Tag Archives: death

#TRUTHday

8 Sep

victoriaerickson

I want to scream at someone, something, my computer, myself, the construction workers across the street who start banging at 7am… anyone really. But what will that solve? Nada. TOO MUCH BAD NEWS lately.

It’s as if there’s a spotlight over the coterie of people I know, and things. just. keephappening. What are my escape route options here? I can shut myself off of social media, but I long to be informed (especially while I am out on maternity leave watching the adult world go by). I can pretend it doesn’t matter, which will get me nowhere, as I suffer trying to make sense of things regardless of what I profess. I can and (likely will anyway) give myself a thousand justifications as to why these things are happening; complete with telling myself to ‘just live in the moment, be grateful, slow down, practice gratitude’ blah blah blah… but I’m over it. As the wise have said, “it is both a blessing and a curse to feeling everything so very deeply.”

So back to trying to process the static of death, infertility, heart defects, brain aneurysms, cancer diagnoses, money woes, professional stagnation etc. etc.  I can’t breathe. I feel like I’m drowning. I want to help everyone. I want to say the perfect thing, bring solace to those who need it, be the funny one who appropriately changes the subject, bring the laughs, wipe the tears, lighten the mood and provide emotional shelter. Did you get all of that? Help me. Help everyone. Whatever you believe in, whomever you call out to for salvation, ask for a reprieve. Things are too heavy lately, so shout it out, send the love, light, prayers and energy filled with hope and positivity to each other and let’s break this cycle.

The truth is bad news, pain, grief and sickness live next door. It’s never an if, it’s a when, and then it’s a how do you process it, and keep moving forward. That’s the fine line. Maybe our current social connectivity has created a false universe where we all believe we are ONLY what we share. We’ve been privy to ‘staged truth’ for too long, and it’s placed us on a fragile pedestal with a cracking foundation. As I’ve said 1000+ times, perception is not reality. Maybe it’s time to get back to the basics, and use our overly connected social space as a resource center, and not simply a show and tell. We can’t help each other if we only know one beautifully staged and photographed side.

Oh, you’re having a hard time in your marriage? Oh, you’re worried your kid is autistic, behind or socially awkward? Oh, you know the ins and outs of metal illness, cancer, eating disorders, fertility treatments and/or fill in the blank? If you speak it, people will come. We all want to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. The ‘fitting in’ clause doesn’t phase out after high school. There’s comfort in knowing someone else out there has been where you’re now standing, and can offer some advice or lend a hand.

I had a miscarriage before Stella and Wren. When I blogged about it, I had an outpouring of support from my own friends and family whom I otherwise would never have known had a similar and shared experience. They said, ‘thanks for talking about it. You gave us a window to tell our story.’ That’s a social win. That’s #TRUTHday personified.

In a social space filled with challenges to dump ice, donate and rally around the less fortunate, I challenge the everyday individual to put the device down, and spend a little more time living rather than creative directing. Store the snapshots in your head. Don’t leave things unsaid IN PERSON to those who matter. Get home and unplug yourself. Sit at dinner and enjoy the conversation sans selfies and food snaps. Don’t be so quick to move on to the next thing. Sit in the moment. Take a deep breath. Realize this time, this snapshot of your life, will never happen again. Own it and absorb how lucky we are to be here.

Vintage anything is better in my opinion. So if we have to call detaching ourselves from the ‘information matrix’ a vintage approach to re-connecting on a cellular, person-to-person level, then so be it. We’re information rich, yet relationship poor. So let’s do something about it. Let’s make #TRUTHday a permanent movement. An anomaly in that it’s a step back to where we used to be, and a step forward to making it the norm again.

Luella Says… new hashtag movement starts now. #TRUTHday.

truthdayLet’s lift the veil and share our experiences for what they are. A check and balance if you will, of showing life the way it is; complete with blemishes, stains and frayed edges. Let’s really talk to each other. Be truthful, and know not every day is picture perfect. We might actually surprise ourselves with how big our villages become.

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Epilogue.

1 Aug

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It’s a Tuesday and I’m in a dress and my running shoes. More specifically, I’m un-showered after a 4-mile run, but undressed and redressed to address my need for quick breastfeeding access. (You got all that, there will be a test later.) I’m sitting at my computer trying to eek out an hour of creative flow time while Stella is at her ‘one day a week’ daycare and Wren cries and wiggles out of her swaddle for the 100th time. ‘Why aren’t you napping? You grow when you nap, if you want to start talking and running (because that’s definitely next) shut your eyes and buy your ticket to dreamland. Mama needs 5 minutes. (Actually more in the day to week range but who needs the truth).’ I hate this post even before I write it because it means one of my favorite ladies is no longer strolling the earth, championing Jazzercise and keeping Bartles & Jaymes in business. Shirl you were you, every day, simply put and we were all better people to know you. You also gave birth to one of my favorite people so there’s that too. I love you and hope you know, wherever you are, (I guess you’re everywhere now) that you made a lasting impression.  The sky has officially gained a star. #ShirleyStrong

I can’t say I’ve been privy to a lot of tragedy. I’ve had a steady flow of anti-luck, are you kidding me, yep that just happened, deep disappointments, important people vacating without reason and 2nd places, but in the end it doesn’t come close to the pain of losing someone you love and need desperately to stick around. Sometimes it’s hard to relate to those who are going through it. There is a natural division of those who understand and those who are waiting to. As a Mom, now somehow caught up in FB groups and mom circles that detail every horror known to man, the world seems and is I guess, so much more fragile. The transparency trap of wanting to know, wanting to be prepared has become less attractive than the ‘ignorance is bliss’ ilk that was the standard for so many generations before us who didn’t or couldn’t connect with every single person in the world. (I mean where was secondary drowning and hand foot & mouth disease when we were growing up???) They say after you have kids, you know what’s it’s like to have your heart walk around outside your body, and that is precisely how it feels. I think (and secretly hope) it goes both ways though. As a parent, I hope my girls will forever rely on me as a barometer for direction and advice. Remember me when they’ve done something they shouldn’t, but need help navigating out of. My Mom did that for me and both of Shirl’s girls still need her in their 30’s so that is a parenting victory to be celebrated. (Tangent/sidebar – I hope I gather a couple of those. These terrible twos are seriously terrible. If I have to tell myself to pull it together, she’s 2 one more time…)

As a bona fide fixer, it’s difficult to grasp the finality of death. What do you mean that’s it?! It’s annoyingly selfish. It makes the world feel like a shallow pool we’re all just breast stroking through for 2 minutes. She had so much left to do. She was the life of the party and always a perfect person to drink a glass of something with. Truthfully I’m filled with emotions I can’t articulate. I think of her, I think of my best friend, I think of how much of Shirl is tied into my own childhood, and then I get pissed that life has moved on, and the reality of time has taken hold. How did we already get to the last chapter, we were just in the middle of the storyline a year ago?!

The only thing I can think of to make it a little more palatable, is to live happy. Amidst bs, traffic, bad news, fights, lost friendships, toddlers, financial struggles,  __________ etc. etc. We must all live happy. Some days will be easier than others, but it’s up to all of us to dig in, find it, celebrate it and then rinse and repeat. Shirl did and so maybe the silver lining is the constant reminder that it’s the only way, no excuses. As the ever-wise Rumi said, “Look past your own thoughts, so you may drink the pure nectar of this moment.” Sure that was the 13th century, but it’s transcendent so get on board.

Luella Says, I pledge to live #100HappyDays,

 

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Who wants to join me? www.100happydays.com

 

 

43.0581° N, 88.1147° W

13 Aug

carlsaganexistence

There’s a little town called Brookfield, nestled in the outskirts of Milwaukee and it’s where I am from. I point this out because lately bad news seems to be de rigueur and in trying to navigate past all these sore subjects, I’ve realigned myself to where it all started, to what really matters and to making sure life moving forward walks the right path.

Too often we move along at such a quick pace, we forget to breathe in a couple of steps and enjoy the ‘now’. Everyone is so elbows deep on their phone or stuck in traffic or just tired in general, that reprieves of fresh air along the way get missed. This is not new or earth shattering. I am far from the first blowhard to think it necessary to put it down in ink but each time I’m reminded, it’s usually by way of great joy or cruel reality. Why let it be that way? Lets retrain our brains to slow down and be grateful for those around us, what we have and how we got there.

As we all know, life is unpredictable. Why let ego or assumption force you to carry heavy words left unsaid? Remind others what they mean to you and do it often. After recent news from back home surfaced, I’ve been having a hard time with the adage, that everything happens for a reason. Debatable. Some things suck and are simply meaningless. Unfair, too soon, and tragic feel more applicable.

Everything is too easy now. Communication doesn’t require human interaction. Instant gratification and the ideal that ‘we are what we share’ has completely taken over. I’m starting a movement of remembering that curating the relationships with the people who mean something to you is worth the calories burned. Pick up the phone, send a card, write the email, text, show up… whatever it takes to stay close. Unfortunately time is not for sale, don’t learn the hard way.

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Life moves too fast. I blinked and I’m 34 and a mom myself. My precious memories of my childhood spent in Brookfield are in the awkward phase of becoming a long time gone. Forever 16 in my head, the realization has truly sunk in that the world keeps going; regardless of what or who you lose or how badly you wish to go back and do things a bit different. My roots are tied and twisted around so many of you who helped shape me into who I am today. Family, lifelong friends, acquaintances and even those who taught me by example without knowing or meaning to; I tip my cap to you. Thank you for digging in long enough to leave an impression.  Indelibly you’re a part of me. Hope I’ve been able to afford some of you the same.

As Chris Pureka writes,

Life is cruel and it’s clumsy
I wish I could say that it’s better than that
but this is our time
this is all that we have ’til we turn out the lights…

Luella says… honor your coordinates.

With that being the benchmark – here are a couple tenets I am forcibly applying to life moving forward.

  • spend time each day not judging anyone or anything. Only allowing kind, decent and positive thoughts to course through. (this includes judging yourself, we’re our own worst critic)
  • live one day at a time, hour by hour, moment by moment
  • reconnect or re-affirm those relationships who mean the most to you
  • compromise more – in the end what do you win if you’re the only one satisfied?
  • communicate what others mean to you – go there – even if it’s awkward at least everyone knows where they stand.
  • practice appreciation, patience and forgiveness

Please note, this is all hard. Letting go, moving on, staying present, living for today, not judging, being thankful are all beautiful but not always attainable. I get it. This is perfect world scenario and some days it’s just not going to happen. It’s simple to sit behind a computer and wax on about how important this all is but the practice and application is where it gets real. I am hoping by setting the standard (for myself) of getting even half way, some of the time  – I will be successful. We shall see – To be continued…

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