Life. And death ..

We all know that someday, the inevitable will come.  Right?  With life, comes death.  But it’s amazing, isn’t it, how the loss of someone we love, at times even those we don’t know, absolutely rocks us at our very core.  Life for a moment, a day, weeks on end.. stands still while we see the rest of the world still spinning.  It is one of the most surreal experiences I believe we can ever go through.  Yet it is very real.  And I believe, it is often at that point, the meaning of life shifts for each of us.  If we let it.  Death forces us to truly look at what might be more important than we ever thought it was in life.   There is a shift.

……………

I have lost – what seems for my age – far too many that I am close to.   Immediate family.  Dear friends.  Colleagues.  To suicides.  Accidents.  Heart disease.  Cancer.

It has reshaped how I live my life, how I try to spend my time, how I try to speak to those in particular, that I love and what I view as important throughout the course of any given day.

Yet, when I see someone else affected by a loss of their own, trying to find the right words is never easy.  And it seems right now, there are many I know, experiencing a loss.

I posted what is below, today on Facebook and it seemed to strike a chord.  I wanted to share it again here, as it doesn’t seem these words are widely known or easy to find (I found her poem in the book, What I Wish for You).  Yet they are some of the more powerful, poignant and beautiful I’ve ever seen:

………………

“Was looking for something – something that I might say to comfort a few friends and family who’s hearts are incredibly heavy right now. Came across this. And wanted to share.
By Amy Ludwig Van Derwater

When sorrow comes
to those you love
stay close.

When sadness is
more powerful than words
more powerful than deeds
your warm hand
your quiet company
your self in a chair
saying nothing
will be a gift.

You may wonder
“What can I do?”
There may be
nothing
you can do.

You may wish
to run
Do not run.

Hold hands.
Eat soup.
Listen.
Trace a sunbeam
with your fingers
on the table.

Let yourself smile.
Let yourself cry.

When sorrow comes
to those you love
stay close.

When sorrow comes
to you
let others
stay close too.

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Drama ..

The Cowboy and I were standing there the other day .. when a little friend of my daughter’s came up to her just as the 5th grade graduation ceremony had ended .. and said, “Our other friend is mad at you again.  She is.  And she really doesn’t want to talk to you.”

I looked at her, not believing what I was hearing on some level.  Wanting to laugh on another.  I saw my daughters shoulders sag under the heavy weight of more drama between them all.

She looked at my daughter, waiting for a response.  Then she batted her eyes at me.

“I’m sorry, honey, what did you say?” I asked, as if I hadn’t heard the first announcement.

I had gotten to know this child a bit as well over the past year through both volunteering at school and at different events.  And, every time I see her, she gives me as big a hug as possible, I think in part because she needs it.  But also because she knows it irritates the bajeezus out of my own daughter, frustrated by someone who she would prefer is a friend, but who seems more often a foe, doing what she can as often as she can, to stir trouble.  There have just been ongoing issues and drama since the beginning of this school year.  And my daughter has tried her best, I believe to befriend her, as she was also once new in that school and knew what it was like to need a friend.

The little girl repeated herself.

My daughter, sounding frazzled, sad and frustrated replied, “What?  No she’s not.”

The three of them have been spending a lot of time recently with the guidance counselor trying to work things out.  Much of the school year has been spent negotiating this relationship, actually.  For some reason, the drama only seems to build, not wane.  And it doesn’t seem to matter what is said or done.  There is never any making it better.  Not for more than a couple hours anyway.  Often when I walk into school, people ask, ‘How is your daughter doing?’ because something else has happened that day.

I had done my best to stay out of it all year.  Be an ear for my daughter.  Help her think through how she might best handle the situation on her own.  But knowing she had cried over another apparent misunderstanding created by the third party the night before, called her best friend to work it out, clear up the notion there even was a problem, then seeing the effort right in front of me to stir it all up again .. I couldn’t help myself.

“Perhaps if (best friend) is still having some issues with (my daughter), the two of them should speak directly to each other, would you be okay with that” I said to her.

“That way you don’t have to be a go-between, which would probably make it easier on you …. and then they won’t have any miscommunications about problems that might exist that really don’t.  Otherwise, I think they have it worked out,” I said.  “Is that okay?”

She nodded her head.

“Great,” I ended the conversations.  We stepped to the side to take a family photo.

While I’d like to say if for no other reason to be happy the school year ends tomorrow, it might be, that we can move past the social challenges of 5th grade.  The time when it seems the drama really kicks in.

But, sometimes .. people get stuck in 5th grade ..  

You know who I’m talking about .. those who always need a little drama, or when there is none, are more than happy to stir it up.

………………………………………

drama

[drah-muh, dram-uh]

4.  any situation or series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking interest or results.

………………………………………

The Cowboy and I were talking a bit about two particular issues that have come up where that is the case.  In just the past 48 hours.  Funny thing is, typically the person who loves to create it is quick to point out its not them, but you that is the problem.

And if you would just cooperate ….. the world would be a much better place.

As adults, you would think we should know better than to engage.  But it’s tough .. you feel like the little boy or girl again in 5th grade.  Exasperated it seems there is nothing you can do to fix a situation.  Because, in my opinion, there is no ‘situation’ other than the one someone is creating for you.  Exhausting.  Who has time for that?

Apparently many.

The Cowboy says it helps him to step back and think about what someone’s motives might be .. to best deal with any drama, as some people are motivated simply to get what they want.  They need to feel, regardless of whether or not they are actually in control, in control.  They need and want that power.  And unless one takes a deep breath and stands still long enough to recognize it, we get swept up in it.  Great insight, Cowboy (according to the following article.)

http://drthema.blogspot.com/2010/11/dealing-with-high-drama-people.html

The mother of my daughter’s best friend .. as we spoke the other night about future play dates .. mentioned she thought that was the case with the other little girl.

That the drama she is creating between our girls is her way to have some control in a world where she feels she has little to none.  A point that just absolutely makes me feel sad for her.  Sad especially, that she would see that as a solution versus just being a good friend.  That creating drama is her way to be able to not only have others possibly need her, but it might also be where she feels in the midst of chaos she can also come in and be the hero and fix it all, too.

Whatever the challenges we face .. be it 5th grade, making friends, finding our way, changing interests, changing bodies, new schools, new classes and creating our own good space in life .. or a new job .. adult friendships .. perhaps a relationship or a marriage..

May drama only be a class you take or a reference to one of the first three definitions according to Webster’s:

dra·ma

[drah-muh, dram-uh]
noun

1.  a composition in prose or verse presenting in dialogue orpantomime a story involving conflict or contrast of character, especially one intended to be acted on the stage; a play.
2.  the branch of literature having such compositions as its subject; dramatic art or representation.
3.  the art dealing with the writing and production of plays.
Best of luck, dear sweet girls .. in 6th grade!

“People are saying ..”

(From Thursday.  A bit behind but I’m pretty certain no one gives a dang but me.)

I keep getting this direct message on Twitter:

“Yo.  That person has been saying nasty things about you.”

Besides worrying I might click on the wrong thing and give my computer a virus versus blocking the source, it makes me laugh.

Maybe.

Maybe someone, somewhere is saying nasty things about me.

Actually, I’ve come to realize it’s not a maybe.  It’s a most likely.  Chances are, if you are active, involved, stick your neck out, take risks, go through a divorce, climb the ladder, heck, even if all you do is sit at home, don’t work, complain, freeload or just try to be a good person, you get the drift .. someone’s p&m-ing about you at any given time.

Do we care?  Should we care?

Don’t care what others think of what you do.  Care very much about what you think you do.”  – St. Frances Desalles

My daughter said to me yesterday as I was about to drop her off at school that she and one of her best friends were still having issues.  There’s been a third girl in the mix since the beginning of the school year who, to say the least, has been doing her best to drum up drama between them and hurtful words are being said.

“How are you handling that?  Are things going better,” I asked her.  I try and at least check in with her on that weekly because it seems the dynamic is always changing.  (Of course it is.)

We talked about it for a few minutes.  She seems to be handling it fairly well from what I can tell and not getting too overly lost in 5th grade turmoil.  Good to hear because if experience tells us anything, it’s that things don’t get any easier in that department for girls especially, heading into middle school.

But bullying and drama don’t stop once we pass through our school age years.  Any of us, I’m sure, continue to see a ridiculous amount of it as adults.  Both socially and in the workplace.  We just hope we’ve better learned to let things roll off our back.

Not always easy.

http://thinksimplenow.com/happiness/dealing-with-difficult-people/

And .. some are far better at it than others.  Time and life experience (and helpful advice like some of what’s mentioned in the link above) help us all .. well, let me rephrase that, many of us realize it’s both not worth our time or energy to speak ill of others.  Or, to worry about what others – who seem to take pleasure in putting others down in order to build themselves up – say at all.

The Cowboy and I were talking about that this weekend.  There are a lot of people who seem to just watch and wait for you to mess up and then they can’t wait to be the first to point it out.  In fact, there are a few that I know read this blog who are just waiting for something good they might get me on or use against me, I’m quite certain.  When those people have to be a big part of your life, how does one handle it?  Or .. can you?  Should we care?  One of my biggest challenges over the years has been learning to minimize and let go, remove myself from the drama, because I have the choice to let it become my drama as well or let it slide.  I’ve got a long way to go, but getting there ..

In the meantime ..

I try to instill best I can in my daughter, to treat others the way she wants to be treated, really know the type of person she wants to be and live that way everyday.  That way she can hold her head high.  No matter who says what about her.  A friend, or that mean person on Twitter.

(And if all else fails:  I also wish I were a better with a witty comeback, that might stop someone in their tracks.  While many here are terrible, there are a few that had me rolling on the floor I’m going to keep close to the vest.)  http://www.nairaland.com/1830/some-mean-things-say-annoying

“May your regrets be …”

As I look at a text this morning from a friend ..

A phone call from late last night I need to return ..

And knowing and having to deal with the situations a few others close to me are in right now, I went looking this morning for a quote that might help each of them today find even an ounce of strength in .. some small piece of insight .. or wisdom.

Instead of a quote, I found the following passage from the book, What I Wish For You by Patti Digh .. which I feel can apply universally for so many of the circumstances we find ourselves in, in life ..

They are also thoughts that I just simply love, and words that capture much of how I try to live my own life and hope as well, for my daughter as she grows.

May your regrets be from loving too much

Do not be afraid to love.  Open your heart wide.  Throw back the curtains.  Let the sun in.  Prop the front door open, make a pitcher of lemonade, invite the world!  You never know whom you might meet.  Don’t be afraid to fall in love with ideas, with places, with subjects, with people.  You’ll fall in and out of love many times, but this is how we figure it out.  This is how we learn what we love, this is how we recognize what we want, this is how we know what we need and , maybe just as important, what we do not need.  But if we don’t immerse ourselves in this crazy life in the first place, we never get the chance.

Sometimes it will seem easier not to throw yourself into the fray.  You could get disappointed.  You could be rejected.  You could get hurt.  Better to be the one doing the disappointing, the rejecting, the hurting.  That’s the easier way, it seems.  But my most poignant regrets are of the times I could have rushed head long into love – into life! – and did not, out of fear.

If you take a chance on love, you might regret it.  But maybe we can only hope to end up with the right regrets.  Ideas, places, and (especially) people will disappoint you.  They will wound you.  They will not live up to your standards.  But they will also astonish you.  They will amaze you.  They will bring you more joy than you could imagine.  I wish you as much luck and love as possible, with a few regrets as possible.  But if they happen (and they probably will), may your regrets be from loving too much instead of not enough.

– contributed by Gabrielle Kaasa

One last note – I found “What I Wish For You” and “Gratitude” at one of my favorite local stores.  If you’re ever down on State Street and stop in:

http://www.danebuylocal.com/directory/gifts-kids-pets-home/driftless-studio-nature-gallery-gifts.html

Tell Anne ‘Conversations with a Cowboy’ says hello and that I sent ya.