Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Moment of Perfect Clarity

It's amazing, as I look back over my post something keeps jumping out at me. So much in that I have to pay it closer attention. There is something happening and at the same time nothing is happening at all. The purpose is suppose to be two-fold but only one thing is really being conveyed. It's like a maze and I am the lab rat trapped inside. Yes there are moments of growth, moments where healing appears to be taking place. Yet something different happened when I was reading my words last night. I realized that as a part of me healed, the other part of me wasn't really growing. In order for real change to take place both must be present and evolving on a regular basis.

I came to Las Vegas and began working for my sister. I was working full-time at the office and now I work Part_time from home. My ability to be effective is phenomenal so unless someone really looked close you wouldn't notice a difference. But there is a difference and it's big. I am at home most of the time unless the job calls for me to go on site. Which is becoming less and less necessary because there are people that I send if I don't want to go. My face always has a smile, I am a grateful person by nature. The desire for others to be happy is real for me, I luv from the deepest places in my heart. The problem is most of that love is going out an not enough of it is coming back. It's not important that it comes from other's, the key is it has to come from me. The paralyzing affect that my husband's death has had on me has to loose it's hold and that starts today.

Today is the beginning of change for me, I love my Aaron and always will. The beginning of my journey has to be a journey back to myself. To the woman the individual that is capable of amazing things. The desire to be better than I ever was is so strong. This feeling won't be denied and if I continue to write about my pain it will only stunt the growth that I so desire. Don't misunderstand me, I will share stories of our love as they come up. The only difference, they will be more about myself and my growth and less about the pain of loosing a love.

The contribution that my husband made to my life is incredible, my ability to love unconditionally is a direct result of what we shared and still share. The stepping stone to the next layer of my life.

Today I choose forgiveness, happiness, and new beginnings!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Father's Story

Wow, listening to the news the last couple of days has just been weird. So many celebs dieing. All but Farrah Fawcett had been sick with a sometimes fatal disease. The shock factor is in big affect here. No one can really plans for times like these. As a society we are always devastated by the fact someone has died or passed on. (It doesn't really matter just a play of words really). The bottom line is they are no longer with us. We know that death is coming to us all but we still have not figured out how to cope with it in a healthy way at least most of us haven't.

I felt guilty because my sadness immediately went to thoughts of my husband and how he left this world. In my mind he was much too young (34), not to mention I was not and still am not ready for him to be gone. The fact of the matter is none of that matters because he is gone. No amount of wishing or crying will ever bring him back. What I am doing is sharing his story, our story with you. This is my way of keeping his memory alive. He was a giant to me and everyone who ever knew him. His heart was as big as his smile and there wasn't a thing he wouldn't do for anybody. It didn't matter if he met you five minutes ago, he considered you a friend. My husband never met a Stranger :)
Father's day was last week and to be honest it was just to hard for me to write.

Trying to decide how to start, this is very painful for me. I remember being in my office at work talking to a new client who happened to be a Criminal Attorney. I was sharing with him about the church I attended. He said "I have a client I represent that goes to that church". Of course I asked who being the nosy woman I am at times.:) When he told me the name I nearly fell out of my seat. I was like no way, that's impossible he's such a great guy. He was like yeah he's gonna have to do 5 yrs, my heart broke right there on the spot. Even though I hadn't seen or talked to Aaron in about a year and a half, hearing that news was both shocking and unbelievable. There was no way, college educated, pro-athlete and personal trainer. In my mind I was thinking what could he have possibly done to get in trouble.

When I asked my pastor just to be sure, she said "yes it's true, he goes to this church and he just got sentenced to do time". The odd thing is the month that he went to jail is the very same month I joined the church. So we never actually got to see each other. Pastor Daniels asked me not to say anything to anyone because of his girlfriend (who I also knew) I never got to see her because, well she never came to church after he was locked up. So we never saw each other until the funeral.

When something is meant to be it will. As life would have it when he came home we were put together. Not by a plan of ours, (we hadn't written each other or anything like that. I did send him a Bible through my pastor) circumstances had us helping each other out. He was staying at a half way house and I would give him a ride to and from work every day. It was during this time we got close again. My business was struggling and he was getting back on his feet. The same job as before and the same clients. People loved him and was glad to have him back.

We loved and prayed each other through the rough times. Our love for each other was more than physical it had grown into so much more. Before we ever shared a touched or shared one kiss, our spirits had sored to heights that I never imagined possible. This time there were no barriers and our love had finally landed.

The saddest part about this for me is he loved his children and only got to see them once since he had been home. He tried, I went to CPS for him got records. We wrote letters to the judge. The process to get custody even visitation rights just takes too long, it's not fair. There was nothing he wouldn't do for his two kids. He paid child support plus bought clothes, paid for karate, baseball and dance for his little girl. There was never an argument over money when it came to the needs of his children. We could talk to the kids but the maternal grandparents who had custody would never let him see his kids. One time his son said dad we are going to see the baseball game, Aaron said "good son daddy's gone meet you down there". Sadly the son called back and said "Papa said I can only choose one thing today so we aren't going to make it". I looked in my husband's eyes and saw a man with a broken heart.

I am telling this because it is an important part of who my husband was a s man. His ex threatened that he would never see his kids again and she meant it. The day we told his son about his dad, his first response was "I only got to see my daddy one time". He didn't even cry.
He was only able to share a few hours with his dad in 2yrs. The adults around him who made this crazy choice have to live with the guilt for the rest of their lives.

I want to tell every mother out there no matter what you may think about your kids father, please don't take their dad from them. I am not saying every man is doing what he should. This is not even about the man but the kids. Children need their parents, put aside your differences and give your kids a chance to know both of you.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson: Wings of Angels

I had written a special entry for my husband for father's day, but instead decided to devote the entry to someone else. For me it was important, because I don't want my writing to be about what I lost but more importantly about what I am gaining and learning. I am going to put that entry on hold once again.

June 25, 2009 we a nation/a world lost two Icon's. One a Hollywood starlett, mother daughter and wife(she and Ryan Oneal were in love and lived a journey, I choose to say wife) and friend. And the other a Pop Icon, a father, son, brother and friend. The way in which these two amazing souls left this world are very different. I have devoted an entry to each of them because they have both touched so many lives although in very different ways.

Farrah Fawcett, was and always will be an American beauty. We fell in Love with her as a model and an actress.
Unfortunately she suffered from a disease that we are all to familiar with Cancer. She decided to share her battle with the world, yes it's a battle because you do all you can to beat it. In her words "I do not want to die of this disease. So I say to God, `It is seriously time for a miracle,'" in "Farrah's Story.
We all found out in September 2006 that at 59 she had the all to often fatal disease. We would hear stories of her battle in the media and we would pray for her recovery, for her to be triumphant. Unfortunately on June 25, 2009 Farrah Fawcett lost her battle with cancer. "She was incredibly brave, and she is God's Angel now :)

Michael Jackson, his Iconic career started when he was only 6yrs old and lasted over 4 decades! We loved him, we grew up with him, our parents and grandparents also grew up with him. His contributions to the world will live on forever.

Sadly on June 25,2009 the world learned that Michael Jackson had died from Cardiac arrest. No warning, no time to prepare, his work here was done. And a world is grieving, for many he was their hero! No matter what his struggles in life, this young man broke barriers and caused a nation to change. He taught a generation to dream!

Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett thank you so much for all you have done, you both will be terribly missed. You are both free now, no more pain, no more hurt. :)

My question, does it make it any easier knowing that Farrah was sick? Is the pain any less? Is Michael's death harder because we didn't know and does the shock of it all cause even more pain?
People do, whether we like it or not debate this question. "Is it harder to know that someone is dieing or harder if they die unexpectedly"?

Like myself there are some who have experienced both and then there are others who have experienced one but not the other. Regardless, losing a loved one is never easy. I watched my mother and brother struggle with diseases that took their lives. I also lost my husband in the middle of the night with no warning, we had so many plans for the next day. This is not an experience that I am proud of, I would much rather have my family in tact.
Unfortunately you don't get to choose what happens, your only choice is how you deal with what has happened.

The answer for me is simple, losing anyone you love regardless of how, is an equally painful experience.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


The one mistake that I made is thinking that no one understood. This mindset is what sent me spiraling done,one thought at a time. As my pain deepened the more alone I felt. No matter how people said they understood I didn't believe them. I could not imagine anyone else understanding my kind of pain. This is a common thought pattern for those of us going through grief. It is more important than even I can articulate, that this kind of thinking is toxic and just wrong.

So today I am adding someone else's story, a man who experienced the pain of losing his wife unexpectedly and raising his daughter's alone. Please read and comment.

A Fathers Story

In May of 1995, I suddenly lost my first wife and mother of my two daughters, Jody to a very rare illness called a pheochromacytoma. All of this transpired within 24 hours. It felt like a horrible dream.

Robert Frost once said “There is a time for departure, even when there is no certain place to go.” The girls and I had no choice but to take a new direction in our lives. I’m not ashamed to tell you I was terrified. I was always a pretty good father but I needed reinforcements, this was new, scary territory. I tapped into a spiritual strength I never knew I had. I spoke out loud to God whenever I was alone, in the shower, in the car, at night in bed. I asked to be blessed with divine guidance, courage, strength, and to say and do the right things for my girls. I began meditating daily for about 20 minutes, which I still do to this day. I visualized my girls and I doing things together and I saw them thriving. Those were my daily images, only positive outcomes. I found comfort in books like Kubler Ross’s “On Death and Dying,” Hope Edelman’s “Motherless Daughter’s” & Cosby’s “Fatherhood.” I learned first hand what being grateful for life and those we love, truly means.

I worked very hard at balancing what was normal for my girls and not ignoring the death of their Mother. Julia, Lauren and I hugged and cried every day. I made certain that they knew emotionally, that we had one another. If I sensed they were going into a shell, I would try to interact and relate to them by asking them questions about friends, clothes, school etc. I made it a point to do everything as a family. We went grocery shopping together, out for ice cream and had them help make dinner on a regular basis. I wanted them to feel secure and know their Dad wasn’t going anywhere.

I had developed insomnia. Every night for weeks, I would sit on the floor of Jody’s walk in closet, pick out one of her blouses and wrap it around my neck and shoulders. Breathing her in, I’d cry myself to sleep. At first I didn’t tell the girls about it, but something told me to share it all with them. I think it helped the girls feel okay about their own experiences and sharing them with me. After a week home, the school counselor and I agreed that my daughters’ lives should get back to normal. So, Lauren and Julia went back to school. I remember it being a beautiful sunny day. I decided to walk the 200 yards to the bus stop to meet them. I could tell they were upset as they got off the bus, which I’d expected of their first day back. We walked in tense silence, once we entered the safe haven of the house, both girls burst into tears. After a few moments of a much needed emotional release, they shared their day with me.

Amazingly they’d discovered a pair of sisters, one in Lauren’s class and the other in Julia’s who had lost their mother to breast cancer, one week after our loss. I remembered thinking to myself “I need to reach out to Kevin (the father) and just let him know he's not alone.” Immediately, the thought of creating a Support Group for fathers who'd lost their wives entered my mind and was put into action soon thereafter. And thus began my journey toward becoming a Life Coach.

I started looking at everything differently, I turned down a promotion at work promising more money and more travel, and accepted a lower level position to be closer to home and more available to my girls. My self-reflection eventually led me to completely walk away from corporate America to focus on my Life Coach career. As my priorities shifted, I’d become aware of the joy, peace and love that are possible in the simple every day things. My previously conceived notions of what I wanted for my life fell away. I know that when life closes a door another one always opens. It is my deepest desire to help others find the best path to their open door.
Think Magic!
Larry Agresto is happily married and lives in Boston Massachusetts. He has written several e-books including; The Principles of Success, What's Stopping You, The Journey and The 21 Day Breakthrough. Presently, he is writing his most recent e-book entitled “Magical Thinking- A Fathers Story of Love, Hope & Courage.”
Larry Agresto
Life & Success Coach
Peak Performance Coaching


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Home Again

I arrived in Las Vegas in November o8. Originally, I came to help my sister with the business and to keep myself busy. It worked for a while but eventually that which I was running from caught up with me and landed me here. :) Well it's time to go back and face that which I ran from all those months ago.

In August it will be a year since Aaron's death. His things are still hanging in the closet his tools in the garage. Our matching helmets for the motorcycle neatly on the shelf. It was just so hard to put those things in boxes, seemed so final. Even now, just thinking about it gives me a shiver. Family and friends have asked if they could do it for me and my answer is always the same " No don't touch his things". Closure is a word that comes to mind, one that I never wanted to truly face. Which brings me back again to the reason I started writing. "HOW DO I SAY GOODBYE AND KEEP HIM ALIVE IN MY HEART!

Writing has helped me, I know longer cry in the darkness. I have opened up my heart and our story to the world. There is now light where the darkness used to be. I pray that as I pack his things or give them away to the shelter. (which is something he would want) That I'll loose the pain. That the closure will be about letting go everything that hurts, and not about letting go all that we shared that was and is still good.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Now Time

Time has flown by since I first decided to write. I was desperate to be freed from a prison that I had locked myself into unknowingly. I began writing because there seemed to be know other way out. I had cried, I got drunk, I prayed, talked to family and friends and still their was no relief. The burden that I carried in my heart over my husbands loss was so big that it brought me here. A place of freedom, it brought me to myself.

It's funny to me because I valued my outlook on life. I was sure of myself, held my own convictions proudly. In my mind emotionally I had been through just about all life could throw at a person.

I lost my mom to breast cancer. I watched her fight and her will to live for her children and the incredible strength that she showed. But in the end, it wasn't enough. I lost my brother and his wife to aids (they were both IV users). Then together with my sisters and their maternal grandmother we raised their two daughters. Giving them all the love that we knew the best we could.

Then, my father took ill I and relocated to Fla to be closer to him. I loved him very much and for two years while he was in a nursing home (which was 5min from my business) just about every night I would go and see him. I would make one the nursing assistants help me bathe him. Then I would read the book of Isaiah from the Bible for him. That was his favorite thing to do when he was well. One evening when I was with him he was very tired, he never spoke much but this night he looked at me and said i am very tired. My auto-response was, "well daddy just close your eyes and rest". He looked at me again and said baby daddy's tired. A few weeks later he went to the hospital and from there to hospice. I knew it was time, but for some reason he held on and me with him. The nurses and doctors didn't understand, they all said he should have been gone by now. My sisters and I all moved into the hospice, the same day daddy did. He never spent one night alone. I'm not sure what made me do it, but one night I got up and looked into his eyes, held his head in my arms and said daddy it's OK you can go. We are gonna be alright and he looked back at me as if he could see my whole life from conception to that very moment and took his last breath.

Yes, all of these events took me aback, but never for long. I was able come to terms with each of my loved ones death and I helped other family members to do the same. Always emerging wiser because of it. My mother's amazing strength and love, my dad's compassionate heart and his humility allowing me his baby girl to tend to him. My brother's love for his girls and the promise I made to help raise them. These are the things that contributed to my incredible strength.

So when my husband died, I thought that it would be the same thing. I would grieve a little, I would learn and then get on with the rest of my life. But it wasn't like that, I didn't think there would be any pain like what I felt after loosing my parents.

I was wrong, when you love completely, trust completely and give yourself completely to the person that you give your heart to and that person does the same back to you. You really become one soul sharing two bodies. I am not looking for anyone to agree with me. The bible says " Two shall become one". I was part lost and part empty because a part of me had died with him. By writing I have been able to share both parts of me here. By sharing what I lost, I am learning what I have gained. He gave me so much more than I ever even imagined possible.

This time, it took longer I believe because, contentment had settled in my growth was stunted and I didn't know it . Marrying my husband in life meant growth for me and his death has also meant growth for me.

Now is my time for life, I am excited about what the days ahead will bring. I am not sure where I am going but I am packed for the trip! :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Our Story

It's September 11, 2001 and I'm at the gym watching the news and I am freaked. So I run to my trainer freaked out and he grabs me and says "baby it's gonna be OK don't be scared." We both have family in NY, but his aunt worked in one of the twin towers that had been hit. Even with all the anxiety and uncertainty going on he was very calm. That is just who he was, not to mention that he was 6'2 and 285 solid muscle. His big idea was let's get something to eat, eating his answer to every problem. Food truly was comfort to him.

That's how we met at the gym. It was early August, I was at the water fountain drinking water and his smart remark was "don't drink all the water". When I looked up at who was speaking to me, I was speechless. He was beautiful yes, I said beautiful. Our eyes locked and at that moment I knew that trouble was ahead. I had just moved to Fla. from California and hadn't really met many friends. I needed to talk to someone, that little voice in my head said you better call your prayer partner you are in big trouble. I tried but i couldn't reach Thelma she wasn't answering my calls. Needless to say the flirting went on and we both new that we were about to enter into a place of no return.

We were both with other people and really didn't want to cross any lines, so we didn't. But the attraction between us would not be denied, even though we really tried. We were becoming each others confidants, listening to each others issues even our deepest desires. Things we should have been sharing with our significant others. There was an instant bond and even though on the outside (because of obvious reasons) it may have seemed wrong, to us it was perfect. He would say you are my twin, we are twins and in my heart even though at the time I would openly deny it and laugh at hm I knew he was right. We were connected and I was terrified.

After Sept,11 2001 things would happen that would separate us. Yes we were apart physically, but our souls had bonded and that bond would eventually lead us back to each other. The only difference is the next time we both would be completely available to share, to experience the completeness that we held back all those years before. When we saw each other again, God would throw us completely together in a way that neither of us saw coming but both were willing to embrace.

Life separated us to go and grow, but because we were meant to be brought us back together. Love won't be controlled and it won't be denied. Aaron was my best friend before we ever shared one intimate moment. Our Journey began before either of us even realized we were on one. The moment that we understood that our meeting at the water fountain that day was no coincidence , our life, our love exploded. We began to share our every emotion, it was like we were each others sacred ground. We knew our secrets were safe with each other, their was no pinky swear, or a promise to die we just knew . We were home, we had finally found a place that we could trust, a place that we could rest, our hearts had become one. No words could ever express the moment that lasted for over 2 years, until he took his last breath.

Aaron, baby You may be gone but you are not forgotten. I love you today as much as I did the first day that I laid eyes on you. I realize that I have to move on, and I will. But because of the Love that we shared, the love that you gave me, I will love more, feel deeper and smile more often. I am a better woman and will be able, (when the time is right) to love a man in the truest and purest way.

Thank you XOXOXOX

Monday, June 8, 2009

Honest Feelings

Some days, there won't be feelings with an explanation. Some days are just filled with feelings of missing the man that I was meant to spend the rest of my life with. Some days, like today I just miss him and I want, need to let myself have days like today. I am afraid that if I don't, the lie that I perpetrated for so long will ease it's way back. For sure that's neither healthy nor productive. He was my best friend and sometimes I just miss him so much. I am not always saddened by thoughts of him, we had so much fun together. Most days I'm smiling when thoughts of things we used to do flash in my mind. Then their are days like today when an overwhelming wave of sadness creeps in. No matter how I try to push back the tears they flow and my heart aches for him and for myself and all that I lost. The need to feel this, is stronger than the desire to push it back.

I'm always afraid that people will feel sorry for me or think that I am living a life of sadness. I am not, please don't think that. I am dealing with my life on my own terms. When my husband died, there were so many rules of what I could think, feel, how I should feel, how long I should feel it and a whole laundry list of other rules. And because of it I shut down and didn't feel anything. I walked around for months like a zombie just numb. People were OK with that because that meant that they didn't have to deal with it either. If I was OK then they didn't have to deal with their own guilt for whatever reason. In truth people really don't know how to help people grieve. Do we really know what to say to someone who is grieving? Do Grievers even know how to share what they are feeling? For me I didn't know what to say. Seemed like ever time I opened my mouth someone was saying something to get me to feel the opposite. It was like they wanted me to be OK at that very moment. I know that is not what they meant, but regardless that's how it seemed. The outcome was me shutting down and locking all those feelings away. The only thing is they weren't really locked away, they were just buried deep in the crevices of my heart and in time those feelings burst like a bubble forcing me to deal with the very things I wanted to forget.

The day that I gave him my heart and he gave his to me our lives changed forever. We were two people who had many life experiences. We had both loved before and been loved, but we both knew that what we shared and would share together would be like nothing either of us had ever experienced. We were two broken pieces that fit perfectly together. I can't even say it was a loved that I had dreamed about because I had know idea that a love like ours could even exist.

Today I am writing not because I want to but because I need to. This is the reason that I began this writing journey in the first place. To share my feelings good bad or indifferent, to get it out. I am a real person with real feelings. If there is someone else out their who has these feeling or feelings like these just know that it's OK. It is important to be honest with yourself, because at the end of the day we are responsible for our own lives. If you live a lie (like I did) the only person you can blame is yourself. Take responsibility for your own life and your own actions, ensuring yourself a better tomorrow. The first step in that direction is honesty, honesty to yourself. You/we are entitled to our feelings whatever they are. If you can't talk to someone write it down and read it back to yourself. At least then it becomes real to you and that is all that really matters.

Once I realized for myself that I was entitled to my feeling whatever they were, real healing began to take place. Today my real feelings are I miss him so incredibly much and sometimes that makes me very sad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dealing with the reality

It's an early morning in June and it's been a while since I've written. I don't know but something about Mother's day really set me back. It's like I went forward and then backward if that makes any sense. I am writing so that I heal. Part of that process for me is dealing honestly with how I feel. Yes it was good to finally get all that out. I was relieved , I know longer had to pretend like nothing was happening to me. It was tragic and finally I was able to say out loud what I was hiding in my heart. Feelings (all kind) were unlocked some good, some not so good. I cried for what seems like two weeks. I finally became one with what happened and the feelings behind them. For a long time they were 2 separate things. I didn't realize how sad my heart really was. Opening up that gash in my heart hurt and it hurt a lot.

In my fight "to be back to normal" it's hard because, what I am beginning to realize is normal for me won't ever be the same again. My life is different now no matter how hard I try there's no going back for me. The reality is it's time for a new path and that is what gives me pause. People say well do what you did before, what they don't realize is my before doesn't exist any more. Yes, I go to work, have loving incredible family and friends. Going through the motions are easy for me, but that's not the kind of life I want. Living and experiencing life on every level that's who I am, that's what I want for myself. I am capable of the journey before me. I know that everything that I have been through has made me a better person, woman. Yes, it's scary and not saying that would be a lie. The key is I'm no longer afraid the alternative of inaction is much worst.

I'm not sure why God chose me for this particular journey, and had he asked me first, I would have said no pick someone else. The reality is I didn't have a choice about what happened but I do have a choice about what happens next. It may seem that I'm sad, and honestly their are times that I experience terrible sadness. But I am still here stronger than I was last week, not as strong as I will be next week . MY journey is a real one not colored with false statements or bedded in false realities. I am a woman who wants to heal, who is healing one day at a time. I have learned that their is no easy answer or a road map that will take me to some magical place where everything will be OK.

This time there's no way around the storm I must learn to flow with the wind and dance in the rain.