Category Archives: Open Letters
I’m sure if you are on Facebook you’ve seen people telling Hillary supporters who are expressing their sadness, frustration, and anger to stop being poor losers.
This prompted my post. I’m not a poor loser, I’m heartbroken.
For myself, a little, for believing that the USA was a more inclusive, loving, and kind country than it apparently is. There is a small inkling of hope deep down that the racism, sexism, and hate that obviously still exists in this country is less prevalent than was demonstrated last night because so many didn’t vote.
But mostly, I weep when reading the stories about the children who are scared that they will be unloved, unaccepted, or even thrown out of their own country for their skin color, challenges, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or any other number of reasons. What a horrible way to feel at such tender ages.
I’m heartbroken for people diagnosed with disabilities. They must wonder why we have spent so many years educating our children in our schools and homes that we are all equally as beautiful because of our differences when we elect a man who mocks mannerisms displayed by some with challenges. We teach anti-bullying because of the life-altering and detrimental effects it has on our youth, yet our President-Elect is an open and championed bully. It must seem so confusing and defeating to so many lovely souls.
I’m just as heartbroken for women who feel disillusioned that not much has changed after so many years of fighting, yet they continue to be paid less for the same or more work, being marginalized for the awesome responsibility of birthing and raising families, and being treated like sex objects by misogynists who believe woman were created merely for their pleasure.
No thanks to those who voted for a man who believes he has the right to tell woman when and where he can grab them, impregnate them and dictate that they have no option but to bear his children, (while making sure his dinner is on the table so he isn’t irate when arriving home) and if he doesn’t want you anymore, he can throw you out. Never mind he believes you have no choice but to bring a child into the world because he doesn’t want to cover contraception, and then doesn’t want to pay to help you raise the child, when you can’t afford to because he pays you less than himself merely because you are a woman and he says so.
Originally, I was a Bernie supporter. After that, many of my beliefs on GMO’s, vaccinations, climate change etc. aligned with Jill Stein. But what was most important to me was that our highest office was held by someone who represented what I thought was the foundation of America…inclusion, not merely acceptance and tolerance, but a welcoming of our differences. Knowing that a vote for anyone else was a vote for Trump, I voted for Hillary, because even if I didn’t agree with her corporate alliances, she held herself to a level of dignity while speaking from her years of experience and dedication. I wanted things to change, but not at the expense of the fabric of this country and its negative reverberations throughout the world.
I am heartbroken because it feels like in one fell swoop, we have or will soon regress to the 1950’s once again. I don’t think oppressing people based on their gender, sexual identity or orientation, dictating who can marry whom, and having men tell women what they can and can’t do with their body is “making America great again.” So, no I don’t have to ‘get in line’ or ‘be a good sport’ or ‘support the President’ because I won’t and I don’t. Calling him our President feels shameful and embarrassing. Let alone his blatant racism, bigotry, his lack of poise, vocabulary, common decency, empathy, and inability to speak the truth is beyond appalling to me.
To my fellow Americans, especially woman, children, minorities, LGBTQ, less popular religious affiliations, and those with disabilities–I hope that if I see you, you will not judge me for the fact that I am a blond-haired, blue-eyed, light-skinned woman. I see you. I hear you. I support you. I do not want to be mistaken as a Trump supporter. I am not filled with anger or bitterness towards you. I am filled with sadness that you have ever been made to feel less than. I’m scared too. The love of my life has a pre-existing condition and was unable to afford healthcare for many years. He had to spend every penny he had and didn’t have just to purchase medication to stay alive. Now he is covered, but I have no idea for how long.
Today the only thing I can think to do is to work harder to dedicate more time and energy to being kind to the less fortunate, those struggling, and those who can’t defend themselves. And I hope that I don’t have to think “I told you so,” when not only are there no more jobs created and no wall is erected, but our relations throughout the world and with one another have not improved. Again, the tiny shred of hope still alive inside me today is praying that if this travesty does anything, it allows us to truly see one another, judge less, and offer a hand more often.
To all of you who weep today along with me-sad, disillusioned and heartbroken-sending you a hug and wishes of peace, knowing that you are perfect, just the way you are. No one can take that away.
In my sadness this morning while walking my dog, this was whispered to me from beyond…“As the old brittle stalks of hate blow away, the young tender buds of love will grow, filling the world with such beauty that the ugliness you see now will be nothing more than a distant memory, never to be revisited again.”
I just returned from saying goodbye to my Nana.
I have to say, writing the eulogy for her funeral was kind of easy. Not because I wasn’t emotional, but because there were so many things to love about her. But getting up, opening my heart, and pouring it out while standing next to her coffin was extremely difficult.
I am not a fan of public speaking at all and usually will do just about anything to avoid it, but I really wanted to do this because it was an opportunity to say some of the things that I admired about her most. Although I am 100% certain that she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt just how much she means to me, I wanted to say it out loud for everyone to hear.
I really thought it was about me expressing my love for her, but quickly found out afterwards that it was a chance for me to sum up the collective love so many had for her. I was so grateful to hear that my words resonated with so many in attendance that felt exactly the same way. I was honored to have put it into words.
I am guessing it may have been difficult to hear through my shaking voice that was often overcome by sobbing. Snot running down my face could have been a distraction too (:
So I am posting this for those who may not have been able to hear it all or just would like to revisit it. And for those of you who didn’t know her, I am sharing not only because I would gladly tell anyone who would listen just what a wonderful woman and grandmother she has been to me, but to encourage you to tell those you love how you feel about them as often as you can. Grandmothers are the best, so it may even stir up memories you have about your beloved.
Time really goes by more quickly than you think and one day soon you may not have another opportunity to look in their eyes and share your feelings. And if your loved one has already passed, don’t fret, they are still with you, they can still hear, see, and feel your love.
Here it is…
My Ode to You Nana
People who’ve never met you have probably heard about your baking and cooking skills that were second to none. Even after sharing your tips with me on how you made the best cheesecake known to man, I still can’t seem to create one that comes close to yours. You were always beautiful and stylish and even though I’m partial, I still think the cutest grandmother I’ve ever seen. Although I appreciate these things about you, they are not the most important things that you taught me.
I have to say even in your physical death, I’m still learning from you. Although I’m sure you already know this, I will share this with everyone else. I woke up during the night that you passed just before 3 A.M. Typically, I don’t wake up in the middle of the night and you would be hard pressed to wake me if you tried. But for some reason I was wide awake and I had this fluttering in my heart which made me feel strange. I thought I was experiencing anxiety, but I couldn’t figure out why. A few minutes later, my dog Butters barked and growled at the end of the bed. [which also never happens]. Unable to fall back asleep, I just laid there. When my phone rang a few hours later and I saw that it was Cheryl, I knew why I hadn’t been able to sleep and what Butters was barking at. As the tears rolled down my face, I also experienced another new state of being—deep sadness and loss, but simultaneous excitement and happiness that you were finally free.[of the dementia she suffered with for years]
I feel so sad that I wasn’t there to make you smile or just sit and hold your hand but a handful of times over the last two years. But [with a special thank you to Rick for this] I am able to count myself one of the lucky ones that was able to spend so much time with you for most of my adult life. What a joy it was to have lengthy talks with you and hear about how much you loved to sing and dance as a teenage girl–like the time your group sang at an armory in Wilmington to raise money for war bonds– but how you never regretted giving it up for your husband to start a family. Or watching you laugh as you shared stories of how your brothers and sisters interacted and how you were so scared to go to the bathroom at night that you made your sisters come with you. Thank you for sharing what it was like to grow up like you did, having to quit school in your early teens to cook and clean for your family, which you did without complaining.
No matter what you had been through–from the humble beginnings, to living a well-off life with Pop-pop and back to humble endings, [but graciously supported by Cheryl & Joe]–you were always grateful. Over the years of sharing breakfast and lunches with you, I watched how you never tired of saying, “Oh my, what a big beautiful omelet,” every time it came, like it was the first time you’d been able to have one. I’m still not quite sure where you put all that food and how you stayed that tiny considering you out ate me every time. You always noticed the little things. I still see your eyes smiling when you said, “That is delicious!“ the first time I made you try a vanilla latte instead of plain coffee. Even when you didn’t have money to buy things you were just grateful to admire big beautiful furniture, run your fingers over the deep colored threads of winter sweaters, appreciate the vibrancy of spring flowers, or just be completely focused on the pleasure of a smiling baby. Thank you for always being a joy to be around and for teaching me what simple yet complete gratitude looks like.
Some may think that being a homemaker and taking care of others is a simple job, only for those who don’t “really” work. Well, everybody that is except those who actually do it, because they know that it is the most exhausting, underpaid, under appreciated and non-stop work there is. From watching you, I learned the exquisite joy of serving others. I love that even when you were in your seventies, you didn’t consider yourself old, declaring that it was your job to help the “old people” out at Sacred Heart Village. I never tired of watching you take cookies, cakes, cheesecakes and candy to share with your home mates. Whatever you had to give, you gave freely and with the touch that only a loving mother possesses. Thank you for teaching me that no matter how much or how little you have, giving is the real gift.
Finally, one of the biggest lessons you taught me was what unconditional love looks like. It didn’t matter what was going on in my life or how long it had been since I’d seen you, you always welcomed me with hugs, kisses, and the feeling that there was nothing more important to you than being overjoyed to see me. Although I thought it was so sweet that you were so proud of what I’d written last, or what I’d been learning about, the biggest gift you gave me was loving me no matter what. Your example of forgiving and forgetting, because it was more important to just be together again, will be something that I will strive to emulate.
I believe that you were given the perfect name. The Swedish meaning of Johanna is Gracious. Gracious is described as being courteous, kind, and pleasant–“smiling and gracious in defeat.” I think you embodied that perfectly. The Latin meaning of Johanna is “God is gracious.” And he was… for blessing me, and so many others with you for 90 years. I will miss your hugs and pats, your gorgeous green eyes that didn’t fade with age, and your infectious laugh. But most of all, I will carry you in my heart with gratitude that I was blessed to be loved by you.
Merry Christmas Nana… Enjoy your welcome home party!
Mostly, I have seen nothing but a massive outpouring of love for the tragic loss of Robin Williams. Which makes me happy to see people so full of gratitude for the humor and laughs he invoked in just about everyone who has seen any of his countless comedic endeavors.
What made me want to give my two cents is the unfortunate post I ran across on Facebook last night. The post was a tribute to all that Robin had offered to the world and how sad it was to lose him. What struck me were some of the comments people responded to the post with.
Now I know, this is a free country and they can say whatever they want.
That being said, maybe we should think a bit more before opening our mouths. Some of the derogatory comments mentioned that Robin was a coward and selfish and it was cruel what he did to his family. And I suppose that people are entitled to that opinion. But, I’m also entitled to respond.
As someone who has both suffered from severe depression and lost an immediate family member to suicide, I feel that I have a pretty good view to share. And although these random commenters have every right to feel the way they do, oh how I wish they could truly feel what people who take their own lives feel before they go rendering their judgments.
Yes, suicide is heartbreaking. For those who feel so low and full of pain that they see no other way out. For those left to mourn their loss and wonder if there was something else they could have done or said that could have changed the outcome.
But in defense of all of those who are already gone, who did it, who killed themselves. Having been so low and having debated taking my own life, I can say that suicide is by no means an act of cowardice. In my opinion, it is the exact opposite. I never had the balls to actually go through with it because I was a coward, and I was afraid.
I am not glamorizing it by any stretch of the imagination. It is not glamorous. It is the polar opposite. It is tragic and messy and so devastating that it takes your breath away over and over again. They are not heroes because they allowed their finger to push the trigger, or jump off the stool. And I can say that the survivors of loved ones who have done the unspeakable, we are not heroes either. We are sad and scarred souls who ache to depths that many will hopefully never have to experience.
I can say that those kind, sensitive, sad and beautiful human beings who have chosen to end their physical life on earth, that they are not cowards, they are not selfish. They were human. They were in pain. They were hopelessly sad. They were so tortured that they could not see any light at the end of the tunnel.
And instead of calling them names, thinking bad about them or their acts, or putting ourselves above them, it is my hope that we can all take a moment to send them and their families love.
It also makes me realize that we as society, me included, should take more time out of our day to smile at one another. To reach out to people. To lend a hand. To put aside our annoyance at those who are sad or acting out and try to see from their perspective. To offer our ear even if we are tired. To let go of judging others for their so-called sins of struggling with alcohol & drugs or whatever and look below the surface. They are calling out for help. Give them a hand. That is when they need it the most.
They may or may not take it. That is not up to us, but them. And whatever they decide, I hope that we can always celebrate the beauty they brought into our lives for however long.
Finally, for those of you that say that people who have taken their own lives are selfish and cowardice, to you I wish for you that you never have to suffer from the excruciating pain that one who suffers from such intense depression. It is horrible. I also wish for you that you never have to live through losing a family member to suicide. Again, it is worse than horrible. But what I do wish is that you may just for a few moments, drop your uneducated judgment of those who have and do suffer. May your life be a thousand times easier and that you only have to learn your lessons of empathy and compassion through another’s experiences in a blog.
With love & respect for all of those who have suffered on either side of suicide. And to Robin Williams and all those who chose suicide, may you see clearly just how beautiful & loved you are. And for those who are contemplating suicide, I wish you the ability to see how each and every one of us is a candle to illuminate one another’s paths.
If you want or need a hand, just reach out.