It’s not Good-Bye

I hate good-byes. I hate how permanent they sound, and I hate how awkward they feel, because deep inside, it hurts to say it. “Good-bye.”

The one thing Kevin told me was the hardest part about being a Senior during this pandemic- it wasn’t the graduation ceremony, not missing the silly prom, or the other activities that would not be experienced- he said the hardest part was not being able to say “good-bye” to his peers. To give that final send off before they all head in their own directions.

I suppose that’s why I hate the sentiment. I don’t want to accept that life brings changes. Sometimes I want everything to be as they were. Especially when everything and everyone around me is doing just fine. Saying, “Good-bye,” feels like I’m okay with whatever was and it is now over. It is time to move on.

Life can be cruel. It doesn’t ask you when you are ready for good-byes. It’ll lift you right out of your-self and BAM! change. What is even worse is not knowing what is ahead. What do these changes mean?

I am not talking about the pandemic- although it sure sounds like it. No. I’m talking about the death of my grandma. As I type this post, she is lying on a hospice bed ready to have her last breath. I had the choice to go and see her; to say “good-bye.” I couldn’t do it. I did not want to do it. I may have a change of heart, it all depends on what happens tomorrow. This pandemic doesn’t help the situation either.

Death always makes me reflect about my own mortality, and how fragile and precious life is.

Let me tell you about my grandma. She raised my sisters and me. She was married at 16. Never learned how to read, instead she had to work in the fields on her parents land during the Great Depression. She sent off her husband to fight in World War II. She had a baby that passed away at 6 months because she lived too far away to get the help she needed. She adopted a little girl afterward. Raised four boys. One of those boys was rather wild and never left the nest- that would be my dad and why my sisters and I lived with her and our grandpa (Pita). Pita died in 1990. She lived the remainder of her life widowed.

She NEVER held grudges. She worried WAY TOO MUCH about her family. She prayed everyday. She cooked and baked for her family. She loved the casino, perhaps too much. Oh, and she only spoke Spanish. That’s important because all of her grandchildren do not. We can understand and speak a few words in Spanish, but we are not fluent. Yet, we were able to communicate with her. That’s what happens when love is the dominate language. Love can break any barriers, including a language barrier. That woman loved her family NO MATTER WHAT!

The world will not know or miss Ofelia Abeyta, but her family will. We have been touched by her strength, courage, and unconditional love. Her legacy is her family.

So I will not say, “good-bye” to this amazing woman. I will say, “see you soon, Grandma!” or better yet, we are going to sit in heaven and drink a beer and tell stories. Yes, there is beer in heaven.

I love you Grandma! I am the woman I am today because of your love for me. You loved me when everyone else seemed to abandoned me. You helped me to understand the meaning of love AND the meaning of family. You taught me those words are one and the same.

I hope you have someone in your life who has touched you as the way my grandma has touched mine. Most importantly, I hope you will be the Grandma in this crazy world. To love your family and friends unconditionally.

Peace to you and yours!

The Real Cure

Friends, I know this time seems unsettling and there is a lot of fear and anxiety going around. One thing I know for sure is that this pandemic has effected all of us, but not necessarily in the same way.

I’ve seen a lot of crazy hurtful deeds during this time, as well as some comic relief. I have also witnessed a lot of good and light during this dark time.

Much like yourself, I too have had waves of emotions and times where I felt helpless and depressed. Learning how to navigate “social distancing” and having a house full of the people I love ALL DAY long can have its toll. It’s tempting to go down the spiral of depression, anxiety, anger and confusion. I for one, noticed how gloomy and anxious I was becoming, and then trying to manage the people in my household who also were feeling overwhelmed with everything around them, was a lot to carry.

With all that said I discovered something that might help during this time. There has been a lot of good advice out there on how to cope and manage what we are all going through. Meditate, pick up a new hobby or delve yourself into the hobby you are already doing, virtual meetings with family and friends, clean the house (maybe), read, write, and one of the best are those virtual Happy Hours. There are messages about having grace with ourselves and fellow friends as we go through this unprecedented time.

I want to encourage you, especially if you are feeling pretty crummy, to consider helping someone else through this. I know we are “social distancing” but that doesn’t mean you can’t help. If there is one thing in my life that has really helped me and the wisdom that was given to me, is that when we start serving others we tend to feel good about that, and when we feel good about ourselves, we are less likely to feed the negativity that allows us to fall on ourselves with depression and anxiety.

When we start focusing on helping other people, we don’t have time to think about ourselves and our situation, therefore, we start spreading kindness, love, and gratitude.

Now you don’t have to do something grand and enormous. You don’t have to be rich or educated to help others. All it takes is a little time and a little effort along with some creativity and courage to do something for someone else.

Just a few weeks ago, when this all got started, a dear friend of mine left a card, a toilet paper roll, and a bag of chocolate chip cookies to bake on my front door. The cover on the card was beautifully painted and had the words, “Collect Memories, Not Stuff,” and on the inside she told me how much our friendship meant to her. Let me tell you, that brightened up my day and it felt good to know that other people care.

You see, it doesn’t take a whole lot to show someone you care, or to do something for someone else. I know you know people in your life who may need a little uplifting. Perhaps you know someone who needs a little more help, because as I mentioned earlier, this pandemic has hit us all in very different ways.

Here are a few ideas on what you can do to help someone else:

  • 1. Start a Virtual Book Club/Happy Hour with friends.
  • 2. Put together care packages with your friend’s favorite candy, food, books etc. and leave it at their door.
  • 3. If you are blessed financially purchase a lap top for a student who does not have one.
  • 4. Write thank you notes.
  • 5. Write that letter.
  • 6. Make masks and donate them.
  • 7. Pull weeds for an elderly neighbor’s yard.
  • 8. Order and pay for an elderly’s groceries.
  • 9. Order take out for someone else.

You get the point. No matter how small, or how silly, do it. I promise you it will help diminish the depression and anxiety. If you really feel like doing something a little more, find a cause to support. Mentor or Tutor a young kid who needs support. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a wonderful organization that will give you a match, and I promise you that the Mentors get more out of it.

So stop posting political bullshit on your social media and start doing something for someone else. Your politics (and religion) mean nothing when you are not living it. No political post on my Facebook feed is going to change the world, but helping someone else, giving of our time, resources and creativity… will!

If you are so inclined, and you have other ideas to share about how to help or encourage others, please leave the ideas in the comments.

Love Always