You are free!

We all spent time worrying about things that we can not control.

You can’t control the weather.

You can’t control the temperature or the humidity.  You can’t control the rain or snow.

You can’t control the economy.

You can’t control the government.

You can’t control the housing market.

You can’t control the stock market.  Or the global market.

You can’t control the currency exchange rate.  Or the tax rate.

You can’t control politicians or, ultimately, who gets elected.  You can’t control the political climate.

You can’t control what laws get passed.

You can’t control television ratings or if your favorite show will get canceled.  You can’t control which movies Netflix will remove next month.

You can’t control your family of origin.  You can’t control how you were raised.  You can’t control your family history or your genetics.

You can’t control your past or where you were from.

You can’t control when someone you love dies or when you will feel grief.

You can’t control other people.

You can’t control other people’s intelligence.  People are free to see the world how they interpret it.

You can’t control if people take your advice.  That is up to them.

You can’t control other people’s decisions.  People are free to make good and bad decisions based on the knowledge that they have.  Even if you do not agree with these decisions.

You can’t control people’s loyalty or honesty. You can’t control other people’s values.

You can’t control if people lie or tell the truth.  You can’t control people who manipulate those around them or people who always play the victim.

You can’t control how other people treat you.  People are free to treat people how they see fit.  People are free to hurt you, exclude you and not take your feelings into consideration.  People are free to talk about you behind your back.  People are free to treat you sh*tty.

You can’t control if people forgive you.  That is up to them.

But you, my friend, are free.

You are free to cancel your Netflix because they took away How I Met Your Mother.

You are free to vote for whoever you think the best candidate is and you are free to get involved in whatever issues matter to you.

You are free to associate with those who love you and make you feel better about yourself.  And you are free to disassociate with people who have a negative impact on you.

You are free to hit “reply” or “add friend.”  You are also free to hit “unfollow” or “unfriend.”

You are free to give advice but the recipient can choose not to take it.  And you are free to choose what advice you take from others.

You are free to set your own boundaries and you are free to enforce those boundaries.  You are also free to let people disrespect those boundaries.  The choice is yours. People will only treat you poorly if you let them.

You are free to walk away.  From toxicity, manipulation, and negativity.  You can control just how much bullsh*t you are willing to deal with.

You are free to re-evaluate your life at any stage.  You are free to keep what is working for you and you are free to leave behind what isn’t.

You are free to authentic and real or shallow and phony.

You are free to not give a f*ck about what people think.  You are free to do you.

You are free to invest in your hobbies and interests.  You are free to follow your dreams.

You are free to sell everything you own.  You are free to blow your paycheck at IKEA.

You are free to travel the world or be a homebody.

You are free to cook a gourmet dinner.  You are free to grab dinner at McDonalds.

You are free to give and receive love.  You are free to choose who to give love to and who to receive love from.

You are free to smile and laugh.

You are free to let go of past hurts and anger.

You are free to forgive those who have wronged you when you are ready.  But be careful because you are also free to let past hurts consume your life.

You are free to remember those who have passed however you want to remember them.

You can’t control what goes on around you but, ultimately, you are free to choose how you react to it.

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Why does God hate me?

Like, seriously, what did I ever do to Him? Or Her?

(Sorry, that was the Catholic worldview I was raised with coming through).

Anyone who says, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” has lived an easy life.

Often, I wonder where I went wrong?  What did I do to piss off the big guy upstairs?

(Sorry, that Catholic worldview coming through again.  I don’t know the female equivalent to “big guy”.  “Big girl” seems rude.)

I was thinking about this and I posed the question to Kimmy Gibbler on a phone call.  She promptly told me it was because I did not like ketchup on my hot dogs.   I immediately corrected her and told her that that is disgusting.  Ketchup is the condiment of the devil.  Heck, it’s even red.  Isn’t the devil supposed to be red?

Kimmy said she appreciates the strength in my conviction.  I don’t back down.

Then she told me that God hates me because I root for the New England Patriots.

I told her that couldn’t be it because God must love them since they win so much.

Even SNL Jesus said that while he is the son of God, Tom Brady has got to be the nephew of God.

Is it because I roll my eyes when people tell me that God doesn’t hate me?

Is it because I secretly (or not so secretly) love 1990’s boy bands?

Is it because I watch too much trash TV on TLC?

Is it because I voted for George W. Bush not just once but twice?  (I am not sorry for that).

Is it because I was a smug Catholic all those years?

Is it because I don’t find Amy Schumer funny?

Is it because I am impatient AF?

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Is it because I am a cover hog in bed?

Is it because I drive a Subaru?

Is it because of that one time, in 2003 or 2004, that I forgot to leave a tip at the Steak and Shake in Florida?  I felt horrible when I realized…

Is it because of all those times I fought with my brother as to who gets the “gold spoon” whenever we ate ice cream at Nana and Papa’s house?

Is it because I am can be prideful and stand-offish?

Is it because I expect an apology whenever I am wronged?

Is it because I bite my nails when stressed out?

Is it because I cuss a lot?

Is it because my car is a mess? Because my house is a mess?  Because my life is a mess?

Is it because I got a D in Chemistry in high school?  I mean, I still got into college…

Is it because I like to be right and I have no problem saying “I told you so”?

Is it because I sometimes forget my reusable shopping bags?  Or that I forget to turn the lights off when I leave the room?

Is it because that one time when I was 14 and my friends and I went to see Aladdin the theater and the ticket guy charged me $2.50 because he thought I was under 12 instead of the $4.00 adult price?

I try to be a good person.  I vote and I like to think I am a productive member of American society.

I just don’t know what I deserved to have all this happen…

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #24

It’s Friday-

Time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!

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I just want to note: It’s been a few weeks since I did a Gratitude post and I felt the need to start back up again. We all need some gratitude in our lives. Usually I focus on the previous week but honestly, this week hasn’t been the best. Nothing really bad has happened. No one died. No one has lost their limbs. (#perspective). There have been a few positives but there have been some negatives. Some drama that has taken up too much energy in my head space.

I hate even bringing up that it’s drama because I don’t want to even validate it. And while 90’s fashion has made a comeback (which I love) and I love reconnecting with old high school classmates, I have zero interest in actually reliving those years. I turn 40 this summer, FFS!

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This post is going to cover some events that have happened over the past month.

I am sorry if the language in the memes offends you.

Actually I am not sorry. This is my blog and I made the decision that I will express myself how I wish on my platform. #unapollogeticallykerry

  1. Hard Lessons.

    I am going to choose to be grateful for the lessons that I have been learning this week. This week has been a trying week and it has caused me to do a lot of reevaluating, especially on the topic of boundaries. Just how much bullsh*t am I going to tolerate? My tolerance level for BS is pretty low, especially considering that two years ago, I was on a journey to Hell and Back. #perspective

    I don’t have the answers I need (yet!) but I am searching for clarity. I have been writing my feelings in my a journal and I have been sorting them out. Even though this has been a frustrating week, I am going to come out of this week with stronger character than when I started.

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    My mood this week
  2. Fenway Trip

    I am always grateful for a trip to Boston to see my Red Sox. I don’t care what people say-screw Disney because Fenway Park is the happiest place on Earth. And I am glad I got to share the trip with my daughter and my bestie.

  3. Def Leppard and Journey Concert with Kimmy Gibbler

    A month ago, Kimmy Gibbler and I got to see Def Leppard and Journey at the Times Union Center in Albany. The concert was awesome! I didn’t go to many concerts when I was younger. Partly because I lived in Maine and there weren’t as many but partly because 20 year old Kerry did not know how to live.

    I had so much fun. The music was so loud and my heart was pounding. Kimmy and I did observe some older people who don’t get out often and were having trouble handling their fun.

    At one point, Kimmy and I were in a line at the concession stand. Some drunk older woman gets behind us and starts to rub my back. I have personal space issues to begin with and I was way too sober to let a strange woman touching me go unnoticed. I finally say “Yeah…you can stop rubbing my back now.” Luckily she did.

    Best story of the stars aligning right. The only food line with a short line was the fried dough. I didn’t eat lunch or dinner and was so hungry I could eat my arm. So I got friend dough and some of the sugar spilled on me. Kimmy pointed it out and I smile and say “Pour some sugar on me.”

  4. Trip to Cedar Point in Ohio.

    Over Memorial Day weekend, my daughter and I drove 8 hour-ish to Ohio. We met up with my Michigan Bestie and my Chicago Bestie and rented an airbnb. Another old friend happened to be in Cleveland and came to stay on night. It was a great time and I will write more about this trip later.

    Funny anecdote. I went to the Def Leppard and Journey concert on a Wed and was driving out to Ohio on Fri. As I was driving through Cleveland and I heard a commercial on the radio for the Def Leppard and Journey concert coming up that Monday. I got excited. I hop everyone in Cleveland attended.

  5. Dance Recital.

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    I am grateful I got to see my daughter dance even if it was very sad for me because her father wasn’t sitting beside me.

    The reality is, I have pretty much gotten used Bryon being gone. At least day to day. Please don’t conclude that that means that I don’t feel a void. I feel a void every day. But I am used to feeling the void and the emptiness.

    But it’s moment like this that I truly miss Bryon because this was an event that we anticipated that we’d be sharing together. When our daughter was a baby, we talked about how we would enroll her in a dance class and she would have a dance recital. It’s the memories that we’d anticipated together where I feel the void the most. Because they weren’t just my dreams and plans. They were our dreams and plans.

    I has dawned on me that we didn’t anticipate too far into the future. Sure, we talked about doing dance classes. We talked about going to a Red Sox game and New York City at Christmastime. Then there are other milestones like graduations, college and Bryon looked forward to planning her wedding. (He liked to throw parties. I am probably the only bride who had her groom plan her wedding).

    We could only anticipate a few years into the future because our daughter was a baby. We did not know what her interests were going to be. That is another realization that makes me miss Bryon. Our daughter hasn’t yet grown into the person she is meant to be and he won’t see it when it happens.

    And that makes me sad. I guess I have to have hope that I won’t feel empty forever, right?

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    I am sorry that I ended this blog post on a heavy note.

    What are you grateful for this week?

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Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #22

It’s Friday.  You know what that means!

Time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!

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Here are some of the things I am grateful for this week.

  1. Girls Night

    I got a chance to catch up with Kimmy Gibbler and The Architect.  And it was a lot of fun.

  2. Inner circle

    Not THAT Inner Circle.

    (We are also going to ignore the fact that this song was popular during my freshman year in high school.   Because I don’t feel like feeling old today.)

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    We are talking about this inner circle.  And the non-pictured husbands and boyfriends.

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    I can’t imagine life without them.  Not just because they got my through the worse of my grief and they don’t make me feel bad when I talk about Bryon.  But just because they are awesome people.  This might sound cheesy but for the first time in my life, I feel like I belong.

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  3. Wedding Week

    On Saturday these two adorable kids are getting married and I am grateful that I get to be a part of their day.

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  4. 8 Years of Friendship with Robin Brillantes

    Facebook reminded me that Robin Brillantes and I became Facebook friends eight years ago yesterday.  She remains one of my most favorite people of all time.  I couldn’t figure out how to play the cheesy video that Facebook compiled so you get this picture of us from last Saturday.

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    Of course one of our friends says that Facebook is the lowest form of friendship.  But I am not going to worry about that with Robin Brillantes.  Because we know our friendship is amazing because it is built on love, laughter and tacos.

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  5. That I am still remembered on Mother’s Day.

    My daughter made the picture and cards  at school and my parents sent the flowers and the teddy bear.  Though my daughter has already claimed the teddy bear as hers.  I had a feeling that they had that in mind when they ordered it…

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    What are you grateful for this week?

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mother’s out there!

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How to handle it when people start to forget your spouse.

It’s a scenario that is very common to those in the widow world.

Our beloved spouse dies. Whether your spouse died after a long illness or if your spouse died suddenly and unexpectedly, you are in shock.

Then we have a funeral or a memorial service. Friends, family, co-workers and even acquaintances may attend.  People tell stories about the deceased and assure the widow that they will never forget the deceased and that they are there for her if she needs anything.

A good portion of those people disappear forever.  They mean well but to tell a widow that they are always there for her.  What did that mean? Was it a lie?  The funeral is not the hardest day for the widow.  It’s the weeks and months that follow.

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The pessimistic side of my personality feels that these people only told the widow that because it made them feel better.  

The optimistic side of my personality reminds me that that time period is a big jumble in my mind and it remains blurry in my memory, a lot like a dream sequence in a 1980s sitcom.  But without the cheesy transition music.  So does it really matter if all those people who said they would never forget my husband have forgotten my husband?

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For the first few weeks after the funeral, there may be people to check up on the widow.  They may see if these needs anything around the house. They may have made her dinner and played board games.  They let her cry in her dinner.  They may have kept her company as she drinks wine and binge watches the Gilmore Girls.

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But gradually the amount of people checking in on the widow gradually drops off until one day she begins to wonder what happened to all the people who said that they would never forget their spouse.

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It happens to every widow.  On some level.  And it stings.

I was shocked when I came to the realized that very few people talk about Bryon now.  It’s pretty much just my inner circle. Even though I still feel like I am getting my feet steadily on the ground, it is like Bryon never existed to anyone outside my core group of friends.

And what happened to all those people who said they were going to share stories of my late husband with my young daughter?  She was a month shy of her second birthday when my husband passed so she won’t have any memories of her own. I was counting on those stories for her to know her father.

I do have a core group of friends who are very present in my life and my daughters life. I am one of the lucky ones.  Widowhood is lonely. Some widows don’t even have a core group of friends or family to lean on.

So how is a widow supposed to handle it when they are struggling to move forward and the rest of world has already moved on?   And while I have moved forward, it doesn’t mean that I want Bryon to be forgotten.

Here are the five things I remind myself to feel better when it feels like everyone has forgotten my late husband.

  1. Remember that this is what normally happens.

    Many people were affected by Bryon’s death.  I think of their grief as a hole and depending on their relationship with Bryon would determine the size of the hole.  

    On one end there are some people had small hole that might trip them if they weren’t looking.  But they can just look up and keep walking.

    On the other end  (where our close friends and family are) is a hole that is the size of the hole that was next to Anne Perkins house on the pilot episode of Parks and Recreation.  This hole is impossible to avoid and it caused drama in Anne Perkins life. Her boyfriend even broke his leg.  It is much harder to function with this kind of hole.

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    But I am the widow.  But I wasn’t dealing with a hole that needed to avoided or filled.  I was dealing with the fact the whole foundation my life was built on was destroyed.  Everyone else had their distractions and they had their homes to go back to with their spouses and significant others.  It is hard to find distractions when your whole life is destroyed.  My husbands death affected every area of my life.

  2. Give yourself a pat on the backgiphy (1).gif


    Because you have done such an awesome job at surviving and existing that people don’t feel like you don’t need to hear stories about your deceased spouse.  As far as they are concerned, you have moved on. Why shouldn’t they?  We live in a society that has a twisted sense of grief.  You are either completely beside yourself with grief or you are completely over it and there is little room in between.tumblr_inline_n4t9qcHeke1snxyd1.gif

  3. Accept it

    This is your life and you can’t make people understand.  Unfortunately I feel like you can’t truly understand widowhood until you have been there.  No one can understand the pain and emptiness that fills up most of our life. It is what it is.  And really, that is a good thing that they are blissfully unaware. The world doesn’t need more hurt.

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  4. Realize that maybe people are actually thinking about your spouse and you just don’t know it.Maybe people are remembering your spouse and you are just not aware of it.  We make assumptions based on what we see and maybe people don’t want to bring up your deceased spouse because they are worried that they are going to hurt you if they do.  They don’t realize that we are not delicate flowers.

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  5. Take that upset energy and turn it into gratitude. 

    This one is the most important step.  It is best not to waste your energy dwelling on negative feelings and instead, use that energy to be grateful for all the people who remain a positive force in your life.  Even if that positive person is you.giphy (2).gif


    I will hold onto those friends who have been by my side through the past two years.  They aren’t getting rid of me.You can also take some of that energy and focus on yourself.  Give yourself some self-love.  You deserve it.

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  If you are widow, how did you cope when it felt like a loved one was being forgotten?

Second Annual Bryon C McKim Memorial Derby Party

Thank you for everyone who worked hard to make this event a success!

Thank you to everyone who came out to attend the event.  I appreciate the love and support for my daughters future.  It means so much to me that you came to keep Bryon’s memory alive.

We hope to see you next year!

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Seer Sucker Count: 5

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #21

It’s Friday!

We know what that means!  Time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!

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  1. My readers

    My last post was my 200th post.  Thank you for reading and for all your support!

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  2. Warm weather

    While it seems that we have gone straight from winter to summer, I will take it.

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  3. A rainy but memorable day.

    My daughter had her first field trip at a local farm.  It was a great day, despite the rain.  I was going to write more, but I think the event deserves its own post.  But here is a preview.

  4. Surviving wasps and ticks

    Along with the warmer weather, we have been getting visits from unwanted guests.

    My daughter had her first tick bite last night.  I saw it in the morning.  Now I know I must check her every night.  I have never had a tick bite myself so I have never worried about it.  Luckily I was able to get it all out with tweezers and we went to the pediatrician just in case.  So I will keep an eye on it for a rash.

    We also had a few hibernating queen paper wasps in the house.  That freaked me out.  I am not a fan of bugs.  Killing bugs was Bryon’s job but now it is mine.

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    Sorry,  I couldn’t resist.  I laugh each and every time I saw that on my Facebook newsfeed.  Though this was in a different context.  Probably in the intended context.

    Anyway, the day after I discovered the wasps was my routine treatment from the exterminator.  Luckily Mr. Exterminator was very nice.  He didn’t mind me staring at him adoringly because at that moment, he was my knight in shining armor.  He even located a wasps nest on my garage and got rid of it.

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  5. Everyone who has worked hard on the second annual Bryon C. McKim Derby Party

    Saturday will be the second annual Bryon C. McKim Derby Party.  I am thankful for everyone who donated their goods and their time toward this event.  We raise money for my daughter’s education trust and toward the establishment of scholarships to be set up in Bryon’s memory at Siena College and Albany Law School.  If you are in the Albany area, we hope to see you.

    Tickets can be purchased here or you can buy them at the door.

 

What are you thankful for this week?

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