Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The pursuit for 'Happiness!' x

What makes us happy? 

What are the things that create happiness…that make us high five, or smile, or leap out of bed in the morning…or say “Yes!!!!”....with a fist pump, or two?

I certainly know sadness through my journey of losing loved ones….and I know it’s that sadness has made me appreciate the little joys in life.  Nobody wants to 'choose' sad...it's more like 'sad' chooses you somedays....

It takes time, sometimes a  l o n g  time after a life altering event to change the way you look at things…to dissect what it is that makes you happy….to know…

And when you are in that place, that dark place, you. don't. ever. think. you'll. be. happy. again.... 

But shifting your focus, or trying to shift your focus from the bad bits that you can't change...to making a concious effort to see the good bits becomes easier as time marches forward...cos time doesn't wait for you...the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, thats a given, yes, life goes on regardless....

And for me, I can’t pin point when I started to see the world differently, I just know one day, it was like I’d been cracked open like Humpty Dumpty and suddenly I started to notice things...that I hadn't before.  I guess it's called healing....and it is a gift that grief gives, the only good gift!

This past week, these are a few things that have fed my happiness tank.

Last week we went to Target, Peter told Dempsey she could choose something from the toy aisle.  I was quite proud that my girl didn't choose a Littlest Pet Shop...she chose this brilliant red ball! 

It is only a plastic ball, but it's red and bouncy and bright and I've loved watching the joy Dempsey has got out of this ball.  She's taken it everywhere with her.

My new friend Rose, who I wrote about in an earlier blog invited me to go walking at our park...and to meet her daughter and baby grand daughter.

I feel so privileged that she's sharing her family. The more time I spend with her the more I love this new friendship, it makes me happy.

And of course the big red ball came with us....

I never got to see our other daughter run, so watching Dempsey sprint up the hill at the park, breathless and giggly, ball in hand, enjoying the day and Rose made my heart swell....something that money can't buy....

Noticing the beauty of this Mama turtle and her baby that glided peacefully in towards us reminds me that life is forever evolving and changing.  Even in Mother Nature and the animal world, there's beauty and something to smile about...that life really is a miracle......

This little guy is Kirby...he's Dempsey's latest obsession.  She sleeps with him, eats with him and takes him everywhere...along with her red ball! :) 

And it's funny, but for 3 days last week she left him on our stairs when she went to school. 

Every time I walked past him, to go to the washing machine, or the loo, or to leave the house...there was Kirby, smiling at me! 

Now he is only a toy....but by the end of the day, his smiling face had rubbed off on me... he stopped me in my tracks.

It was like Demps had left him there to remind me to :-)

And while out shopping with Dempsey, I saw little red flags put in my path, waving at me, to remind me to be happy. 

At Petco, this Happy Hut caught my eye.  Oh how I would've loved a happy hut a few years ago to escape to! :)

Even my bloody new shoe's bag had a smiley face plastered all over it.... 

For me, without the contrast or that dividing line grief created...the before and after...the happy and the sad, I wouldn't know that the 'little things' can make you happy.

That finding things that give me a surge of energy, that feeling that you can do anything…like you’ve just slipped into a Superman suit…that feeling that you can fly, is empowering, and helps supress any sadness.

Yes, finding what makes you happy or looking for it builds up strength for when the bad bits hit...it helps me bounce back. 

A bit like Dempsey's big red ball....................

ps; I'd love to hear the 'little things' that've made you happy this week x

Friday, May 18, 2012

Coloring each others stories..... x

Welcome to any new readers who may have found my blog from Kelle Hampton's...it's an honor to have you stop by and read my thoughts......love Diana x

Everyone has a story….

Thursday at Dempsey’s school was Author Day! And I learnt some important lessons from Fourth Graders! :)

The kids got to write a book and illustrate it based around the fairy tale Cinderella. Dempsey’s was titled, “Pupperella.”

Mums and Dad’s were invited to Author Day…to sit with their child out in the fresh air and listen to their little one's story.

I sat on a small concrete wall with Demps as she smiled shyly and opened her book.

And to be honest, my mind was thinking of all the things I had to get done at home, how I’d naughtily hidden my dirty roasting pan in the oven…about Dempsey’s piano lesson that afternoon and how she hadn’t practiced…instead of stopping and enjoying the moment with my daughter….

Until Dempsey checked me on it....
”Mummy! Are you ready, are you listening?”

And it reminded me to stop!

To slow down and be present and savor this magical moment that I, as her Mama, have the privilege to enjoy.

It made me realize that once we understand this stuff is food for our souls…we take it all in. For that moment I shared with my daughter is now a memory…I can’t get it back again.

And its things like this that teach me to be present and to enjoy the experiences because they feed my spirit.  I felt overwhelmed at how lucky and blessed I am….sitting uncomfortably on that wall! :)

I find when I make a concerted effort to be present, I take everything in. I look around and see and feel and it physically tops up my happy bank…it’s when you discover the sunshine! :)

Yes, these moments awaken me, it’s called being present….and it is a present, a gift…to be able to slow down and consciously do this.

I looked around the playground at the other mother’s, sitting closely with their kids, reading…and listening, and I wondered if they ‘feel’ this stuff…if they know how truly lucky they are? I hope so….

Watching the other kids rush off to grab one of their friend’s books, eager and excited about reading each others story opened my eyes to how we can all be interested in each others lives.  To encourage one another….

We are all an integral part of each others stories, each others life….more than we know….and we can influence how each others chapters play out.

I only had to read Dempsey’s BFF Marlee’s dedication…written by the hand of a wise 10 year old, to teach me that’s it’s important to be there for one another…

"This book is dedicated to my Best Friend Dempsey because she is always there for me."

And sometimes, when I line up at Walmart with my shopping trolley brimming with groceries, I look around at the other people in the queue…wondering what their stories are?

Wondering what challenges they face or how they fill their days...and...I smile at them if they catch me!! :)

Yes, everyone has a story….

Sometimes I wish I could re-write a few of my chapters…but I can’t…..I can only learn from them and take these lessons into each new chapter I am gifted with…every single day.

Alone in my joy, sitting on that uncomfortable wall, I realized, it’s up to me to add color and meaning and joy and fun stuff to my days ahead…...like Dempsey has done in her book….

P.S; I've written my story...a manuscript...my journey of how I survived the loss of my sister Tarnia, my mum and our 4 year old beautiful daughter Savannah...I hope one day I can publish it to help others to know you can find beauty again....and choose a happy ending.... :) x

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day for me.....and a thank you! x

Today's post is for Kelle Hampton...for honoring me and my humble blog on her inspiring blog and for all that she does with her amazing writing of her journey for all of us....on this twisted journey of beautiful moments strung together we call life.... Thank you Kelle, I don't have the words.... love Diana x  http://www.kellehampton.com/2012/05/your-stories-we-bloom.html

This morning I didn’t want to open my eyes…

It’s Mother’s Day! One of my hardest days every year…

However, as I write this, as Mother’s Day draws to an end, I have to say I’ve had a good day.   And I’ve realized, it’s our children that become our legacy when we are no longer here.  It’s what we instill in them every single day that matters….and for me, I want nothing more than my daughter to be confident, happy and capable of slaying dragons if she ever meets one. I’ve been fortunate to have been given that gift from my Mum.

I can no longer call my adored Mum…they don’t have phone lines to heaven….

I miss hearing her laughter and her encouraging advice on days like today--when I miss our daughter Savannah who should be here to love me on Mother’s Day.

But I know I can’t change that, so instead, I try to channel my Mum’s amazing spirit into my day and incorporate her life lessons and be appreciative that I AM a mum, I have Dempsey, and I did have Savannah…even if it was for only a short while….I am still her Mamma…I always will be.

This was taken on Mother's Day a few weeks after we found out Savannah had her terminal illness

I also think of my sister’s children.

They don’t get to wake up and give their mum a hug, or make her a token gift from school or pick a flower or make her breakfast in bed….

Instead, they make their Dad a card on mother’s day, unlike all the other kids in their class. 

My sister's 4 beautiful children that she left behind...they fill my blue cup with sunshine! :)

However, I’ve learned from them with their ‘no fear’ attitude to life, what it means to be brave and accept that life sometimes throws us curve balls…but its how we choose to meet those unexpected balls is what matters.  Whether we duck, run for cover…or meet the challenge head on and dare life to test our strength.

And on this Mother’s Day, I do confront a triple whammy in that my sister, mum and daughter aren’t here...I cry and I feel sorry for myself….but it never lasts all day.   How can it when you have a real live ball of wonder, who stands 4 foot tall and makes you feel like everyday is Mothers Day.

I’ve learnt from both my daughters…from Savannah when she was dying…unconditional love…that our children only really want our time.   Time to sit with them, to curl up and read stories…to leave those dishes soaking and enjoy a volley of tennis out on the road instead….that a child’s arms around your neck in a tight hug can be taken from you in a heartbeat…and that sloppy kisses are one of life’s true treasures......

From the instant we become Mother’s our soul changes…as women, we finally understand what it means to love something so fiercely…its scary…we understand life’s wealth isn’t wrapped up in a shopping bag or a bank account, but in our most prized possessions…our children.

I’m also aware on this Mother’s Day there are so many ‘want to be so badly’ mothers out there…who must find this day as hard as a mamma who has had to bury her child. But we can’t change our circumstances…only how we see them…

Today, I can choose to be a Debbie Downer all day, a Negative Nancy…or I can make a choice to learn from my daughter’s…to enjoy a great meal tonight….to sip that fine wine slowly and savor it…..to watch the sunset sink into the horizon….to value that hug from my child like it’s the last I’ll ever get…..to thank my husband for making my day special…to delight in the presence of my friends who have lovingly thought of me today and sent texts and emails…..

I only got to spend 3 Mothers Days with Savannah, and that will never be enough…however, Dempsey is alive and reminds me sometimes hourly, that life is worth living and that beauty is in the little bits.

It’s funny, we have an ongoing argument on who loves who more…I tell her I always will cos I’m her Mamma…and I tell her, “One day Dempsey, one day, when you’re a Mamma, you’ll understand……”

I’d like to leave you with Dempsey’s words…that she’s written to me…from a 9 years olds perspective.   Hidden amongst her big girl writing is a message on Mother’s Day, that life is truly worth every heartache, every joy, every challenge and the wonders of what tomorrow may bring….

“Well, I love you more than ANYTHING! Like….I love you more than ice-cream, I love you more than cake, I even love you more when you make the biggest mistakes.

I love you more than big dogs, I love you more than tiny cats, I even love you more than your favorite place to shop at.

I love you, I love you not, I love you a little, I love you a lot. And no matter what, I will love you more, you make me better when I’m sad or bored…

And that is why you are the best mom ever. Just so you know, we will always be together!”

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mums…who meet all sort of challenges, every single day…to all women...aunts, to cousins, to friends…and to Dad’s who sometimes have to do both jobs…. x

Wishing you Sunshine if your cup has been blue today. X

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pennies from Heaven..Happy Birthday Tarnia x

I found a penny today
Just lying on the ground.

But it's not just a penny,
this little coin I've found.

When an Angel misses you,
They toss a penny down.

Sometimes just to cheer you up,
To make a smile out of your frown.

So, don't pass by that penny,
When you're feeling blue. It may be a penny from heaven,
that an Angel's tossed to you.

Today is my sister Tarnia’s birthday….AND…it’s been a good day!

Tarnia and her husband Tone

Maybe it’s because I started the day off with an early morning Skype with her oldest son Alexander.

I told him I hope he does something fun for his mum today, as that’s what she would’ve wanted…for him to be happy, for her husband Tone and all her children to be happy.

And that fuels me to be there for them…to help them shine in life with encouragement and love like she would’ve done….

I miss her kids being over here in the USA.  I love them like my own and feel lucky for the 4 precious gifts in her children that she’s left with us.

Driving Dempsey to school this morning I thought of her, how I’d have called her today and reminded her with a smile in my voice, how much older than me she is! :)

I also know I’d be on the call for at least an hour as she loved to chat…and that made me smile.

I think Tarnia’s birthday, as it does every year, reminds me not to be complacent about life…to enjoy all the little things that she can’t take pleasure in anymore.

I rang my Dad in Australia and we chatted about what things would be like in our family if Tarnia was here…and I love that NOW, my dad shares his thoughts.

I was also surprised to hear he’d taken flowers to her grave.  Something he never does as it upsets him….I was really proud of him! Time is a great healer sometimes…..

I told Dad, especially on Tarnia’s birthday, her not being alive prompts me to be grateful that I have the life I do…a gift that keeps giving from her….

Things like….being able to wander into Dempsey’s room as the sun starts its day, to crawl into her warm bed beside her for a cuddle and have her snuggle up to me, with her head under my chin as we talk about the day ahead.

Tarnia and I always did that with my mum….every single morning…it was tradition…much to dad’s annoyance some days! :)

Nuzzling up to Dempsey reminded me of that today….that Tarnia doesn’t get to enjoy these things with her kids. It made me thankful….

And seeing Dempsey blossom into a pre-teen, or a tween as they call it these days.... This photo says it all….some days I feel so privileged that she’s mine and that I’m alive to witness it….

And since my last post, Rose and I have stumbled upon tranquility at it’s finest in the hills around my home.

We’ve hiked down rock-strewn roads, surrounded by horses and wobbly new foals and nervous squirrels and rabbits…..all the while chatting about life, our lives…sharing our stories.

                       Rose showing me this glorious flower..next time I'll get her sweet face! :)

The more time I spend with Rose the more I feel she’s similar to mum in so many ways…it’s such a gift!

She stops to look at the flowers and trees and comments on the bird life and just how beautiful our surrounds are…just like my mum would’ve, and I find myself smiling at that.

Last week she hugged me in the middle of our hike and told me she feels honored that I’m her friend…..and I thought, “How did I get so bloody lucky to have met her?” I like to think Mum or Tarnia has sent her. :)

 My cousin Melanie and Dempsey

My cousin Melanie visited from Australia over the weekend, so I was spoilt with lots of warm hugs and deep conversation about life with Mels. She spent time with Dempsey which warmed my heart.

Even hanging the wet towels from their swim on our clothes line reminded me life isn’t to be taken for granted!  That I can do this mundane stuff that my sister can’t anymore.

And especially today, I do wish Tarnia was here, but I know that’s impossible. So instead, I make a promise to myself not to take anything for granted…yes, even if it’s pegging the washing to our line and watching it flap about in the breeze! :)

Rather than being bitter and closed off to life because of what’s happened to our family, or the fear of what ‘might’ happen…I choose to inhale all of life’s ups and downs and let them teach me how to be appreciative.  Yes, today Tarnia has given me that gift of awareness...of everything...

Tarnia always wanted to be a teacher…she went to Uni, to follow that dream.  And today she is one of my greatest teachers, a guide for me on this twisting path of life….to remind me to be happy, to be grateful and to pay it forward to others….to share.

This afternoon, Peter arrived home early from work, wanting to go to Lowes Hardware…I yawned at the thought of Lowes, but went anyway.

And as I stepped out of our car in Lowe’s parking lot, there on the ground at my feet was a dirty old penny, lying in my path. I picked it up, smiled and said to Peter, “I think this is a penny from heaven….from Tarnia!”

“Yeah right Dee!” was his answer..:)

Well, I like to think that on Tarnia’s birthday, she sent her little sister a sign…to remind me to laugh, to enjoy every second and always, always to believe she’s around….

Happy Birthday Tarnia!  Miss you! x

P.S; we’d need a fire brigade to put out your candles this year! :) x