Category Archives: holidays

Marking a new year

         

          December 31st marks the exit of an old year and the entry of a new one.  Using a calendar is our way of organizing time to fit our finite way of thinking.  The universe does not recognize our timetable, but the universe is infinite and hopefully will be here forever, unlike us.  I was thinking this morning, that each new year only marks for me the time that has passed since I last saw my son, as this will be the fourth New Year’s Eve without him, and that grudgingly, I will enter the new year with a heavy heart and the knowledge of facing another year without him.  This is probably true for millions of other people in facing the new year, as we all carry loss.  However, although I too carry loss other than that for my child, and of which I seem to be able to put behind me, it is this particular loss that seems to cling to my heart.  My arms still ache and my stomache feels empty.  I wonder how am I going to face a lifetime of new years without him, and carry the knowledge that I must face each day without him devoid of the possibility that he will ever come home again.       

          Oftentimes I am told by people, with true kindness and compassion, things to help redirect my sorrow away from the reality that my son is gone.  They reassure me that I will see my son again (someday) and that he is still here with me (in spirit) and also that he wants me to be happy (as I want for him), but all these words only make me feel like no one wants to acknowledge the fact that my son is physically dead and that his physical death is something I have to deal with.  There really is no comfort from this truth or way to redirect my pain away from this fact.  It doesn’t bring him back to join me in life the way he used to.  He’ll never open Christmas presents from me again or smile at me again or talk to me again or anything in the physical realm, again.  Sadly, there is no other way to process this other than with a heavy heart.  I ask myself how will I go on living without my son.  

           I look back on the last three and a half years (since my son’s car accident) and I wonder how the heck I have been able to push myself to go forward with my life all the while carrying the burden of grief, living life without him, and the hopeless knowledge that he will never return.  Somehow, someway I have molded a new life, a life that is full of peace and joy, a life that is 100 times more fulfilling than the life I had before my son died.  How is this possible while still carrying the reality that my son is gone?

          I suppose it just comes down to incorporating the loss so it becomes just another “part” of who I am, of my total self.  I definitely face my grief as I face everything in my life, without medication or alcohol, and my loss is not “buried,” no, it with me everyday.  I guess it’s more about recognizing and honoring my loss, while at the same time not allowing it to define my existence.  Yes, I am a bereaved mother, but I am also a mother and a grandmother, a teacher, a philosopher and a writer, a singer and a dancer, someone who can renovate houses, an entrepreneur, etc.  I cry, but I also laugh and dream and get aggravated (I am human) and try and soak up every minute of life I have left to live. 
 
          This New Year’s Eve, I will cry for the loss of my son, but I will also spend it laughing and joking with family.  My loss is a part of the whole of me, not front and center, but as real and as close as everything else I feel in my life.  I guess it means I am fully engaged in what it means to be human.  I don’t hide how I feel nor do I ever shy away from growth and trying new things.  I am moving forward and learning how to carry my loss with dignity and grace, all the while enthusiastically flowing along the currents of life atleast until life no longer flows through me.      Happy New Year!

              

Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.

Grateful at Thanksgiving


      It is 6:00 am, Thanksgiving morning, 2011.  I’ve had my tea and it is now time to write before I begin preparing my Thanksgiving dinner for my children and grandchildren.  I can not begin to express how very grateful I am to be standing here today.  This is the first holiday in my new home, and my children and grandchildren are all healthy and happy.  We all get along, talk and see each other often.  We have enough food, heat and clothing.  We are all employed (well, all except for the grandchildren who help out by keeping their rooms clean   

      This scenario is such a huge contrast to the chaos and tragedy which filled my life from 2005 – 2010.  I am just now beginning to feel the fog lift from my mind as I breathe a little lighter each day.  I think back on these particular years and I have a hard time remembering all of the details (I think my brain is resting).  First was the separation and subsequent divorce; then the separation and isolation from my children and the life I knew for 36 years; then building my home on my own; then the financial  disasters; then my health scare when I almost died; then my dog dying; then my dad dying; then my son dying; then my step-dad dying; then losing my job; then losing my home.  Whew!!  Thank goodness this is the past!     

      For today, my life is a new one on this Thanksgiving (although it is minus so much of what I knew and loved), yet it is a new life none-the-less with unlimited potentials and possibilities.  I am grateful I have been given a new chance to experience joy and love once again, in my three children, their spouses and through my grandchildren, in this new home, at my new job, in all the new friends I have made, and in the possibility of finding romance and love again with someone special.  

      Naturally, I miss my son and my dad and my marriage more than I can ever express (other than through my music), however this new life of peace is something I had longed for my entire life, and it was exactly those events that brought me to this new life.  The losses left me broken, vulnerable and empty, but they also prompted me to dig deep within myself and find a reason for living.  My music and this new peaceful life I have created are my foundation upon which I am rebuilding my life.  I feel like I am in “conscious orchestration” of this rebuilding and it is exactly what I want my life to be.         

      Oh my…it is 6:35 am.  I have to get cooking here or there’ll be no turkey dinner this afternoon!  Have a wonderful day everyone!!  Remember: Grateful, Grateful, Grateful (today and always) 

Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.

Finding peace during the holidays

alfie7

For those of you who, like me, are trying hard to be strong this holiday season because you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one, the next few days will truly take a different kind of strength.  This kind of strength can only be found in the thought that our loved ones are still here with us.  I wrote this new Blog in the hope that someone may find comfort in what I am about to share.  I know the pain and sorrow associated with losing a parent, and also losing a child.  It has been a little over two years since my dad died in July 2008, and also a little over two years since my  youngest son, Carmelo, died instantly in a car crash in on August 7, 2008.  My dad was 71 and my son just 20 years old.  They died three weeks apart.

       It’s true that these losses have at times broken me down in mind and spirit.  I have often times found myself crumpled up in a puddle of tears begging my divine creator to please, please have mercy on me and ease my pain.  I have felt abandoned by the universe, wondering why I was even still alive, left to carry such intense pain alone; pain I could never imagine even existed in this life, only in hell.  I don’t drink or smoke or take any medication, so the ache of my pain has never been dulled.  It burns through my soul and into my DNA, if there is even such a thing.

Something weird happened to me when my dad died.  A weird something that I have since referred to as simply an “experience.” This experience definitely helped me deal with his passing.  First, let me say that when my dad died I wasn’t really a believer in an afterlife or in spirits being able to communicate with us.  Secondly, I do not want to influence anyone to believe anything.  I can only share my experience and let you decide what, if any, meaning it holds for you.  This is what I “experienced” at the same instant my dad died:

My dad had a heart attack and for a week was kept alive on life-support.  It was a long week for my seven siblings and I, and we knew at some point we would have to make the heartbreaking decision on when to remove the breathing tube.  The day came and we were in the room, surrounding our dad in his hospital bed (all except my sister, who hadn’t spoken to my dad in many years).  I laid my head down on my dad’s chest and put a
blanket over my head to hide my tears from everyone.  The nurse was there, prepared to
take out the breathing tube.  I started to cry under the blanket, my tears soaked his chest.
The breathing tube was removed.  He breathed on his own a few breathes.  I could feel his chest move as he struggled to breath.  Then he stopped.  His chest was still.  I looked out from under the cover at his face.  Next thing I knew, my knees gave way, I collapsed on the floor next to his bed, and found myself in some kind of trance or dream.  I still don’t know what to call it which is why I call it an “experience.”

          My eyes were closed (I thought I passed out) but my mind was wide awake and in my mind, I saw my dad ahead of me walking away really, really fast.  He appeared to definitely be in a hurry to go somewhere.  I called out to him, but he just kept walking away really fast, almost running.  I called out again and started running after him.  I was running right behind him and calling him but he didn’t hear me and he didn’t turn around.  I finally got close enough to reach out to grab his hand.  In that instant when my hand touched his, he stopped moving away and turned slowly around to look at me.  His face was so different.  It was illuminated with a soft white glow….he looked like he was about 35 and not 71.  He didn’t look sick anymore (my dad was sick for a long time with diabetes and arthritis).  He wasn’t overweight anymore.  He just had a look that I can only call angelic.  His eyes were compasionate and loving.  I said, “Dad,” and paused and said, “don’t go.”

          Then, I turned around and all my siblings were standing there with me.  My dad looked at us all, and then he reached through the group and held out his arms for my sister (who he hadn’t talked to in about 20 years).  He hugged her and honestly, the hug seemed to last like 20 years even though it was over in a moment.  Then he moved back from us and started to turn to walk away.  He wasn’t running this time though.  I got anxious and said, “Dad, don’t go.  When will I see you again?”  He turned around to look at me, and with great tenderness put his hand out to me and gently said, “Sharen, don’t worry.  I’ll be waiting for you.”  He smiled at me then turned away slowly.  I stood there with my siblings.  All of a sudden a huge white light appeared off in the distance (and I mean huge, bigger than the sun).  My dad started walking toward the light (without a limp anymore).  He was young and strong again.
alfie8My dad and I in 1992.

I watched him walk off and started to open my eyes.  I was still on the hospital floor next to the bed he died in.  My sisters were looking down at me, calling out my name.  They picked me up, and I told them what happened.   None of us even tried to explain what happened and I guess we all hust innocently believe that I really did catch of to my dad’s spirit on his way to heaven.  I think (or I hope) the experience comforted them too.  I keep this memory close to my heart and know that my father would not have told me he would be waiting for me if it were not true.  Was it a dream?  I still have no idea what the heck it was, but I know that my spirit chased my dad somewhere after his spirit left his body.

The next experience I had was a dream I had a couple of weeks ago.  I have been feeling really sad with the holidays approaching, missing and longing for my son (who died in a car accident two years ago), crying a lot.  The dream really helped me and maybe it will help another grieving soul.

I dreamed I was at my mother’s house and my son, Carmen, was laying there in a bed.  I saw him there, and he started to move around like he was trying to come to life.  He kept trying to talk but I didn’t have any idea what he was trying to say.  I thought he was on drugs or something, and I was going to call an ambulance.  I kept reaching for the phone but never called.  The poor kid was trying so hard to talk to me, but it was all just babble to me.  I felt completely helpless watching him trying so hard to communicate with me.  He was almost crying, but he just couldn’t do it no matter how hard he tried. 

I woke up from my dream.  This is my interpretation:
I felt selfish.  Here I’ve been grieving without any thoughts of how or if my emotions and actions affect my son.  My dream proved to me that my son feels my sadness and longs for me to be happy.  He would do and give anything to make me happy.  He even tried to come back in a form and using a language that I would easily understand and recognize just to comfort me.  However, I now know just how difficult it is for him to take his ultra-pure form and force it back into a human form.  It would be like me trying to force my spirit to be a cat or a fish.  And, he doesn’t even speak English (or any other human language) anymore.  He has reached his fullest potential, and I need to be happy for him and accept him in this new form.  My belief that his presence is still here was completely renewed after I had this dream.  I need to stop my grieving and encourage and love my son, just as I did when he was here in person.  The relationship between he and I continues throughout eternity, the bond can not be severed just because the body dies.

I accept my “experiences” as nothing more than random things that happen.  I don’t define myself by them or try and label them in any way.  I try and live in the moment and accept things and just hope that by sharing my experiences I can help other people.
Peace, Love, Joy to all  = PeLoJo 
     

                                            Let me smile today and forget my sorrow,
                                                   wrap up my tears until tomorrow.
                                              Let me be of good cheer….. this is why,
                                     because my angel sees the world through my eyes.
                                          Let me give my angel a day filled with love,
                                                  my actions reflect to him up above.
                                          Let my heart be known by the songs I sing,
                                             for my angel carries my love on his wings.
                                                                  SWR (c) 2010


Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.

Let music be my gift

With the holidays approaching I know what a difficult time of year this can be for so many people.  However, I couldn’t always relate to how truly difficult this season can be.  I lacked the experience which would enable me to truely empathize with the sadness, lonliness, and emptiness that epitomized the season for “those” people.  How could I?  I was married, running a household and caring for my four kids, running two family businesses, and busy being the oldest sister to six siblings.  I thought I was invincible.  Untouchable.  Too strong for life to hit and run.

And then my world, from 2005 – 2009, was rocked with one hit after another.  My marriage of 28 years ended, my kids moved out, my beautiful little dog died, I had to relocate seven times, I was attacked and assaulted, I almost died from pancreatitis and a liver disorder, I lost my job, my dad died, my son died, my step-father died, and I went bankrupt.

At the beginning of this year, 2010, I remember saying to myself that I just didn’t care anymore.  I was a beaten women.  I felt like I had nothing left, and that life had taken so much from me on such a deep level that there really wasn’t anything left to take.  I had nothing left to lose.  I knew I needed to find a reason to live or I would probably just shrivel up and die.

Music saved my life.  Once I decided that I didn’t “give a damn” anymore, I threw myself into my songwriting and producing my music.  I decided to choose to live and to sing my way through all my grief.  I took the focus off all the trials and tribulations I’d been through, instead, directing my attention to creating the most poinyant lyrics and melodies I could write.  My life began to turn around.  I made no projections for where I would be or where I was going or how I would pay my bills, but somehow when I let go of my misery and  shame, everything in my life fell into place.

I can now say that I truly empathize with others when they say how difficult this holiday season is for them.  I know because I too feel lonely, empty, and sad at times, especially upon hearing all the Christmas songs on the radio and seeing all the homes decorated with lights.  It is certainly not an easy time for those of us dealing with grief and loss.  I pray for all of us that we may find the strength and courage we need to face the season, and even more, to find a way to give to others.  My music is my gift to you.

alfie9 FREE and CLEAR
Song written and sung by Sharen Wendy Robertson

Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.

Memorial Day, song for our loved ones

Today is Memorial Day 2010, a day to remember those who have served and died in the armed forces.  The day was rather melancholy, I don’t know why.  I didn’t feel much like my usual hyper-active self.  I chatted on Facebook with a childhood friend who is over in Iraq working as an electrician.  He says it was over 100 degrees and there’s no shade anywhere, just sand and sun.  I haven’t talked to him in oh, probably 30 years.  It was weird, yet familiar and pleasant.  I wonder if I’m sad today because I can feel all the other saddness of other parents who have lost their children.  With so many people remembering their loved ones, I think it just made me miss my son.  I just watched an old movie, Signs, with Mel Gibson, and I couldn’t stop crying.  I can’t watch anything anymore because I’m so sensitive.  My dad was a veteran and he died in 2008, three weeks before my son, Carmen.  I haven’t gone to visit him yet at the cemetary.  I wanted to go today because it was Memorial Day, but I didn’t feel well, so I’ll have to go some other time.  I did visit my son twice today.  I go up there and even though it’s been almost two years, I am still hoping that his grave won’t be there.  Then I take the corner to go down the avenue where he is buried, and sure enough, he’s still there.  I drive up really slow and look out my window at his headstone, yeah, that’s him.  He’s still here.  I wish it was all a dream and that he’s really not dead.  “How can my son be dead?”  I ask myself.  But there’s no answer, it just is and I have to accept it.  I try to pretend that he’s just away right now and that he’ll be coming back home or that he’s going to call me, but then I remember that I visit his grave and so it isn’t like I don’t know where he is already.  He’s up there, in the ground.  Not his spirit, but his body and the humanness of him.  It’s buried about a half a mile from my house.  I miss touching his face and reaching out and putting my arm around him.  I miss hearing him talk and laugh and yes, I miss argueing with him.  I miss teaching him and sharing with him and cooking for him.  I miss everything that made him human.  Now I have to grieve what I’ve lost and yet I also have to learn to be in this new spiritual relationship with him; one where I can’t touch him, or have a conversation with him, or see him and yet continue believing and feeling him near me.  He’s an angel now.  He’s a bright white light of energy.  He doesn’t even look like Carmen anymore.  I am so grateful that I was the one who got to mother and love him.  I grew him in my belly and pushed him out into the world (I almost died during labor, too).      

I wrote this song a couple of months after my son died.  It is the first song I ever wrote.  I hope someone finds comfort in my words. 

      “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE GONE”


Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.