I took a Shower today:

I took a shower today… hmm did that grab your attention 🙂 here we go letting my vulnerabilities out again. You see the simple task of a morning shower, getting ready for your day is a task for a lot of people, not just grieving parents. Many people whether facing addiction, depression, bad relationships the list goes on. What you see on social media is sometimes what’s not really happening. Social media creates a facade for people to only share what they want people to see, let’s break down the barriers and show people what life is really about.

The last few years for me my depression and self worth well lets just say went down the tube. If any of you know me you know I am a girly girl I have always loved doing my hair and make-up, my girls even endured it as they always had the cutest hairstyles and outfits.

I have always taken care of myself.

My first couple years after Brianna died I could care less what I looked like, I gained weight and didn’t do much to myself. Then finally I started taking care of myself again probably around 2013. 

The last few years snuck up on me and I saw the change in myself, I wasn’t putting the effort in myself anymore, I felt alone and unwanted. About 4 years ago alcohol became my friend, it helped with all the unlove I felt, the disappointments and my self worth. A year ago I decided the alcohol was NOT my friend and started on the journey of semi-sobriety. 

So now back to the whole shower thing, I know you are just dying to know what that’s about? Or maybe not… but it’s a big deal to me it’s part of my journey and the work I am doing to provide a better life for myself. There would be times when I would take a shower every few days I would only do my hair every three days, yes the make-up was always on but never the way I used to do it. It was just too exhausting to take a shower and get ready and frankly I didn’t care what I looked like.

As I have started to take care of myself and work for my recovery of grief I promised myself this year would be my year. 🙂

I am doing things that make me happy, I stopped worrying about the things and people I couldn’t change, I keep a positive outlook and don’t let those Debbie Downers or Satin get to me… !!!!!

I took a shower the last six days straight, I did my hair and make-up, I have worn a dress and high-heels 🙂 everyday. My spirits are lifted and TODAY I feel good, I feel pretty. I am the only one who can make myself happy and that is what I intend to do. Will it be this way next week? I don’t know I will continue to live for today and trust the journey I am on.

This is my life living as transparent as I can, sharing parts of me to help others now they are not alone.

I’m not ashamed of my depression or grief!!! finally getting help….

Every year I tell myself, this is going to be a better year and although I did get some things accomplished and I am proud of them, I still struggled very much and that struggle was in silence. The very thing I advocate for the stigma, not wanting to impose on others I was doing…It’s the end of the year, I have finally started doing the “Work” that I advocate for.

I knew it was now or never… November 7, 2019 for some reason God told me today was the day. I had my yearly exam ya the girl one 🙂 I have neglected myself for three years, I was always faithful at going every single year, not sure what happened? I was a little anxious because I would be seeing a new Nurse, the one I have been going to for the past 25 years was semi-retired and no longer at that office. When the nurse came in we chatted to get to know each other, here I was sitting on the table naked with my gown wrapped around me, then all of a sudden it happened, the tears started to flow and I let it out, I told her about Brianna and Chris and the deep Depression I have had over the last 3.5 years, I felt as though I was losing control of my life. Then she said it, those words I have been so afraid of for so many years, she asked if I would want to try anti-depression medicine? I took a deep breath as the tears still flowing I said “yes” she talked to me about a few and prescribed me the lowest dose, we would follow up in a month to see how I was doing.

As I left the office the tears came even harder and a smile snuck out and all of a sudden I felt this sense of relief, the weight on my shoulders were lifted a little more. I sat in my car for a few minutes and let it sink in, I finally felt as though I was going to be OK. I couldn’t help but share the news with my Daughter right away, she was so happy that I was finally getting help.

It’s only been 2.5 weeks, I cannot tell you the difference I feel, I have not had an anxiety attack, my feeling of helplessness has diminished, I am getting my energy back and feel as though I actually want to do something, I know I still have a long way to go and hopefully the medicine will only continue to help me.

I have always been so afraid to take any medicine, I was afraid of what it would do and how it would affect me. 

I always wondered how my book would end, how could I have a positive ending if I didn’t do the “work” how could I help others and guide them in their own journey if I wasn’t doing it for myself? This is a part of that Self-Love that I am desperately working on and what is more important than your brain? if your brain does not feel right nothing will. I am still working on myself but I thought this was a great ending to this year and a great beginning to a new year…

Much love to you all

Babs xoxo

The Resilience of a 17 year old Sister

So many emotions going through my head, I am going to be a grandma, as I look at my beautiful daughter who is going to become a Mother I look back at what it took for her to get here, she is starting a new journey that will change her life forever “in a good way” Kayla has beaten all odds, she was only 17 when her baby Sister died and 21 when her Daddy died. She has bought a home, got married, is going to college and now becoming a Mother, I couldn’t be more proud of her. Kayla has been through more than most adults will ever go through, she has been my rock, my strength and my reason for living. On June 16, 2010 she had to be the Mother, I couldn’t process what was happening to Brianna, I froze!! Kayla had to help her Dad save Brianna. I hope that I have had some small part in Kayla’s strength in living her life to the fullest. Her Sister and Dad are so very proud of her.

This is what Brianna’s 17 yr old sister Kayla said at Brianna’s Memorial service June 27,2010

My dearest Brianna,
Words can’t even describe how much I miss you. I think about you non stop and I just cannot believe your gone….. I feel so lucky to have had you as a baby sister. I know we fought but thats because I love you so much! I love giving you my clothes and I love seeing my clothes because it just reminds me that you wanted to be like me. I just can’t wrap it around my head that you’re not going to be here. I just can’t imagine life without you. It hurts me so much that you can’t be here with us. We are all celebrating the twelve years we’ve had the pleasure to share with you. You’ve done so many wonderful things for people baby. I know you will continue helping people. You already have! by donating your organs, you saved three lives and hundreds with your tissue, can you believe that? even after you’ve passed, you still are helping people. I only wish that you would help people by being here with us. I know you didn’t mean for this to happen…I hate that this happened. You deserve the whole world and more. I hope that you are happy whereever you are, we all love and miss you Brianna. So please just always show us that you’re there. I’m always thinking about you and hoping you’ll come visit in my dreams. I miss seeing you everyday, so just let me know you’re happy whereever you are so I can have peace. I know i’ll see you someday and I promise, that will be the happiest day of my life. You’ve touched so many lives, even in your short time on this earth. You’ll still do great things baby..
I love you so much and im sorry I couldn’t save you……………..

“our lives will never be the same, but your kingdom is now much better, for one angel has gotten their wings”

Love Kayla Marie

Kayla I love you more than life itself, it has been an absolute honor being your Mom, I cannot wait to travel this next chapter with you, you are going to be an amazing Mommy.

Mother’s Bereaved Retreat Utah

I didn’t know I needed to be with other Warrior Momma’s, I didn’t know that I needed time for me, I didn’t know I needed the love and attention. I thought I was doing ok for the past 9 years doing this grief stuff, doing this strong stuff…. I have been helping everyone else but myself, I thought I was grieving, mourning??? yes probably a little but nothing compared to what happened in a weekend.

I met Cristie or should I say we became Facebook Friends December of 2018 I believe? I was already talking to her Daughter Erika earlier in the year, I can’t remember how we actually became “FB” friends? but we had common loss, her Brother died by Suicide. Cristie has become a very important part of my heart. She is why I went to the retreat, it’s something her and her friend Leigh Anne another Warrior Momma, her son died also by Suicide. Together they have been doing these amazing retreats.

I knew I was ready for something, I went into it with an open mind and an open heart. I was about to meet six other Momma’s that are traveling this journey, I knew nothing about them or their Child. In my 9 years of grief I haven’t really spent time with other Mothers, I was focused on the education part of Suicide and the Choking game, I was to busy going mock speed. This really was going to be something new for me. The last few years I have focused more on the families helping them but have not really spent time with them.

I learned so much from this weekend. I learned I NEED people, I NEED my people, my warrior Mama’s. I am thankful for the people in my life, but I felt lost and alone I still need support 9 years later, 20 years later. It’s hard for someone who has not had a child die to understand, and trust me I DON’T want you to understand.
I came into the weekend with an open heart, I let my guard down, I was ready to take in love, I was ready to start taking care of myself.
Each of us had a different story, we were in different stages in our journey but we all came together to listen, to love, to hold no judgement, to show empathy and compassion, we HELD SPACE for eachother.

I have struggled for 9 years and at times it took me to a place I wish nobody goes to, I have been strong enough to pull myself out, I often wondered if maybe that next time I wouldn’t be able to pull myself out? I need my circle of love and support, just as I will be there to walk beside you.

I have new Sisters that I know I can call at anytime of night, that I can lean on.
We had a day of pampering, massage, facials, meditation and so much more. We were not allowed to do anything and that included getting our own cup of coffee 🙂 we were catered to. The time we spent in our Circle was the most amazing experience, the rawness of the stories.

For the past few years I searched the internet looking for a retreat, I could only find a few in Colorado, they just didn’t see like something I was looking for, I never thought about going to another state. I am so thankful that I met Cristie, the retreat gave me a new found look at my life and my future. I have been on auto pilot for so long I lost myself and my mission. I learned that it’s ok to let others help you, it’s ok to lean on others that are also going through what you are, I learned that I have the rest of my life on this journey, if I don’t take care of myself I won’t make it, and I will be no good to anyone else.

I learned to take in this life that God has given me, to smell the air and take in natures beauty, spend time by myself.

Cristie and Leigh Anne left no detail unturned, from the welcome sign on our bedroom door to our Hope basket made by other Mamma’s who have gone to past retreats to the beautiful table settings for each meal.

As soon as I came back from the retreat I posted in our private group, our special sister hood, we have all shared the pleasure of attending the retreat. I was so thankful and wanted to know if there were other Moms living in Colorado? I knew I wanted to met them. Last weekend I spent time with a beautiful Mom, we shared our stories, we cried and laughed. It was an instant bond and a new found friendship for life. We are on a mission to help other Warrior Momma’s

In closing if you know someone who is grieving the loss of their Child be patient and compassionate, we lost everything a part of our heart, we lost who we were and are forced to become a new person, we lost the future of our child, never seeing them grow up and raise a family of their own. Our world is beyond shattered. Take the extra time to ask how we are “it’s ok” be non-judgmental in our response, we will probably want to share some of our journey.

If you would like more information on this life changing retreat and all of the other amazing things The Taylor Hagen Memorial Foundation has done please visit their website

Much love – Babs

90 Day Grief Challenge

I am sure the title caught you off guard 🙂 when I was thinking about this it just seemed right.

Grief puts us through the roughest waters emotionally and physically. The past few years have been some of my toughest, I have managed to stay afloat somehow?? I have been trying to get back into health and fitness but just haven’t been able to engage, the more I looked back at 2012 and 2013 the best shape of my entire life and the best my brain has ever felt, my depression was manageable, I was able to better handle my grief, but the more I looked back at those days I got mad because for some reason I couldn’t get back to “those days”
I realized those days were behind me and I had to focus on what I could do TODAY..
So……. I decided to see if anyone would like to join me in my journey, my 90 day Grief Journey to better health and emotional fitness.

Starting November 1st each Sunday you will receive your
home workout for the week (no gym required)
Nutrition tips
Tips on Self-care
Resources on Grief
Weekly check-in’s
Private FB group to cheer each other on.

There is no fee all you have to do is go to my website www.thebriproject.org
enter your email address and TaDa you are set.

It doesn’t matter on your loss we are all traveling this journey, together if we walk side by side and support eachother we will be to better handle those storms.

Much love Babs

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I am Courageous

This conversation was sparked by a friend of mine, she was leading a meeting at her church and she chose to talk about Grief, she wanted to know my thoughts on people always telling me how “Strong” I was. 

People use the word “Strong” for a lot of things… what does “Strong” mean? 1. having, showing, or able to exert great bodily or muscular power; physically vigorous or robust:

Going through the death of my Daughter and 5 yrs. later my Husband, I hear that a lot, “you are the strongest person I know” or “you are so strong, I don’t know if I could be as strong as you” I believe people say it because they don’t know what else to say, I am guilty of it as well, people can’t imagine going through what you are, so they say you are STRONG because they think they wouldn’t be STRONG if they were faced with the same tragedy or life event. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate and am humbled that they think I am STRONG. 

I would rather someone tell me “You are so COURAGEOUS” or “it takes great courage to go through what you are”  what does courageous mean? 1.possessing or characterized by courage; brave: 

You see I am not “Strong” I am weak, I am fragile.

I didn’t have a choice, but I did make a courageous and brave decision to get through one day, then another day. It takes courage to wake up, it takes courage to do the little things we all take for granted, showering, eating, it takes courage to hold a job, to keep friends and a relationship. It takes courage to face the world alone, It takes courage to battle the storm and hope you survive.

We all have COURAGE within us, we all are facing some kind of imbalance or struggle in our lives.

I AM COURAGEOUS!!!
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The struggle is real

Each day is a new day, Right? we have the opportunity to make it better then it was yesterday, we have the opportunity to not let the bad crap bleed into the next day…. I feel like that’s all I have been doing, is trying to let crap go and move on, explore this wonderful life we have. I feel as though I am barely staying afloat, I keep grasping for the life jacket but can only grab half of it, keeping the rest of my body in a state of drowning. I know it’s my surrounding that need to change, I know what I need to do but can’t figure out why I can’t take that step, I feel as though I am in a constant battle to just be Happy or so called happy. You know the saying “fake it till you make it” well I am tired of faking it and not making it, I can’t seem to get out of my rut, I can’t seem to muster up the energy to take the bull by the horns and say “Screw this Shit!” I deserve a better life, I deserve to be happy… I feel like a hypocrite sometimes, here I am preaching the choir but not doing it myself…. I hate it.

The struggle is an everyday thing, what sets people apart on how they deal with the struggle and to be able to have that happy life, to be able to have success is how they live their life, if you have negativity and drama in your life you will not be able to deal with the struggles, and that is where I am, I need to remove things from my life, they or should I say “I” am allowing them to take over and that’s not good.

I have some decisions I need to make and I need to make them quick or I will not be able to do the things and accomplish the things I want to in the life I have left. I don’t want to just work and go home, I don’t want to be an ordinary person, I want to be extraordinary, it’s time to set my standards high and dream as big as I can….

I feel as though these last three years I haven’t accomplished anything, I have been going through the motions of life barely surviving…. I don’t know what it will take for me to finally put my foot down, finally be done with it all, to finally say I will not live a life like this!!!!! I deserve better….. but it needs to happen fast, I need to get it figured out.

For now I will make sure my Daughter has the best Wedding Day ever….

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Thinking Out Loud

I have poured so much of my heart and soul into this blog, it has been a way for me to put my words out there, to help me move along in this life, to be able to show others that life can be grand after tragedy…. This is my ongoing Journey of my life, you see I am not any other person, I am not ordinary, I don’t think about life as others do, my life is not what it was suppose to be, my path changed for some reason? I’m still trying to figure that out. I feel as though sometimes I am the one on the outside looking in, looking into my life, I still can’t believe this has happened to me!

I have been on this journey for 7 years and I can truly tell you it has been one hell of a rollercoaster. I have had my lows and highs. I have accomplished so much since the death of my Daughter, I felt as though I actually had a purpose in life, I was making a difference in this world, and then I crashed, I wasn’t doing all the things I was doing before, I was no longer out speaking, I was no longer running, I was no longer writing and pushing myself. I started to feel like a hypocrite, here I am preaching and saying all of this stuff about how you can thrive in your life after tragedy, how you can be strong, how you can find love… blah blah blah!!!! to be honest I was trying to convince myself that my life was fine, but really what I was doing was trying to get out of this hole. Here I am preaching and all the while I was settling, I was settling for a life I didn’t want, I was pretending everything was great, when in reality it was just ok… not the life I want for myself after what I have gone through. I have all of this passion, all of this love, all of me that I want to share. My senses are 100 times more than they were before Brianna died, I feel more, I have more compassion,  I want more out of life. I don’t want an ordinary life, I want an extraordinary life!!!! I’m getting to the point in my life where I am ready to let go of the things that are not lifting me, I am ready to cut the ties I can’t do it all anymore,  I’m tired of not doing or living for me.

Just like I have written before, grief is like an addict, sometimes you cling on to people because they need you, they are your drug, you feel lost in the world so you want to feel needed, well guess what? these are the people who take advantage of you, they aren’t there for you, they are there for themselves. Addiction is a vicious animal, so is grief. It’s time to finally become clean and start thinking of myself, I have to stop putting others first or caring if I hurt their feelings. Because I have had my feelings hurt way to many times, I’ve been stepped on, I have been emotionally abused and made to feel like shit. Now I know all that meant was that person felt bad about their own self so they took it out on me to make them look better… I’m done!!!!

I do know that I want to continue my life in a positive way, in a way to where I am truly inspiring and helping others, I a way where I am true to myself and living a good life. My Grief will be forever…I will always think about my Sweet Brianna and Her Daddy. How can anyone ever imagine that their life would end up like this? I lost my Family, a Husband and a Daughter tragically. My Husband took his life intentionally and my Daughter took her life Unintentionally!!!!!

It’s time for me to really figure this shit out, this life, my purpose and what will be my next step, I have got to put my BIG girl panties on and just do it….. if I don’t do something soon I won’t make it!

 

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Through my Eyes

I try my best when I write to have it come alive, I want you to see and feel the words on the page. You know when I first started writing they were bedtime letters to Brianna, I would post them before I went to bed, I couldn’t believe the response I got from them. I would get messages from people saying they couldn’t wait to see what I wrote to Brianna, for me it was just my way of trying to push through the days without her, I felt if I wrote to her I would be connected and maybe “pretend” a little that she was here.

I want the words to hit your HEART, most people can’t understand the loss of a child, nor would I want them to. Let’s take a little journey “through my eyes”

I don’t know why I thought of this? it just popped into my head. I was sitting at home content listening to music and all of a sudden the image of Brianna in the operating room popped up in my head. That was the day we said good bye 😦

Chris and I walked into a big room, I would say there were probably 7 people there, I could be wrong, to be honest that moment was still a blur. As we walked in we couldn’t see Brianna’s face there was a drape in front of it, as we walked into this huge room we saw our Daughter laying there with a beautiful quilt on her chest, there was music and silence, we couldn’t hear any of the machines, just music. As we got closer there were two chairs above her head, we sat down, I’m sure I said something to the doctors but can’t recall. I stroked her hair and touched her beautiful brown skin. Chris and I cried and talked to our Daughter, I don’t recall the time, besides I didn’t want to track the time, I wanted to be in there forever, I wasn’t ready to say good-bye.

When it was time to take her off of life support in the back of my mind I was thinking “this isn’t happening, how could it be?” we watched her beautiful brown skin turn, we knew she was going to do the most unselfish thing a human could do, she was going to save lives with organ and tissue donation. Little did we know the recipient of her liver would be in the hospital next to Children’s waiting for Brianna’s liver.

I don’t remember getting up to walk away, I don’t remember a lot after that…. my world changed forever at that moment and I went in to survival mode.

Through my Eyes can you imagine watching your Daughter or Son die and walking away forever? it is the most brutal experience in your life…

Through my eyes once again I had to see the soul of a person end his LIFE.. that person was the wonderful Father to my children and my Husband. On March 26, 2015,

1,741 days or 4 yrs., 9 months and 7 days after he said good-bye to his daughter, Chris took his life by strangulation, he died in the closet on a hard floor. I couldn’t go in his apartment to see him or to touch him to let him know he was not alone, I had to wait outside while everyone around was watching. It seemed like hours before I knew what was going on. I’ll tell the full story in another chapter as there is so much more to this.

Through my eyes I saw them bring Chris out of the apartment, I think he was covered in a red bag? as he came out I stood alone, I wanted to run to him, my feet felt as though they were stuck to the ground. I could tell the police officer and the others didn’t want me to go to him. The smell was, well I can’t describe it, but it’s stuck in my memory forever! as they got closer to me I put my hand on him and cried, I still had so much to sat to him.

At that moment I couldn’t believe in my lifetime I watched my Daughter and Husband die!!!!!

That hard closet floor he was on? after the fact we tried to figure some things out and we calculated he was on the hard floor for 10 Fucking days, sorry for the extreme word but I don’t know how else to describe how that made me feel.

Through my eyes I see the world different, mostly I try and see the light, but many days it’s filled with darkness, I’ve gotten good at covering up and just trying to make the best of my life. How this chapter started was me just listening to music the other day and the grief set in without asking me if it could come by. You see it doesn’t matter if it’s a day or 20 years!!!!! Grief and thoughts come when least expected and you can’t do anything about it except go with it. It pisses me off when I hear people talk about “MY” loss and how I should be past it already, or how I should stop talking about my Daughter and my Husband!!!! you have NO clue what it’s like through “MY eyes” but I choose to share bits and pieces of it so hopefully you will understand just a little how this new life is for me.

I look at grief like mental illness, one moment you are laughing, enjoying your day and in the blink of an eye it all changes, the darkness settles in for a bit, the world is then clouded and you find yourself alone with your own thoughts.

 

A New Year-How have I made it this far?

It’s 10 days into the New Year, I’m still trying to figure out what to write. It seems as though I start each New Year with a positive goal, my heart is open, my wounds still remain, but I make a choice to make the most of it.

I do have some reflections of 2016 even though it was a pretty bad year, I have to hold on to Faith! I did learn that I need to stop being such a people pleaser, I need to stop caring what people think of what’s going on in my personal life, I have learned to kind of shelter that part of my life “for now”

I have also made a choice to NOT duplicate last year, I have kept an open mind and learning not to let things get to me. I need to take care of myself, my emotions, my heart, I need to do whats best for ME! I did feel different though as the New Year came in, I told myself I would not let the negativity that was so daunting on me follow me in 2017, I wiped the slate clean if you will, it’s very important to cleanse your soul and your mind.

A New Year is also another reminder, I think to myself “How and the Hell have I made it this far? without my Daughter!” it’s a reminder that I am going into the 7th year without her, it’s a reminder that another year older she would have been, it’s a reminder that I have missed 7 years of her life. I always say this, I don’t grieve the past, That’s all I have left of Brianna is the past, the memories, holding on to them as they become more fragile, it’s almost like a string unraveling, the memories tend to fade, I grasp at the string longing for more memories, longing to remember all of those special times, longing to hear her voice, to smell her, to talk to her to see her grow…

But I have to keep pushing through this, I have to keep my eye on the prize!! This is my YEAR…. So much to do this year… We will be doing our 5th Annual Ride for Hope such an amazing Ride with amazing people. I also started my book “finally” and hope to have it ready for publishing at the end of the year… I’m also focused on more networking getting our foundation out there, sharing our story and helping more families. I am also working on a few other projects for outreach. I have a busy year just in the foundation, but I also hope to travel a little, get out and enjoy the world what ever that may be…

Bottom line, it’s MY time, we are responsible for our own happiness, our own life and what comes in and goes out. I am going to be more careful on how that time is spent, making sure not to invest in things that don’t have value to me, making sure my time is used wisely. My spirits are high for the New Year, my outlook on my life and where I want it is becoming more clear, I’m ready God for the path you have chosen for me….

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