The Pain Behind The Laughter ~ Reader Post

We were always here for you

We were always here for you

Reader Post As Received:

“I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” ~ Winston Churchill

Dear Jake

I am sending you this message to take to my brother in-law.  Myself I love the art of living.  There are rarely two days which ever seem the same.  Even the slow days have a musical rhythm about them.  I find life this amazing adventure and see death as this inevitable place we must all eventually go.

Yet, for some life seems more of a challenge. An obstacle they must endure.  There are those who mask it all too well, with a big smile and a laughter which has us all of us convinced they are the lucky ones, the truly happy ones.

Then, as if some sinister twist they destroy our belief that we too can be that happy by deciding that life itself was just too much for them.  They surrender to the pressure they have placed upon themselves all this time trying to convince us they were the happy ones, while the entire time aching with each smile,  dying with each laugh.

We are left standing, yet shattered on the ground.  Lost and confused wondering how we missed their pain and hurt.  Wondering how if they loved us at all they could have hurt us so deeply.  I think sometimes for a flash of a moment, what is life meant to be about.  Then, I think how my nephews must feel.  How they must wonder, why.

So I send him this message, I forgive you.  I forgive you for taking what seemed the easy way out.  I forgive the mess you left behind with all these questions which will never be answered.  I forgive your inability to speak up about your pain so that maybe someone could have helped you. I forgive the tears you have caused and the scares you have created.

For all the ones you left behind for them I forgive you.

Thank you for taking this message for me.

LL

Dear LL,

I can’t imagine the pain you and your family faced.  I can only say I think in moments such as your we can only send our prayers and thoughts.

Jake

Taking Time To Be In The Moment ~ Post by Jake

Be in the moment

Be in the moment

Albert Einstein said “Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

Over the last month I have taken his words to heart.  I have stepped away from seeking answers, away from trying to understand why things are the way they sometimes are.  I have instead; embrace the time I have had while my children were home from college.  I have woken each more with the intention to live the next 24 hours to the fullest.

We have spent time in nature, enjoyed time just watching the snow and reconnecting as a family.  It is in this time I have realize one of our greatest tools to connect is also one of many excuses why we disconnect.

We have become so connected to others we are not with we often sacrifice the moments of those we are with.  Nature is the best teacher of the power of being present. The touch of an ocean breeze the scent of a summer rain is best experience in the nature itself.

Take time to be with those you are with.  Be okay with disconnecting and not needing to see every email or read every text.  Enjoy the gift of living while it is yours to enjoy.

Blessing,

Jake

The Superhero In Us ~ Post by Jake

They dream of being like you when they grow up

They dream of being like you when they grow up

When I was growing up it seemed there were two types of parents the superheroes and the villains.  If your parents were supportive and cared about you and your life you had superhero parents and secretly wished for villains as parents.  No rules staying out late and them acting more like a friend than a parent.  If you had parents who were more like villains, no real rules, tried to act cool around you and your friends, you acted like you had the cool parents while secretly wishing your parents would stop trying to live your youth and actually care enough to provide structure.

Over time we grow up and realize our parents are neither superheroes nor villains, instead we realize they are just people doing the best they could with what they had.  No matter the type of parent you had or the type of parent you become at some point the realization that we are all just human hits us.

Today I was listening to my son talk to his friends about his plans this summer when he mentions a trip he and Kadence are taking with my parents.  All of a sudden it hits me.  I have been so concerned about my kids and how this news would impact them; I failed to realize how it will impact my own parents.  While there is somethings we could never imagine one of the worst thoughts for a parent is the loss of a child.

I am not sure there is ever an age where letting go of a child is easy.  My grandmother lost one of my favorite aunts when she was only 45 and I remember how it seemed to break a piece of her.  That sparkle that always seemed to be there with her was a little dimmer after that.  Initially, Laura and I had agreed not to tell anyone.  Then the concern of the kids, yet somehow I failed to consider how do I tell my parents.

In my eyes my parents are and will always be the superhero parents.  They enabled me to pursue my dreams, to witness what true love is and to know how to be a good parent.  So as I type these words I feel an ache for the conversation I must have and the hurt they must endure.

Love those that have encouraged you and make sure they know they are appreciated.

Blessings,

Jake

Making Time For Laughter ~ Post by Jake

We are a string in a major orchestra

We are a string in a major orchestra

“There are moments we get so caught up in our daily routines we become almost mechanical in our living.  We need to shake things up every once in a while and step outside the routine and try something new and maybe sometimes something old.” ~ Jake

When I finished my run today I realized Laura and I hadn’t been out on a date night since the news from my doctor.  We had been out with friends, spent time with family, yet failed to just take time to go out and have fun.  I am not sure why, it was actually something we use to always make time for and suddenly it was just something that hadn’t happened in a while.

I called Laura and asked her “could you do me a favor and cancel whatever plan we have for tonight?”

There was a pause and then Laura asked, “What’s wrong Jake did something happen?”

“No, I just want you to myself, is that okay?” I responded.  I guess I should have considered she might assume something was wrong considering everything that happened over the last few weeks.   Yet I wasn’t going to acknowledge that because it would turn into one of her long discussions about being aware of others when you say things like that. It is one of the many things I love about her.

“Well, why didn’t you just say that, you got me!” she replied with a bit of excitement.

Going out to new restaurants was one of our favorite things to do.  We would pretend we were foo d critics and try to determine how we would write about each meal if we were a critic.  I took her back to one of our old favorites we hadn’t been to in over a couple years.  Management had changed the menu had been completely redone.

We had a wonderful time and talked and laughed and pretended we had never had that conversation in the doctor’s office.  It was just what we needed.  On the way out I saw an old friend from college and stopped to shake his hand and say hello.  He seemed a little confused when I stopped and I thought that was odd, yet assumed he must be worried about me seeing him out and saying something to his wife.  As we left the restaurant Laura looked like her smile was going to burst right off her face I had ask, “What is going on?”

She looked at me and bursting in laughter replied “you know that wasn’t Bill right?”  Startled I look at her and said “what do you mean that was Bill from school and our old neighbor!”

Shaking her head and still laughing she replied “no honey Bill had dark blue eyes that man had very brown eyes and was probably 4 inches shorter”

“Wow, you know I think you are right, which explains his surprised look when I stopped by.  I wonder why he didn’t say something, should I go apologize?”

Still laughing Laura said “you probably made his night, he has to be sitting there going I have NO IDEA who that man was!”

We both walked back to the car laughing and wondering how “Bill” must be feeling.  Was he trying to remember us?  Wondering where we could have possibly met.  That was the perfect ending to a wonderful night.

As we drove home, I thought about the many encounters we make in our life, the ones that have no meaning to us and yet matter so much to others.  We forget sometimes our life is not a single instrument being played rather a string in a major orchestra being combined over time with so many others pieces and sounds.

Take time to break your routine.  Get out and enjoy life and be okay with making a silly mistake.

Blessings

Jake

Pouring Out My Heart ~ A Readers Post

The final realization

The final realization

Readers Post As Received:

Hi Jake…I have read through each comment, blog, and story on your page, mostly because I wanted to understand what this page really was about. I understand what you are doing now, and even though Jake is a made up character in order to give those grieving or with a loss of loved ones somewhere to share our stories, I think that it is great that you are doing that, and that you created this page, and created Jake. I wanted to share my story with you, and I hope that it will help someone to know that they are not alone. If Jake were real, I would want him to give my Mom the biggest, warmest, hug ever in the history of hugs, and tell her that the hug came straight from her Pooh bear’s heart! Then I would ask that you give my “Nanny”, the same hug, and tell her it’s from her favorite granddaughter. Then I would want you to give my “PaPa”, my brother, and my Great Grandma & Great Grandpa that same big hug! Then there’s my real dad’s dad, my Grandpa (that I never met), and all of my other relatives, past, that I heard of, but never knew, but that knew me, and have watched over me through my life, I would want you to give them a big hug for me too! You’d be all hugged out by now, Jake! But I loved each one of them, in different ways, but loved them very much, none the less. I have more family on the “Other side” then I have here with me, so I think about them and the “other side” a lot. I honestly don’t think that they are sad, or in pain, and I don’t think they actually left me, instead I think that they are just with me in a different way, a way that I can’t see or understand, but yet, still with me. All of that does not stop me from missing them though, and I mean missing them everyday!

I want to talk about my Mom though, because I think that my experience may be able to help someone else. I was 19 when my Mom, who was only 36, passed away from cancer. I am in my early 40′s now, and I have lived longer without my Mom than I lived with her here, but I honestly didn’t realize how much I loved my Mom until after she was gone. Living with out her has been the hardest experience of my life. My Mom had me at 17, and she made a lot of mistakes, experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and just living a wild life on the edge, before I was born. After I was born my Mom went on to graduate from Law School, and served on the house of representatives in my home state, she fought in the ERA movement for women, and in the civil rights movement, she dabbled in journalism, and eventually joined the military as an enlisted aircraft mechanic, and then later, graduated as an officer in the military, and served her country in many different vital areas. Despite her earlier mistakes in her teen yrs, she was a stunningly beautiful, brilliant, honest, funny, strong, independent, loving, free spirited woman, who believed that she could change the world! She raised me to be like that, as well! She showed me so much in such a short lifetime, that I am still in awe of her! The sad part is, that I didn’t realize it until after she was gone, many years after she was gone.

When I was growing up, she was completely honest with me about her life, her mistakes, and everything that she had experienced, tried, and did…I mean everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly! But, instead of respecting her for her openness and honesty, I simply felt that her experience gave me a license to do the same things she had done, and the belief that since she had survived it all, and triumphed, that I would too! I just wanted to be free, the way that I saw her live her life, and I didn’t want to follow rules of any kind, especially her rules. So, because of this, me and my Mom constantly butted heads, argued, and even fought. I dropped out of high school, and moved out at 16. I kept in touch with her mostly by phone, but I never went back home to live. Two years after I moved out, and left her to raise my 2 younger sisters, and a younger brother, with no help, I got a call that she was diagnosed with cancer. She went through chemo, and got really sick, and I went back home here and there to help out, but it never sunk in what was really happening to her. She found out she had cancer in Dec. 1988, in April 1989 she went into remission, and then, unexpectedly, just two months later, in June 1989, she passed away. It all happened so quick, I didn’t think for a minute that she would really die.

I have comfort, in that, when I visited her in the hospital a few days before she passed away, I was able to share with her, that I was sorry for acting so crazy all those years, and that I had gotten my GED, and that I had left my boyfriend of 3 yrs. (that she didn’t like, because she knew all along that he was no good for me, and believe me, she was right!) She was at peace with dying, or at least that’s what she told us. I had asked her how she was okay with leaving us here alone, and she said that the Lord had spoken to her and promised her that He would take care of each one of us, every day of our lives, that He would never leave us, and that we would all be okay. I didn’t understand her words then, but I never forgot them, and 24 yrs later, I can say that I truly believe that the Lord must have actually spoken to, and promised my Mom that, because despite everything that we have gone through, me and my siblings are all grown now, and God has taken care of each one of us, everyday of our lives, He has never left us, and we are all okay, actually we are all better than okay, we are all doing good! Praise God! I didn’t realize how right my Mom was about everything she had ever said, and ever told me, until I had my own kids, (I had my first son in 1992) and that’s when I began to truly appreciate my Mom,and desperately miss her! That’s also when I began to feel real guilt, guilt that would tear me up inside for many, many years to come. The guilt of not realizing how important she was when she was here, the guilt of not realizing how much she loved me while she was alive, guilt that I hadn’t shown her my love while she was with me, guilt that I had spent so many years rebelling, stressing her out, and giving her hell. It’s ironic, because I had actually thought my Mom was old when she died…until I was her age, and then I realized how young she really was! I have spent many, many years crying, regretting, praying, and asking for forgiveness from God, but also crying out to my Mom in hopes that she hears me, and she forgives me. I used to cry out to God that He please give me my Mom back to me, and please take the pain and guilt I felt, away from me. I’d say to God, “people say that you can’t do that, but you are God, you can do anything!”

Then, my last child, my daughter, was due on Jan. 29, which was the day that my Nanny & PaPa both died on (in different years), but she came early, God gave her to me on Dec. 29, which was my Mom ‘s & my Nanny’s (my Mom’s Mom) birthday as well (but of course, both of them had passed away before my daughter was born). It had been 10 1/2 yrs since my Mom passed, when my youngest daughter was born. On that day, I felt that God gave me what I had cried out to Him for so long for. He had given my Mom back to me, and He had taken away my pain. You see, Dec. 29 had always been a very sad day, a hard day to deal with, because it was my Mom’s birthday, and yet she wasn’t here to celebrate with, but when He gave me my daughter on that same day, He turned my sadness into the most joyful day of my life! Of course, I don’t truly know if He gave my Mom back to me, but it sure felt that way, and I am eternally grateful! Lately, I have learned to quiet my mind, and sit in silence, and in that silence I can sometimes hear my Mom, feel her presence, and see signs that she is still with me. I have dreams, in which, we are together, and she talks to me, and when I wake, I feel like I was actually, physically with her. It has been a long, hard journey for me since she died, and I still would love to have the opportunity to do it all over again, because I would love her, cherish her, and respect her the way that I do now, only I would do it while she was alive. I can say with confidence, not proof, but confidence, that I know that my Mom hasn’t left me, she still watches over me and her grandkids, I know that she has forgiven me for everything, probably immediately after each thing I did, or said, (because I’m a Mom now, and I know that’s what Mom’s do!)

I know that my Mom still loves me very much, I know that my Mom was a great person, she raised us the best she could with the resources she had available, I know that she couldn’t have done a better job, I’m convinced of that, and I am So proud of the way she loved me, the way that she taught me to be, and to believe. Although it took a very long time, I have finally learned to forgive myself, and I have tried to be the best parent I know how, in order to honor my Mom. I spend every moment I can with my children, I forgive them when they do wrong, and I constantly tell them, hug them, and show them that they are loved. I have taught them many things that my Mom taught me, such as, love, forgiveness, independence, freedom, and strength. Losing my Mom gave me a different outlook on being a parent than many people I know, mostly it helped me to realize what is really important in life…it is not your status, your job, or the amount of money, and things that you possess, it is about the time you share together, the memories you make together, the love you show one another…in the end, this is what will matter to the ones you leave here….this is what will REALLY matter! So, please love one another while you still have the chance, and forgive everything while they are still here, most of us will not know what day will be their last day, or even what will be our last day, so make every day count, spend time with your loved ones, don’t make excuses anymore, don’t put money, jobs, possessions, and things, that will be irrelevant in the end, before them…Love them, and show them your love, and hug them with all your might, everyday, so that when they are gone you will have no regrets, and you will not have to live with the Monster, named, Guilt, that I lived with for over twenty years…

Jake, please, when you do cross over to the “other side”, please tell my Mom all the words that I have poured out of my heart onto your page today, tell her that when I talk to her, I sure hope she can hear me, tell her that I miss her every breath, tell her to keep watching over us, because we need angels like her in this big, mean world, and tell her not to ever let go of me, because one day we will be together again! Oh, and don’t forget to give her that super big hug!  Thank you Jake for reading my story, and for giving all of us somewhere to share with others who have also felt the loss of a loved one! And if for some reason, I make it to the “other side” before you, I will make sure to tell your loved ones of the goodness that you are doing for others here! ~ CT

You are not alone in  feeling you didn’t appreciate or love someone enough while they were here.  Many of us have experienced that and all we can do is try to learn from it and loved the ones that are here more.  To make sure they know they matter and are loved.

Blessings

Jake

A Conduit To Healing ~ The Author

Awareness allows healing

Awareness allows healing

“We all have been hurt or wounded.  There are words which have been said in anger yet not with intention.  There are moments full of love which were never expressed.  Disappoint isn’t exclusive rather inclusive.  However, if we remain open to life there are conduits which allow us to forgive, let go, move on and sometimes repair.” ~ The Author

Some ask me why I started this page and in the beginning it was prompted by a question posed by a dear friend who is much like a father figure.  Over time however, I have realized this page has a purpose bigger than even I imagined and Jake has developed a voice of hope and inspiration fueled by the readers’ posts.

This page is a sort of conduit not necessarily to the other side, rather to connect and share and eventually to heal.  It is the words that flow from my memories of loved ones which have parted or of loved ones here who have lost someone they love which enables Jake to have a voice.  The more he shares his experiences, his thoughts and struggles the more the readers open their hearts and share.

These messages between the readers themselves demonstrate the power in healing when we know we are not alone in our experience of loss.  The kindness of a stranger who has a similar story allows us to release emotions which were trapped deep inside often completely unaware they were even there.  This frees us to love more openly to see the memories from a new place and to know life is a gift when we take time to embrace it.

This page is meant to enable each of us who have lost a loved one to share and learn, to release and begin to be open to life again.

Thank you for reading.

The Author

 

 

Knowing There Is More ~ Post by Jake

I loved his stories

I loved his stories

“There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation.” ~ James Nathan Miller

As I make my way downstairs this morning feeling a little nostalgic the quote by James Miller runs through my mind.  I must have had dreams of my grandparents because they seem so close.  I think about all the conversations I use to have with them. The stories they would share and the way it seemed as if I were there in the middle of them the way they would go into such detail.

There is a realization which I seem to have previously missed.  All this time I have been thinking of the messages I could take to others loved ones.  Trying to find a purpose behind why I need to leave my family so soon, somehow I missed I also get to see my loved ones which have passed.  The thought of catching up with my loved ones leaves me with a sense of peace this morning.

I know there is no scientific proof of anything after we leave our human bodies.  Yet there is so much which has happened in my life without any scientific proof to back it up.  So I will take my love and faith and believe there is so much more than what we can see and touch as humans.  I am in no hurry to leave, yet today I have a new awareness.

Blessings

Jake