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Posts Tagged ‘Birthday’

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!

HAPPY BIIIIRRRRTTHHHDDDAAAYYY

GRACEFUL AGONY!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!

CAN YOU BELIEVE GRACEFUL AGONY IS ONE YEAR OLD TODAY??

365 days ago, I made the commitment to myself, and to whomever wanted to take this journey with me that I would share my life openly, honestly, and completely, in hopes that I could somehow make my ‘Chronic’ life purposeful.

I nervously wrote my first post, and published it… and waited… I didn’t know if my words would be heard by ANYONE…

I wrote my second post… and my third… and the craziest thing happened!  PEOPLE FOUND MY BLOG!!  People were actually reading my words!!!

I very quickly realized I wasn’t the only one sitting ‘alone’ with my pain… There were so MANY people feeling the things I felt, experiencing the things I did, and crying the same frustrated tears I cried.

I FINALLY found a place where I was completely understood.  And it was the most overwhelming feeling I have ever had.  I cry at this moment as I look back upon this past year and reflect on how quickly my ‘heart’ changed, how my perception of my pain has gone through a metamorphosis,  and how the courage of others inspired me to find my own strength….

Shortly after starting this blog, I also started a facebook-based support group… and I don’t honestly know HOW, but people started to join… 15 members… 20 members… 30 members… People started to open up and share openly about their OWN lives with Chronic Illness and pain… And I made heart-to-heart connections with strangers from across the world who were suffering the same way I had been for years.  Who KNEW that these ‘strangers’ would end up being my dearest friends, and an integral part of my every day life. You all know who you are, and my heartfelt appreciation, and my utmost respect goes out to all of you… Thank you for making our family what it has become this past year… it is ALL because of you!!

Much “LIFE” happened in between writing posts, making friends, and sharing experiences this past year….

Some of us experienced great loss and began personal journey’s of grief…

Some of us found love…

Some of us lost it…

Some of us found hope,

and others needed the hope and strength that only OUR friendship could bring…

But through all of it, the one thing I know for sure is that we all got to ‘know’ ourselves in a way we hadn’t, all of us played a ‘role’ in our own as well as some one else’s healing.. and we all made a difference in the lives of the people we love.  WE BECAME SISTERS… united in something much stronger than illness and pain.

365 days ago I started writing as a way to reach out to others, and the most miraculous thing happened…. I ended up reaching out to myself…. I started a journey of my own healing, found strength I never knew I had, and found happiness in a way I never knew was possible while living in agony.

Because, in sharing my life with others, I found love, hope, forgiveness, patience, and tolerance for so many other people, and those people mirrored myself… By seeing my reflection in all of you, I found me….

It has been one crazy ride, hasn’t it?

290 posts

21,600+ hits

210 support group members

Invaluable lessons,

and forever friends….

THAT is how I measure this past year…..

Take a minute to reflect on the last year for YOU… and all the blessings, wonders, lessons, and love it has brought into your life… THAT my friends, is THE REASON…

Thank you so very much for following my journey this past year…

Thank you for reaching out and becoming a part of my life…

Thank you for your friendship,

Your support,

Your encouragement,

Your tears,

And your love.

AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALL OF YOU!!!

THIS IS YOUR CELEBRATION!!!!!!!

I hope the year ahead brings peace, healing, hope, and above all, a lot more love and friendship across the web, and in our homes and hearts.

NOW…….

LET’S PARTY!!!!!!

 

DOES ANYONE WANT CAKE??

QUICK, MAKE A WISH AS I BLOW OUT THE CANDLES!!!

XOXOXOXOXO

 

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When I woke up yesterday morning, it only took seconds for me to check in with myself that all familiar BURN followed by the throb… yep, it is going to be THAT kind of day…. again….

I don’t know what is harder, to be hit OUT OF THE BLUE with a nasty flare, or to live with one for a very LONG time… I think they both are horrible to tell you the truth.  That incapacitating FLASH of pain that takes your breath away vs. the 95th day that you wake up and the flare hasn’t ended….  It starts to wear on you, wear you down, take away dignity and self-respect (why does it do those things?  Is it a bad case of Fibro Guilt?  I will leave that for another post on another day…).  It just ends up being too much to deal with each and every day without reprieve.  That is normally how my life is… I will have 3 good days, and 6 months of pain-hell.

And yesterday was another one of those days…

I stumbled out of bed and limped to the kitchen to make myself a coffee, and take my meds… There is no waiting today, I thought to myself.. Today is my little dude’s birthday…. Please God don’t let my pain mess this up…

Of course my little dude was already up… he had been up since 3:15am!!  Mental Note:  Next year, do NOT let him open his present the night before… and don’t get him something that can actually OCCUPY 6 hours of his time in the middle of the night… get a football, or a bike or something… not a video game system, and especially not a hand-held video game system that he can smuggle anywhere he pleases at 3 in the morning…

Once I was up, I was all smiles… HAPPY BIRTHDAY LITTLE DUDE!! But inside was a completely different story… groan, grunt, sigh, blah…  oh and why is it I can only turn my neck to one side today and not to the other?? grunt, groan, wince…. I cannot let this ruin today…

I hopped in the shower, hoping above all hopes that my meds would kick in, and I would get relief… but that time didn’t come… out of the shower, hair and make-up, a birthday phone call from the Grandparents… and nothing.  NO RELIEF AT ALL.  I promised my son a birthday lunch wherever he wanted to go, and that was what I was going to do… I just needed to somehow put this crap aside for a few hours….

I forced myself to walk to the Restaurant as it was a beautiful day.  Holding hands with my little one, I could feel the throbbing start to take my breath away – but I kept trying to ignore that part…

As soon as we were seated, I started rifling through my purse for something… ANYTHING to take… a Tylenol, Motrin, something with codeine… hell if I had a Vitamin C I would have tried that just for the placebo effect!  I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE IT…. HELP….  PLEASE GO AWAY…. (Am I the only one who tries to make deals with my pain?  Yes, I speak to my pain… maybe I need help of another kind!).

And then a calm came over me… I sunk back into the booth-seat, dropped my shoulders, took a deep breath, and stopped fighting…. And instead of engaging my pain in conversation, I engaged my SON in conversation…. ‘So what has been the best part of your birthday so far dude?’… We sat and chatted for an hour and a half… casually ate our lunch… I even ordered a coffee and dessert!!  I normally don’t do that because I am way too sore by then, and just want to get up and get moving….

We held hands on the way home, taking the long way, walking through leaves and breathing in the warm Autumn air.  It felt really good.  My Pain was still VERY present, it still wanted to pick on me… but somehow I felt like I was in the driver’s seat… for the first time and a REALLY long time.

The rest of the day was lazy… My little dude went back to playing with his birthday present, and me, well I went back to being picked on by my pain…. but I am thankful for the short while that I could give my undivided attention to the greatest love of my life, and not the agony….

I woke up this morning with that all too familiar burn once again… followed by the burning… and funny enough I now can’t move my neck AT ALL…. Sigh…

But today as I am bullied by my pain, it will be somehow easier to take.  My pain didn’t bully my son yesterday… and that is what matters to me.

And if you are curious, THIS is what a Nintendo DSi Hangover looks like….

 

 

So this is what it looks like when a 9 year old stay up all night!!!

 

I swear he can sleep in ANY position!!!  Ha! Ha! Ha!

What a great way to end a wonderful day!!!

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In a few short hours I will be saying goodbye to my 35th year on this earth and saying hello to the big 3-6… thirty-six… I guess it is time for me to grow up for real this year ( 😉 Isn’t this what we say to ourselves EVERY YEAR?!?).

I don’t know if you all know this about me yet, but I am a tad bit sentimental… okay so I am a LOT sentimental.. I admit it.. I still have clothes from grade 9.. still have ticket stubs from my first Bon Jovi concert in ’89… I even have paper napkins from some restaurant that meant something to me at one time or another.. but for the life of me I cannot remember what now.  I am sentimental – and I am okay with that… So the day or two leading up to every birthday I start to reflect on the year, and how far I have come, how many steps back I have taken, the people who have touched my life, left my life, changed my life…  I stop to feel blessed that I have another year ahead of me, AND another year that has passed…

In many ways this past year has been more eventful, more challenging, and more fulfilling that any I have had so far.  I have lost people in my life.. found others… and tried to leave my ‘heartprint’ each and every day…

I have created a beautiful home with the love of my life and found a stability that I never knew existed…

I have seen my little dude absolutely flourish and become one of the coolest people I know, regardless of his age…

I saw my Dad ‘pass’ his cancer check again, and the magnitude of the miracle that has happened in his life, and subsequently in ours…  YAY DAD!!!

I shook my head with shock and dismay when I found out I lost someone I loved dearly to cancer… and realized just how precarious and vulnerable our lives can be…

I saw some friends walk out of my life.. reconnected with old friends, and made completely new and wonderful friends…

I got off one medication…

and got put on six more…

I began to ‘deal’ with the pain I’ve been feeling  for years…

and then I started to develop ‘new’ pain in different areas…

I started to accept that I won’t have another child grow inside my body…

I cried with the love of my life… and he loves me more now because of my tears…

And together we adopted the cutest puppy in the entire world… and yes I am completely biased!!

I started Graceful Agony…

and I have met some amazing people who have become my second family and my life-long friends… You know who you are, and I love all of you!!

I was published for the first time…

I found my passion in writing again…

I got to love fiercely, and be loved fiercely…

I woke up in pain every single day…

I went to bed in pain every single night…

and through it all something really tangible happened….

I found purpose, and hope… love and friendship…. acceptance and a fighting spirit…

I found my voice… and began to love ME for the first time in my life.

I will be sad to see 35 go… it has been one hell of a ride

-but-

I am SO looking forward to see where this journey takes me through my 36th year….

and I am looking forward to sharing my journey with all of you.

Thank you for making the past year one of the best ever… it wouldn’t have been the same without you.

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April 11th is a loaded day for me….  It is the anniversary of my ex father-in-laws passing, it is the birthday of my ex-husband, AND  it is my brother’s birthday… He would have been 45 years old today… We lost him on July 14th, 1999.  Whew… isn’t that something?  All of those ‘anniversaries’ on the same day?  As the years have gone by anxiety over today has lessened…. I used to want to remove April from the calendar all together… Now I stop to acknowledge the day  and then move forward… One thing is for sure though, I still miss my brother more than words can begin to express….

There was over 9 years difference between me and my Big brother… I was his “baby sister” through and through… He was my protector, my safe place to fall – and although at times we didn’t see eye to eye because of our age difference, I always knew that my brother loved me…  Looking back, I don’t know how he put up with me at times… I was his shadow, and always wanted to be a part of whatever he was doing… If he went out into the street to play hockey with his friends, I wanted to play hockey too… If he was in his bedroom listening to music, I would sit outside his door trying to listen also….  I am sure when he was 15 and wanting his own independence the last thing he wanted was his 6 year-old sister tagging along… The age difference seemed HUGE then… but as we got we got older, we became a lot closer…. I think he always knew I looked up to him, but it went from being his burden to being his honor as we got older.

One of my favorite “birthday” memories I have of Dave is when I took him to see Phantom of the Opera for his 28th Birthday.  Keep in mind my big bro was a man’s man… he was burly, and gruff on the outside to anyone who didn’t know him – but truly he had one of the softest hearts there could ever be.  My Mom had arranged for us to get tickets when the Phantom production made its way through our city… I couldn’t have been more excited!  I spent the whole afternoon getting ready, making sure my make-up and hair was perfect… wearing my new high-heel patent leather pumps (don’t tease, it was the 90’s! LOL!), making dinner reservations for after the play… It meant so much to me to be going on a ‘date’ with the guy I had looked up to all my life…

The first half of the play was SENSATIONAL… and I remember the absolute feeling of awe as if it were only yesterday…. We sat in the first balcony of the theatre, and if I close my eyes I can still feel the heat from the Chandelier that hung above us.  I remember the scent of the artificial fog that was blown onto the stage…. And I recall the cologne my brother was wearing, and the feeling of his silk shirt against my arm…I think I spent just as much time looking at my brother’s face and searching for a reaction as I did watching the play….

At intermission, my brother bought me a glass of champagne… It is funny the small details that you remember…. I felt SO grown-up… I felt as if for the first time in my life I was actually my brother’s contemporary…. I had gone from being that bratty little sister to being a woman in my brother’s eyes… or at least that is how it felt to me.  As I tried to play it cool, holding my champagne flute just so – and taking small sips as the bubbles tickled my nose, I felt a visceral change… It felt as if the cacoon had finally broken open, and a butterfly emerged… I went from being “sister” to “friend”, from being a little girl who never felt she measured up, to being a woman my brother respected.

The last half of the play was even more amazing than the first… and as the curtain closed my brother was the first one in the whole auditorium on his feet.  If you knew Dave, you’d know that this was out of character for him.  I rose out of my chair to join him in the standing ovation, and then noticed that my brother had tears rolling down his cheeks…. and I started to cry too…. We both wiped away our tears before the house lights came on, as if they never fell.  But I know the truth.

We went for dinner at The Keg afterwards, and he was HUGELY EMBARRASSED when the waiters came over to sing him Happy Birthday!  He faked being REALLY irritated that I had made those arrangements beforehand, but secretly I think he appreciated the effort.  We laughed and talked about many things, and HE didn’t want the night to come to an end.  I thought he would drop me off at my apartment right after dinner, but instead he asked if I wanted to go for a drink… GLADLY I said yes, and we made our way to a pub.  We ended the night with a long personal conversation about where I was at in my life at that point, and the potential he saw in me.  When we finally said goodnight, he gave me a big bear hug and said “I love you Joey”, and drove away…

I didn’t know then that I would only get to see 6 more of his birthdays…  each of them were celebrated, but NONE of them ever compared to that night… It is something that I will never forget.  Dave never stopped being the “big brother”, but after that day we began a beautiful friendship with one another.

We lost Dave just weeks before my wedding…. And so many things have happened in my life since then… He never got to see me walk down the aisle, he never got to meet my son… My Dad’s battle with cancer, the loss of my health, the end of my marriage… all of these things he has missed…. And I have often wondered what he would have thought about all of that… I wonder if he would be proud of the way our family has dealt with the hand life has given us…. I wonder what role he would have played in all of it.

But the one thing that I know for sure is that he loved me… and it was my honor to be loved by him.

Mostly I remember him with a smile in my heart when I look back at all the memories.  There are times still that I cry, but I am not scared of those tears anymore… it is also my honor to shed those tears for him, because he is worth every one of them…

Dave was my protector, my big brother, and also my friend.  Today I stop to remember, and to celebrate the life that ultimately changed my own.

Happy Birthday Dave!  I love you.

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