03 January 2013

Holding Your Loved Ones Tight

(To our reader, Amy, with love.  And for any parent who has been feeling more fear since Sandy Hook.)

In the last few weeks, mothers and fathers all over the world have been holding their children tight.  They're wondering if they could ever move on without their little ones.  Could they live.  And at the moment, could they even drop them off at school?

I've learned a lot about loss in my days here in New York.

I've lost a husband, I've lost the vision of a family, I've lost the possibility of many, many babies that I hoped to have.  I've had dear friends here lose their parents, even their precious children.  I lost nearly my entire life savings from 10 years of working and saving in New York for a future family.  The losses have come.  Losses that have brought heart ache like I've never known.  And yet, I'm still here.  I haven't died.  By some miracle (one that I work each day to share), I chose life.  I chose life for the ones I love and those I hoped to love...here on earth and those in heaven.  And as you can imagine, life has still been worth living!!!!  :)

I know people who have not chosen life in the face of a tragedy.  They have disintegrated.  But perhaps even more tragic, they have brought others down with them, including their spouses and their children and anyone who is in contact with them.  We heard a beautiful talk here in Brooklyn and the man said that after Hurricane Sandy, he discovered a tree that had fallen.  It's roots were not strong enough.  And when that powerful tree fell, it fell onto another tree...and that tree fell onto a roof and took out an entire house.  I loved this vision...the clear picture of what happens in life when we ourselves are not solid and well...when we live a life crippled by fear, doubt, worry, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, negative thoughts about our personalities, abilities, or even looks, victim hood, hatred, blame, and more fear, fear, fear.  These things do not just poison us, they affect others around us, and possibly our entire household.

And so, the fear of losing a child.  The fear of death.  The fear of disease.  The fear of pain.  The fear of failure.  The fear of losing a spouse.  The fear of being single.  The fear of life not turning out the way we envisioned.  Do these things count?  Aren't we justified in feeling fears like these?!?  Aren't shootings and cancer and kidnappings and thoughts of losing our children or spouse worth living in crippling fear??  Can these fears really poison a life and a family?  I happen to know firsthand that they can.  These thoughts hold back full joy.  They hold back the full energy of love and harmony that could be flowing in your heart and in your home.  They prick children into having hesitation and wide eyes and shaky doubt instead of fearlessness and courage and empowerment.  And fear is, in fact, a "missing of the mark," a blockage of the the full flow of divinity and peace (in any circumstance) that is available to you.

And so - every single day as I say good-bye to the best husband I could ever imagine, someone who brings me more joy than I've ever known - with all I've got in me, I choose life.  I choose to dismiss my fears.  I choose to take a deep breath as he drives between multiple boroughs a day on some of the WORST roads and freeways in the entire country (hello, BQE, LIE, FDR and crazy drivers everywhere - you can't imagine.)  I choose to dismiss my fears of losing him so that I can live in his honor NOW and be the best I can be as a woman, a wife and his companion in this home.  It's the greatest offering of love I give him.  I do so out of gratitude for the blessing that he has been in my life.  I practice letting go of him.  I practice living, even if I were faced with doing so without him by my side.  It's hard for me to do this.  But I do so with every bit of love that I have.  And it has changed my life more than I could say.



P.S.  Could you ever practice letting go of someone - as a way to honor them & show even more love for them?  (It's not easy, I know.  We got life insurance awhile back and I actually teared up over it - as in...even on the phone with the agent.  haha.  She said people do that all the time.  It was a big reminder to me to get myself back on track.)

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  1. Thank you so much for this. I think my New Year's Resolution needs to be to let go of so much fear that I hold. I fear for my family's lives, my boyfriends life, and my own life. I think that every little ailment could be life threatening and I just to conclusions all the time. I fear that my food allergies are going to lead to my throat closing and I won't be able to administer my EpiPen. As you can imagine, this is tiring. It's draining and definitely has lead me to being a pain and a bother to other people. I pray that I can learn to just let go and let love take over.

  2. This is something I really needed to read - and really need to learn to live. It's so hard for me to stop thinking and analyzing and worrying and just BE. I can't seem to master that "mind over matter" thing...

    However - as someone who is concerned with making sure others are happy, when you put it in the context of how our worries and anxiety affect others around us, the people who we love...well, that is reason enough to try a little harder.

    I'm printing this out and hanging on the pinboard next to my desk. :) Thank you for your blog!!

  3. Thanks you guys. That was beautiful.
    Letting go of fear...that sounds like a good mantra for 2013.

  4. I'm bookmarking this, for sure. I am a worrier. A practiced worst-case-scenario-thinker-upper. It is very hard to stop sometimes and, yes, you are 100% right, I can easily ruin entire days of my life with that fear. And then get really mad at myself for it afterward, which feels almost worse than the initial worrying. I'm definitely working on that now and I am so grateful for your beautiful perspective on it.

  5. I loved the title of this post, and how the message expanded from there into a broader, more glorious idea. THANK YOU. I totally needed this today. Here's to being the BEST we can be. ANd loving just because we can.

  6. My husband and I have been married for more than a year and are 8 weeks into our first pregnancy. Never before has life seemed so vibrant, so real, so precious, so scary. (And nauseating--morning sickness, as much of a blessing as it is, is awful.) We went to the funeral yesterday of a friend's father. We had never met the man, but we could tell how much he was loved and appreciated. Anyway, I cried as I listened to the usual poems and Bible verses. I cried because the world clearly lost a wonderful man, I cried because my friend (who is in his 40s) no longer has a father in the physical sense, and I cried because now, now someday that will be me they're talking about, or me sitting next to my child hearing praise about my husband. (Hopefully I will be old as dirt at that time and my child will have a family of his/her own.) And it was sad and beautiful all at the same time. In a way, it made me happy, because I am so, so lucky to be married to an amazing man, and I don't take for granted the hope that this little bean will be born in 7 months, happy and healthy. I am so, so lucky to be given this chance, albeit a little later in life than most people. (I'm 36.)

    I still let myself cry when I see news reports and Facebook posts about the Connecticut tragedy. But I can see the silver lining, if you will, on other things. That's why we're so lucky to be humans instead of cats or birds or any other animal (although housecats lead a pretty charmed life!!)--we get to feel things. We get to feel complex things. We don't have to draw a hard line and say we'll never feel sad about something because we will ALWAYS look on the bright side of life. We can be sad about some things, optimistic about others. I love it. I love life.

    1. Wow, this is such a beautiful response to a beautiful post.

  7. Inspiring as always! Whenever I start to worry about losing anyone I love, or become too concerned about protecting my children from tragedy, pain, sin, etc. my sweet and wise husband is so quick to remind me that we want to raise children who aren't fearful of the possibilities, but who truly feel that they can (and will) rise above and be strong in the face of anything and everything that comes their way, even the most awful of offenses. I think we sometimes discount the resiliency that is in each of us to rise above any tragic or hurtful event we may encounter. Feeling and thinking THAT way is empowering and quickly dismisses any fears I have. I want my children to feel that way too! I want them to face their lives with optimism, trust in others and themselves, and above all else, love!

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  9. Thank you for this beautiful entry, Mara, and everyone's comments. I'm going to share this with my family! May we all own the truth that we have the power to choose life!

  10. It all comes down to faith. I am new to your blog, I've been catching up over the holidays. It will be one of my daily reads......so inspirational. Thank you.

  11. Excellent shots and wonderful pictures.

    Kids Games

  12. Beautiful, Mara. Live fearlessly - one of my friend uses this mantra and it is continual practice to achieve. It was great seeing you guys. Our visit was, as always, too short. Love you.

  13. Hi Mara
    Naturally we all were deeply saddened by the events of Sandy Hook. My latest article, "Scream and Shout" also talks about this, but in the wider context of Love at Xmas time. The direct link is http://www.thesarayiahpost.com/MyPosts/2013/01/scream-and-shout.html should you or your readers wish to read it.

    Happy New Year
    Isaac x

  14. Life really is learning the balance between holding on and letting go. Life is full of changes and chapters. Ends that become beginnings.

  15. Mara, this has got to be one of my favorite posts ever on this blog. I reread it several times. One thing that troubled me is what you mean by "practice letting him go." It sounds so morbid. Why does working on yourself have to go side-by-side with practicing life without Danny?

  16. seriously LOVE your blog......

  17. Mara,
    Just want you to know how much I admire you. Your positivity is contagious.
    I am a born melancholic- tend to worry and fret, but I know fear can steal our joy, and I force myself to ignore it.
    This is so well written, and it will touch many because you have actually suffered! You know what pain of loss means, and for this, I think you have been given a sincere ability to see the world through a beautiful perspective.
    Thanks for sharing this!
    God bless,

  18. Great post Mara... Thank you! I totally need that in my life. I would love to translate that to Portuguese and re-post in my blog (that's something I also have to work on this year) you are so brave! Great message. Muito obtigada. Elane.

  19. This is inspiring and very true. I am a mother of the child with a long-term illness. My daughter has a connective tissue disorder and has had 17 surgeries in the past 5 years. Many times, we've had to "prepare" ourselves to let go - but you can't. She humbles me every day, with her courage, faith and love. We hold her and know that God has a plan for all of us; that he will be faithful and help us through any amount of pain and suffering we may go through and that we will continue to live - because we have been put on this earth to be givers - as you have. We don't know what may happen, from day to day. It's so cliche to say live each day as though it's your last, but it's true. This day may never come again.

  20. This is inspiring and very true. I am a mother of the child with a long-term illness. My daughter has a connective tissue disorder and has had 17 surgeries in the past 5 years. Many times, we've had to "prepare" ourselves to let go - but you can't. She humbles me every day, with her courage, faith and love. We hold her and know that God has a plan for all of us; that he will be faithful and help us through any amount of pain and suffering we may go through and that we will continue to live - because we have been put on this earth to be givers - as you have. We don't know what may happen, from day to day. It's so cliche to say live each day as though it's your last, but it's true. This day may never come again.

  21. Hi Mara. I'm a first-time reader and am really enjoying scrolling through your posts and learning your story. This post about fear inspired me to comment as I just this last year saw a great example of what you are talking about. My cousin and I grew up together--our kids are the same ages and we get together several times a year even though we live at opposite ends of CA. She lost the love of her life to ALS in November after caring for him through this sudden and debilitating illness. Even though this disease took away everything from him in just over a year (he went from being an athlete to not being able to feed himself in a matter of months) he was able to face everyday calmly and with joy, appreciating his wife and children and the life he had till the very end. He chose to go off his breathing machine and even joked with my cousin during the process, lovingly teasing her to calm her and take as much of her terror away as possible. I think of this all the time and wonder at the strength it must have taken to give her the gift of taking away her fear in such a simple way during his last moments. He was too young (37) and leaves behind a 5 and 8 year old who are struggling to make sense of it all but his strength in the face of what must have been crippling fear will always inspire me. I wrote a post about their struggle when he was still with us and their love sounds much like yours: http://www.urbanorchardinteriors.com/a-love-story/

    I look forward to reading more of your blog in the future. My best friend is struggling greatly with infertility right now and has had many of the same treatments you describe. Best wishes to you.


  22. Love has no definations and I think no one can express how deeply he is in love with some other. This is the best feeling that one can feel.


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