May God hold you in the palm of His hand

When our loved ones move on to heaven our human hearts want the world to stop. There is a need for everything to be frozen and covered with ash gray quiet. Forward movement seems so unbefitting when we are mourning loss. We yearn for a blanket of stillness to cover the globe and keep us isolated while we adjust to a life where they are no longer physically present. And yet, somehow everything keeps moving,  changing, evolving, growing. There is an abundant amount of laughter and light that seems so out-of-place. For me it seems this must be God’s way of trying to soothe us to let us know that one day forward movement will not seem so odd. His way of reminding us that life is all forward movement. There is no pause button, no still frame except for in our photos and even then sometimes nothing is standing still.

All four of my grandparents are in heaven. My fingers shake as I write this because a world without their stories, advice, unconditional love seems a bit colder, less comforting. As each of my grandparents passed I tried to merge some of who they were into me; into my soul because if I did that then they continued to live. If I have to move forward because of the will of the world and the will of God, then it is my need to take the essence of who they were with me.

Twenty-one years ago, my grandfather (papa) went in for a routine surgery, and then I got the news he wasn’t going to ever leave the hospital again because his body had decided the surgery was not so routine. The day I heard I ran up and down the stairs in our house and did sit up after sit up. I thought if I could feel some physical pain that matched my emotional pain then that would bring harmony and peace. It did not. Time would come to pass and I would learn that nothing brings back the peace you had before you lose someone. Nothing is ever the same. I wish I could have had more wisdom in my adolescent brain that June, but I did not. For my grandfather, who was Irish to the core, I decided to move on with the importance of heritage being a core value.

papa at Salt Lake
Papa, my friend Shannon and I on Antelope Island the summer before my Sophomore year of high school. 1994ish
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At Coyote Reservoir probably 1992
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New Year’s Eve at our house in 1993 probably

He also loved his family fiercely and that too I incorporated into the fiber of my being. I know that he watches over us; his pennies from heaven are everywhere when I need them. He was also a wonderful story-teller. I think that I chose to write again because of a need to make his story-telling live on. Slowly picking up my once abandoned journals after his passing and beginning to fill them with my own stories. His picture sits at my desk and I talk to him every day. The hole he left will always be empty. I wish I had done more to remember all that he was, record his stories, ask more questions, learn more, but I was too naive and young to gather those extra memories of him when I had the chance.

My mother’s father passed on Valentine’s Day almost 8 years ago. It doesn’t seem like that, but time keeps moving propelling us forward. I had been so fortunate to see him two weeks earlier. He lived in Utah, so it was a treat that I was out there visiting friends and was able to escape away for a day and spend it with him. We visited my grandmother. Then, watched a part of the series “Earth”. We made plans for breakfast the next day and I headed back to the house my husband and I were visiting. A freak snowstorm set in that night and I was not able to get back to see him for breakfast. I called to tell him and of course he put my safety first and understood. I told him I loved him and he told me the same. As I hung up, I cried uncontrollably. Everyone thought I was crazy, but I knew I would never hear his voice again. That was the last time we spoke.

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My Grandpa goofing around at my wedding in 2003
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Grandpa toasting at my wedding in 2003
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Grandpa and Grandma together at my wedding in 2003

When my dad called to tell me two weeks later, I sank to the ground in my kitchen. And a cruel joke that on Valentine’s Day he left the Earth, leaving behind the woman he loved so much. My grandfather took care of my grandmother as she struggled through Alzheimer’s for 12 years. His unconditional love became an example to me; to our family to love those dearest to you through anything. His goofy jokes and singing became part of his essence that I needed to carry on. A sign of his hangs in my kitchen, “A good day is not complete without laughter.” That is what I carry with me and try to incorporate into my soul. Also to always drive the back roads, that is where the good stuff happens. There is no need to take the freeway when you can avoid it.

A few short weeks later, the love of his life, my grandmother passed away. My sweet, kind, generous grandmother who fought early onset Alzheimer’s for 12 years went to heaven to be with him. My grandmother was one of the most selfless, thoughtful people I have ever met. When I would complain about how someone being rude or grumpy she would say, “Michelle, they might be having the worst day of their life. Maybe they need a little kindness.” or “You don’t know their story.” This has become a mantra of mine, to give people the benefit of the doubt, to offer kindness no matter what. She had the best giggle and enjoyed her family and grandchildren so much. She was always finding the neatest toys for us to play with. Little People became a favorite of mine for my own children because it reminded me of her house. She also was a writer; she had written for the paper in college for a brief time. She is another reason that I write. Her grace, kindness, and love of knowledge and life I try to absorb in every way.

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My grandma with the love of her life my grandpa in the late 80s. I wish I had more pictures of her before she started to get sick. She loved to giggle and was such a beautiful person.

I call on her daily because she raised six with ease and sometimes I feel like I am drowning raising four and I long to hear her words of wisdom. My drive to help others comes in part from her.

This past Friday, November 6th at 8:15 PM my grandmother went to join my papa 21 years after he passed. That is a long time to be a part from one another, so I know they are catching up on lost time. I am grateful that she can be with him and her brothers and sister that have passed. I know she missed them dearly. But as I stood on the Boardwalk, listening to my dad tell me she had passed, the dazzling sunlight and joyful volleyball games and happy adventurers that passed and buzzed around me seemed so wrong. Why couldn’t everything stop just for a minute; my last grandparent had left this Earth. Why wasn’t there quiet and calm? Why hadn’t clouds at least dulled the blazing sun?

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My grandma and my dad in 2002
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My grandma and me in church 2000
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The summer before my wedding at Los Gatos Opera House 2002
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My grandma as always the life of the party – my wedding 2003

My grandmother talked to everyone. When I would visit in the summer, it would take us an hour or more to get through the aisles in the grocery store. The first time I thought she knew everyone and then I picked up that she was meeting all these people for this first time. She always talked to anyone like a friend, an important note that I need to gather into my soul and become one with so that she can live on through me. She also loved to laugh and was always about a good time; even though she hated parties that were thrown in her honor. It will be good for my soul to laugh even more and something I will fold into the fiber of my being so that she can continue to exist here on Earth. My grandma won everything all the time, so I know the Bingo Game in heaven will be forever changed; she is pretty unbeatable. There was a lot my grandmother didn’t talk about from her past and I know there was a great deal of pain that she carried with her from that. I hope that escapes her soul as she settles into heaven. My grandmother also loved to give back to the community, she helped with Girl Scouts, the Soup Kitchen and her church. I think a part of me knew this was coming, a need to make this year’s 25 Days of Holiday Cheer bigger and grander than the past two years a need to make a mark, a memory in her honor.

Life keeps going. We can’t stop it. We can only join it as best we can. I try to do that with my grief; warp it into a part of the person I loved and use it to move forward and pass that piece of their memory onto others I meet. If I keep pushing them forward with me in the best way I know how, a piece of them will always exist here on Earth.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Until we meet again,

Michelle

Unbounded

First and foremost, I am a deeply spiritual person who has a vast and limitless faith in God. Everything that I am able to carry out in this life is a gift directly from HIM. I rarely openly share my unbounded faith in the Lord. Spirituality is an exceptionally private matter that I feel resides deep within an individual and is not up for dissent from another human being. Each of us has an incredibly unique relationship with faith and spirituality and there are no right answers when it comes to this subject. And so I don’t discuss it usually because it can be a divide; something that we humans use to separate ourselves and that hurts my soul. There is no reason we should be divided over faith. Faith is beautiful, imperfect and immensely personal.

Faith

That background needed to be given before I speak more openly about the readings I do and what those experiences have taught me. First, these experiences have taught me that anything is possible and that there is always a divine purpose to the things that happen in our lives.

Secondly, I have learned that I am capable of anything with the right amount of prayer and the ability to follow that faith and intuition.

Allowing myself to follow my faith has led me to so much more than I ever could have imagined in this last year. In my readings, it has become clear that God’s love is unconditional. We are loved beyond what we could ever imagine. God never once gives up on us. That hope that we feel comes from that love. It knows no bounds. We are always enough and each time we get knocked down, God is our biggest cheerleader willing us to move forward and do better. God knows we can.

Live with pure and good intent

I have also learned that while there is a plan there is never a good reason we lose someone we love. Nothing that will soothe our human hearts. Somehow, some way when we reach the other side there is an understanding that is awakened in our souls and all is revealed. But there is never a reason that is valid to our human brains and hearts. 

 What is more, is that I believe all I do is speak another language. I am able to communicate soul to soul. We are all capable of this gift. Each of us has this ability. It is not void or missing in a single one of us. We just forget. The longer our souls spend in a body the more and more our brain and logic takes over. The more and more we operate in the physical realm. But we can all find a way to open up our souls. This is not something exclusive to me. We all have this ability. I just never allowed mine to shut down and continually cultivated the ability to speak with my soul. Just like if you learn Spanish, but you never use it you lose the majority of it. It is just like that. Nothing flashy about it.

we are lvoed

 

What I think is most important are these things: we are loved profusely, we are capable of all things; we are our only obstacle, and while there is no sensible reason to appease our grieving hearts we are forever connected to our loved ones through our souls. We are surrounded by those we love in a more emotional, spiritual plane and they are not as far away as they may seem.

Grief

I hope these things that have been revealed to me over the last year through my readings bring some peace to you.

Until next time,

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Cheer Day 18

Cheer Day 18
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click for original source

The one thing I know from witnessing and living through loss is that “there are certain sorrows that never fade away.” We carry our loved ones with us and the grief in our hearts until we ourselves pass on to the next life.

Cheer Day 18

A teacher friend from mine, Shirley, wrote to me to nominate a dear friend of hers from her church, Jenny Nguyen. Jenny is a mama of four beautiful little girls whose ages range between 3rd grade and preschool. This past year her husband passed away and this will be their first holiday without him. She is having to live and survive through the unthinkable.

Amor pendant

Shirley wrote that Jenny is, “a wonderful soul”.

Jenny as you move one foot in front of the other taking each day as it comes; know that you are surrounded with prayers.

May God keep you in the palm of his hand,

The Cheer Squad

My friend Death

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click here for original source

Death has been with me for as long as I can remember. Death never ever speaks, but I can always see Death. She is not dark, or hooded, or wielding a weapon as she is often pictured. In fact, she resembles Gwenneth Paltrow. She lingers though; sometimes for years over the souls she is preparing to lead to heaven.

Death isn’t scary or unnerving; Death is calm and peaceful.

Doesn’t mean I would want to go with her anytime soon, nor does that mean I understand how she works. I have just seen her for as long as I can remember. I sense her presence when she is near and sometimes if she happens to be preparing a soul of someone close to me – I don’t even ever have to see her to know what is going to happen next. I almost always know the last time I will see someone.

I don’t think Death gets a fair shake. She doesn’t make the decisions; she just aides in the transfer of a soul. She is a guide; an assistant. She ensures that the soul arrives in Heaven safe and sound. Patient and understanding, quiet and calm. She soaks up the anger, resentment, fury, frustration, fear, grief and pain that people throw at her without complaint or judgement.

I just wanted to share my experience with her with all of you so that you could more clearly see her for what she was really like instead of how the world perceives her.