Whatever it may be, it can be better…

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. In the last few weeks, I’ve lost two dear friends, in particular, a dear close friend to cancer.

My sweet friend died from cancer after battling this beast, as she called it, for almost three years. Elle, as I will call her, and I didn’t really see eye to eye for most of the 13 years I’ve known her. She and I are much too alike. We have much in common, but we have learned to manage our friendship through the years.

She was diagnosed with cancer just a month or so before I lost my daughter. Thereafter we found solace in each other’s pain and despair. She has learned to hear and feel my pain. I have learned to marvel at her strength and determination. Near her end of life, I would offer her prayers and encouragement, hoping it would give her peace and comfort.

When she passed, her sweet family told me I was brave. I’m not sure what they’re referring to, but it’s likely because I lost Allie and I’m still walking. I don’t feel brave; I only wanted to help Elle.

The truth of the matter is that Elle has been helping me with my grief. When Allie took her life, I was so lost. I was looking for a purpose, and Elle reached out just when I was searching for something. I know I felt guilty I was not there for Allie. I know I regretted that Allie didn’t know I was there for her. My friend gave me a purpose. She allowed me to pour my energies of wanting to help Allie into helping her navigate this cancer beast.

Now that Elle is gone, I’ve been bereft. I’ve felt lost because I’m not purposeful to anyone. I am still involved with our diocese, but that is going much too slow. I have had to look at my grief again, and I just hate facing something so awful.

I’ve found this past Sunday a path back to my faith. I found He is still there, just waiting for me to find. I’ve allowed anger, fatigue and discouragement overwhelm me. The rosary and the prayers that have lifted me for a while had faded when Elle faded away. I allowed these beautiful and uplifting gifts to fade away, and I became jaded.

I know it’s easier to wallow in our despair. I talk about this often here, yet it’s taking me a while to dig out of my hole of self pity. I’m still trying to ride up from the despair, hence it took a while to go back to my writing.

I’m still not fully inspired. I’ve been crabby. I’ve been impatient with myself. It hasn’t been fun for my poor family. I saw this, so I’m trying harder.

At mass yesterday I saw a glimmer of hope. It was a song that was sung that tugged on my heart. I don’t remember the song, but it was beautiful. In that moment I felt my faith again. The feeling of being deeply comforted was there once again, the same feeling I had when I was talking with Elle and other people I’ve met in this journey.

I miss my friend, and I miss my girl. Elle’s passing brought back all the sadness knowing my sweet baby girl is also gone, forever gone. I will miss my friend and hearing her laugh and cry. I remember all the beautiful things she told me about my girl, how Allie came into her dreams to tell her that it was all going to be ok, her family would be ok. Elle told me what a beautiful angel I have, that my husband and I raised an amazing soul, and that she is making her love grow in so many people.

I will forever cherish my time with Elle. I will forever hold her and my sweet baby girl in my heart. God is good, God is merciful, and God is loving to allow me the chance to have these two beautiful souls in my life.

Self – Care To Dos…

SEASHELL NO. 2: CITRUS TREES © RILEY SHEEHEY 2020
 

Cleaning and clearing your mind need to be done everyday at the least. One way is to take up a hobby that will take up all your attention for detail and physical movement. I have vacuumed my home incessantly that I went through a fancy vacuum cleaner in two years. My house still isn’t clean enough.

I’ve painted with my girls four rooms during the lockdown. It was cathartic and life-changing. The new rooms are brighter and emit positive energies, with minimal cost and optimum physical results. We all seemed energized by the color and work.

I’ve picked up knitting (didn’t go well) and sewing, the latter more successfully. I made at least a hundred face masks, although the first batch (maybe 80%) weren’t so pretty. But I’ve got my pattern down,and they’re good enough to wear out.

I tried gardening, but that’s an ongoing sordid affair. I’ve kept alive most of the plants we received during Allie’s passing. The ones that didn’t survive are the orchids. Orchids supposedly can’t be killed. Well, I’m a butcher and serial killer of orchids.

So, now I’m trying painting. I worked on three pumpkins, inspired by Riley Sheehey (see above). Her chintz and chinoiserie works are inspirational and always have been my favorites since childhood. It must be my youthful inclinations to all things British – Enid Blyton books, language, history, gardens and fabrics. My sisters and I always imagined ourselves as old spinsters living in the cotswolds, gossiping and having afternoon teas in the garden.

That dream doesn’t sound so good, in circumspect. I’m grateful for where I am, where I came from, what I’ve done, and what I can still do. I obviously have regrets and longings. I can only regret and be sad for so long, and I have to keep moving or else sink in despair.

It’s easier to sit and be quiet. It is ok to do that.

Everyone needs balance. Pain and painless. Sad and happy. It’s ok to be happy after someone is lost. It’s ok to take care of yourself if you also take care of those around you. It doesn’t take much, and it shouldn’t take much. Every word and gesture counts. If we make each word and gesture to others be good, then we balance with a good word and gesture for our selves.

I wouldn’t recommend adding to your shopping cart as a good gesture too often. It feels good but the outcome isn’t good for you. I know. But I’ve added to my cart small things that I can do to help make me feel better and make me better. Sure, I’ve purchased way too many dresses I may never have an event to wear, but I will do something that will create an event that I have to wear those dresses. I will try a good thing, like meet with someone who needs help or volunteer to help a food pantry, so that I can wear those items I added to my cart.

See, it’s all a balance. Call it what you will. Just take care of yourself so that you can be there for someone.