How to get through changing seasons

Today I was working on a DIY… that didn’t go so well. That’s 2 fails this week! Oh dear. :) Well, I have some work to do with no post to show for it. So I dug into my blog archives to see what I had sitting there and found this one. Not sure why I never did post it.. but, here it is. It’s a thinker type.

A fall photoshoot of an outdoor garden shed / Part of How to get through changing seasons.. an inspirational post on FunkyJunkInteriors.net
This weekend was just another beautiful fall day. The changing seasons here in BC Canada are vivid eye candy!

But the backyard wander came from another reason. I had just heard of some tragic news from two different friends today, and needed to think. Grabbing my camera, I was led outside to the leaves. And this post and story just evolved.

It was a tough write, finding all the right words. But I truly hope they reach the right person. Is it you? 

This is how I get through changing seasons in my life. Even the bad ones.

A winter photoshoot of an outdoor garden shed / Part of How to get through changing seasons.. an inspirational post on FunkyJunkInteriors.net

If you asked me to name a devastating time in my life, one would be the time my Dad passed on.

My parents were finally retired and had purchased this brand new RV and they were off doing their thing at a camping spot. My Dad went for a walk with my uncle in the woods, when suddenly, Dad didn’t feel right and sat down on a rock. The next moment, he was gone. Just like that.

How do you prepare for that? You don’t! You can’t.

I was a complete mess. I remember not being able to look at a picture of my smiling Dad’s face when we planned the funeral because I was so angry he left me. And to hear all about him being in Heaven and all that just made me angrier. Being in Heaven did not help ME.

17 years later, I got one of those late night calls that leave you unsettled. My gut turned out to be right. Word had it that my mom was rushed to the hospital and I was to get over there NOW.

Once I arrived, I learned she had actually passed away. This I didn’t expect! She was just fine the day before! She was in the grocery store, when she suddenly didn’t feel right and sat down on a chair. She leaned against someone else, and she was gone. Yet again, just like that.

But something was different this time. I wasn’t angry at my mom at all. I just loved her more. And dare I say it… I felt joy for her. Real joy.

Shortly after, a friend asked how I was doing so well despite my mom’s passing. I just looked at him like the answer was so simple and stated, “It’s just the circle of life. It was her time. I know where she is and it’s all good.”

A fall photoshoot of an outdoor garden shed / Part of How to get through changing seasons.. an inspirational post on FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Do you see what I did? I removed the ME out of the equation. My mom’s passing affected me, but I had nothing to do with the end of her life. She was taken because it was her time to go home.

Do I miss her?

Um… yes. I drive by her condo every now and then on my way into town and wish for the warmth of her home, her arms around me, her tight hugs and never ending goodbyes.

But it does no good to dwell there for too long. I can choose to make myself feel awful or cheer myself up with a funny memory and quickly feel so relieved she was MY mom! 

I didn’t always feel like this. When my Dad left, I just felt MY loss. But with my Mom, it wasn’t about me. It was about where she went.

So how do you turn things around? How can you make something sad into something glad? What ultimately changed for me to think this way?

My focus changed

Which way would you rather live?

Sad – It’s such a shame my parents never made the trip across Canada they had in the works. A lost dream for sure.

Glad – Isn’t it wonderful that my parents weren’t across Canada when this happened? My mom wasn’t alone for a moment with her brother by her side. The Big Trip just wasn’t meant to be. Dad had other plans in the works.

Sad – No warning that my Mom was going to pass away! No chance to say goodbye. Just… gone.

Glad – My mom didn’t suffer. It was just her time. And she left safely and peacefully. My mom also missed my dad every moment of those 17 years. Is it no wonder I felt joy?

Although both passings were sudden and very abrupt, today I see these as divine intervention for sure. The big difference is in me. In the way I think and in the things I believe today.

So! Why did I write all of this now?

Several families I know are hurting. Bad. Two have upcoming divorces and one has lost a child. Tragic, horrible stuff. But I also know, that if you can somehow dare to look beyond the blinding pain YOU feel at the moment, you may catch a glimpse of the other side.

It’s hard to explain when bad things happen to good people. I’m not a pro at this so I won’t even try. But these are the steps I take when times get really tough. 

How to get through Changing Seasons / inspirational post about working through difficult times via FunkyJunkInteriors.net

{ The above is a pinnable image / upon request. }

You just have to believe.

How do you best get through tough times?

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Categories: Family, Inspiration, Junk Drawer, Off Topic, Personal, Rambling
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  1. Beautifully written Donna! I can relate to your feelings completely. Both my parents have passed away and I miss them dearly, but I also know that it is the way things go. That’s not coldhearted, that is accepting the fact that we all have to die and that what is important is how we lived our lives. That doesn’t make the pain of losing a loved one any less, but it does help to put this crazy wonderful life into perspective. I give thanks for the good things God has done in my life, my parents, my family and friends and knowing that we all travel home to Him some day puts hope into my heart.
    One can be sad and bitter about it all, or one can see the good in all of it. I agree, it’s all about our attitude and letting go of the me. I think that is the hardest part of all.
    Gods blessings to you and those who are grieving.

  2. Donna,
    I have gone through the same type thing with both my parents. I am grateful that you are capable of putting the experience to words with so much elegance and grace…. Thank you….Sad or Glad? Oh, I think it is totally fine to feel both, sometimes separately and sometimes in conjunction with each other.

  3. Donna, Thank you for sharing this post. My husband has stage 4 cancer, so every chemo week we hold we breath waiting for the bomb to drop. My Mom is 93 and I keep the phone next to my bed, just in case. Finances are bad because of medical bills and loss of income. My kids live far away. I miss my Dad, who passed away a few years ago, terribly. Sometimes I can get myself into a really deep pit of self pity and it’s hard to pull out of it. Thank you for reminding me that it is a circle of life, and the best way to live really is to take the “me” out of the equation. Today I choose to focus on the happy times, the good in relationships. The bills will get paid somehow.

  4. I typically am just a lurker on sites…

    I just wanted to say “Thank you”.

    I needed to read this this morning.

    God bless.

  5. Good Morning
    I have to wipe my tears to type this. That was beautiful!!! I never thought of loosing my parents that way before. I lost them both in the past few years and I still cry every single day. You have helped me today, thank you. You certainly are wiser than I am, but today I will choose Glad! thanks Donna
    deezie

  6. I love your perspective. The pictures are truly worth a million words and explains life so simply and completely. Loss, no matter what it is, is a part of life. Beatifully said!

  7. You always seem to make me cry, I swear..!! I know where to come if I feel I need a good cry…lol I love how you write your feelings down and share with us. Sorry that your friends are going through such hard times.
    My mom will be 75 on April 2nd and I worry about her too, she already had breast canser and had one of her breast removed. I’ve become such a “worry wart” over last couple of years, it drives me crazy… life can change in a instant, as you know…
    Hope you feel some comfort in blogging and your day brightens up some..!!

  8. I lost my dad many years ago (20) he was way too young and I was sad, daddy girl. then my mom passed 6 yrs ago and there are times I want to call her. tell her something funny or what the great grand children did.

  9. I am just dealing with the loss of my dad, 2 months ago today. Mom is still living. I am so happy for Dad, he loved the Lord and after a two year cancer battle looked forward to going home to be with his Savior Jesus Christ. I get my comfort in knowing that I will see Dad again where there is no more sickness, heartache and pain.
    Ann

  10. Donna, I’m so glad you posted this. Your five steps are exactly right. In every single tough time in my life, in hindsight I can see the silver lining….in someway those events helped me to grow mostly in wisdom, patience and acceptance. All the better to look for the silver lining right at the moment. There is goodness being showered on us in every single moment, we just have to be open to it.

  11. I read this with tears in my eyes, happy tears. My parents are both gone but my tears were happy because I know they are together and my mothers had missed my father so much after he passed. They both died of cancer and I was able to stay with them and take care of them.
    God bless you and your other readers that are suffering.

  12. This is exactly what you feel when people close to you are going through tough times. There are just so many stages of grieving. And ya know it never does truly go away. I refer to them as “waves”, waters are calm and everything is OK. You know where you are in life and where you have once been. And you are Ok…grateful for the time you had. Then here it comes. The wave, sometimes a title wave. Where it feels like that wound has just been ripped open, feeling lost again. Broken..

    The year I turned 30 was the worst year of my life. Both parents gone within a month. Being a single mom trying to hold it together to my boys. The definition of family was forever changed. I hated hearing “God would never give you more than you can handle”. Really? Because this sure isn’t fair to me or my boys. It took years to really just accept it, and just come to terms that he’s OK and ya know so am I.

    Then last year, within 3 months my grandpa was diagnosed with cancer and gone. I’m not sure if it was the feeling of “I know where he is and he’s OK”. Or what he said to his doctor, “If it’s time for me to go meet my maker, I’m ready”. WOW huh? True bravery! Ya know it hurt to lose him… but not the same hurt. I think you said it best

    “It’s just the circle of life. It was her time. I know where she is and it’s all good.”

    Thank you for this! Really, THANK YOU.

    Shelly

  13. Donna, This is beautiful. I too have lost my mom, my 16-year-old Shepherd, and my 29-year-old son all within 4 months. My son was the most devastated loss and I still think about him every hour of every day with tears in my eyes. The waves of grief are like the ocean; most of the time beautiful and sometimes they are just too tall and will knock you down, but they always go back to beautiful and that is the good times that you must hold on to.
    The one thing I have taken from all of this, is that we all have loss and sadness in our lives; no matter if we are rich or poor. We all have experienced it and sometimes other people are more worse off than we are. As you said, be glad and not sad. It is easier said than done and I struggle each day with it, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other. God does give us challenges and most of the time I don’t understand them but with faith and prayer, things will be okay, and I look at the little things in life; the sun shining, birds singing, my dogs wagging their tails at me.

  14. Donna, I love it when you write from your heart. It cannot be easy to put these words to paper but you do it in such a wonderful way. Whether you post about your family, your dreams, your hurdles, your successes – they have all been so thought provoking. Thank you – I enjoy your blog every day. Mardy

  15. I to have just had a loss. My husband of 21 yrs.pass away in Feb. It was so fast. He just got done taking a bath, came in sat down,had a stoke. I thought at first he was joking around. Call for help, then my daughter. I did get to tell him that i love him & he was able to tell me back he love me too. By the time we got to the city he had a 2nd. stoke. Their was no brain activity. He was on the breathing machine.I had to make that call that no one wants to make. Even on the machine he was breathing on his own. I cry all nite not wanting to let him go. But i knew that his body was gone & he didn’t want to be kept a life my machines.He had just turn 88 in Jan. He was getting slower each day. I’m only 65.We had talk about the end of life many times. And neither of us didn’t want to be kept on machines. So that Sunday a.m. I had them turn off the machine.He continue to breath on his own till Monday about 12:15 a.m.,it was over. I when to the other side of his bed told him i love him very much,& that i would be alright. When i told him that, his heart beat went from 0-20 heart beats.The nurse said that she never saw anything like that before.Then the love of my life was gone.It has been very hard for me, but reading your post has help. Thank You.

  16. Thanks 4 sharing. Yes death is a sad time and can be a difficult time to over come. My mother-in-law, mother of 12 children and whom I dearly loved, passed away suddenly from a massive heart attack. Six months later, my father-in-law died from grief and remorse. How sad, when one dies from remorse instead of love. It was a difficult year and for one family member it was a period of years before the sadness and depression of death was overcome with joy in the morning.

  17. Your parents would be very proud of you. How is it that you can touch each one of us in a very special way? These personal posts are The Best. Ann

  18. Wow….this post really hit close to home. I lost my Mom suddenly. One minute she was there and then BAM, she wasn’t! But you hit the nail on the head, take the ME out of the equation. Very good post! Whenever those close to me lose a loved one I constantly tell them to focus on the good. There’s always a reason, and most of the time we may not ever know that reason. We have to have that thing called FAITH! Great post! Hugs!

  19. My husband and I lost 2 uncles this week – I just returned from one of the funerals and he is at the other. It’s also been 1 year since my mother passed away…. so….

    I thank you. And I thank God for letting me be here today to read an uplifting approach to loss, life and how to navigate through it.

    I love the “focus on the good” point. Memories carry us through each day and before you know it one day turns into two and then three and on and on until the days truly do become better. That old saying about ‘time heals all things’ sounds so cliche but it is true. It really is….

  20. Hi Donna;

    Is there any way for you to create a post or a sign just using the final words of this blog – beginning with ‘Changing Seasons are part of life…

    I think it is a wonderful statement/reminder/goal..

    Great post..

  21. What a beautiful post. I lost my dad five years ago, sitting next to him, holding his hand and telling him he was loved and it was ok to go, that I would stay with mom, that she wouldn’t be alone. And then this last June, on Fathers Day, I lost my mom, as she slept, after months of struggling her body finally said “enough!” And although I had lived with her for over five years I knew she wanted to be with dad and I couldn’t wish her back. I lost my husband twelve years ago, and if I hadn’t lost my husband I probably wouldn’t have been able to feel like I could leave my job and be here for my folks. If I hadn’t been here for my folks I wouldn’t have met their next door neighbor, the widower, who is now my fiancé. It’s all a part of a plan that we can’t see til it’s over. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Donna, this is a beautiful post. I’m so sorry that you’ve lost your parents, but I’m happy for you that you’ve found peace in your parents’ passing. I’m also sorry that you received sad news today. I admire your strength.

  23. I’ve been contemplating so much of this for a month too. My mom passed on Feb 7th. She had waited a long time to move to a place where she would be happy and was only there 6 weeks when she died. Why did she wait? So many reasons, but it would have been hard and great whenever she did it, but she would have had more happy years if she moved sooner. I work with two women who are ill right now and a good friend who’s husband is ill as well. So much sadness, but we’re all just trying to eke out some happy from each day. I’m praying for all of us for a little happy every day. It may be a kiss, a smile or a tree. For all of us it’s different.

  24. Donna: Thank you for sharing your story and intimate thoughts. I too have lost a parent (my mother – from Alzheimers) a couple of years ago, and my dad, 85, is still with me. He is lost without her, and I am all he has. Your words are touching and your message inspirations. I really enjoy your blog. Keep marching on. Best, Ed

  25. Well written and needed by many! I lost my father at an early age. I lost my mother and my husband within the last year. The loss of my husband was so unexpected at an early age. However, I learned, as you said, that this is life, and we two had a good one. Very importantly, losses require us to live daily “in the moment” – longer than we ever had before, but always should.

    Thank you.
    Jenifer Steller, LittleTownMayor.blogspot.com

  26. Great post Donna! I needed to read this tonight. I’ve been in a slump with the news of so many young friends being diagnosed with cancer… I hate change – I really do, but there’s no stopping it. I think I would have been as happy as a turd had I grown up before the days of electronics.

    Somebody once told me, you can’t have a positive thought and negative thought occupying your mind at the same time. Ponder that for a moment. It’s true! When you focus on the positive, it gets stronger and the negative will fade away. I know, I know ~ easier said than done, especially in a world where there is so much sadness but with a conscious effort, it is possible.

    I have seen far too many friends and family go through tragedies. Two of my closest friends lost their 6-1/2 little girl a few years ago. I can’t even fathom the heartache they must feel each and every day yet they go through life praising God for the time they had with her. How cool is that?

    I’m so sorry you’ve lost both your parents. Your dad must have been young when you lost him. Mine was too; he passed at 61. Sounds like you had cool parents though. I’ll always treasure mine!

  27. Donna you have inspired me for years, and now yet again. You have such a way with words.
    I have said many times that dying is a part of life. I have had the good fortune to be able to let my parents know how much they meant to me before they passed, and in doing so felt that all was said when the end came. No remorse for what could have been, only gladness. Thank you for your inspiration.

  28. Death is hard. Sometimes it’s sudden and unexpected and sometimes it not. I lost my husband after 5 year, 7 month battle with kidney cancer Jan 30, 2013. I was so sad. But I was more sad when he was diagnosed back in 2007, I think. In the 5+ years we still have we LIVED and GREW together in our Faith. Kevin always had an abiding Faith, but mine grew deeper when I saw and felt that he wasn’t afraid of death, and he was looking forward to being in Heaven with the Lord. He had longed for that day since he Knew the Lord back as a teenager. He always reminded me that God is SO Good and Loving. Kevin died here at home, with our daughter with us and one of the last things he said to us was “Don’t be mad at God. He didn’t “do” this to me, it just happened”. The Lord is Good. Kevin didn’t suffer cancer pain. I mean nothing. He didn’t have so much as an asprin in his body when he died. He wasn’t being brave about taking no pain meds, he didn’t need them, he had NO PAIN AT ALL (as Kevin said, “not even a headache” with a smile). Looking back on it, I think so much of the stress and sorrow I felt when we found out he had stage 4 kidney cancer, was the he was going to SUFFER (“just like all other cancer patients do”) He never talked about the pain and “when it would come”. We were both thinking it, I’m sure. But it just never did. God LOVES Kevin in a very special and showed him Mercy that he never had to endure that.

    Gods Love is shown to me every day and I rejoice every day for the things that I had with Kevin for those 15 years together. Do I miss my beloved? of course I do, and I still cry on some days. But I’m crying for selfish reasons. I’m crying because *I* miss him. He doesn’t miss me any more- he’s with the Father now, and we’ll meet again one day, when it’s my time.

    God Bless you Donna for this meaningful post, your parents were wonderful people and raised a wonderful daughter. Maybe, just maybe, they have met Kevin in Heaven today, and have embraced as I write this. I’d like to think so.

    Suzanne in NW Illinois

  29. Another amazing post Ms Donna………OMGosh — I feel so BLESSED to be catching up tonight on your blogs posts. ox