Thursday, April 24, 2014

It happens to the best of us

Warning: This post and the next post that may follow within a few days won't be like the rest you've read. They may be depressing, just giving you a heads up.

So as most of you know my papa who has fought cancer for over 10 years is currently in ICU and not getting better.

He's my hero, the one I look up to for strength.

He won't get better. 

I haven't lost hope, I would never lose hope, however he has cancer and unless it's a miracle by God, papa won't recover.

This is not me being a heartless person, this is me being realistic. 

There are a few things you need to know and this can relate to someone who has a chronic illness, knows someone with a disease, or just a human being in general who experiences a loss.

1. Everybody grieves differently and in different ways. Some people may cry, some people may not cry, some people may scream and yell, and some (like me) will internalize their stress and problems so much so that they start helping and taking care of others to avoid taking care of themselves. All of these ways are ok. Some may not be healthy, but when has being healthy ever been my thing, am I right?

2. Closure is not a real thing. Sorry to burst your bubble about thinking that one day you'll recieve full closure, but you won't. I'm not saying you can't strive for it, but something somewhere sometime will remind you of your loss and you'll feel that nostalgic feeling that takes you back. It's totally ok to do that. You wouldn't be a human otherwise. However, when you're facing a loss of any kind, don't think automatically that you need to be focusing on closure. You don't. It's ok to be sad. It's ok to miss that person or whatever loss you may be having (if I'm relating this to chronic illness issues, it would be the loss of good health, or the loss of experiences due to health issues). It's ok to be upset.

3. You're gonna go through phases where you cry, curse the world, and go numb. At least in my experiences with loss, that's what I do. I'll help everyone and ignore my problems until I stress myself out so much that I flare. I then get angry, cry, and a few hours later I'm better. In my current situation, I'm still in the helping others phase. I'm not going to lie to you, I get mad. Everyone does. I haven't lied to you yet on here and I don't plan on it. Whether it's a flare up or you just lost someone you love, you're gonna get mad and feel emotions and once again, that's ok. Nobody expects you to be your happy self all the time. I also just got a call that my great grandmother might not make it to the end of the day. That's two people I love right there about to leave this world and enter a place where they don't have any pain. I would be lying if I wasn't pissed off right now, daring the world to give me just one more thing to deal with because apparently they all think I'm stronger than I think I am.

This feeling happens. I've talked to others about it, especially when I'm flaring up. I like to know that I'm not the only one who likes to hit a wall and scream when I don't understand why this is happening. You're not alone and you don't have to pretend to be. 

The point of this post was to express that no matter what loss you're dealing with, whatever feelings you have associated with that loss or are experiencing with that loss should be validated and expressed and you should be told that it's ok. 

Things happen all the time that we don't understand and don't want to happen, but you'll make it through, you always do. 

"People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the Sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed as if there is a light from within"
- Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."

That line is from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and it's wrong.

If you read the book by John Green with the same title as my post today, you'll understand that the quote above is incorrect. The fault is not in ourselves, people are just unlucky.

Ok, yes sometimes the fault can be in ourselves because we do bad things and get in trouble for them. However, for the sake of this post and my point, the fault is not in ourselves. :)

Bad things happen to good people every single day and we don't know why. The author tries to paint a picture where we can see that two kids with cancer can fall in love and live a meaningful life even if you got the crappy end of the stick. He shows what it's like to see the real side of things (things being living with cancer as a teenager) and to understand that maybe you don't know why bad things happen, but you just have to live with it and to find the meaning in the small things and then cherish what time you do have left.

One of my favorite lines in the book is, "that's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt".

Ain't that the truth.

It won't go away, it won't quit, it won't give up, and it won't stop.
Pain demands your attention.

It takes everything you have and it won't give it back unless you admit to yourself that it won.

It's a depressing book, really. However, it has a lot of truth to it.
It opens your eyes to the not so bright side of things and while it may be fiction, it's based on a real girl and her story.

Things like this happen every single day, that's why there are books like this one, foundations to help bring to light issues that not everyone knows about, and then probably the best thing in the world: Dance Marathon.

Dance Marathon is one of the best things that I've experienced. Just like the Fault in Our Stars, it's raw, it's emotional, and it'll rip your heart out and put it back together a totally different way than when you started.

For those of you who don't know what this is, it's an event put on by students where dancers have to stand for 26.2 hours for the children's miracle network and the children who can't stand. All of the money they raise goes straight to Children's miracle network for the kids.

My brother has participated in this for 3 years now.
I love it.

I don't have many regrets, but one of them is that I didn't get involved in it when I was an undergrad.
At UWF they had a small one and it was mainly Greek life that did it (and those who know me know that I'm not fit for Greek life at all. Like no way. No offense to my Greek life friends reading this).

The families of the miracle children come and tell their stories and each time they leave the stage you are reaching for more tissue to blow your nose on.

To hear just how far these kids have come and to hear all of the bad things that have happened to them, but you look at their faces and see nothing but smiles. The to see how much dedication and hard work that was put into DM that has paid off is just truly amazing.

They see the bad, but they are focusing on the good.

When they lifted the numbers last year to show that they had reached over a million dollars I had chills from head to toe.

This year when they showed this:

Can you imagine what it felt like to be in that arena?

All of these students stand for those who can't.
They stand FTK. For the kids.

So while everyone may be unlucky and not know why bad things happen to good people or why they happen in general, we do know that there are people out there who are helping. They are bringing to light the good in the bad situation, they are helping by raising money for new research and equipment, and they are helping others live a meaningful life in every way that they can.

I'm constantly reminding myself of that this week as bad things are happening to the best man in the entire world, my papa. You have to find the good in the bad situations, you have to have hope that things will get better, and you have to rely on your friends to help you through those situations. But most importantly, you must appreciate what you do have and live without blaming something or someone for the bad things that happen.

There is fault in our stars, it's just not always in ourselves.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Keep Calm and Let it Go.

I haven't written in a while and in a moment I'll tell you why. Not in hopes that you'll feel sorry for me, but in hopes that it will help make my point at the end.


  1. re·sil·ience
    noun: resilience; plural noun: resiliences
    1. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

    2. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

The past 2 weeks have been insane. 
I've gotten in a wreck (I'm fine, but my bumper ended up in the middle of the road), My great grandparents have been sick, My grandpa is still fighting despite everything being against him, I've been working out (like running stadiums and on the treadmill) trying to lose weight to fit into a dress that won't zip when I have 13 days before it needs to, School is insane with finals and internship/practicum coming up, and it's just been a day to day making it kind of thing. 

Two things that all of that have in common is: resilience and me.

I got a compliment a few weeks ago from the professor I'm working with to put together a presentation for next years ACA conference. She told me that after reading all of the research that we've been looking at on children and adolescents with chronic illnesses, she's truly amazed at my resilience. She said that reading the information that people can go two ways: they can choose to give in or they can fight it and push through and it made an impression on her when I showed up in her class barely able to move with no makeup on, but I was there because nothing was going to stop me from doing what I needed to do. (This is totally the time I was referring to from one of my older posts). 

To me there is only one option.
I've got to push through and move onto the next thing, whether that be difficult things or easy things. 

I could have just crawled in bed and hid from the world after my wreck or any of the things above. 
But I didn't. 

I went and got a rental car after taking my car to the shop and I made it to my next class. 

I have to prove to myself and to others that nothing is going to stop or slow me down. 

I don't normally say a lot of negative things on here because I like to keep things sunny side up (fellow princess diary fans will get the joke!), but it kills it doesn't kill me, it literally upsets me when you have people like my grandpa who had back surgery then THE NEXT DAY go and  take my little cousin out to dinner for her birthday when he's smiling through the pain versus people who don't show up to class or work or make excuses because they don't want to get out in the rain or they have better things to do or they've had a bad day.

Everyone has bad days, but it's up to you if you want to be resilient. 
Do you want to give in or do you want to come out feeling like, "heck yeah I just beat that!"
Which one are you?

This post is titled Keep calm and let it go because that's what you have to do in bad situations.
Those are two steps that help me bounce back and recover to move on with my day.

You must keep calm, breathe, and realize that it's not the end of the world. 
You must also let it go, because sometimes things are out of your control.

I mean, if you haven't heard it enough, go listen to Queen Elsa sing it and maybe you'll listen to her. 
When she's singing "the cold never bothered me anyway", she is meaning that because if she shoots ice out of her hands, the cold probably doesn't bother her anyway. 

However, you can also take that as the bad situation that she's in doesn't bother her because she's come to accept that she can't do anything about it....She's letting it go.

I totally just did that. 
I'm now laughing at myself while I write this.
You're welcome.

In all seriousness though, you need to think about the situations that you're in (this whole post doesn't apply to just people will illness BTW) and realize that you can be resilient through them. You'll recover, the world won't end, and you'll come out with some scrapes and bruises...but you'll survive. 

Just remember...
Keep Calm and Let it Go :)