I Love you

I Love you

Written by Tracey Lemming, Photo by Laurilyn Farms http://www.laurilynfarms.com/

At the beginning of 2018, I had a dream that something bad happened to my Grandma Fellure.  I can’t even remember it, but it woke me up and gave me a knowing that I needed to tell her that I loved her.  She was my only living grandparent, and I realized that once she was gone, I would miss her and her stories, and our connection to the past. I knew that my Grandma loved me, but the words weren’t often said.  We would talk on the telephone, but as life gets busy, sometimes we forget about those who we love the most, and don’t get the chance to speak as often as we would like.  

So, I called her a few days later.  I worked up the courage to tell her that I loved her.  She kept talking, and I was thinking, boy, maybe she didn’t hear me, or maybe she didn’t want to say it back.  I can’t remember if she said that she loved me too at the end of that conversation, but in the coming phone calls it became the words that we ended with.  ”Thanks for calling, and I love you.” Little did I know that it wasn’t my Grandma would leave this world in 2018, but her son, my Uncle Steve a few short months later.  She needed to hear the words “I love you” and the support of her loved ones.  She no longer had someone to stop by daily and have coffee with her.  I can’t imagine how she felt, knowing that she should have been the one who went first, not her child.  She had lost my Grandpa 19 years prior, but she said that losing a child was the worst.

Grandma got through the winter, and we continued to talk often.  I put in a reminder in my phone to call her frequently.  I always looked forward to the part of the conversation where she told me she loved me. I know she loved that part too because she told my Aunt how we always said “I love you” at the end of our phone calls. My last conversation with my Grandma was at the end of May 2019.  I was excited to tell her about the updates in my life, and how I was going to be starting my yoga teacher training soon.  She told me how proud of me she was for being me and all that I had done in my life.  That wasn’t something that I expected or heard often from her, but I was thankful for our conversation and her expressing this to me.  It meant so much to me at that moment.  I didn’t know that would be our last phone call, and would mean the world to me for the rest of my life.

When my Grandma fell and hit her head a week later, and the doctor’s determined that nothing else could be done, I hopped on a plane to see my Grandma and say my final goodbye.  Thankfully, although Grandma’s communication was limited, we knew that she knew we were with her.  And thankfully, she could still say “I love you.”  The same words that we had said to each other each time we spoke for the last year and a half.  The most important words that you can tell your loved ones.

Maybe you don’t often hear or say those words to some of your loved ones.  You assume that they know.  But, if there’s someone in your life who you haven’t said these words to in awhile or ever, consider telling them how you feel. It takes courage and can feel a bit awkward, as you don’t always know how the recipient will react.  Maybe they will say the words back immediately, or maybe they will keep talking as they weren’t expecting to hear this.  Either way, it doesn’t matter.  What if the words “I love you” were exactly what your loved one needed to hear, or exactly what you needed to say? It only takes a few moments to say these words.

At that moment

At that moment

Have you ever been the one who first hears your friend’s tragic news?  Maybe they call you, maybe they show up at your door. How do you react?  I’ve been the one who first heard of the tragedy when my friend’s boyfriend had left this world way too soon.  He was too young, and we were too young. How did I react? It’s hard to remember, but amidst the initial shock, I’m sure that I tried to be the strong one.  Allowing my friend to cry, but not wanting her to see my tears. I do remember hugging her and telling her it would be okay. Someone had to be strong. I had to be there for her.  But, what if the brave face that we try to put on isn’t what it needed at that moment?

When I received news of my Dad’s passing, I was initially in shock.  I came out of a yoga class, feeling calm, relaxed and ready for my Saturday.  I saw the missed calls on my phone and knew that wasn’t a good sign. My worst fears were true.  How could the world go on without my Dad? After a hug and an “I love you” from my teacher and calling my family, I called my friend Amanda. What if she didn’t pick up?  She had to pick up, and she did. As I shared my news and she talked to me as I drove home, I realized she was crying. I asked if she was crying, and she said yes, stating she wasn’t good in these situations.  Actually, she was perfect in this situation, at that moment. I didn’t need anyone to tell me it was going to be okay. I didn’t need anyone to be strong for the both of us. I needed someone to cry with me, 700 miles away.  My tears were her tears. Although she hadn’t ever suffered the loss of a parent, she could feel my pain and sadness. She may have wanted to be strong, but she didn’t have to be. She reacted authentically, as she knew that her friend had suffered a deep loss.  She shared her tears with me.

We all experience a wide range of emotions, amazing and not so amazing.  These emotions are what make the world and human experience beautiful. Our deepest emotions, our authenticity.  We have the choice to mask our feelings, or allow them to be expressed. We are taught to be strong. But, what if feeling and showing our true emotions is what is needed at that moment?  What if it isn’t weakness, but part of healing? So the next time your loved one calls you with devastating news, allow your tears to flow if you feel like crying. Allow your loved one to know that you feel their loss and share their pain.  Sometimes that is what they need. We can all put on a brave face another day, at another moment.

Giving Ourselves Grace

Giving Ourselves Grace

We all have those moments that we wish we could take back.  Maybe you are not feeling quite yourself, and your frustration comes across to your loved ones or even a stranger.  Maybe it’s a word that can’t be taken back, or maybe it’s a look on your face. Once you retreat, you feel terrible.  Why did you act that way? How can you make it better? 

It’s easy to blame it on the weather or the lack of sleep you got last night.  But, what was the real reason? If we take the time to reflect, we can usually find it.  Once we are aware of our emotions, we have the choice to feel bad about ourselves or to take responsibility and forgive ourselves.  Often times, our one moment of weakness is something that we continue to replay in our minds, only making ourselves feel worse. But there are other options.  What if we treat ourselves like our best friend would, and give ourselves grace? What if we allow ourselves to forgive ourselves instead of magnifying our flaws? What if we take a moment to journal and give ourselves the space to figure out what is really happening?

As human beings, we are experiencing a whole range of emotions and thoughts, while trying to appear like we have it all together.  We are rewarded for our accomplishments, and time spent renewing our spirits can be put on the back burner. But, if we don’t take time for ourselves, no one else will.  So, the next time you aren’t feeling as good as you would like to, take a few moments to breathe, check in, and give yourself grace.

Beauty in the Unknown

Beauty in the Unknown

Written by Tracey Lemming

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

I like to know what to expect.  If I am going somewhere unfamiliar (or even familiar), I like to set my map so I know exactly when I need to leave in order to arrive on time, the best route, and where the traffic may be.  If I’m going to a new restaurant, I like to read the menu online so I’m prepared on what to order, and read the reviews so I know others opinions.

We live in a world where so much can be anticipated, so much can be planned.  I once was talking with my friend Amanda about how most people go to the same 25 places, even though we live in a world with so many options.  We go to the same Target, the same Post Office, and park in the same spots. Think about it. When was the last time you went to a new store or park, just for the fun of it?

Our minds like routines, and we feel like we are more efficient and prepared when we know what to expect.  But where does the growth and beauty lie? It lies in the unknown. It lies in pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone and trying something new.  It’s in the space to explore and learn. After awhile, the unknown becomes our new routine. It becomes our new normal. Then the question is, what next?

Sometimes we choose to try the unknown, but sometimes it’s forced on us.  Our world falls apart as we know longer know the exact path to follow. What once fit, no longer does.  We lose a loved one or suffer a loss, and our world changes. We can’t go back, even though we want to. We are forced to navigate a new path.  The person we were is no longer there, and others don’t always understand. How can they? They are forced to navigate a new path as well, as you become a new version of yourself.  They expect you to act in a familiar way, and your new way of being throws them for a loop as well. Maybe they reach out, maybe they don’t. Maybe they give advice when it’s not asked.  But listening to the wisdom of your own soul is the only knowing that you need. You know that there’s a lesson in this all. You know that your story can help someone, and that even though you can’t always see it, there is beauty in the unknown.