challenges

When the Call Comes…

The phone rings and orders are assigned. No choice you are under contract by the military to do the job you have trained for. It doesn’t matter if you have a civilian job. It doesn’t matter if your closing on a house. It doesn’t matter if you have an exam in college. It doesn’t matter if you have pets. It doesn’t matter if you have a newborn.

You have orders to serve. Less than 48 hours to arrive fully packed and ready to go. You need to hit pause on your life and report for duty. Pandemic or not, you have to go. No excuses. This is the life in the fast lane as a soldier called up on orders.

Final destination may be unknown. Total timeframe may be extended. The unit is ready. Now it’s time to see the execution of the practice plans. 

The above is a snapshot of a whirlwind experience with a loved one. The many pieces that need to be handled while the soldier is serving. Mock missions or real missions, they are all the same. Time away. Unknowns. Feeling like a government-issued piece of property.

Some love the life. Some hate the life. Some get bored over time but a contract is a contract and those who commit to serve must honor their commitment even if it means being ripped from normal life in the blink of an eye. Soldier boots are not for the faint at heart.

Deployed is the official word to some. Active orders to others. It’s all time you miss your loved one and wonder when they will return and if they will return safely. Add in a pandemic and stress levels elevate. How does a military unit assemble and socially or physically distance? How do soldiers adapt and modify field training? Is travel safe for soldiers but not the public? Is there a quarantine period upon return?

For me I’ve been fortunate with my experiences over the past 10 years. My loved one however has lost close friends while serving. It’s never easy in my mind to adjust but there is always a worse situation aside from yours.

For now I wait. For now I cover the home front until said return. Luckily we have technology for the times when it’s available.

Keep my soldier in your thoughts. The final stretch is nearing and any extended cycle would not be fun at this point in the military career. Military life extends beyond the solider. It includes the support system. As I said before a mother’s worry never ends. Some days are just harder than others.

family

Missing You

The last few days I have been missing my dad or the spirit of my dad.

Grief is a funny thing. It creeps up on you at unexpected times. It can be just a flutter in your heart or a vivid memory jerking the tears.

For me I have a night time shirt. An XXXL-type shirt bearing his photo. Not one I would wear out but one that’s comforting for those sleepy days. Maybe the visual on the shirt sparks the memories. Maybe it was the card in the mail from hospice on grief. Maybe it’s just the dust settling. I’m really not sure the nature of its source but it can take your breath away.

No matter the source I miss my dad in all forms. His younger vibrant days as my dad when I was a kid. The middle of the road days where he helped me navigate adulthood. To the end days when he needed help eating his dessert. I just miss him. There is really no replacement.

As life lessons need to be passed to my kids I find myself thinking what would he do. For now I cherish the memories and honor his spirit as I push forward.

I may never say goodbye to grief but I can push through the sadness. He would expect me to. Writing is a great form of therapy for me. If you lost somebody close to you, journaling your thoughts is always a great opportunity to push through the sadness.

I also have a great bestie named Teddie to hang with me as I write and today it was a nice cold glass of almond milk to wash away the woes.

Until next time…

mental health

The Inches Between Your Ears

I’ve been dabbling in real estate lately. Mostly just looking and learning. Immersed in the language of square feet, acres, frontage, it’s a different world to play in. Comparing parcels, plats and all of that.  What makes one property more valuable than another?

Recently someone close to me became the subject of an older man’s obsession.  He physically followed her, sitting down the street from her home in a car, watching. He contacted her relentlessly through technology.  He reached out to people close to her and spread lies to try to sow mistrust and take away some of her support system. Even put a secret GPS tracker on her car.  It’s all sick and twisted and disgusting.

We hope that a confrontation with some of her family scared him off.  He’s been found out. But the legal process to get help for this situation is painfully slow.  Painfully. Slow.

In the mean time, this strong, confident young woman is staring out windows endlessly, shaken with anxiety.  She is terrified.

For all she knows, he may be down the street again watching.  Or, he may be scared away for good.

Either way, he has taken up residence in the most precious real estate she has, the inches between her ears.  Her brain.  At the moment, even if he is no longer anywhere near her, she is thinking about him.  What is he doing?  Is he going to drive by? Is he hurting people I love?  Is he trying to get to me somehow? Am I safe?

She installed cameras around her home. I will be setting up a self-defense class at a local martial arts studio.  Just to try to give her and some of her friends tools to feel safer.

But what about her mind?  Where’s the guard dog for that?  The electric fence?  The alarm bells that help her figure out when she can really let your guard down?  This is something I am thinking about for her. We can’t live on high alert all the time.

I think about it for me as well, how to protect my mental real estate.  I struggle with things like mistrust, jealousy, resentment, anger, unhealthy thinking.  I have to watch myself and learn to better control when these emotions rock me.  The Four Agreements has helped me in this, when I feel like things are getting out of hand.  I remind myself not to take things personally or make assumptions.  I focus on keeping my word and giving my best efforts.

Ultimately, as frustrating as it may be, we can only really control ourselves.  If our minds are horses galloping out of corral, out of control, it will be hard to bridle them.  I’m refreshing my mindset and the strategies I have learned to help keep my mental real estate protected.  How do you protect and preserve those precious inches between your ears?

 

 

mental health

Peaceful

In my recent travels I ended up in middle America as I call it from my eyes. Away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Away from the rioting and looting in the big cities. Away from the stress of work.

I walked for miles and miles on a flat roadway taking in the tranquil scenery. No cars honking no smog in the air. It was peaceful silence and fresh air. The simple quality of breathing fresh air can leave you breathless. What an irony.

This road isn’t a fancy road to anywhere just a beautiful part of our country. Flat lands allowing you to see for miles and miles. No smoke or smog on the horizon. What a sight to take in when our country is in so much turmoil.

All the fields were recently planted or prepped by the local farmers. Some fields have corn while others had wheat. Some were just covered in wild flowers. Either way it seemed the birth of new life was in abundance.

I choose my happy each day. I tend to stay away from the negative news blasts and social media rants. I try to focus on what’s front and center. What can I impact? How can I make a difference?

In a world of so many uncertainties find your balance. Find your peace and beauty around you. Find your wildflowers or embody the spirit of wild flower within you.

May this post find you some peace and comfort today. If you can, visit the ocean and dip your toes in the sand. Take a hike in the mountains. Get away from it all to embrace peaceful when the world around us is constantly showing us all struggle.

I hope some of my photo reel once again let your mind drift if you aren’t able to travel for whatever reason. I share my stories with the world to make a difference. Enjoy.

family

Buddy’s Sign

Today was a rough day.

I lost my dad in his battle with dementia. It was never fun to watch the final days but it was part of the aging process.

Weeks turned into days. Days turned into hours. The third of three arrived this week. The universe whispered to me earlier in the week when I wrote another post about the heartache and loss of the week. My set of three.

I was remaining optimistic but had a inkling fate was on the horizon. Today as I was on my way to pay my final respects when I stopped at a red light and saw the building in the photo below.

What an irony. It’s a sign on a broken down building bearing the name Buddy. Never in my travels on this road have I seen this sign, although from the looks of it it has been there for a long time. And I’ve passed it many times without noticing.

To me is was a special sign. A sign from my dad whose nickname was Buddy. The building was old, boarded up and seemed to be past its prime. I will stick to my gut and think that was my dad waving to me letting me know he is on his way to bigger and better things. Moving on his way in peace.

No more stress of corona for my dad. He got his wings and is soaring high wherever his travels take him. It may be bye for now, but I have plenty of memories to hold on to.

I’ve posted in the past about my photo reel. It’s real for sure. It has not only still pictures but videos to hold on to as memories. The sounds you can’t replace are embedded in videos. The smiles you don’t want to miss are captured in the still shots. For those who hesitate to take the picture, just do it. You will have online catalog of memories better than any photo album sitting on a shelf or in a box.

My dad was strong. He lived a great life. He may be gone but he is not forgotten.

It is now June 3rd. A few days after the loss of my dad. As I finalize this post it was important to post this today. June 3, 1935 was the day my dad was born. He would have been 85 today. He didn’t quite make it to his milestone birthday but that doesn’t mean I can’t give him a birthday nod today.