Sunday, April 21, 2013


Because of recent events, I have been thinking a lot about healing.  I think that we have all been impacted in different ways by the Marathon Bombing-certainly the citizens of Boston and members of the running community have felt pain at this tragedy .  My family has been dealing with a recent death of a parent.  As I watched the unfolding of events on television and experienced the last few days leading up to the funeral, I started noticing the ways people cope and heal in times of stress.

The news reports have been very interesting to watch.  What strikes me as a major effort of healing is the strong sense of community that has unfolded.  I was particularly touched by the images of Bostonians in the streets after the final bomber was caught.  You could see that being with others as they celebrated and thanked law enforcement members was an important part of their healing.  Being a part of a community is a very important part of healing for many of us.  Our community of friends has been such a support to my husband and me.  They have reached out to us through Facebook, texts, and email to provide comfort and love.  Just having this connection and knowing that they are there has meant so much to us.  We are truly fortunate to be surrounded by their love and care.

Family is also crucial to healing.  It doesn't matter what type of crisis you are facing-death, illness, financial distress.  For most of us, having our family around is a critical part of acceptance and healing.  In the past few days as we have been celebrating the life of my mother-in-law,  we have been comforted by the love and caring of family.  It has been particularly fun to see the inter-generational interactions as we navigate these difficult times.  Each day we connect for family meals where we catch up on each other's lives and share the love that we often forget to show during our busy day-to-day lives.  While I always knew that family was important, I am further convinced that these genetic and marital connections are integral to our healing in emotional times of loss.

We often forget that there are other forms of comfort that can assist in healing.  Each of us has a form of escape that we can use to give us respite from our pain, sadness, and/or fear.  For children, play in all forms is healing.  It has been fun to watch as the children in our family have connected through games like board games and video games.  They range in age from 4 to 18 but any barriers disappear as they explore and share their favorite computer games or play silly board games to help pass the time.  The women have taken quick shopping trips as a brief escape from the cares of children and making funeral arrangements.  My husband and other family members have been geocaching each day as they enjoy their form of escape.  Some of us took an hour out to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones.  All of these activities have been very healing exercises that are comforting and healthy coping strategies.

When we left Minnesota to travel to Arkansas for the funeral, it was raining, but a foot of snow fell after we left.  All Minnesotans have been suffering from the prolonged winter, and this was a devastating blow.  Everyone is experiencing extreme cabin fever and depression as they long for spring.  However, since we have been in Arkansas, we have had sunny days and temperatures in the 60's.  We have had many occasions when we have sat outside soaking up the sun or hiked through the woods looking for a geocache, and it has occurred to me that nature is very healing.  The beauty of the flowering trees, the warmth of the sun of your face, the sight of green grass, and the smell of growing things has a way of feeding your soul and healing your pain.  It is probably no surprise that I find great joy in the spring growth that surrounds us.

Whatever you may be dealing with in your daily life, I hope that you remember that there are many different ways to heal.  Each of us must find our own path to healing and must accept our different needs during difficult times.  Joy, love, and acceptance will take us a long way.

Have you found your joy today?

Monday, April 8, 2013


As a baby boomer, I am definitely a product of television.  Our first TV was black and white, and I remember when we got our first color television.  The current generation is more into downloads, Netflix, and Hulu where they can watch whatever they want on their own time schedule.  We used to plan our evenings so that we could watch our favorite shows since we had to fit into the network's schedule or miss it!

This month has brought back a lot of memories from shows when I was young.  I started watching soap operas when I was in high school.  During the summers, I watched All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital.  I continued to watch for the next 20 years and then was too busy to keep up.  All My Children and One Life to Live are no longer on the air, but General Hospital is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.  While I don't intend to start watching again, I have tuned in for their anniversary episodes.  To help celebrate, they have brought back many characters from when I used to watch and even some from when my mother would watch as she did her ironing!  It has been fun to see my favorite actors return.  It's reassuring to see that they have aged just like I have.

Today I also caught an episode of Katie which reunited the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  It was great to see these wonderful comedic actresses as they shared memories of their days creating this beloved program.  It was particularly poignant to have Valerie Harper there as she faces brain cancer.  The love, admiration, and joy of these ladies as they gathered together, probably for the last time, was wonderful to see.  I was particularly impressed with the impact their show had on young women as their roles were changing from being wives and mothers to working women.  I know that this show helped me see that, as a woman, I had many more options available to me.

Perhaps most nostalgic of all, Annette Funicello died today.  I am old enough that I remember rushing home from school to watch her on the original Mickey Mouse Club.  While it is said that the boys watched Annette for a different reason, I watched because I thought she was beautiful and talented; I wanted to be like her.  Annette brings to mind a simpler time in my life when I was in my formative years.  I know that she had a very difficult time later in life as she fought Multiple Sclerosis.  While I am glad that she is no longer suffering, I am sad to hear that she died.

All of these events remind me that I am getting older.  My parents are no longer alive, I am now sixty years old, and I have 2 grandchildren.  These are all reminders that life and times change.  A new generation is here to inherent and nurture the world we live in.  While I don't feel old, I have experienced a lot of things in my life, and I have benefited from these experiences.  Many memories live inside of my head, and events like those I've described sometimes bring them to the forefront.  This is when I take a moment to be nostalgic.

I think it is good to be nostalgic once in a while.  It helps put things into perspective, helps foster an appreciation for the richness of my life experiences, and serves as a reminder to enjoy each day to the fullest.  I look forward to many productive years ahead of me and many more memories that I will create, but I believe that it is healthy to take a moment to remember.  Life is so very precious!

Have you found your joy today?