Fall is a Beautiful Time of Year

Fall, what a beautiful time of year. Beautiful weather, nature looking picturesque and holidays for everyone to enjoy. For me, this fall has been different. My baby went off to college and I became an empty nester. Well, I do have one more at home, but he’s 20 and lives his own life. I don’t see him much.

I look at Facebook and get to see all the great things people are enjoying in life. Kids are growing up and moving on. Going to prom, graduating, and heading off to college or out on their own in the working world. At that point we as parents are also starting our new life. Couples are getting to know each other all over again. Single parents start to enjoy the next chapter of life and all the freedoms of being single without being tied down.

Empty nester has a whole new meaning for me. It’s the beginning of the next stage of my life. My husband died 19 years ago and over the last 6 years I’ve lost a large part of my family. I’ve taken time to grieve but with my youngest going off to college it really started to sink in that I’m starting a whole new life.

When Halloween came along, I sat here for the first time in years by myself. I just didn’t realize it would hit me how much my life is changing. The next day was my grandmother’s birthday. She’s been gone for 2 years now and I miss her every day.

I started reminiscing about my family and how much I miss them. I was raking leaves and remembered the time that my grandmother was here and sat in a chair putting leaves in a back. Mind you, she was blind but she really wanted to help. I smile whenever I think about it. She was sick for a few years before she died. When it was time for her to go into hospice I knew I had to try to go see her one last time. I got online and found a round trip ticket for around $100. It was to go Friday and come back Saturday or the flight went up to $400. I was supposed to go see her and I’m so I got to go and say good bye. It was hard to see her like that, but I’m so glad I did. She looked peaceful laying there with her beautiful smile.

Or my stepfather who used to come and try to find things to do around my house. So many stories there. Towards the end of his life, when he couldn’t do much, I used to junk up my junk drawer so he’d have something he could do to help me. We both loved it in our own way. He used to tape all my pens together so if I needed one I’d have to pull the tape off. It always made me laugh. The last time I saw him my kids and I were visiting him and my mother in Florida. The boys and my mother went out somewhere and I stayed home with him. He said “I’ll be in bed by 8:00, That’s my bed time.” “Of course” I said, “That’s always been the case. You go to bed and watch TV.” That night he sat with me until everyone came home. We cleaned out the bag of coffee, sugar and sweet and low together. “I think I need a cup of coffee” he said. His plan was to stay up with me until mom and the kids got home so he could prove that he could stay awake.

I didn’t know that would be the last time I’d see him, but he and I were meant to spend that time together.

The holidays are a time for family and close friends. I’m lucky to have my two boys even though they have lives of their own we got to spend quality time together.

Those of you that have large families or your spouse that you’ve spent so many wonderful years together, be thankful. Enjoy each day and each moment. It’s precious time and enjoy every minute of it.

10 tips to help someone grieving

When you lose a loved one it is so hard. Their world has just been turned completely upside down. One of the hardest things is for those that aren’t affected by this tragedy that want to do something but just don’t know what to do. Here’s 10 tips to help someone grieving.

  1. Send a card, sympathy or just a thinking about you card. It’s a small way for people to feel that people are thinking of them.
  2. Get them restaurant gift cards. Sometimes it’s all you can do to get out of bed. Cooking makes eating an unimaginable chore.
  3. When you see them, say hello or I’m sorry, acknowledging their loss is so simple but all that’s needed. People struggle with what to say when a simple I’m sorry is perfect.
  4. Don’t try to solve the “problem”, there is no problem to solve, they just need time and patience to work through their grief.
  5. See if someone has put together a list of things they need, like meals, shopping, cleaning, laundry, etc.
  6. Make a donation to help the family financially if there is a gofundme.com page. Even $5 helps. The last thing people want to do is worry about the small stuff and this is a way to help them.
  7. If there’s no gofundme.com page then make a donation in memory of the loved one that died.
  8. Let them cry if they want and if they don’t cry, don’t be worried. Everyone deals with grief differently and whether or not crying is present doesn’t mean they don’t feel the loss.
  9. Don’t exclude them from invitations, they may say no, but being remembered is important. Especially three months down the road when everyone has gone back to their everyday lives.
  10. Most important be patient, it takes time and each person is on their own time frames. Let them know it’s ok to change their mind last minute. If they are having a bad day the last thing they want to do is put on their happy face and be cheerful.

These are just a few things that are helpful when trying to help someone grieving. In the very beginning grief is all they can see. By using some of these tips it allows them to feel normal. Normal has changed for them and it will take a while to find the new normal.

I think the most important tip is to be patient. Sometimes they just need to stay home and rest, or find something else to do. Know that whatever they do is normal. Normal for them, but it is normal.

Feeling That Holiday Spirit

As I sit and wrap gifts I am really feeling that holiday spirit. In my house, nobody really wants much nor do we need much. So we are decorating and I am looking forward to making cookies, spending time with family and friends.

We’ve already started driving around looking at the lights around the neighborhoods. It’s great the was some people go all out. Other’s decorate more conservative yet beautifully. There are those tacky homes too. But love them all!

Each one is enjoyable in its own right. My older Son got this light that changes colors. He doesn’t want to put lights out front because it would take away from that one. I think he has a point. He’s the one that loves to decorate and make things look good for any holiday.

Knowing that we don’t want or need much is a nice feeling. That means we are in a good place in life. So many have hard times during the holidays. I don’t want to jinx it, but I just want everyone to feel content.

While I’m sitting here, I’m thinking about the fact that I’m pretty much done with my shopping and close to done wrapping. It’s a feeling of being content. On top of that I am sitting here in shorts and a tank top. Love it. The weather is beautiful. It was about 70 today. It’s been that way for about a week.

My mom is coming to visit next week. I hope the weather holds out for her. She would love that. Even if it went down to the 50s I know she’d be happy. I’m looking forward to the holidays this year and I hope you are too. Enjoy what you have and send love into the world and especially for those that need it.

I hope you are feeling that holiday spirit. Think about what you can do to enjoy the holidays! That’s what the holidays should be about.

Ho Ho Holidays are here!

Thanksgiving has passed and the shopping season is in full swing. The Ho Ho Holidays are here! Ready or not, they are here. At my house we are getting ready for our family traditions.

Our traditions have changed over the years. My favorite thing to do is to put the ornaments on my tree. As I pull each ornament out it brings back a memory. It’s like reading your history book each year. At times the kids wanted to help and other times they didn’t. But now I make them help me even if it’s just a little bit.

Picking a favorite ornament isn’t easy either. There’s one that a second mom to my husband made for us using our wedding napkins. The ornament from Disney World is always fun, I loved taking my kids to Disney. Then there’s the Wooden ornament that’s a lobster that has claws that move when you pull the string. Of course the ornaments that are homemade by my kids or my sister, even myself. Of course I could go on, but you get the idea.

Putting on holiday music while sitting in front of a fire with some Hot Chocolate is always a treat. A great way to relax at the end of a long day of shopping.

Wrapping is a fun thing to do too. Although not my favorite, seeing everything wrapped and under the tree is a great feeling of accomplishment.

Watching everyone open on Christmas morning is fun too. And I must say I like seeing what I got too.
It always amazes me how busy the season is and how much people put into it. Driving around and seeing all the house is another tradition. There are so many homes that are beautiful. It’s a great way to enjoy the evening with family. Sometimes I get the kids to go with me too.

And I can’t leave out holiday fun with friends. I love getting together with friends over the holidays. Sometimes it’s the only time we see each other throughout the year. In fact, one friend and I are going to make a resolution to see each other sometime outside of November December.