Collecting data is the first step towards wisdom; sharing data is the first step towards community.
With faith we move into the unknown, openingly meeting whatever the next moment brings.
Sharon Salzberg, Faith: Deepening Your Own Deepest Experience
I didn't call myself a writer until 2007, and it was my husband who named me one initially. Writing has been my passion since childhood, though I never dreamed of being able to publish anything until my 40s. I published on my own site and in a local paper, but had never written anything for pay until 2008. Now, it is a critical element of my job and it remains my passion.
I am a middle-aged, happily married woman. I have a teen age son and two step children in their 20s. My parents call me their "flower child", though my friends consider me relatively conservative. I live in Great Falls, VA with our menagerie of cats and dogs and neighboring wildlife. I vacation in New Mexico and Florida at every possible opportunity.
I was born in El Paso, Texas, but was raised just a few miles from where I live now from age 7 until I attended college at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA. I taught middle and high school English for a few years, moved to Okinawa, Japan for a few years during a short first marriage. I earned my M.Ed. in Counseling & Personnel Services from University of Maryland, then taught a few more years, then married my current husband.
I worked with Jeffrey for 12 years as co-owner of a remodeling company, and then I started myNeighborsNetwork.com in 2000. In 2003, I turned my hobby into a business and have been running it ever since.
I am an introvert, shy by nature. I love to read, knit, needlepoint, pet my cats, and of course, write.
It takes me awhile to process things. good or bad. I have to pull in and figure out the swirl in my head. The death of Tom Garell, the husband of my friend i never met Kari Garell, and my other friend i never met, Laurie Foley, entering hospice today, has me at “over my limit.” I know death is part of the process. in some ways, but it certainly doesn’t make it any easier for the ones dying or for the ones left behind. I had a “dream” last week about my Aunt Betty – only this dream, i am now convinced, was an experience where my soul traveled and i met her soul somewhere “in between.” I HELD my Aunt Betty. I held her for a long, long hug. I FELT her skin. My fingers trailed from her wrist to her shoulder, feeling her soft skin. We talked. She talked. I listened. I could see my grandparents and my uncle behind her, smiling, filled with joy. I wanted to go closer to see them and touch them as well. She would not let me.
Aunt Betty was beautiful, thin, in no pain, not suffering. She was smiling, joyous. She gave me a message and then she said it was time for me to go back. I didn’t want to go back. And when I woke up, I SOBBED all over again. It was as if she had just died all over again. The grief this week has been fresh and raw.
I desperately want to go back to where ever it was I went, to that in between place. The experience was incredible. But I am not sure I can take that intensity of grief again.
I don’t know what the purpose of all this is. But I know there is one. I know dying is hard work. I know grieving is hard work. I know love prevails over everything. I know my loved ones, even when they are dead, they are with me everywhere I go, with all my thoughts, all my feelings, all my energy. They are here with me now.
Being able to TOUCH my Aunt Betty last week was incomprehensible and amazing. Some of you will think it was a dream. Some of you completely understand what I yet cannot fully comprehend. So, Kari, please know Tom really is with you right now. He is beside you as you were beside him for the past year+. He is with God. He is not in pain, he is not suffering. One day, you will join him again. We will all be there and we will all be having one heck of a party filled with joy and love.