Month: July 2017

My Second Greatest Fear

For anyone who knows me, I’m pretty sure you can guess what my first greatest fear is, but no one talks about the second greatest fear; becoming crazy. My mother is diagnosed bipolar, but I’m pretty sure she might be schizophrenic or at least have the attributes of one with schizophrenia. I remember a time in my childhood, before my sister was born that she wasn’t so bad. Then slowly she began to become a stranger to me to the point where I honestly, to this day can tell you I don’t know her and I don’t want to know her. At the time the switch seemed rabid and fast, but now looking back it didn’t start off like a dog attack, but rather small mean little things she would do. It wasn’t quick. She didn’t change over night, but rather in the beginning she would have days where she would go back and forth. Sometimes I wonder if she was ever really there. Was the mother before all of the nightmare even real? I write this because bipolar usually hits in your early twenties, and I’m there. Well, mid-twenties now. It is genetic. It is my nightmare. My other nightmare. I wonder if along with losing my son if I’m going to completely lose myself. Am I going to be a stranger to my loved ones? Do I imagine things? Am I really crazy?

Sometimes I get really angry, and I can’t think. Sometimes I fall down the deafening slopes of sadness over and over again, and can’t pull myself out. Sometimes I yell. Sometimes I’m quiet. Sometimes my memory runs away from me. Am I crazy? I think to myself, and then people say the dreaded words, “You’re just like your mother.” Am I? Am I really? Am I the shadow of her? Sometimes I’m not sure if what made her evil was the disease or if she was born that way, but now I wonder if I’m evil too. Could I do the things she’s done? Am I crazy? If I am will it take me away? Am I going to be stuck in my body with someone else’s brain? Will I remember Callan? Will I dishonor him? Will I lose my family? Am I crazy?

I’m terrified. I hate being told I’m like her because what if it’s true? When people say that, I don’t think they truly understand the weight of their words. I hear a ticking time bomb waiting to make me someone who I dread I’ll become. They say have you taken your medicine, but I haven’t because I want to make it without it.  I can’t stand the thought of having to be chemically dependent on a pill to make me someone I used to be. I hate having it thrown in my face that I’m weak because I can’t be myself without chemically altering my brain to make me “happy”. They say have you taken your medicine, and I used to say it to my mother. It hurts. I’m petrified Its going to be me. I’m petrified that at thirty I’ll have lost all semblance of who I was. I’m terrified I’m going to be remembered by the word crazy instead of the word warrior. I am terrified to die alone with mountains of enemies instead of people who adore me.

My second greatest fear is, waking up one day divorced from the husband I love so dearly who now hates me. Living alone in a place I can barely afford because I can’t hold down a job let alone make my career take flight. Seeing my teenage daughter look at me with hatred and pity as she tries everything she can to stay away from me. I terrified of her becoming me and me becoming my mother.

 

19 Celebrities that Endured Child loss and STILL Succeeded at Life

I got to thinking about it, and wondered what celebrities were really just like me. Was it possible to rise from the ashes and truly keep on being successful? Apparently the answer is yes. After I did some research, I found AT LEAST 19 celebrities who have either suffered a child loss through miscarriage, suicide, health conditions, children as young as infancy, and children up to middle adulthood.A loss of a child is a loss of a child. You see the light in the life you created and no matter how long that light lasted, it was still there. Child loss is traumatic for anyone, and the point of this post isn’t to just parade these celebrities personal loss and trauma around, but to inspire you. If you can step outside of your self doubt and confusion for one tiny moment and look at this list of miraculously successful men and women, my hope would be to show you that these humans got through it. They, I’m sure struggled just like you and I. This list is to show you that these people are amazing to even be still breathing, and yet here they are still pretty darn relevant. I want you to take a deep breath and realize they have flesh and blood just like you, they have careers they made work, and they became or sustained their success. You can struggle through loss and even become a success at your life, if you want. It’s all up to you, but it’s possible, and these 19 people prove it.

  1. John Travolta – John Travolta and Kelly Preston go together on this one, but they are both their own people and should be treated as such. John Travolta and Kelly Preston lost their son, Jett, in 2009. He was 16 and suffered from complications from a severe seizure. Travolta is currently still putting out movies.
  2.  Kelly Preston – “Nobody should have to lose a child. It’s unfathomable, but I’m here to say that you can get through it. You can live again. You can want to live again.” are the words that Kelly Preston gave to Lifetime in an interview in 2012. Preston’s IMDb states that since 2010, The Life and Death of John Gotti (2017) is the first movie she’s been in. (I will be going to see this by the way because I love anything mob related and I mean it’s Kelly Preston)
  3. Mike Tyson – 2009 seems to be a horrible year for a lot of people; Mike Tyson lost his 4 year old daughter due to a cord on a treadmill becoming wrapped around her neck. In an interview with Ellen Degeneres, he states in 2011 he’d been two years sober. I make the connection from 2009 and his daughter being the catalyst for his turnaround, but that’s my speculation.
  4. Eric Clapton – On March 20,1991, Eric Clapton’s 4 year old son, Connor, fell  53 floors from his mother’s apartment building. He went on to write “Tears in Heaven” as a tribute to his son and the pain he felt through his loss.
  5. Dr. Dre – People magazine stated Andre Young Jr. passed away from a drug overdose mixture at the age of twenty. Not much else is found on the topic.
  6. Pierce Brosnan – Pierce Brosnan lost both his first wife and daughter to ovarian cancer 22 years apart. He’s given a few interviews, but not much else is disclosed. He is still actively acting in movies.
  7. Sylvester Stallone – Sage Stallone, 36, passed in 2012 due to heart disease; more accurately put atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. (this one hit me in the gut. I hate heart disease)
  8. President John F. Kennedy – August 7, 1963, Patrick Kennedy was born 5.5 weeks premature. He was 4 pounds and 10.5 ounces, but immediately after birth he started having respiratory issues. Respiratory Distress Syndrome, ultimately was the cause of Patrick’s passing just 39 hours after birth.
  9. Vince Neil – Motley Crue’s Vince Neil, lost his 4 year old daughter to stomach cancer. (I keep seeing 4 years old and it’s breaking my heart.) In an interview with Rock Entertainment TV he states that, “I would pretty much try to kill myself with pills and alcohol, I would just disappear for months at a time, in and out of rehab, and then I finally pulled it together and I told myself I had to do something in her name to keep her name and memory alive, so I started the foundation.”
  10. Adrian Peterson – The running back for the Minnesota Vikings lost his 2 year old son to abuse by the child’s mother’s boy friend. He has been charged with aggravated assault on an infant.
  11. Marie Osmond – “You cry until then you can’t cry, and then you cry some more,’ the 53-year-old singer says in her new book The Key Is Love.” States Daily Mail. Marie Osmond lost her son, Michael, to suicide. In 2010, Michael (18) jumped from his college dorm room balcony. The way she and her daughter Rachael were told was by the guard in the hotel they were staying at, he stated the coroner was on his way to speak to them. Michael was adopted, but loved as her own biological child, so the shock was the same nonetheless.
  12. President Abraham Lincoln – At just 11 years old, Willie Lincoln, passed away due to Typhoid fever from contaminated water on February 24, 1862.
  13. Juvenile – Juvenile’s 4 year old daughter Jelani was shot twice in the chest by her half brother Anthony Tyrone Terrell (19). The boy fought with his mother, Joy Deleston, and ended up shooting her, Jelani, and another half sister who was 11 years old, Micaiah. He was sentenced to two life sentences.
  14. Usher – On July 6, 2012 Usher’s step-son Kile, passed away from injuries he sustained by a blow to the head from a jet ski while he was on an inner tube.
  15. Beyonce – Around the year 2011, Beyonce and Jay Z suffered a miscarriage before Blue Ivy Carter was born. She stated that how she coped was through her music, and she is still on top musically.
  16. Pink – Pink suffered a miscarriage, she told Ellen during an interview, but little else was said.
  17. Gwyneth Paltrow – Gwyneth Paltrow, during an interview, opened up about a miscarriage after having her second child. She told You magazine that she misses the idea of having a third child. The miscarriage almost claimed her life as well.
  18. Nicole Kidman – Before Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise adopted their first child, Bella, they too suffered a miscarriage. She spoke little on the topic with People Magazine.
  19. Kirstie Alley – In 1990, when just three months along, Kirstie Alley miscarried her only biological child. She told People that was the start of her weight gain and that she really couldn’t get over it, but since then she has adopted two children and she is still acting today.

I’m not going to lie, this is one of the hardest posts I’ve had to write. I didn’t think this would affect me like it did, but doing the research on this post made me really empathize. I know that my small blog probably will never reach any of these people, but I hope they know I shed tears ( a lot actually) writing this. No one should ever have to know this pain, and even though you’re famous, you’re still people. I hope if this ever reaches any of you, you know how amazing you truly are because losing a child is unbearable and you all are tough. I am sorry for all of your losses, and know through this post you’ve earned a real place in my heart, not as someone famous, but as a survivor. I’m grateful I did this post because it really shed light on the fact that I’m not alone. It’s a horrible thing we have in common, but I see you fighting your way through this and I hope this inspires others to do the same. For the readers who aren’t on this list, I hope you realize that survival and life achievement is possible because there are examples proving over again that no matter what tragedy you go through, you CAN make it through this!

 

Love,

 

Nicole

 

Is Peace Through Grief Possible?

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Did peace come to you clothed in a white sheet with arms spread wide in comforting acceptance? Did she kneel next to your wilted body and dry your tears? Did peace lay in wait day after day holding your hand through the storm? Did she walk the dirt road inhaling the the stormy air with you? When the rain was so thick and heavy did she share her umbrella? Is peace there with you now, or is peace a distant friend who never says hi anymore? I never really knew peace; she was really more of an abstract idea than something actually tangible. I never felt her presence, I never knew her embrace, and I never had been friends with peace.

I remember seeking out peace after I lost my son. I bought tons of grief books, read lots of bible verses, and prayed lots of prayers. Peace never walked up to me and acquainted herself to me, but nearly three years later I finally noticed a sparkle of peace that seemed to have blossomed through my heartache. It didn’t dawn on me in this grand way, but in a small way through giving back to my own cause.

I realized after starting my blog, giving advice to others, and doing for others, that intrinsically I was rebuilding my heart with peace’s help; she handed me the bricks while I stacked them. She grasped my hand as I was asked, ” how I do it.” She gave me the calm I needed to carry on and rebuild.

Peace will come and greet you when you least expect it. She isn’t loud and pushy, rather gentle and shy. If you ever find yourself walking the path and notice the sun shining, if you realize you’re rebuilding, if you realize a small piece of you isn’t so angry then you may have met peace. You might not be friends yet, but one day you might just be.

Behind the Scenes Look into My Heart

I, from the bottom of my heart, feel like I need to really be honest, especially if I expect to have a successful blog. So, here it is, the truth. This is a behind the scene look at parent who has lost a child. I hope I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings by posting this, but I have to be true to my message, blog, and myself. Let me start by saying I understand we’re all busy, but I’ve learned if something means anything to you, you’ll make time for it. I didn’t reach out because of the agony I was in. Sometimes you can want to reach out so bad, but this cloud of dread inside of you won’t allow you to. I was in a cloud of anxiety and deep depression. I couldn’t reach out and I wish someone else had.

 

Two and a half years ago I lost my son, Callan, to congestive heart failure. Anyone who knows me knows this fact, but what you don’t know is the behind the scenes exclusive I’m about to give you. I’m going to give you the deep inside look into a grieving mom’s heart, and then I’m going to ask you some very tough questions. These questions aren’t to drive you away, but to make you think and reevaluate some things. I really kind of wanted to do a video for this, but I convey deeper meaning through the written word than my voice, so let me start.

 

It’s been two and a half years since I last held my first child. The last time I saw my child he was cold and in a box. He had makeup on to make him look like an angel. I remember this day. I remember the tears. I remember the everything before the service. I also remember the ungodly amount of people who were there. I remember the outpour of support in which I’ll forever be grateful, and this post is NOT meant to diminish the real love I felt during this time, but rather something to make you think that this time isn’t the only time someone dealing with loss needs support. I remember the love and I also remember I was in clear shock for about nine months after this. I remember everything being fuzzy and not feeling anything but tears coming from my eyes. I remember being pregnant and dealing with two hospital trips because I almost lost my rainbow due to stress. I remember burying my first child while I was carrying my second. I also remember the promises everyone told me. I remember people said they’d be there for me. I remember about thirty friend requests from people I barely knew. I remember flowers, food, and promises, but the promises and food faded away. The flowers wilted and died. Then I was left alone. I was left to emotionally fend for myself. My demons didn’t attack me full on while I was in shock because my mind protected itself by sleeping for twenty hours a day. For nine months, I was held in a cocoon of protection, and then I got a teaching job.

The second behind the scene look is after the shock wears off. I got my first real contracted teaching position and was so grateful. Then I tunneled out of the protective cocoon into the real world again. My memory was so bad I would forget what I was saying when I was saying it. Imagine never to be able to really get your point across because you’re battling your mind and tongue. I had such a bad time at my job and was made to feel so horrible I nearly committed suicide. I realized the pain I was skipping out on with the shock and sleep protection cocktail and couldn’t deal with the ridicule and the isolation. By this point I’d noticed people had stopped crowding around me as much. I had a new born baby and I’m pretty sure along with deep depression, I was probably suffering from post-partum depression. I realized months later I had the symptoms of PTSD, but never was diagnosed. I remember one day telling my husband I had to quit my job because of how it made me feel. I remember I almost made him drive me to a mental hospital and commit me so I could get the help I needed. The shock wearing off is so much more painful than the initial months. I needed the support then. I didn’t ask for help, but nobody checked up on me either. Nobody asked how I was doing much like now. Nobody brings Callan’s name up or keeps his memory alive. Nobody really seems to take my blog or my posts about grief seriously. I’m wondering why all my friends call me a friend when they literally know so little about me. Everyone left. I had my best friends until recently. Now I feel like, aside from the people who share my blood or share a kid, I’m alone. I’ve come to understand that the time for food, flowers, and promises for a shoulder isn’t when it first happens, but it’s down the road when people drop like flies.

People say I’m so strong, but turn their heads when they see I’m about to break. I realize we’re all adults, and we’re all busy, and everyone has a valid excuse for not being there, but the reality is this; if you love something you make time for it. Nobody seems to do that for the grief stricken. We sit alone, cry alone, and pray alone. I realize people are scared of me because of the real possibilities I bring to light. I’m the boogey man in the corner of people’s mind. I just wish people knew I didn’t grow an extra head. I’m still me, just sadder and angrier.

 

This post isn’t to publicly criticize any of the people who know me or who showed support once upon a time ago, but to bring to light the real problem people dealing with grief go through every day. Loneliness. If my husband and child weren’t there to stop me a year and a half ago, you might have been attending my funeral. If you had, would you have regretted anything? What would you change? I hope this post makes EVERYONE realize what real agony the grief stricken go through. I’m much better now, so don’t worry about me now. I just want you to really really look at this as a learning opportunity. If you call yourself a friend to someone who is grieving, reach out more than just once, and later on in the journey as well. Reach out to someone three months, seven months, a year, and even ten years out. I assure you asking if they are ok will mean more to them than you could ever know. You might have saved their lives.

 

And by the way, I love you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there at the beginning. Just know it’s not only the beginning that we need people there for.

I Need a Superhero

 

While listening to a song it came to me. The lyric mentioned needing a hero, and I thought back to the first year and a half of this torturous journey. I remember needing a hero to save me from the dark. I’d been blinded by shock, grief, and confusion. I was floating in despair and didn’t know how to get out of the hole I’d fell into. I remember begging for a savior. I remember begging for a hero. Then after a long while I realized I had to be my own savior. I had to pull myself up and protect the rest of what I had left. How did I become my own hero? I realized no one had the powers or the know how to make it better for me. I had to realize I couldn’t blame others for not making me feel better because they don’t know how. I had to understand that people are human and don’t have the capabilities of doing what I was asking of them to do. Superheroes are supernatural and I couldn’t expect someone close to me, or anyone for that matter to magically fix my heart, my issues, and my past. It’s not fair to ask something impossible out of a human. So, now I know that I can’t wait around for a superhero to mend me back together; I now know I have to mend myself. I have to look into myself and ask what I really need at the moment and fix that particular thing one at a time. Heroes exist, but not in the capacity I expected. Look deep into yourself and find the motivation and inspiration to become your own savior. It’s hard but necessary.

 

60 Bucket List Ideas for the Preoccupied

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What would you do if you could actually give life the bird and do what you want? You can, kinda. I have so many excuses for why I cannot do the things that are on my bucket list, but then I realized life is SO short, and the world is SO big. There are things I feel I need to do, so I looked at myself real hard and decided I was going to start working on my list once more.

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The things I decided I needed to change in my perspective was the fact that I didn’t have time or energy. That is an excuse. If you want something bad enough you can do it, so then I started to plan time for checking things off of my bucket list. I went on Pinterest and created a board called bucket list done, transferred the pins I’ve already accomplished from the bucket list to do board to the bucket list done board, and then started picking pins I could actually accomplish from my to do board to move over to my done board. I kind of made it like a game to see if I could move all of the pins over.

At my daughter’s first birthday, we had a helium tank to blow her balloons up. Seeing as I’d never breathed in helium and talked like a chipmunk, I saw this as a grand opportunity to knock this off of my list.

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I LOVE anything Disney, so for my daughter’s first birthday I took the chance and made her first birthday a whole Disney mash. A part of the party was Alice In Wonderland. I’d always wanted to paint roses red, so I did.

The back corner are artificial white roses I painted to look Alicey.

 

In college, at one of the sorority sister nights we had, we mattress surfed. It was an unintended check off and way before all of my life problems in my twenties, but it still counts!

 

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Did you know, you actually CAN be in 4 places at once? Yep, and the place you go to do that is 4 corners. I’ve done it! It’s where the borders of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona meet. If you put one foot in one space, the other in another space, and both hands in the other two spaces, you’ve just been in 4 states at the same time! I was about ten when I did this and again was unintended. Most of the ways I’ve marked things off are unintended, so you know you can just find the opportunity to fulfill your bucket list and succeed!

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Don’t let yourself talk yourself out of experiencing life because you deserve better than that. There are SO many things to do in the world and I, for one, have a thirst for all of it. Below is a list of bucket list ideas you can look out for to easily cross off until you have to opportunity to work up to the major ones, but don’t put off the big ones either. Make time for them ALL. Be the person who says, “Oh that? Yeah I’ve done that too and it was Exhilarating!” Be the person that looks at your grief and gives it the bird. Tell yourself while you’re here, you should go for it!

60 BUCKET LIST IDEAS FOR THE PREOCCUPIED

  •  Go a day without ANY technology
  • Volunteer at an organization you’d love to be a part of
  • Try fried oreos
  • Try rock climbing
  • Join a gym and go at least 3 times a week
  • Take a road trip
  • Mattress Slide
  • Visit a place you’ve always wanted to go
  • Carve your names in a tree
  • Explore a cave
  • Take salsa dancing lessons
  • Do indoor skydiving
  • Save money and book a trip
  • Figure out how & do the splits
  • Get a 4.0 all throughout college
  • Go back to college
  • Jump into a pool full of sugar free jello
  • Learn to accept yourself
  • Quit caring about other’s opinions
  • Learn archery
  • Catch and release fireflies
  • Send up a lantern and a wish
  • Learn sign language
  • Try a paint slip and slide
  • Start a foundation in memory of someone you lost
  • Look at life from a new perspective
  • Go to Comic Con
  • Run a 5k
  • Go on a mission trip
  • Pay for a stranger’s things
  • Start living healthier
  • Go shark diving
  • Get a tattoo that means something to you
  • Win a toy from the claw machine
  • Test drive a car you could never afford as of now
  • Take a yoga class
  • Take a trapeze class
  • Sleep outside under the stars
  • Take a bartending class
  • Cliff Jump
  • Order dessert first
  • Order salad last 😉
  • Buy something that is name brand
  • Buy something from a thrift store
  • Contribute to society
  • Learn to ride a bike
  • Learn to ice skate
  • Say and memorize the alphabet backwards
  • Swap everything in your closet with someone else and try a new style
  • Complete a man VS. food challenge
  • Ride a motorcycle
  • Shoot a gun
  • Leave a mark on the world
  • Figure out how to be happy
  • Accept the things you cannot change
  • Stop wanting people who don’t want you
  • buy your own star
  • See Disney
  • Create a popular blog
  • Love yourself completely