A Conversation with My Mother

There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of my mother. Today was no different, except that I talked to her today…a lot.

If you were able to ask her about me, she would tell you that I would talk to anyone who would listen. She might even tell you that she was a bit concerned that I was talking to myself, and blaming her for me talking to myself today!

Today marked five years since she has been gone.

Mom always told me to keep looking forward…“you can’t go back in time.” Sometimes, even remembering or talking about the past, she would call, “living in the past.”  We never did agree on that point.

I thought a lot about Mom today, but not only because it was this anniversary. I went to visit my dear friend, who has been in the hospital since last Wednesday. I call him “my brother from another mother.” 

I think that my mother would have liked him.  He doesn’t talk too much, and he has the same rapier wit that she had.  They both deliver those zingers like no other.  They may have become rather competitive. They would both get a chuckle at who could come up with the best ones.

I asked my Mom to put a good word in for my friend, and let whatever “Big Guy Upstairs” there is to find something else for him to do here.

Soon after I had that talk with Mom, he reached for my hand on the railing, and took it to squeeze it. Though he’s very ill and not coherent, he is still showing signs of responding to voice commands. A day earlier, this was not the case.

Having dealt with this situation with him, and losing another friend, Pam, to carcinoid cancer/neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) on Saturday, I am glad that I was able to spend some quiet time while remembering Mom and feeling her presence.  But yet…

Mom, I miss you so very much. 

 

 

Relay for Life

Tonight I am walking in my County Relay for Life event sponsored by the American Cancer Society. It is a fundraising event, and this is the first time I will be involved with this relay where I live.

I got into signing up rather late in this game, so I have not been doing any fundraising. I would like to give everybody the opportunity to make a donation to this event in honor of the people you know whose lives have been touched by cancer. If you are so inclined, I hope that you will follow the link and make a donation honoring those you love. I would also ask that you get this word out and pass this link along so that we can make a difference!

We really need to find a cure!

Thank you for your support!

Memorial Day Significance Has Been Forgotten

Written last year, there is nothing I can say that is different than what I shared in the following post.

Please remember that Memorial Day is not Veterans Day or Armed Forces Day. Nor is it a day whose message should be pushed away into silence, only to be drowned out by whatever else it has come to mean for those who think it is a celebration of anything other than the memories of those men and woman who have given their lives to preserve the freedom and lives of others.

I invite you to revisit last year’s piece and pass it along to remind others why we truly do have this day.

BEYOND THE CHALLENGES OF LIFE

The National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, VA The National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, VA

“Happy Memorial Day!”  

I cringe when I hear people gleefully share these three words as they wave their goodbyes and begin their long weekend.

To tell the truth, I find it offensive. It annoys me that that the American people have little clue what Memorial Day commemorates.

We have developed an overindulgent need in our society to display niceties. Then, there are many who are simply, by nature, complaisant.

There also seems to be an ever-increasing trend toward shaming or “guilting” others into bending-over-backward to ensure political correctness toward those who have served in the military. Perhaps, this is the reason most have confused Memorial Day with Veterans’ Day of November 11th.

Arlington National Cemetery Gravestones Arlington National Cemetery Gravestones

The importance and significance of Memorial Day is to remember the men and women who diedwhile serving–killed in war. Veterans’ Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.

I did not serve in a war. Yet, this much I do…

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U is for an Unstoppable, Unabashed Life

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YESTERDAY’S SIGN: Business cards arrived.

TODAY’S SIGN: A search in Google for “Unabashed Me” led me to this post–my own–written more than three years ago.

It has been four months since I resigned my position with the company I had been with for nine years. I have been dragging my feet to jump into “doing my own thing” as a life and career coach,  consultant trainer, and speaker.

I have not been feeling unstoppable or unabashed of late.

REALITY CHECK:  I have sheltered myself these last few months from the unstoppable and unabashed life that is at my core.  The hiatus is over.

I needed to stumble upon this post today.

BEYOND THE CHALLENGES OF LIFE

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Unstoppable.

I haven’t often found that I could gather the momentum to be such a thing.  And so I stopped.  Time and time again.

Dead in my tracks.

Granted, I defined success by the standards that had been defined FOR me by others’ beliefs. And I am being reminded on a daily basis that the only one stopping me is me.

I want to be unstoppable.

That does not mean that I have some unrealistic expectation of myself or my value in this world.  It simply means that I want to get to a point in life where I live unafraid…unyielding in a sense that I am resolute to my purpose.

An unabashed life.

No embarrassment.  No shame…in doing what I am meant to do. Saying what I need to say.

This past week I received several comments from participants in recent workshops:

“Coral provides her students and all those…

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Funk(ing) the Dumb Stuff on an Anniversary

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The longer we live, the more apt we are to have days that remind us of life’s events.

Anniversaries of things we would like to remember, or wish we could forget, will stick with us.  Some of us are better at remembering those dates than others.  Anniversary dates of birthdays, weddings, divorces, being hired or being fired, accidents, other days that simply have some sort of impact on us and our lives, both big and small, become a month, weekly, and (dare I say?) daily occurrences, especially as we approach our golden years.

Some of these days coincide with normal holiday seasons and, if the event has been particularly challenging or painful, we never look at the holiday or month or season quite the same. As we anticipate the anniversary of the event, the grey clouds of doom and gloom seem to hover over us, and we can dread the very act of waking up to face the days ahead.

We can get caught in a funk.

If this funk were the music of the band, Tower of Power (ToP), then it would be a lot more fun. But this is the kind of funk that sucks the very life out of you.

I have been approaching this funk for about six weeks now, as I foolishly continue to recall or ruminate on the dates, and remember situations and stories that take me back to April to July of 2012.

Today, I asked my sister, Sonja, if she knew what today was. She remembered, yet I proceeded to mention that this was the date four years ago that I was informed of stage 4 diagnosis with neuroendocrine tumors (NETs)/carcinoid cancer. He said the prognosis was “six months to a year, two if lucky.”

I cannot even begin to articulate what it is like to hear those words. It changes the world, as you know it. There are a few days where you are in a complete state of shock, trying to wrap your head around the knowledge, most of the time in disbelief. Then you have to move forward somehow. I did not know how I was going to make that happen, and nearly made a decision where there would be no moving forward.

But I did move forward and have now come to this four-year mark after diagnosis.

But have I truly moved forward?

My sister may not realize it, but she kicked me in the ass today.  We all need it from time-to-time.  She held a verbal mirror in front of me, and I had to take a hard look at myself.

“Yes sis”…she knew what day it was.

“I don’t focus on that though.” 

And then she knocked me over.

“You showed me to let go and never look back, to keep moving forward because that is where our future resides…You taught me to never fear the moment…”

At that moment, all I could think of is, “I did?” 

Inside, I felt like a fraud.

Presenting the image of having it all together…

…and asking others to see beyond their own challenges is certainly much easier than going through the pain of moving forward.  Even if others do not know it, because I can talk a good game, I know it. And the couple of people whom I let in to see the pain, and fear, also know it.

Thankfully, they will call me on it, when I need it. They do it with love, but just as directly and compassionately as I do it with my clients and students…and with them.

Yes, today is an anniversary. It has been four years since I hear some bad news that changed my life. The events leading up to it were painful, scary, and confusing. The months following were challenging on many levels, including my choice to stand up to a doctor that I did not believe had my best interest at heart.

But, I must let go of the internal hold these dates have on me, because I am holding on to the fear, anger, and pain of those days, weeks and months from four years ago. It has been insidious; so much so that I did not realize it.

I am alive. I live with neuroendocrine tumors. I have had surgeries, and more CT scans, MRIs, monthly injections, and blood work than I can count.

BUT…I am ALIVE…and my future lies in moving forward.

In the words of my sister:  

“…it’s easier to preach what we know to be true…, but difficult to apply to our own lives…Logic and emotion collide and we…are paralyzed to apply it…We feel empowered (however) to help others…”

I do not know when I ever taught her any of the lessons she taught me today. But she does understand me, and we are very much alike.

Today, I move forward into my fifth year after diagnosis. The future. And I am eternally grateful for those who have stood by me, understood me, and loved me every step along the way.

As far as the “funk”…I think I will take a lesson from (ToP), and “funk the dumb stuff” from now on…

© Coral Levang 2016

 

 

Always thank your Nurse – sometimes they’re the only one between you and a hearse!

It is not easy for many of us to ask for “Help!” Nurses help even when we are not able to ask for it.

This post is a great read by blogger, Ronny Allan, who also lives with Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) — I spelled it the British way on his behalf. :-)

In this post, he shares his admiration and thankfulness to the nurses who have assisted him on his journey. To all the nurses who have helped me, AND put up with me, I echo Ronny’s words. THANK YOU, ALL!!

Ronny Allan - Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer

international nursesI had minimal exposure to nurses throughout the first 55 years of my life.  I did spend a night in hospital when I was 16 having been knocked unconscious in the boxing ring. Bar the odd mandatory injection, I avoided both boxing and nurses for many years after that.

You may remember I discussed how my cancer was diagnosed following a fairly innocuous conversation at my GP’s Surgery in May 2010, see blog post Diagnosis – I’m no longer in control’.  That nurse was professional, thorough and she clearly went the extra mile for her patients.  Liz is now on my Christmas card list with pressie as a reminder to her of my grateful thanks for sending me down a different path in the game of chance that is life.  I often wonder where I would be now had she not ordered the ‘just to be sure’ blood test that ended…

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Mothers Day Lessons: Learning to say, “I love you”

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Author’s Note:  Today I wanted to share with you three things I wrote –one for today, one last year, and one from three years ago. Thank you for taking the time to read all that I share from my heart.  

I overheard a  conversation  yesterday in which someone commented on “the obligatory phone call.”  I felt a sense of sorrow having heard it. I understood the need to act like a dutiful child, when I  was angry at my parents and the rest of the world for dealing me some crummy “life cards.”  I wondered if the person engaged in the conversation would understand what I wrote this morning in…

 “Mom gave the gift of life”

Last year, I remembered the last Mothers Day that I had with my own mother five years ago.  There had been many Mothers Days over the years that I had missed having spent with her after leaving home at the age of 18. Having been there with her on the last Mothers Day of her life was a special moment for me…

“Mothers Day Without My Mom”

Each year spent without being able to call my Mom is a reminder that she has been gone for nearly five years.  I cannot say that it “gets easier with time.” But what I can tell you is that there is not a day in my life  where I do not celebrate those moments that I used to take for granted. It really hit home for me on the  first Mothers Day without her, when I wrote…

“The Best Gift”

I hope that someday there will be a sense of reconciliation for those who continue to hold onto the anger, sense of obligation, and the hurt they continue to clutch to their hearts. Learning to love someone in spite of the hardships is certainly not easy.  We are not even sure what that is supposed to look or feel like.

But when we look to find those soft-spots in our hearts, and reach out in love, however awkward it may be or feel, there is a peace that can surpass all understanding. It will open up the world to receive more love that we knew possible. It all starts by saying…

 

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© 2016  Coral Levang

Photo credits: Pixabay; No attribution required, Public Domain

 

 

I am still alive and kicking!

It has been two months since I last posted.  I suppose that kind of behavior does not a blogger make. Yet, there are always times when we have to step back and reassess, and figure out where we are going and what we are doing.

That is where I have been. Where I am. The good thing is that I am still alive and kicking and have not gone anywhere.

In these next few months, I will be looking at my blog, and changing the focus.  I will also be launching other sites, as I learn more about what it will take for me to be more “with it” in today’s online world.

I also promise to check-in here more often during the changeover.  The plans are not yet definitive.  But then, many of you know I am a learn-as-I-go kinda gal.

I appreciate all who continue to stick by me as I learn and grow, and continue to try to take the world on by storm.

Lessons of Winter Solstice

According to WebProNews, “It happens every year between December 20th and the 23rd, the first day of winter – the Winter Solstice…” when the “sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees…when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun.”

This year it happens on Tuesday, December 22nd, at 04:48 UTC, which is 8:48 PM MondayPacific Time (PT) here in the Northwest United States.

So today marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. With all the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holidays, I am not sure that most even pay attention to this fact.

For some of us, Winter Solstice is a day of hope.

Both literally and figuratively, I am one that likes light. Though I am not much of a sun worshiper, I do like it to stay light longer into the evening. I also like to see what I am facing, so that I can prepare for what is to come.

Light feels like a smile upon my soul. Knowledge feels the same to me.

Tomorrow will shine just a bit more light than it did today. I am hopeful that I will also be open to learn a bit more than I knew yesterday.

I am grateful for Winter Solstice and the lesson it teaches me each year.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ~Plato

Copyright © 2015 Coral Levang