So Much Heavy


When you are already fragile, so many times things will make the exhaustion of grief that much heavier.  These times: Covid, so much division in our country, then the Ukraine’s crisis.  A mentor passes away and yet another special needs family’s child passes away. Today I light candles, meditate, listen to music, rest. So weary.

A reminder that self-care can look like many things. I do it small. Take breaths. Step outside on this bright blue with sparkly snow on the ground day. I watch the birds. Write what I can. When Sophie died I couldn’t write. It bothered me more than I’d like to admit. I’d written for years. Some people journal. I found that I couldn’t. In grief you find your way to grace. At least I did with small steps. Grief looks differently on everyone.

As I write this the song, Lean on Me, by Bill Withers starts playing.

Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow

But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me
When you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on…

For it won’t be long
Till I’m gonna need somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow

For no one can fill
Those of your needs that you won’t let show

You just call on me brother when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on

I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me
When you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on…

For it won’t be long
Till I’m gonna need somebody to lean on

We all need someone to Lean on. Let it be received with grace and no judgement.

If you are grieving, please go easy on you.


To Life…And Death

Ah Life.

Just when you feel like the heavy has moved to a lighter page, something hits you.  It could be a reminder of your loved one who is now gone, or it could be the tsunami of the death of a friend. Recently I celebrated the life of a special needs Mom who was so much more than that.  She brought my YaYas together- a small group of Moms who have kids with special needs. This connection has been my lifeline for almost 30 years. It was Sam who brought us into a small room while our kids were getting therapy so that we could share stories, bond, and give advice to each other. We held each other when things got bad, we screamed into the phone when we were on the way yet again to the hospital.

So much so, that we took very short trips for years to get a break (that was a feat in itself,) and to this day we try to get together once a month.

We YaYas have so much to be grateful for with the knowledge that Sam shared with us.  We pass it down as best we can to other caregivers. She will be missed on so many levels.

So we toasted our wine (her favorite beverage) and ate amazing recipes she collected on her social media. All in honor of her.  Salute!

My YaYas

Moving Forward

Paying the Bills.

Prior to Covid, I was an aide/sub teacher at the local high school.  Our local school took me on when I was able to find the energy and time to work while Sophie was in the last years of her life.  I got divorced. I needed an income.  These wonderful people took me in.  I have a lot of experience in teaching and helping special needs students as I ran the educational program for Sophie for many years.  While this is not my passion, this skill has helped me pay my bills while I work on my passion.  These people have helped me through some of the toughest years of my life and provided for my family. 

Once again, I find myself as an aide/sub.  As I take classes in grief education, bereavement, and working on myself to help others, this gives me the grace to learn and prepare. These educators have given me a work family and income to continue to Walk On.  I am forever in their debt.

It’s been a tough few years, especially in the education and medical fields.  Hug a teacher when you can safely. Elbow or fist bump a nurse or doctor. Most importantly thank them for their persistence, strength and love of their career choices. A little grace to everyone you meet.

Those First Steps…

I’m retired… Not Really.

This is difficult to write.  How do you get friends, family, even strangers to understand that after 25 years of caregiving I am done with caregiving?  I need to make a living, like seriously, some thing that pays the bills and has benefits. I know this. But 25 years of caregiving without a paycheck is not what businesses want to see on a resume.

So I get creative on my resume.  I give deep thought as to what I really want to be. What I want to contribute to the world, what would feed me now. I have been fortunate to be an aide/sub at the local high school. These wonderful people have kept me afloat mentally, physically, and financially for a few years now. So grateful.

People freak a bit when I say I am interested in Hospice, in the journey of Death and Dying, in Grief and Bereavement. The connections I have made in the Grief Community leads me there- I want to help the caregivers as they journey through this part of living, dying, and afterwards with their loved ones. The western world for the most part does a bad job of helping in this portion of living.

Having been a part of the medically fragile world for so long, I see so many gaps in the care of the caregiver.  They are a stubborn group, facing unimaginable stress and trauma, but will do anything for their loved one’s peace.  They think of themselves last- even though they’ve been told a million times self-care is important, to put their mask on 1st, you can’t drink from an empty vessel, you can’t go on this way-what happens when you can’t do it anymore? But they do.  I did.  My body is completely falling apart.  I’m sure my mind is not far behind.

After the death of my sweet daughter, I spent time and energy trying to understand this journey.  I gave myself grace for a time, then out of necessity I worked.  Then Covid hit. Another pause. In this pause I spent a lot of inner work to figure out what I wanted to do. I volunteered at a Hospice, learning the ins and outs of the business as best I could from “teachers” who had walked my path before.

I am a Certified Grief Educator through the program by David Kessler. That name may sound familiar- he worked with Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Dr. Kubler-Ross wrote a number of books, one of her most known is “On Death and Dying” and the 5 stages of death.  The stages have been changed and analyzed over the years; most importantly David Kessler has reiterated that the stages are not linear.  David has written books with Dr. Kubler-Ross, and since her death has gone on to be a prolific writer, speaker, and wisdom sharer regarding grief, trauma, and the dying.

I’m now an ordained Minister through the Universal Life Church Ministries. What does that mean? It means I can marry people, reside over ceremonies, and follow my desire to help people. While this is a future ability, it is not my current focus. I wish to help caregivers.  

I’ve worn many hats on this journey.  I’ve been a caregiver, yes, but so much more.  I’ve been a doctor/nurse, a teacher, an advocate, a mentor, a writer, a “McGyver”, a photographer, a holder of memories, an encourager and mostly a Mom. Time to take these skills to a new level.