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This Chair Has Stories To Tell … #1

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A Nurturing Chair

Filled with compassion, healing energy and Love.

I am an Energy Worker.

Holding a space for people to …

be vulnerable …

be real …

be their calm/holding it together selves …

be their messy-life selves …

be their stressed-out-to-the-max selves …

be their sad and scared selves …

be their angry selves …

be … exactly who they are.

No judgement here.

This chair holds sadness, fear, hopes and dreams.  It is a pathway to self-worth, self-care and self-love.  It opens a door to understanding, forgiveness and healing … and hope.

#1 – A husband has died in the mid-night hours.  His wife called to see if I had anytime later the following morning to see her, after the funeral-home details were dealt with.  Coming in, would fill her up enough to deal with the days ahead.  She came in.  Trying to hold it all together.  Be strong.  Afraid to feel too deeply, or she’d never stop crying, the dam would burst.  She didn’t want people to see her ‘not in control’.

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Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

The dam needed to burst.  It did.  A torrent of emotions poured out of her …

sadness …

anger …

fear …

so darn vulnerable …

heart-break.

After the emotional flow released … she was able to ebb one minute at a time.  Breathing and getting through the days and weeks ahead.

She asked, and gave herself permission to receive  in the following weeks and months …

Healing touch.

Compassion.

Love.

She did not have to walk this walk alone.

This chair, holds each person sacred.  I hold them in Light and Love.

The story continues …

Thank you for joining me on the journey!  Share with others if this resonates with you.

Namaste

Debbie

Details on my Energy Work Here.

 

My Brother Died … He’s saying ‘Hello’! Thanks to Johnny Cash

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Me, in the middle of two of my 5 brothers. 

Patrick is on the left … Rick is on the right (He died last week).

Right now, things are still pretty emotional.  My brother, Rick has died.  There are so many layers to this … I’m not getting into it all right now.  And it’s ok.  Ask me questions, if you like … death is a topic we usually don’t ‘go there’ on … until it is blanketing us with reality and truth.  I’d appreciate your thoughts  …  how do you ‘do’ death?

Death is the circle of Life as we know it … here.  On earth.

There’s a whole n’other realm of Life, that we have yet to experience … when we cross over and die.  If you’ve been following my blog, you’re familiar with my first experience of ‘quiet knowing’, when my sister, Anna died.  And then my Mom and Dad … I haven’t even gotten into sharing about Tim, my second brother, who passed 2 years ago.  Because, emotionally, it’s hard to bring things back up to the surface … even when there’s peace.  Those emotions are still felt.  It’s because of Love.  It’s because we.are.connected.  Here – on earth AND on the ‘Other Side’. (Whatever you want to call it).

Last weekend, the weekend after Rick died, Fambly from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, circled together for a ‘Debbie Sleepover’ in my little cottage house, up north.  We’re mighty good at this circling together thing, for which I am so grateful for.  We decided we were going to celebrate Rick = Celebrate LIFE.  In part of our conversations, I brought up the question of how Rick was going to connect with us … what was his sign going to be? I think some of my Fambly think I’m a bit goofy with this sign stuff, but I really believe in what Anna, the folks and Tim have given in their ways to say ‘Hello’.

So … we’re out listening to the band, Montana Moon at Dennis Drummond Wine Company and they play a Johnny Cash song, Folsum Prison Blues.  My brother, Patrick and I look at each other, smile, and say, ‘RICK’!!!  He played drums and harmonica’s with his band, The Gull Dam Jammers, back in the day.  After a bit, we left to spend time at Roundhouse Brewery.  It’s a favorite stop for my metro Fambly.  A band was playing way beyond their time … the last song they played … Flosum Prison Blues!!  We all cheered, ‘RICK’!!!  (The same song, within 45 minutes, from 2 entirely different bands, in 2 different venues!)  A few days later, my son and his family are moving back to the area.  Without knowing the story … My grandson is wearing a Tee-Shirt … A Johnny Cash Tee-Shirt …. (I can’t help it, I’m smiling!) …

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… and my Sister-in-law, text me today … when she walked into work … they were playing Johnny Cash …

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So … Thanks, Rick … we hear you loud and clear …

And Johnny Cash … THANK YOU!!  What a way you’ve brought us together … and made our Fambly smile!

 

The Folks Have Died … Treasures and Stuff to Process

Whew.

With the passing of our folks, we were left with raw emotions, exhaustion and an estate needing to be dealt with.  A Fambly Circle was called by me, the new ‘Matriarch’.  My  eclectic bunch of siblings deemed me to be so, as the eldest and bossy sister.  Patrick had said, “We always do what you tell us to do, so why stop now!”

Thankfully, we had talked with Mom and Dad, and a couple of key roles were already in place before they passed.  Jake was executor and we as siblings, agreed to sell the house.  The folks had met our Realtor, Liz Timothy, early in the summer, and welcomed her insight and knowledge as to what was best to do for the successful sale – thus the shingles, mentioned in a previous blog.

Our first agreement in our Fambly Circle was to take. a. break.  We needed a time-out from everything – and create a new normal within our personal lives.  Hugs, kisses, tears, laughter and waves “Goodbye”, were exchanged as we departed en masse from the folks driveway.

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“The 7”  

Seven Siblings and Our Folks – Last Christmas Together With Them

A month or so later, we siblings only, “The 7”,  no spouses or significant others, gathered around the folks dining room table.  In honor of the folks, we started with a prayer (I think they were smiling all day long).  We took turns, eldest to youngest, stating one item at a time we wanted from the folks.  ‘Round and ’round we went, some of us bowing out after a few ’rounds … until there was silence and a sigh.  Amazing – no one wanted or had to have – something someone else had asked for.   (Gosh I love this bunch!)

We then put post-it-notes on our stuff – stopped – looked around and realized – we still had a CrAzY amount of stuff to deal with.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We decided to do a Fambly Auction, with Jake printing up “Grandpa Bucks” in various denominations.  All the Fambly was invited from babies to big people.  Everyone got the same amount of $$ to bid with.  They could combine their $$ with others, if they were hot and heavy into a purchase.  EVERYTHING purchased, had to be hauled out of the house by the end of the weekend.  Including “The 7’s” earlier items.  Jake was the Auctioneer – he was a hoot!

One of my favorite memories – My grandson Declan, was 6 years old.  He had been seriously watching and observing how this ‘bidding game’ was being played.  After a bit, Jake gave a great presentation on the giant tv console in the living room.  Declan piped up, “$10!”.  Jake said, “We’ve got $10 from Declan, do we have $15?”.  Declan yelled “$15!” (He really wanted it!)  Jake smoothed it over and asked for another bid from everyone – once – silence – twice – silence – three times – silence.  “SOLD to Declan for $10!”, declared Jake.  Everyone cheered, Declan jumped up and down, clapping his hands.  “I got it, I really, really got it!!” Jake swept his hands over the TV in the console with a flourish, “This TV, which you can see, fits perfectly inside this beautiful console, Declan just bought.  I’m asking for a bid of $5 … does anyone have a bid?”  There was silence.  “Declan, do you have a bid?”, asked Jake.  “$5!!!”, Declan said with excitement.  “SOLD to DECLAN! for $5”, yelled Jake.  Again, there were cheers from the crazy Fambly crowd!!!!

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Photo by Sara Wether on Pexels.com

After the auction … and helping each other load trailers, vans and trucks, we set a date and agreed to get back together again, as there was still – stuff.  Not as much, but still .. lots and lots of stuff.

Our final clearing was done.  I was grateful to my niece, Nicky, who took care of Mom’s closet.  Many donations to various organizations.  Mom had numerous  books from a Catholic Book Store she once owned, Hosanna House, in downtown Brainerd.  My sister, Kyung, and William, took them all to St. Francis School and donated them to their library.  Rick had a trailer that hauled things to the landfill and things everywhere else.  That felt good!

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

The hardest thing for me, when we began this process, was the beginning to do it.  My beginning to do it, was taking one of Mom’s magnets off the refrigerator.  I began to cry.  That was it for that day.  One magnet.  I left and walked across the yard, home.

Now … The house was empty except for a few things for staging. (Sigh)  We cleaned it up and had a showing.  It looked ‘dated’ was the comment from a potential buyer.  Mom liked wallpaper.  Mom liked being creative with how she hung wallpaper.  Mom liked wallpaper alot.  Colors needed to go – so did the wallpaper.  I stripped wallpaper like crazy.  Then, started to paint.  My brother, Patrick came and helped me paint … it was sad, but felt good.

The house was being filled with new light and open to new life.

…. And Sold!  Thanks, Liz!

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I love my Fambly.  We are an odd bunch, with various quirks, gifts and talents.  Love is the thread that weaves us together, holding frayed edges in place, circling together when it’s time to play or work or grieve.

My encouragement to you … Take your time when you lose someone(s).  Feel your emotions.  Be sad.  Angry.  Afraid.  Lonely.  Let them come out, don’t stuff them.  You will get waves of emotions and memories popping up unexpectedly.  It’s part of the grieving.  There is no time-line for grieving.  Take breaks.  Breathe different air.  Surround yourself with softness, kindness, understanding, forgiveness and most of all Love.  Be with people.  Be alone.  Ask for help.  Drink water.  Lots and lots of water. More tears – more water.  Remember to breathe.  Remember to eat.  Sleep.  Walk.  Walking is good.  Go to church.  Don’t go to church.  Lean on people when you need to.  Be gentle with yourself.  In your gentleness,  in your quiet time, peace will come.  In time.  God does not leave.

Thank you for sharing this walk with me. Wow, it continues to be a journey.

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https://www.debendres.com

 

 

The Summer of Love & Death … A Wedding!

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My brother, Mike, and bride, Dawn.

Mom was so excited for Mike and Dawn to be married!   It was time!  They had been happily together for 6 years.  Dawn brought Mom with her when she bought her wedding dress.  What fun they had!  It was a special time for Mom and Dawn.   There was a perfect space in a closet at the folks, to store it safe and sound.  That way Mike couldn’t sneak a peek!

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Photo by Machol Butler on Pexels.com

A big concern Mom had, was getting an annulment with the Catholic Church, before they were married.  Despite Mike and Dawn’s attempts in trying to do this, it wasn’t going to happen.  They talked with a Pastor and found out there is a time-frame of 9 months to 2 years for the annulment process to be completed, and just because one goes through the process, does not mean you will get one.  The cost of it, not a huge deal, was enough to add another piece of angst in the midst of things.  There was also Mom’s time-frame.  Her lung cancer diagnosis and hospice, was definitely speeding up the wedding date.

Mike was beginning to feel overwhelmed and worried.  Both he and Dawn wanted the folks to be pleased.  Mike came over and talked to me (I’m the big sister),  expressing concern, not knowing how this wedding was going to happen.  They simply loved each other and it was hard having it be so difficult – on so many levels.  I asked him if he trusted me – of course he said yes – it’s the ‘Big Sis’ thing!  I became a licensed Wedding Officiant/Minister through the Universal Life Church and our local county.  I would work with them on a beautiful ceremony and file their wedding license.  Then … Dawn, Mike and I talked with the folks, explaining it would be a legal wedding and spiritual … and at some point in time, Mike and Dawn could go through the annulment process and get the marriage blessed in the Catholic Church.  All in all, it was a special conversation and the wedding was on!

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Jake was on the music, Rochelle was on the flowers, Mike was on the venue – Lum Park, Tim was on set-up, Rick was on tools and electrical stuff, Patrick and Darlene were on host/hostessing, Nicky and William were on photography.  Laura, Jake’s wife was on helping us all be cool, calm and collected – ’cause that’s how Laura is.  We-all were on food.  Kyung was still on her work gig/assignment in Africa.

In the midst of all of this, the folks were getting new shingles on the roof.  Mom would ask me to go out and see how it was looking.  Check on the guys, make sure they had enough water …. She enjoyed all the activity.  In spite of her determination, Mom’s breathing was becoming  more labored.  She was using oxygen all the time.  Her strength was weakening.  We all loved her hospice nurse, Kelly.  She and Mom had a very special relationship.  One day, Kelly said we were going to have to look at a different way for Mom to be at the wedding.  Outside was not an option.  I sat close to Mom and told her, she would have the best seat in the house – either with live video – or in heaven.  The boys would know how to set the video stuff up, and some of us would be at the house with her and some would be at Lum Park.

Going outside with Kelly, she said the cancer was progressing much faster than we thought it would.  It was time to call Kyung home.  I needed to tell Mom.  One of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  Then Dad.  Then the rest of the Fambly.  Then close friends.  Life is real.  So is death.

There was talk of having the folks renew their wedding vows with Mike and Dawn. The wedding date moved up and in the house with Mom and Dad.  Kyung arrived. It was early evening.  She and Mom had precious hours talking and being together.  The very next morning, Mom began her journey to heaven.  The wedding would wait.  Her life was celebrated, with tears and joy.

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The next weekend – was The Wedding.  I was nervous about being the Celebrant/Officiant and hoped it would go over ok. The preparation with Mike and Dawn was so special and included both her Mom and our Mom in the ceremony.  When we were finished, Dad’s home-care nurse came up to me and said Dad wanted to talk to me.  I took some deep breaths … knelt down in front of him in his wheel chair … he took my hands and with tears in his eyes, he said it was a beautiful ceremony, he was so proud of me and it was a job well done.  Oh my goodness … MY prayers were answered!

Yes … Mike and Dawn are living happily-ever-after.

And Mom … Still has the best seat in the house!

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Fambly Wedding Photo – Cheers to Mike & Dawn!

A week after Mom’s funeral and a week before Dad’s.

Mom’s Story                Dad’s Story

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The Summer of Love and Death Continues … Dad is Dying

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Dad’s last visit to Camp Confidence

With some of the ‘Fambly’ …

And Jeff Olson and Mary Harder – They are part of our Heart Fambly & Camp Confidence 

The Sunday after Mom’s funeral, some of us kids were sitting at the breakfast table with Dad.  He cleared his throat, which he did when he was nervous, and told us, he was not going into the clinic in the morning for dialysis.  He was done.  He was tired.  He was ready to die.  He would follow Mom to heaven.  We knew this was coming, but, like my brother Patrick shared with me later – it was like a bomb going off in our hearts.

There were 5 things he wanted before he died:

  1. Be at son Mike and Dawn’s Wedding – Yes, we had a wedding in between Mom and Dad’s dying.  I was Officiating and Fambly was planning this celebration, too.
  2. To talk with Father Walsh and ask him to do his funeral (and convert us kids back to the Catholic Church!).
  3.  Connect with Mike O’Rourke from the Brainerd Dispatch, who had been asking to do one last interview with Dad about founding Camp Confidence/Confidence Learning Center.
  4. Take a bunch of the Fambly out to Camp Confidence for one. last. look.  Sharing memories and stories … Wow, THAT was a beautiful day.
  5. A BBQ Rib Dinner with all the sides!  (And his favorite cocktail – or two).

Whew …

Later that day, I took a break and headed to my apartment across the yard.  I needed quiet meditation time, and asked God for wisdom and support, as I was feeling exhausted and over-whelmed.

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Deep into meditation, I heard the word ‘Ezekiel’ … in a soft whisper.  Minutes later, again ‘Ezekiel’, and the 3rd time, in a normal speaking voice.

I opened my eyes … expecting to see someone – well, Ezekiel – but I didn’t.

I sat quietly … Ezekiel … hmmm.  I felt a comfort – something I really needed – Thanks, God … Thanks, Ezekiel – whoever you are.  I trusted the comfort I felt and was grateful for it.

I didn’t know anything about Ezekiel, so I looked him up!  Ezekiel is a Hebrew priest and prophet of the sixth century B.C. His name means: God will strengthenThat was reassuring – I needed all the strength and support I could get.

The next day, I walked across the yard to spend time with Dad and visit with Fambly.  He was in his recliner in the living room – “Hi, Daddy-o!” I said, with a kiss on his cheek.  “Hi Deb!  Say, I’ve been thinking and we’ve got to get my funeral put together, will you help me?”  I didn’t well up in tears, I remembered Ezekiel: God will strengthen.  I didn’t gasp.  God will strengthen.  Dad was clear with what he wanted, and asked me for help.  I took a breath, God will strengthen, and let it out.  I smiled and said, “You bet!  Let’s do this!”

The priest was called, the local parish was notified and the funeral home was given a ‘heads-up’.  Special people came to visit.  Once again, stories and laughter filled the house.  Wedding plans were being delegated, Dad still was beating Patrick at cribbage … We kids agreed to have Jake contact a neighbor in the cities who made pine boxes for his casket.  (I/We had suggested Dad make us Pine Boxes for Christmas Gifts, as every year he had to come up with a new idea for all 7 of us kids … Mom nixed that idea!)  Even though Dad was dying, there was a lighter air and not so sad as when Mom was crossing over.  He was very ready to go.

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There came a day we thought he was going off to bed and sleep his way to heaven. We took turns being with him.  I remember him opening his eyes hours later and looked at me, kind of confused … I smiled and said, “Hi there … Nope, Daddy-o, you’re not in heaven, yet!”  Then, he asked if there were any ribs left?!  Seriously, he never followed protocol, so why start now!!??

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Dad’s time had come – for real this time.

We called everyone together and gathered around.  I climbed in bed with him, Patrick shared ‘The Lord is My Shepard‘ by heart, and then we started to sing his favorite songs.  We got to Edelweiss and Dad took his last breath – we thought.  I had my hand on his heart – it had stopped.  Then he opened his eyes and took one LOUD BIG last breath – we all JUMPED!! – Jake boisterously started back in song, “Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever …..”  (Some things you never forget).  I started laughing and crying at the same time.  Dad was a kidder and a prankster – and he ‘got us good’ on that one.  I could see Mom taking his arm as he was chuckling on his way, saying, “Ok, Dick, that’s enough now, come along!”

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It was one awesome funeral!

We were wrapped in Holy, Precious Moments as we shared this time together.

Fambly.

Thanks Mom and Dad … Without you … We would not BE FAMBLY.

With a Grateful Heart.

Your Daughter,

Debbie

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The Wedding … It IS a Summer of Love!         Here is Mom’s Story.

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A Summer of Love & Death – Mom

It was a tough summer for our ‘Fambly’.

It was a summer of Love.

Both my folks were dying …

Let me share about our Mom …

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Mom, Dad & The Big Kids

“Fambly”

We, Fambly = Mom & Dad, 7 Siblings/Spouses/Significant Others/Children & Little Children, filled the consult room, waiting for the oncologist to talk with us and share Mom’s diagnosis.  It was the day after Mother’s Day.  Apprehension, faith and love were holding us together like a superglue.  Mom had lung cancer.  The wonderful oncologist, tenderly held Mom’s hands, looked her directly in the eyes, and said with her permission, Hospice would be contacted that day.  It took our breath away.

Life is real.

In 2 months, she was gone.

Before she left … We sang to her, shared silly stories … maybe a secret or two.  We painted our toenails with her.  She had a dress to show us girls – she hoped wouldn’t be ‘too fancy’ for her funeral!  The rosary was prayed.  We cried.  Lots and LOTS of tears.  A Priest came to visit.  Mom and my little brother, Jake, planned the music for her funeral – so special. (He was amazing singing through. it. all.  Making Mom proud ’till the very end!!).

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In the middle of the night, she left us.  We were with her.  Dad made it very clear he wanted to be with her at her last breath.

Everything became still. 

Silent. 

Peace-filled.

Before we called the funeral home, we made a Fambly Circle. (Every night after supper, Mom would have us go around the table and say something we were thankful for.)  In our circle of love for Mom, we each shared a story, or something we were grateful for, or got in trouble with/lesson learned – ’cause life is real with Mom.  More tears, then laughter!!  After we shared, we started singing some of her favorite songs – someone(s) got out their phones to get all the words right!  We ended with Silent Night … the harmony so precious.

 

It was a silent, holy night …

We love you, Mom!

(She’s still dropping feathers to say ‘Hello’!)

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With Love and a Grateful Heart,

Your Daughter,

Debbie

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Dad’s Story     The Wedding Between 2 Funerals

www.debendres.com