Saturday, August 30, 2008


I've argued with myself about this post. Sept 1 is the 1st anniversary of Rachel's death. I would say it is a difficult time but since every day without her seems so challenging, it doesn't quite seem appropriate.

It does bring to mind some things, though. There are things I told myself I would do or be able to do after more time had missed since her death. Things like getting out her craft supplies to make things with the kids. Things like writing in the book that I bought especially for writing to her. And baking? She and I used to bake all the time. Even when we didn't live together, I loved surprising her with a new treat when she visited. Now I may buy items for baking but they tend to go bad because I never use them. I planned to have gone through some more of her things and "weeded out" things I could part with. Guess what? I think I've parted with everything I'm willing to.

Last night, I was trying to remember what the world felt like when Rachel was still here. How I felt. I know I was a more optimistic person. The glass is half full, everything happens for a reason, things will always work out, you get the picture. All of that ended for me one year ago. Things don't always work out. Sometimes, life just up and f*%ks you for no good reason. I got that from Rachel's my space page. Hurts me to think she ever felt the way I feel now. I remember how I used to look forward to our phone conversations every evening. We'd share things about our day and no matter how awful they had been, we always found a way to laugh about it. Hearing her voice always grounded me. For weeks after her death, I still picked up my cell phone on the way home from work and started to call her. Even when I realized she wouldn't be there anymore, I pretended to talk to her until I cried uncontrollably. The drive home from work has always been the best cry time for me. I can't openly grieve around Luke because it upsets him too much. And the hour it takes to drive home gives me time to finish up the crying and get my face looking okay. The worst part? Sometimes I can't even cry because I just feel so empty.

I don't usually share this with anyone because like Luke, it seems to upset people too much. People mean to be there for you when you're grieving, but after the funeral they go on with their lives and I think they don't want to be reminded. I truly can't blame anyone. I've done the same thing to others. I would tell myself that asking them about their loved one/grief might bring up too much. Might disturb them. And surely, some other friend of theirs is there for them, right? And I'm not writing this for someone to feel guilty. Just venting. Just being honest with myself and I guess the blog.

I miss Rachel. Her son just tested out of kindergarten and is now in first grade. He lost his first tooth and the tooth fairy came and it wasn't Rachel. An entire year has passed and she hasn't been in the world with us. If this is a nightmare, I wish I would wake up already.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a strong believer in the power of affirmations. Writing down a positive statement, saying it, thinking it, over and over can really make a difference. I've used them successfully over the years to change my life.

I teach this process in prison therapy groups. I've gotta tell you, this can be a challenge. A bunch of 6 or 8 big men in a small room (no air conditioning), who have had terrible things done to them and who have done terrible things themselves, and I'm telling them their thoughts can change their lives. I have to lead into it gradually. But if I can hook one or two of the strongest personalities, I can eventually grab most of the group. Once they get into it, they're really amazing. I teach that affirmations must have the three P's - they have to be personal, positive, and present. And the group members catch on and then help the others. I really love it when we're having the last group session (there are 13 in all), and I ask them what they got out of the group. They tend to surprise me. Most are open about how the affirmations and positive thoughts have already changed their view of the world (they have a paradigm shift!). I've even started showing the Louise Hay film with people like Cheryl Richardson and Wayne Dyer telling their stories. At first, I felt they would just boo the film but they really got into it, not wanting to leave after group but wanting to stay and talk about it.

These are some of the reasons I love my job. I believe that I introduce concepts that can lead some of these people to change their lives. Even if they're serving a life sentence, they can at least have a better quality of life in prison. And watching this transformation is amazing.

I do have to add, though, that when I finished up a group yesterday, I got an unpleasant surprise. One of the group members who was always so supportive, gentle, and almost the "teacher's pet" throughout the sessions, turned into someone I didn't recognize. He began talking about how much he enjoyed stabbing people "back in the day." One of the other group members said, "hey man, your eyes are glazing over when you're talking. It's freakin' us all out!"

Surprises. Gotta love 'em!

Saturday, August 02, 2008


I compose so many posts in my head that I get surprised when I get on this thing and realize it's been weeks since I've actually written anything.

I had a great birthday month thanks to some special people in my life. Great gifts, Happy Birthday banners in my office and home, a great big balloon, one luncheon, two dinners, the theatre (Agatha Christie, no less!), and most of all, the attention. It's true, we Leos do like the attention. Funny thing, this time, though. I felt a bit uncomfortable with all the time and lovely gifts. Almost as if I didn't deserve this, I must be keeping my friends from something more important. What's happened to this Leo, this woman?