Trust Yourself

I debated on exactly how in-depth I wanted to get with this post based on my own privacy, I suppose. After giving it a lot of thought for a few days I decided to just begin writing to see where my words would take me.

My thoughts begin with the word honesty. If you can’t be honest with yourself, how can you ever expect to be honest with anyone else? For those who know me well, they understand one value that I hold incredibility high is trust. It is impossible for me to be involved in a good friendship or even more so relationship without the feeling of mutual trust.

Your word is only as good as your actions.

Trust can be very complicated. It takes a while to build, but can be broken within a matter of seconds.

Throughout the past five months I have been dealing with debilitating pain. My body has felt trapped within a state that feels extremely unhealthy. I have felt fatigue, along with an assortment of chronic pain that has been capable of controlling my life both physically and mentally.  And at times it has. However, I’ve felt determined to overcome this sick feeling no matter how much it would take out of me.

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I had to trust myself. I would remind myself of this daily. There were multiple times I recall crying out to myself or some of the close people in my life… “Am I crazy?” I wasn’t even sure if I was asking myself or if I was waiting for someone else to declare it. I had to be crazy. I’ve felt physical pain before, as losing my mom took over both my mind and body for a while, but this was something much different. I almost felt in some ways like I couldn’t manage to function.

I knew something was going on with my body, I just wasn’t sure what it was. As I went from doctor to doctor, I would find myself in tears recalling the same story. I would read my journal to them where I kept tabs of what I ate, how many hours I slept, the medicine/supplements I would consume and what I was feeling. I took multiple tests where minor abnormalities would pop up but nothing explaining the deep and controlling pain I knew I was experiencing. It quickly became a nightmare.

I could feel myself losing patience; but that wasn’t even the worst part. I could also feel people, who meant so much to me, pushing away from me because it began to consume me. I wasn’t fun, I sure wasn’t happy and it’s very possible, it was quite difficult to be around me.  People at work began to recognize I was in pain. They would complement me with how well I was coping. They’d even make mention of my positive attitude and devoted energy to my work. But inside I could feel that it was fake and draining me. I was giving it all I could just to make it through a day of work. One day at a time.

Finally one night I was absolutely hysterical. I was crying out to my father and friend, “I am in so much pain, I can’t do this anymore.” And in spite of what they may of thought, I truly felt this way. I was losing hope because I was trying desperately to find some sort of answer and relief. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t happening.

Very shortly after that night, I think God heard my cries and answered my prayers. I met with an extremely talented and generous doctor. For once, in this journey, I felt that he actually wanted me better as much as I did. I knew he was determined to help me and lead me to recovery. Within a few long months he connected me with a very special lady. She was a specialized in the area he felt I needed to be connected in. He was right.

Within a month of my first visit with her I was getting put to sleep for surgery. I went into the surgery nervous, but anxious with some sort of excitement. I was looking for answers that I so desperately needed. My first memory after recovery was the voice of the sweet lady doctor. She held my arm and said “Randi, my dear, you are not crazy.” It turns out something had been taking over my body and was causing me intense and terrible pain. If they wouldn’t have found it, it would have only gotten worse for me and could have resulted in a lot of permanent damage that would have been devastating for me.

I am still recovering, I have a long ways to go, but I know now how important it is to always trust yourself. You know your own body and needs. Don’t ever sell yourself short by not acknowledging what you feel. Be your own advocate and fight with every ounce of hope that no matter what you are facing there are better days ahead. Healing will come for those who believe.

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This is What is Real

I can’t seem to focus right now. So, I am not even going to try. All I can think about today is her. Maybe it’s because this week is her birthday; Thursday, June 23rd.  She would be turning fifty- three this year.

So much life still left to live.

So much joy left to be felt.

So much love left to give.

But instead of celebrating another year with me, with her family, she will be somewhere that feels so far away from me right now. I know that she will be in heaven. She’s there right now. I bet it’s beautiful, painless, something like paradise; but it’s a beautiful place that right now feels so far away from me.

This will be her third birthday spent away from her three children. We are sad…we miss our mom. Not a day goes by that we don’t wish to have her here in our presence. Life isn’t the same when you lose someone you love. Life isn’t the same without a mother around to care for, protect and love on you.

It is so frustrating you know; when you lose someone like her. As time passes on people move on and sometimes you can’t help but almost wonder if they have forgotten. You still feel overwhelmed with the loss. You grieve frequently over what you no longer have. But it seems for most people, life goes on. Their families are still whole and their mom still has life. You almost panic because as the time passes you hear less of her. People stop checking in, they even forget important dates like Thursday and it hurts.

You don’t want to be bitter. You don’t long for pity. You are just sad. You’re sad because no matter how much time passes, for you, the void is still there. The hole is left aching in your heart. You want something simple, something every twenty-two year old girl should desire. You just want to spend your mom’s birthday with her. You want to see her face and hear her voice. Would a simple hug be too much to ask for?

Today I am grieving. I am grieving so bad. I miss my mom and it hurts. I wish I had more to say, but today this is all. Because this is what is real.

From our favorite author, Nicholas Sparks. “Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face – I know it’s an impossibility, but I cannot help myself.”

 

Utilize Your Gifts

This morning at work I noticed a familiar smiling face in which was not smiling. It was abnormal to me to see this sort of expression on this individual’s face. With a feeling in my gut that something was wrong I proceeded to ask the person how their weekend was. I actually received the response I was expecting; something was wrong.

This person had been informed just yesterday that a close friend had unexpectedly passed away. I could immediately relate to the feelings attached to death. It might be the hardest concept to comprehend and accept. I know that it is for me. Nothing about death has ever seemed fair to me. However, I know that it is a natural part of life and often times it is something we just cannot control.

It bothered me seeing this person in pain. It bothered me knowing I could relate so much to the heartache of death. In part, that is why I decided at some point in my day I needed to make an attempt to reach out to this hurting person in order to express my condolences and concern. More importantly, I wanted this person to know, that they were not alone in this feeling.

I am hesitant to become personal with people in my work setting. I am very comfortable with the concept of keeping my work and my personal life separate. I think it just helps to remain professional and productive while at the office. I do believe there are exceptions for this behavior and this time, today, would be one of those.

The moment I walked away from the individual the phrase “Utilize your gifts” came to my mind. It was almost like God was speaking to me as a reminder for me to not ignore reaching out to someone in need…especially someone I knew I could help. I know the good Lord understands better than anyone else that I could relate and offer some sort of encouragement or comfort in this time of need. And so, I didn’t ignore Him or my heart.

Sometimes using our own personal gifts is sort of a hard thing to do. But why is this? They are a huge part of our purpose in this life. They are the best way we can make an impact on this world.

First, I think it is important to clarify what exactly I mean by ‘our gifts.’ I think our gifts can be found by taking the time to recognize something you are naturally good at, a part of your own testimony, something you have been through that changed your life in some form. I believe our gifts can also be something we are extremely passionate about; something that makes us who we are. Sharing your gift is using yourself to provide for someone who is need of whatever it may be that you have to offer.

Unfortunately, sometimes these gifts have required a lot of heartache; for instance, losing my mom unexpectedly at nine-teen years old. It has been the most heart breaking journey, I hope, I will ever have to take. I wish that no other teenage girl in this world would ever have to experience what I have. But throughout this journey I have developed a set of skills in order to overcome the heartache that trapped me in darkness for far too long.

I find myself in a place now where I have hope in peace and I can feel joy again. I understand the true significance of feeling broken; I know what it is like to receive comfort, guidance and encouragement and I also know what it is like to not. But more importantly I have learned how to give all of those three things and more. I understand the true importance of giving when someone needs it the most. It has created this strong feeling inside of me that wishes more people in this world would not be afraid to GIVE. The reward is unimaginable.

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That is why I now decided in my life to make a commitment to myself and the people I come across. There is no exception to not giving and utilizing the gifts that God gave you to help another human being in need. His purpose for our gifts is to reach out to one another and help each other to live this life to its fullest.

At the end of today, I had a visitor at my office door. The person had a smile on their face as they thanked me for not only reaching out to them on a day they needed it the most, but also for being brave enough to share my own heartache in order to make a difference in the person’s day.

You Can Make a Difference

People will hurt you.

But always remember: two wrongs don’t make a right.

I remind myself of this golden rule countless times throughout the week. I don’t know about you but I find myself frequently feeling disappointed or sensitive towards the actions of the people around me. It is not because I think I am perfect or that I believe I always do right. I know I don’t. I think it is more because I am very observant and aware of how the decisions and behaviors of one person can affect another human being.

Whether we intend to or not; people do hurt people. This is a concept I have never really understood. Why do we hurt people… especially the ones we love? There is so much hurt that already exists in this world. Couldn’t we just be a little more careful about protecting one another? That is something I continuously hope for. When I say my prayers I ask God to help the people in this world to find more kindness, peace and love. I think the world would be a much better place if people focused more on positive actions.

However, as well all know, we only have control of one person; and that is you. This brings me to another point; I have heard people say “one person cannot make a difference.” I call bullshit on that one. I know that one person can make all the difference. It can take one act of kindness to turn around someone’s whole day. It can take one message of hope to encourage someone to not give up. I have people in my life that it simply takes being in their presence to give me the peace and happiness I desire to feel. That, my friends, is making a difference.

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I have been in an all-time low. I have been in a place where peace and happiness did not exist.  My world felt upside down. It took beautiful people in my life that made a commitment within themselves to continue to remind me that peace and happiness would come. It took me making the decision to want to find that peace and happiness in my life again, but it didn’t happen overnight.

I recall a very sad moment for me. It was the summer after I lost my mom. I had anxiety racing in every part of my body. I felt claustrophobic; in my mind I was trapped within a state of pain and was desperate to feel some sort of relief. However, no matter how much I cried or screamed…no matter what I tried to do to comfort myself from losing my mom; I couldn’t find relief.  I had been sitting in her closet surrounded by her clothes; I had her pictures on my lap and was sobbing into her bath robe when I felt like I couldn’t take the pain for another second.

I got up and ran downstairs and out the door. It was the middle of the night and I began running down my driveway. I continued on down the road, running and screaming. Every part of me hurt. I kept running and running until I almost couldn’t breathe. Maybe I thought I could run from and escape my pain. It didn’t work like that.

I look back at this moment and tears fill my eyes. I can feel the intensity of pain I had in that very moment. But I can’t help but look at where I am now and almost smile because I know how much I have had to overcome to get to where I am. I cry thinking about my journey, even the days to come without my mom. But I will always rejoice in the strength and peace I have found within myself.

Having to face such a tragic time in my life at a young age has helped me to form a very unique outlook on life. I have felt pain and suffering. I know what serious hurt feels like. Feeling the deep emotions I have has given me a better appreciation for the people around me and the way I choose to treat them. You never know what other people are facing, how difficult it might be for them to get through the day or how desperately they need to feel some sort of relief, like I did.

I never want to intentionally be the individual who adds negativity to another person’s day. That is why I feel it is so beneficial to always be aware of your actions and how you are treating others. You can make a difference.

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Self-Pity is Our Worst Enemy

Never allow yourself to fall within a state of self-pity.

I think that’s where people start to go wrong. But it really is so easy to do. Especially when things are falling apart and nothing seems to be going your way. It is very tempting to feel as if it might be acceptable to have self-pity. And maybe it is. However, it is important and possibly crucial to stop and think about what types of habits develop for the state of feeling sorry for our selves. Because when we do it can become a vicious cycle.

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In part why I am writing this blog is because today I am having a bad day. I couldn’t sleep last night and I couldn’t have been more exhausted. Which doesn’t make sense does it?

Insomnia is something I have became quite familiar with unfortunately. Although I have found some useful aids to assist me with coping with this over the course of the last few years. A few in which I want to share with you: I have found relief from natural oils such as lavender, listening to ambient music and taking the supplement melatonin.

Anyway back to this bad day of mine and how easily I could’ve fallen into a state of self-pity.

I had an important doctor’s appointment this morning. I was really hoping for some answers in which I didn’t get. I have been restless and anxious all day. I am still coping with a long list of symptoms from mono and trying to focus on my exam reviews for finals. Oh, and in the midst of this two days ago I dealt with the two-year anniversary of my mother’s death. AND I should be getting excited for graduation. These thoughts probably seem like a bunch of complaints huh? Well, they are the reality of my day.

I stop by my favorite coffee shop because I am in desperate need of a ”pick me up” aka caffeine. The cute gal at the counter is making my coffee when she asks: “how is your day”? I smile and reply something like “just studying for finals and then I’ll be graduating, yay! How are you?” She quickly replies… “Is your mom so proud of you and excited that you are graduating on Mother’s Day” (You can tell she’s overjoyed for me.)

STAB. Just like that…my heart hurt so badly. And I know she didn’t mean it; of course she didn’t know any better.

I debated my reaction, but apparently it was obvious enough. Right there in that moment, on this very day I could easily have became angry and I could have justified feeling sorry for myself. And probably rightfully so.

Truthfully, today hasn’t seemed like a very fair day. However, I refuse to have that sort of attitude, although, it didn’t happen overnight for me. I probably haven’t shown the outside world the side of me that truly felt sorry for myself at one time but I lived within that state. It was full of darkness and heartache. And it was lonely.

So as much as I wanted to drop to the ground in the coffee shop or scream POOR ME… I wiped the tear from my eye and I smiled at the sweet girl who handed me my coffee apologizing. I begged her to not feel sorry for me and I told her how blessed I am for the time I did have with my mom and that of course she will be so proud of me on Mother’s Day when she watches me walk at my graduation commencement from heaven.

Life can be so incredibly difficult, but there is so much beauty even in the most difficult of days. Today is just one of the many ways God continues to show me that there is no reason to have self-pity and that is why I wanted to share my “bad day” with you.

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Our Dreams Together

I had a dream about you last night mom. Well actually this is the 7th night in the row I’ve dreamt of you, isn’t that something? It truly is.

I love seeing your beautiful face in my dreams. I love the things we still experience together and the way it feels to know you are still there.

There is one part I don’t love; it is something I still struggle with. Though I am getting better. I know it is not worth the sacrifice of losing you in my dreams too. Maybe it’s you who is helping me. I can believe that. I think you enjoy our dreams together too.

The time is perfect between us just as it always was. We laugh and share our favorite stories with each other and you help me with the things I need your guidance with. But each time I dream of you, I lose you before I wake up.

It’s awful; I hate to replay the emotions of losing you. Living with the feelings each and everyday is hard enough. So I wake up and it sucks (I know you hated that word). But trust me mom it does and there’s no other way to put it. Because it is the reality and I can’t pretend. You’re not here but I already knew that.

And it is so beautiful out today. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and I would love nothing more than for you to make me my first cup of coffee for the day as you always would. I just want to talk to you. I want to tell you all about graduation approaching, we could possibility go for a rollerblade at the park together, and maybe we could have that dinner we never had the chance to… I get lost in these thoughts, the hope of them and then I realize I am dreaming again.

It becomes overwhelming quick. I need some fresh air. So, I walk outside and sit out on the back patio. Did I mention how gorgeous it is out today? I just want to feel you in my presence.

These were your favorite days. I take a few moments to just breathe and tears fill my face. My heart can’t help but just ache for you. But I remind myself that I will be ok; because you will guide me and give me the comfort I need day by day. You’ve proven that to me, even when it felt impossible. Many many days have felt impossible without you, but somehow someway I am still here and I am ok. I have become so strong and for that I know you are proud.

Going through the experience of losing my mom has taught me how important it is to stop and reflect. You should remind yourself of where you were, where you are and where you want to be. This strategy helps during the most difficult of times because it is a way to almost evaluate your life in a positive way. It is proof to yourself that you can and will continue to strive to move forward and make it through moments and days that literally feel impossible. Trust me I have been there. Please know by saying ‘move forward’ I do not mean move on. I actually firmly believe you do not need to move on to heal. I have come to the realization that I will never move on from my mom and nor do I want to. The thing is why would I?

I will move forward, as she would want me to but I will always carry her with me. She will always be a part of me, who I am and what I do.

One of the most hurtful things that people have said to me throughout this experience was referring to “moving on from my mom.” I am not an aggressive person (at all), but I will tell you there were a few moments where I could have slapped people in the face for saying this to me. I hope you understand.

When things become overwhelming quick for you. Stop. Take a moment, just as I did this morning, to allow yourself to reflect. It is healthy. Do something that brings you comfort; whatever that might be.

Maybe like me you enjoy stepping outside to feel the fresh air. There’s something about it that has always been very calming to me. I also enjoy exercising, writing or being around people I love when I am feeling this way. But be sure to focus your energy on taking a moment to reflect in a POSITIVE way and if you are going to do something let it be POSITIVE. I have been there, where I hurt so bad that I did not want to do anything positive. Rather I wanted to do things that were negative, things I had never done before. Don’t let that be you. It truly isn’t worth it and it does not make you feel better.

It is my hope to encourage you to see in yourself that you are one step further today than you were yesterday. Even if yesterday felt impossible…it was worth it because you made it here today and today is a beautiful day.