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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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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What Do You Do With the Pain?

Jun 7, 2011 by

Last weekend was Memorial Day. I was feeling incredibly out of sorts and couldn’t shake the feeling all weekend long. I actually haven’t felt quite the same since then, but am beginning to emerge from the fog that I had been swimming in all week.
Suddenly it occurred to me that perhaps my subconscious had recalled something that my conscious had not. Four years ago on that same weekend, I had taken John up to Flagstaff for a quick family getaway. The doctors thought it was a great idea. So did we, until John had a stroke and was having MAJOR problems dealing with the change in pressure. That weekend had marked the beginning of the end for John. And as I now recall, I was the most helpless I have ever felt in my life.
I am now a believer that our cells must have their own memory. I was not aware of nor did I associate my feelings with the events from four years ago. Again, the beauty of it is, that rather than stay stuck in that feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, I recognized where it was coming from, felt it, and decided, consciously, that that isn’t the place I want to stay in. As soon as I was aware of where it was coming from, I was able to make a positive choice to step out of it.
We will all experience these periods from time to time, whether it be from the loss of a relationship, a job, or a friend. It doesn’t matter so much where the pain is coming from or what caused the pain. It is clearly what we choose to do with these experiences that matters.

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