~13 O’ Clock~

It’s 13 O clock on March 26. The time between reality and dream, it is where you aren’t quite convinced of the dream you are in but are just seconds away from believing. I just woke up to look at my cell phone, I was only asleep for 3 minutes. In my mind I think ‘this is gonna be a long night’ I try to roll back over to catch the rest of that dream. After tossing and turning I put my hands up and surrender to the fact this night’s sleep is a wash. The dream I had runs though my mind in slow motion, paying attention to the little details I probably created after I woke up and trying to over analyze her words.

I had a dream where I sat with my mom at a table where she had a backpack in her lap, we talked about how she was dead but came back, a common topic. She unzips the backpack and begins to pull out paper after paper, the header on the pages has my business name ‘TOO MUCH TOO SOON.” She starts to cry in a soft voice ‘I’m so proud of you’ with each page pulled. I start to cry in the dream, it feels so real and the cry feels so damn good.  In my bed my eyes have fully adjusted to the darkness in my room and two thoughts cross my mind. I need some chocolate milk and that was the most intense dream I have had in recent memory.

These dreams are recurrent, my parents rising from the afterworld to see me in my dreams.  I am blessed but there are nights I swear I will never sleep again because the pain from watching my parents die night after night. I have some dreams that make my hand crunch into a fist and squeeze tight for a second. I get watery eyes thinking all the beauty my parents have given me and how much beauty they had and have missed. What brings me back down to a calm state is my belief.  I believe in angels, the afterlife, messages in dreams, my parents watching over me, all things spiritual. My faith eases the pain at 13 O Clock when surviving that hour of life versus dream is the only task on my mind.  I need the comfort of my beliefs and thoughts to save me.  I sit and try to make my mind wonder by distracting myself. It at this hour I am plagued of my mistakes made, the bills I never paid, the money I spent on unnecessary goods and the relationships I have tossed away.  I criticize myself instead of console myself, I revert back to the Andrew who was disappointed how much he lost control of life and was certain wouldn’t amount to anything. I start to question why my parents died and what I must do in their passing.  I run through a list of to-do’s for tomorrow, none of which will ever really get done but it’s an attempt to put my mind to sleep.  13 O clock is the bane of my existence, it’s where I remember yesterdays and tomorrow, I know I will see this time for the rest of my life.  13 O clock in the world of grieving is common, it’s where your thoughts, emotions and memories take you and when you feel most alone. It is where you can only see the devastation around you and what you don’t have.  Today my 13 O clock is about my mom because it was 2 years ago today she passed, today I welcomed 13 O clock.

I love you mom.

~Happy reading

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~Only My Ghost Cries~

The other day I thought I saw you. When I was standing at the bus stop. I looked in disbelief rubbing my eyes expecting you to disappear as fast as this certain mirage had appeared. You didn’t, you still stood there standing just 100 steps from me. How could you be so close?

I missed my bus because I couldn’t believe I was looking at you and I didn’t want to risk losing you again.  I was frozen just wondering what I should do. I had thought about this scenario before and I always thought I had an answer.  I was convinced I would stand up, run to hug that last hug I didn’t know I had to give. However, my body and mind spilt and I listened to logic and sat.

Finally I did build up the courage to stand. I walked towards you knowing it’s not real but praying for anything else. I could see myself one minute in the future holding a conversation with you.  You and I catching up on what has happened since you left and me nervous this mirage will end before I want.

It was only 100 steps but the walk was long, I was half refusing to look away and half refusing to look to hard until I get ten steps away. It is not the ghost of my dad just a strange man. In the immediate walk back to the bus stop I don’t think how stupid I was for having the thought. I get upset it wasn’t him because I so desperately wanted that to be real. I talked to him on my walk back. I said ‘I miss you! I wish that was you!” I wait for the bus still looking, I can’t stand how upset I am it wasn’t real.

There are no rules for grief, memories help you remember and being open to your pain is healthy.  If you want to survive grief you can’t carry it with you as a separate part of you embarrassed to feel what you do and ignore what doesn’t make sense.  Grief is a part of your identity, your daily life, and in the world of grief moments rarely make sense or seem fair.

I survived my parents passing by understanding this one certainty: if I felt a feeling then it was valid and needed to be understood. Letting go isn’t easy but either is standing still. I choose to move forward and grieve my way because I know if the roles were reversed and my parents had to bury me I wouldn’t want to think of them sitting around depressed, sad, and not moving. I have navigated my way through the burning stars, foggy mornings and blurred lines of life after death. It wasn’t easy to understand life doesn’t stop moving even if I do. I had to learn how to bend to life, make it work for me but most importantly learn ‘how to duck ‘as my father told me time and again.

I also learned not all choices are right or wrong. Good or bad. Sometimes there are only sucky and suckier choices. The night before my mom passed her doctors encouraged my family and I to lower her oxygen intake to help her pass quicker instead of hanging on to life. On my moms last night she and I sat alone in the hospital room, a nurse came in and shuffled my mom around to make sure she wasn’t getting bedsores. The movement caused my mom to start wheezing because her lungs were filled with liquid. The nurse naturally starts to turn my moms oxygen up to stop her from wheezing. I had to pull this nurse outside and tell her how she can’t raise the oxygen level because I feared it would reverse what was trying to be done. That wasn’t a good or bad choice but just sucked! Plain and simple.

I learned from my experience with grief that life isn’t black and white, that these situations you thought you would never have to respond to are the ones that shape you quicker. You can’t plan your response and expect it to go the way you wish. Surviving means managing expectations as well balancing what is wanted versus what is already had. I never thought i would spend my time daydreaming about what growing old with my parents would be like. It hurts to know the life I once had planned for us now rests in bus stop daydreams and a daily series of ‘imagine if’s.’

I do know what I can handle and I don’t waste time worrying about moments I can’t control.

~Happy reading

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~Boy to Man~

I have come to the realization that I feel like I have become a man. When did that happen? When did I stop being a boy and become a man?

Was it when I understand the value of my beliefs so passionately that I was able to draw a line in the sand?

I feel it was when I stopped fighting myself and let the virtues I found comfort in take shape and define my values in life:

Purpose

Productiveness

Pride. 

I can make a good case losing my grandparents and parents to sickness in less than a decade transformed me from a boy to a man. However, isolating an exact time after that generalization of their death is where I fall short of being able to pinpoint one moment or series of events that have lead me to become a man.

First I have to ask myself what is a man?

I define being a man as knowing what you are capable of and having the confidence to achieve what was once only dreamed.  Being a man is about understanding life and making it work for you, not against you. Did I strive to find the man in me from age 18 after my dad died? Yes, of course.  Was I able to do that?  No, of course not.

Naturally my vision of what a man should be at age 18 was skewed, influenced by but not limited to depression, anger, and hate for the world and myself. So when could I sit back in my chair and know that I have conquered boydem and entered manhood?

I became a man when I added meaning in my life, forfeiting my old pursuit of happiness.  I chose to leave happiness on my windowsill to soak up the sun or gather dust. Happiness didn’t help my purpose, productiveness or pride. Happiness had unhinged my purpose because I thought I was supposed to be looking for it.  I could never find it so I not only didn’t have happiness I felt like I had zero purpose to be here.  Happiness slowed my productiveness, every project I began I had an established value placed on what or how much happiness I should get from the project. When I could not match that level I was left unhappy. Happiness fogged my view of pride, if I could not feel happy how was I to go about my daily mundane life? Swallowed by misery?  It seemed so.

I have now left the skin of the boy I was tucked away while I grew into a man. For myself, I understand boys look for happiness and men achieve meaning.

I was a boy when my parents passed and the questions I had that laid in their wake made me a man. By adding meaning I added reason to my life. Not just reason to get out of bed but reason to push on. I learned to not be afraid of standing around scratching my head wondering what the hell to do next. Being a man I understand what needs to be done and when to do it not just think about doing it. The biggest difference about being a man from a boy, I can feel it. It feels like confidence and passion had a baby and gave birth to my new attitude.

I used to want without earning or respecting what I couldn’t have. I would ask for more time, I thought I could wait and happiness would just find me.  While I was waiting though, it felt like happiness missed my stop and my life would be filled with misery and have no value. Now I know that happiness comes out of me and if I need something I take it! I do not wait anymore.

You don’t have to have the answers to life or what you want from life. You need a foundation to understand that you can do whatever you want because it is meaning not happiness you should chase. Gain meaning and you have happiness.

~ Happy Reading

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~Art of letting go~

I am a survivor. I have survirved burying my parents. I grew up expecting them to be there, being there to grow old with, seeing my kids, asking advice. Now my new normal is day dreaming about what growing old with my parents would be like. This new normal I didn’t have a choice to live all I had was the choice on how I lived. Surviving means manging my expecations, finding balance and understanding that I can not control life but control how I respond to life.

I still find myself going to call my parents to tell them something random. I get sick when I still catch myself off guard and scroll in my contacts to dial MOM or DAD. Surviving means finding that balance in my life that helps me to live each day. That balance helps me to digest the one daily guranteee that I am faced with. The one that I know within the first 20 minutes of my morning after waking I will think of how I don’t have my parents. I am able to deal with that, I have moments when I close my eyes consumed by a panic and fit of rage that they are no longer here. I just want to smash something out of anger, fear and lonlieness. It is just that though, a moment that just enters and leaves just as quick. I keep my mind healthy by knowing and believing I would never want my parents to stop living if they lost me, it would break my heart to think my death stopped them from living. I am glad my parents don’t have to experience that caving in feeling of their chest knowing no matter what they did nothing would bring me back.

Balance has helped me to manage daily life. It has helped me to align my mind and body. For too many years I would get annoyed at the person I was as I looked for the person I knew I could be. I wanted to be kind, but I found myself on either end of the gambit in complete disregard for people or complete indulgence for myself alone. I wanted to be courgraougs and not be scared of moving forward, make friends and talk to people. But for years I found myself nestled unhappily being a coward or acting rash towards strangers.

Grief felt like I was floating in an emergency raft after a boat capsized. Lost in an ocean of greif, looking for land so I can stand and be stable and move on. However I didn’t know where to find land. I was in the ocean of greif alone, I was scared and lonely, the waves rough and when it got dark, it got pitch black. I needed to just pick a direction and row towards it, I had no answers, I couldn’t have controlled what happened but I could control on where I went. It may have been the right way, it could have been the wrong way. It didn’t matter, I was making the best choice I could and sometimes in life the only choices you are faced with are sucky and suckier.

I remembered the night my mom passed away in the hospital, it was her and I. My family and I made the choice to lower her oxygen intake to speed up the process of her passing, she had already lived longer than expected. The doctor proposed lowering her intake because it would move her death along quicker. Ok. I didn’t want that but that choice was made. Now the night came and the night nurse came in and shifted my mom around in her comatose state so she wouldn’t get bed sores. While she was jostling my mom around, my mom began to wheeze, liqud had filled her lungs and now the slightest movement brought with it a wheezing fit. The nurse, unaware that the oxygen tank had been lowered for a purpose decided to raise it to help my mom grab her struggling breathe. Upping the oxygen could have wiped away what my family and I so painstalkingly agreed to do just hours ago. So I had to make a choice, not right or wrong, good or bad, there was no black and white here, just sucky and suckier. I had to go and tell the nurse that she has to lower the oxygen back down. I think of that moment almost everyday, but I did what I had to in that situation.

Surviving has not been easy, I miss them, I hate that I have to day dream about what life would be like with them. I now dispise weddings because it feels like what I don’t have is thrown in my face, but I choose to survive because I wasn’t left with many choices. I choose to survive because I want to, life offers you moments that takes your breathe away and I don’t want to miss a single one.

How do you find balance in life? Please comment to tell others your story of surviving hardships in life.

To move forward in life you don’t have to learn how to forget you have to learn how to close your eyes and paint a beautiful picture of where you have been and where you want to go.

~Happy reading

For more check out my website HERE

 

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~Guilt. It’s a hell of an emotion~

Losing someone is pain, anxiety, envy, confusion, jealously and guilt all wrapped in one.  It is a mess.  It is a mess that Bounty the quicker picker upper can’t even clean up. It doesn’t matter if it’s been a month, six months, a whole year, two years or infinity the pain, anxiety, envy, confusion, jealousy and guilt will be there. You must know that these feelings will be predominant in your life.  That doesn’t mean they have to control your life.  It is how you handle these emotions that will give you control in life.

After a loved one passes I feel that those left have this feeling of guilt.  Guilty of what they didn’t do, what they could of done more of.  Guilt is like an aura that sticks to you like glue some days. Guilt can be brought up very unexpectedly, from a very vivid dream, seeing something that gives you flashbacks or you just being hard on yourself questioning everything you did.  Where it came from doesn’t matter though.  What matter is that you don’t push it away to another day.  Like bills, avoiding phone calls from certain people or not going to the doctors.  By avoiding these circumstances you are delaying the inevitable.  An eruption that multiplies the impact of everything you have been avoiding.

There is always something to feel guilty of.  It’s easy to look back, deconstruct your life after you know how it has played out. It’s that question of…

WHAT IF?

Those two words can really bring you down and make you feel awful, like you did something wrong.  There is no wrong move when helping a loved one.  You do what you felt was right in that one moment. But not just right for them, but for you.  This is your battle as well. You may have been quiet, not talked about their suffering with them.  Avoided visiting them, didn’t do that one last thing they always wanted, have that last meal.  In your mind now you may wonder what if I had spoken up? Spoke my mind?  Took my loved one to that place they always wanted? Visited them more? Did I do enough?

My voice could of made my loved one get a second, third opinion.  Enjoy one more moment in life. However, short of having a time machine you are just wearing yourself out from stressing over what you did compared to what if I did this. Your pain doesn’t bring your loved one back.  Your pain does transform you, but there are other ways to transform you into a healthy happy you besides throwing yourself into the guilt gauntlet.  I suggest emerging yourself into the thought of what you wanted to do differently.  Think about that.  Now wonder if you can take that feeling or advice and apply it to the now.  Time is not lost, grieving teaches you life lesson after life lesson.  It’s not until you are further down the road a few years that you can appreciate what you learned from grieving.

I used to sit and stare off wondering what I could of done different.  Berate myself over my choices from the past 9 years of grieving wondering, what if? I could have been more open with my father, he could have been more open with me. He kept his pain a secret and I wish I could go back and talk to him.  Just tell him I love him and have him tell me his pain, his worries, his hopes for me.  At the time of his treatment, I was in my own world of shock treatment.  Seeing a loved one fight an illness throws you into this new environment. I was so lost and confused I didn’t even think of terms of what I should do in case he passes. I was naïve and blind to the fact of how much cancer sucks.  I took my guilt from what I didn’t do with my dad and applied that to my mom when she was sick. From the years of pain after my dad passed wondering what I could of done, I wanted a different experience with my mom.  More resolution more answers and less hush hush undisclosed information.  I got what I was looking for, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t have guilt about how I handled her time.  I always think I could of done more. You always think you could have done more.

If you are not guilty about one thing it will be another.  View the past as a steppingstone for where you have been.  Learn from your past but don’t bury yourself in the pain of the past.  The mind has a way of making things more painful when you remember.  Look ahead not behind. I saw what I wanted to change from my experience with my dad to my mom and I did.  Was it the right choice?  Nobody can say, but I did me. I did what I felt and thought would make me be able to sleep, move forward and love me.  Please love you and be gentle on you.  There is so much pain in the world,no reason for the bulk of it to come from within you.

People are not born with all the answers, life would not be fun if you knew how everything played out.

~Happy reading

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~Guide To Being Broke~

If you’re in college or thinking about applying to college, be prepared for loans, grants, financial aid, and having to buy some ridiculously expensive textbooks.  I can’t offer much advice regarding financial aid, but most colleges and high schools have qualified counselors and advisers who are willing and able help you figure out what’s right for you.

I had no money when I was in college.  I spent a week living in my truck on campus because I couldn’t afford the gas to drive back and forth from my house.  Being broke means compromise.  It means doing whatever you need to do (within reason) to survive.  I’m not saying that it’s okay to rob a bank, or sell drugs to afford your college tuition, but when you’re broke, you will make sacrifices and lifestyle choices you’ve never anticipated.

I spent a majority of my time at college feeling jealous of my peers. It came naturally – sulking around, comparing my life to the seemingly carefree lives of the kids in my classes. I fantasized about switching bodies with a wealthy stranger, about how I’d write my family a massive check.  I dreamed of driving home in a range rover and stopping for dinner wherever I wanted to.

The daydreams and fantasies were really my way of avoiding the elephant in the room, the fact that my unhappiness didn’t really have anything to do with my finances, but with the loss of my parents.  Focusing on money was an outlet – it was something concrete and it was one of the few aspects of my life in which I could exercise some control.

I can barely believe some of the things I said – the lies I told people just to avoid saying the truth out loud. I told someone I was a talent agent, that I managed the careers of stand-up comedians.

I’m not sure how productive it is to overanalyze the lies I’ve told, but this one was pretty transparent.  I wanted to be in charge of my life so I picked a career in which I was in charge of not only my life, but others’ lives, too. I was embarrassed to admit that I worked at a liquor store because I was afraid that people wouldn’t like me or find me interesting – they’d assume that I was a dead-end.

Even after I finally came to terms with what I saw as lackluster employment, I clarified my goals and aspirations after I mentioned my job.  I lacked confidence and embellishment was an easy way for me to increase the value (or at least the appearance of value) in my life.

This is an excerpt from my newest publication  – TMTS Handbook Guide To Being Broke.

Too Much Too Soon Guide To Being Broke shows how to adapt to a broke lifestyle while maintaining a positive outlook. This guide suggests practical answers on combating financial hardships and shows how to be successful at everyday life. Using stories and giving answers on how to date, pay bills, and save money all while being broke. This is an easy to read guide rich with philosophical observations and useful everyday tips to help let you feel like you have control over your wallet and life.

-Happy reading

To purchase TMTS Guide To Being Broke click HERE!

For more information on TMTS visit the site HERE!

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~Cry to me~

Crying in front of others is a good way to test the boundaries of a relationship.  It is a good marker to see who really cares about you. When people catch you crying they may handle it oddly. They may think you are a little loco now, somebody with issues. Many people think crying should be done in a dark corner in a dark room alone. Others are proud and think they are stronger because they don’t cry.  Why is that?

Crying can make people feel uncomfortable.  Makes your pain feel real, almost tangible.  Such a strong emotion can scare people, hell crying can scare yourself too!    It might remind people of an emotion they experienced and they don’t like brought up. To you in your mind it makes you look weak. You think it’s embarrassing to cry. For any amount of reasons crying is not acceptable as a norm.

You don’t cry in front of others to keep the status quo of your surroundings.  It’s heavily regarded as a taboo emotion to show.  So to make those you keep around you comfortable with you, bothering with you, you don’t cry. If those around you can’t handle it, those are surface relationships. You stay your one dimensional self, the one the people know and enjoy.  You need to find people who love all your dimensions, but I think you know that, it’s doing it that is the hardest part.

I feel the world is made up of surface relationships. Groups of people who are not real to themselves. They hang out with like minded people who show little raw emotion. That is a one dimension relationship. They know enough to hold conversations and reply in a bland fashion that lacks much emotion. But when you are young,  grieving and influenced by your surroundings, being one dimension is the only thing you can do.  I remember vividly the days of walking into my college classes freshman year wearing sunglasses.  How embarrassing!  I had to hide the tears to feel like I fit in. I was not doing well at that, my face was red and I had rivers drying up on my face. My sunglasses were my mask to hide me from the world so I can fit in and survive.  I thought it would be the end of me if I got caught crying. I was frozen with fear and filled with anxiety at the thought of my peers  see me cry.  It took me along time to find out who really sticks around in your life. I have learned people come, people go.  It’s painful to see people go sometimes, but you have to make those around you compliment and enhance you. It’s been said that you are the average of the 5 people you hang around most with. So think, you are a mix of all your close friends, do they care about you?

I have no helpful tool to tell you to try, all i know is that you have to show people all your sides.  So many people try to maintain the status quo of society to make it a well oiled machine.  Make life something of reality show, putting on a show that they want you to see.  Perhaps to make you feel worse for feeling. You are stronger for letting it go, showing people you are brave enough to feel something so intense as feelings.   Love yourself, if you don’t, who will?

Do not be worried about shaking up situations and seeing who sticks around.

~Happy reading

Pick up my book on amazon for more about coping with life HERE

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