Sunday, April 21, 2013


The loss of a child changes your forever.  It changes how you see yourself.  It changes how you feel about yourself.  It changes your priorities.  It changes your very life.  You find yourself in a place you never expected to be, at the deepest end of a long tunnel and it is a journey just to even see the daylight at the end of the recovery process.

And to know that your child did it to you on purpose, that they removed themselves from your life to punish you for not being perfect, just adds an extra dimension of pain and suffering.  

With death you know it was fate, whether it was an illness or an accident.  However, with estrangement the message is “you are not good enough for me to want to spend time with you”   So not only do you lose your child, you also lose your inner confidence that "love conquers all". Why? Because your love was not enough to create a lasting bond.  Your love was not enough to reach beyond error to forgiveness.  Your love was not enough to create the kind of people that stick by you when the "going gets tough". 

With rejection, fear is allowed in the door; fear that you really are not good enough.  Fear that your best was somehow really flawed.  Worry is also allowed into your life, worry that you are maybe not good enough to be loved.  Worry that you are unlovable.  Worry that you maybe really are not as good a person as you thought you were.  For you see, rejection destroys you to the very core of who you are, right down to the rock bottom of self confidence.

Rejection is the most evil and wicked of all weapons. For it leaves the body alive and destroys the soul, the spirit, and sends your emotions into a tailspin.  It leaves the victim battling for survival.  Every day becomes a battle to re-establish self worth.  Everyday starts with willing yourself to take another step on the journey to healing.  And you do it alone, because the very people that are supposed to be there for you when your spirit is broken, family, are the very ones that wounded you in the first place.

       Is it any wonder that it takes us such a very long time to recover?

       Is it any wonder that we can’t just finish grieving and move on?

Is it any wonder that we are in such a swirl of emotions that one day we can be feeling positive and think that we are making progress and then the next we are right back to the start of the process all over again wondering “what went wrong?” 

Van Gogh

Ugly Shoes

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in other's eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try to walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so that they don't hurt quite so much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think
about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.
~ Unknown 

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Today’s New Friend is Tomorrows New Family

Recently, I watched an NCIS episode and there was a heart string tugging scene between Gibbs and Abby.  Abby is struggling with the concept of “is all the good she does enough.”  And Gibbs pulls out the fortune cookie slip she had given him on the day they first met. 

It says, “Today’s new friend is tomorrows new family”  

He returns it to her.  The fact that he has kept it all these years shows Abby that the little things she does, do have a good effect.  Gibbs was given a second family because of Abby’s generous nature.  And as she ponders the slip that has been returned to her, she realizes that she too now has a new family.  A family that stands by her when she has a bad day.  A family that appreciates and values her contributions.
The special message that I was left with is that, the family we are born with may not be the family we are meant to be with.  Circumstances happen, events take place and things change.  We all face moments of doubt, when we wonder if our best efforts are good enough.  Those people who rally around us in our times of self-doubt, they are our “family” in the truest sense of the word. They are the ones who lift us up and allow us to be the best we can be.
The “family” you are born with often take you for granted.  They see mostly your  shortcomings and often they can’t see past your mistakes and inadequacies to the sum total of YOU. 

  • Or because they are upset with you they chose to overlook your good points.  
  • Or because you cannot fulfill some need in them, they decide that you are at fault.  

They see the negative in you therefore chose to focus on those moments of conflict.  It is this picture of those moments that they use to judge you. This is the picture they reflect back at you.  This is the picture of you they act upon when they reject you. 
Relationships cannot remain healthy and vital without the nourishment of positive encouragement. Relationships cannot move forward in the vacuum of estrangement.  Sometimes what was once good withers and dies through neglect.  Rejection is the ultimate expression of the diminishment of the value of a relationship.  It is the ultimate expression of “you do not matter enough to expend any effort upon.” 
Friends who become like “family” are those people who see the good in you.  They remember the very characteristics that attracted you to them in the first place.  And because they remember the good they elevate us.  They are like a mirror reflecting back our best qualities.  Because the events that led to friendship meant something to them and are cherished; you the individual are cherished and elevated.  In such an environment we become better people because we see reflections of our best selves in their caring actions towards us.
When you see a tree that has fallen and is decaying, you can choose to see the decay or you can chose to see the new growth that springs from the fertile soil the decaying tree created.  “Friends who become family” see the lush new growth whereas family members who have fallen into the trap of taking you for granted remain focused on the decay.
For any relationship to be healthy we must expend effort, looking to see and appreciate the vitality of new growth.  We need to reflect back life affirming and positive messages to those who we care for.  And we also need to have positive and life affirming messages reflected back at us.  Focusing on the decay, and ignoring the growth, or even the potential for growth, will lead to the inevitable decay of the fabric of the relationship. 
So I challenge myself and others to “cherish those people who make up your family.”  Seek the potential in each person.  Be a "positivity" mirror. Nurture and encourage and lift up those in need of your kindness and empathy and compassion. 
Renate Dundys Marrello
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