Sunday, November 20, 2016

THE GIFT— THE GRIEF —THE LESSON

Miracles can happen when you believe.


“I have no words that will take your pain away or heal your broken heart. There are many hearts hurting alongside yours. In this hurt, you are not alone.  In this hurt you will help each other. My prayer for you is that in the words I whisper, you hear the hope, acknowledge it, sustain it in your heart.  Hope will help carry your grief, move you forward and gift you healing.”
Inspired by Matty in spirit
Word Whisperer

THE GIFT
I do hear hope in your words and I’ve felt it from the day you became spirit. Hope is a gift, another of your gifts to me as are your words. You had taught me about the Knowing, your own word, from a very young age. The Knowing for you was God, The Source, the Essence of All—Love. You vibrated Love and I had a Knowing that I would find you again; that we would be able to reconnect regardless of the divide between our two worlds. A divide I now know can be bridged. The divide existed until I was able to relearn the secret to the mystery of Life—all that I need I already have. Go within. “Seek and you shall find”. You have proven to me without a doubt that Love never dies. You sent signs, and they were received and validated through synchronicities, stillness, medium readings, messages and gifts through others. Our relationship has taken on a new form. You are on the inside now. There are no longer physical hugs where I feel your arms around me yet I feel the spiritual caress of my heart. It is a physical sensation. It lasts a mere second and fills me with gratitude. I carry all of you in my heart these days. I do not feel as though you’ve left me. I know you are watching, guiding, hearing every word that is silently spoken or an out loud car chat. It is nearly two years since your passing and I need our relationship to continue so that I can continue. I derive much comfort when I sit with our new friend Rachel—she connects us in a way that makes me feel like we are visiting and in the same room, conversing—remembering things past—sharing things present and elation when things not understood in the moment are revealed in future events. You are guiding me back to my life, my son.

This grief journey twists and turns me around. Some days emotions will be up and the next, I will be flattened by the power grief exhibits over my heart, mind, body and casts shadows of doubt over my spirit. Of all the resources available as I fill my grief toolbox, there is no other that brings as much comfort and solace as a sitting, a reading with a genuine Evidential Medium who has the ability to connect directly with spirit. It is a resource that deserves much respect and reverence. It is a spiritual connection yet continues to be much misunderstood and misaligned. Rachel’s words speak for themselves of the gift from spirit that helps to reconnect our Love, heal and transform the Before and the After to the Now. I’m going to share, with Rachel’s permission, one of her recent Facebook posts. Hopefully minds and hearts will be opened and the pain and hurt felt when we face the death of a loved one will discover a new tool in the healing process.


“Spiritual connection with our loved ones from heaven is so very healing! If you've experienced this, you know what I mean. It alters our grief, completely changing its course. My heart goes out to the bereaved who can't accept this because connecting heaven and earth has to be God's master plan for helping us heal! It serves to prove to us that love and life continues. (How can we believe in eternal life and not accept this?) Last night I facilitated a beautiful connection between a grandmother and her granddaughter here. The messages were healing to my own heart, as well. Awareness of our continued relationship can lessen our grief but it doesn't remove it, nor does it cause us to ignore our grief. That wouldn't be healthy and spiritual connection with our loved one is always for our highest good. It helps us to better live in the present moment, and sometimes living in the present moment means mourning. It's only been 16 months since my 17 year-old son left for his next adventure. Waves of grief still hit me, even though the in-between stretches have become longer over time. My grief muscle has become stronger with so much training; my grief is a lighter load to carry these days. Still, I have days like yesterday when I found myself heavy-hearted before I even walked into a restaurant with full holiday decor and Christmas music blaring. Without warning, tears publicly fell onto my tacos. There's nothing "wrong" with me. I'm not damaged goods, and neither are you. Grief forms a very powerful energy that wants to be released. We all grieve, but mourning is the outward expression of grief, and we must mourn. If we don't, that energy will manifest itself in our bodies by making us sick, or in our spirits by making us bitter, depressed, apathetic... Mourning doesn't mean I don't feel connected to my son. It means I am a soul experiencing a deeply human experience. Our bodies, minds, and spirits are all connected. Release your grief when you feel it rising up within. It will keep your body and your spirit open to receiving all the goodness that life here still has for you. Release will strengthen your body and your spirit. Honor your feelings, be gentle on yourself, love yourself through it... I promise, you will rise.”

My greatest gift from you Matthew are the words that you whisper, words that gently enter my mindset and create a sense of awe and humility as I write.  Your validation came in a summer reading when affirming this blog, The Voice of Grief—these letters I write to you my dearest Matthew. Your words create space for contemplation and reflection as I and others seek to understand grief and healing. Your validation: you showed the Medium an image of writing, regular writing with dates and sections. When I voiced that I kept an active blog about grief and its journey to healing, you sent the image of thumbs up; and your words “See how you are helping others”. You held up 5 fingers signifying this was the number of days since my last blog post. The reading was August 24th, my Facebook blog entry was August 19th.  Next came an auditory validation from you through the Medium Suzanne Giesemann, “Diane, he says that when you write that blog he’s putting some of the words in your mind. He says he knows that sometimes when you write, it’s like ””where does that come from?”” He says, “It’s me Mom”. Thumbs up.  “We’ve got to make something good come of this”. I thank you for your words, your guidance, your continued relationship, your ongoing messages and validations that Love never dies. You are Love. I am Love.

The gifts from this reading were many. The synchronicities that brought Suzanne and I to connect after a direct request to you are miraculous in their own right. Another great gift was to come from this reading— a gift that was not to be discovered until October needs to be told. In anticipation and with fascination is how my mind and heart prepare for signs from you, Matty. There is no dread or fear. There is a longing for reconnection, for wisdom, for growth from the experience of the Force that is Love. A message: “Diane, you are fingering a necklace you wear, a necklace connected to him. He fingers it in the manner that you grab and hold onto it”. I admit, I had no idea what this necklace was. I did not identify with the reference. The Medium asked to set this message aside for the moment. The necklace stuck in my mind.

In mid October, I was to reunite with my best friend from freshman year in high school. Paulette Gingras Kassapis was making her way back to New Hampshire for a high school reunion. Paulette and I had lost touch over the years. She changed high schools after her Dad passed—no driver’s licenses—our get-togethers were by phone. An important connection however, came to light years later when I was told of the friendship between Bruce Dad’s family and Paulette’s. The families were the best of friends and the kids grew up together. They camped, enjoyed family dinners and many road trip adventures. We reconnected via Facebook when she learned of your passing and this past October was our first visit in 40 years. Paulette presented me with two very personal gifts. She had handcrafted a bag made of batik material, something to remember her by and a necklace. A personalized necklace reminiscent of identification tags—three charms, an inscribed message, the name Matty and a heart shape etched with angel feathers. She told me how she happened to find herself on a website she had never visited, saw the jewelry and the thought "I have to buy this for Diane" popped into her head. She tried getting back to the site after the purchase was made and could not locate it. Matthew, I believe you intended this necklace as a gift for me and used an old friend as your messenger. The mention of that necklace had me mystified. I reviewed the recorded tape of the session to double check the wording. I thanked Paulette again via text after our reunion and told her the story of the Medium reading. I relayed that I reach for and hold onto the charms throughout the day. My words to Paulette: “I feel this is such an amazing gift from the two of you. You are both a part of my past, present & future. You have warmed my heart with your visit. To forever friends!”

Our conversation continued. Paulette responded “That made me cry. What an amazing story and I am so honored to have brought the necklace to you. I knew Matty was guiding the whole process. I had never been on the site before and the power I felt while looking at it and being returned to it several times before buying it then not being able to ever find it after and the peace I felt after that, I knew he was guiding me. It was so wonderful seeing you and Bruce, we won't lose contact again.” 

(Me)” His Spirit is so alive! I love that he's given us this connection. We won't lose contact again. “

(Paulette) “I just checked the receipt and the purchase date was August 9th. So his plan was already in progress when he sent you the message. I love his spirit and the love he continues to show you. I will carry him in my heart forever.”

Love leaves an imprint on the heart. Time has no impact and cannot erase love. My connection with Paulette is as strong as the days when our 14 year old selves were joined at the hip—another example that LOVE never dies.
I am astounded at the strength of Love and I am also humbled by it.

THE GRIEF
The adrenaline rush I felt, the comfort your necklace provided—it was material, physical coming from the spiritual. I could see it, hold it, feel its metal against my neck. You knew of the struggles I was having with doubt and trust. This gift, this beautiful necklace removed doubt from my heart and trust I felt from the soul level. It was an unexpected gift, miraculous in my healing and created the bridge I was trying so desperately to build to reach you in spirit. I will cherish your gift forever. I convinced myself that I was now shielded from grief and oh! how wrong I was.

From my greatest gifts, comes my greatest lesson to date. We live in harmony when the mind, body, spirit are living, breathing, thinking, feeling goodness—a natural law of God. I’ve learned that expectations create an opportunity for disappointment. My mind was in a good place or so I thought.  My heart was feeling disappointment over an event that resulted in a different outcome than expected. What is the connection between Mind Body Spirit? What does it really mean when we say or hear that the Mind Body Spirit are one?
If I live with disappointment in my heart for something that occurred in the past, I am not present with my mind or spirit. I was producing happy, good thoughts, my memories of you were happy—making me laugh; my spirit was elated with the greatest sign you had sent and I so willingly and gratefully received. What seemed to come out of thin air—the cloak of grief descended. It was not simply a sad moment; it was the heaviness that covers completely. It was the physical hurt that seeps into everything that makes up the body. It is that thing that sucks the happy out of memories and refills them with sadness and tears. It was that thing that robbed me of my comfort and solace from the sign, the necklace —the physical gift from you through a dear, dear friend.

I've been struggling with questions that seemingly have had no answers on my journey to date. Where do grief waves come from? Why do they originate? Is there anything I can do to redirect its flow? Grief is felt in the heart. I know that the "amount of love directly correlates to the depth of grief". I need to view grief the way I view the sun. Experience makes me aware of both the sun’s destructive and healing properties. There is no change here when exposing myself to the dangers of the sun. Wear sunscreen to save my skin. Stay out too long and I get burned. On the flip side, the sun as it soaks into my skin for a moderate amount of time helps to synthesize a natural source of Vitamin D.  I’ve learned that I can wear sunglasses, look at the sun and protect my eyes. I can walk around its edges; keep myself from harm yet gain the benefit from its healing. I observe the sun from a distance.  I respect its power, its force.

Could the disappointment that was resting in my heart have thrown me just enough out of balance to create an opening, a crack that grief saw and raged in flooding my mind, body and spirit? Does disappointment beget disappointment and what greater disappointment have I suffered than the physical loss of you, my child; a disappointment so deep it caved in a part of my heart? Could this be the origin of the grief wave? Disappointment, anger, hurt, despair—any emotion that dims my light; that does not necessarily have to be connected to my grief; that vibrates lower than positive emotions. Once the opening is recognized by grief however, it ushers in my greatest disappointment, my most damaging anger, my deepest hurt and my most hopeless despair and ties it all into the grief of your passing. It disrupts the harmony of NOW and shifts and skews perspective, allowing grief to believe it has the ultimate power to stop the healing of my heart; to block the joy that was returning.  Why are natural emotions that I feel as part of life now ushering in the sorrowing that I feel from your passing?  I stopped. I observed this grief as though it was happening to someone else. Did my observation catch it red handed, forcing grief to release the precious lesson it would deliver? Grief acts like the broken levy, allowing the flood waters of sorrow, sadness and despair to permeate every cell of the body. Clean up cannot begin and rebuilding cannot recommence until the lesson is recognized, acknowledged, learned.

THE LESSON
Grief is a marinade for the heart. Its ingredients are sorrow, tears, longing and Love. Love is the ingredient that penetrates, in time softening the raw edges of heart's pain; leaving it changed, imbued with the goodness of Hope and Healing and Abundant Love.  A sign from grief that she is doing her job is heart's expansion; made more tender as grief renders sadness and weariness into the knowing that this trinity of goodness must be shared, given away. Observe her. Respect her. A duality of life presents itself; teaching us that the balancing force of holding on is releasing.  My heart breathes a huge sigh of relief. Release the triune of goodness held closely in my heart for you, my beloved.  Feel the energies of Hope, Healing and Abundant Love as they connect, unite and multiply; touching the hearts of others—keeping your memories, your spirit, your Love Alive. The gift re-gifts as Love is returned to me, immeasurably.

I have come face to face with the Universal Law of Goodness with this grief wave. When it is said that God, the Source lives within; my interpretation is that the good that lives within has its origins in my thoughts— the seeds that blossom and grow. Goodness finds a place in my heart that I can now feel. It has grown from faith to a belief, to trust, to an experience. I am releasing the goodness, the hope, the Love allowing it to reshape and build unto itself, signaling that the healing has begun. The grief wave subsides. Observing the wave quelled its power over me. I am now free to continue on my path to healing.

I thank you for our reconnection, our spiritual relationship. I see how you are guiding me on this journey by ensuring that I bring together the Gift—the Grief—the Lesson. I’ll continue to share and yes, “we’ve got to make something good come of this”. If we can help others find comfort, a different perspective, hope that healing in grief is possible, that you don’t have to walk alone, that there is a hand always extended . . . then we are growing goodness.

Loving you Forever and Always,

Mom

TO VISIT RACHEL'S FACEBOOK PAGE, CLICK ON RACHEL PEARSON, EVIDENTIAL MEDIUM  

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Friday, September 9, 2016

DANCE OF FORGIVENESS—CROSSING THE DIVIDE—FINDING YOU





I have a full time job with no title, a career with no name. It pays no overtime. It offers a slim chance for advancement and I am kept on call 24 hours a day. . . .  My job is mourning, my career is grieving and it is hard, hard work leading to a bitter end! Herein lies the dark, heavy description of the other road through grief I could have taken had I NOT chosen to grieve, mourn the death of you, my beautiful son without hope, hope towards healing: without the acceptance that Love is a powerful emotional energy with no end. It is the fuel, the nourishment for the heart that conquers hopelessness. I am so often asked the question "How do you do it, I can't imagine?" There are few choices available to a grieving Mom. The dark and despair-filled path that closes the heart is one, and in some instances extinguishes life altogether, another—or the path that is illuminated by varying degrees of light, wisdom, love and support from the divine, our own fundamental truth and others who are walking with us and on their own journeys. The light dims when time for reflection is needed—when caution guides the process ensuring a safe passage to the next crossroad. This is my chosen path and my path is dimly lit at the moment and never will it go dark. My struggle is in locating, in building a bridge that crosses the divide between the physical and spirit. I need more light, I need to understand—I'm having difficulty finding my way.

The words you inspired this week I feel are intended for more than my eyes only. There is wisdom in these words—insight that shines a light on my path. You are filling my heart with the themes of forgiveness and trust. You teach me well.

Is my anger masked? My heart feels love and my journey speaks vulnerability yet a deep loneliness for you has set in. Fear travels on the coattails of loneliness. Why am I scared? I am sitting in the abyss between two worlds. I was so connected to you physically. I gave birth to you, I cared for you, loved you, I taught you, tried to keep you safe. Your love was reciprocated. I could see it, feel it, access it, bring it to life—present and in the moment with a phone call, text messages, dinner plans. I trusted our Mother/Son love. My heart knew it was a forever thing. What scares me is my lack of "how-to" with our relationship now that you are in spirit. Physical touch is affirming, validating. Spirit touch—I'm not sure how to define it. It's silent, it doesn't make make phone calls, touch is a rarity. That was you on Mother's day stroking my hair, wasn't it? A spirit caress? And then the moment of doubt fills my mind and my heart wrestles with it. Trust. Just trust. But it's all so new and does not occur on my timeline or in my control. And I miss you so much and don't know how to figure this out. And the signs come and they comfort. And the loneliness that sets in because I can't touch or put my arms around you, experience my "see you next time”, talk to you next time, hug you next time moments. How do I resolve this dilemma? And in the midst of my confusion I felt your words coming through to me in Jeff Foster's blog titled The Sweetness of the Heart's Reopening. 

"Perhaps sometimes the heart has to close for you to remember
the sweetness of its reopening."

Is this where I am to find answers? Is this what is happening to me? Am I experiencing my heart closing because of loneliness, fear? Are these questions I am asked to answer? Does the present hold the key to unlocking the future? It hurts . . . I embrace forgiveness and love. Will it lift the melancholy of my heartsong?




What is creating/causing anxiety within me as I grieve? A rule follower, the past inducted me into two ways of doing things—the right way and the wrong way: in making decisions/problem solving—the black way and white way. The perfect way, set in stone —the only way of walking through life. I discovered there was a gray way in adulthood, thinking outside of the box was yet another way. Changing my ways is easier at times than others. It's taken me some time to grasp the reality that there are many ways to do grief; leaving me feeling polarized, anxious, doubtful—with an inability to trust myself, my intuition, my progress, my choices. Stirrings of uncomfortable-ness set in giving rise to unworthiness and questioning why you would want to continue a relationship with me in the physical while you are in spirit. I am then reminded that we are relating soul to soul and the newness of this experience, the absence of rules or new rules attached to new ways of thinking—these all zap my calm and start my head spinning. Thoughts and second guesses that create additional pain and increase my suffering. I embrace forgiveness and welcome courage.




I know, I feel that forgiveness and trust are making the days more comfortable. I am acknowledging the hurts then turning away: letting go the negative, the frustration, the disappointment, the anger. However, not before they have been duly noticed can they be released at will—loosening my super-glued attachments to these emotions. The nights are more bearable, able to call in sleep with a heart wide open: waiting to be touched by the Love of memories, making space for meditation, bringing in a connection to you that allows my day to come to an end in peace and gratitude. I embrace forgiveness of my hurts and watch my heart grow in compassion for myself and others.




I want more, I need more. Is that selfish? What can I ask of the afterlife? What does this continuous relationship with you, my child look like? Is it all signs and one way conversations? Will I ever hear your voice again or was the "Mom" that I heard in my right ear on your first anniversary my one final listen, one of the lucky ones? Will I ever find the equal to the fulfillment my heart received when you were physically here with me? Will you help me build a new bridge to you? As I work my way through this crossroad, I do so filled with gratefulness for all that you are for I am now the student and you are my divine teacher. I embrace forgiveness as I give it to myself, as I tell myself I am doing a good job—with life, with love, with grief. Good will give me space to be kind to me, to take care of me, to love me, to continue working, processing, reflecting as I make space to hold newfound joy—for me.

One thing I know for sure is that I'll love you forever and always.

Mom


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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

MY DIANE

When Love becomes the Sixth Sense that captures 
communication and delivers it to the heart. 

Dear Matty:

Thank you for your sign this morning. You heard me last night. When that moment of darkness descended upon me. When I was held in a vice grip of yearning, of missing you. When I reached out not only with my heart, but with my voice as well. When I asked you, begged you . . . please, please a sign! Send me a sign. When I felt the weight of sadness and the helplessness of a child. When I knew grief was watching my joy sit silently by my ache. When I had misplaced my peace of heart and mind. When I needed the love of an extended hand to show me the way.


And this morning . . . and yes, this is the part where we both chuckle . . . because your Mother has become a Mall Walker. The temperature is always cool. The army of seniors taking an active role in their health, holding on to their strength, continuing and creating new relationships—is nothing short of inspiring. I am actively watching, participating in a season of life that I will walk into one day. The songs piped into the sound system bring me back to my Mom and Dad’s era. Michael BublĂ©’s crooning keeps me in the present. I was rounding the corner, nearing the end of my first turn—and then I heard it . . . Diane. I had never heard this song before. You caught my attention. I listened in awe as I knew you were speaking to me. I felt it in my heart.


“I’m in heaven when I see you smile
Smile for me, my Diane
And though everything’s dark all the while
I can see you, Diane

You have lighted the road leading home
Oh, pray for me when you can
But no matter wherever I roam
Smile for me, my Diane"


I discovered the song was written in 1927 and made famous by the Irish Band, The Bachelors in the 60’s. You spoke to my heart son. You were comforting me, consoling me with words that are not your own but borrowed for a moment, delivered with feeling that can be called your own. Your signs fill me with what can only be defined as spirit hugs. It is so hard living without you in this physical world. You are holding my hand as we travel between two worlds. I thank you and am grateful for every instance that you make your essence known.  For every re-charge of the heart energy that you send. For the serious, for the funny for the ‘just what I need from Matty’ at this time, in this moment.  I am smiling through the tears. I am learning to adjust to our new relationship. I am learning that my eyes don’t have to see but my heart desperately needs to feel.  We speak through the heart now, you and I. We speak a universal language. We give and we receive Love freely, through a channel that can only exist in an open heart. I feel, I believe. Love never dies.


You warmed Momma’s heart today. My beautiful, beautiful boy.

Forever and always,

Mom



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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A NEW VOICE RISES


F.A.C.T An initiative created to honor the legacy of love left by Matthew
with a goal of changing policy that creates so much unnecessary hurt in the early
release of traffic fatality photographs.


Happy Birthday in Heaven Mr. Matt! The family will be celebrating you in a way that you will absolutely love, well maybe not so much the first part! We’ll be planting a special Memorial Garden, a Fairy Garden—but the kids will be so a’cited and I’ll have a place to sit with you in Nature. I was gifted a beautiful, personalized garden marker by my friend Sue and this will be the perfect spot for it—a welcome mat for my Matt in Spirit. The most fun part of the day will be dinner. Making your favorite short ribs and I’ve nailed the recipe so perfectly I’m surprised you are not making a comeback appearance for a bite! Dessert is where the day’s tribute will shine. The largest Carvel Ice Cream Cake . . . no plates, just forks. We will deconstruct this cake and eat nothing but the ice cream closest to the chocolate crunchies, and every last one of the crunchies will be devoured in your honor. Now why did I not think of this while you were alive??

In a few days we’ll be hitting the 17 month mark of your being gone physically. To be honest, I can’t remember how many months unless I count them out. I’m rounding up now. “It’s been close to a year and a half”. My mind continues to live in the land of Nothing Sticks, so this is easier for me. So many questions. Going quiet to hear the answers. This second year is proving to be a difficult one. The ups are higher and the lows are as low as a sunken treasure ship. I dealt with the reality of your death the first year, and this second—the finality. The heart apparently needs time to grieve each separately. Where am I in this grief process and how have I gotten to where I am today? Why is this important?

It’s important because sadness is not depression and grief is hard work.  I’ve reached another crossroad where choice, sometimes the same choice several times a day, keeps me moving forward. There is no magical morning where dawn lifts the curtain of grief and ushers me into a new life, a different life without you. What has made a difference in my healing is my spirituality and belief in a soul plan; that I am here to learn and to teach, to give and to receive; that consciousness, our divine essence is eternal. Living with the knowing that we love forever—first in the physical and after death in a continuation in spirit, softens the raw edge of grief allowing the connection to you in spirit to remain strong. Developing and keeping an open heart and mind, gratefulness and learning to live with that most devastating of feelings—helplessness; prepares me for the transformation, the unfolding, that my life is taking without you. Finding out that you were not alone in your final moments, surrounded by Earth Angels and a dear friend; my fears that you suffered both emotionally and physically were assuaged and mourning—grieving in hope was allowed to begin.  These have been the keys necessary to unlock my heart, to being able to really take in that first morning breath, breathe in deeply, get out of bed, start a new day and continue on with the task of healing.

When a broken heart fissures and the opening is recognized, hope is allowed to enter. Healing begins to fill the cracks. Believing that Love never dies, that our Consciousness, our Spirit transitions—is released upon death from its physical body; that belief swells hope to see with new eyes, to feel with an open heart. Death transitions the soul plan from the physical to the spiritual. There remains much work to be done, here on Earth and there in Heaven. Grief softens with the understanding, the acceptance, the surrender to the reality that we will never have all the answers to the mystery of life while in our physical form. Death is the finality of that beautiful physical relationship with our loved ones gone. The wonders of a continuing relationship with our Beloved in Spirit begins, is affirmed when our hearts are open and we surrender and say; "Hello, I'm ready, I will miss your physical presence forever. I am grateful that our unconditional Love remains ever present and growing with a deeper understanding of our connectedness. I will learn to live with the pain caused by your passing. I have your Love, your guidance, your protection and my good memories."

What is an open heart? An open heart is a place of promise where your truth, discovered through life's experiences, finds a resting place. An open heart is a growing place where Love centers and invites Endless Possibilities to begin receiving, letting in, absorbing the wonders of divine connection. An open heart—this place of promise and growth, first fissures, splinters and cracks open. In time and in turn after much reflection, the open heart releases with a Knowing, the essence that makes us, graces our new way of being. Life is no longer taken for granted; it takes on a certain immediacy, a recognition that tomorrow is never guaranteed. Stopping to “smell the roses” is no longer a clichĂ© but now a part of daily living. Nature becomes the soul’s companion. A wiser Love, a grateful Love fills the heart. The open heart lets go, shares and spreads. This essence, this Love creates a ripple effect that reaches out attracting and forming a chain of human connectedness; sowing its seeds; harvesting kindness, empathy and compassion—creating nourishment for the soul.


The birth of my boys, you and your brother, created an open heart moment. A moment when Love was so expansive, impatience and pettiness were evicted by nurturance and protection. Your passing is guiding my spiritual transformation. 


A voice rises.

The pain and energy that accompany death are whispering to my open heart. Instead of a constant swirling in confusion, Grief says it's time for a stepping out, a stepping forward. "Structure that dervish energy and replace the pain with Love". A directive from grief that my next choice is change—a switch, a shift, a permutation, a metamorphosis.

My heart speaks to me, my life experiences confirm what I hear. Our family has been gifted the ability to love fiercefully, with hearts, wide open, with vulnerability that teaches strength and not weakness. You left a legacy of Love in your passing and the time is now to offer a new perspective to a hurt that adds pain on top of pain and pauses the natural progression of grieving.  In honor of your Love and impact on this earthly world, I am putting the final touches on an initiative that will soon launch on Facebook, whose goal is to right the wrong of early release photographs by the media. This space will allow families and friends most affected by the media’s early release of traffic fatality photos, to tell their side of the story—if a picture is worth a thousand words, we need to hear the other 990. In reality what can we say when we see or are stopped by a traffic accident: “Oh, goodness—that’s a bad one. I hope nobody died.” 10 Words. “A prayer, Dear Lord for those involved in that accident.” 10 Words. A passerby’s life is affected for a few minutes, the scarring develops in the Loved Ones left behind. The ultimate goal is policy change in how and when information and photographs are released by our State Police, local police and multi media outlets releasing sensitive information prior to notification of family. The initiative will be named F.A.C.T—Fatal Accidents Change Things. Stories will be collected from across the State of New Hampshire.  The initiative will be a work in progress, much akin to the slow transformation of our hearts, minds, souls as we walk through grief.

A new mission, born of love and a need for change—inspired by your words in spirit:

VOICE OF GRIEF—VOICE OF CHANGE
From sorrow, heartbreak and tears
A wail is heard by many
Hearts unite in empathy, compassion and care
Healing begins on a road without an end
A miracle happens along the way
The eyes see the story hearts have to tell
So many lives affected
Undue pain and anguish inflicted
A new Voice arises
The heart swells in passion, unleashing a calling to aid
Viewed in a renewed, bright and shining light

Murmurs joining become a mighty roar
Together we fuse into the Voice of Change
We speak for many
Do you recognize our timbre, galvanized to make a difference
Please listen to what we have to say
Together we can discover middle ground
And usher in kindness, respect, civility
Bestowing a balm to the mourning and grieving
That besets the broken-hearteds’ day
                                                                                    Diane Laflamme Romagnoli
Loving you forever.

Mom

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

MATTHEW LAURENT ALLARD—HERO

Photo taken of the Sand Ceremony at the 
New England Organ & Tissue Bank Gathering April 3rd to commemorate the heroes of donations.


Sunday was a day of bittersweet memories, sadness, tears and a heart filled with joy as I attended the New England Organ Bank’s Gathering to commemorate and remember the gifts of life donated at the most sad time of all—the death of a loved one. I did not know what to expect and knew that I wanted to be present when Matty’s name was mentioned, his photo appeared on screen. A connection, a tie that binds, spoken out loud—his name. The hour and a half drive to West Lebanon brought back so many memories. Memories of the sad times I drove my Dad to Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital for cancer treatments and visits while in recovery. Listening to the breath leave his body—his body that had lived through extensive experimentation with the hope of helping others. Happy memories of Mom’s new life, started many years later as she married her very first boyfriend and settled in this town—her new home, a new town after 50 plus years. Memory of a panicked 6 year old Jason as he watched the news and rushed to find me “Mom, Mom quick we’ve got to get to Mams, I just heard they’re bombing Lebanon”. No more news for J-Bird for a very long time. We made a visit that day to assuage his fears. What a heart! The heart, one of many organs than can be donated upon death. I learned of the beauty of one heart beating in another. The gift of life. 


I remembered the confusion of that fateful day when Nikki received a phone call from the Donor Bank. Donation was the last thing on our minds as we were trying desperately to deal with the life changing trauma we had been dealt. Life changing. Death can bring a second chance to someone who has experienced a medical trauma. Life changing. One term, one phrase with meanings from both ends of the spectrum. At close to 11:00 pm that evening, Nikki in a state of gut-wrenching sorrow, gave the needed consents over the phone and Matthew’s tissues were harvested. She recognized the importance of Matty’s wishes and made sure they were carried out. The other half of that equation someone from the Organ Bank was holding on as well. Ready to take Nikki’s call, answer questions, do whatever was needed to take care of Matty with respect. Harvested. Odd word for the medical removal of body parts. Harvest brings visions of farms, cooler weather, bright moon-lit skies, bounties of food, a settling down and waiting for a change in season. Yet, harvesting organs and tissue is a different kind of life sustaining bounty. It gives the recipient the opportunity to experience many future harvests in their lifetime. It allows the donor to complete that one final act of giving through love and compassion. It allows the continuation of the life cycle that would otherwise be interrupted by death or the degradation of quality of life without the needed, revitalized tissue. Organ harvesting, tissue harvesting—needs a preceding identifier.


I remembered the first discussion I had with my teenage boys regarding organ donation. We were having breakfast at a local restaurant and I retrieved my driver’s license from my wallet. Back in the day, you simply had to pen in and sign that you were granting consent for organ and tissue donation. It is much easier to have a discussion about wishes while alive; taking time to understand the importance of donating the gift of life. The physical body, the garment we wear for our lifetime on earth serves no purpose to us after death. It can serve a much greater purpose if we acknowledge the lives that can be saved and made better through something you no longer have a need for. The boys pulled their licenses and filled in the backs. Times have changed and the State of NH now inquires at time of license application or renewal what your wishes are regarding organ and tissue donation. There is a special form that can be filled if you would like to change your status. No need to wait until “next time” if you have not yet made the decision. Please visit State of NH Division of Motor Vechicles and take action that will be appreciated by many donor recipients and their family members.


I listened to stories of recipients, captured their gratefulness and appreciation for a gift that cannot be defined by words yet eloquently described heart to heart. I heard from doctors who parlayed statistics, identifying the reality for the need of donations and the end result for those who cannot wait. I learned about the priority assigned to those on the “List”. Waiting is excruciating and uncertainty fills the soul as death for many is knocking at their door.


A Sand Ceremony commemorating all the heroes—the donors, was another highlight of the afternoon. A votive filled with colored sand is handed out to donor families. Every votive is emptied into a tall glass jar; layer upon layer signifying the unity, the joining, the intertwining that occurs between donor and recipient with organ and tissue transplants. The ceremony reminded me of the comfort I’d not thought of in a very long time as grief has pushed it into the background of my memories. Waiting for the weather to change to Spring and holding Matthew’s ashes for release, the waiting and holding are bringing forth many moments of disbelief. How can it be, such life, such love? No need to revisit the darkness, however remembering the gifts that Matty gave in a final act of love and compassion reminds me that his physicality lives on in others. Tremendous comfort can be derived from knowing that his corneas have opened the window of sight to someone in need. Will they be able to see the world through Matty’s eyes for a bit until their own tissue welcomes the gift? I want to tell the recipient that Paris was seen, the beauty of the mountains and lakes of Tahoe forever etched in memory. His sight absorbed the radiant smile from a woman that loved him deeply and the adoration of his tiny tots. The joy in creating, partaking and enjoying the ripple effect of laughter was Matthew’s specialty, seen through his beautiful eyes. His eyes saw hard work and the reward of a job well done. His eyes witnessed the strong bonds that tie when family and friends love from a place of honesty, loyalty, caring and kindness. They saw pain incurred when the last breath of a beloved little brother was taken and the blood and terror resulting from the Boston Marathon attacks. The beauty and the pain enlarged his heart with love and compassion. My hope is that you, the recipient, see life through Matty’s eyes—even if for just a brief moment in time.


I’ve read that up to 50 people can be helped through tissue donation. Perhaps a Grandmother has the agility and flexibility to now play with her grandchildren. Hiking and the outdoors may be enjoyed by others. A burn victim may have an extra chance at healing. Matty’s veins may carry much needed blood, necessary in this journey called life.


What I really would like the recipient to hear is that your story is important to me. Your health struggles are felt deeply in my heart and the joy of another chance is shared by both of us. I realize that anonymity plays a very big role in transplantation. I would like to say to you, in a letter or a conversation. “You are the person that keeps that one bit of the physical that remains of my son. It helps so much to know that a part of him lives on when my moments of disbelief surface, when the awareness comes crashing down—my beautiful son, filled with a lifeforce like no other is no longer with me on this physical plane. You are the gift that allows me to search my memory bank and retrieve the warm thoughts of comfort Matthew’s final act on this earth made possible. You, recipient, fill my heart with comfort. You, recipient, in accepting Matthew’s tissue create an atmosphere of uplift when I need it most. I want to tell you his name. I want to hear you speak it, write it. I want to wish you well. I want to ask you to carry my boy with love and if you feel a bit of recklessness, new found thoughts of risk taking rising, don’t let it frighten you. It’s Matthew’s way of living life to the fullest and he’s sharing that with you. Let go. Enjoy. Love. Laugh. Most importantly LIVE. Live with every cell of your body—you are doing it for two now”.


If you have not done so, please visit or revisit your thoughts on organ and tissue donation. It is truly the gift of life, the gift of a better life. For more information in New England (or referrals to other donor banks) please contact:

New England Organ Bank
60 First Avenue
Waltham, MA 02451
800.446.6362

www.neob.org

To learn more, visit: Organdonor.gov


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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

LETTER TO SELF—with a postscript to Grief



I choose you quote because my favorite line is 'So Woe shall go past' and I

find myself clinging to this Hope as the Waves crash.
Woe shall go past and yet life teaches that Grief shall last, so we are in
disagreement here! Grief shall last as the best part of life is the joy, the
Love that fills and completes the heart. The Love that grows into compassion, 
empathy, kindness, trust, forgiveness. The very best parts of our human-ness.
For without Love, there is no Grief, as voiced by so many. 
Life without Love is no life for me . . . at all . . . ever.



Dear Self:
Why do I write? I write because I grieve. The pain gets lodged in my body and it needs a release. Words are my free floating elements of power—energy. They form a spiral shape in my mind with curly-ques springing from all sides when joyfulness rests in my heart. Classical music notes appear when I am at peace and comfort could be nothing less than the softest cashmere blanket, peach colored.

What about Grief when it decides joy is taking up too much heart space? Grief how many faces do you have? Sometimes you are so gentle when you present loving memories of Matthew, so sage and wise with the lessons you sprinkle onto my journey; or absolutely hateful when you come riding in on that Second Year Wave. Grief—the self-proclaimed King of the Riptide. Why now as I attempt to re-engage with life? Well I know how to beat a riptide—swim with it and not against it. So it’s me and you Grief in another battle for heart space. ME and you. ME in front of you! Could that be part of the difficulty? Have I rushed into taking care of ME, changing things up too fast because it feels so good to bathe in light again? Forgetting that it is best to change one ingredient at a time when taking on a complete recipe overhaul! Have I misled myself thinking I was over the worst of you—Grief? No need to bully. If you’d asked nicely, I would have slowed down all the thinking and the doing and relaxed into the being. A reminder Self, gentle self-care is what is needed. There is no rushing through the pain even when Mood is uplifted and is calling in Change with open arms.

I had my mind-set after our first Missing Matty Anniversary. Ah! I had my mind set but my heart may not have been quite ready. Grief, my heart was not quite ready when you showed up a year older in Addy’s life. You re-broke my heart and Nikki’s when you broke that little girls’. A week before setting off for their first family vacation since Matty’s death and on the ride to daycare, you attach yourself to Addy’s heart—like a barnacle. Addy voices to her Mom how excited she is to see her Daddy on vacation in Florida! You remembered that a Florida get-away was the last vacation they enjoyed as a new little family. Nikki had to have another very difficult conversation with Addy; reminding her that Daddy is dead, his body does not work anymore. He is in Heaven and his Love lives in her heart. Daddy was not going to be in Florida. Addy then told Nikki she wished she’d die too because “I just want to see my Daddy, I love him so much”. Nikki reached into her grief toolbox, found what she needed and soothed the situation—then cried the entire way to her next morning appointment, cried the rest of the day and Sadness fogs her heart and the tears return when revisiting this memory. Addy’s teachers were wonderful and kept a watchful eye on her that day, sending Nikki reassuring photos that she was engaging in her school activities and enjoying herself. Children are resilient! How we wish we could save the Little Ones from heartbreak and all we can do is prepare them for more. And what about us?

I keep staring at mine—my toolbox. It looks so heavy and that lid is on so tight. I know it holds everything I need to continue my walk with you Grief and I feel paralyzed. I did not see this next trigger coming. I held on tight. Grief, you hit me again when Jason and his family left our abode after a short stay prior to getting settled into their new home. I had to say Goodbye when the suitcases and boxes of daily living apparatus were leaving through the back door. Goodbye to no more good morning wake up calls to a stealthy Jaelyn staring at me, inches from my face until something internal tells me to open my eyes. Startling me—no, scaring the crap out of me and she, getting the biggest kick that Gammy jumped out of her skin! Goodbye to the drunk-baby steps as Jordyn unwinds her morning sea legs. No more catching up on Grey’s Anatomy reruns with Beth. Goodbye to no more daily hugs from my oldest son. Daily hugs from my son that is here in the flesh. Hugs that are so rich and deep they feel as though they are coming from two; from the one here and the one in Heaven. I did not know it would hurt so much to say goodbye to those hugs. It’s really not a Goodbye, it’s a “See Ya”; he does live down the road. I have sleepovers for all the grandchildren. I see them. I watch them grow. Why am I feeling this way? It was having my boy home again. An unexpected treat for the heart at this stage in his life as he is well past the point of coming back home. And then . . . the fear you resurrected! Isn’t the hurt enough? Did you have to drag me back to that place, in the beginning of Missing Matthew, when those awful, horrible, painful, thoughts of “you lost one child, it could happen again “surfaced? Fear, anxiety, projection—can I be pushed any further from living in the present?

Triggers, more triggers. Finally, I had a picture in my mind, flutters in my heart that tell me Matthew is in Spirit. Receiving Matty’s remains for a private release. Gray ash, bone bits. I’m holding what is left of my son. That beautiful physical presence. The warm brown eyes, filled with life and joy. The roman nose, strong. The full lips just perfect to look at and the exit for that giddy, joyful laughter. That head of brown hair. The teeth as white as pearls. His fingers, perfectly spaced digits. Arms that held his wife and his children and his family and friends in such a state of Love. The broadness of the shoulders. The force behind Matthew’s language of Love—his hugs. The organs needed for life—the heart, the lungs, the brain . . . ash to ash . . . beginning to end. It is so real. He is never coming back. I knew that. I believed that and now I am holding that in my hands. And the rip current that catches me sucks me under, thrashes me about, throttles my heart, my soul. Confuses me, rolls me under so that I no longer find up and yet down comes so easily. Eyes open or closed—there is no difference, the force of the water takes away all sight. Get me to the safety of shore!

I’m not the old me and I haven’t met the new me and I’m wondering if there even is a me? I’m lost. I feel shame. Shame that I should not be here, back to the beginning with sorrow. I should be there, with peace and comfort and joy. Where are these words coming from? SILENCE— you voice in my head. Another uninvited guest that feels comfortable enough to never leave. And because of this, you seem hateful to me—Grief. Like some kind of old, rusty, jagged piece of evil, happy only when boring your way throughout my entire body, infecting me with dis-ease.

“Self”, I say I think Grief has the picture. I see my toolbox. Had a friend try and pry the lid off and we succeeded a little. I believe tears act like a lubricant for the soul. Loosening, releasing, sending opening messages to the heart. I’m filled with sorrow that I’ve been kicked back to the curb. The tears have been flowing. I know in my heart of hearts that this deep sorrow is not forever. I know I have to take that first step—or belly crawl to the toolbox if I have to. I have heard the Second Year of grief is just as hard if not harder than the first. I didn’t believe that statement. Didn’t want to believe it. Reality says otherwise. Reality also says I am a survivor. I have brave in my DNA. I can feel my way out of this Riptide. I’ll close my eyes and see with my heart. I’ll swim with. I’ll feel when the waters have calmed and have released me from the current. I’ll take a breath of air so deep that my puffed out lungs float me back to shore—where I can reclaim my toolbox. This is one of many stops of the ‘Starts and Stops’ that are the make up of Grief. I need to take a good look at this Stop. There were a few warning signs that the waters were about to get rough. Did I heed them? No. What happens when I am head-focused instead of heart-focused? Grief finds a way to get my attention. I need to make friends with Grief again. We were working so well together!

I embrace you grief. I’m sorry if I thought those hugs we shared during Matty’s first year of passing were all that you would need. I’m sorry that I did not make time for you to wash over me when the warning bells started to peel. I see now that you are protecting my heart and not sabotaging it. My heart does not, nor can it feel all of you at once. You come in layers and present yourself when the scar tissue thickens and is perhaps ready for more. You allowed space in my heart to feel joy, peace, love and contentment in this first year passed. I thank you for that. I understand now that I am ready for the Second Mourning. I will continue my work. I will embrace you in the Second Year and you will show me deeper feelings of joy, peace, love and contentment. You will show me Life and our dance will continue year after year until my heart is healed enough to hold you at arms’ length and really be able to look at you, to see you, to not recoil at your touch, to welcome you as a part of my life, to find peace in our silence. I knew you had to come sooner or later . . . No one escapes the pain of Grief. I will heal enough where we can sit side by side in life and not feel threatened by one another. Healed enough where I can safely carry you with me and at my end, finally be able to release you.

P.S. Are we friends again? My heart is open to you Grief.

A Prayer for Self

Self—keep moving forward, be kinder, be gentler . . 
.
Learn to love yourself a little more

Release shame—it has no rightful place here

Ask for help

Allow Grief in

Embrace grace and gratitude

Trust

Pray

Love

Hope

Live

Practice the Law of Complement

Please help Self help herself


Blessings and thanks



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