voices of my Aunts as we all sang the different songs during Mass. My favorite songs were Church songs and I don’t know if it was the comfort I got knowing they were always the same ones and would always be the same ones, or if is was the words and melody that attracts me to every song I fall in love with. With Catholic Mass there is a great comfort in repetition, imagining I am saying the same prayers that had echoed through the Church for hundreds of years.

And then there was the family time after church. Whether it was an Easter egg hunt in the backyard or the pounds of ham devoured for brunch, I was with my family. At my other Grandparents house, my Great Grandma Adams always made these huge overstuffed Easter baskets and hide them around the house. I would wake up in the morning in my night gown and a knot of long curly hair on my head and groggily search the whole house. Ultimately to find an Easter basket taller then I was. And all the pictures I have of those times are some of my greatest treasures. Swarms of kids outside in their church clothes searching newly blooming flower beds for plastic eggs filled with goodies while being yelled at not to get dirty. Family pictures where my Dad and Tom have the same scowl on their faces partly from the Spring sun in their eyes and partly because they were forced into neckties. I remember trying eggs Benedict for the first time at my Aunt Jan’s house for one Easter. I love the feeling of a huge family stuffed into a slightly too small house and celebrating not only the holiday but simply being together.

But these days things have changed. Both my Grandpa and Grandma Kennedy have passed on and my Great Grandma Adams and my Uncle Joe and too many others. As the family has grown up, they have spread out too. I am lucky to get to see people from either side more than once a year. I know that all things change and the happiness they have found in growing up and having families of their own brings me so much joy. I thank God everyday for things like Facebook and cell phones because they keep us connected. But with Church it is harder to find the joy that used to be there. I still believe in God and living a good life. I say my Hail Marys often and ask for forgiveness when I feel I have done something wrong. But when I walk into Church, I can’t hear the beauty in the music anymore. I don’t feel the comfort in the prayers that I used to. And I hope the feeling won’t last forever, I honestly do. Until then I know God still hears me and that my Grandma Kennedy sends me signs to show me she is still watching over me and is my strongest Guardian Angel. And I will cherish the one or two times a years when I get to squish into a house a little too small for all of us.

So I do want to wish Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates whether religiously or bunny-centric or a little of both!

Throwback Thursday Surprise

14 Mar

I decided to jump on the Throwback Thursday bandwagon on Instagram. I wanted to do something for my Mom because she does so much for me. When my Grandma, her Mom, passed away almost two years ago we got a whole bunch of photos among other things. Some were just piles of photos and some were framed . Honestly we have not touched the framed photos since we got them. It was a really hard loss for my whole family. So today I was looking for some older photos of my Mom to put together a collage-like picture idea. My Grandma had 10 kids and there are 29(ish) grand-kids and 7 great grand-babies(as of now) plus spouses. So needless to say she had a bazillion pictures. But she had each of her original 10 kids senior pictures framed above her bed. So I went to take my Mom’s senior picture out of its frame to copy it and behind her picture I found all these others. It was an amazing surprise. My Grandma really is a guardian angel in my life and I believe in the lives of my whole family. And some days she makes it a point to remind me that she is watching over me. So I shed a few tears and snapped this quick picture. I love it. And I love my Mom and my Grandma very much. I miss my Grandma very much still but I can still feel her with me in my heart.  F.Y.I – My Mom’s senior picture is the center one in the bottom row.

My absence and brighter days ahead

6 Feb

Flowers Summer 2012 132Flowers Summer 2012 003

So I have been quiet on the blogging front for a few days. We had a death in the family and had to go to the wake and funeral in Cincinnati. It got me thinking of all the things my elders have passed on to me. One thing people might not know about me is that I love to garden. Both my Mom and Grandma Kennedy started me gardening at a very young age and I really find it fulfilling. And now that I have taken up photography, I love to capture photos of it too. I have bunches from last spring and summer. But along with gardening knowledge our family does something kind of unique (as far as I know). My Grandma K passed down actually seeds and flowers from her house and my Great-Grandma Solliday’s farm. Lots of the flowers in our gardens at the house came from the farm my Grandma grew up on in Washington, IN. And some come from the big house where she raised her 10 kids. And some come from the lake house where so many of my cherished summers were spent with my huge crazy family. And some come from the last house she lived in and passed away in. I even got a bucket of her old gardening tools when she passed away. And someday if I am very lucky I will have kids of my own to pass on starts of all these plants to. I feel a special link between my Grandma and my Mom and I when it comes to getting soil under my fingernails and I will forever be grateful for that. The first picture is of a pink-purple bearded iris that came from the big house and the second picture is some of the gardening tools I inherited. Can’t you tell Spring is a coming!!

I miss her so much.

1 Feb

 

This is a picture of my dog Primo. She passed away right before Thanksgiving last year. Her 12th birthday would have been tomorrow. I used to make a big deal of it every year. I would get her presents and a special cookie from the dog bakery. She was my everything. She was my baby, my best friend, and my love all wrapped into one little shih tzu. There are still days where all I can do is cry my eyes out because I miss her so much. She was an amazing dog. She would come and cuddle me when I was crying. If I left the house for even 10 minutes when I got back she was overjoyed to see me. When I couldn’t sleep she was right there next to me awake. When I needed to calm down I would go and give her attention. If I was anxious about driving I would just take her along because she loved car rides. She saved my life more than once. When I found out I was not going to be able to have kids, it was a little less devastating because I had her. To say the least my heart is broken without her. And it is even harder to cope being that I can not even afford the fees to adopt a shelter dog. I never knew how expensive it was to adopt a dog in need. But that is beside the point. No dog will ever be her. I miss her so much. And because there has been a death in the family and there is a funeral tomorrow, I feel like I have to keep this hurt of it being her birthday kind of to myself. So I will just blog it into internet space and keep my tears to the secret hours of the late night.  I miss you so much Primo baby!!!!

A very special lady

31 Jan

IMG_0961

The lovely lady with the dog in her lap is my Great-Aunt Jane. And sad to say she passed away earlier this week. My Mom (the other lovely lady in the photo) was devastated. But my Great-Aunt Jane led a long life in which she devoted herself to taking care of so many people. My first thought, after some tears, was that all those people, I am sure, were so excited to greet her in heaven. My Grandpa and Grandma and my Uncle Joe and Jack and Pat and probably most of all her husband. Great-Aunt Jane contributed all of the historical knowledge I have about the Kennedy side of the family. I will miss going to the Cincinnati art museum with her and I will miss having brunch at that fancy restaurant that is really a hotel, that always reminded me of a castle. She was an amazing lady.

Memories of Shirley Temple…

23 Jan

Tonight I was reminded of a great memory while watching T.V.. My Grandma Kennedy passed away 2 years ago but the thing I remembered was from a long time ago when I was a little girl. My Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy had 10 kids and they used to have a huge house big enough to hold them all. When I was a little kid this big house was like an amusement park for me. I was the first grandkid too, so my Grandma tried to spoil me whenever she could. I used to get to spend weekends with them all by myself and now I realize how special those moments were. My Grandparents used to have dinner parties and afterwards they made all their friends drinks. Now you have to realize that we are Irish Catholic which might as well be a symptom of alcoholism in my mind. My Grandma could not have made a froo-froo fruity drink if her life depended on it. So I would watch as she made real drinks for every single adult in the house after eating a huge dinner which she also prepared. And she would look down at me, because I was only knee height at the time, and ask what I was hanging around for. I would say that I was waiting for my drink. I mean everyone else had one and I thought that should include me. So my Grandma would ask if I wanted a Shirley Temple. And I would squeal to the affirmative. I loved and still love today Shirley Temple. And I assumed that a drink named after her had to be a drink she drank all the time. And my Grandma put no less work into my drink that she did the others. She would take a martini shaker and pour in 2 shots of 7-UP and 2 shots of Sprite. She would throw in some ice cubes and shut the shaker. She would shake up my Shirley Temple and pour it into a short old-fashioned drink glass. And then she would take 2 maraschino cherries from the jar and drop them into my drink. Last but not least she would put in a red drink stirring straw and put it on a fancy napkin. She would carry it into me at the table in front of everyone. It was one of the few times in my life that I remember a whole room of people looking at me without my face turning bright red. Maybe I was too young to feel embarrassed. Maybe my Grandma just made me feel special and not guilty that she was treating me special too. There are more days in my life now that I barely remember feeling special. I am glad I have memories of my Grandma to remind me of what special feels like. I miss her so much. Maybe I will go make myself a Shirley Temple and remember her some more.

So I guess I will blog about it…

27 Dec

I have met some new people on Facebook lately who are very open about their struggles with mental illness and I guess it has inspired me to be a bit more open. The last year of my life has been up and down to say the least. I lost both my Grandma and my Uncle. And right before the holidays this year we had to not only put down one of our family dogs but also my very own furry baby dog Primo. I had never had to be the one to make the decision to put a dog to sleep before. And my relationship with Primo was so special. For the last twelve years she became one of my best friends. She was the one thing that was mine completely and mine to take care of or spoil how I saw fit. When I cried she climbed in my lap and gave me kisses. And with my constant insomnia she learned to stay awake when I was awake and sleep when I slept. She was the one being I could tell every single crazy thought I had to and she never judged me for it. She was the one constant being I could vent completely to. And now that she is gone, I am lost. I don’t have the money for another dog right now. Not even an adoption or rescue dog is in my price range. So my loneliness gets the better of me more often than not these days.

But back to my mental illness…I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and also with social anxiety disorder. In the past my social anxiety has  gotten so bad that I had developed full-blown agoraphobia. And now it has come back. It is hard to feel like you have back slid into something you thought you had conquered. I haven’t driven myself anywhere but once this month. I can’t even walk to the end of my driveway to get the mail. The fear I feel about the world outside my windows is indescribable. And it is not one thing I can pin point being afraid of but an overwhelming myriad of things. So once again the doctors are monkeying around with the medication I take to try to help me. But I end up feeling like such a guinea pig or lab rat in the process.  And it isn’t at all embarrassing to be 32 years old and need to have someone go with me whenever I leave the house.

And I have come to realize how much my dog helped me with these feelings too. I always knew I had someone at home waiting for me. So excited to see me whether I was gone for 10 minutes or 10 hours. But also I went outside with her. I took her all around the yard for walks. And where people knew me, they would let me bring her with me. And she loved car rides so much. For such a little dog she impacted my world so much.

So my grief is getting the better of me right now. And my anxiety. And the side effects from the meds they are giving me to try to help me with those other things. Honestly I just wish they could prescribe me a new puppy because I think that might help the most. Not that any dog would be like her. But I wish I had a new dog to get to know and love and take care of. And maybe just maybe one that might take care of me a little.

To where my mind wanders…

15 Jul

Lately the same quote seems to be jumping out at me on all my social media. It wasn’t a quote I was familiar with but just the same it struck a chord with me. It goes something like ” To find your true love, all you have to do is watch where your mind goes when it wanders.” This would be hard for me normally because my mind is constantly wandering and imagining. But this summer there has been something that keeps dragging my attention back to it. It is a large empty space. Here is who used to fill my summer days.

This is my Grandma driving the boat at our family’s lake house. And I am the little girl on her lap. My face is most likely that way because she tooted the horn. The horn on the boat was a quick blaring honk. Kind of like putting a Canadian goose in front of a microphone and then stomping on it once really hard. It was so loud it literally made your heart skip a beat if you were sitting in front of it when it was honked. I hated that horn! I was so lucky. I spent 30 years of summers on the lake with my family. When I was really little it was just me and my grandparents because I was the only grandchild for a little while. I was lucky that way too because I remember things that my younger cousins might not. And then as my aunts and uncles got married and had kids, we had wild summers. I mean squeezing 30 or 40 people into a one story house with only one bathroom was an adventure in itself. But now imagine half of those being kids under 12, you get the idea of the fun we had. And we had boat rides and swimming and diving contests and amazing fireworks displays put on by my youngest uncle Mike on the Fourth of July. And acres and acres of s’mores. And mountains of food and soda pop. During those years the only time I had alone with my Grandma was the very early morning before everyone else woke up. Of all those kids and adults, Grandma was always up first. Starting the coffee and melting the grease in the frying pan for scrambled eggs for 20 kids. I would wake up and tiptoe over the carpet of sleeping bodies in the living room.  I would get to take Grandpa his coffee as he rocked in his chair on the porch. He always got the first rocking chair in the row and then Grandma got the second and then I got the third. But usually Grandma would sit me in her chair with a tiny kid sized cup of OJ so she could go back to making breakfast without me underfoot. And I would rock and babble non-stop at my Grandpa. To me he was a really good listener but I am sure he just learned to tune out little kid babble. But he was a man of few words with me and I loved him for it. Then people would start waking up and eating. And after that it was a matter of whining until we could go swimming.

As a teenager things changed a bit. My Grandpa had his first stroke when I was 11. And he continued to have them. At home and at the lake my Grandma was his constant nurse with the help of my Uncle Mike. But my Grandpa loved the lake so it was very important to my Grandma that he get to keep going there. Unfortunately our lake house is as handicapped friendly as Mount Everest. That fact also became very apparent as my own brother was paralyzed and put into a wheelchair permanently. But the lake was my sanctuary. And I continued to wake up when I heard Grandma get up. But I would now take my slightly bigger cup of OJ and go out to the swing. We had an amazing swing anchored between two huge trees. It was a porch swing and when you sat in it you had an amazing view of the better part of the lake. And I would write sometimes creatively, sometimes personally. And I would enjoy the silvery water of the lake and the cool morning breeze blowing through the trees. I felt so completely safe. It recharged my batteries to go back and face a high school life I was unhappy with. With my brother getting sick and my family struggling with that and so much more, I needed a sanctuary. The lake was my perfect place. In my whole life I only ever brought 3 people there and shared my experience with them. But none of them understood why the lake healed me the way it did.

And as I got older my relationship with my Grandma changed again. After my Grandpa passed away, my Grandma said she liked going to the lake because it was his favorite place and it made her feel close to him. And honestly I think it was because my Grandma and I had the same schedule. I wasn’t in school or working so I could go with her during the week to the lake. We would go to clean and plant the garden. She would fill up her car with clean towels, blankets, and sheets. I would pack a backpack and we would just go. It was great. We had so many great conversations on the hour or so drive down. She was really wanting to understand the problems I was having. And she would show me how to make a bed “the right way”. Although to this day I don’t make my bed. She would teach me all about gardening. And I was excited to learn. There was this little hardware store with a little greenhouse attached on the way to the lake house. We would stop there and pick out tons and tons of little flower plants. And we would plant all the pots and flower beds in all different flowers and colors. Or we would clean the huge windows on the porch. It was hot work but once you were done you felt like you had really done something. Then Grandma would take a drink down to the dock and I would go for a swim. We would watch the boats go by, having their last bit of fun before the light went on at the beach. It meant you couldn’t drive your boat fast anymore for the night. We would go in after that. Grandma would cook dinner and we would watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy while we ate. She was always better at the Wheel but I was always better at Jeopardy. Then she would rock in her chair on the porch, never Grandpa’s, until she was tired. I would read until I was sleepy. We would go for three or four days in a row. And I really started to enjoy those trips.

My Grandma sold the lake house a few years ago and it broke my heart. Or so I thought. My Grandma passed away last year. I knew real heart-break then. I know it still. She was the biggest part of my sanctuary. And this summer whether I am gardening or writing or cleaning around the house, she is where my mind wanders to. Or rather the empty hole in my life where she used to be.

To all my friends who are mommies

12 Jun

Oooooohhhh girls it has been a spell since I have written a post. For that you have my deepest apologies. When spring hit here so fast and so hot, my social life bloomed too. And of course I love to garden and bird watch too. I also got a new camera and laptop recently so I was busy playing with all the new buttons on those too. Seems like I have been taking more pictures than writing lately. Don’t worry I will blog those later. And I became absolutely addicted to Instagram once it went to Android.

But enough excuses and on to the blog. This is something I am not sure everyone knows about me and I will try to explain it as eloquently as I can here. And please by no means am I seeking pity or sympathy by blogging about this. I am just hoping to explain my point of view.

Since I am not sure where to start, I will just jump in in the middle somewhere. In September of 2009, I had to have a complete hysterectomy and as a result I will never be able to have biological kids of my own. At the time I was very sick and getting sicker. This surgery was the only definitive way to be sure that I would not get sick again. I had problems from the moment I hit puberty. And they just got worse and worse. I had tried every pill the doctors could throw at me. But no doctor wanted to tell a childless 29-year-old woman that she really had to take that final surgical solution. But in the end I had no choice. And I recovered at lightening speed to 100%. It really was a miracle.

I didn’t start feeling grief for all that I had lost until more than a year later. It honestly snuck up on me. I was so happy to be healthy and not in constant pain. I had a great summer later on after that. But the realizations started hitting me all at once or at least it felt that way. My best friend  had  her first child. I was there for everything. I was even at the hospital for the birth. And when I held that little angel for the first time my heart literally burst open with love for her. And my stomach sank into a deep abyss. Because if I could instantly love this baby that much, I could only imagine the feeling multiplied a billion times over for a baby that I would carry for 9 months next to my heart. Despite my sadness, I was overjoyed  that my best friend let me share almost every step of that baby’s life. But I also started noticing more and more of my family and friends getting pregnant. I seemed to notice every Mom and toddler at the grocery store. Huggies commercials started making me sob. And I would catch myself saying, like I imagine every girl does, “Oh when I have kids I will…” and “If I had a baby I would name her…”. Phrases like that left a bad taste in my mouth now because I realized all that stuff was cut out of my life now. And I went through a bad time there for a while. I withdrew from baby situations and baby conversations. It just hurt too much.

But like I said this isn’t my sob story. Slowly but surely the pain is ebbing away now. I realized that I had always loved kids and that kids have always loved me. You can ask my 30 or so younger cousins, HaHaHa. And I realized that I really enjoyed seeing my friends and family with their babies. The love and happiness that beams between them and their babies. I began to really love all those cute and sweet update pictures that they all so proudly share on Facebook and other places. I realized that I could have as much fun watching these babies grow up  as I did watching my younger cousins grow into the great adults they are now. And the fact that all my children will have paws is not such a bad thing either. Because I love animals and there are a lot of them out there that could use some love and some help.

So I apologize to my friends and family for all I have missed. And I hope you all don’t mind if I officially start calling you my “mommie friends”. I will post all the cute things I see for you and your babies, boy or girl. And I will truly try not to be absent from anymore baby showers, birthdays or christenings. Because I love you all and I love that you are all mommies!!!

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