Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Nature's UmbrellaImage by Swamibu via Flickr

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. Cicero

Gratitude is defined by the Webster's Dictionary as "a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received; thankfulness"

Sometimes in life, feeling gratitude is hard.

Personally, when my children died, I couldn't find anything to be grateful for. I felt robbed, I felt cheated by life, by God, by my own body. Of course, bitterness took over and I had to work hard to understand that I still had a lot of things to be thankful.

I started trying to find 5 things to be grateful each week: less than one thing per day.

I have made a daily commitment with myself: I try to find 5 things, at the end of the day, to be thankful for.

Somedays I find it hard and I really have to work towards my goal. Other days, gratitude comes easy and at night, my list is much longer than I imagined it could be.

For example, yesterday I was specially thankful for:

  • Being alive surrounded by my healthy, happy loved ones
  • Baby pup is recovering from surgery OK
  • My brother found a new home to lease and he's moving his family in at the end of the week
  • Both girls loved their meal and ate better than other days
  • Big boy had a great afternoon and evening: he did his homework soon and then was able to go to soccer training

I invite you to do this exercise. You'll notice that your view of life will improve considerably.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud.

Cover of "Charlie St. Cloud: A Novel"Cover of Charlie St. Cloud: A Novel

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, by Ben Sherwood, is one of the books I read this summer.

The book description says: "... tells the haunting story of a young man who narrowly survives a terrible car wreck that kills his little brother. Years later, the brothers' bond remains so strong that it transcends the normal boundaries separating life and death... By day he (Charlie) tends the lawns and monuments of the ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. Graced with an extraordinary gift after surviving the accident, he can still see, talk, and even play catch with Sam's spirit...

"... Luminous, soulful, and filled with unforgettable characters, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud is one of those rare, wise books that reveal the mysteries of the unseen world around us, gently transforming the worst pain of loss into hope, healing, and even laughter. Suspenseful and deeply moving, its startling climax reminds un that sometimes tragedies can bring about miracles if we simply open our hearts."

As many of you might remember, I have had the honor of working with bereaved parents for a little more than 11 years through volunteering at The MISS Foundation.

"Death and Life", that is how parental bereavement feels like. We die when our child dies and we, then, learn to live a new life that is robbed of present and future, a new life that is filled with pain and sorrow, a new life that has many, many lessons and gifts to offer, as we open our hearts and souls and minds to listen, to find healing and peace and happiness again.

I've heard how many are afraid of forgetting their precious children. How people tell them that they should "let go", so their babies are able to "rest in peace". How they wished they could see, talk, hug and kiss their beautiful children one more time.

I have leaned from my own personal experience and from the wisdom shared by many that walk their own grief journey along with me, that parenting a dead child is possible.

We are able to transcend the physical realm to parent our dead child. How?

It is not easy, as we live and communicate through our bodies. The first urge a new mom has is to hug and cuddle her precious newborn. We, as bereaved parents, are not able to do so; but we can still hug them and kiss them in our hearts.

How I wish I had the power to give each and every bereaved parent a gift like Charlie's? How I wish they could find the way to talk and play and hug and kiss their precious little ones? Sadly, I can't.

The only power I have is the one my choices give me:

I chose to be present and willingly walk the grief journey of those that allow me to walk with them.
To lend a hand.
To know those precious children through the loving eyes of their courageous parents.
To do my best in the time I have on earth, to be worthy of finally hug and kiss and love my children to eternity.
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Summer readings

The text can also be displayed in larger sizesImage via Wikipedia

After a hard, difficult year, I decided to give myself a present: a Kindle.

I bought it during the summer and it has been my constant companion ever since. It's perfect size, makes it easy for me to carry it around in my purse.

I have purchased some good books and have downloaded a lot of free ones.

I read new books from my favorite authors and got some recommendations from good readers.

I have also read some useless novels that were free, but I have enjoyed them for what they were: summer readings.

I've never read inspirational novels, but I did. Some were good enough to have in mind when my girls get older. Others were just rubbish.

In a matter of days, I read the complete collection of Jane Austen's writings. Can you believe that I never read them before?

I got a great book on suicide, specially written for survivors. Yes, I know. I am "obsessed" with death and grief and pain - as my husband says - but that is the way I am.

Currently, I am reading a book on sexuality called "What's love got to do with it?" by John T. Chirban. My kids are reaching pre-puberty and I need to be prepared, don't you think?

If you have any good books to recommend, please send me an email.
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Haven't been around

This is my first post since March.

After my friend Christa died, I have been in a blur.

In just one second, life changes dramatically. I have been trying to live in the real world.

I have tried to be more present for my children. I have read a lot. By a lot, I mean 46 books during the summer.

I try to be outdoors more and are committed to stop smoking this year.

So, I am back.