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Category: Inspirational Women

Missing my Mom and hoping she would be proud of me

Missing my Mom and hoping she would be proud of me

Not a day goes by when I don’t think of and miss my Mom. Sometimes the grief still sneaks up on me in an overwhelming way and comes pouring out of my eyes. Take today for example. Gabby and I were talking about a movie sequel/ prequel and I casually said, ” But I don’t want her mom to die.” Boom! Before I knew it, the tears were streaming down my cheeks.

It still doesn’t make sense to my heart how I can live in a world where my Mom doesn’t exist. It just doesn’t work right. I still need her. I will always need her.

January 6th is the anniversary of her passing.

Passing. That sounds so easy. She passed. No. Just no. She was ripped from this world and left a void that can never be filled. Longing for her words or hugs never to receive them. Advice I need but will never get. Adventures we were supposed to share that never happened. Grandkids that are pretty damn awesome that will never know for themselves how amazing and hilarious their grandma was. She didn’t pass. She was brutally ripped away by a disease that is cruel and terrifying and one that is considered the “sister” to mine. In some ways that has helped me understand her in ways I couldn’t when she was alive. How’s that for a ironically sick twist?

Oh God I miss my Mom. My heart just does not understand. Time doesn’t make it easier. It just changes things. But the pain stays. The longing that I have no idea how to put into words but tugs at me in a relentless and unyielding way stays. Some days it rips my heart out through my tear ducts before I even realize it’s happening.

Damn. I just wish she was here to see my kids and to see who her baby girl has become. I hope she’d be proud of me as a mother. That’s my heart. I wish she knew me now.

I love you, Mom.

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Won’t you be my neighbor?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of the Internet and how creates strong communities. Well, at least that has been the word that has been used so much lately. I suppose now the word community is more appropriate it. But there was a time when that seemed too formal. Too “organized” for what organically came to be back then. I started officially writing online in 1995 with an online journal on Live Journal. That was pretty much just throwing words out there. But in 2003 I started this blog. (Happy belated birthday, blog. You look good for 14 years old!) That is what in the blogging community considers an OG blogger. When we blogged, it was just blogging.

We weren’t Facebooking, Tweeting, Instagramming, etc. To see what was happening with one another, we’d hop online and read each other’s blog. We’d leave a comment and move on to our next friend’s blog. To me, it was more like a neighborhood. We would visit one another’s home, catch up,  and then we’d go catch up with another neighbor. It was close-knit. If someone was going through a rough time, we rallied around them. If someone wasn’t going to be “home” for an extended period, we would house-sit for each other. ( Also known as handing the keys to your blog over to another blogger so they can guest blog for you so you never had an empty day on your blog.) On weekends, we would have a neighborhood block party where we would gather and drink *kook-aid (*not a typo) and chat with each other in our version of real-time. If you put out the call for help, it was there. I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through my Mom’s long, horrible hospital stay and her death without my “neighbors” and their support. They lifted me up and reminded me I wasn’t alone.

In 2005 I was introduced to a tiny little grassroots company and new community named BlogHer. I almost didn’t go to their first conference until a long conversation with one of their founders, Lisa Stone, who not only talked me into going but into speaking on a panel. It was the best decision I could have made. From the conference, I began to work for BlogHer as a writer, helped kick-off their ad network and did whatever they needed behind the scenes for their ’06 conference. (Not to mention speaking at three of the conferences and being a part of a morning keynote.) I wouldn’t trade those early days working for BlogHer for anything. It was amazing watching many of my neighbors become part of that community of BlogHers.

I met many friends through my neighborhood and the many communities I have belonged to over the years. In 2007, BlogHer exploded into a conference that had huge numbers of attendees and vendors and parties etc. It was exciting to see the growth, especially when I was there watching from the grassroots level. (I am so thankful to have beenworking there at the very beginning and grateful I wasn’t there at the end.) I  got to know so many new bloggers through BlogHer. It was in 2007 that I met a handful of bloggers I’m still friends with today. Real friends. Not just computer friends. Heart friends.

Almost two weeks ago, Anissa, an OG blogger died. Anissa was hilarious, kind and my kind of crazy. I first met her on a BlogHer trip to the Ford plant in Chicago. You see, there were six of us who had “alternative departure times” and therefore we were late getting to the bus. So, the big fancy charter bus was full, so the six of us rode in a small charter-ish bus. Best outcome ever! We all laughed until our abs hurt. Anissa and I had a similar sense of humor and riffed off of each other perfectly. It was a blast. (I made some awesome friends on that bus that day that are still real, close friends today.)   Every time Anissa and I saw each other after that at BlogHer, we always shared at least one or two smart-ass remarks. We weren’t close but we had moments that made me laugh. So, when I heard that she died, I literally began sobbing. Right there is the waiting room of the eye doctor with the girls. Someone who has survived so much and who has a personality that is larger than life and is so young isn’t supposed to just suddenly die. Not someone so loved, so needed by her family, so adored by her friends. It’s so hard to wrap my mind around it. It just hit hard. It hurt hard. My heart has so many things I want to say but I honestly don’t know how to say it. The quote on Anissa’s about section by Erma Bombeck is one she lived by and I hope I live up to as well.

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and I could say, “I used everything you gave me.”

That week wasn’t over with me yet. There are so many things going on, rushing to force  themselves out of my brain through my fingers, and I am having one hell of a hard time trying to sort through them. Trying to figure out what to share and what not to. I found a friend from school died. I’m not ready to talk about that yet. But that was within a couple of days of Anissa’s passing. I also struggle with what is medical to help you understand me a bit better and what is boring medical and what is scary medical. (Most recently, I had a bad reaction to medications I was taking. Not only was it making things worse, it made me insanely angry, irrational, and suicidal. Not a good combo with the things in my Universe at the time.) Also?  You know how when you look really sad and kind of lost people will tell you look like you lost your best friend? So, that  actually did happen. I’d tell you it’s a long story and share it but in all honesty I don’t know the story so I can’t share it. My take away is that I won’t let anyone use a certain word as a term of endearment for me again when it is used one week before walking away with ease … hell, I have no idea. However, one of the best gifts Anissa could have given me was helping me work through serious issues & things happening on my own. That was a blessing in disguise.

Anyhoo, while looking for the picture of the six charter-ish bus gang, I went back and looked at pictures from BlogHers from years past. From ’05 when I walked into a conference where I only knew people I  had read online. And seeing how I found a tribe that got me. I still love those ladies I made friends with that year. It was a new and wonderful experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. And then came ’06. Oh, BlogHer ’06! I laughed my ass off all weekend. I danced even without music. I “hugged” statues. I took a nose-dive into a hot tub. All of which was caught on camera. I laughed so hard looking at those pictures and remembering how it all came with such ease even though it was such a hard time for me. Then ’07 where I finally met THE Busy Mom. We can sum  up ’07 with one word: CHEESE. Enough said. I could go on and on. For years this was BlogHer for me. I am so grateful for the many friends It brought into my life. The community that brought me neighbors, so to speak.

There is so much going on  in my life right now. Some good and some that is too hard to really talk about here or now. But I am glad to be back. I’m just going to go about dusting things off around here. Rearranging the furniture. Take down some old pictures that don’t belong on the walls anymore. Put up some new ones without 80’s hair. It’s time to clear out the cobwebs, shake out the rugs, and get back to me & writing.

 

 

 

It doesn’t take Oprah to find your authentic self

It doesn’t take Oprah to find your authentic self

Have you ever seen one of those “entertainment shows” (term used rather loosely) that take a self-assured, confident, smart, beautiful woman with inner strength who has life by the….horns and watch these shows put this woman (or women) into a suit/costume that is the exact opposite of who they are?  You know, where it is a great sociological experiment to put the skinny model in a fat suit or the brilliant Harvard MBA  with a high powered career and dress her like a “frumpy housewife” all in the name of “learning how the other half live” for a while?  (I’m looking at you Tyra Banks.  You, too, 20/20.)  Some of these shows- when done to sensationalize how horrible it is to be “the other half”–  make me want to smack the ratings grubbing producer and send them into the Brazilian Rain forest without a survival guide.  Just for the sociological experiment of course.  But that really isn’t the entire point of this.  Sometimes- those rare sometimes– it turns out that it isn’t just poor little pretty Britney crying that “OMG, I am so fat! Make it stop!”  Sometimes they actually do something that surprises not just the women who are doing this experiment but the people around them.

At first, these women are the same.  It doesn’t matter what is on the outside, they are confident and know what is on the inside.  They are fully tapped into their authentic selves.  And?  They are confident nothing and no one can shake that.  But after a day, two days, three days, a month…they begin to react not as the woman inside the “costume” but as the woman the rest of the world sees.

The beautiful, skinny model no longer gets the adoring looks and attention she has always known.  It causes her to react to the way she is treated- to what people assume she is when they don’t look further.  She begins to hold her head down when she is walking, not quite looking anyone in the eye.  She is no longer the first to speak up, if she speaks up at all.  She hears the rude comments and begins to cry and is truly hurt deep down inside.  With her self-esteem at an all time low for her, she feels beaten down and broken.

Or take the brilliant Harvard MBA executive who becomes the old stereo typical stay at home mom who spends her days with her kids or running errands or volunteering somewhere.  She begins to be treated as someone who can barely manage a grocery list.  Her “mom jeans” and sweater sets are frowned upon and she is rarely taken seriously unless she is talking about household affairs, PTA or Johnny’s latest accomplishment- and then rarely is she truly taken seriously.  Surely this frumpy mom couldn’t know anything about the stock market, foreign affairs or politics.  I mean, just look at the way she dresses!  She doesn’t even wear makeup everyday.  She must be “just a mom” and therefore not worthy of the intelligent conversations offered up at business dinners or get-togethers.  She belongs on the playground with the “other mommies” and before you know it, she begins to act less self-assured.  She buys into the lie that maybe she isn’t as smart as she thinks she is.  Maybe it is a man’s world and she does belong just on the playground.  Her authentic self may be able to command a board room and handle multi-million dollar accounts but when she is treated as less than, she begins to feel less than. She begins to believe that she IS less than.

What happened to these women?

I suppose as a society we are quick to judge what we see and what “truth” we have been told.  Take the woman above.  A stay at home mom is the “truth” that is told.  Her dress is not the most fashionable.  She doesn’t look high-powered but perhaps a bit overly tired.  Is that who she really is?  Is that her authentic self?

Well, yes and no.  It is who she feels she is after repeatedly- I mean time and time and time again– being treated in a way that isn’t true to her authentic self.  When it comes to the collision of perceived reality and personal reality, sometimes perceived reality wins even for the woman inside the suit who knows better.  She knows who she really is.  Yet, her heart is broken by the reactions and actions of others based on  the way they perceive her to be because of the “truths” they are either told or choose to believe on their own.  However, her authentic self is not lost.

After a while, that authentic self fights back.  From deep inside the suit, the pain and the reality she has been living– which is not reality at all– become too much for her authentic self to bear and her authentic self begins to emerge and beg to be let out of the suit, out of this experiment.  It hurts too much. You may first see it as a fierce look in her eyes.  It may come from a retort to a comment that went just a bit too far.  Or you may not see her authentic self come out until piece by piece the suit is removed and she has a chance to stretch both her body and her mind, refresh her emotions and feel once again at peace with herself– her real self.

I think that is true of all of us.

At one time or another we step out of our comfort zone and try new things.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  It’s in the trying that matters.  Over a year ago I put on a new suit that I truly wanted.  It fit like a second skin and I was happy.  But bit by bit, piece by piece layers were added to that suit.  Some by me and some by others.  The more that was put onto that suit the heavier it became.  The harder it was to wear and still be my authentic self.  There were times the “real me” would scream so loudly to get out but by then the suit was so think, so heavy and attached so strongly, I couldn’t break free.  In the Spring I knew it cost me too much personally to continue wearing it.  I tried to brutally claw it off to get back to the real me. But let me tell you something.  The process of ripping, tearing and clawing at something that is attached to you like a skin just scars you more.  You have to go through a process to take it off.  Though I was succeeding, I had a long way to go.  I made mistakes.  I hurt myself, my family and some friends.  To those I could offer an olive branch, I did.  Some accepting it and everything was put in the past to move forward.  To others, the olive branch was thrown down and walked away from.  There is and was nothing I could do about other people and how they react and choose to respond.  I was working on getting myself back and didn’t have the energy to argue, fight or try to make my side heard.  It became counterproductive to what I needed to do and who I truly am.

The beginning of summer I learned about finding the authentic me. I spent a week with people I love who love me.  Not only do they support me but they love me in spite of me.  During that week, the suit started to melt away in a beautiful and pain-free way.  I learned that the ones who love me not only accept me as I am but they expect me to be who I truly am.  It was a wonderful time of letting go, healing and getting to know myself again.

But that wasn’t the end.  It just doesn’t happen that easily.

In July my family went through a crisis.  I think all of us at one time or another (at least once) go through something that so thoroughly, completely and irrevocably changes you.  Sometimes it is a wonderful event. Sometimes it is traumatic.  But there is a moment, a time in life that you can exactly pinpoint, where everything changes.  It doesn’t matter if it is something everyone can see or just those close to you or even something only you know happens.  The point is, nothing will ever be the same after that moment.  Ever. Things that seemed so painful lose their sting.  Things that seemed so important become trivial.  Things you thought you would struggle with for a long time to get past are suddenly no longer roadblocks in your mind or heart.  You move on.  You have to.  You are not that person anymore.

I would never wish the events of my summer on anyone.  At all.  But I am forever grateful that I was able to be where I was needed, go through I needed to go through and come out on the other side the person I am now.   Through crisis I mended fences that should never have been put up in the first place and found an amazing friend on the other side. A gift that I wanted, needed and came to accept through a crisis situation.   I grew closer to people I love and have a tighter bond with them that nothing in this world can ever loosen.  I found strength in myself  I honestly didn’t know I had.  I found peace in a way I have never known. I learned lessons about life that will forever be with me and keep me strong when I feel broken.

That suit?  It completely melted away.

I thought I would find “the old me” underneath waiting to emerge.  That didn’t happen.  I found a new version– a better version– of the authentic me that I never knew I had the capacity to become.  I never want to be the “old me” before my suit wearing days.  Ever.  A part of her is still with me but what I found when the real me emerged is so phenomenal and strong and at peace that I gladly put the old me in the past and embrace who I have become.

What about you?  Are you struggling with a “suit” that doesn’t quite fit anymore?  Do you need someone to stand beside you and say, “I believe in YOU and I will be here for you if it hurts to find the real you!”?  Let me know.  I’ll stand in that gap with you.  I’ll hold you hand or your heart and be someone you can know cares.  Or have you recently been through something that has brought you to a point where your own “suit” melted away only to find a wonderful new authentic you?  Share it with us.  Those stories always help us feel connected.  Your story, declaration or simple “I’ll stand by you, too” can make a huge difference to someone who may need to hear it….even if you never even know it.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

“As someone told me lately, Everyone deserves the chance to fly”- On Moving Forward

“As someone told me lately, Everyone deserves the chance to fly”- On Moving Forward

There are times in life when circumstances back  you into a corner.  Times when those you trust betray you and those you have come to rely on turn their back on you.  It is in those times you find the people in your life who truly do have your back.  The people who genuinely care. You can see through the masks that people wear and into the reality of their hearts.  The truth of the matter is at those times, it can break you.  It can take you and slam you down with a force you didn’t know existed in your world.  At those times when you have felt abandoned and all alone you should look around through your tears and see who and what truly matters in your life.  The sad fact is most of those times come at a high price and with great pain. It is a bit like hitting rock bottom in addiction.  There is no where to turn and no where to go but up.  But the beauty of it is when you stop and look around– feeling in your heart that without a doubt that you are standing alone– you see the people in your life who genuinely care about you and love you.  Those are the true people in your life  you can depend on, trust and open  your heart to when you are at your weakest.  Those are the people who will hold your hand when  you need it.  The people who will love you unconditionally and stand beside you to weather the storms of life.  The reality is you probably are not as alone as you thought you were.   You just weren’t looking in the right places.

For many of us a time has come or will come when your circumstances or the people you have chosen to surround yourself with will bring you to your knees, break your heart or back you into a corner where you can see no way out.  Rather than focusing on the pain or the intense feelings of loneliness and anger you are bound to feel, take a good look at who is still standing with you.  Take a really good look.  Those are the people you want in your corner.  Those are the people whose opinions and truth you want to rely on at that time.  Those people who are ready, willing and able to drop everything to see you through the hardest of times– those are the people who do truly care and support you.  The ones who are willing to give you the benefit of the doubt through your successes and failures.

Now, I am not saying that the other people who choose to turn away are people not worthy of your time, your prayers or your friendship.  But those are not the people you should depend on to make your life choices or help you through the tough times.  Those are not the people you need to depend on in a time of pain. They are merely people who have been brought into your life for a reason and a season.  They  have brought a life lesson with them.  They have brought to you something you can take away.  They are no less important in the grand scheme of things.   They are your life teachers.  Sometimes they are gentle and kind teachers who come and go from your life and bless with you with what they have brought to you.  Sometimes there are those people whose lessons are brutal and painful.  And sometimes those lessons are ones that you would never learn if it were not for the suffering they bring to you.  They are just as important to your growth as a person as the people in your life that you know will never abandon you, abuse you or leave you when things get rough.  They serve as a catalyst for a life lesson.  People that somewhere deep inside- when you can think clearly through the pain or anger- that have led you to the path you should take or off of the one that will destroy your very soul.

My Mom always said life isn’t fair.  And it isn’t.  However, when the chips are down and you find out who stands with you, supports you and will be there for you, you should be thankful.  Just as you should be thankful for the ones who broke your heart.  Not in the same way, yet nevertheless their importance should not be diminished because you are hurt.

So what do you do in those times when  you are broken and beaten down?  You reach up, take the hand (or hands) that are offered, stand up, brush yourself off and move forward.  Hopefully you’ll find yourself a better person for the life lesson they have brought. Even if they were brought to you at a great cost or with pain.

This week I learned many lessons.  Some that had me in tears of pain for days.  Some that have me in tears of extreme gratitude.  And some that just opened my eyes in general to the reality– and not the perceived reality– but the actual reality of  people, situations and circumstances I have allowed into my life that are toxic to me and my family.  For that, I am truly thankful for those people and situations.  They brought with them a lesson for a season.  A lesson of fire and pain but a lesson that I can not only carry with me but use to help and guide others when I see them go down a similar path.  It is an opportunity to share my experiences with others and let them know they are not alone when they find themselves beaten down and broken.  I’ve learned our experiences are not for nothing.  They are not trivial.  We have not suffered them in vain.

I suppose what I am saying is that you should not regret the decisions you have made and the people you have had in your life.  If your lesson has been learned and those people are truly there only for a season and simply for a single reason, you will find peace in moving forward.  You will have learned what you needed to learn and the loss, though it can be painful, has served its purpose.  Yes, even those who break  your heart.  There is a reason and a lesson. When you learn it, you will grow, be stronger and see things much clearer as you let them go.

But never, ever forget to take the time to thank those who are there for the good and the bad.  The ones who stand with you when you succeed and when you fail.  I am talking about the people who will always stand beside you and support you and will be honest with you from their heart and from a place of love because those are the people you can always be free to hand over your heart to and know that it will be cherished and not broken.  Just remember to thank those people in your life who are truly and genuinely there for you.  They are your blessings.  They are your true gifts in life.  Blessings to lean on through your sufferings and to cheer with you through your celebrations.  And in return, you will grow with them and be able to hold their heart in your hands and cherish it and take care of it with gentle hands just as they have done for you.

Lessons are learned.

Seasons change.

And people leave.

Those who don’t turn their backs and walk away…well, count  your blessings.  Never take them for granted. I know I never will again.  For I am blessed.  Broken hearted but full of peace for I know now without any doubt in my mind, I do not and never will stand alone.

With the help of those friends standing with me…

It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

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Why do I still blog after all these years and can I still love it?

Why do I still blog after all these years and can I still love it?

I have a confession to make.  This whole blogging thing has beaten me down lately.  Can you believe I have been at this for almost 6 years?  I can see how it has taken a downward slide lately.  I was talking to an old friend of mine who mentioned that I just don’t update as often and he missed reading it.  We talked about how it used to make him either laugh, think or just get a glimpse into my life.  You know what?  I miss that blog, too.  I thought maybe I fell out of love with blogging and was ready to move on, but that just isn’t how I really feel.  I really enjoy writing over at Parenting because  I get a chance– the freedom– to do what I love to do:  tell stories.  Maybe  the chance to make someone laugh or think.   Or just laugh because thinking can be overrated.

I have been talking to friends of mine who have been at this for a few years as well and they have felt it, too.  And it isn’t just burn out.  I don’t think it is all about how much things have changed either.  Though, that is a lot of it.  Back “in the day” when some of us started blogging it was story telling and commenting and hanging out on each others’ blogs to share our lives and stories.  SEO?  What is the world was that?  Reviews?  That was just when we laughed at someone else’s stupid typos in a post.   Blogging trips?  That was when you went to another blogger’s home to visit.  It was just different.  It’s not like I am sitting in a rocking chair talking about the good old days and yelling at the new bloggers to get off of my lawn.  Change happens.  “Blogging just isn’t as easy as it used to be.”

I am at a turning point in this whole thing.  I either remember why I love blogging and get to it or I play the game that the new wave of blogging has become or I quit.  Well, let’s just say upfront that quitting is not an option for me.  I love writing. I love telling stories.  I love my corner of the Internet– cobwebs and all.  But phoning it in and posting only because I am being told I have to by someone else who has no interest in my blog but in my pageviews or even just writing to say “Hey, look! I have a blog!”  are not acceptable to me anymore.  Write or get off the blog.

And then my dorkner-in-crime wrote such a brilliant post that I am going to cut it paste it right here.

No.  Not really.

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NEWSFLASH: I am updating my blog.

NEWSFLASH: I am updating my blog.

This past week I put in nearly 40 hours of school volunteering. (Or maybe eleventy hundred. I lost count.) Some at home but most at the school. Does this mean they have officially “gotten” me? Am I now a Stepford? Let’s say no. I did have fun doing it, though. I know. The first step is admitting there is a problem. So really? I don’t really have a “new” post worthy of a Newsflash, but I do have something you may not have read yet. Seeing as I know you don’t all follow me around the ‘net to see what I have to say. And the links in the post? Follow them. Some amazing women writers were quoted. You may find a great new read!

The past week I have been adrift in volunteer work, a new freelance job, house cleaning and one other thing. What was that? Oh, I remember. Celebrating my eighth year being clean from a painful and life altering drug addiction that nearly took away everything I cherish and love. I’ll be honest. I wanted to find be around at least one person who “got it” and would realize what I was going through on that day. It was a day that I desperately needed to be understood and on familiar ground with another person.

Blogging is much the same way for many people. Some people read blogs as a way to find others that are going through the same life issues, have the same interests or maybe even just because they entertain them. And then we have the bloggers themselves. Those who put themselves right out there in front of the Internet and share to let it all lay bare. Those writers who dig deep into their souls and pull out a part of it and share it. Hoping it connects with someone else. Sometimes hoping someone else will connect with them.

It is not surprising that in this week I found Redsy. As she began her Odyssey to stop drinking she posting these words that so resonated with me that I wept remembering the feelings she described.

I’ve found a place to go every day to talk about my problem with drinking. To listen to others talk about their struggles and fears and recovery. And it is a complete and total miracle. If I’d known how great these meetings would be, I honestly would have stopped all this wine nonsense a long time ago.

But of course I wouldn’t really. Because outside of those wonderful comforting loving meetings, life is once again scary as hell. And this time I’m standing there without my favored weapon. Facing an army of tigers with a pea shooter and one bean, which is how we’re supposed to feel at the beginning (I’m told).

And I feel like the outside layer of my skin (the adult, fake-put-together part) has been taken away and I’m this sea creature –shell-less and shaky–lolling around waiting for sunlight to reach all the long way down to the ocean floor.

I read through her pages and found her four months later with these words:

So it’s been 75 days since my last drink and nearly 4 months since I began this odyssey — to sober up, wake up to my life, start a daily spiritual practice something like worshiping a higher power, something like trying to be a more loving person.

As slowly the cravings, mental and physical subside, replaced by new rituals and people and habits, hope increases. Hope that there is more that I can give, more to experience, and a greater sense of gratitude folded into the dailyness of things.

All is not perfect happiness by any stretch, but broken down into 24 hours segments, I can say I haven’t felt this hopeful and resourceful for years and years.

I cheered for her. I wanted to shout to her that I get it and I am so proud of her. I remember hitting each milestone month of being clean and you can damn well bet it is worthy of a celebration. She is now 5 months sober. I am 8 years clean. We are alike and we can both learn from each other. That is the beauty of putting it out there. I don’t know her. But really? I know her.

I also came across a post about loss written by Jenn of Breed ‘Em and Weep that caused me to suck my breath in and hold it as I read it. I cried with the writer as she described her feelings. I felt my own anguish over losses in my own life (though different from hers, losses nevertheless) and I felt her pain as she knew that things would never be the same. I could feel her anguish as she knew the lives of her children would never be the same after this peaceful night of sleep– not knowing.

Tomorrow we will tell the girls about a difficult loss. It is a peculiar thing to sit on the edge of your child’s bed, watching her sleep, knowing that tomorrow you will say something that will stop her heart briefly and force her through a door she would not have chosen herself. Children do not take kindly to loss, and why should they? As adults we can barely stand it, barely have the ability to comprehend the who-was-who-now-isn’t, the what-was-that-now-is-lost.

I watch her dark profile. She is a beautiful girl, as still sometimes in her waking hours as she is right now, asleep. I think, This is her last night of not knowing. Tomorrow we take away the not-knowing.

When I first read the post I didn’t even know what the loss was but it did not matter. I felt it. I felt her loss. I felt the losses in my life. I felt her turmoil as a mother. I remembered that late night knowing I had something to tell my own children that would forever bring them from before to after. From innocence to life-changing. Her ability to open up and share from the bottom of her heart was so universal while still being so personal, you were not only there with her, you were at that place in your own life where you went through your own loss. That is the incredible power of blogging.

You see, when bloggers really open up and share, we find a way to connect, find support and feel as if someone out there gets us. To those of you who bare your souls, thank you. I appreciate and understand how hard that is. I have found bloggers who write about just about everything. They share what they know with people who may need or want to hear it.

I can find bloggers who help me with support for my addiction, the death of my Mom, my stillborn son, and my frustrations and dilemmas in parenting. And when I read the following quote from Mamma Loves, I realized that there is a certain type of blogging that is harder to find.

Mamma Loves called it to the carpet when she wrote:

What I’ve noticed though is that there seems to be one topic that remains fairly off limits (unless addressed anonymously). I understand why. Many people have discussed their reasons for not talking about it. I see this in my real life friendships too.

I just have to ask though…when will we all stop pretending like marriage is easy??

I love that question. I would love more people to just say it. “This marriage thing? Good. Love it. But, damn, it can be hard.” I know many divorced bloggers who will talk all about it. Or bloggers who openly admit they are in a bad marriage. But what about those of us who are in good marriages and are happy? Just something she asked that I thought I bring to the table since we are talking about baring our hearts and souls in blogging.

The bottom line is blogging has power. A mighty strong power. Blogging connects people. We can find others who get where we have been, where we are and where we are going. And that is vital at certain times in our lives. So, bloggers, it is okay to bare your soul. Some of us need it. Most of us admire it. And there are even a few of us who are counting on it.

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Cross posted on BlogHer