Tag Archives: pain

Be Learning About Shame/Guilt 

Brene Brown is the shame expert in our generation, but I want to add my two sense as shame has been my game for most of my life.  I have been shamed, shamed others and watch people shame.  It’s powerful emotion and one that can be used as a tool to destroy! 

Your spirit.  

Your belief in yourself. 

Your belonging.  

Your being.  

First, let’s talk about the difference between shame and guilt to get this emotional, mindset roller coaster rolling down the track.  

For me, the difference between shame and guilt involves the external versus the internal.  Have you every had anyone ‘put’ something on you, that’s most likely shame.  My most recent example was when someone criticized what I said during a conversation they overheard and then, without me asking for feedback, they told me what I ‘should’ have done.  When I get ‘should’ on, I know it’s shame.   Someone is trying to tell you what to do and wielding the shame sword to get you to do it.    My father recently told me that “I thought mom and I had brought you up better than that.” Yup, I am 43 years old and that is called good ‘old’ shame.  

No should.  

Just could.  

No shame.  

Just guilt.  

No swords. 

Just freedom.  

Guilt for me is a super power that comes from within.  It moves you to deeper places.  It helps you grow.  It’s the feeling inside, “Oh, I could have done that!”  You realize your mistake and seek answers to make it better for next time.  It completely happens within.  It could have been triggered by an external event or conversation but no one ‘put’ anything on you.  It’s 100% coming from you.  This happened recently with something I ate.  I felt guilty afterwards because it wasn’t fueling my body but instead was feeding an emotion.  My guilt allowed me to move into a new place thinking about fuel versus feeling foods.  

Your spirit. 

Your belief in yourself. 

Your belonging.  

Your being.  

Free to live your life.  

Free to make mistakes. 

Free to listen within. 

Everyone living without shame ‘put’on each other.  

Free to get off the shame roller coaster.  

Free to step aboard the guilt train. 

Be Free.  

Be Enough.  

Be Tweaking My Neck 

Yessiree Bob, I tweaked my neck.  

No idea how.  

I wasn’t twerking.

Just living life.  

I am so grateful for this time of tweaking.  

Time to slow down.  

Time to look at the clear blue skies.  

An opportunity to be grateful.  

No matter the circumstances.  

I have work where I choose my daily rhythm.   

I can put my health first.   

I can lie flat on my back if I need to.  

No day shall pass where I will not spend time in gratitude.  

Even with a pain in my neck!

Look at this view:

Even in the midst of physical and emotional pain, we can find gratitude.  

We just need to choose to look.  

(From whatever position we may be in!) 


Be Searching for Dawn

I start pedaling as the moon shines.

Darkness unfolds over me and through me.

The grief is vibrating throughout my being.

Tears come easily.

My heart literally aches.

I don’t know how to live another moment without my mom.
No recipe for grief.

No instruction manual or no expert that can tell you exactly what your journey will look like.

But I hold closely to my wise counselor’s words: just notice, don’t judge, just sit in it.

So I get on my bike and I sit.

Not responsible for anyone but myself and my grief.

Nowhere to go and no timeline to returned.

So I pedal and I wait.

I wait for dawn to break, hoping that my tears will be dried up by the time I need to return to my life, my beautiful life with my boys, and the wonderful people that surround me.IMG_6508.JPG
I see, now, that grief is no longer the end, it is simply the beginning.

An opportunity to shed unhealthy relationships.

A time to go within myself to look beyond the noise of the day-to-day stuff.

A new life to go deep inside my heart to realize how I want to spend my short time on this earth.

As I look south to where my dad grieves, where my dear friends live, I know that the darkness in grief is quickly lit up by the light of people that you deeply, deeply love.

This Thanksgiving, I am extremely grateful for every person who has walked through and beside me during this incredibly difficult and rich time.

My tears are now pouring out because of the gratitude that I feel. The sadness is replaced but not gone.

I think I will most likely live the rest of my life a humbled woman who misses her mom.

Kisses. Air hugs. High fives.

Off to attempt my first Thanksgiving dinner extravaganza. Now that would bring anyone to tears! Thank goodness for supportive Sexy Neck, helpful boys and old neighbours with sage advice.


Be Letting Go (Happy Mother’s Day)

My grip is loosening.

My expectations changing.

I feel deeply.

The pain is an open wound.

I see with wise eyes.

I know myself more.

My hands are open.

My heart is free.

Free to love.

Free to let go.

Freedom is my daily journey.

The chains are broken.

Nothing holds me back.

Letting go of expectations.

Free to be me.


Yesterday was Mother’s Day. My eighth Mother’s Day as a mom and the first Mother’s Day without my mom. I had many people write that they were thinking of me. I think a few were concerned.

I had a beautiful day! We spent the whole day in the yard, I painted outside, we ate together, we talked about mom and yes, we felt pain. Love overflowed through my boys, our peaceful home and the thoughts from my friends.

This open wound that was birthed when mom got sick will be open for who knows how long. BUT rejoice, I am not suffering. Each day I choose to sit and deal with my pain, my wound, my hole, the waves crashing onto me. This pain is in no way producing anger nor worry. This pain is not producing suffering which can lead to addictions, anger, resentment, wrath or …. During these days, I feel incredible peace and freedom all mixed up with incredible sadness. I feel freedom to live without excuses, with no expectations and without ‘doing’ a whole lot.

Here is this Mother’s Day in photos:






20140512-162114.jpgThoughtful gift from my friend, D!


Be Existing, Be Okay Today

I exist in a world I never knew nor imagined.

20140119-150216.jpgI ponder my mom’s depth of knowing, her presence in all our lives and her amazing Sunday dinners.

I wait for my mom to walk through door and say, “Hi Joanna!”

I wonder how did she die and really what the hell happened.

I think about snowflakes, butterflies and my mom’s final smile.

20140119-150228.jpgI talk to the people that know our story, my dad, my cousins, my close friends.

I walk away from my old ways, my old complaints, the things that no longer serve me.

I hide from sympathy. I hide from shallow words and frivolous complaints.

I sit still and rest. Feeling my body for the first time in many months.

I watch, I look for some sort of sign. A sign from heaven.

I hover, waiting to see what unfolds.

I know I will be okay today and that is enough!


Be Sharing A Quote (and a Nana Quilt)

“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation-either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

My mom sewed this quilt for Owen as she endured her five month cancer treatment journey.

As she had done for each of the boys, she created a quilt for their ‘big boy’ beds.


Goodnight wee boys.

Enveloped in Nana’s creativity, thought and labour of love.


Ironically (or not ironically if you know my latest history with irony – here and here and here…)
Mom gave this quilt to Owen after her death as we found it in her closet waiting for his big boy bed.

Never bitter.

Never complaining.

Never fearful.


Side note:
I just found the first quilt I ever made with my friend, Princess P. I had given it to my mom. I remembered how proud she was of me and how she displayed it in our living room. I also knew after many quilting conversations afterwards, that this first quilt inspired her own journey with quilting.





Be Repeating

We have our time. Hospice tomorrow at 9:00am. Not what we are hoping for, but mom needs to transition to new medication before they move her.

Dad and I are not leaving her side until she is through the hospice doors and in her ‘new home’.

Now we repeat with every painful moment:

Mama, we are here.

Mama, we love you.

Mama, today is Thursday. Michelle comes on Saturday.

Mama, we love you.

Mama, today is Thursday. Wendy and Peter will be here soon. Rea and Gail are coming tomorrow. Michelle is here on Saturday.

Mama, we are here.

Be ‘Conquering’ Your Pain

Today, I am pondering pain. We all got it somewhere, sometimes.

Today, I got me some pain watching my Mama in pain.

Sitting beside mom in her ER hospital bed, looking at her scrunched up chin, hands that can’t relax and toes that need to dance now that is some pain.

Mom has been a warrior when it comes to pain management. She tries to take the minimal amount of medication with thoughtful purpose. She doesn’t want to take too much for too long! But even she sometimes can’t ‘conquer’ her pain. Sometimes we all need a little help!

Today, mom made the decision to travel in style via ambulance to get easily into the Emergency Room in Vtown. She said the ride was a bit bumpy lying in the back over those wheel wells. Then, she waited patiently for most of the day to hear that she would be admitted into the hospital. They have her pain managed intravenously and she is starting to relax in this noisy place. Whew!


Sexy Neck sent me some interesting reading from the Mayo clinic while I was hanging out with Mama. It is great information about cancer patients and pain. Just a little light reading. 😉

This week, I read a quote in a book that went a little something like this:

We can sit in our pain now and notice it or we can deal with it later. But, we will have to deal with the pain sometime.

My other quote for today: “The well is deep, the scoop strong, and the grip even stronger. Holding on to holding on.”





Conquering by being present.



F*ck you cancer.

Apparently, I got me some anger today too!

Fifteenth Day of advent and I threw out an F-word.

PS. M, if you are reading this. All the balls are still in the air. Costco shopping is still suspended. We got our peeps in line. Three week cycle unfolds on the weekend. Trying to contact the other M for pain plan. Having difficulty. Mom will be here a few days. Chemo may be postponed.