Running Just as Fast as I Can

If you know me, you understand I’m using my title ironically. I don’t run. Unless something scary is chasing me.

 (Photo credit Thug Life shirts)

But it feels like with all the pieces of my world swirling around I am running to catch up. I choose to believe that even though it feels like things are falling apart some days, they are really just falling into place.

I just need to figure out how to stop running.

It’s hard, because when I take a look at my life, I’m not sure what I can drop or remove or take away. I feel as if we’ve already culled all extraneous things, people and events: I can’t cut much more or I’ll be slicing bone.

I’m not built for speed. I’m built for yoga or weight training or walking but never for speed. So where does that leave those of us who are running to catch up, mostly due to life circumstances?

I don’t have the answers, but I do have a handful of ideas that I’ll be trying to implement. For instance, if I’m going to do all the caregiving I do–both for my four munchkins and for my disabled vet hubby–I need to make sure I’m taking care of me. For me this means getting exercise, reading for fun, talking to girlfriends and finding a space in my head and my house for some peace and quiet.

 (photo credit 3amdad.tumblr.com)

And finding time to drink copious amounts of coffee.

 (photo credit mrcoffee.com)

I also need to have a weekly Date Night with the man I caregive for so that we remain connected as lovers and friends. Otherwise it’s more like I’m nurse and he’s patient, which he wouldn’t mind at certain times if you get my drift, but in real every day life that’s hard on a relationship.

Spending quality time with each of my kiddos is also in my priority list. Not just in a hurry-up-get-ready-for-school-eat-your-breakfast sort of way, but really spending time talking with and listening to each kid’s heart. With lots of kids in the house I’m still trying to find my way through this.

 (Photo credit lifelovelauren.com)

Getting organized is also in my master plan to rule the world. Or at least my life. We’ve had some obstacles here between all the kids, a couple of moves, trying to survive 2013, publishing a book, getting creative enough to write another, and all the mountains of paperwork required by the VA for retirement and disability and caregiving. Have I mentioned that each department within the VA can’t see the paperwork we already submitted to another department? Just means an avalanche of papers are threatening to take over my life.

So while I’m theoretically running to catch up with my life and my loves, I’m reminding myself that giving myself a break and counting my blessings are a necessary part of this process. For my survival.

And my sanity.

 (photo credit Instagram)

┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

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Well Done

Before I was ever an author or a lawyer or a wife or a mama, I was a musician. Being a musician is pretty rad most of the time. Unlike algebra or organization or finance charges, music is one of the few things in this world that I get. It’s a language I speak. It’s so much a part of me that I don’t remember not being able to speak it.

There are times where being a musician is difficult though. Times when only music will do to soothe someone’s pain. As a sensitive musician-type, I already feel the feelings but playing music in this grief scenario is heart-wrenching. Not only do you feel the music but you feel all of the emotion wrapped up in the music, the emotions felt by others, those felt by yourself.

I played at a funeral today for a man taken too soon. He was by all accounts a wonderful husband, father, son, brother, uncle. I’ve known this family for several years and was always impressed with the open love he had for his family, especially for his wife. Truly it’s been a beautiful thing to behold-even after 19 years together they still had that spark.

They are a military family and part of my former church family and this is the week that marks a special birthday of sorts for my own family-both Mr. Wonderful’s sobriety birthday and anniversary of when the bottom fell out of our world. So there was a lot going on in my head and my heart during this service.

From my vantage point at the front, all I could see was the family that was left behind. Trying to celebrate his life well-lived while really just barely hanging on. They were alternating between bewilderment and just raw heartbreak. That is a painful thing to stand in the sidelines of, not being able to do anything to help them or ease their pain.

Two years ago this was almost me. I was moments away from having to plan the funeral with military honors for my Mr. Wonderful, from having to raise four kids on my own, from feeling the absolute devastation that one must feel when their partner is just all of the sudden gone.

That terrible day when I nearly lost my partner and best friend was a rebirth of sorts. It gave me two extra years of memories and time that I am so grateful for. Since tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone, I suggest we all go and tell our loved ones how much we love them. Squeeze them tight and store away as many good times as we can. Take a note from a man who’s family is feeling a tremendous loss but who will be able to lean on memories of his life well lived: live full of love, laughter and celebration. Have faith. Take each sweet moment as it comes, work through the hard times, and love your family with everything you’ve got.

In memory of Casey Joe Bussett (1975-2015).

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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Betty

I’ve discovered I almost can’t have an emotion without writing about it and I’m feeling lots right now. We laid to rest one of the good ones today. The woman who was the matriarch of several generations, community leader and friend to many had a packed house at her funeral.

Stories were told, tears were shed, laughter was heard and music was sung. Everyone was so sad to see her go because she gave joy and food and mischievous smiles and help to everyone she met. But it still felt like a celebration.

That’s what happens when you live 89 years really well. People notice you and want to be around you because of that special thing you have that makes you shine from the inside out.

She was many things to many people. I connected with her because besides being related, she was one of my Grandma’s closest friends and she was an artist. She discovered her talent later in life, proving that late bloomers have their place too.

I had the privilege of painting with her and my Grandma at their little artist retreat. They called themselves the Pal-ettes and every Tuesday they fellowshipped together, shared a meal, talked, laughed and occasionally, painted. What they did for me was inspire: creativity, friendship, thirst for knowledge.

From the apples of her cheeks to her helping hands and giant heart, this lovely lady had a fine celebratory send off today. She is with my Jesus, the one I pray to, cry to, talk with. That blows my mind and makes me smile. She  has found her way home after a job very well done.

  

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015