remembering dad and a few good things

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s passing.

I remember him with his smile, sky blue eyes, nice skin, strong chin, beautiful voice, and presence. I wish things were different and we could go back and fix everything between us. I wish I could be there for him and kiss his cheeks once more. I wish I could say daddy again.

I cannot.

But I also know that he and I loved each other and we would not wish for another dad, another daughter. He showed his fatherhood and introduced us to not only life but also death, and walked through his lonely journey all by himself. Like his dad, like his mom, like his brothers. At least he was not alone.

Rest in peace dad. One day I will find you again. I promise.

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In the last few days I have been getting really tired of being annoyed by some people and my work being the most important thing in my life.

I had to have dinner with two colleagues I really dislike (!) and a third one I somehow like. I hated the idea of spending my time with the people I disliked but the night went okay, thanks to my third colleague. The two continued to annoy me during the dinner and it has come to a point that I do not want them to affect me this way anymore. I do not know why I cannot let go off their ridiculous ways, but this is what it is.  I will find additional ways to further distance myself from them. At least the benefit of this highly annoying dinner was that finally I have had it enough. It came to a point that cannot be ignored. And this is a good thing. A large part of our relationship is over.

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And I have been thinking for sometime that life has been going, I was getting older and closer to death each day, and all I was thinking about lately was how miserable, stressed, unappreciated, and financially insecure I was at work. 

One of the changes that has happened this past summer was that I did not want to dwell on small issues and rather use my time, effort, and skills for bigger issues, bigger fights, bigger good. The fact is this: I happen to find issues in anything in life (a professional curse) and dwell on them full force. The question I asked myself was whether I wanted to have a bigger professional life and deal with bigger issues taking similar time and energy, and having similar levels of irritation/stress. The answer is an easy yes. That is why I undertake a lot more this year in terms of leadership and committee work.

I have started to extend this to my personal life. This morning I was talking to my sister and I said since my social life is small, even the little social interactions, if a little annoying, annoys me big time. I said that I have decided to have a bigger life and then get annoyed if I must. Maybe I will learn one or more things. Maybe I will meet great people. Maybe I will find ways to enrich my own inner life. I know it will be better, no matter what.

As part of this, I am excited to say that I re-started my stretching/meditation classes tonite. Just like that I showed up there, purchased my plan, sat on the floor in a quiet, warm, and cozy room with others, breathed in and out, calming my mind and soothing my body. And I just felt that calming my mind was one of the most fantastic things I have ever done for myself lately.

🙂

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random thoughts in a fine day

It has been a fine day.

What a luxury.

I am for sure grateful for today enormously.

The day started before 9 am with a good night sleep and not so negative thoughts rushing in my mind. The Sunday morning routine, which consists of shaping my sourdough loaf and then drinking coffee nice and easy while also browsing the news and emails, went without any rush or stress. It was fully relaxing.

A couple of things that I have done differently than my routine weekend activities were speaking to my family a little bit early, dressing up for the afternoon funeral, taking the bus to go to office, and working there for a few hours without any distraction or humans around.

This may sound weird, but not having anyone around gave me peace today. 

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I then walked to the funeral home nearby and paid my respect to the deceased person I knew. She was lovely person with a genuine interest in anyone she met with. I hope she had had a lovely life and lots of laughters. She sure was loved.

At the funeral home, I gotta meet with a few colleagues of mine and found a chance to talk with them as well. It was nice to feel like a community and supporting our friends during these difficult times. Togetherness means a lot in these situations. I am glad I have showed up there today.

While I stayed longer than I planned, I left there feeling at peace. The walk back to home was around 30 min and relaxing. The chilly but clean air makes a positive impact on me – it was one of these rare occasions lately that I just walked effortlessly and without any work related issues in my mind. There was no stress today.

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I keep thinking that I am not a funeral person. I believe this was the 3rd funeral I have ever attended in my life. I know this is weird, but I am not used to death even though I am mid-aged. I have a tendency to get emotional, break tears, not know what to say, eventually feel like a drama queen who thinks that she behaved like everything was about herself, rather than a concerned person who supports the people who have lost a loved one. I find myself ridiculous, in summary. But I also like the fact that I am aware of my behavior or naiveness. I know that next time I will become closer to what I think I must do and support those people with words, actions, and care.

It occurred to me once again today that I did not attend my father’s funeral almost 2 years ago. Not that I did not want to. I could not. It would require me to fly around 24 hours to reach to my home country and then an additional 12 hours to reach where my father used to live. I could not see myself doing this trip without breaking emotionally. So I rather stayed here and lived every single pain, concern, and true sadness of this new reality of my dad.

One of the colleagues I met at the funeral today told me that we come to life alone, and we leave life alone. How true. It is this part of the journey that made me sad more – the process of death and going through it all alone. Did my dad know that he was dying? Was he scared? Did he need me or someone else? I will never know. But I know that by giving my full attention to him in my thoughts I at least felt like I was with him then.

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Death changes you. That is for sure. It is so powerful. But so is life. Another colleague of mine I saw today said that it was all about what we wanted in life and whether or not what we have right now was it. If not, what were we waiting for? Let’s make that jump to start the journey towards what our heart wishes. 

How interesting to hear this from someone else today.

I told her what has been on my mind for sometime – I know that this was not what I wanted, but I did not know what I really wanted and hence cannot take the steps. Yet.

She smiled and said – its time would come eventually.

I believe in this. Life is precious. My life. Your life. Anybody’s life. 

what matters in life most

I will be attending a funeral tomorrow for someone I knew. 

Like many of us, I have many minor things in my life and thoughts that actually do not matter most in life; work-related issues and people’s behaviors would be the top two. I stress and hurt myself over these.

What is the purpose of all these fuss that clogs our vision and prevents us from seeing what really matters in life? I do not know. Maybe we are taking it too serious. Maybe we need to secure our physical, mental, and financial well-being before we can let go or enjoy life. Maybe we are conditioned too much or scared unnecessarily? I do not know really.

Will it matter eventually? 

Soon it is gonna be two years that I have lost my dad – may he rest in peace. I had realized only after his death that in reality, one day we are alive and the next day it is done.

Thus, the question: What really matters?

  • My family matters
  • I matter
  • Making a positive contribution to society or others matters
  • Feeling good matters
  • Feeling free matters
  • Being hopeful matters
  • Being treated with respect and fairness matters
  • Feeling optimistic or in control about my future and retirement matters
  • Seeing things a little bit more clearly matters
  • Developing skills to know what is important and what is not, and to act or change accordingly, matters; if you have any suggestions on how to do this, please drop a line or two in the comments section

joy journal – September 10, 2017

It has been a long time that I wrote in this journal. I miss it almost everyday but it is hard to find time to put the words out. Today I am taking my time as I made a conscious choice of being grateful and, as a result feeling good.

Not all days and moments are joyful, or without any problem or hurt that bothers us. But we/I could find some time to remember the things, event, experiences, and people that makes our lives better, safer, and enjoyable. This journal has served me well in this sense, I hope you too will start your own and benefit from it at least as much as I do.

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1. I am grateful for sleeping well and getting up at around 9 am. It was not too early or too late. Just right.

2. I am grateful for my morning coffee which was just right. Every once a while I get the temperature right and today was one of those times. With a little bit of sugar, it was the most enjoyable drink I have had in the last while 🙂

3. I am grateful for not getting crazy over the rain. I was planning to shop today but it rained whole day and made my plan a future plan. I do not need anything urgent, but shopping would be very therapeutic and help me with feeling good and excited. Ah, shopping…. 🙂

4. I am grateful for baking a sourdough loaf today. I run out of the bread in my freezer and I was so craving for fresh bread 🙂 

5. I am grateful for speaking with my family today and for their well being, health, and happiness.

6. I am grateful for working today. I worked around 3 hours reviewing a report and drafting a report about it. I still have work to do on it, but I started and this is good. I must finish my report in two weeks and I have ample time now that I progressed quite a bit today.

7. I am grateful for being assertive with a dominant and bossy collaborator of mine. He changes things or involves more people in without consulting me on matters directly related to me. I swallowed a few incident like that in the last one month and today he did it again and I said it is time that we talked. I asked him to call me, which he did and we talked. He admits that I am a control freak (who did not know this?) and he was too negligent of others’ opinions and priorities. We talked like two mature individuals with understanding and without yelling or getting mean, which was nice. I am not naive enough to think that this talk has solved the problem for ever; no, as long as I work with him, we will come to the same point again and again. But I am happy that I talked without fearing negative consequences (I actually need him for a project of mine), and formed a more respectful bond between us. This is good enough for now and we can always talk in the future should it be required.

8. I m grateful for the kale meal I have cooked yesterday. At one point in the afternoon I took a supplement that upset my stomach. I ate the meal and it was okay after that. Should I not have the meal ready, I think I would suffer longer while trying to cook something new. Long live kale! 🙂

9. I am grateful for my windows being open and having fresh air in. I love this about summer and fall. One of my treasured activities at home. I feel so lucky 🙂

10. I am grateful for listening to a relaxing music that is great for my fried nerves…. Many years ago I used to try to mediate listening to this kind of music. Seeing the bigger picture in life and feeling safe and well in it in the moment are priceless. I should try sitting meditation someday again, but honestly it is the most boring thing for me (I know many people can do it – hats off!!).

11. I am grateful for stepping out for a short time and purchasing yogurt. I love yogurt!! I can eat an entire tub on a single day; it is creamy and healthy. I should make better choices and opt for low fat variety next time. My doctor informed me that my bad cholesterol is a little bit high. I am still at low risk group, but it was consistently increasing in the last year, so I must be careful with it.

12. I am grateful for realizing my needs and short-comings. I  just had a birthday in the last few weeks. Between the trip to Rome and the busy and stressful work schedule, I could not reflect on my new age except in a few short moments….. I have been looking forward to a quiet time to actually reflect and figure out how I feel about my age and aging, what changes I must introduce in my life, and how content I was with everything else. But this is not happening yet, and I feel annoyed by this… I know that I am changing as a middle aged individual. I know my dreams and plans are changing. I know my days are getting shorter and shorter and so are the days of my loved ones. My chronic disease and death probability is also increasing with each passing moment. These demand significant changes in my attitude, my life-style, and the way I look at life and my priorities. I know my health and my family’s health are the most important thing, but ask me how I contribute to either of this and the answer will be very lame. I am so focused on turning work around and dealing with antsy bitsy issues that I cannot find time to think big or be positive. What a shame…. I am rationally aware of what I must do, yet still cannot or do not take the steps to better my life and spend more time with and cherish my family…. It takes one step to start this journey… I wish that I can start it right now… I may or may not, but at least I am aware of my need and wish and who knows, maybe I will take that step sometime soon.

13. I am grateful for having the day to myself. I plan to watch TV after this and enjoy my time.

14. I am grateful for the cat of my neighbour’s who spends time in my yard a lot. It is a beautiful black and young female cat that keeps hunting and surveilling the yard for pests and moth. She killed a little rat a couple of weeks ago in my yard, which was a scary sight at first. But I am so grateful for this mouser that keeps my yard free of pests. She and I do not interact much except that we both look at each other whenever both of us exist in the yard at the same time. I respect her presence and she respects mine. We are a good team 🙂

15. I am grateful for the food in my fridge and pantry; all the clothes, shoes, furniture, and everything else in my home. They make my life easy and comfortable. 

16. I am grateful for making a conscious effort to have a healthier lifestyle as of today. The last 2 months have been crazy stressful and I lacked the time, energy, and willpower to pay attention to my own health and well being. I almost left home today for a convenience store trip to get junk food, but stopped at the last minute and I am very happy about this.

17. I am grateful for being grateful and finding time to note these here today 🙂

on life, death, and nature

My mom’s little bird has died after a couple of week’s illness. It was loved, cared, pampered, and cherished. 

My mom and sister are feeling the pain of losing something that they loved so much. They feel like they have not done enough to care for the bird and blame themselves.

Nothing could be far from the truth; they cared for it while she was healthy and especially when she was sick. They have got an expensive medical care for the little one and gave water using  syringe and kept it on their chest when she needed warmth and contact. They monitored it around the clock. They have done more than many people I know respecting and caring for that life. Yet, it was just her time to go and here my sister and mom feeling the blame and sadness.

It is natural to feel the sadness and grief, but I wished they did not blame themselves for what happened to this lovely creature. 

I told them what I experienced when my father had died 1.5 years ago. The sadness was nothing like I knew before, grief was overwhelming, I too blamed myself for not caring for my dad while he was alive or while he was dying. I still do. But I remember my wish to walk and see the nature as it is at that time, as life and death are a part of our life cycle and seeing nature I was able to put this in a rational frame. I remember looking at the trees, some naked and dried up, some looking like dying, but I knew that in spring some of them at least would flourish. I also remember seeing a man with a little child…. Life was continuous, only the life forms would be changing. We may lose one, heck, we will lose ourselves one day, but life will continue with a different tree, in a different place, with a different human.

It is impossible not to feel sadness and grief upon losing someone or an animal that we have loved. We have two options; either not love anything/anyone to protect ourselves from this, or love and go through the consequences. That is a natural dilemma of being human and having a consciousness. There can be no good solution to deal with death of a loved one…

But we can care and demonstrate our love while pets and humans are still alive.

After all, life is short and we have a tendency to focus on what we have in our plates at the time being, and forget the reality to come.

Go hug someone, a pet, or a tree today. Tell them or show them you care. Love yourself too and receive the love from others. Do not be shy.

 

 

 

The curious case of…… my life’s purpose

What is the purpose of my life, if I may ask myself?

I know I am supposed to do somethings that will change life as a whole. I will leave no legacy possibly, but memories and important accomplishments for many. I will leave information, knowledge, questions, and answers. I will leave this blog as long the domain keeps it and it is accessible through the internet.

I believe that I am here for a reason or two. I know, like all of us, I am unique in some ways and contribute to life and shaping it. I know there are many things I could do under the right circumstances. I keep coming to the same point that I am not where I am supposed to be and I am not engulfed in what I am really good at and can make a good difference. I should be wasting my energy, thoughts, and time with things that matter most.

What are they?

I have no current idea, but I know things are shaping in the horizon. Whether in this job or somewhere else I will be evolving to a point that rather than struggle and nerve-wars, I will be flourishing.

My best in life is yet to come. I strongly believe in this. Whether through failure or success should not matter.

I read in two different blogs the same question in the last 1 hour; how would you live if you knew you would die soon?

What an interesting question.

We will die, will we not? What then matters most?

I am a true believer of relativity and the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I know I am at the top of this pyramid now and am trying to figure out my place in life and in my career. I question everything and looking for better opportunities. The use of term “better” should signal that I already have other, albeit less favored, options. I know I can find jobs that may or may not pay as much as what my current work pays. It would be difficult but not impossible. I know I could get jobs in other places/countries. I know I could switch to other professions and maybe just work longer than I have planned. Heck, I can stay where I am.

So the future may be blank and with less favorable circumstances, especially in terms of financial security. That is a risk hard to take. Maybe I will take it, maybe I will not. Only time will show.

 

 

 

cemetery visit

There is a nice cemetery somewhere like 20 min away from home. I used to walk to visit it time to time before I moved to my current home – my then-flat was very close.

It is a perfect reflection of life; there is a combination of old and young tombstones; big and little ones; single and family ones.. There is nothing nice about death, but there is such a nice feeling of knowing that it is peaceful there. And that we are still alive and have a chance to make the best out of our lives. However miserable our lives may look, we still have it and all the opportunities it can offer us.

I used to be scared of cemeteries when I was younger. After all we always visited the graves of our loved ones; family mostly, and there are so many horror stories/movies we grew up with. I visited my dad’s grave last year; I was not scared but I was immensely saddened….  His name was on a tomb. So saddening… But it was peaceful, too. He lies in a beautiful grave yard, under the branches and leaves of beautiful trees, and away from the hassle, chaos, and noise of city centre. I still remember the voice of the trees; the soothing noise their leaves make when the wind goes through them…. Trees are so magical and there is nothing more soothing than having them at cemeteries.

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When I woke up this morning, I was excited to see the bright day out and decided to walk. I bought myself a nice cup of coffee and bagels at a cafe and then I walked to that cemetery. It changed a little bit since I have been there last time. There is now a couple of sections for the ashes. There are more seating space. I sat on one of them today for a few minutes. I asked “how do I make the best out of my life?”.

I did not have an immediate answer (from my subconsciousness, certainly not from the souls lying in the cemetery – I am not superstitious). But I sure am reminded about all the opportunities I have at life. My life.

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when death baffles, again and again

I just learnt today that someone I know only through blogging has died of cancer this weekend. She was young (around early 30s), with a husband and a little son. May she rest in peace.

She was always open about the encounters with life about first survivorship and then being a terminal patient. My understanding was that she was diagnosed with breast cancer, treated and was on remission, only tho find out later that she now had multiple metastases in her body. It was frightening to hear the news for me. I had met her when she was on remission and I never thought that she would become terminal. But she did.

Still in that situation, she kept her chin up and her ordeal open for everyone to learn from. She was so positive and upbeat that it was again hard for me to realize that she was terminal. In one posts, she said “make no mistake, I am dying“. That broke my heart and I guess I started to take it a little bit more serious then. Communicating with someone whose days on this life is limited is a strange feeling…. Thinking that next day, next week, next year, this person will not be here…. How fragile and strange life can be, right?

Right.

Another thing that broke my heart was when she said that her doctor would be removing/or not removing (cannot remember which one and it does not matter really) her breast fillers (which she always hoped that one day would help with reconstructing her breasts). I thought she must have been heart-broken…. How did she stand so tall in the middle of all of these frustration and disappointment? She was a strong girl, but goodness knows, this could not be easy.

And a couple of weeks back, just like that, out of blue, we learnt that she was hospitalized, in pain, in hospice care, and having trouble with eating/feeding tube. And today we learnt that she had passed out last weekend.

I do not know what to think, what to feel for. I am certainly sorry for the family and friends. But I am feeling very weird, very weird.

She was here and now she is gone. She knew she was gonna die, but I never thought that would happen (duh me). What did she feel or think prior to her death in the hospital, the hospice care, right before her death? How did she face (I am sure she was courageous) death? The prospect of death?

Thinking about these nauseates me. 

She is not the first one that I knew and lost to cancer. On facebook I am still friends with a friend of mine who died of melanoma at the age of 40. I now follow blogs of not one but two deceased cancer patients. These numbers, you know are, likely to increase.

 I dislike cancer and what it does to us, directly or indirectly. I hope one day we will really be able to control this diseases.

Until then, all I can say is; please be aware of the risk factors of cancer, limit them as much as you can, see your doctor when you suspect something wrong is going on, take advantage of the screening programs (like colonoscopy, mammography and others), and be active in your own health care.

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random thougths

It is Friday 🙂

This week has passed pretty fast and I did not get tired. That means I am planning to go back to the office, hopefully tomorrow and take care of some stuff. That does not happen to me frequently, but when I feel like working at the office at a weekend, it usually indicates my eagerness to finish something without getting stressed. So it is a good thing 🙂

Tonite I am listening to Amy Winehouse – Back to Black.

It somehow saddens me to see her singing in this video, knowing that she has passed away. What a strong voice, what a vulnerable person. The video clip is so openly about death that it heightens my sadness somehow – did she ever think about her death while shooting this video, while singing this song? Does anything that mattered to her when she was alive matter right now?

The answer is a clear no.

So, why do I keep get upset about the tinniest s.it? I am particularly agitable about someone at work the last few weeks. I want to get rid of this annoyance, these silly thoughts. I want to enjoy my moment and cherish everything I am grateful for. Yet, when was the last time I wrote my joy journal?  I increasingly believe that it is only the human nature to be engulfed in the little issues in the absence of apparently bigger issues.. Maybe I should be grateful that I have such small issues at the centre of my life right now.

……

The last two months have passed very fast…. I cannot put my finger on why. It is not like I was amazingly busy at work or out of work. It is strange. I wanted to live and be mindful of each day. Yet here I am at the beginning of March looking back two months and I cannot identify anything notable that happened in the last 60 something day… Strange.. Weird..

Something needs to change, I guess. First thing first is to find new projects at work and at personal life. It is boring to keep thinking and doing the same thing, going to the same places/stores, and buying the same types of food.

Where is my adventurous spirit?

Where is the curiosity? Once it was continuous. Now it is hard to find fast….

Please do not tell me that I just got old.

a year without dad

Today is the first anniversary of the death of my dad – May he rest in peace…

I have been dreading this day knowing that it would make me deeply remember my dad (for which I am grateful), my regrets of what I should have done or what I should not have done when he was alive (for which I came to realization that there is nothing to be done), and the sadness I experience  over his death (which is so vivid and continuous)…

I am very sorry that my dad and I did not spend more quality time together. That I could not be a good daughter for him. That I was not with him when he died.

Despite these, I also know that he loved me and looked after me all the time. He forgave me too, for things I should not have said or done. My father was a father alright.

Among all these turbulent emotions, I am glad for a couple of things, too. When my father died, one of the fears I had developed was to forget my dad. I am glad that this has not turned into reality. And lately I thought that when I died, he would guide me and welcome me to death. I know this is ridiculous but it so soothes me and makes me unafraid of death. I am still not interested in dying (when he died I developed fear of my own mortality), but when the time comes I hope I will remember this.

Rest in peace dad. I am sorry for a lot of things. You knew these and you still loved me. For that I am ashamed, awed, and grateful. You know I would not choose another dad, but you. I love you.

Till next time. 

 

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Death baffles me each time..

I just learnt that someone I know, a most gentle and kindest soul I have ever known, has died yesterday because of complications from pneumonia.

We were not close, but I had respect for him (he was my senior). He was a legend in so many different ways back in the day. When I met him, he was afflicted with diabetes and was over-weight. One common friends of mine was complaining, saying things like “I told him to quit drinking juice so many different times…”  As if the other person would not do that himself if he could. People can be so silly sometime.

Anyways… We used to chat time to time on social media, the latest one being on Nov 25th last year…. The last things we talked about was he asking me going to his city to see him and other friends of ours and me responding to that by saying ” hopefully :)”…

I could not see him or talk to him after that, but I am glad we were nice and kind to each other and I am glad we have had good wishes for each other. I just am shocked that this person now is dead. His body is cold. He will never chat with me or anyone else again.

This is so surreal…

I have a problem with death. However natural it can be, I do not care – I have a problem with it.

Eddie – rest in peace my friend. You are free now. You can be everything and anything you want to be. Wherever you are, I can see you smiling even though it hurts to think that you are gone at such a young age. Rest in peace my friend. Rest in peace.

 

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And here is something as part of celebration of your life – something that you liked so much and were so good at: 

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the fifth and the sixth day of the staycation

Finally I feel like I have done quite a bit done today 🙂

Yesterday I baked three different loaves for a social I was invited to, cleaned some more parts of my house, had great time with four kids and four adults at a lovely dinner.

I am glad the socials are done. I just need to host a friend of mine whose mom is visiting them. This, honestly stresses me out as I am not a great cook. But, then the way I see many people are not, either (a positive outcome of frequent socials in the last few months). So I say – go for it and enjoy! I cannot wait this “task” in my to-do-list to be over (see how joyful I am about this? argh…).

And I am done with cleaning the kitchen, floors, and every single corner of the house today 🙂 I have more space in my fridge and kitchen cabinets now. No need to say that I am dumping a fair amount of clutter and gathering items to be donated. It feels good. I am not done with decluttering, though. I still have my storage cabinet to be cleaned and decluttered. Honestly it always scares me, but I think I will be fine once I start it.

I also need to wash two shag rugs at a nearby laundromat. After that I want to sell them. There I said it… I bought and use them with love, but I think it is time we depart our ways and get new ones…. That also feels good to me 🙂

My rotary cuter and cutting mat are not delivered yet – they were supposed to be here last Thursday, but alas.. I have been waiting for them to start doing some serious sewing but this afternoon I was not feeling well and I decided I could work it out somehow. And I kind of did – I sewn a lovely yellow and large dish cloth to be used on my counter 🙂 It is simple yet lovely and I am sure it will help me keep me my counter dry.

As my to-do-list is being taken care of, my reflection time is coming along…. Somewhere above I mentioned I was not feeling well. I missed my family and I am very aware of the fact that none of us are getting younger. When there is family there is love and when there is life there is death.. 2 + 2 = 4. It is very scary. I love my family and I do not wish to them to die, but this can happen anytime. Heck, I may die myself anytime. Why am I away from them? When am I going to be done with the work and start spending time with them? I was not planning to go visit them this year, but I guess I will do it – I want to do it. I was telling a friend of mine the other day – if I could retire I could quit work, too, but I just cannot. Money is not the most important thing, yes, but it can provide opportunities and some kind of happiness, right? Right.

The past one year I have been grieving after my dad and my relationships with the rest of my family has been slightly strained as a result. I am still grieving for my dad, still feeling the reality of death (some mornings I wake up thinking that “there; one more day of my life to be wasted. yet it is so precious. How can I enjoy i and make it more meaningful?” I have no answer to these questions…), but I have nowadays started to feel the fear of losing my other family members.. This clenches my heart…

I believe it is time that I care about my family members more.

After his death, I developed this strange fear of forgetting my dad, but I know that this will not happen. I think my father too would love me caring for the rest of the family.

Self-reflections to continue…..

 

 

random thoughts

Three more days till my two weeks holidays time off 🙂 I cannot wait!

Honestly, I am done with work. I have things to do but enough is enough. I have been working very hard and made a good attempt to finish ongoing work. I will make one last push tomorrow and Wednesday, and then I will take Thursday off (even though it is not  apart of our holidays). I deserve this extra day 🙂

I have done the majority of my shopping by taking advantage of the sales, though I still would love to check trousers and get one or two if they are on sale. Other than that, I have no need for shopping and I feel good about this. Of course I have many socials to attend, especially this week, which kind of makes me bored already, but I will go through it. The exciting things will be to declutter my home, clean it up, and get some time for myself.

I have quite a reflection to do and the holidays have always been the best time for me to do so… This year has been full of ups and downs…. While on the average it was one year that I have had felt happy, it was also the one that brought me the most profound sadness; my dad has passed away this year.. May he rest in peace…. I did not know what sadness was prior to this and I had never appreciated life as much I have since my dad’s death…My dad has given me life and also taught me the best lesson ever by his death; that I must appreciate life while I have it…. How could I not feel this before, when he was alive? He has seen me mostly depressed and fed up with life; that feels so unfair to him… But I am sure he would love to see me now with this new zest towards life.

I am also older now and getting close to 50 🙂 hah haaa. I have never thought I would but here I am! With age comes change in the body as well as in the attitude towards anything really. I appreciate my family and I still care about my work, but I want to have a better and healthier life-style overall. I am losing weight slowly but steadily, which is good. My mood is overall better, which is awesome. I must continue to care for my back and keep doing my stretches and light weight training, which have been really good for me. I want to get better at sewing and start doing some serious projects, which I hope the holidays will be a good opportunity to do so. I am still keen about saving and paying down my mortgage, but I am not going to get too enthusiastic about it and would like to make it a priority to enjoy my life and care for people I love…

It looks like I have little new projects for the new year. This somehow bothers me (i.e. does not excite me that much) but I would like to think positive. Perhaps this is an opportunity to go with the flow. Who knows, maybe I will develop new interests and projects without thinking about them? After all my two current interest, blogging and sewing, were never planned and were just spontaneously born 🙂

joy journal – December 13, 2016

In an attempt to feel better, this is my conscious attempt to remember the beautiful things, people, and experiences that enrich my life and my well being.

1. I am grateful for the soup I have prepared and drunk this evening. The nice thing about cold weather and winter is to be able to pamper myself with a hot drink or soup. I hope to remember to purchase hot chocolate packages this week; they are my favorites.

2. I am grateful for venting out via my blog this evening and getting rid of some of the negative energy.

3. I am grateful for the TV series I am watching (Rush, which is an Australian TV series) that makes my evening interesting and okay to go by.

4. I am grateful for my family; no matter what happens, loving them is a blessing. We may argue, we may mis-understand each other, we have have heart-breaks. but we love each other. Solid.

5. I am grateful for accepting my feelings as they are; they may be negative, I may be feeling down, but eventually I believe I will be okay. I may not be able to have a great relaxing holiday staycation this year, but whatever it is gonna be, I will be fine. I can always take some time off from work and try again..

6. I am grateful for thinking once again to have my will and estate planning done. I have been meaning to do this for so many years.. The problem is I feel like when it is done, I will die… This is a ridiculous feeling but this is how I feel… I must do this for my family. I must do this to have my stuff done while I am alive so that after my death I will not be a nausea for anyone. I am scared, but I will start it. I will check online and see what my options are. Then I will make appointments to talk to people/lawyers. I may be scared but this is the right thing to do. I hope to be able to accomplish it this time.. the truth is we never think we or anyone else we love will die. But we do…. Often times suddenly…. While I would love to live a long, happy, and healthy life, what is my guarantee that I will? That is a sad question that depresses me, but it is great to know that I want to live.

7. I am grateful for not having chocolate right now 🙂 I would eat the entire box! And then would feel resentful about it 🙂

random thoughts

There is snow on the ground. I has been snowing constantly but lightly the last few days. I have mixed feelings about it – I love seeing it fall from the sky when I am inside, but when I need to step out of the house, it is a mess 🙂 The slushy, wet, or icy snow has never been appealing to me. As a matter of fact, the icy one is scary..

If you are living in a city where the sidewalks are cleaned and salted, please take a moment to thank your tax dollars and city for doing this very important preventive measure for you. My current city does not and as a result, pedestrians like myself often walk on the road if there are snow banks on the side walk (or when the road is less icy and more clean than the sidewalk). Not safe for the pedestrians or the motorist alike…..

Anyways; I have had some sad news today. Someone I know has lost her second son yesterday. Both sons died young; one in a car accident and another one in an attack (he was a police officer)…. I cannot imagine how the parents are feeling….. They have no children left…. May they find the strength to carry on… I am profoundly saddened.

My sister once had told me that my dad had a long life and he would not wish to die after any of us. She was right. I am quite saddened that my dad has died, but today I have found some peace in knowing that he did not see us dying.. I think this is what he would want.

Anyways; this weekend was interesting and more or less relaxing. I have 2 weeks till the holidays and I am so looking forward to it. I have many plans that I hope to pen down sometime soon. After all, it is the anticipation that makes things more exciting 🙂

Have a great Sunday everyone! 🙂

on life and death; and then life again

A couple of days ago in a morning, I had woken up early in the morning and then tried to get back to sleep. This happens to me almost every morning. In those times my head fills with thoughts, which often times stress me. This time, one of the thoughts was that this would end one day and that I would die.

This was a very scary thought…This is not the first time that I faced the future event of my death. After my dad passed away last winter, it had occurred to me that one day I too would perish.

They say it is an instinct to survive. It probably is. We, as humans, have unfortunately consciousness as well and are maybe the only species on earth that is aware of their future death. Painful truth.

While I do get depressed time to time and there were moments in my life that I sincerely preferred to be dead than being alive (how silly I was…), since my dad’s death, I actively wish to be alive. I wish to be alive and enjoy/be okay with even its hurdles, the stress it gives me sometime, and the depressive mood or other problems.

While life is complicated and can get pretty seriously wrong (think about all the people in war-thorn countries, for example), it is also precious. After all, a life is better than no life….. Since it will end one day, what is all these fuss about the little issues in our lives, like missing the bus; an argument with a family member or friend; a lost item; a lost opportunity; or work-related issues?

I am middle aged now and can see that the majority of my life I spent with school/career and little family/financial problems. There are only a small portion of my life that I remember with joy and happiness. There are only a few people who are important for me; only a few hobbies/out of office activities that gave me joy and excitement; and only a handful of memories that I cherish. The rest is full of failure/struggle/arguments/lost hopes/identifiable or unidentifiable causes of unhappiness and anxiety.

I am guilty of dwelling into the little problems in life; particularly work-related ones, that makes me unhappy, depressed, stressed, or mad. Yet, at the end will they matter? Probably not.

Life is what we make out of it, they say. I cannot control the life as it develops fully, but I am more and more contemplating about finding a right mental state to explore and integrate new faces of life in my life. I may not know what they may be, but, hey I am at least more open to what is going on in life.

If you follow my blog, you know that I care about my profession and the work I do very much. I feel not truly successful and am constantly striving to do better. The atmosphere and the events occurring or not occurring in my work-place have the heaviest weight in my life and emotional world. I even contemplate about resigning time to time, even though I do not know how I would provide for myself or what I would do as work (again a very silly idea; what was I thinking?) only because either I feel inadequate or am fed up of the stress I create over work.

It is time that I either accept or deny fully that I am inadequate and remove this unnecessary stress from my life with a more relax and positive outlook. Whatever the pressure I may be imposed by my line of work or by my colleagues, I must keep going. I should also reduce the expectations from me; I can make mistakes (which I do), I can be late in completing tasks (so what? they eventually are done); I may not be the star-professional in my work-place (there will be always someone better than me anyhow); I may be classified as successful by somebody’s criteria, but do I not do high-quality and creative work, even with limited resources? I do. And eventually when I get old or sick, would that be what I will think about anyhow? Nope.

Hug a tree. Watch a movie. Host good friends. Start writing that book that I always wanted to. Visit more countries/cities. Laugh more. Pay more attention to family and friends. Forget work-related issues upon leaving the office. Find out more about life. Find about more about love, understanding, and forgiveness. Care less about money and care more about people. Create new memories that I will cherish.

Yes; let’s create new memories that I will cherish.

How will I do that?

I guess I will figure out one day.

the years come and life goes (on)

Today I got a response to an email that I had sent 4 years ago.

4 years ago…..

Did I know that I would live 4 years to get a response back to it then?

The email was nice and laughter-full. I was young and cheerful. I liked myself in that email. Yet, I cannot stop thinking that it has been a whole 4 years since I typed those words and clicked on “send”.

Four whole years….

I have lived 4 years since then…..Four years of my life have passed, which brought me 4 years closer to the end of my life.

How were those years? Was I good? Was my life better? Exciting? Hopeful?

I can remember a couple of important things that have happened since then. I bought a house, I lost my dad, and I lost an exciting personal opportunity. I started a budget and got better in controlling my finances.  Work continued as usual. I visited my family every year. I got older. Everyone I know got older. Life continued.

The question is; will I be able to come back and read this post 4, 10, 20, 30 years later?

I hope so.

here I am working and thinking, and probably missing life…

I have just taken care of an urgent matter related to work and risked along the way to clash with a colleague of mine (since I am correcting their stuff…). I am interested in preventing this kind of personal or professional conflicts but sometime it just cannot be possible. I am more of a conservative person who would not confidently conclude about something without solid evidence, yet this does not look like applicable to everyone I work with. So, what do we do when find ourselves in that intersection with a colleague? Do the right thing but risk sore feelings by the colleague, or comply, be in good relationships with the colleague, but risk self-respect and reliability?

I do the right thing. Over the years, after many conflicts and clashes and negative consequences, I just am more careful and more constructive in doing so. That seems to be working well. Have I matured? 🙂 Boy, it looks so 🙂 Or get mellow, I do not know. Less ego and more wisdom would still be desired on my side, though (I have an ego, too) :).

Because of the critical consequences of clashes on collaborations (that also were supposed to benefit me or solve my own work-related questions), while I get furious sometime, I can calmly decide to be political, too. Once the storm has passed and once I am done, I can quietly move away. Until my work is done, too; that is my motto now.

Why do I tell all of these to you?

Because swallowing the screams of my own ego, finding courage to take responsibility and mellow things that I did not even create at the first place, and making the moves to do so takes energy, character, and determination. Additionally, during the constructive “handling and mending stage” knowing how critical every step I take and every word I say will be, I am naturally stressed. Those times can be quite dark sometimes…. Lately I have had such occurrences, and felt bad.

But must I?

I should not be losing the big picture along the way. There is life out of work. There are other ways to do things at work. Yes, there can be challenges, there can be significant drawbacks, new ideas and relationships to develop, and there may be delays along the way, but eventually nothing is that important.

I lost my dad and my world crashed. I have other people whom I love more than anything else and I can lose them, too. As a matter of fact, I may die anytime myself. So what is all these fuss about work?

What is it that makes work so important for us? I know many people who can make the decision to leave a career that does not serve them well. I have not done that yet. Honestly, I do not know what else to do and I need the income. It is the greatest job in the world (for me), yet my life is almost entirely filled with stress and issues related to my work. That is not good, not fair, not healthy. I take responsibility for this, of course. While I am aware of this, will I take steps to change the things as well?

I do not know, but I do sure wish so.

I have not lost my hope yet. I know, based on my past experience, that when it is over, I will know, and it will be over. Whether it is professional collaborations, job, or living conditions itself. I trust that and that is why I am okay to go, till the end of these fuss. Then, there will be a new start.

This always feels good, does it not?

non passe absolution

poem

————————–

I will forgive you for all

except for giving me that clove

a decade and a half ago

and for pushing me away

many years later

by your thorns wrapped around

your tongue that dared to insult us

by separating our worlds

I really hate you for my pain

for many moments of false happiness

but most of all for making me

not being able to forgive you

until one of us dies

————————–


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on death and life

Prince has died a couple of days ago. May he rest in peace.

I have been thinking about death and life again since then. I was not a remarkable fan of Prince, not because I did not think he was an influential or great musician, but because I was more interested in other genres. Yet, his sudden death as someone I knew hurt.

Death is a reality. And it is scary. And only at my middle age, I am getting to realize this.

I too can die and will die. We just do not know when. Because I am a middle aged person and because I faced death in reality when my dad died, almost everyday I think that I am getting close to my own death every passing day. I feel a rush, almost an anxiety about this.

Because of this (or, maybe I should say “thanks to this”) I do not want to miss life. I do not want to die just yet. I do not want my mom and my siblings to feel the pain of my death. I do not want to die before I understand what it is the life that I was supposed to have but missed so far, and before I realize what is important in life. Before I relax, enjoy, and get happy with my life.

I am dealing with many little issues, mostly related to work. I am not happy with this. Why would anyone have a life mostly oriented around, shaped by, and focused on work? Where are the life  experiences other than work?  Why do I care about my work that much? Why can I not re-focus my mind?

I do not want to live and die like this.

I must either quit my job and face financial hardship, or change my mind, remain in my position, but reduce my expectations from myself.

There are books to be read, people to be met, places to be visited, words to be said, happiness to be generated, and peace to be made.

I should deal with my insecurities. So what, if people would not think that I was not overly successful? So what, if others would do better than me? So what, if my performance was less bright than others?

None should matter when it is a matter of life and death.

I should matter. Not others.

 

fear of death, and the need to change and live

It has been over 6 weeks that my dad has died.

The pain of loss and the regrets I have are one side of the coin.

The other side is about me having faced the reality of death and realized how real and inevitable it is. How lonely and scary it is… And how unknown, how anxiety creating it is.

Death puts life in a different perspective, my friends.

By facing my dad’s death, I also re-faced many things that I have been ignoring for a long time. For example: I ignored my own life by going around my comfort zone, I overly-protected myself, I have not dared what I could that would possibly make me happier. I have failed to change my life in a way that would make me feel complete, excited, joyful, and happy.

These regrets are because I needed to prioritize one way over the other (for instance; working in another country away from my family was a choice that I have made. I have got a great and meaningful job, but the time I spent with the people I care most about is limited… That make me ache now). I now prioritize my financial well-being, which prevents me from moving out of my work, out of the city I live in. Ache.. Ache.. Ache..

But should I continue with these priorities? That is an important question.

…………..

By facing my dad’s death, I realized life was precious and transient, and I too will lose it one day. That scares me and feels depressing…. No wonder all these centuries the human as a whole has made the extraordinary effort to find a meaning in life and ways to cope with death.

Not surprisingly, with these depressive thoughts came abroad all my feelings and thoughts that I knew they existed but were ignored anyhow. One though and regret stands out: I have wasted parts of my life and if I do not wake up soon and do something about this, I will continue the rest of my life with this regret.

I usually wake up with this thought in my mind. It is like a daily reminder that this could be just another day that I will continue to miss my life unless I do something about it. And I do not want to miss life anymore.

The problem is: I do not know what to do about it and how to turn things around.

I think about quitting my job time to time (I wrote about it some other time), which I believe will force me to take the necessary steps for a chance of better life. But, having no financial stability and the prospect of financial hardship is a strong deferrant (I wrote about that, too). I can of course find a job first and then quit my work+life here, but for some reason I do not work towards that, either.

I have another option of course, making my life here better. I just do not know how.

I feel stuck.

I over and over come to this same spot. At these times, the only thing I am left with is to believe that everything happens for a reason (eventually for a better outcome) and when it is the time, things start rolling.

I am in the waiting mode right now, but I will be looking for opportunities that can change my life for a better way.

 

 

TV shows I have been watching lately

Okay; so I finished the 1st season of Secrets and Lies, the USA version (looks like it is an adaptation from an Australian series). It consists of around 10 episodes, where a married man with two children one morning finds the dead body of a little boy he knows and becomes the prime suspect after that.

It was an interesting story with lots of adversity (e.g. the man’s marriage has fallen apart; the dead boy turned out to be his own (after a brief relationship with the boy’s mom, which he learnt only after the death of the child); the mom turned out to be bipolar and had another child previously died etc etc. There is such a drama unfolding around these two families that it is an interesting watch. The acting is not my favorite, especially Juliette Lewis as Detective Andrea Cornell – she is so dull and so serious in this production that I got cold by just watching her. The season finale is shocking though; so I would highly recommend you to give it a try if you are interested in mystery series.

Just a few hours ago, I have started to watch the Six Feet Under. What I read about this series is amazing, yet the 1st episode did not captivate me, to tell you the truth. Plus, the topic is death and people’s reactions and the feelings it induce; while I am open to think, read, and write about death after the death of my own father, I do not think that I can take all these feelings right now. So, it is very likely that I will not be watching the rest of the series.

……….

Though I just realized that this series gives grief, my grief, a voice and I feel tremendous amount of understanding… For example when the Nate character is keen about living the grief, rather than hiding it because of social expectations (e.g. the visitation and the burial scene). That is how exactly I have grieved; I did not care about the people’s expectations from me. I was in pain and I cried. I as a matter of fact wanted to cry and feel this tremendous loss. With people around, this is not possible. And all the stupid things they keep saying: “he is in a better place now. he had a good life (by the way this mostly came from people who did not know my dad; how did they know that? Sure thing that they made assumptions. But they have not realized that assumptions are non-specific, non-sincere, and as such, are hurtful).

I remain firm that when faced with the loss of a loved one, all words are meaningless….So, let’s give each other a break.

Anyways, if there is one TV series that I can keep watching is the Sleepy Hollow. I give it a 10 out of 10; the character Ichabod Crane and his mannerism (and acting) has been my favorite. I believe I have watched the entire series at least twice and I can do that again 🙂

 

Estate planning…

Boy.. Estate planning seems to be tough.

I have no problem thinking about my own mortality; it is a matter of when, not if, as one of the books says on estate planning that I am reading.

But it is the process, the hard decisions to be made, and finding the right executor or the trust company to execute my future estate plan is.

If you have family members or close friends who can act as an executor of your estate plan/will, then you are lucky.

For me; I have no family here and my friends are rather busy. So I am inclined towards designating a trust company as my executor upon my death.

That means I need to look for alternatives and choose a reliable trust company. Also, I need a lawyer to prepare my initial will.

I have been meaning to do this for many years, but I was scared that if I do have my things in order, I would think subconsciously that I would be ready to die and then die.. What a ridiculous fear, but when I feel it, it feels real. Go figure. It is great that the book I am reading says that many people feel that way and assures that nobody prematurely died after they prepared their wills and estate plans. Peace of find 🙂

I realized today that I have a long way to go and some time and effort to put into this process. But I must start somewhere. Knowing myself who always looks for fast results, this one looks like it will teach me how to be patient.

we do not have to forget, but we can forgive

Rob Ford, an ex-mayor of Toronto has died today after an 18-months of cancer treatment.

Rob Ford was an unconventional politician, often with many unacceptable behavior (e.g. racism and misogyny) and drug use. Many people loved him, many made jokes about him, and many certainly disliked him.

When I learnt about his death this evening, I felt sorry; May he rest in peace. He has lost his life, and his family and friends are in sorrow now (and will likely to feel his loss for the rest of their lives). I hope, they too can find some kind of peace in their hearts and in their memories.

I keep seeing posts here and there that he was a horrible person and thus does not deserve our mourning or whatsoever. I understand that they say so because of his highly annoying behavior and there is some kind of truth that we do not have to paint his memory in a way that is different than his life (i.e. death does not make a bad person a good person).

But, I keep thinking – death is a lonely journey. It makes somehow a lot of things, a lot of emotions unnecessary. We do not have to forget the wrongs he has done, but at least we can forgive him.

No?

Yes?

I am not saying forgiveness is easy or should be exercised/enforced no matter what. I understand that it is very difficult to forgive the negative consequences of some people and their actions on other people, and the suffering they have caused. I cannot say whether one should choose to forgive or whether one should forgive at all. But I am hoping that we all can give it a try.

Peace.

death and forgiveness

Death does interesting stuff to your thinking.

At least, that is what the death of my dad did to me.

I am open about my pain more than I have ever imagined. I am human and I am okay to show it. I do not feel vulnerable or exploited or something like that. No. I feel completely human by talking and showing my grief and as a result, I get completely human responses; nicer, more positive, more emphatic…. I think I am lucky that I have good people around me – not one person said “stop this; you get to get over the death of your dad” or anything else that only an insensitive assh.le could say.

I am also forgiving. After all, what is not to forgive? No one in my life has hurt me physically or psychologically. Yes, there has been people influential on me and I cried, complained, got angry or heart-broken over people or their actions. Yes, I thought there was injustice or unfairness. Yes, I thought that I could do a lot better if I was given equity/equal opportunity. But no matter what, no one has ever hurt me in a way that I could not forgive. I have since then forgiven all and I am feeling good. Like an internal iceberg has melted and I am filled with warmth instead….

Death is a lonely journey. Thinking about someone going thru it is terrifying. It terrified my right before my dad passed away; I was worried about my dad going thru this unknown all alone. Was he scared? I kind of think he might have… I was not there to hold his hand, look at his eyes, and say “it is okay, dad”… It still breaks my heart. Nobody should face death alone. It would be better if our minds and hearts are filled with love and gratitude, rather than fear and loneliness, while approaching our last moments in life.

So when I think about the fact that we all will go thru death, no matter how much we would like to ignore it, I feel the same compassion and affection for all. I do not think anybody in my life really meant to hurt me. And I would not like any one to suffer or be scared during their transition to death. These make forgiveness so easy, so natural.

I cannot believe death can have such a healing effect, but that is what I have experienced.

Hope you can forgive and it has been easier for you than it was for me.

Hope you can forgive someone today.

 

joy journal, March 14, 2016

It has been a while that I have posted this journal… I am not particularly in a “joyful” mood, but then is this not the entire point of the joy journal?

1. I am grateful for the book that I have been reading, which had a chapter about “gratitude”. This has reminded and prompted me to write this post. Hoping to find many things to list now, even though I am still down after the recent death of my dad..

2. I am grateful for remembering my dad with affection and love. I am so sorry that he passed away but there is nothing much I can do about this. I rather make it a priority to remember him, cherish his memory, and make sure that he is remembered by others.

3. I am grateful for sleeping well and waking up on time this morning. Looks like I was not affected by the daylight saving adjustments done yesterday. I was not late and not sleepy or cranky; surprisingly well done.

4. I am grateful for deciding to take the bus even though it was snowing nice and easy. The bus was late but this did not defer me from waiting for it. I almost decided to return to home to check my emails to see whether my work place was closed because of the snow (visibility was really poor), but I waited anyhow and the bus showed up. All is well.

5. I am grateful for the coffee one of my friends and colleagues bought me this morning. It was delicious and a nice change from my usual coffee. This did not mean that I did not brew my coffee; I have and it was great to have it 🙂

6. I am grateful for working with a team member before noon and submitting two reports for review. It always feel good when things are done. Now we are waiting for feedback, which is fine. Feeling satisfied about work.

7. I am grateful for wanting to work today and taking care of many stuff. It has been a really fruitful day and before I realized, it was past 5pm. Lovely! I love it when I lose myself in work.

8. I am grateful for walking back home from the office, despite the snow on the road. It is difficult and takes more time to walk on snow, but I keep telling myself it is a great exercise.

9. I am grateful for taking it easy this evening. I have eaten lightly today. I do not have appetite nowadays, which is very unusual. yesterday I had felt like maybe I was getting down with a bug or something and lots of lemon juice and hot soup were my medicine. I am feeling better today but the appetite is still nowhere to be found. That is okay. I continue to have soup with lemon juice, which I believe is good for my immune system.

10. I am grateful for all the food I have in my fridge, freezer, and the pantry. I am feeling abundant and very grateful for their presence.

11. I am grateful for my computer, internet connection, books, notebooks, and pens that make my life easy and enjoyable. These are probably my most important material possessions, other than the pictures and gifts from loved ones.

12. I am grateful for one of my bosses giving me a hug today and asking how I was doing. This was the first time she has seen me since my father passed away and I really like her sensitivity and kindness. It is good to have kind and nice people around us, especially when we are most vulnerable and sad.

13. I am grateful for being grateful and taking my time to note these. I am feeling better than 10 min ago, thanks to remembering and finding all these things (and more) that I have experienced today.

 

broken

poem

—————————

cannot cry hard enough, dad

my tears are done running

I since then been grieving

 

cannot dream anymore, dad

my inner child is hidden

now that I am regret-ridden

 

worse; cannot fly high, dad

I never will

one of my wings is broken

now that you are gone

 

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“Enjoy the delicious part of life as well”

I got up this morning with the thoughts of “What do I want for my life? How can I get them?

This is a recurring question in my mind over many years, even decades. With the recent death of my dad and head-on clash with the concept of death in reality, I am not surprised that these questions arise again.

When I look at my life, I do see that I pacified myself with my education and training in the past and do the same my work now. It is like shutting the emotions down and focusing on problem solving. They say it is the rational side of the brain (the left side) that works while working on a problem, not the right side, which is more concerned about emotional aspect (whether or not that is true I do not know; but I know that when I focus on work, I am overall feeling better)….

I also know that a number of times I have attempted to make my life better as I wished it to be. Moving to a city or country that I love, or marrying a man whom I would see myself excited and happy with. Many times these did not happen. Many people know that I am kind of stuck at my present city, which is not bad but not great or exciting either (small, isolated city with less attraction and diversity). Yet the work is amazing and I live comfortably in terms of finances, safety (very safe city, which is awesome), and life is overall very simple and easy (which helps me have lots of time for work and myself). So there are so many positives of being here, yet there are also so many other great cities out there. My thoughts always linger towards them…

After I moved here, i have applied to only one job which I thought was better than what I have right now. It did not happen. The small number of job applications tell me that after all I should be content with where I am or my life is. I think in a lot of ways I am content. But then, why do I have this feeling of “I am wasting my life”?

The fact that I live away from my family and home always feels bad…. I should have been with my family. I should have been with my dad more. I should be spending more time with the rest of my family. yet, here I am….

I over and over contemplate about why I prefer a life here than at home and I always decide that this is better for me, even though I am away from home. This is strange and somehow hard to understand. Of course when I get close to retirement, i will reconsider this and the chances that I will go back home. But, is there a guarantee that I will live that long or find my loved ones well and alive then? I can not know.

But I know one thing; after the death of my dad, I am feeling resentment against my interest in work. I, by liking it so much, neglected a lot of things; myself and my family. This gotta change. I also realized, as my dad said a couple of years ago, “life is really short and before it ends and when you still have time, do things that will give you more joy, happiness, and excitement. Enjoy the delicious part of life as well, not always see and engulf yourself in the hard part“.

I had taken notice of this wise and somehow unexpectedly understanding advise from my dad, but I did not overly improve the quality of my life, or make changes that will give me more joy, excitement, or happiness (except that a couple of years back I had almost fallen in love, which had felt exactly like what my dad had described).

I have dreams of course. I would like to move to a South American country for example. I can still work and would be very happy to contribute to a developing country with my skills and experience. I would love the better climate and genuine people. I would love to learn the culture, history, and the language of the country. I would love to sing songs with the elderly and have laughters with the youngster. I can always do that, yet two things bother me; a) I may not be financially as good as I am now, and b) South America is even farther away from my home. So, I will not work towards this dream.

On the other hand, I can focus on my current life, which is already abundant, comfortable, and safe. There must be things that I can do now, on top of what I already have, to enrich it. That sounds like a doable plan. My only problem is; what can I change or do new that can give me this excitement that I am missing in my life?

I guess now it is a good time to read a couple of my books that tackle exactly this question. Good to know that I am not the only one and, hey, who knows, perhaps this time I can see something….

After all, there is nothing more insensible than wasting my life. I am determined to make it more meaningful and work for me. Hopefully this time, I will start enjoying the delicious part of life.

today’s grief journal

I am overall feeling better; there has been only one case of tears bursting and that occurred while I was walking.

Walking became an integral part of my life since my dad died 10 days ago. I just leave the home and let my feet find the path. I do find peace and serenity in it. It also helps me get tired and sleep better at night.

The first few days it was because walking gave me the chance to silently weep. I cried aloud sometime at home when the sadness took over my every cell, my every thought…. Walking on the other hand does not permit this; all I can do is to let the tears go down silently. I am not sure whether I prefer this kind of emotional bursts than loud ones, or because walking somehow makes me more grounded and thus less aloud….

I remember one day I just wanted to walk to get a glimpse of life and death. Death after all is something we mostly ignore…. Some of the trees have been here longer than any of us, yet some of them were shedding barks or leaves…. I found looking at trees and seeing these giving me some sense of life and death. I also saw kids walking with their parents and giggling. This told me that there is renewal in human life. After all, if we had not died, then what would be the reason of having kids? Kids are awesome. I also noticed houses; some new, some needing repairs, some being renovated. The truth behind all of these was beginning and end were continuous in life, somehow putting human life and loss of loved ones in a logical frame. Accepting death as a part of life is brutal at first, but it certainly is healing.

My energy levels are getting better; I walked 40 min in the morning and then 1 hour at noon to a shopping mall. This is the second time I have walked there in my life; first, many years ago out of curiosity, and second, today just because. One hour of walk is quite unusual for me (too long for a lazy and busy person like my usual self…), but I made it. It was during this walk that I cried; I keep thinking how much I have loved my dad and I would have never chosen another one instead of him. And how better we could all have treated each other while he was alive….This regret is hard to swallow…. As my mom said “it would be nice that we never treated one other with an attitude or an unkind way, or never said things that would hurt the other person, but life is not like this.

That is certainly true. It does not mean that let’s go ahead and hurt people’s feelings; no. But I recognize that we all have our moments, our rights and wrongs, our list of things that are acceptable or not acceptable, our own struggles, and our significant differences. And our reactions as a result.

What my mom said has made sense to me and is easing my guilt caused by disappointing or frustrating my dad, and by not being with him as much as I should have been.

I owe my mom big time for helping me to ease this guilt by being sensible…..

grief…

I did not know much about grief till my dad died last week. It is strange; it is painful; and it is a lonely journey.

When I say lonely, it does not mean I needed to go thru my days alone. I meant I needed to face, experience, process, and feel it all by myself. Like many of us I guess. It is a personal and unique experience. I do not know whether this is a survival instinct or not, but I think everybody going thru grief may know what is best for them to help go thru it. I hope you all will find these tools when you need them…

My this experience with grief was something that I found interesting. Without thinking, planning, or resisting, I just let it surround me, felt the emotions, and supported myself (and others) as much as I could. I did not work. I did not go to work, though I had to check my emails and involve in some minor urgent matters (I am still resentful about these….I am still resentful that people required my attention during this time… I am still resentful that I did not say no – you should wait…I am resentful about work and all the neglect I have done for it…. ).

In my case, being alone and not communicating with people other than my immediate family helped quite a bit. After all, I felt like words were only words and would not diminish my loss at all. In contrast, I thought they were driving me crazy…Only after a couple of days, words, especially the good wishes and good memories of my dad started to make sense. As a matter of fact, I craved for them. I still do.. Remembering my dad with love and cherishment became a priority for me. These give me peace.

The circumstances around the death my dad also help my grieving process. He had a long life (he was 88), the majority of his life he was healthy, he lived his life in a way that he wanted, he was proud of his children and knew they were okay; and he had great care prior to his death. He did not suffer too much at the end of his life. The last day of his life was great and meaningful. He, I thought, left this world with dignity, without letting life make him suffer any further or any more hurting. Before he became more incapacitated. He was buried by his children (except me; I could not go) and many of his friends were present in his ceremony. Right before his death, we all had become a family, loving, caring, forgiving, and forgiven. I think he died knowing this, which is the most important thing for me.

I do not know whether writing and reading have always been my tools that help me analyze and contemplate (come to think about it; I guess that is correct), but I found reading and writing about grief, death, and my dad very therapeutic….

I wrote my inner conversations with my dad in a long letter that is getting longer each time I write on it…. When I read it time to time, I can see my feelings and all the realizations and sorrow I have gone through. I also see the love I have for him… During one of this readings I had realized that I would have never wished for another person as my dad; if I had an opportunity to have a dad again, he would be the one I wanted. Feeling and knowing this in such a deep sorrow have been incredibly healing….

Why reading about death and grief? To face them. In order to make sure I was not hiding, ignoring, or running away from them. To take the feelings, however saddening they may be, as they were. To live these moments in an authentic way. And most importantly, to fully and openly connect with my dad’s memory…

I may mention about the books I have read in a later post, but I want to say you this; grief and coping with a loss is an individual journey.. The books usually mention about several stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance)… i did not go thru these yet, certainly not in this order. I did not deny my dad’s death for example. I am not bargaining. I am not fully depressed…I am not feeling anger towards him, life, or anyone else. I am just saddened that we could have better memories, more time spent together, and I could care for him more and better…even though I know we all did our best during our lives and with our interactions, I naturally have regrets…. i also know that these do not matter now (i.e. there is nothing I can do to reverse the time) and I can rather focus on all the good memories and all the goodness and peace surrounding his death.

That also means that I have learnt about others’ experiences with death and loss by reading. I am not interested in comparison of pains or the effects the losses put on us; after all everybody has their own memories, their wishes, their regrets, their circumstances, and their emotions to deal with. But I have seen that there were losses that if happened to my dad would have made my grief journey much more painful;  a long-lasting and incapacitating disease for example. Death at a young age… These give me some kind of peace… Maybe I am being selfish or something… Please forgive me if you have experienced such losses and my experience sounds like a selfishly better or less painful one….. No loss is better than the other; but I hope they all have somethings attached to them that give some sense of peace, some sense of serenity….However different they may be for each one of us.

I miss my dad and I love him dearly. May he rest in peace for ever.

grief over losing dad

It has been a week that my dad died.

I truly loved my father and if I had an opportunity, I would choose him again as my dad. May he rest in peace…..

I am broken and saddened.

But, I know this; I could not get by these days, this agony, the loss of my dad without my family; each one of them mended the broken bricks in my heart. I am forever grateful.

There are many things to be said, many things to be remembered. Perhaps I will, perhaps I won’t. Perhaps they should remain sacred.

The truth is death of a loved one changes you, makes you realize and experience new things, new feelings, new thoughts. Nothing and no one can prepare one to the grief of such a loss.

I found some more relief (in addition to the support of my family) by reading about death and grieving. I now have 5 books that remind me that I am not the only who grieves after a loved one; that death is a natural part of our lives; that everyone goes thru it and the grief individually and uniquely. For some reason, reading and contemplating in these gives me peace and helps with my sadness.

I did not want to see anyone when I heard the news for 4 days, except my family. I simply faced my emotions. They were raw… But I sincerely think that this was the wisest thing I have ever done. I know myself; I could as well choose to suppress my feelings, deny everything, and keep busy with work or otherwise distract myself. I am glad I have not. Allowing myself to feel my loss and going thru the initial steps of grief was wise. I feel like I am coming back to my life, however slowly or broken-hearted I am.

I also wonder why we hardly talk about death and why we do not have a healthy grieving culture…..

Losing my dad was the first major loss in my life. There will be many more as nature dictates. I too will die one day. Will I take them easier after my dad’s death?

I guess I will write more about grief in the coming days…

 

 

random thoughts

I continue to think about life and death…. I kind of understand why we are ignoring our own and others mortality – thinking about death is very depressing. But this depression may as well help us to make the best of today and the relationships in our lives. So, give hugs to those you love; send messages to those you have not seen for sometime; love, forgive, and forget more, and hopefully, dislike less.

Life is supposed to be good – so let’s enjoy it by making it better for ourselves and everyone else; after all we are all connected. Somebody’s misfortune cannot make us happy, but somebody’s positivity can make us smile if we let so. Our choice.

The heavy weight of the thought of death of loved ones and the pain coming with it, I found myself first not working today; so in the morning after a meeting, I left my office to do some errands here and there. The change was very welcome and taking care of the stuff that have been hanging over my head for a couple of weeks felt satisfying. After these are done, I worked at home and started an important document, which to my surprise went really well. I am glad I was in the mental state to work efficiently and without thinking too much. After that of course I felt good again.

We need to feel good time to time. If I was to immerse myself into depression again, that would not be nice. I know what depression is and it is nothing to be taken lightly. That is why I am once more grateful for my job that keeps my mind busy and working. With each work done, with each focus on a different subject, my mind and soul get a chance to breathe.

My back feels better and sitting is not too much of a problem anymore. I credit the exercises my physiotherapist recommended. I do not like doing them – that I can assure you. But after each time I do them, I notice that my body feels better. I just need more motivation to do these exercises, that is all.

I did something nice this noon and bought myself a soup somewhere while going around to do my errands. I am glad I have done that; since yesterday morning I have not been eating much (which is very unusual for me). In the evening I have had a large salad, which I know has been very good for me. Whatever I do, I should not let my body go deprived of nutrition and energy.

On a separate note, my power bill has just arrived and looks like I was able to drop it a little bit this past month. Last month I have got a high amount that I think I had never seen before. I was not sure about the reason, but one thing I could think about was the home ventilation. I usually open the windows at the weekend to aerate my home. I think it is a very healthy habit and would recommend anyone. But I was not particularly paying attention to the heaters while doing this. So since last month, I started to lower the thermostats while the windows were open so that the heaters would not need to work harder to keep the temperature up. It made a difference; even though the change is not too big, I am rather happy to see that I am not having an unnecessarily high power bill this time.

Looks like there is no end to learning in this life, for which I am grateful 🙂

 

random thoughts

I have been thinking about life as a whole; the regrets that we have; the relationships that we could not protect or save; the wishes that have remained unattained; the decisions and choices that we have made and turned out to be plain wrong; the opportunities that are lost; and the pain that comes with any of these.

I must correct myself; I have been thinking about these not because of life but because of death.

When death is in the equation, nothing much matters; none of the old scars, arguments, misunderstandings, hurt caused/experienced, insults made, the time and love lost along the process while we were struggling to just go through these emotions and live.

When death is in the equation, forgiveness and affection appear again. We do not care much why the other person did what s/he did or did not. We do not care why they did not behave the way we wished them to.

It is ridiculous that we cannot attain such a state of mind while people we care about are still alive.

Maybe there is too much history/memories, too many events, too many emotions linked to the past with that person. Maybe these are painful experiences, somehow hurting and making us ache deeply. Maybe they changed the course of our lives for a worse one; maybe we lost good opportunities because of them. Maybe we just could not reach them; could not become the friends, daughters, brothers, or parents we wished to be. Maybe we just blamed them for things that have happened or not happened.

Death is a journey to the unknown and it is very scary. They say death is more painful for those who are left behind. But I guess a part of our pain is to know how brave are those who have died and experienced the unknown. Before us. And we have nothing to help or support those who are gone. They are all alone in this and we are powerless.

I know while death is a natural part of life, we hardly would like to think or talk about it. I just read something about death today; it basically said since we do not think about it, we happen to think that we will live for ever. One reason to delay things to later. One reason to not enjoy the sight of the moon, scent of the flowers, hugs of a child, and the smile of a loved one while they are right in front of us.

The same writing also asked how many days of our lives we have not remembered? If we do not remember, then was it wasted or was it just ordinary?

Hard to know the answer, but this can be a good opportunity now to make every day count and every person in our lives feel loved and supported; to exercise less ego and more forgiveness; to share more and better, and smile;  and to remove the term “hate” from our vocabulary.

tiring

poem

——————–

no words were enough;

you were gone….

slipped off my bare hands

I could not hold

I could not reach

sleeping with the darkness

numbness first, then anger

yelled at the trees

punched the rainbows

I could not help but live

and what a life it was

sticky with reminders and memories

long and so disregarding the bleeds

tiring, yet not merciful enough to kill

my breath has exhausted itself

yet I can neither die nor run away from memories

—————————————————–
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Wren

poem

———————

he looked in a way that
only she would understand
it was quiet and painful..
smiles were dead, silence was hurtful
pain drilled her eyes
heading low, sinking towards
all the pain
they have gone thru
this one she not knew
eye lids closed, cheeks cold
she just wished he had told
his reasons for giving up
words could have been forgotten
but silence.. no it cannot be forsaken…
she dreamed for heartlessness
whatever breath left with her
she walked away, dull and worthless
she wished he had
looked up and said
“goodbye sweetheart”
to ease her demise
no… but… no…
she turned around disbelieving
he was lying on the bed
his head turned to right
watching the wren on the window trim
as it pecked lovingly with the sun beam
———————
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middle age awakening

As a middle aged person (mid 40’s now) and familiar with life and death, and change in the body and age, I have started to have different feelings, different thoughts for some time now.

Death is a subject that I, like many people, would like to ignore. I am lucky in the sense that none of my family members and dear friends have yet passed away. But I am at an age that makes me realize that this may change soon, starting maybe with my parents. Not that this means that young people in my family or friends cannot die; they may. It is just that the increasing age makes it more likely. And all is scary…

I do not think I will ever come to terms with death or understand it fully for that matter. But I am glad I at least started to realize how real it is.

A couple of days ago, I thought about my own death as well; it scared me as it felt lonely. This thought, the thought of my own death, was something new to me. I did not want to die. This somehow helped me to notice my love for life.

I decided to do and prioritize things differently to have a life that I will love and has no or little regrets.

Regrets are hard and like anyone else I too have regrets; I wished I was happier for example. I wish I had handled things better and made my well being a priority. I wish I had spent more time with my family and I did not love my job that much. My job probably has a bigger role in my life than others, as I not only earn a living with it, but also changed the countries and cities I have lived in,  hardly got settled in anywhere, and with it and because of it I have got to get many difficult life and work experiences.

Eventually, I am grateful for what I have become and for my life as a whole. But it is time to re-think, re-assess, and re-decide what is important, what is not. What deserves my time and energy? How do I find more meaning in it? How do I help others better? How do I stop beating myself and relax? How do I take better care of myself? What are my needs that I neglected? What can I dump along the way to release myself from stress, sadness, and hopelessness? What excites me and how do I get them?

I feel like I will revisit this topic time to time. I am not interested in having a bucket list of 50 things to do before 50, but hey, maybe I should. Maybe they will help me discover my needs and wishes. This is gonna be challenging as I am someone who does not have long term plans, but maybe that also should change.

Now that is what I call the middle age awakening, rather than a middle age crisis 🙂

cycle of life

Today I went to the funeral service of my colleague, who we lost all of a sudden 10 days ago. It was emotionally very charging, yet we also had many opportunities to remember him and have laughs. The crowd represented family and coworkers and it was a beautiful service.

After that we left to celebrate the birthday of another colleague of us. It was somehow weird but we said right at the beginning that we were going to celebrate life this afternoon. And we made it; many fine people showed up, we had nice conversations, and we did not forget to acknowledge our colleague whose funeral service we just came back.

Then, something nice happened. At the restaurant I saw one of my good friends, whom I had not seen in the last year. She is an amazing and intelligent girl, who said she just got married all of a sudden! She is married to a wonderful man. She looked so happy, I was happy for her, and my sorrow we have had earlier at the funeral service has lifted.

Life seems to continue with all the ups and downs. It is hard to lose someone valued. very hard. Yet, it was also amazing to celebrate a birthday and a wedding news at the same time. Life is life, even though I cannot say that I will fully understand it. Perhaps, the main point is that it will operate in ways that we will not predict or understand; and that is why it is more important to enjoy it by appreciating the people we have in our lives now. Not later.

As one of my colleagues said after the funeral “I do not know whether it is good to die all of a sudden or to know it before hand so that we can say the things we would like others to know. But maybe even better would be to say now whatever we would like to say to others, without death being in the equation. Why to wait?”.

there is a day I do not want to see

———————————————————–

there is a day I do not want to see;

when they tell me that you are gone

do not love me, hate me, all is fine

just do not die before me

———————————————————–

Kate’s short story – LII

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