Tag Archives: support

Resolutions

resolutions

I am at that time in December where I start contemplating my New Year’s Resolution. Back on this day in 2012, I decided that my resolution was to write every single day on this kindness blog and I did it. I actually kept it going for two years. Much longer than I had expected to.

As I do every year at this time, I have been thinking about what my resolutions for this year will be. A few choices I have thought about:

  • Lose a few pounds
  • Continue to get to CKO (my latest gym obsession) at least 3 times a week
  • Daily Random Acts of Kindness
  • A photo a day
  • Write everyday again (I really fell off the wagon with this one this past year)

The last few months have brought major changes in our family’s life. DJ is now in the middle of his sophomore year in college and loving it. He’s become so grown up and independent. I am so proud of the man he is becoming. Drew started high school, made the varsity football team, (all 93 pounds of him) and although isn’t loving the academic rigor of school, is starting to find his place there.

Dave has found a steady job that he enjoys. He has found a reason to get up and out every day. He had become quite depressed, rarely leaving our home and it was putting quite a strain on all of us. He is motivated and inspired. He has lost nearly 30 pounds, is getting up and out of the house each day, found a support group and with his transformation we have a happier home. We are all grateful for this.

As for me, I am half-way through my masters program for Restorative Practices.  RP  has “the potential to positively influence human behavior and strengthen civil society around the world.” I am learning so much and enjoying it immensely, but it is a lot of work, hence one of the reasons my blogging slowed down so much last year.

So now onto my resolutions. Every year I vow to lose a few pounds and I do. I just gain them back, lose them again and gain them back. It is always those same five pounds.

I’ve always loved kickboxing and thanks to a trial membership to CKO this summer, I have found a place where I can give an hour a day a few times a week and feel good about my body. I have developed more stamina and strength than I ever thought possible. I currently go at least three times a week so while this isn’t a new resolution, it is one that I just want to continue. If you live locally and want to try out a class with me, let me know. I’d love to show you why I like it so much and get you addicted too!

Daily Acts of Kindness aren’t hard. I try to do this all of the time. I would love to push it towards a “Pay it Forward” program and make it bigger and more widespread – but that is something I need to spend more time thinking about…it is always great when I have time off from teaching, I come up with brilliant plans and then once reality strikes and I am back to work, I run out of time to implement them!

As for a photo a day, I have pinned a bunch of “photo a day” ideas on Pinterest. I use my Canon for my photo shoots and when I want to get really great photos, but I use my phone as well. I don’t need to post them all on Facebook, (I am on there too much already) but maybe the photo a day will help me find a way to write everyday again. I can share the photos here – sometimes with a story and sometimes without – it wouldn’t necessarily be a Kindness Blog, but it would get me back on track.

It has been a rough 2016 for many – the loss of loved ones and celebrities who were icons of our childhood. We went through a tumultuous and bitter election and while my candidate of choice was not elected, he is still my president and while our opinions differ greatly, I will be respectful towards him. Despite this, I cannot condone hatred from others and seeing so much come from this election has been devastating to me. Living in my sheltered bubble here in Maplewood, New Jersey, I had no idea there was still so much prejudice, racism and bigotry found in this country. This is something I wish to see change in 2017. If there was a way to tie this into my resolutions, I would – I just wish I knew how.

We have no idea what the future will bring, but I wish peace, love and a safe 2017 for all of us.

 

 

 

 

Supporting the Living

support

Before the death of my mom and Francine, I had been to wakes and sat Shiva for family and friends. In most cases at these events, I was the “visitor” and not the griever. I was going to pay my respects for the person I cared about or for their family.

At both a wake and sitting Shiva, you would find a gathering of people coming together to try to cop with the death of a friend, acquaintance or relative. I realized that wakes and Shiva seem very similar in so many ways with most obvious difference being that the wake is held before the burial and Shiva is after.

I always thought about them both as a way to say goodbye. Now that I have experienced it so closely, I have come to the realization that perhaps they are not held necessarily for the deceased but for the living.

At a point that has been the most sorrowful time of my life, it has enabled us the opportunity to be with friends and family recalling good times and wonderful memories. During mom and Francine’s wakes, there was a sense of solidarity – coming together in a celebration of love for them. As each guest arrived to pay his or her respects, I found myself not only sad but also invigorated and inspired. Old friends who I had not seen in years, and new friends all came to give support to our family. There was not a lot of time to share with each of them individually, but a hug and a smile and even shared tears were enough to let us know that they were here for us and that WE are loved as much as my mom and Francine. We were able to take comfort in the company of each other as we mourned. Seeing the lines of people waiting to greet us and pay their final respects to mom and Francine, made us feel loved and supported during this incredibly sad time.

I have come to the realization, that attending a wake or sitting Shiva, is not just a time to feel sorrow and grief, but a way to acknowledge the living.

The Club I Never Wanted to Join

silent hug

My mom made it to the age of 67.  She got to see her four children grow up and three of us get married, She got to meet her four grandchildren and be a huge part of their lives.  Most people might think that was a life well lived.  I am in my 40’s, married, a mom with my own children and still, I am so sad without her.  Three weeks ago today – to this very hour she died.  Four weeks ago today this evening she really left us.  Living on machines for a week.  At least we got the chance to say good bye to her.  I just wish she could have done the same.

I am still thinking she is just away…maybe on a vacation.  I want to call her, tell her about my day.  We spoke everyday, most days more than once.  As I drive in my car, I am thinking of the things I need to tell her and then… I remember.  I have been thinking lately, that I have become a part of a new “club”.  One that I never asked to join.  I have been amazed at the love and support from everyone, but especially touched by those who have lost their own moms.  I have been told by more than one of them, “there is nothing as hard as losing a mom”.  So many times over the last few weeks, I have felt downright weepy and I wonder how our lives will be complete without her?  How is it fair that my children will have to grow up without her?  They were the light of her life and they thought the world of her.

Three weeks…21 days…have gone by.  I might not be able to call my mom everyday anymore to talk, but I have others that I can talk to.  So many people have been sympathetic to me, and it is just what I need.  A knowing smile from someone who has been through this, a hug, or a warm touch on the shoulder.  All of those right now, can bring me close to tears even though I know that they are doing it because they care – they know what I am going through.  I just wish that I did not have to join this “club” so soon.  I am so touched to have the compassion, empathy and support from all of them.  I don’t want that to stop.  Of course I wish it were my mom that was giving me all of this comfort, but right now, knowing how much others care is bringing me solace and I appreciate these gestures more than they could know.

Comfort

wish you were here

I keep thinking that people are going to see my blog and think, “another one about her mom”, but at the wakes and through emails, I have been hearing the contrary.  So many people have actually thanked me for my blog.  They have told me that it made them feel like they knew what was going on throughout the entire ordeal.  Truth be told, I know that I  I am writing these more for me than for others.  It was (and still is), my way of dealing with it.  It is how I am expressing my feelings. Tonight I did get emotional and cried but it was more for the emotional outpouring of love that I witnessed.

I was never one to keep a journal, but documenting this entire ordeal is giving me comfort.  I know whenever I need to, I will be able to go back and reread what I have written and hopefully it will bring me the same comfort that it is giving me now.

Today was another day to celebrate her life.  Not just at the wakes, but around town as well.  I know that she is being spoken of and remembered fondly.  Today at The Maplewood Township Committee meeting, there was a moment of silence for her.  On the local on-line message board in our town, Maplewood Online, she is being remembered as well.  Of course we will all miss her and of course we will all feel sad when we think about her being gone, but the best thing we can do to honor my mother is to simply be happy for the memories we do have of her.  Remember the times you spent with her and the conversations that you shared.  I am confident that this is what is going to fill my mother ‘s soul with peace.

What’s More Important??

importance

“What is more important, school or love?”   

One of my kindergarteners asked me this question this afternoon.  I had to think about it for a minute.  I asked her what she thought and she said, “I don’t know, that’s why I am asking you”.  Fortunately, our librarian walked in a that moment so we asked her.  Her response was, “I think that everything happens because of love”.  I have been thinking about that all afternoon.

I tried to relate it to “work/love” instead of “school/love” as an adult.  Love is what drives me. It plays a huge role in my daily life.  Loving what I do, being a mom, a wife, a teacher and a friend makes me work harder to make sure that I am being the best that I can be in each of those callings.  I love my family and I work very hard to support them, but I also love my job.  I cannot imagine myself doing anything different than what I am doing with my life right now.

If you have goals that you really want to accomplish, then I think that you can accomplish them and I am lucky that I  have a  family that supports me in all of them – no matter how far fetched some of them might be, (and some of them really are).  I think that all decisions require some element of sacrifice and to make a loving relationship work, there needs to be some give and take on all sides.

Don’t let somebody make the choice for you. If you want to have love and an education/job…then have it.  Just don’t give up your dreams for anyone else.   If you choose a person over your dreams, it is just a matter of time until you become bitter and start putting blame on them for not reaching your goals.  This is not to say you can’t have it all.  Find someone who will support you and your goals.  If you have goals that you really want to accomplish, then you will accomplish them.

It’s a decision only you can make.  Love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who do not, and believe that everything happens for a reason.   If you get a chance, take it.  If it changes your life let it.   Love may not bring you education or a job but education can bring you love.  It certainly has for me~