What No One Told Us

7/15/2016

 

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A year ago today we lost our Dad, tragically and unexpectedly. He was only 54 years old. This past year has been difficult to say the least. My little sister Kayla wrote a “What No One Told Us” piece, inspiring me to write my own version. Noelle wrote one too. 
Here is the collection of “What No One Told Us” by the Sisters Three.

Brooke 
We knew we would hurt and that it would be the most painful experience of our lives to date. “They” say losing a parent is the hardest loss you will ever face. What “they” don’t tell you is that there is a such thing as a “grief attack”. They hit with twice the force of a panic attack and are infinitely more ruthless. 
You know why the pain is there and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

“They” also don’t tell you that triggers will pop up out of nowhere, sending you spiraling. There is a crushing weight that settles into the middle of your chest that no therapy, medication, meditation, or prayer can touch. No one tells you that if you wear contacts you should keep a bottle of saline solution with you to rinse the salt from your lenses. Crying will become a part of your life.

No one speaks about how every birthday or holiday takes you all the way back to square one and you start the grieving process all over. “They” don’t tell you that your family will crumble. Each member dealing with their grief in their own way. That you will watch your grandmother decline rapidly, your little brother carry the burden of becoming the family patriarch too soon, or that you’ll worry endlessly about your Mother who was left without her mate. Adding to the despair you feel because you can’t help them. 

No one tells you that you will resent your friends and other loved ones for still having their Dad. You will shut down and shut them all out. Their words of sympathy will sound like the teacher on Charlie Brown. You will seek out other grievers to share your tears with. Questions like, “how are you” or “how’s your family?” will become triggers. Those are questions you don’t have answers to. People don’t ask to hear how you are doing, they want to hear that you’re OK. They would commit you if you answered truthfully. “Fine” becomes a lie that you will tell repeatedly . 

The pain never gets better. You learn that the saying, “time heals all wounds” is complete bullshit. You will be forever changed. Your timeline will be before his death and after. The after part will have a grey film around it. The things that once made you happy are now lackluster. You will flounder around searching for anything to make it stop hurting. You will find yourself doing things you would never otherwise do. 

You will hold a new life in your hands and instead of making you happy the way babies typically do, it will make you sad. After holding my new nephew I spent one whole day in the bed sobbing. You will spend many days in bed, crying, wanting to die. I thought I was suicidal because I survived 3 attempts this past year. It was more than that, I wanted to go with him. Part of me still does and always will. 

When the year anniversary comes around you will relive every aspect of that day. The weight returns to your chest. The tears flow non-stop, and you will want to retreat into isolation.  I’m telling you that is okay. If anyone tries to tell you how you should grieve then you should remove that person from your life. Anyone that discounts your feelings because they think you should be over it, stop talking to them. It isn’t about them in any way. You grieve your way and to hell with anyone that expects you to “get over it” for their comfort.

This hellish transformation will leave you mentally and physically exhausted. Take as long as you need and don’t try to stifle the pain. 

I worked very hard for a family owned coffee shop this past year. I got a promotion, I now manage our new location. I would give everything I have or will have to hear him say, “Alright Brooke!” I find a small amount of comfort knowing that he would be proud. 

I feel him in the wind, in the warm gusts of air that feel like his big arms surrounding me. I feel him when I’m calling my daughter, “sir” the way he did his three daughters. I feel him every time I climb into his truck and sit in the hollowed out part of the seat he left behind. I feel him in the woods, the river, and every time I read the words on my memorial tattoo for him. “The only beasts here are us.”

I miss you as much as the second I learned you were gone. 

Noelle
No one told us about the guilt.
Guilt for not being at home with the family.
Guilt for not pushing him harder to take care of himself. Guilt for not being able to help my brother, mother and grandmother. Guilt for laying all of this on my husband and friends. (Thank you all, by the way.)

Guilt for smiling, dancing or having fun. “Didn’t her father just die? She looks too happy…” So much guilt.

No one told us that not hearing his voice would cause anxiety. No one told us that when he died a piece of each of us died with him.

No one told us we would forget who we are and what we’re supposed to do with ourselves. When you’ve spent your life trying to make someone proud and doing what they wanted you do to, what are you when they’re no longer there? Who am I? Who are we?

No one told us about the psychotic waves of emotion that can take over at any moment on any day. One minute you’re smiling and laughing, and the next you’re a weeping, sobbing mess while telling him you miss him and asking him (and yourself), “How do I do this?” I can hear him telling me, “Come on Noelle, suck it up!” When I’m running and want to quit, I hear him saying, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” I push because he always pushed me. He instilled a drive in all of us to keep pushing even when it hurts.

No one told us that when you have finished something amazing and you go to call him, that you relive the fact that he is gone—no longer here to receive your phone calls.

No one told us about missing his laugh or his bear hugs.
No one told us about the weight of his death, how it feels like something is holding you down.

No one tells you that people aren’t going to understand. If it hasn’t happened to them yet they will not understand. I know people don’t think that we should be over it, they simply don’t get it yet.

Along with my family, I will live the rest of my life missing Dad. He was my best friend and confidant. We would spend hours around the kitchen table at home or on the phone. When you go from talking daily to nothing, no one tells you how to deal with that. For me, Dad was a hero, a legend, an amazing father, brother, husband, grandfather, son and friend. I will never forget you, Dad. You are and always will be a hero in my eyes. 


Kayla

We knew it would hurt. The loss of half of what made us. His name changed its shape on our tongues.
Hard to say. Harder to not say. But we expected that.

We expected to miss his “bear hugs,” and the way he left evidence of his late night snacking. We expected to feel the empty weight in his favorite chair.

But no one told us that we’d feel sick for the weeks surrounding Father’s Day or that we’d slowly learn of the mistakes he left behind like broken glass. No one told us we’d have to pick up those pieces in the dark, cutting open our palms. More pain. Different pain.

No one told us it wouldn’t just be about the loss, that we’d become unhinged, that no one could answer our questions, that there wouldn’t be any answers.

No one told us we’d want his old t-shirts, or that we wouldn’t know what to do with his shoes.

So let me tell you what no one told us.
It does not get better. Your smile will change. Your family will become a hollowed tree, dead but still standing.
You will do things you never thought you’d do, bad things, good things.
Your heart will open and close at the same time and you’ll feel dizzy on random days.

You’ll cry when you see someone with hair like his. You’ll think you see him in a crowded restaurant or crossing the street and it will take a second to realize it’s not him and why.
You see, this is not about loss. It never was. This is about what’s left behind, the residue of an existence, the clocks that continue ticking, the extra things you have to carry until you see him again.

Anthony Wright Sanders 10.12.1960-07.15.2015

Mental Illness Rambling


It has been so long since I’ve blogged I’m nervous. The words use to flow, freely.

So much has happened I couldn’t begin to cover it all in one post. 

I have started a new journey. Not one to be excited about. No certifications or gems of enlightenment. 

I’m sick. I have to take meds every day.

I started having seizures in July. I had 3 total. The last one in October. I lost a job I loved and took a swan dive into the dark waters of depression. 

I suffered for 3 months with no medical treatment. I saw a doctor but she referred to me to another doctor. I finally went to another state to be treated. North Carolina is a blazing dumpster fire in all areas that matter. Education, healthcare, taxes, welfare, etc. 

I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, PTSD, panic disorder, and depression. I was immediately put on meds for all of my ailments. Something I swore I would never do. But when your mind convinces you that you are worthless and everyone would be better off without you, every hour of every day and there are meds that can help. You take the damn meds.

In the midst of all this I revived my business. Handmade goods, readings, & crystal healing. Even those things I love to do, overwhelmed me. 

So, I’m making a comeback. One day at a time. Finding the real me that has been buried under my broken heart and mind for more years than I can count. 

Spirituality isn’t always the answer. I thought it was and I nearly died. More than once. 

As I’ve been speaking out about this I’m answered by so many, “me too’s” that I feel like sharing this part of me. The stigma that surrounds mental disorders is the reason I didnt find out bi-polar disorder was hereditary until I took an ambulance ride to the emergency room.

If you would like to share, please do. This blog has and will always be judgement free.

Much love,

B~

I Am Part 2

I am a fallen tree in the forest. Noone there to witness the fall. I am dirty sneakers passing shiny lou bitons on a busy sidewalk. 

I am the upside of a downward spiral. I am a silent scream. Salty streams and broken dreams. 

I am a forgotten magick spell. A dusty, well worn book, once beloved. Now crammed on a crowded bookshelf. 

I am a near death experience while being born. An uncracked geode. Dull and brown on the outside with unknown gems and sparkles on the inside. 

I am 3am, a rainstorm in Spring, a wishing well with coins tossed in. 

Overdue bills, a tangled ball of yarn, and a napping cat.

I am that I am. 

In Memory of Larry Pearson

Last year when I spoke at Ms. Carolyn’s funeral I had no clue how Jennifer felt. This year I do. Fathers are providers, protectors, and every girl’s first love.

Larry Pearson was a man you could ask for honest advice. He was a straight shooter. He did it with love, wisdom, and kindness.

He and Carolyn were ying and yang. Married 45 years, they adopted Jennifer when she was a baby and raised her as their own. You would have never known she was adopted.

Jennifer and Larry had a bond stronger than most father/daughter relationships. Jenny was everything to him. She was a  woman with a child of her own and she’d still sit on her daddy’s lap.

Larry and Carolyn loved having a house full of teenagers. Larry would sit us down and watch “Tombstone”. Any guy we brought over that didn’t watch it, didn’t make the cut. To this day it is one of my favorite movies. “You’re a daisy if you do!”

Larry loved a good cup of strong black coffee. We all have memories of sitting at the kitchen table while Carolyn cooked breakfast, Larry drank coffee and asked us about our lives. Even as a teenager I knew he cared.

A couple months ago I brought a bag of coffee from work and brewed him a pot. As he drank it he talked about coming to the coffee shop. Deep down I knew that would never happen but I made sure he had good coffee at home.

He would drive us where we wanted to go. I remember being in the back seat and Jenny talking him into changing the radio to music we liked. He may have grumbled a bit but he would give in eventually.

They say it takes a village, it took 6 adults to raise 3 wild girls. Larry was the gentler of the Dads. He would talk to me for hours trying to help me understand my parents.

He and Carolyn provided a sanctuary for any kid that walked through their door. I ran away once when I was 19. I lived with them for a few weeks. Larry and Carolyn kept in touch with Dad making sure he knew I was safe. While allowing me the time and space I needed to sort myself out.

We had nicknames, he called Tiffany, Tiffroni and me Brookie. He was the only person on the planet that could call me that and get away with it.

Last year when we went to tell him about Carolyn passing, Tiffany and Jennifer told me he may not know who I was. When Jennifer asked him if he knew who I was, he acted like we were crazy. “Well, yeah. That’s Brooke.”

This year I spent a good bit of time at Jennifer’s. After the year we had, being near each other was comforting. Larry not only knew who I was, he liked me being there. He still asked about my life, where I was working, how I was doing, etc. We were sitting on Jennifer’s bed and he would ask her for something and she told him, ” I have company Daddy, give me a second.” His response, “she’s not company.”

Larry considered all of us one of his own. His loving wisdom will be missed. He is with Carolyn now. Watching over us and beaming with pride. They will both be there when Jersey Lee Arilyn is born. They will be there anytime they are needed. Larry may be gone physically but he will forever be with us in our hearts.Doc Holiday said to Wyatt Earp in Tombstone, “There’s no normal life, Wyatt. It’s just life. Get on with it.” We will channel his strength and get through this.

I’ll miss our talks over coffee and I’ll forever be your huckleberry.

Rest easy Larry.

Love,
Brookie
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Growth from Grief

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This past month has completely changed me. Losing my Dad has caused my independent nature to come roaring back to life.

After 4 years in a codependent marriage, I am making a payment tomorrow that I wouldn’t have dreamed I could afford alone.

Instead of running to my ex husband for help, I buckled down and took on more hours at work.

The way things have worked out since July 15 is baffling to me.

From the pit of a depression that I never thought I would recover from, panic/grief attacks that threatened my sanity, and a loneliness like nothing I’ve ever experienced; I have become stronger than I ever thought possible.

I miss my Dad. I feel I still need him. However, there is light where there was once only darkness. It flickers like a fluorescent light in an old building but dammit it’s there.

I wasn’t in a good place when he died. Am I in a good place now? Most of the time. I still have days that I can’t breathe and I just want to hug my pillow and cry. That’s okay, I am allowed those days. Will I unpack and live in that sadness? No, I can’t.

Not for my family, kids, friends, or anybody else. For myself, by myself.

There is a meme floating around that says, “I don’t want you to save me, I want you to stand next to me while I save myself.”

I couldn’t have written it better myself.

As I deposit the money for the payment I thought I could never afford alone, with money left over. I am grateful for this humbling, terrible fucking summer. Without it I would still be lost, weak, and completely dependent on someone else for everything from food to the clothes on my back. I’m closer with my siblings than ever before, we share a pain that only the 4 of us understand. It sucks that it took this great loss but that’s life and sometimes we have to truly lose our shit to appreciate what we’ve had all along.

Dad would be proud of us all. Adam for stepping up as the family patriarch, me for getting my shit together, Noelle for checking on all of us back home, every day, and Kayla for landing a kick ass job in the midst of immense grief. This past month has been transformative for all of us.

I dreamt of him the other night. We were walking in the woods, it was very foggy. I got stuck in what felt like tar and he kept walking. I called out to him to wait, he laughed like he knew something I didn’t and kept walking. He disappeared into the fog, his laugh echoing all around me. I woke up in tears, he had just said the goodbye he didn’t have the chance to say in real life.

Brooke

Silver Linings

2015 was supposed to be MY year. I rang in the New Year with the promise of growth and transformation. Little did I know the price I would pay to “transform”.

I separated from my husband at the end of January, I left a soul sucking job in the spring and left our home shortly after. Penniless and unemployed I struggled but survived, barely.

I was codependent, I had lost myself. I had to do it all on my own to get back to myself, right?

Would I have done it if I had known what was coming in the summer?

A friend who was also separated from her spouse, reached out and helped me and I had my first female roommate at 34. I messaged a local coffee shop owner that I knew from my previous job asking if he had any work at all. I had bartended so long I knew I could be a barista, it’s just coffee instead of liquor. He gave me a chance and that job has been exactly what I need.

During the down time, while I wait on beans to roast, I can work on my website and my dream. The other baristas are younger, and awesome, when someone needs a shift covered we come together and work it out. Their awesome-ness is heart warming. My boss is the Yoda of hiring good employees.

Learning to take care of myself and handle my own shit has been a challenge to say the least. My bills are far more than my income and I miss most of them every month. This summer I haven’t seen the ocean, camped on the river, stacked rocks, rode on the back of a Harley, or any of the activities I love so much. I have just been trying to survive and doing a pretty shitty job at it. But, I chose this.

Half way through 2015. In the midst of trying to live, my life changed again, this time through no choice of my own. This time it was the hardest thing I’ve ever lived through.

I’m still living through it. Has it made survival more difficult? Absolutely.

I see people and think, “How can you act normal? Don’t you know what happened?”

Some days I’ll be acting “normal” and catch myself, the guilt I feel is crippling.

Dark and bleak are kind words to describe my attitude the past few weeks.

Last night, as I was thinking about how the hell I was gonna come up with money I need, I got a text offering me more hours. I looked up and said, “thank you.”

Flora would say, “I’m a trust fund baby of the universe.” That I am.

Life is crazy, upside down, inside out, and doesn’t make any sense, but I’m living it. There are more days that I don’t want to do it than there are days that I do. I do it anyway.

There are silver linings, I just have to find one to cling to every day. I have to look for the good shit, even if I have to dig up the back yard to find it.

The small victories such as more hours at work at a job that also motivates me to work on my own website are double sided blessings.  My kids that are too big for their own good, Slade telling me about some hunting or fishing thing and Kaiya’s laughter when she watches “Ridiculousness”. The group text with my sisters. This guy that thinks I’m the best thing since the Redskins that reminds me to “set that shit down” and let it go. I may have tears streaming down my face, for more reasons than anyone knows, but there is a smile there.

Some days that shit is buried deep but it’s there.

This story is far from finished. It will have more silver linings than the silver starting to run through my hair.

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Brooke

The Bee Sting

I stepped on a honey bee that day. I had wished you were there to put tobacco on it.

I’m sorry I didn’t hug mom, I couldn’t comprehend what she had just told me.

I only wanted you.

The events of that day are scorched into my memory.

Life as I knew it changed.

Every memory that mattered, you were there.

I can’t handle the fact that you won’t be there for anymore of them.

You worried about me so much, I never thought to worry about you.

This is really hard Dad.

There is a huge, raw, gaping void that will never be filled.

You were supposed to be immortal. Hercules himself didn’t hold a candle to you.

Do you think you could visit me and put some of your tobacco on this bee sting?

It hurts Dad.

Anthony Wright Sanders 10-12-1960-7-15-2015

Me and my Dad.

Me and my Dad

Sweet Love~

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We interrupt your regularly scheduled opinionated, angry news feed to bring you a triple shot of love, sweet love.

There is so much anger and hate flooding our news this week, I want to write about love.

Isn’t love the point? We spend our whole lives throwing the word “love” around, yet when we are offended or our opinions are challenged we get angry and start spewing hate and anger.

Why? Focus on what you love.

I love puppies and sunsets. Beaches and rivers. Rock stacking and spiders.

I love espresso and chocolate. My children and my family.

I love my sisters that I never get to see. I love my spirituality and my tribe.

I love waking up in the morning and that first good stretch. I love the smell after it rains. I love thunderstorms and bright sunny days.

I love dandelions and sunsets. I love magick and infused water.

I love my boyfriend and my Chuck Taylor’s. I love long skirts and short shorts. I love both of my jobs and my awesome bosses.

I love my roommate and our small duplex.

I have far too much to love to waste any of my time being angry about things that I have no control over. I don’t understand how people that are so blessed have the energy to hate anything or anyone.

I am going through a lot of major life changes. If I chose to be angry about all the shit I’m going through, I would be a raging bitch.

I refuse to do that.

I choose to fucking love the shit out of life. The highs and the lows. The good and the bad.

Let go of anger and be in love with life. It is too short to waste.

Love,
Brooke Dedmon

Memories of Carolyn Pearson

My beautiful friend Jennifer and her mother Carolyn.

My beautiful friend Jennifer and her mother Carolyn.

Over the past week I have been with one of my oldest friends while she dealt with the loss of her mother. Her mother was a special lady. She adopted my friend as a baby and raised her as her own. Larry and Carolyn Pearson took on a responsibility they didn’t have to and loved her with a love that is rare.

A beautiful, social butterfly, Jennifer had many friends growing up. Carolyn welcomed each of us into her home without hesitation and loved us too. I was 12 years old when I met Jennifer. I don’t recall the first time I went to her house. I do remember being welcomed into her life with open arms.

They gave me sanctuary. After I had my license and would be fighting with my own parents, as teenagers do. I made the drive from my house to hers so many times there should be grooves in the pavement. Carolyn would smoke a cigarette with me and talk to me how teenagers need to be talked to.

Carolyn surrounded herself with a group of kids that she loved and cared for like her own. She wanted Jennifer to stay close to home instead of going out and getting in trouble. She had her own living room and it was always full of teenagers hanging out.

She was true red head and a fire cracker. We could hang out as long as we wanted but she didn’t take any crap from us. I smile through my tears remembering the times she would catch us mis-behaving. I recall the times she’d find us somewhere we shouldn’t have been and would put us in the car and drive us home. Fussing over us the whole way.

My parents were strict. If it hadn’t been for Carolyn Pearson I would have never gotten to do anything. I went on my first double date from her house. I had a curfew just like Jennifer and she would call my parents if I didn’t keep it. There is a fine line to raising a teenager and she found it.

When we were hungry she fed us, when we were upset over a boy she comforted us. As adults she helped plan our bridal and baby showers. There isn’t an important time in my life that Carolyn wasn’t involved in.

I could tell stories about her for hours, we all could. She did so much for me and my friends that we will never forget her. She will live on in each of us, in all of our children. She will be with us in spirit as we live our lives. I know she is beaming down on us at how we all came together this week for her Jenny.

We love and miss you Carolyn. Rest in peace.

Love,
Brooke

The Animal Inspiration Oracle Deck

I am so excited to announce the launch and pre-order of The Animal Inspiration Oracle Deck. The artwork is done by Kimi-The Lovely Little Witch and written by your favorite rambling, witchy blogger, me!

The Etsy description:

The Animal Inspiration Oracle deck is a 36 card deck containing spirited original artwork with clear and sacred messages to help you develop your intuition and take inspired action with your life. .A collaboration between two Certified Ethical Intuitives that read cards for a living, this deck was designed with energies of clarity, spirit, and personal transformation in mind. We wanted to create a deck that was practical with meanings that are brief yet powerful. These unique cards can be used in a variety of ways; in readings, meditation, and the application of inspired action to create change and spiritual growth.

Each image was created and meaning written in sacred space. The animals in this deck inspire the reader to transform their life and the lives of others through healing, growth and positive change.

This deck can be used by anyone, adept to novice. Applicable to all faiths and paths.

Each deck will be printed in an Eco friendly, green certified factory, and in honor of mama earth, 10% of the proceeds will be donated to Turtle Island Restoration Network – an organization dedicated to mobilizing people to restore oceans, preserve rivers and streams, and protect the marine wildlife that call these blue-green waters home.

Preorder decks are currently in the process of being produced, with an expected ship to customer date of August 29th, 2015 – on the full moon. 😀

With each Animal Inspiration Oracle Deck you purchase, you will receive:

– 36 Vibrant 3.5 x 5″ oracle cards with intuitive key words for the animals pictured

– A soft-cover book featuring the meanings of each card with actionable applications for personal growth

– A Colorful tuck-box for storing book and deck

– A tumbled crystal that has been blessed, charged, and attuned to the deck in sacred space

– 10% of the proceeds donated to helping Mother Earth through the Turtle Island Restoration Network

Our intention for this oracle deck is simple – to offer a method of receiving intuitive guidance that is inspiring, clear and direct. Many months of preparation, magick, transformation and love have gone into the creation of this sacred tool – may the Animal Inspiration Oracle deck bring blessings to the lives of many for years to come!

About the creators:

Artist Kimi Sneeringer

I am an artist, certified spiritual empowerment coach, and a tarot and oracle reader trained under Flora Peterson. I have been assisting others through my readings to understand their truth and find the freedom to follow their spirit for several years. It is my passion to share with others the joy of living in spirit, and my goal that all those who choose me to be a part of their journey will leave with clarity, inspiration, and the energy to achieve their greatest dreams. I am trained and certified as a crystal healer with the Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy, and I find the healing power of crystals to be provide both a beautiful connection between spirit and the natural world as well as a profound assistance to those who are wishing to more actively pursue a spiritual path. I live on a magickal homestead with the love of my life and our furry family of 5 dogs, 2 cats, and a potbelly pig. All life is magick if we choose to see it for the light. ❤

Author Brooke Dedmon

I am a Certified Ethical Intuitive of Flora Sage Therapies and Certified Crystal Healer with the Hibiscus Moon Crystal Healer Academy. My education and experience allow me to help others heal and grow using crystal healing, intuitive guidance, and a spirit led blog. Living in a rural area has allowed me to live a sustainable life and to explore Herbalism, crafting, writing, and magick.

Our intention for this oracle deck is simple. Offer a method of receiving guidance that is inspiring yet simple and direct.

We are also having a ridiculous give away. Everyone that preorders by May 1 will be entered to receive an Agate crystal skull with an Amethyst brain, click here to learn more 

and a giant Amethyst cluster:

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Thank you all for your support on this incredible, exciting, life changing journey!

Love,
Brooke Dedmon