Tag Archives: love

Self-Love: A Cliché? Or the Key to the Universe?

Tina Turner might have been speaking about the confusion love creates when falling for another, but love baffles even more people when they think about showing love to themselves. Admit it… can you even say to yourself that you love “you”?

I had an epiphany not too long ago. It seems silly to think that after almost twenty-eight years of providing mental health services that this notion only just recently arrived in my brain. I’ve spent countless hours talking to people about their chronic depression or anxiety, their ongoing and repeated bad (and sometimes abusive) relationships, their horrible self-esteem, their exhausting obsessive thoughts, their crippling body-image issues or concerns with over- or binge-eating, their immobilizing lack of assertiveness, their shattering hurt feelings, their relentless old habits, and so on. Whatever “broke” their spirit and souls, I was committed to helping them reclaim their lives. Throughout all of this work, if asked, I couldn’t even count the number of times I spoke to someone about self-love, itself.

My recent “ah ha” moment stopped me dead in my tracks. It dawned on me that every single concern or challenge a person struggles with throughout their experience of the human condition is related to a lack of self-love. And I mean EVERY single concern. Give that some thought…. What does everyone want most? To be loved and accepted. What do we lack the most within ourselves? Yep!… Love and acceptance.

marnws4After realizing this, I also realized that each emotional struggle or wound that exists stems directly from the fact that a person doesn’t love themselves. For over ten years, my mission has been to teach others about Soul Health, with the main concept pointing to our willingness to align the ten branches of the human condition with our souls in order to experience what I call “radiant living”. But can we really align our lives without self-love? Can we really sustain change and foster growth and evolution without accepting ourselves? The answer is a definitive “no”.

Research, in many ways, indicates that self-love enhances our overall health. Not only do studies show that self-acceptance improves satisfaction with life, they also show that self-compassion provides the motivation we need in order to change our lifestyle and maintain healthy behaviors such as getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and even success with smoking cessation. Other research indicates that self-compassion and acceptance reduces stress and can prevent procrastination because it helps us recognize the downside of an unhealthy behavior before we engage in something we might regret.

A study in the journal of Psychological Science confirmed that self-love can also help us to deal with adversity, showing that divorced individuals who spoke compassionately toward themselves were more able to recover from the separation than those who spoke with self-criticism. Reading this research and pondering my work with clients helped me refocus on the importance of self-love as a person evolves.  But an even bigger awareness shifted my approach to both working with clients and working my way through my own concerns within the human condition. Humor me for a moment….

Why do we repeat old patterns? Because we haven’t evolved beyond them. Why haven’t we evolved beyond them? Because we haven’t learned to—or are willing to love ourselves enough to do so. So, if you wonder why your life is in a vicious and unhealthy cycle, perhaps it is time to work on self-love.
For those who believe in reincarnation—the rebirth of a soul in a new body for the purpose of evolution—the concept of self-love also answers why our soul comes back for another round. You might want to consider your unfinished business or karma as a sign that your soul is missing out on a little (or a lot) of self-compassion. If we repeat old patterns because of a lack of self-love, it makes sense that on a bigger scale, we also repeat lives because we haven’t figured out that love has something to do with it… self-love, that is.

For you Beatles fans out there, I’m sorry to say that they forgot a verse to their song, “All You Need is Love”. The remake will have to include the key to the Universe—that self-love is the answer to all of life’s challenges. If you want to evolve beyond your old stuff, then get to work on loving yourself at least a little bit more today.

For more information about self-love, check out this article from Spirituality and Health Magazine, titled “Five Self-Love Exercises”.

Living a “Love Conscious” Life

feb2There is no better time than the present to explore the idea of love consciousness. You’ve likely heard me mention this concept before, but I want to take the time to explain more deeply what it means, because it pertains to all of us—especially as you consider Soul Health.

Our human condition creates much turmoil, judgment, and criticism. It is estimated that American adults have approximately 60,000 thoughts a day, with two-thirds of these as negative thoughts about ourselves or others. That is nearly 40,000 unpleasant or unkind thoughts that pass through our brains each day! It is impossible to align with ourselves on our path to radiant living when we constantly question or berate ourselves or those around us.

heart pupil in eyeThe definition of consciousness is the “awareness by the mind of itself and the world”, while “an intense feeling of affection” defines love. Therefore, love consciousness can be defined as an awareness of loving affection toward oneself and the world”. Because all emotions lead to either love or fear, it is reasonable to assume that, today, the vast majority of folks live through fear consciousness rather than through love.

Let me explain this idea through two personal examples: For years, I have been frustrated and dismayed by the nature of other drivers. Admittedly, I had been known to curse when someone would cut me off, drive too slowly in the fast lane, or suddenly slam on their brakes. Each situation would frustrate the heck out of me and would cause my blood to boil. I’m certainly not perfect, but I do tend to take into consideration the safety and needs of others. Because I wanted to change my reaction, I now try to send these same drivers many heart in tree barkblessings and good thoughts to wish them safe travels instead of letting them ruin my day—and my blood pressure. Although I still occasionally catch myself becoming irritated, I quickly shift my thoughts to something more positive.

Another example is learning not to take personally someone else’s negative intentions. Everyone experiences the darkness of others’ moods and actions, making it difficult to engage in healthy conversation and relationship. At one time, I would take this terribly personally, but now I try to remain intensely aware that other peoples’ actions, statements, and beliefs all come from their own personal experiences, perceptions, beliefs, and most importantly, their wounds. Although challenging, remaining in love consciousness helps me to release these misgivings and use discernment to decide which situations and relationships are healthy enough to maintain. This is done without judgment, which enhances my own soul health by remaining positive and loving toward myself and others.

So how can you live a more “love conscious” life?  Consider the following:

Listen to your thoughts. Pay attention to the messages you send to yourself and others. How many of them are negative? Do these enhance or diminish feb5your soul health? Are they based in fear—or love?

Remember that “junk in” always equals “junk out”. So if you fill yourself with negative thoughts, your life and overall health will be tainted. Also, remember that negative thoughts toward others are always fear-based. So, judging or being critical of others always sends an energetic slingshot back in your direction.

feb6Observe your reactions and turn them into responses. When we react, it is usually an unconscious activity. It happens automatically and usually without awareness of our impact on others. However, when we observe ourselves more deeply, we are more able to respond out of love and awareness, regardless of which of our buttons might have been pushed. Love consciousness allows us to quickly take into consideration the impact we will have on others, as well as prevent any unnecessary hurt to ourselves and those around us.

feb7Vow to yourself that you will change your old ways.  Make a promise to love, honor, and cherish yourself as much as you might another person.  Dedicate your life to living more positively by eliminating all negative thoughts and judgments toward yourself and others.  As a result, your soul health will be greatly enhanced, not only by nourishing and nurturing your inner ally, but also by engaging more positively with those around you

feb8Examine and Evolve beyond your old ways. Consciousness requires us to examine our actions and assess a need for change. Love asks us to respond in a loving and affectionate way. Conscious evolution is all about widening the lens enough to recognize when we need to outgrow old patterns that are diminishing our soul health. When we live through love, we consciously commit to a life that will lead us down the path of radiant living.

Many years ago, a wise woman pointed out to me that dog spelled backwards is “god”. As many of us know, dogs are the most loving creatures on Earth. I don’t know about yours, but mine seem to be far more love conscious than most people I know. Perhaps February should be deemed “dog month”, as we have much to learn from these amazingly loving and unconditional creatures. Next time you catch yourself sending a negative message, ask “What would Emmy or Chloe do?”  No doubt, you’ll learn love.


Social Health: Soul to Soul Relations

(Taken from Chapter 5 of Soul Health: Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth. ~~ George Bernard Shaw

09 Sept picHumans are pack animals—we are meant to be with people. No matter how “independent” we think we are, we still depend on those around us for at least some things, and we obviously wouldn’t have been brought into the world without the help of others. In most cases we could not survive, let alone thrive without the help of parents or other caregivers, teachers, friends, neighbors, pets, and others. What makes the world go around is our connection with others and the sense of community we receive through these interactions.

All of our relationships can have a direct impact on soul healthIf I were to guess, I’d say nearly 90 percent of people come to therapy because of their relationships with others in their lives. Depression, anxiety, grief, adjustment, low self-esteem, job stress, body image, weight-related concerns, physical injuries, traumatic events, anger management, abuse, and even some ongoing physical health concerns can be attributed to either present-day interactions with others or to the ideas, values, or beliefs we were taught as children.

The social branch of soul health encompasses all the relationships we have in our lives. This chapter discusses the many types of connections we have with other people, not only those close to us, but also others we may see less frequently—store clerks, dry cleaners, mail carriers, receptionists, pharmacists, manicurists, massage therapists, hair stylists, and even coffee baristas. Many people, including me, also consider pets and other animals to be significant contributors to our overall social health. No matter how connected we are to those who appear regularly in our lives, they are all part of our personal flock.

(To read further, purchase Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living at www.drkatherinetkelly.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com)

Grateful for Gratitude

Gratitude is a salve for the soul. In challenging times, it is easy to slip into the doldrums, allowing our souls to dim. But despite the difficult realities of the human condition, our ability to remain grateful can serve as the best anecdote to all of life’s problems.

Thankful listWhat is your biggest struggle right now? What is dragging you down? As you focus on these concerns, you will notice your energy and mood taking a dive. Now, take a few moments to list at least 5 things for which you are grateful. How has your mood changed? Do you feel more energy? Now, list a few more positive things about your life. See how quickly your outlook improves?

Emotions are seductive. When we allow our attention to drift toward sadness, worry, or grief, these feelings seem to pull us in, inviting us to feel the insidiousness of each emotion. Like a vacuum, our psyche draws us deeper into whatever it is that is disrupting our lives. However, by injecting gratitude into any situation, we can not only prevent a downward spiral, we can also raise our consciousness about what we are supposed to learn from life’s challenges.

During the last several months of my mother’s life and the two months since her death, gratitude has greatly soothed my soul. I remain grateful for the many beautiful experiences we shared and the invaluable time spent with her in her final weeks and days. I’m well aware that the upcoming holidays will likely stir the grief of my recent loss, but I’m already actively working on lessening this by allowing the many memories of years past to enter my awareness, taking note of the blessings, joy, and laughter that permeated our annual events.


As the year winds down, take stock in the gift of gratitude. Allow yourself to realize that life could not only be much worse, but also that it is much more tolerable—and even enjoyable when we become grateful for what we have, who we are, and the ways in which we have grown.

Most important, give thanks to yourself for investing in your growth and evolution—the most priceless gift you could offer your ultimate soul health.

Over the Edge: When the Human Condition Wins (Sept. 30)

Those who read this blog know that it’s been more than a rough patch for me lately.  From December 26th of 2014 until now, it feels like I’ve faced one challenge or loss after another:  everything from unexpected (and large!) car, home, and pet expenses, an extremely busy and stressful work schedule, and somewhat alarming health concerns (for someone whose doctor has always thought she had a boring health record), to the loss of 2 beloved pets in the spring and summer and most recently, my mother just a month ago,   For the most part, I’ve weathered it well and many are surprised to see how I seem to be effectively managing the stress and grief despite what the human condition has thrown my way.  That is, until about an hour ago.

house fireI received a text message from my best friend from Colorado saying, “This is what I had to deal with at 11:45 last night.”  The text included the picture to the left, which clearly shows a house fire with a car in the garage right next to the flames.  I sat looking at the picture… jaw dropped, stunned, confused… but realizing that she must be ok because 1) I didn’t hear otherwise sooner, and 2) she was texting me this as if it was an everyday event.  Of course, I immediately called her.

She told me that she had arrived home from a volleyball game around 8:30 p.m., did some nightly chores, talked to her sister around 10:50, then went to bed.  She awoke around 11:30 to her home alarm sounding, but because in her previous home the alarm would get tripped by the slightest thing, she just laid there wondering what had triggered the system.  After a few moments of listening for intruders, she made her way down the stairs to turn off her alarm.  Just as she reached the control panel, she heard something in her garage, went to open the door, and was met by a wall of flames.  She immediately closed the door, rushed upstairs to get her work and home cell phones, then ran out the front door to call 911.  Luckily, there is a fire station just down the road and 3 fire trucks, an ambulance, and various police officers arrived on the scene.

Being that she moved into this newly-build home in June, she was having some work done on the interior to make it more her own.  The contractors apparently left some flammable solvents in a trash can, which spontaneously combusted, sending flames throughout her garage.  The right side of her the SUV she bought just last year was melted, windows were shattered, and her garage door opener was singed, causing the door to open on its own, but then was burned as the flames swept up toward the ceiling.

The good news is that my friend is ok, other than a bit of her own shock, and likely post-traumatic stress from having escaped a situation that could have been much worse.  Given that her bedroom is upstairs, had the fire alarm not been triggered, she would have likely been trapped or worse, she would have died of smoke inhalation before she ever knew what had happened.

Although I would have wanted to support my friend sooner, if she had called me to tell me what happened, it likely would have sent me over the edge.  I think she knew that.

VZM.IMG_20150430_225626She and I had some deep heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul talks when I was home for my mom’s funeral.  I’ve known her since I was 14 years old, and she knows me better than anyone, including my biological family.  She has been through the good, the bad, and the ugly of the human condition with me—and me through hers.  Her sister died 9 months before my dad did in 1990, we cried our way through college and graduate school together, we shared each other’s heartbreaks with relationships, we fretted about job and career issues at the same time, we traveled to different countries and many states together, we’ve moaned about the state of the world together, we listen to each other’s frustrations with health and aging, we’ve joked with each other about our gray hair emerging, etc.  If there ever was a soul sister, she is most certainly one of them.

After my mom’s funeral, she and I just sat and talked… both about memories I had of mom, but also of how life had changed, looking and feeling different almost instantaneously, even though I couldn’t quite explain how.  In the midst of the conversation, I said, “Promise me that you won’t die anytime soon.”  She just looked at me and smiled… but this turned out to be a premonition that was too close for comfort.

Like many, my mom always said that God wouldn’t hand us anything more than what we could handle.  But enough is enough.  I honestly think I would have lost my footing on this one.

No one knows how much they can handle.  And no one knows until it’s already happening, whatever “it” is.  But once again, consciousness bit me in the tuckus, making me realize that despite the fact that worse was already worse, the human condition can dole out yet another dose.  Although my friend is apparently getting a reality check of her own, my new awareness is one of gratitude.  When life doesn’t seem like it can get worse, it can.

When you take even one moment for granted, the universe knows. Yet another reminder that consciousness requires constant attention.

An Inspired Life Through the Witness of Death

world through a lensEverything looks and feels different.  Yet, it’s all the same.  The world has changed and, yet, it hasn’t.  Everyone around me acts like nothing ever happened.  But it has.

No one really knows how things will change until they have.  We can’t predict, sense, or feel it… it just occurs, whether you want it to or not.

Last Friday marked 2 weeks since my mother died.  To say the least, it was an odd feeling to go through my day.  I attended a continuing education workshop, a nice distraction from the heaviness of the week.  But on the drive there, on every break, and even throughout the lecture, my mind wandered back to the events of two weeks prior.  There was no stopping it, regardless of the fact that none of the 164 people in the room had any idea of how the world had changed.

I chatted briefly with a woman next to me—a nutritionist who was also after her CE units for licensure, all the while aware that there was no way for her to know that my vision had changed.  The invisible layer of grief laid a very thick filter over every word I heard and every movement I saw.  Yet, she had no idea.  I heard her talk about her adjustment to retirement, the process she and her husband were going through in selling a family business, and their thoughts about moving out west to be closer to their children.  She was talking about the stress involved in all of these as I sat and listened, wondering what she would say if I told her of my own adjustment to being a freshly grieving, parentless adult.

I’ve never been so fully aware of the layers of consciousness until now.  During the week I was in Colorado for my mother’s funeral, a friend said that it must be strange to be observing all of this as both a person and a psychologist.  But, to me, there are many more layers of awareness that were and are occurring simultaneously:  the daughter who did her best to make sure her mother knew she was loved in her final days…., the sibling who had to help make decisions regarding her mother’s interment of ashes…., the sibling who was trying to make sure her brother who lived with their mother felt supported and not so alone in a newly empty home…., the friend who was being so wonderfully and lovingly supported by her own soul group—her friends both near and far…., the soul lens layers of consciousnesswho continued to talk with her mom’s spirit after death in hopes that she had made a soft landing…., the owner of a house and two dogs who had to problem-solve how to deal with a leaky toilet that the house sitter noticed while I was 1500 miles away…., the new joint-owner of a home in Colorado, complete with 43 years of accumulation…., the psychologist who was watching all of this from her viewpoint in Colorado, but also had to make calls home to cancel appointments, listen to messages, and return email that couldn’t wait…., the author who had a big deadline approaching that couldn’t be missed…., the psychologist who didn’t know if she would hold it together to be able to do client care when she returned…., the speaker who had to give her national company the go ahead for workshop dates in the next few months…., the discussion leader who had to cancel two events because she didn’t know how she’d be feeling upon return to her work world…., the human who had some unattended health concerns of her own…., the boss who had been unavailable and inattentive for several weeks due to frequent travel home…., the friend who had her own friends who were challenged by parent health issues, job concerns, etc…., and the list goes on…..

As humans, we juggle a lot.  We don’t realize it until something happens to shake us or stop us dead in our tracks.  The human condition has a way of deceiving us to believe that we are superhuman… that we can pile on the many roles without much conscious effort.  The key word is “conscious”.  We tend to get buried beneath the human condition without much effort, only to be left to dig our way out regardless of the exhaustion and emotional discomfort that we are already experiencing.

life-through-a-lens-872In times like this, I am reminded that a lot of the human condition really doesn’t matter.  Much of it is nonsense.  Very little of it will make a bit of difference at the end of my own life.  The leaky toilet… The email messages….  The returned calls…. The requirements of professional licensure.  All of these things seem to matter in the moment, but at the end of my own life, I can guarantee you these aspects of my existence will be the last things on my mind.

Death is a rite of passage.  Life is a privilege.  What we do with it on a moment-to-moment basis is what allows us to become conscious creatures if we choose to live consciously.  When the layers of the human condition are so heavy, yet clear, it motivates me even more to live a fully-aware and conscious life.  I don’t want to miss a moment.  I want to live as much aligned in my truth as possible.  I want my soul to sing.  I want no regrets.  I want to help to heal as many others’ souls as possible while on this planet.  I want to see, hear, and smell every magical corner of the Earth.  I want to live the human condition to the fullest, then transcend it to live in the soul condition—evolving to infinity.

trees and evolutionDo I want my mother back?  No, actually I don’t.  I want her to go on to whatever is next for her.  I want her to transcend her own struggles, feel free of the terrible pain she experienced, and “right” the likely regrets she wrestled with at the end of life.  This is what I want for everyone.  I want them—and myself—to evolve into the souls we are destined to be.

Once again, death inspired me.  This experience has motivated me to live life more consciously and completely.  Death is never just an ending of something—it is always a new dawn as well.

The Perfect Ending: Death in the Eye of the Beholder (Written September 4, 2015)

eye in cloudsOf course, there is no such thing as perfect, especially when it comes to death and dying.  But like many things, the perfection of how one makes their transition is in the eye of the beholder.

Those who follow this blog on a regular basis know that my mother’s health was declining for the last few years, with a dramatic drop over the last few months.  She was in incredible pain from severe arthritis and also from hips that likely had crumbled during a series of unfortunate falls.  Because of heart issues surgery was not an option, so she had to endure as best she could.  If that wasn’t bad enough, she contracted a horrible intestinal bug a few months ago, followed by a worse infection when in the hospital to fix the first one.  In the midst of diagnosing these issues, the doctors also discovered cancerous tumors on her lungs.  Yes, it was a mess, and yet there were beautiful moments right up until her death, which occurred earlier today (September 4, 2015, 3:00 p.m. MST).

I received word this morning that my mother was unresponsive and likely wouldn’t make it through the weekend.  I immediately hopped on a plane, wondering if I would arrive at her bedside before passing.  I tried… but didn’t succeed.  I received word while in the stop-over airport (Atlanta) that she had passed.  I was sad I wasn’t with her, but also immensely relieved that she was no longer suffering and was in fact, at peace.

I’ve made several trips to see her this year, but the most profound visit occurred just two weeks ago.  My previous posts have talked about some of the things that occurred.  But others will always still stick in my mind.

Once I arrived there two weeks ago, all she wanted me to do was sit next to her bed and hold her hand—morning, noon, and night.  I complied as much as I could in-between getting her up for bathroom breaks, meals, and turning her over in her bed.  She just wanted me to sit with her.  And I did.  One particular night I had my phone by me and responded to check-ins from several frietextingnds who were sending their warm thoughts my way.  I mentioned my mom’s hand-holding wishes to a friend and she replied that her mother wanted nothing more than the same thing at the end of her life.  This reminded me that my father also requested this simple gesture when he was in the hospital prior to his death.   After this awareness, I started to notice that as my mom stirred or startled awake, she would open her eyes, make sure I was still there, then tighten her hold and go back to sleep.  I wrote to my friend that I felt as if her soul was testing leaving her body, but wanted an anchor to keep her here until she was really ready to make her final transition.

The next morning my mom left me absolutely stunned.  As usual, I got her up for breakfast and administered her morning meds. But just after I cleared the dishes, she said to me, “I want to thank you for something.”  I looked at her and casually said, “What’s that?”.  Although her thoughts had been blurred the few days prior, she was clear as glass in her response.  She said, “I want to thank you for assuring me of what my body was doing.”  My mouth dropped and I sat there speechless.  How could she have known what I texted to my friend?  I hadn’t said the words out loud—I only typed the words into my phone.  In retrospect, I wish I would have asked more about how she knew what I had typed, but it really didn’t matter.  She understood, was assured, and that’s all that really mattered.  She went on to share stories from the past that I’d heard a hundred times, but I listened without complaint, knowing it might be the last.

phone cameraThroughout my time there, it was a challenge to get her into comfortable positions as her poor bones constantly ached.  Later in the day following our morning discussion, she woke from a nap and said she was so comfortable that she wanted me to take a picture of how I had laid her down so we could remember the position for the future.  This time I was puzzled.  Anyone who knows my mother also knows that she absolutely loathed having her picture taken, let alone one being snapped when she was lying in a hospital bed.  Baffled, but compliant, I took a couple pictures with my phone.  I mentioned it to a friend and she agreed that it was a strange request at the time.  Mom made no further mention of the pictures.

However, I now know why she had me capture her pose.  Today, while sitting in the airport on my seemingly endless lay-over on my way to Colorado, my best friend called to see how I was doing.  I mentioned to her that I was torn for whether I wanted to see my mother’s body before she was cremated.  The funeral home was going to allow me to come view her lifeless shape since I hadn’t been there for her passing.  While talking, I remembered the picture mom had requested and realized that she somehow knew I wouldn’t be there at the time of death and so she wanted me to see her lying comfortably—a much better pose than what I would see now that her soul has left her body.  When I got off the phone I looked at the picture on my phone, smiled immediately, and just shook my head.  My mom had given me the gift of a VERY rare photo, so that I could be at peace with my absence while she made her transition.

A bit later, I decided to walk down the hall to grab a cup of decaf, mostly to warm me since the airport’s A/C was running full blast.  I had about an hour before my plane would board, so I sauntered to Caribou Coffee which was part of the commons area on the concourse.  As I walking to the café, I pianist 2heard a pianist playing in a courtyard bar and mentally acknowledged how unusual this sight and sound is for an airport.  She was playing some lively song as I walked by, but I didn’t recognize it and just went on my way.  As I was sprinkling cinnamon into my latte, I noticed a sudden mid-song switch to a jazzy tune my mother would play on the organ in our living room while I was a kid.  I have no idea what it is called, but I haven’t heard that tune for at least 30 years.  I stopped and looked at the pianist, started smiling and shaking my head, then of course, broke into tears.  The pianist played that song for about 20 seconds, but it was just enough to let me know that mom was right there with me… while I was getting myself a cup of her favorite beverage—coffee.  (Truth be told, she hated anything other than the straight stuff, but we’d joke that I’d share my latte or mocha with her if she wanted… which she always quickly turned down.  BTW, my brother told me that the song is called “In the Mood”, but Glen Miller.  I will never forget this title again.)

So, although my mom went through the trenches on the way to the world beyond, she created beauty on her path nevertheless.  I hated seeing her struggle and suffer, but I now see the perfection in a seemingly messy and imperfect end.

20150101_181947AI’ve yet to make it home, still on the plane in route to a house with one less soul.  When my dog passed away in the spring, his spirit visited me that night, letting me know he was okay—dancing freely after his own two-year illness.  I hope mom’s soul does the same tonight when I lay myself down for the night.  I know I will sit in the recliner I bought her for Christmas, where she spent much of her time until she could no longer maneuver her way out of it.  It is in her bedroom where she passed gently today.  I want to feel her energy, her soul, our history.  I want her to know I’m there… and I want her spirit right there with me.

When I was waiting for my first flight today, I texted my sister to let her know of my arrival later this evening.  I asked her to tell mom that I loved her and that I was on my way, but if she had to go before I got there, I would understand.  Whether my sister told her or not, I know she knew all was well with me if she needed to leave and she could fly to higher ground.  I have her peaceful picture.  I heard her jazzy tune.  I drank her favorite beverage—well, a variation, at least….  And it is, indeed, the perfect ending.

Miami, DC, etc. 202 (2)Although, in my world… it’s only the beginning.  Soar high, mom.  Soar high.

(The picture on the right was taken on mom’s 80th birthday, when I surprised her with a dream of hers– a ride in a helicoptor!  She told me after my father died in 1990 that she wanted to do this before she passed away.  She forgot she said this and likely never thought it would happen.  The 30-minute journey took us through the Royal Gorge, near Canyon City, Colorado.  It was quite the ride, indeed– full of twists and turns, skimming the canyon walls.  Right before this picture was taken, she said, “That was great– can we go again?”.  Given that this was six weeks after a surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm, I didn’t want to push my luck. I gave her strict orders not to have any cardiac events in the following year so I wouldn’t feel responsible for weakening her heart during the flight.  I’m certain this day only strengthened her heart though, as it most certainly did mine.  Here’s to wonderful memories and dreams fulfilled, mom!  I love you and wish you well on your part of your journey.)