Use Your Words: October 13th, 2017

Today’s post is a writing challenge. And even though I typically enjoy the challenges, right now, I am especially welcoming any challenge that keeps me writing through my feelings. 

This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. 

Until now.

My words are: serial ~ upset ~ rose ~ valiant ~ loaded ~ crumbs. 

They were submitted by: Jenniy from Climaxed-thank you! 

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. 

Shortly after my mom passed away last month, a dear, sassy, intelligent friend told me to remind others that I am still grieving and hurting because my life is not their life... and I think out of all the words, cards, love and advice I have received...that has been the most helpful. (Thank you Stricklin.)  

She is dead right. Are other people in pain over the loss of my mother? Oh, there is no doubt. The messages I receive and the conversations I have with people demonstrate that to me daily. But, over time my friends will most likely move on quicker than I will. And, I will occasionally continue to be brought to my knees when I come home, pass what used to be her room and let out a grief howl that makes my dogs tilt their heads, run and attempt to lick away any pain as fast as their little tongues can. Just like I know my aunt's heart will twinge with pain when she sees a cute elephant statue she would love to get for my mom or  when she hears Sweet Caroline on the radio. There is no doubt my cousin's eyes will get misty when a horror movie marathon is playing or when we make pierogies at Christmas. Is every day heartbreaking for us? No, most days are good ones. 

I do know that most days for me are good ones because I distract myself by keeping a loaded schedule, at least for now. 

Many people asked me if I was going to pack up and move 'home' when mom died. "Home" is where I was raised in Portage, Indiana. It does offer me a peace that I cannot find elsewhere honestly. I have family there that I can lean on, I have friends who have beautiful souls I still talk with regularly who reside there and are raising their beautiful families. I have families of these friends who love me and accept me as part of their own. I won't lie, it gets harder and harder to leave every time I cross the border back into Michigan. When I answered 'no' I was staying in Michigan...quite a few people got upset and did not understand my reasoning and you know what? That is okay, they don't have to and I really don't have to explain to anyone's my life. My experience growing up in the land of cornfields was not optimal. Was it all horrible? Nope. But do I have memories that I try to forget and learn from? Definitely, as we all do. Home has never been a crappy apartment or duplex where I lived.  Home was never a state or city where I resided. Home was my mom. On the bad days and the good ones, the weird ones and the frustrating days, she was my home. She hugged me when I was down and slapped sense into me when I was too hard on myself. Mom reminded me I was human and that taking life too seriously got no one anywhere. Returning to a geographical location would do nothing for me because my heart is currently homeless.

Not to mention, I am established in Michigan. I have a job I love with a good work family, I have a church family, I have friends who are family. Abandoning that in the midst of grief and pain...would do nothing beneficial for me. Why would I physically pack up and start over when I am already learning how to start over emotionally? Don't get me wrong...there were some valiant and valid arguments, but at the end of the day I have to 'do me', as the cool kids say. And you know I am not a 'cool' kid...because I just used that phrase. 

There are places that life will take me...where I am going to take myself because it is time for me to move forward. I received a callous question about a week ago, that I do not think the asker meant in the way I took it...but...remember the grief and pain is still heavy on my heart. They asked me if I 'regretted wasting all the time I spent caring for mom and not living life'. I have taken care of my mom from a young age. To say I identify as a caretaker is an understatement, not just with my mom...but in a lot of other relationships I am the responsible friend, the one people ask for advice, or I am the person relied upon-and that is okay. But, that is not all I am. Without my mom, yes, I can focus more on me and not be her caretaker. But there is not one damn moment I regret being by my mothers' side over these years. I have learned more about compassion, forgiveness, being an advocate-for myself and others, laughing, finding joy, who I am in emergency situations, how to deal with stress, and telling people who do not deserve space in my life (or head) to screw off-more than any classroom could have ever taught me. 

That being said, I am in an active search to find a home for my heart. There are crumbs that I keep noticing on these trails that keep forking off on this adventure to the new me that I am diligently following. The part of my heart that lived in my mom is gone. I know she still lives in my heart and I am pretty sure that is what is spurring me forward to find what makes me happy and encourages me to delve into who I 'really' am. 

We all have these moments that try us and stunt our growth, or more accurately accelerate our growth. It does not stop us...just...slows us down a bit. These ashes of a life I once knew are not overwhelming. I just need to clean them up, clean me up, and move forward. There are mornings where I wonder what is going on, who I am, and I question how I am going to get through the day but I rise anyway and do what has to be done. When I come home and reflect...I tell myself I did it, I rose, I adulted, I conquered and can do it again. I know it's okay to have doubts, it's okay to take a break,'s not okay to give up, so, I keep going. Just like I know many of you have done when you thought you couldn't-you kept persevering and you have become stronger than you would have ever thought possible. 

I'm not entirely sure where life will take me. Maybe I will make some mistakes...okay probably will make serial mistakes in the search of where I need to go. But they will help me figure out who I am, that much I know. Right now, I am grounded, rooted, boring almost, and even though I have a peace about that, I have noticed as the days go by though my heart gets a little lighter. Lighter...almost like little wings are lifting my heart up and telling me it's time to fly away. It is time to stop the distractions so I can see the pain and work through it.  It is time to learn about life and get messy. It is my time to explore. It is my time. 

All I know that a place isn't home...that peace is my home, now...I just got to find it. 

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado        
Cognitive Script               
The Blogging 911         
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo            
On the Border                 
The Bergham Chronicles            
Southern Belle Charm              
Bookworm in the Kitchen          


  1. Yours is a past full of love and because of that I know you will have a future full of love too. I wish you happiness, and I know you will be sure you have it.

  2. What a wonderful legacy your mom left. Love. Carry it proudly!

  3. I continue to be amazed by you, your attitude and your strength. You keep me going when I want to quit. Your Mom was and will continue to live in your heart. Thank you for sharing your journey with us


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