No Regrets, Kid.

Today would have been my Dad’s 54th birthday.

Sometimes I think birthdays are the hardest days. This day is supposed to be all about him.

In my house, we never celebrated birthdays, as they were ‘just another day,’ and ‘overly marketed by corporations to sell things you don’t really need.’

Since he died, all I want to do is celebrate his birthday.

Go back in time, and give him some great birthday parties to remember.

Go buy him a really awesome laser scope or rain meter or something weird that only he could enjoy. Something to make him feel like he was remembered and special and show him how much he meant to me.

But we never had one of those birthdays for him, and we never will.

I think that’s the saddest part of all.

Even studying grief and death…it doesn’t make it any easier. It just gives you tools to better cope. I still find myself having the instinct and thought to give him a call sometimes and tell him something ridiculous–and then when I remember I can’t…

I lay in bed at night sometimes and all I can see is him laying lifeless and cold in a wooden box.

And the boots on his feet.

The boots he built his dream home with.

He had more plans for those boots.

When I look at my son I sometimes think how proud my Dad would be of him. How much he would absolutely love to get a warm little hug or see him walk and talk and experience new things.

Sometimes I manage to forget for a while, and then it all comes back even more vividly than before. You think you’re okay and that you’ve ‘moved on,’ but you haven’t and you never really will.

When someone you love dies, everything changes. Literally every single aspect of your life and mentality has changed forever. You will never be the same person again.

It’s like when the loved one leaves this world, they leave these little pieces of themselves behind for everyone that loved them. They stick to us and envelop us and help us along our own paths.

Sometimes it’s easy to celebrate life, make him proud, and be the most amazing person I can be.

Sometimes I get weak and sad and angry and don’t see the meaning of it at all.

But then I remember something he said to me when he was dying.

“No regrets, kid. No regrets.”

It’s hard not to live in the past and it’s even harder on days like today to keep your head up and simply move forward.

But that’s what he did. All the time.

I cry sometimes. I get angry sometimes.

I feel guilty for NOT feeling sad or angry enough sometimes.

It will be this way for a long time, this I know.

All I can do is follow the path his death has sent me on and try to be the best person I can be in the time I have here on this Earth. All I can do is try and live with no regrets.

So this year for your birthday, Dad, my present to you is a promise to live with no regrets–NOT reckless abandon, but an honest, good-hearted, kind and compassionate, learning, intelligent, regret-less life.

Instead of regrets, I will have lessons and learning experiences. I promise to take those experiences to heart, and not to waste any time on meaningless emotions and actions.

I promise to appreciate those around me, tell them I love them, earn and give respect.

I promise to make you proud and give the memories I was able to share with you to my son.

I promise to LIVE.

That’s what my Dad taught me.

I understand now, Dad. I understand so much more.

Happy birthday.

"Sundays too my father got up early 
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, 
then with cracked hands that ached 
from labor in the weekday weather made 
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. 

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. 
When the rooms were warm, he'd call, 
and slowly I would rise and dress, 
fearing the chronic angers of that house, 

Speaking indifferently to him, 
who had driven out the cold 
and polished my good shoes as well. 
What did I know, what did I know 
of love's austere and lonely offices?"  -- Those Winter Sundays
                                           Robert Hayden
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Inertia…Sometimes We All Need A Push

Laws of science always apply.

Lots of people ask me for advice. Well, okay, I’ll admit…they don’t ASK all the time. They just sit there, frowning, talking about all the things that are happening in their lives. All the things that are making them sad. All the things they wish they could change.

I admit, I’ve lost a few friends over this. I’m sorry, but if you have all these problems, and I’m a good enough friend to give you insight into what the problem is and how to fix it–and you agree– and you do nothing about it…I can’t associate with you. I can’t associate with weak people. I can look at them from a distance, but I can’t get too close. Weakness is like a disease…it spreads quickly like a wildfire and without bias. 

MOMENTS of weakness are a different story. Everyone has them. Everyone can relate to making a decision that goes against everything you believe in just because it feels right at the time. Everyone’s done it. If you haven’t, I suggest you do it at least once to get an insight into what it feels like to let everything go, and just do what you feel…

Tangent aside, I like to give advice. I can’t stop myself. Ever. It gets me into trouble sometimes. but I don’t care. Don’t come to a bereavement counselling student and discuss your problems and NOT expect advice.

Anyway,

I have these two friends…they are a couple. We’ll call them Sam and Sally. Sam and Sally are “repeat offenders”, as I call them–people who have broken up and gotten back together before. They recently broke up again. Sally is a good friend of mine. She was in my wedding. She came over and was very upset. They had broken up a few days before, and I’d seen her right after it happened, two days later, and then finally, the night before they got back together.

She was a mess. Let’s say the breakup was a mutual thing. Sam acted like an asshole, Sally called him on it, he apologized, but the level of asshole-ness was too extreme at the time, so she had a hard time forgiving him right away. She dwelled on it, which lead to him dwelling on things, which lead to a mutual ‘dwelling’ phase. Until she realized she missed him. A lot.

She was over here, at ‘The Clinic’ as I call it (my couch), and I could tell someone had to do something. So I interfered.

I threw myself right into the middle of their problem. I got myself involved because I saw a need for something to happen.

You know that moment when you see something happening, and you feel like you could help? Like if you were to see a lost little boy wandering around in the city…or an old woman hobbling across a busy street?

Is that wrong? Even though I helped the situation and they got back together with better ideals, and a more concrete idea of what they BOTH want out of their relationship, and a deeper understanding of each other, should I have gotten involved? I think the answer is yes.

Well, the answer is Inertia.

Inertia is  is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion. And object at rest stays at rest, until an external force acts upon it, giving it motion. And then once in motion, will not stop until another external force comes along and…well, you know the rest.

I am the external force. 

I think everyone needs an external force at one time or another in their lives. You need someone, an unbiased outsider, to give you the low-down, down-low on your situation. Someone that can see both sides, and see where the problem is, and give it just a little push in the right direction.

In Sam and Sally’s case, they are just a young couple with nothing holding them together. No kids, they don’t share an apartment, they have nothing keeping them together besides their genuine desire to be together. True beauty. in it’s simplest form.

Sam and Sally needed some inertia.

Sometimes, all someone needs is a little push in the right direction. Some people don’t like to be the external force, but I don’t mind. There’s something gratifying about noticing that someone needs help, and them offering them your assistance.

Whatever the case may be.

Sam and Sally aside, there have been many times in my life that I, myself , have been given an external force. And I appreciate it. Whether good or bad, external forces bring you to new understandings, and new perspectives on life.

Giving birth to a child without any pain medications was a huge ‘external force’ for myself. It really gives you a new perspective of what pain really is, what strength really is, and what really matters in life. I guarantee if you speak to a first-time mom who had an epidural, versus a first-time mom who went all-natural, you’d have a Venn diagram with almost NOTHING in the middle. Besides the baby.

Death would have to be the ultimate external force.

The unexpected death of a loved one has been one of the biggest changing factors in my life, to date. Although the death was extremely painful to watch and deal with at the time, it has brought be to higher levels of appreciation and understanding for the life I have been given. It gave me purpose and direction,  and a desire to excel. It gave me a better perspective on what to appreciate and what to hold dear to my heart.

We all need these external forces, regardless of how they come into our lives. Whether it’s a friend helping your situation (that’s what friends are for, right?), a huge life event, or the death of a loved one, we need all of these things to happen sometimes.

We all need something that rattles us to the core, something that wakes us up like a smelling salt. Something that reminds us that we are alive, and ever changing. Something that reminds us that while, yes, there are other people in the world, it is US, personally that need to take a stand in our own worlds, and make something happen for ourselves.

We all need something to live for, and sometimes we forget what those things are, until we receive our external forces.

Pregnancy Is Contagious

Every time I hang out with any of my friends that are pregnant, this feeling of impending doom washes over me. This last weekend, I was seemingly surrounded by pregnant chicks. Outnumbered, if you will. Then I remembered that I have two other friends, who were not present that are also pregnant. That’s FOUR FRIENDS, all of them an incubation chamber.  Something about pregnancy feels contagious. Then, i realized…that it IS. You can’t help but feel like you may be next…

Oh, yeah. It’s so much fun!

Pregnancy is absolutely contagious. If you already have a child, or children…you know how it works. You see all your friends being happy, and excited, and knocked up, and looking forward to the rest of their lives. With more kids. Even if you don’t have kids, you can’t tell me that hanging out with friends who DO have kids doesn’t make you think twice. You see that whole happiness and ‘circle of life’ thing happening, and you start thinking.

If you’re not thinking about having any children, just hang out with some pregnant friends. It never fails to make you think twice about your choice. No matter how concrete in your ideals you think you are, you will always find yourself second-guessing your choices after a nice day of good old-fashioned, wholesome fun with some knocked up counterparts.

You start thinking, ’19 is a good number.’

You recall all the heart-warming memories of being pregnant, and downplay all the awful things…like having to give birth naturally, or not sleeping for three months. Everything just feels like it’s covered in velour and soft and squishy and full of love.

And then everyone goes home. You sit there telling yourself, “Aw. I miss being pregnant. I miss that feeling of excitement and nervousness and anticipation that life is changing. I want another one”

Then, all at once, you snap out of it. “WTF is wrong with me?”

THIS, my friends, is how pregnancy is contagious. Women get this squishy feeling when they see another preggo, go home, watch “Look Who’s Talking’, and mount their men. All in efforts to have another one. Just because they got this crazy idea from other pregnant chicks. It’s brainwashing, I tell ya. Pure brainwashing.

So, in conclusion, I will restate that–yes– pregnancy IS contagious.

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You HAVE to Guess!

All women want is a man who can read their mind! That would be nice if even WE knew what we were thinking half the time. This video is genius!

Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship can relate to this completely. This is hysterical, so I thought I’d share. This was on Tosh.0 a few weeks ago, and my husband and I watched it, laughing at all the times I’ve dome something similar. Perhaps I didn’t go on a cabinet rampage, but everyone in a relationship should be able to relate to this. And then laugh hysterically.

GUESS!!!! YOU HAVE TO GUESSSSSSSSS IT!

Your relationship didn’t work? Again? Try This.

I suppose I’ll never really understand why people break up, and then get back together. Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated. As I do my morning Facebook troll, I yet again see a long list of people who have been ‘frequent offenders.’ People who’s relationship status keeps bouncing back and forth…with the same person.

“Stacy is single.”– Good, I think to myself. That guy was an asshole, anyway (from what I’ve read on her previous statuses).

Two days later,  she’s right back to ‘in a relationship’ status…with the same douchebag. I don’t get it.

I’ve seen several of my ‘friends’ do this. And I am dumbfounded. I just can’t figure out why two people who obviously can’t decide if they like each other enough to stay together keep going through the motions of trying to ‘work things out’, or whatever women tell themselves they are doing.

Isn’t the definition of crazy doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting a different outcome? If it didn’t work the first five hundred times, it’s probably not meant to be. I can’t tell you how many people I have de-friended just because I can’t bear to see another relationship change, or I’ll blow. I’ll explode all over their page, in a sea of opinion. Offering advice (good advice, at that), asking questions…well, let’s just say, these people get a little ‘defensive’ when you question their ridiculous relationships.

It never ceases to amaze me how naive women can be, and how dumb some men are. All women want is someone who will change–just for them. All men want is to be left alone, and to not have to change much. They want someone to take them they way they are, and be their friend. So when two dumb, naive people get together, I believe this is where the problem lies.

Some things in relationships are deal-breakers. Cheating. Lying. Being disgusting. Being overly, inexcusably mean to the other person all the time. Those are all deal-breakers. Well, to ME anyway, they are. Why do ‘deal-breakers’ change between people? How is my idea of a ‘deal-breaker’ different from yours? How can you take someone back after they’ve cheated on you, or any of those things? I really just don’t get it.

From what I’ve seen of people I know, age is a big factor in this. The younger the person, the more waffling. I like to think we get smarter as we get older, and maybe we’re willing to take less shit. Maybe that’s why. Hopefully some of these people get smarter. Hopefully.

I overheard a neighbor drunkily talking about her relationship the other day. They are younger, probably my age–late 20’s, maybe early 30’s. In her slurry speech, she proclaimed, “Oh, yeah. Josh (name changed) and I have been together three years, now. Well, really it’s six, but we broke up, like, a BUNCHA times before we got back together again. And it was all because of this girl I used to hang out with…” The story went on, but I couldn’t bear to listen. I knew this one. This was the one where she broke up with the guy because her friend said that HE said all these things about her, but–lo and behold– he would never do such a thing. Does everyone think like this?

Which lead me to this post.

Let me just say, that after being with the same person for almost ten years–if you break up with someone, it’s for a reason. Don’t suck yourself into thinking that they’ll change, or that things will be different. Or that you’re secretly meant to be, and this time it’s gonna be awesome…’cause it won’t. It’ll suck, and most likely be even worse than the last go-round. The only way things will be different, is if you try again with a different person. 

Relationships shouldn’t take that much work. They should just be. Just the way they are. You should be mad sometimes, and happy others. You should look forward to the future together. You should have personal goals, and goals for the relationship. You need personal space, and together-space. Personal interests, and things you love doing together.

It’s not rocket science, people. If you have a feeling that it might not work–YOU’RE RIGHT. Go put energy into finding something else to fill the space in your heart until you find someone that can help you complete it.