Tuesday, October 23, 2012


A friend, Terry Hershey, wrote these words in one of his newsletters. I wrote the words on a scrap of paper and waited for the right time to discover just why they meant so much to me when I read them.  Before I tell you why, I would like for you to spend a moment or two and try and think to yourself exactly what they mean to you. 

Loving someone into existence
So many of the warriors I work with in therapy, with my therapy dog Kelsie, live minute to minute with anger, frustration, and pain. I often wonder what these injuries and tests allow them to learn about themselves and if they come to realize what is truly important and what is not.
These warriors are placed in a forced time-out.  A forced place of quiet where you they are unable to go about their lives the way they planned, the way they had dreamed and hoped. Working with double and triple amputees and severely injured warriors has definitely put my life in perspective. I find it impossible to imagine that it wouldn't do that to anyone.  But it does.  Some don't want to see it because it would make it a reality.  It is bad enough to think about it, but to see it would make it impossible to forget. How sad.
These long, forced time outs force the warriors to contemplate what is next for them when their whole life lies before them.  They knew going into the military what might and could happen.  That is made very clear.  They risk their lives for their 'battle buddies', their country, they come home with 'survivor's guilt' and can't understand why they were not killed.   It would have been so much easier. 
What if this is a time for them to come to the realization that this time of quietude and time of doing nothing, save healing, is actually a time to wonder what is happening now, at this minute, this one breath they are taking.
The lesson to be learned here, at least to me, is that every day is a new day to experience.  Sometimes life is deplorable, horrible, painful, and downright wrong.  Sometimes there are no answers and the questions themselves make no sense.  But in times such as these perhaps there is someone, in a very special moment, that can love us back into existence.  Sometimes this can be a friend, a spouse, a parent, a child, or a significant person in our lives.  And sometimes it can be as simple, and yet as complicated, as a very special dog, that comes into our lives as softly as a feather touching a stump, remaining from where a warrior's leg once was, to the nudge of a hand with nerve damange, requiring movement to scratch the back of a dog who somehow, unknown to all of us, knows exactly what they need the most. It is a time to sleep and have your hand reaching out and touching the back of a friend who requires nothing but is simply present for you. 
It is at times like this when the warrior is focused solely on the moment.  And on this one living breathing creature who asks nothing, requires nothing, and expect nothing.  Perhaps this is what 'loving us back into existence means.'  Perhaps this is what we all need at one time of another in our lives.  A place of quietude, a place where no one requires anything of us and can love us back into existence from the brink of not knowing what to do, where to go, what is next, or why me.


Monday, October 22, 2012



A couple of days ago a wounded warrior said these words to me, "Only  you can live your life."  They have impacted me more than I would have ever imagined.  These six little words say it all.  At least to my way of thinking. 

I am starved for serenity, for laughter, joy, and sunshine.  I have become completely exhausted, yet as has been my lifelong trait, I keep on keepin' on until there isn't anything left to give to myself.  For the past 48 hours I have slept 24 much needed hours. 

I need a life of quietude and have found that only I am responsible for removing those things from my life that cause me untold, debilitating stress.  It has become more than obvious to me that I need a place of stillness, centered and quiet. A place of stillness, a place to breathe and a place to release myself from the life that keeps me tied in knots, sick, anxious, stressed, going from doctor to doctor to find the cause.  When in reality the cause is me.

Writing focuses me.  It focuses my attention.  It stills my soul.  It refreshes and cleanses me. I become quiet.

"Time can stand still, I am convinced of it; something snags and stops, turning and turning, like a leaf on a stream." ~ John Banville

And just perhaps, it is in these times of time standing still when we can be assured that something very important is about to happen. For me, it is in those moments when the truth leaps in and my life becomes enriched.

Only I can live my life!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Today I need to find a place outside of grief.
 In reviewing some of my favorite photographs, I celebrate each moment. Shane and Gracie were bonded at first sight. Shane loved my little girl as much as I do. They would always bow and touch foreheads and speak an unknown, yet intimate language...perhaps the language of love and understanding...as both had lost part of themselves. 
Shane had lost both legs in an IED explosion. And Gracie had lost her eyesight. 
Shane was then and always will be my greatest inspiration. The smile he would have on his face when little Gracie came near was enough to have made my journey on this earth sufficient! It was a fundamental purpose of being here. I guess the moral is that we need to remember the specialness found in the ordinary days of our lives...hold on to them and treasure them as the gifts they are.