Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Oh the difference a year makes...

Or really, the difference 6 years makes.

If you would have asked me right after the accident how I would cope in the future, I would have told you I had no f'ing idea. But here I am, 6 years later and I can honestly say I never thought this is where I'd be.

If you look at a post I made on this date last year, you can feel the sadness written between the lines. The longing for the past, the overwhelming grief. It's hard for me to describe the way I felt at this time last year. I was holding on with every ounce of my being. To the memories, the feelings, the hopes and dreams. The what if’s. I didn't want to let go. For so long he was my comfort, the one happy thing I had. Even after he was gone...I held on. It was easier to remember the good times and reminisce than move forward and let go. Things between us weren't perfect, but no relationship ever is.  Last year, I wasn't ready to let go. I needed to feel connected to someone, some thing. Holding on allowed me to feel that connection.

Fast forward 6 months to June 2011. I knew at that point it was time to make some changes. I couldn’t live with the constant sadness and the pit in my stomach. I contacted BFO and everything started falling in to place. I was put in touch with a wonderful, wonderful woman who talked me through my fears, concerns and answered the million questions I had about explaining the situation to the boy. She was amazing. Chalk full of knowledge and more supportive than anyone I had ever met. Know why? Because she's been there. She was in my shoes, or a pair very similar and she made it through. With her guidance and a encouragement from friends,  I took a step that I never thought I'd take. I agreed to go to a support group for widows and widowers with dependant children. Now, I know what you're thinking. We weren't married, so therefore I'm not technically a widow but these people didn't care. We shared something more than the title thrust upon us. We shared love, and loss. We shared hopes, dreams, fears and concerns. Walking in to that room, filled with people who understood was like walking through the door to a safe place. The 10 people I met in this group were connected by something no one should ever have to experience. Instantly it became a safe haven for all of us. Somewhere we could let our guard down and share. Regardless of the circumstances, we were bonded together by our experience, our loss.

In the beginning, I was unsure. I was worried I wouldn't fit in. Because who are we essence a "widow" at 23? Where DO I fit in? But week by week, my guard came down and I found myself sharing things I had never shared before. We cried, we laughed, we shared and supported. Above all, we learned that we could shed the mask of day to day life and really be ourselves.

We talked about a lot in those 9 weeks. It started with sharing our stories, which were the most emotionally draining days of I've had in a long time. Whether it was sudden or a long process, reliving these stories with each other was like experiencing the emotions over and over again. From there, discussions blossomed and the one thing I can honestly say was present each and every week, was the undeniable support we all offered one another. It makes no difference whether we were 6 years or 6 months in to our journey we all had something to offer…hope.

When I sent the first e-mail to BFO, I was looking for guidance in speaking to my DS about his father. What I got, was an instant family. People I can count on to be there by phone, email or in person whenever I need. A support group who is in it for the long run. I made friends. I found a family.

When I say what a difference a year can make, I really truly mean it. One email changed the tune for my future. I was holding on too tightly to something that will never be back. Memories of the past and what should have been, could have been. Group opened my eyes to things I hadn't acknowledged before, and for that I'm truly thankful. Death doesn't end a relationship, it ends a life. The relationship simply changes because the other person is no longer present. Learning how to process this change, how to adapt a new "norm" and what the relationship looks like now is what was holding me back.  He may be gone, but he will always be Jacob's father, my first love and my best friend.

As I moved through grief, and group, I realized that not only was I processing this loss as a widow, but also as a teenager. I was 17 when he died. A 17 year old does not possess coping mechanisms to deal with a loss so enormous and life changing. For the last 6 years, I've struggled to process it, to move through the grief and reconcile the loss. It may have taken me 6 years, but I did it. Majority of it on my own, with a little push past the finish line.

In no way do I ever expect the grief to go away, but now I know how to deal with it. I can allow myself the "grief burst" but I know that it'll be manageable. I know what to expect, how to predict them and how to process it in a healthy way that allows me to honor the grief and his memory, without allowing it to take hold and pull me down. I've grown, and so has my grief. We've matured together and I'm proud of how far we've come.

This year just feels different. Here we are, January 11th 2012 and I can honestly say that for the first time I feel proud. Proud of my progress, proud of my son. Proud of the woman I've become and I have him to thank. He was my biggest supporter when he was here, and even now I know he's proud of the job I've done. So this year instead of being sad about the circumstances, I'm going to remember him, cherish his memory and know that above all, he would be proud of me for coming so far. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

the crafting bug has hit again!

I am probably the worst blogger in the world. I started it with good intentions...but life got hold and threw me for a loop. But I'm back, and hopefully now that school is over I'll be able to post more often.

I've been super busy lately with planning J's fifth birthday and crafting! I've caught the crafting bug (again!) but this time it's card making and scrapbooking that's grabbed hold of me.

In the last few weeks I've made several cards, and scrapped my first pages in years! Here's a sampling.

Treat bags for Valentines day at school!

A Valentines Day card for his teacher

 A mothers day card from a Stampin' Up class

Some spring-ish cards

Believe card

This is my ALL TIME favourite card that I've made so far...

I made 12 of these as Birthday invitations for J's party

This was a layout for a challenge on Turtle Soup...

A rockin' birthday card

Another Mother's Day card

A birthday layout of his party on was for a challenge on TS

This is just a smattering...there's been more lol Oh, and these...they were treat bags for his party.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I may have a [small] problem....


I'm addicted to craft blogs.

I happened across a blog called I am Momma....Hear me Roar! a few weeks ago...and since then I've slid down a slippery slope.

For the last 4 years, my obsession has been babywearing and baby carriers...however J is almost 5, and we don't wear any more. {not that I wouldn't looooove to...but my back just can't handle it anymore. AND he's about half my height now, so it's quite a sight to see} While I do still run the local group, it was time for a new hobby.

Since finding Cheri's blog and reading through almost every post she's ever made...I've added about 8 other blogs to my favourites list. Most are crafty blogs, some are just inspirational or good reads. Some are home to awesome bloggers whom I want to get to know. Regardless of who they are, they've all made their way in to my life.

So, why is this a problem....well let me tell you. I went from having shelves upon shelves of baby carriers to having shelves and buckets and baskets, more shelves and bags FULL of craft supplies.

I've got bleach pens, beads, plain shirts (and onesies!). I've got wooden boxes (and letters!), and scrap book paper. Mod Podge, gorilla glue, hot glue and the cutest little push pins. I've got ribbons galore, embroidery floss and fabric.

I have a 'to do' list a mile long with project ideas from these blogs. When will I get to them? I'm not sure, but when I do...I've got all the supplies I need. [However, that won't stop me from making use of the Michaels coupon this week!] may be thinking...who are these bloggers? Below is a list of most of them...and there will be a perma-list at the bottom of the blog for easy access...until I can figure out how to make blogs have multiple pages.

Tatertots and Jello
a time for everything
all is well
michaela noelle designs
love stitched
Shanty to Chic
Little Miss Mommma
At Second Street

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

75 ways to be unhappy

A wonderful mama on  posted a link to this website on one of the online communities I participate in. On it, there was a list of 75 ways to stay unhappy. Reading through the list was eye opening. I counted roughly 35 items that describe me to a T. Others that may apply in some circumstances and a few that didn't fit at all. 

Obviously, this is unacceptable. So, I'll change it. I'll make a conscious effort to do the opposite of the items on the list, to ensure that my forever is happy. 

75 Ways to Stay Unhappy Forever.
  1. Dwell on things that happened in the past.
  2. Obsess yourself with all the things that might happen in the future.
  3. Complain about problems instead of taking the necessary steps to resolve them.
  4. Fear change and resist it.
  5. Work hard, do your best and then condemn yourself for not achieving perfection.
  6. Belittle yourself.
  7. Hang out with other people who belittle you.
  8. Try to control everything and then worry about the things you can’t control.
  9. Lie to yourself and those around you.
  10. Keep doing the same thing over and over again.
  11. Be lazy and follow the path of least resistance.
  12. Hold onto anger.  Never forgive anyone.
  13. Always be right.  Never let anyone else be more right than you.
  14. Compare yourself unfavorably to those who you feel are more successful.
  15. Let small issues snowball into big problems.
  16. Never learn anything new.
  17. Never take responsibility for your own actions.
  18. Blame everyone around you.
  19. Don’t ask for directions and don’t ask questions.
  20. Don’t let anyone help you.
  21. Quit when the going gets tough.
  22. Be suspicious.  Trust no one.
  23. Get four hours of sleep every night and convince yourself that it’s enough.
  24. Never throw anything way.  Even if you don’t use it, hold onto it.
  25. Say “yes” to everyone.  Fill all your time with commitments.
  26. Try to be everyone’s friend.
  27. Multitask, multitask, multitask!  Do everything at once.
  28. Never spend any time alone.
  29. Don’t help others unless you have to.  Do only the things that benefit you directly.
  30. Hang out with people who complain about everything.
  31. Focus on what you don’t want to happen.
  32. Fear the things you don’t fully understand.
  33. Always seek external validation before you consider yourself good enough.
  34. Take everything and everyone in life seriously.
  35. Spend your life working in a career field you aren’t passionate about.
  36. Focus on the problems.
  37. Think about all the things you don’t have.
  38. Read or watch lots of depressing news from broadcast media.
  39. Set lofty goals for yourself and never do anything to achieve them.
  40. Never exercise.
  41. Only eat junk food and fried food.
  42. Never check-up on your health.
  43. Setup your lifestyle so it revolves around money.
  44. Spend more than you earn and rack up lots of financial debt.
  45. Don’t say what you mean.  Don’t mean what you say.
  46. Frown.
  47. Never tell anyone how you feel or what you’re thinking.
  48. Make sure everything you do impresses someone else.
  49. Always put your own needs on the back burner.
  50. Get involved in other people problems and make them your own.
  51. Make others feel bad about themselves.
  52. Watch TV for several hours every day.
  53. Gamble often.
  54. Stay in the same place.  Don’t travel.
  55. Don’t play, just work.
  56. Let your hobbies go.
  57. Let your close relationships go.
  58. Never finish what you start.
  59. Take everything personally.
  60. Do lots of drugs.  Drink lots of alcohol.
  61. Never say, “I’m sorry.”  Never say, “I love you.”
  62. Don’t work hard at anything.
  63. Always wait until the last minute.
  64. Believe that, no matter what, you are entitled to things.
  65. Let others make decisions for you.
  66. Remember the insults.  Forget the compliments.
  67. Let it all bottle up inside.
  68. Rely on others for everything.
  69. Fail to plan.
  70. Don’t dream.
  71. Don’t think about the future at all.
  72. Always disregard other people’s opinions and suggestions.
  73. Make promises you can’t keep.
  74. Don’t decide on anything, ever.
  75. Just keep going and going and going.  And never ever stop.
Dale Carnegie once said, “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy.  It’s what you think about.”

Think happy thoughts my friends. :) 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A new year, a fresh start.

New year resolutions are in full swing and I may very well be the only person who doesn't have one. Well, okay, I do have one but it's not your usual "lose weight""spend less, save more" type resolution. Mine is more complex, less measurable and more internal. Sure, losing weight would be nice, saving money would be fabulous but I know those are resolutions I wouldn't stick to. So I came up with something a little bit more personal, something I've needed for a long time but never acknowledged. But, its time. I need this. I want this. Now feels right.

My resolution, my goal for 2011 is to be happy. In 2011, I'm going to do more things for ME rather than for other people. I'm going to slow down and enjoy my life. I'm going to learn how to say no when something doesn't fit in to my schedule or would add too much stress to my life. I'm going to spend time exploring the world around me with the boy. I'm going to craft more, scrapbook more and spend more time in the kitchen. I'm going to reconnect with real life friends. In the last 5 years I've become dependant on my online friends and communities and it's time to take a step back and reconnect with the people that really matter.

What does this mean? Less time online. Less time spent in online communities. Less facebook. Less time trying to take over the world. More focus on the things that really matter.

 However, I have started this blog so I cannot give up the internet entirely. The purpose of this blog is to record the next 52 weeks, the next 365 days of my pursuit of happiness.

I hope you'll follow along and join in with me. It's not going to be all sunshine and rainbows around here, but by the end of 2011 I will be a different person. A happier, well rounded and reconnected person.