Finding peace during the holidays


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.