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Survival Instinct December 3, 2008

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The night before Thanksgiving I received a phone call from my younger brother and I could tell by the tone of his voice that something was terribly wrong. My mom was in the emergency room. She just finished dinner with her husband and was admiring Gus, her beloved boxer/lab mix, as he licked the remains of the dessert bowl. She was proud to have such an amazing spirit in her life and there was definitely a lot of love between them, as she always treated him more like a friend than an animal. She wrapped her arms around his neck in a very loving way, which she had done a million times before, but for whatever reason he violently turned on her and attacked her face.  

I’ve never in my entire life heard my mother so shaken, as she is one of the strongest people I know. She’s compassionate and loving, but she’s tough and it takes a lot for something to get to her. She has over 30 years experience as a critical care nurse, IV therapy nurse, oncology nurse, emergency nurse and as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She is also a certified trauma expert specializing in post traumatic stress disorder so nothing phases this woman, as she is a rock when it comes to dealing with emotional and psychological trauma, but this affected her in a way I can’t even describe.

The muscle tissue in her face had to be reconstructed by a plastic surgeon and then the skin of her cheek sutured back on. She received a total of 100 stitches so she will have a scar that will be with her long after the bruising and swelling subside. The body has a miraculous way of shutting down around pain so the body initially went in to shock to protect her. The doctors then gave her lidocaine to numb the affected area and when it wore off she had prescription pain killers, but when it’s all said and done and the physical pain is gone, she will still be left with a deep emotional scar that might not ever heal. 

I don’t know why this happened, but my mother had an incredible love for her dog and it will probably take her a really long time to trust him again. Gus was rescued from Hurricane Katrina so it was probably just his survival instincts kicking in from a time when he was starving on the streets and having to fend for himself, but understanding why doesn’t necessarily make it any better. I would be an absolute mess if something so devastating happened to me yet my mother got right back up and was able to face life almost immediately. 

It wasn’t even 24 hours after the accident and she was trying to find the silver lining and the greater meaning in it all. Her focus was on the gifts of the experience and not on the tragedy of what happened. As a health care professional, she was impressed with the quality of service she received from the doctors and nurses. She was grateful Gus missed her lip, nose, and eye as it could have been a lot worse and she was actually thankful for the pain, as it meant no nerve damage. Most people I know would have put their dog down yet my mother was able to find compassion for Gus because she knew he felt terrible for what he did.

My mother believes that if we are afraid of pain or discomfort, we will never change. We have to be willing to embrace the chaos in our lives, listen to the pain, and transform it in to joy, as there are gifts in every challenge. She knows we are never given more than we can handle so she keeps fighting and if she falls down, she gets back up. If anyone ever had a reason to give up, it would be my mom, as she has lived through more grief than anyone I know, but somehow she perseveres. She is a fighter through and through and I am proud to be her daughter and I’m honored to know such a strong powerful spirit.

We should never take life for granted and we should be thankful for the gifts and all the beautiful blessings in our lives. Suffering will never cease to exist so we have to make the best of every situation. It’s the choices we make when life hands us a curve ball that truly make a difference. You hear so many people fall in to the trap of feeling sorry for themselves…always asking why…why is this happening to me, but it’s life and it happens…for better or for worse. We have to surrender and make peace with the chaos so don’t give up. Get back up and keep going.  


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Happy!!! July 25, 2008

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Hello, hello!!! I know I’m infamous for being succinct, right? HA! Well, this post WILL be short…promise. I just wanted to share with you how happy I am and for absolutely no reason. It’s not because of a boy or an amazing job or because of something that happened yesterday or something that is going to happen tomorrow. I’m just happy…here…now…in the precious moment of today. It feels great to be this happy and for absolutely no reason at all…life is good my friends…life is good!

I’m headed off to my friend’s lakehouse, which I heard is absolutely beautiful. It will feel good to be surrounded by mother nature. I want to share my bliss and give some of that love back to our divine mother. I will wake to the birds singing and the silence of the still lake. It will be a new “now”…a new moment created. I cherish these moments as they are life. It’s not what already happened or what is about to happen…it’s about what’s happening right now so I encourage you to stop for a minute, take a slow mindful deep breath, exhale as slow as you possibly can, and just feel in to the beautiful moment that has created enough space around you to simply “be.” Be as you are…beyond thought…beyond emotion…beyond sensed perceptions…the you beyond all content.

Have a beautiful weekend and know that you are loved!!!

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