The Monster

“The Monster”

imageFear can be a debilitating monster. It can show it’s ugly face at the most unlikely moments, very sneaky and unsuspecting. Your chest tightens, your heart races, your muscles tighten. Your breathing speeds up so much you can’t keep up .It almost hurts. I never thought of myself as a fearful person. As a child I was cautious. I wasn’t the daredevil child who swung from the jungle gym upside down. I tried things, but I was carefully cautious. I was a ballet dancer, a piano player. I didn’t take chances. The “biggest” thing I did back then was dive off the high board! I remember the day I did a flip into the deep end. You wouldn’t catch me climbing the stairs today, much less walk the plank! The thought of the climb makes my heart race.

imageGregger was the daredevil. He had that good boy personna, but inside a little bit of devil was always aching to get out. The gaping hole in the back of his leg…a burn from the forbidden motorcyle ride his parents NEVER knew he took. He loved jet skiing with the kids, riding the waves at crazy speeds while I sat on the shore clenching my jaw so tight I’d end up with a migraine for three days! He loved bike riding, roller blading (yes, back in the day), even skateboarding. He was the “fun” one and I was the “ooh, aah, stop, careful, WATCH OUT!” mom who drove everyone crazy. My biggest moment was in Hawaii years back when everyone dared me to go parasailing. Gregger and I were teaming it, so I figured what the hell. I’ll show everyone! It was the first and DEFINITELY the LAST! My kids thought it hysterical to guide us sky high (as I clung for dear life), drop us into the sparkling blue water (just as I thought it was over), and sharply shoot us straight back up again! Holy crap! If my heart didn’t stop then I knew it was a strong ticker! I made Gregger get me one of those cheesy t-shirts that says “I survived Parasailing in Maui” just so I could flaunt my fearless moment!

imageFear strikes at the strangest moments. Pre kids I was a fearless flyer. Post kids, I am white knuckle all the way. Gregger would sit back, watch his movie, read his magazines, and I’d be clutching his hand, the arm rest, praying until those wheels touched down. It’s all different now. Being afraid has a whole new meaning. I never used to be afraid of the dark. I never used to be afraid to come into my house at night or walk out in the backyard. But, now I do it alone and it’s oh so creepy. I don’t like being afraid. I don’t like jumping when a bird flutters from a tree at night and or something wriggles on the ground, especially when I discover it’s a freaking snake! I don’t like driving into my garage peering over my shoulder, shutting it before the car is off so no one can sneak in without my knowing. I don’t like walking into my house at night and feeling like someone might be there, so I tiptoe across the floor, opening the doors, guardedly peering into the rooms. Then I circle back, grab a phone (just in case) and lock my bedroom door…paranoia?  One night I swore I was going to see feet under my door jam so I kept the lights on and waited. Crazy? No, just a little afraid. I’m not a good “alone” person, but I’m learning. I had the Gregger to “protect” me for 40 years (that’s actually kind of funny!). Just knowing he was there was protection enough for me. Little by little I’ll let the fears creep away into the darkness. I will accept the fear, act powerfully, expect the best and take control one fear at a time. And in the meantime, I’ll keep a baseball bat outside (for creepy critters), a phone by my side (for 911), and good thoughts in my head!

Tomorrow’s Just a Day Away

Tomorrow’s Just a Day Away


strength 6

Sadness has surrounded me this week. Death, tragedies, heartache. A dear childhood friend, a “best friend” mother, and a beloved father were all lost to people in my circle of life. I passed a fresh flower memorial on the side of the road with people hovering by and discovered that a motorcyclist had been killed the day before.  There are no words to express the sadness, the loss, the grief. One can only offer support, love, and friendship. I know this all too well. I also encountered several people, some strangers, others mere acquaintances, who had lost their spouses. I am trying to find the message, the answers, the reasons for so much all at once. There are no reasons, there are no answers, but I do believe there is a message. In conversation with a good friend who was dealing with her own trauma today, the lesson came to me. Life is tough. Life is not always fair. Life is a challenge.

“Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.”

As I read these words I realize how very true they are. I am not sure I would have completely understood them seven months ago. In the past when I dealt with challenges, struggles, and hurdles I always realized it was to better myself, my relationships, but losing a loved one magnifies everything by tens of thousands. I believe we are dealt a certain hand in life. Sometimes we are given simple tasks and sometimes we are given way more than we think we can handle, and, it’s in those moments that we ask WHY?  Why me? But if I look around, it’s everywhere. Everyone is dealing with something. Some things are bigger, some are smaller, but everyone has SOME THING! I just have to choose HOW I deal. Do I break down, stop, and let life get the best of me, or do I choose to be stronger every day, put my feet on the ground and keep moving? I choose to move towards a better life that offers happiness and hope for a better tomorrow.

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”  

strengthThe past seven months have proven this to me. Every day presents a new challenge, a new hurdle to overcome, and every day I somehow dig deep to find the strength to get through it. Do I falter, shake, and stumble? Of course I do. Somedays I don’t even want to get out of bed because I am so afraid of what life is going to present. But I do. I put two feet on the ground, take two steps forward and keep going. Somedays it’s two steps forward, one step back, but at least I keep on going. I refuse to give up. Gregger would not want that and neither do I. People tell me all the time how brave and strong I am. Well, sometimes the outside is a lot stronger than the inside, but it’s working it’s way inward. It’s like smiling at a stranger when I least want to and suddenly being entrenched with a sense of warmth and sunshine. It happens. It works. So I practice being strong. The more I practice, the more it sinks in and the more it feels real. I will break tomorrow, next week and probably a year from now, but each time I will be a little bit stronger because I have made it through another day.


tomorrowAs cliche as it may sound I count my blessings, I am grateful for the goodness, and I try, try, try to seek the positive in every blessed day. As Annie said, “The sun will come out tomorrow…you gotta hang on ’til tomorrow, come what may…tomorrow, tomorrow…you’re always a day away!”