Who Am I

Sep 19, 2012 by

Who Am I


I am a mother, a daughter, a friend, a woman, a girl, a writer.  But I am no longer a wife.

Five years ago the rug was yanked out from underneath me. Much like the magic trick when the magician pulls the table cloth off of the table and all of the dishes somehow magically remain on top. Except in my case, most all the dishes, the glassware and even the silverware came crashing down to the ground. Some shattered in hundreds of pieces, unable to be reassembled and put back together.  Some simply cracked and worth a second look. And some of them are remarkably whole, but I am not quite sure where they should be placed back up on the table.

It’s a strange feeling, being complete but still feeling the missing pieces.  My marriage, my husband, my confidant are gone.  I have tried filling them in with different experiences, places, people, things…it doesn’t really work that well.

What I have discovered is that I have to accept the broken pieces, throw them away and introduce newer, better parts into my life.  Things will get taken away from us, so that we may be able to keep ourselves open to picking up the pieces that aren’t broken, fixing some of the pieces that are broken and throwing away what we can’t salvage.

I am still a mother (a great one, if I do say so myself), a daughter (a decent one), a friend (I do my best)…and all of those other things. Now it is time to create the rest of myself. What does that look like?  I want to help others who have experienced loss, disappointment and far too many broken pieces. I want to enjoy this last year with my daughter at home. I want to travel and experience all that is waiting for me. I have come to realize that although I have some broken parts (who doesn’t?) I am still whole.

We all travel as tourists through this crazy thing called life.  The more we look at it as an adventure, the healthier we become.  I have no regrets about the past decisions and choices and experiences that I have had. I have faith that there is a reason for all of it. And it is faith that will keep me on my path. The path that is unseen but is there for me to continue travelling upon.  The people I am going to meet that will help me change my life, as I help them change theirs for the better.  The prayers I put out into the world, not only for myself, but for everyone who is suffering one way or another.  I know suffering.  Just start picking up the pieces, a day at at time. Don’t forget the most important person in the equation YOU!

What helps?  Meditation helps ease anxiety, I’ve learned that and it’s amazing.  Sitting quietly and listening to beautiful music, bringing peace into my heart and finding some sacred space.  It used to sound so funny to me, but it times of true strife and loss, it works beautifully.    I have a long journey ahead of me.  We’ll see what happens along the way.   But with friends and faith, it just may turn out better than I thought.

I may try to pull the tablecloth next year, again, and see what happens.

Catherine Graves

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Sharing Our Experiences

Feb 6, 2012 by

I think that sharing our experience is one of the fastest routes to healing. I have been overwhelmed with all of the emails and letters I have received over the past month.  Each one takes me back to a moment that I myself lived through, and each one also makes me more grateful for being able to reach out to others. The following is just one example of someone else’s journey and what their feelings are about it. I hope that you find this helpful. I would love my facebook page and my blog to become a forum for others to share their voices.

Dear Catherine,

Thank you very much for writing this book!  I don’t even know how I came across it, but I am ever so grateful that I did. My ex husband was diagnosed in March of 2006 and was in remission for nearly 2 years. He then did a year of chemo. We were divorced in September of 2010 and it was shortly thereafter that the tumor began to grow again. He passed away on June 24th 2011. We were together every day for the last 3 weeks of his life and I have to hope that he knew that he was loved and cared for. I went through so many of the same emotions you did. Unfortunately the abusive behavior reached a pinnacle that I could not sustain. I will never know how much of that behavior was Eddie or the tumor. I think the guilt will always remain, but I may never have all the answers.(Oligodendroglioma, temporal lobe and insular cotex.) You validated so much for me. My oldest was 12 as well and my youngest was 9 when Eddie passed. They are my little troopers. I still have to deal with a house in foreclosure but it’s a little easier now that it  has been nearly 7 months. Thank you for all your gems of wisdom. (They are highlighted!) I made mistakes of my own…with men. I think I was seeking solace and at times I just want to be held. I can not tell you what it was like to read your words, your emotions and finally not feel ALONE. Thank you for having the grit to put yourself back together and the courage to put your words, your experience and hard won lessons in print!

May all the blessings in this world be yours and your children’s.

Sincerely,

Roe Lewis

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Catherine Gives Caregiver Tips on KCAL (Los Angeles)

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Catherine Interviewed by Dr Sanjay Gupta

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Life After Death

Jun 14, 2011 by

Life After Death

It has been almost four years since John’s death, and I am still trying to reconstruct my life. Putting all of the pieces back together doesn’t seem to be working. That’s probably because the pieces aren’t the same as they were four years ago. It seems that as soon as I think that I have them all in together and in place, one of those pieces, or players in this game of life, changes, or simply doesn’t fit any longer.

Not that this is a bad thing. Just a confusing one. My world seems to be shifting around under me just as I think I have it all together. Obviously (or at least, obviously to me), my world is not as I had imagined it would be five years ago. In some ways, I am certain it is better than I had thought it would be. In others, it seems unimaginably different. Five years ago, I had my future all mapped out. Literally. I actually had a list of things that I had compiled of all of the things that I wanted us to accomplish, all of the places I wanted us to travel, and all of the things that I wanted for our family to experience.

Now, I try to make a list, and I come up empty handed. Not because I don’t want to experience all that my life has to offer. Maybe it is because there are no limits. There is a world of possibility out there…and that just seems a bit overwhelming at the moment. I don’t even want to attempt to guess what life has in store for me next. I am trying to develop some patience so that I can simply experience it!

Anyone that knows me well, knows that patience is not one of my virtues. I am a planner. A list maker. A bit “anal retentive” (is there another word for that characteristic? If so…please advise). Sitting around waiting for life to happen doesn’t suit me well. So here I am. Trying to be patient while my natural instinct is to get it all figured out. I suppose I don’t even have that option now. I am trying to just sit back and enjoy the ride…

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