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The Family I was born into and the Family I chose!

Here is the final chapter of my book that is weighted down with the experience of loss.   And thank goodness because living the past two years over again through the written word has been both cathartic and emotionally exhausting.  I had a story that needed to get out somehow. I still am not sure why.  Maybe I really felt that I wanted to share my experience with grief with others because when I faced it initially I felt so incredibly lost.  I had no compass to guide me through it and I had no definitive time guarantee that would give me hope that this too shall pass.  It turns out that grief, no matter what form it comes in, is facing life after any kind of loss.  And because I am wired to be a sensitive and emotional soul, the overwhelming array of feelings that accompanied my experience took me on a crazy and not so fun roller coaster ride for quite some time. 

Even with all the support groups and the healers, if it had not been for my wonderful family and very close friends, the challenge that I faced during those very dark days would have been that much more difficult.  There were those late night calls, sometimes at 3 am, to my aunt who would sit on the other end of the phone and just listen to me cry.  There were those long walks with my neighbor who shared with me her own experience of the tragic loss of her beloved uncle.  There were those weekends where one of my friends arranged to come to Miami to just be with me as I tried to work out my new reality.  There were those long days at work where my colleagues did their best to listen to me and comfort me with their friendship  There were those trips to my father’s house to make new memories in her honor.  There were those long hugs received by my own sisters when connection was necessary for all of us.  There were those visits to the cemetery where we could sit in a sacred space to tell my mom about all about what was going on in all of our lives then continue to the local Italian restaurant to break bread together.  And, finally, there were those tender moments where my children would hold me and tell me they loved me. And, there was the breakthrough when my husband finally understood the extent of the emotional pain that i was going through.

All of it was so important to me.  How blessed I was because i was lucky enough to be born into an amazing and beautiful Italian family.  How blessed I was because I was able to make wonderful choices when it came to opening myself up to the family I chose.  Not sure what direction my journey will take next, but I am certainly  open to following my internal guide to continue moving forward.  And you know what, my mother would be proud, proud of me and the rest of us.

There is a poster board in my home that I made the week my mother passed away.  There are words of inspirations and butterflies placed all over the board with a beautiful angel in the middle.  Above the angel’s halo reads the following quote by Flavia Weedn :  “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”   This is a quote that describes the ongoing impact that Mary Jo has on all of our lives.  It also sets out the way that I feel about my family and close friends, my family by birth and my family by choice.  May we all continue to teach each other to dance to the beat of life’s beautiful drum, to understand life through the wisdom of different experiences, and to see the world in a new and wonderful light that allows us to identify the magic that is there.  I stand in utter awe at how magical it was to have had the opportunity to be in my mother’s presence and learn God’s message of love. Now, even more so, I stand in utter awe that I was a witness to the experience of  divine healing through others in my own circle of influence.

I am done with this part of my life.  While I still face my everyday demons, i have made the decision with the help of many to move on.  While i may be a fear of mine that moving on means that I will forget my mother, this could be no further from the truth.  For I know, I will never forget my mother as her legacy goes on with me, my family and with everyone she touched in her special way.  While I no longer see a purpose for the mourning period to continue, it is clearly obvious to me that time does heal all wounds because I would never have been able to say that when she died.  To live a life in tribute to her memory could be the greatest gift I could give her and myself.  I can say this, there is no time like the present to forge ahead.  And, that is what I am doing.  No regrets and in gratitude.  There can be no other way.  And, if my story helps another person along the way face a very difficult situation, then perhaps sharing all of this is worth it.

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