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Not the Thanksgiving call I was expecting

I had just gotten home from having Thanksgiving dinner with my family when the phone rang.  It was from a number that was not in my phone. I typically do not answer calls from unknown numbers because they are almost always someone trying to sell me something or inform me that I’m under investigation with the IRS/FBI and need to send them a target gift card right away to settle my account or else I will be arrested.  However this one was from Arizona. My brother in law Steve is in Arizona and we usually talk on holidays. In fact he had recently had a birthday and I had forgotten to call him. I know his birthday is near Thanksgiving, and with Thanksgiving being so late this year I missed my cue. I thought I had his number in my phone, but perhaps he changed it so I answered thinking it was him.  As I answered, a familiar voice said “Hi Roni, it’s Marta.” Marta and I met my first year of college. Marta and Steve got married shortly after I met Scott, and we spent a lot of time with them during our first few years in college, before Steve graduated and they moved away. I used to love the fact that Marta would introduce me to her friends as her sister-in-law, even though Scott and I were not even officially engaged.  We were family. Ironically, Steve and Marta were in the process of divorcing when Scott and I got married. Steve and Marta had two children together, and Marta and I have remained friends. I haven’t seen or spoken to her in years though, but we chat every now and then through facebook.  

I didn’t even wonder why she would be calling me.  It was Thanksgiving after all and maybe she just wanted to say hi.  I asked her how she was, and she said she was okay, and then hesitated.  “Oh no” I thought, and suddenly realized this wasn’t just an out of the blue call to catch up.  She continued on, with a shaky voice “there was a car accident, and Steve passed away.” “NO!!!, NO!!!!, NO!!!!”  I cried as I crumpled to the floor of the kitchen. I’m not sure how many times I said it, or how long I sobbed before I asked her what had happened.  We cried together. We cried for Steve. We cried for their kids. We cried for Steve’s mom. My mother in law – OMG… followed by more “NO!!’s.  

Barb and Sid had three children.  The photo above is from their 5oth Anniversary celebration. Steve was the oldest, followed by Scott and then Lisa.  Lisa struggled with mental illness and sadly she passed away in November of 2006 due to what we believe was an accidental overdose or adverse reaction to several different medications that had been prescribed to her for mood stabilization and a recent bout of pneumonia.  Lisa was living in Boise at the time of her death. Scott and I didn’t have a close relationship with her and only saw her when Barb and Sid came to town. I remember getting the call from Barb and Sid telling me that they had reason to believe Lisa may have passed and asking Scott and I to go check out her apartment to see if we could confirm it.  When we arrived, her neighbor confirmed that she had been removed by the coroner. No parent should ever have to bury their child. Even though Lisa was a difficult family member, her death was still tragic and took a toll on her parents. We all had to clean out her apartment which added to the trauma of her death. Seeing the conditions she was living in made her death seem like a blessing.  I won’t go into the details of what we found in her apartment, but she was truly struggling with many things. It was sad. I was sad because I felt bad for not being there for her. Yet my decision to not be part of her life was out of self preservation for mine. I’m sure everyone else was feeling the same. Barb and Sid made some very difficult choices when it came to Lisa. Choices that I didn’t fully understand until just recently.  Choices that I now fully admire and respect – because they chose live their lives and let Lisa live hers. This is something I’m dealing with now, and it is gut wrenching. I think Sid made some of these decisions to protect Barb. When Scott was alive, he was bad cop to my good cop (more like my pushover cop). I relied on Scott to make the tough decisions. Now I am dealing with the consequences and having to make all of the decisions on my own.  I often wish he was still here to help me be strong. I think that Sid may have regretted some of these decisions after Lisa died.  

Not long after Lisa died, Sid started having some pains and health issues.  He had just sold his business and finally retired. It was time for Sid and Barb to really get their lives back and do the things that they enjoyed.  I don’t remember when the diagnosis came in, but in the fall of 2008 Sid had a major surgery at Swedish Hospital in Seattle for an aggressive lung cancer.  Scott and I drove to Seattle to be with Barb while Sid had the surgery. Steve and his wife flew out from Arizona. It was a grueling surgery that spanned over two days. I think they may have even had to take a day or two off before completing the surgery to give the team and Sid time to rest.  Honestly, a lot of that time is still a blur to me. Scott and I were having some problems in our relationship and my defense mechanism at the time was to pretend it wasn’t happening. I created a world of denial and do not have very clear memories of 2006 through 2010. I remember seeing a sign on the wall in the laundry room of the hotel we were staying at that listed the signs of emotional abuse.  I didn’t even know it was a thing, but after reading them I realized I was going through it. Sid made it through the surgery and they said it was a success, but his body had been through a lot and it may take a while for him to wake up. Steve and his wife left at the end of the week, and Scott and I stayed another week with Barb, waiting for Sid to wake up. Sid had asked the boys to not leave their mom until he woke up.  After 2 weeks we had to go back home to our jobs and our daughter, so Steve flew back out to be with Barb. Sid finally woke up, but they found another spot on his lung. 

I remember the day Barb called us and told us about the new spot on Sid’s lung.  It was September 16, 2008. I remember the date because it was the 25 year anniversary of the day Scott and I met.  Despite the problems we were having, we still celebrated the day we met. We were sitting out in the gazebo and had been drinking champagne when the call came in.  Scott took the news really hard, and proceeded to get even drunker than normal. I’m pretty sure we got into some kind of argument that night, because I went to bed in the office.  I was woken up by a gunshot. I panicked, thinking Scott had done something horrible and ran out to the back yard. The shot woke our daughter up too. When I got to the back door, Scott was standing there with the gun in his hand, drunk as a skunk.  I was relieved and mad and scared all at the same time. I struggled with him to get the gun away from him. Yes, I realize that was not a very smart thing to do, but in the heat of the moment it was what I thought was best. I also panicked and called 911.  I may have called 911 before I tried to get the gun away from him. The night is still a blur. They told me to get out of the house until the police arrived. I refused, because I didn’t think Scott would ever hurt me or Vikki. I was worried about him hurting himself.  I joked about it later (much later) that I thought I was calling Andy and Barney to come take him to the drunk tank to sober up and then they would send him home. This is not how it works in the real world. Apparently someone else in the neighborhood had called 911 before I did though, because as soon as Scott realized I called the cops on him he tried to get in his car and run away.  Neither one of us were making very good decisions that night. When he opened the garage door, there were already cops outside our house and they all had their guns with the laser scopes pointed right at him. They wrestled him to the ground, all the while with the laser scopes lighting up his head and body. Our daughter was watching all of this happen and is still traumatized by the memory of it.  I was screaming at them not to hurt him because he wasn’t going to hurt anyone. I realized later that they HAVE to take every precaution whenever someone has a gun, but at the time this was not what I expected when I called for help. After they got Scott cuffed and in the car, they started questioning my daughter in the garage while I was inside answering other questions. They kept asking me if Scott had hit me.  I told them no. Scott may have pushed me a little to get me off of him when I was struggling with him. And I’m pretty sure I was hitting him because I was so MAD, but Scott NEVER hit me. Ever. I remember saying to them “look at me, do I look like I’ve been hit? No. I’ve been crying, and I struggled with him to get the gun away from him but he never hit me.” They just kept pressing, and eventually asked if he just hit me with an open hand.  I thought they were clarifying what I described when we struggled so I said yes. They asked me to put it in writing and so I did, thinking that I was clarifying that Scott did NOT hit me. This turned into them filing charges against Scott for domestic battery in the presence of a minor. They filed a restraining order prohibiting Scott from being near me or Vikki. That meant he couldn’t come home. This was NOT what I had in mind when I called for help.  I told them I didn’t want the restraining order and they said they had to file it but that I could go to the courthouse the next day and file to get it lifted. They warned me though not to accept his phone calls or try and contact him until the order was lifted. They either didn’t tell this to Scott when they booked him in the jail or else he didn’t understand, because he kept trying to call me that night and I was too scared to accept his calls. I didn’t realize it at the time but this was a trauma that I would deal with later.  

I went to the courthouse the next day and filed the paperwork to get the restraining order lifted.  I was told it would take a while but that a hearing would be scheduled. The cops the night before made it sound like it would be an easy thing to get the order lifted.  They also told me that Scott would be able to bail himself out if he had his wallet. Not true either. Fortunately, Scott finally called my mom and she went and bailed him out.  She came and got his clothes and we drove his car down the street so he could have that, and he moved in with her until we could get the restraining order lifted. Scott had to hurry and pick a lawyer, and unfortunately the one he chose turned out to be a bad choice.  Scott’s lawyer’s strategy was for Vikki and I to avoid any subpoena and not show up to court because without a victim there wasn’t a crime. For this reason he also told me not to show up to the hearing to get the restraining order lifted. This strategy blew up when the cops showed up and pulled Vikki out of school to question her and deliver a subpoena to her.  Queue more trauma. When this happened I was in Washington DC on a business trip and Scott had been living with my parents for a month. I decided to hire a lawyer to help me get the restraining order lifted. I hired a good one, and Scott and I were finally able to talk to and see each other and eventually he got to come home.. nine weeks after the incident. During all of this Scott’s mom was still in Seattle with Sid and I was trying to keep our drama from her because she was dealing with enough and I didn’t want her to worry about Scott.

 Around the time Scott got to come home, Sid was transported back to Idaho to a rehab facility and soon he also got to come home.  Sid was sleeping in the family room in his recliner because that was the most comfortable for him. Barb slept beside him in hers.  Scott’s charges were reduced down to disturbing the peace, but because a gun was involved he got put on probation for 2 years and couldn’t leave without permission, and he had to attend several anger management and domestic abuse classes.  With all of this, we were not able to make a trip up north to see Scott’s parents. Sid wanted us to wait anyway until he was feeling better. I remember talking to him briefly on the phone on his 73rd birthday, which was February 2, 2009. He was pretty weak and didn’t feel like talking much.  On February 5th, 2009 I was at work when I got a call from Barb. “Sid’s gone” she sobbed. I couldn’t believe it. He was getting better, or so I thought. Or so I wanted to believe. I knew that they had brought in Hospice, but at that time I didn’t realize what that meant. I just thought it was home health.  Scott had his court ordered classes that night and wouldn’t be home until later. I waited for him to come home, dreading the news I had to give him. Scott adored, respected and admired his dad. He got permission from his Probation Officer to go up north for the funeral. We didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the last time Barb would be together with both of her sons.  The last time the boys were together.

In 2012 Barb came to visit in May for Vikki’s High School Graduation. On the way home from the graduation ceremony Scott took his mom to see where he worked. It was the first time she had seen it. They didn’t go in, but she still talks about how much it meant to her that he wanted to show her where he worked.   Scott was let go from his job a few months later due to job burnout and decided to quit drinking.  In case you don’t know, it is very dangerous to quit drinking cold turkey. You can die.  Scott had a seizure and once again I called 911. He came out of it as the paramedics arrived and did not want to go with them, but they insisted and he went to the hospital for testing.  They told him his liver was in bad shape. They told him not to drink and scheduled him for a liver biopsy in 6 weeks. He took this seriously. When he went in for lab work before the biopsy they told him his liver stats looked good and that he dodged a bullet.  They cancelled the biopsy and told him not to drink any more. Unfortunately, he did not take this advice.

When Vikki was born, Barb and Sid started a tradition of spending Christmas with us. This was a great tradition because my parents live in town and so we got to have our entire family together every Christmas while Vikki was growing up.  I don’t remember if they came back down for Christmas of 2006. They had just been here the month prior for Lisa’s funeral. I know that they didn’t come in 2007, because Sid was not feeling good.  In 2009 we convinced Barb that she should resume the tradition and come spend Christmas with us. Barb and my mom always got along so well and she fit right in with all of the family here. We played lots of card games and enjoyed a glass (or two) of wine together.   In 2013 I started seeing that I was starting to have signs of job burnout. It was looking like Scott wasn’t going to be going back to work any time soon (if ever). I had a Mary Kay business and we had no debt and a good amount in savings, so I decided to retire early in August of 2013.  With Scott drinking all day, I told my mother in law that our household had gotten chaotic and I didn’t think she would be comfortable in this environment, so she did not come down for Christmas in 2013. Scott continued to drink and I started isolating myself. By Christmas of 2014 the environment was even more chaotic than the year before and our Christmas tradition with Scott’s mom ended. Christmas of 2012 was the last time Barb and Scott would see each other.

In early February of 2015 Scott finally decided that he was ready to quit drinking.  Sadly it was too late. He died on February 9th 2015 from a heart attack with an underlying cause of chronic alcohol abuse. I couldn’t even call his mom to tell her. My mom called for me. Every time I talked to Barb she would tell me she was worried about Scott’s drinking. Every time I told her he was fine and not to worry.  I couldn’t do anything to stop him and neither could she. I still feel bad that I told her he was fine and not to worry. I knew he wasn’t fine, but I didn’t want to talk about it. Barb and Steve came to Boise as soon as they got the call. They were able to see Scott before he was cremated. We didn’t have a service for him though and I think they were both disappointed by that.  They had come all the way. I couldn’t pull it together though. We decided instead to have a celebration of life for Scott on his 50th birthday in June. Had I known then that I would still be in a fog in June I would’ve agreed to have something thrown together while Barb and Steve were here. 

 In June of 2016 we celebrated Barb’s 80th birthday in Las Vegas.  Steve was there with his family and my mom came with me. It was a great time.  It was the last time we were all together as a family. It was the last time I would see Steve.   I have so many fond memories of Steve. He and Scott were roommates when Scott and I met our freshman year of college.  I will never forget being in their room and Steve was taking a nap. His alarm went off and I asked him if he had a class to go to.  He looked at me all groggy and eventually said “no, the Flintstones are on”. That still makes me laugh. The three of us would usually eat dinner together in the cafeteria.  That’s where I learned to eat fast. If I didn’t finish before they did, one or both of them would start salting my jello and playing with my food. I still eat fast to this day. Steve visited us several times when we lived in LA and we got to go visit him when he lived in Kansas City.  And the Vegas trips with the whole family… so many great memories there. Steve was a great guy. I always felt a little more connected to Scott after he passed when I would talk to Steve. Now they are together with Sid and Lisa. My heart hurts so much for Barb. No mother should have to bury a child, let alone all of them. 

Self Compassion

January 5, 2019

….when you feel compassion for another (rather than mere pity), it means that you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. “There but for fortune go I.”  Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?

Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?

  • Dr. Kristin Neff

So I’m participating in a 5 week Compassion Challenge let by Elizabeth Kittell – a Yogi that I absolutely adore.  The first time I ever met her I knew I wanted to be in her “space”. Her energy is pure and her light is so bright!  She told me about her Yoga retreats on the river and I immediately decided that was on my bucket list. I didn’t even have a bucket list at the time!  This was over 2 years ago and I still have not made the time, allocated the resources, or made this a priority. So when I saw her at the Women Ignite Conference in October and she told me she was doing and online Compassion Challenge – I knew this was my chance to connect with her and ease myself into eventually making the commitment to fulfill my bucket list.

This challenge is proving to be exactly what I need.  Did I mention yet that I’m not a fan of yoga? In all fairness, I haven’t really ever given it much of a chance.  Probably because every time I’ve tried it I’ve not liked it. At all. I get confused on the poses. I’m not super coordinated and it takes me a while to really figure out what I’m supposed to be doing.  It’s difficult for me to try and watch the instructor and contort my body at the same time. My wrists are weak and most of the positions hurt. Instead of relaxed and Zen I feel anxious and tense. Between the pain in my body and the frustration of not being able to get it “right” I feel like crying.  Why would I ever want to put something like a yoga retreat on the river on my bucket list? Because I see what it does for people who give it a chance. I want to give it a chance. I want to be able to generate the feeling of peace I feel when I am anywhere near Elizabeth. I want for my body what I know Yoga can do for it. I want movement, flow, peace, joy, zen….

So am I rocking the compassion challenge?  That depends on how I look at it. We just finished week 1.  I did the first movement assigned and it was definitely a challenge.  I wanted to cry, but somehow made it through and ended up laughing at myself trying to do one of the moves.  I felt good after it was done. I was off to a great start. Then I fell behind. I missed a day and have been trying to play catch up.  I have not been able to bring myself to even try the movements I missed. I’ve watched them though and she even has an assistant to show us what the movements and poses are supposed to look like which makes me want to try them… when I decide to make the time.  I have not made it up at 6:30 am to any of the LIVE videos.  I have watched them all, just not at 6:30 am! My assignment for the week was supposed to be turned in half an hour ago and it didn’t happen.  ANDInstead of mercilessly judging and criticizing myself, I am practicing being kind and understanding of my failure to complete the assignments – so YES, so far I AM rocking the compassion challenge in the way it was meant to be for me!

I’m learning a lot about myself with this challenge.  I’ve realized that I have a pattern of not even trying things that I don’t think I can do well.  I’ve realized that I often ignore my pain and that I set very high expectations for myself. And I’m learning to be kind and understanding of myself when I recognize these patterns and behaviors.  

Rock on Roni, Rock on….

Messages from my Dreams

If you read my last post on grief, you may be wondering what my grief counselors said about it.  Turns out that they agreed with me that I have…. and that I will continue the process in one way or another always.  Death is not something you ever get over. You just learn how to live with the new reality.

About a week after my last blog post, I had a great dream.  Scott was there and this time he wasn’t just a character in my dreams, this time he had a message for me.  I don’t remember all of the details, but it was one of those dreams that I feel like I drifted in and out of.  It was about relationships and the different types of relationships. He was asking me what happened to our relationship.  At first I thought he was talking about our relationship while he was alive, and I started mentioning some of the bumps that we went through.  He stopped me and said he was asking about our relationship NOW. I told him that the fact that he died probably had a lot to do with it. Then he said “but I’m here now aren’t I?”  I realized that he was, and that he does come to me a lot in my dreams. When he is in my dreams, I know that he is dead, and we even talk about it. When I first started having those dreams of him, I was afraid that if I acknowledged that I knew he was dead that he would go away and the dream would end.  But he doesn’t. We talk about it. Those dreams are VERY realistic. Many times when I wake up from them I try to fall back asleep because I don’t want them to end. Sometimes I can slip back into the dream, and sometimes I cannot.

It’s been over 3 years since he passed over. Even though I’ve grieved him (see my last blog) and I am happy and can move on, I still miss him and think of him daily.  Most of the time my thoughts of him make me smile, but sometimes I still get very sad. When I am missing him and feeling sad, I often find myself sleeping more than normal.  I never used to take naps… now I love them! I know that one of the reasons for this is that I want to dream so that maybe, just maybe Scott will show up in my dream so I can talk to him, hug him and feel close to him again.

When I woke from this dream, I realized that he comes to me in my dreams because that is how he can best get my attention.  That’s what he told me that night. He is always with me, even when I am awake. I just don’t always hear him or acknowledge that we are able to communicate even when I am awake.  He told me to stop sleeping my life away, and to start paying more attention to the messages and signs I am given while I am awake. That is how our relationship works NOW.

Thanks babe – message received  ❤

Good Grief……

I’m an intuitive life coach, a spiritual healer, and a personal growth and self mastery junkie.  I’m also a widow. I spend a lot of time with other coaches, and I’m often asked the question…”Have you grieved the loss of your husband?” I never know how to answer this question.  Yes I have experienced a lot of grief. I believe that it will never completely go away. But have I “properly” grieved?   WTF does that even mean???

I know that there are 5 stages of grief, and I know that there is no set time frame or even a set order for these stages.  I know you can go back and forth between stages . So let’s look at the stages (from webmd.com) to see if I can answer the question.  

Denial: When you first learn of a loss, it’s normal to think, “This isn’t happening.” You may feel shocked or numb. This is a temporary way to deal with the rush of overwhelming emotion. It’s a defense mechanism.

I think I was in denial way before my husband died, so it’s safe to say I spent a lot of time in this stage.  My husband was an alcoholic. I spent years in denial about this. I used to say he didn’t have a drinking problem, he had a stopping problem.  I stayed positive and never gave up on the hope and belief that he would one day decide to quit drinking and he would be fine. I guess you could call that denial.  The same day my husband died, our only daughter informed me she was addicted to heroin and needed help. Shocked and numb is a pretty good way to describe how I felt.  My husband and best friend of 32 years was suddenly gone, and I was left to figure out how to deal with that and help our daughter. I’m pretty sure “This isn’t happening” went through my head a few times… or a few hundred times.  The shocked and numb part actually has another name. Widow’s Fog. Basically, your brain freaks out and you can’t recall, process emotion, think rationally, make decisions, understand. It can go on for a long time. I wasn’t able to do simple tasks like grocery shopping.  I was in the fog for several months. Many days I didn’t get out of my pajamas. My fog finally lifted after about a year. You can read more about widow’s fog at http://thewidowsfoundation.nl/understanding-widow-fog-part-i/.  I think I can put a check mark next to this stage.

Anger: As reality sets in, you’re faced with the pain of your loss. You may feel frustrated and helpless. These feelings later turn into anger. You might direct it toward other people, a higher power, or life in general. To be angry with a loved one who died and left you alone is natural, too.

I’ve tried to block this part out, but I was definitely very angry.  I took my anger out on my mom and my sister. My sister didn’t even speak to me for a long time because of the way I treated her.  She was there for me whenever I reached out to her, but she kept her distance and I don’t blame her at all. I’ve cursed my husband and my daughter several times in anger…. I just don’t like to dwell on that emotion so I sometimes forget just how angry I’ve gotten.  I still get angry. This is one that I keep coming back to. I don’t dwell on it though, and I don’t lash out at other people over it any more. I think I can check this phase off as well.

Bargaining: During this stage, you dwell on what you could’ve done to prevent the loss. Common thoughts are “If only…” and “What if…” You may also try to strike a deal with a higher power.


Of course I had thoughts of what I could’ve done to prevent both my husband’s death and my daughter’s addiction.  I know I’ve asked God several times to let Scott visit me in my dreams, or for me to be able to talk to him. I didn’t dwell on this one though.  I am a firm believer that everything happens in divine order and everything is a gift. I don’t like the way this gift was wrapped or what it looked like after it was opened, but I’m learning to find the beauty in the gift.  I am comfortable checking this phase off.

Depression: Sadness sets in as you begin to understand the loss and its effect on your life. Signs of depression include crying, sleep issues, and a decreased appetite. You may feel overwhelmed, regretful, and lonely.

This one comes and goes.  I still experience all of these signs, but I am able to bring myself out of them pretty easily.  I have an amazing support system and a lot of people that I can (and do) talk to when I’m feeling depressed.  I’ve also got my writing, which I’ve found is a very helpful tool for working through depression. In fact, I started this blog after throwing myself a little pity party tonight, and I feel much better already.

Acceptance: In this final stage of grief, you accept the reality of your loss. It can’t be changed. Although you still feel sad, you’re able to start moving forward with your life.

I not only accept my new reality, I am also able to see that my new life is amazing, and I am finally finding out who I am.  This is the beauty in the gift. I do still feel sad, but I am definitely moving forward with my life. I think that I have my answer.  Yes, I have grieved my loss. I still grieve my loss from time to time, but it doesn’t overwhelm or consume me. I accept it for what it is.

I’m going to forward this to the people that have most recently asked me this question.  Two of them are trained in Grief Counseling, so I’m looking forward to their input. Stay tuned….

He’s Not Coming Back

My husband died a little over 3 years ago. 1,195 days ago to be exact.  I know there is no timeline on grief. I have not been grieving this entire time, at least not visibly (and not consciously).  I actually started dating about a year after he died. It didn’t really work out because I wasn’t ready (and frankly neither was the recently divorced man I was dating).  After that I decided to figure out who I was and what I liked to do. I hung out with friends and did a lot of karaoke! I was going through some issues with my daughter, and so I was still up and down, but for the most part I was actually happy.  I tried dating again, with the warning to the man that wanted to date me that I wasn’t sure I was ready for a long term relationship or if I ever would be. He was willing to give it a try anyway, and we were in a relationship for over a year. It was amazing, until I realized that he was making plans based on me being around for a long time… and I just couldn’t commit to that.  Besides, he loves to camp and fish and I would rather go out and sing karaoke and go dancing and attend spiritual gatherings and classes and workshops, etc. We are still very good friends and I will always love him and treasure what he was for me at the time that I needed it.

Single again, I had a lot more time alone with myself – which is great for self reflection.  I’ve been doing a lot of personal development work, a lot of learning and growing personally and have made some amazing new friends and connections through women’s groups and volunteering.  I’m feeling very confident about my personal development. My career development is a different story. I have made some amazing progress, but I’m not where I would like to be. I have not had the desire or motivation to complete some of the courses I signed up for that will help me with my coaching.  I’ve also noticed that where I used to be very good at memorizing and remembering information, now even when I am speaking I seem to need to use my notes more than I used to. I pretty much stopped holding Mary Kay parties when I realized I didn’t want to become a director, even though holding the parties and teaching skin care is something I love doing.  It’s like I’ve been in a holding pattern and I’m not giving myself the clearance to take off.

The past few weeks I have been very tired, and have been sleeping a lot.  Since my husband passed there have always been times when I get really sad all of a sudden, and I know that these times will always come to me from time to time.  Typically they don’t last very long, I feel them and then let them pass. Lately, they’ve been coming more often and lasting longer. The other day I was talking with a friend who is also a coach specializing in grief counseling.  When she told me my tiredness and lack of motivation was grief. I was surprised but not surprised by that. It’s amazing how we can shove the obvious under the carpet so well.

Last night I attended a gallery with a psychic medium.  I put my wedding rings on a chain around my neck. I was really hoping that Scott would come through.  The gallery was amazing but I was one of the few people that did not get read. I had also woken up yesterday with a bad headache that would not go away.  It was like there was some kind of energy in the back of my head, my neck and spine that was stuck. My thoughts yesterday kept going back to why I was not pursuing the courses that I had signed up for, and fear that there was something that was stopping me from being able to learn and remember things.  Last night after the gallery I came home, threw up and went to bed.

This morning I woke up with a foggy head, but the pain in my neck and back was gone.  I was thinking about the day before, and my concerns about learning when it hit me that I was in “watch mode” again.  Let me explain what I mean by that. The summer after I met Scott we both went home to our parents. It was the only time we would be apart from each other for that long from the day we met until the day he died.  That summer I was a sad mess. He was all I could think of. I slept in every day until the mail came. He wrote me a letter every day. I would get the mail, read my letter (several times) and write a reply. Then I would go back to sleep or watch tv.  I didn’t talk to friends, I didn’t talk much to my family. I was basically just watching the world go by and waiting until summer was over so I could be with Scott again. When we finally got back together right before school started, we both noticed how being in “watch mode” had made me and my brain very sluggish.  Fortunately the damage was not permanent, but there would be several times throughout the years to follow when I would get in a slump and we would refer back to my summer of being in “watch mode”.

It hit me this morning that I have been in “watch mode” for over 3 years!!!  And if I’m honest with myself, I’ve probably been in “watch mode” since I left my job back in August of 2013.  That puts it at close to 5 years that I have been tuned out. Wow – I am so grateful that I finally realized this.  It’s like a light switch turned on. That’s not the only switch that got triggered though. As I was thinking about the gallery last night and my disappointment that Scott didn’t show up, I realized that he is not going to.  He is gone and he is not coming back. Our time together was amazing but it is over, and now I need to let him go and move on. I will never lose what we had, but it’s time for me to stop trying to hold on to the past.

It’s time.  It’s time for Roni.  

My Story…. The Condensed Version

Sometimes it feels like I’ve told my story so many times, and it surprises me when I’m talking to someone and I find out they have never heard it. I am not my story, but my story is part of who I am now and why I do what I do. I decided it was time to write the condensed version, because the full version (my book) doesn’t want to be written yet!

I grew up in a small town in Idaho. Ironically, my graduating class was the largest in the state, because at the time there was only one high school for several small towns. I wasn’t what I considered to be popular, but I wasn’t shunned by the popular crowd either. I was a band geek and I loved it. I was also in the choir and the honor society. I had enough friends and activities to keep me busy and I loved school. I never had a boyfriend in high school and only attended two dances (both informal girl ask boy dances).

After graduation I chose an in-state college that was about 6 hours away from home. It was a party school and they had a marching band. None of my friends went up there with me, which was kind of nice because nobody knew me, and nobody knew that I wasn’t popular. That gave me the confidence to be myself. I went to a lot of parties and met a lot of people in my first month at college. I was a bit of a wild child. Then one night at a party, standing in line for the bathroom, I met the man that would become the love of my life and my husband – the wild child was tamed!

We got married in November of 1987, and graduated from college in December of that year. In January of 1988 we moved to Los Angeles to start our careers. We moved to Boise in April of 1992 to be closer to our family. We bought our first house in 1993 and had our daughter (our only child) in January of 1994. Life was good. Really good… for about 7 years. In 2000 our fairy tale marriage encountered a few dragons. My husband had started drinking daily. The only times we ever fought were when one or both of us had been drinking too much. We started fighting more often. In 2003 I had an emotional affair which started what I later found out was the 7 year war. I didn’t realize we were at war until we called a truce in 2010. I threatened to leave him many times, but I never meant it. One time he asked me for a divorce and I told him no. It had become a toxic relationship but we were both very much in love with each other.

In 2010 we spent a weekend in Jackpot (our Happy Place), renegotiating our relationship. We decided it was worth keeping, and April 4th 2010 is the day we unofficially got remarried. Things were much better after that. He was still drinking, so there were still fights, but I learned that if I didn’t overreact, what before would be a huge fight turned into a conversation that just didn’t happen. I would just tell him I wasn’t going to discuss that with him until he was sober… and then it never got discussed. The next year my husband tried to quit drinking cold turkey and had a seizure. He was fine but his liver levels gave him quite a scare. After a few months of not drinking he got good news that his liver levels had returned to normal. He was told he dodged a bullet but he should never drink again. That didn’t last very long, and once again he was drinking heavily every night. In 2012 he got let go from his job. They said he was burned out. They were right. Unfortunately the alcohol played a big role in his job burnout and was also taking a toll on his internal organs.

After watching my husband go through job burnout, and realizing that it was very unlikely that he would ever work again, I started noticing that I was also becoming very burned out at my job. In August of 2013 I decided to retire early from my corporate career and pursue my Mary Kay business on a full time basis. I found a studio to lease and fixed it up really cute. Business was good. Life was good. I had time to spend with my family and there was a lot of love in our house again.

Sometime around October of 2014 I started getting depressed. My husband had a lot of social anxiety and I was starting to pick up some of my own. My 50th birthday was coming up and we were planning a karaoke party. My husband was working really hard to get people to come. I created an invite…. And couldn’t bring myself to send it out. I even tried to cancel the party but he wouldn’t let me. It was a small gathering but we had a great time, and it meant so much to me that he did worked so hard get people there. I started sleeping a lot and was getting sick more often. I had been working as an assistant for my Mary Kay director part time and I gave that up because I was having a hard time getting up in the mornings. We got through Thanksgiving and Christmas and had a very low key birthday celebration for our daughter’s 21st birthday in January of 2015. My husband almost didn’t go out with us for her birthday because it was so late before she was ready… but he did and I’m so grateful for that.

I got sick again on February 6th and spent 2 days in bed. On February 8th I felt good enough to get out of bed and found that my husband had decided to quit drinking and he was detoxing. It was the first time he had been sober in so long. We had an amazing day talking and planning and researching essential oils to heal his liver. I massaged his back and we cuddled. He told me that he knew he wasn’t always nice to me but that he always loved me. It’s a day I will never forget. Late that night he started getting really weak and confused and wasn’t making any sense. He didn’t want to go to the hospital and told me not to call the ambulance if he had a seizure again. My daughter came home and she convinced him to let us take him to the hospital. She feared that his liver was failing. It was hard for us to even get him in the car, but we did and we rushed to the hospital. On the way there, he stopped breathing. We got him to the ER and they rushed him inside and worked on him for what seemed like an eternity. He had internal bleeding and they gave him 6 units of blood in the ER. They moved him up to ICU and got the bleeding stopped, but he never regained consciousness and at 4:15 am on February 9, 2015 he took his last breath. The cause of death was massive variceal hemorrhage precipitating cardiac arrest due to subacute liver failure and chronic alcoholic cirrhosis. He was 49 years old.

While waiting in the hospital, praying for a miracle… my daughter informed me that she was addicted to heroin and needed help. The next few days were a blur. Scott’s mom and brother came to town, and so did my sister. She was my rock, because not only was I dealing with the mortuary I was also trying to figure out how to get my daughter the help she needed. With the help of another family member we were able to get her checked into a detox facility the day that my mother in-law and brother in-law left. We kept her addiction from them at the time because they had lost Scott’s sister and Dad in the last few years and we didn’t want them to worry about her also.

My daughter left the detox facility, but relapsed again. The next several months were a rollercoaster of her relapsing and detoxing, and she was in and out of the detox center a few times. I spent most of my days in a fog and in my pajamas. Somehow I pulled myself together in March to attend Mary Kay career conference in Utah, but I don’t remember very much of it. We had decided instead of a funeral to have a celebration of Life for Scott in June.. on his 50th birthday. Somehow we pulled that together, although I don’t remember much of that either. On July 4th 2015 my daughter’s boyfriend got pulled over for speeding and was arrested for trafficking heroin. She went back into the detox center and it looked like she might finally be ready to accept the help she needed. Things were looking like they were finally turning around.

On September 1, 2015 a plain clothes police officer came to my door looking for my daughter. He told me that she wasn’t in trouble, but that she might have some information that could help them. I told them she was at the Idaho Humane Society setting up some community service for a traffic violation she’d gotten. I asked them for their number and told them I would have her call them when she got home. About 20 minutes later I heard her pull up, and then I heard some commotion outside and when I went out there were about 10 plain clothes officers handcuffing her. They had been waiting outside my house for her to come home. So much for not being in any trouble. It turns out she had been indicted by a grand jury for trafficking based on an investigation involving a confidential informant – for events that took place in December of 2014. She was given a $100,000 bond. Long story short I paid the bail bondsman $8,000 and cashed out her college fund to hire a lawyer. She ended up getting arrested again in December of 2015 and the bond was revoked. The lawyer got her charges amended down to aiding and abetting and she went to prison on a rider program. She was released in November of 2016. A friend of mine gave her a job after she got out and she did really good for several months. Unfortunately, she relapsed again and in November of 2017 she was arrested for a probation violation and picked up a new possession charge. This time God stepped in and she was accepted into the New Life Addiction Recovery Program through the Boise Rescue Mission. Her Judge granted her probation contingent on her successful completion of the New Life Program, and she is currently doing very well and finally getting the help she needs so she can get her life back on track.

I’ve learned so much and grown so much through all of this. 1 month before my husband died and my life as I knew it shattered into pieces, I attended a Mary Kay event. National Sales Director Julianne Nagel was the guest speaker. It was her first speaking event since being trampled by her horse 3 times. Doctors were surprised that she lived through it and didn’t think she would ever walk again. As she stood on that stage, she spoke of her experience as an Adventure and a Gift. She talked about how grateful she was for her Adventure. Her story had a HUGE impact on me. As I was sitting in the hospital saying goodbye to my husband, I was able to see the Gifts that God had given me. I didn’t like it, but I knew it was a gift. I was able to have gratitude for the life I had with him. I was able to have gratitude for the fact that he lived the life he wanted to live. I was able to have gratitude for the fact that God has great something planned for me and that the events and “Adventures” that I was having would teach me and inspire me towards this greater plan that God has for me.

There are no coincidences. I believe that everything happens in Divine order. This part of my story has set me up for the next chapter. These experiences have shown me how strong I am. These experiences have opened doors for me. My path is clear. There will be obstacles, but my path and my purpose is clear.

Stay tuned.
To be continued.
This girl is unstoppable, and she’s just getting started!

Visualize your future…. Feel it in your soul

I’ve known about the law of attraction for several years now.  I’ve witnessed it in action it many times. Some by intention and purpose, and many more through thoughts and feelings without even realizing what I was creating until after it happened.  I can now look back on almost all of my life experiences and see where my thoughts, fears, feelings, reactions, worries, excitement and dreams created them.

I recently read the book Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks.  I’m reading it again now and will probably pick it up again after that. It’s a beautiful reminder of what I already know, and what I keep forgetting.  I have had the saying “Ask for it, Believe it, Receive it” on my bedroom wall for over 5 years. It’s the first thing I see when I wake up, and the last thing I see before I go to bed.  Well, except for the nights that I fall asleep on the couch! It has been part of my Affirmations that I say out loud on a daily basis. And still, I forget to ask. Many times I don’t even know what to ask for.  Many times I feel like I don’t deserve to ask for more. I tell all of my friends and my clients how important this is, how worthy they are…. and yet I still struggle with applying it myself.

A few weeks ago I was asked by one of my coaches to describe what I want my life to look like and more importantly feel like.  This was a real struggle for me. I’m still working on it. I get stuck because I have some major patterns that allow me to believe that it is bad to be materialistic.  I have patterns that allow me to believe that people who like really nice things are snobs. I have patterns that allow me to believe that people who spend a lot of money on nice things are greedy and selfish.  (Side note. Writing is such a powerful tool! I have never written or even spoken about these blocks until just now… I’m excited to do some clearing on them now that I am aware of them!)

This morning a friend and mentor posted on Facebook that she was having a spiritual gathering in her house.  She lives 5 hours away from me so it’s not like I can just hop in my car and be there. But when I saw the post I really wanted to be there and my first thought was I wish I lived closer to her.  Then I realized that what I really want is to be able to jump in my car for a last minute trip when situations like this come up. That to me is true freedom and that is what I want my life to FEEL like.  Free. Free to do the things that call to me. Free to live spontaneously. The feeling of this realization is SO POWERFUL right now, because I know how the law of attraction works. This has been a missing piece.  Now that I’ve seen this piece, and felt it deep in my soul, I know that the next piece will be easier to spot. And this will continue until all of the pieces are just falling into my lap and I am manifesting the life I want to live.  The life I was created to live.

Visualize your future.  Feel it in your soul. Ask for it, Believe it, Receive it.  Enjoy!

A setback is just a set up for a come back!

Well, I did it again. Fell off the face of the blogosphere for a while. And right after my post about goals and my claim to watch out world because I am back! It’s all good though, and I’m here to remind you that it’s okay to have a set back. I’m also here to tell remind you that there is no set time frame for how long you have before you come back again. For me it was more than 6 months.

I honestly had no idea that it had been so long since I last blogged. I’ve been keeping myself busy, and didn’t even realize that I had fallen off. They say time flies when you are having fun. Time also flies when you are in denial. That’s what happened to me. There were some things going on in my life that I didn’t want to look at, and so I distracted myself. I recently forced myself to face the past 6 months, and I will blog about that soon – because this blog is about my journey and how it can help others. That’s going to be a powerful and challenging blog post – and I don’t want to hold up my “come back” waiting for the perfect words.

My last post was about Goals, and that is what I want to address today. It is a new year, and many people take this time to create new goals for the year. In my last post I said I was going to set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Trackable Goals. I actually did set these goals. I even created a goal poster and hung it where I would see it several times every day. So what happened? Why didn’t it work? What did I do wrong?

Sound familiar? Many of us go through this cycle of goal setting and there are many reasons why our best intentions don’t pan out. Sometimes we allow ourselves to get distracted by life. Something comes up and we make that a priority – instead of our goals. Sometimes our goals are not really attainable or realistic. Sometimes our goals are not really OUR GOALS (more on that later). Sometimes we need more accountability from others. Sometimes we are just not motivated by goals. There are many schools of thought out there on goals vs. intentions vs. resolutions vs. strategies vs. whatever you might want to call them. Some people work better with vision boards instead of goal posters. Some people work better with affirmations. Some people prefer Manifestation boards. There is no real comparison between all of these – other than what works for YOU. If what you are doing is not working for you, try something else. There is nothing wrong with you other than you just didn’t pick the right tool. It’s like reaching for a wrench and grabbing the wrong size. No big deal, just find a different tool. Don’t beat yourself up for grabbing the wrong tool!

I have found that vision boards work really well for me. I have several around my house with pictures and words that evoke the emotions of what I want to create in my life. I smile when I see some of the pictures and realize that they are part of my reality. So should I have created a vision board instead of a goal poster? Would that have made a difference? No. I’ve actually created vision boards in the past with the same goals as my poster, and those vision boards never created the same emotions. No, it turns out that my problem is that the goal was not really my goal.

Ironically, I realized that the problem was the goal while I was doing some soul searching on my “WHY”. I’ve been trying to find my why for so many years. Several times I’ve thought I had it, but because I was attaching it to the wrong WHAT… it was like trying to pound a square block into a round hole. For years my goal has been to become a Sales Director. I have all of the tools, talent, resources, skills, mentoring, and even the leads and the clients to get it done – but it was not happening. WHY did I want to become a sales director? I wanted to be on stage at company events, telling my story to motivate and inspire others. I wanted to train others. I wanted to mentor and motivate. I absolutely love and believe in the company I was working with and I believe 100% in the opportunity because I have seen so many women be so successful with the company.

My true goal is to be on stage. As a little girl I wanted to be a Rockstar. I now realize that I can fulfill my little girl dream by getting up on that stage and being a motivational speaker. I can entertain others and I can train them. I can motivate, inspire and coach on and off that stage. The reason I have not become a sales director is because I don’t really want to become a sales director. I can still be involved with the company as a great consultant, and I can still be a leader on my own. Now that I know my true goal – I get to find out what works best for me to attain it. I do know that for me I need a plan. I can’t get where I want to go without a map. I also need accountability. I’ve resisted accountability in the past, but every time I have been held accountable I have succeeded.

Time to stop resisting and start allowing.

And the signs say…. GOAL is NOT a four letter word!!!!

I’ve been spending a lot of time meditating, praying and asking for guidance and direction. I love it when I recognize the signs and answers from this type of reflection. I don’t usually see the signs right away. They come to me in many different forms until finally I cannot ignore the fact that I keep getting the same message or word over and over and over. Once I finally see the sign, I realize just how many times it was right in front of me and I looked right through it or past it. I also know that with this one there was also a bit of denial, resistance, and outright ignoring what I was seeing!

As with most of my blogs, the process of writing is also part of the process of discovery. WHY do I have so much resistance to this word? Why am I having such a difficult time even writing the word now???

GOALS.

There it is. My big scary word. I did some training recently and I chose the topic of Coachability, and I had to admit to myself and everyone in the class that I have a problem with setting clear and specific goals. I also admitted to them that I did recently complete a 21 day coaching program where I had to set 2 personal and 2 professional goals. I resisted, but pushed through the program and at the end I met all of my goals. You would think that would have been a huge AHA for me and I would have learned the magic of setting, tracking and following through with my goals. In a way I did, but not enough for me to set new goals and keep the momentum going. It has been almost 3 months since I competed that 21 day program, and I am now finally WILLING to see the signs that I have been receiving that it is time for me to set some real goals.

I can’t help but reflect back to try and figure out why I have such a block about setting goals. I used to set goals, and I have achieved many goals in the past. But that was then, and this is now. I’ve grown a lot in the last 5 years. My growth started with a message to let go. I have let go of a lot. I have let go of who I used to be, who I thought I was, what I thought I wanted, what I was willing to allow, what I thought was real, what I did for a living, and so much more. I worked so hard for all of those things, and many of them were achieved through setting goals. I must now let go of the FEAR that is keeping me from setting new goals. The fear is that if I work hard to attain these new goals that I will eventually have to let go of them too. This seriously just hit me as I was writing this. I love the power of blogging!

Fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real. If I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now and knowing what I had to let go of, I would not change a thing. Just because I let go of the old me doesn’t mean that the life I had before wasn’t amazing. It was. AND… just because I let go of the things and the positions that I obtained by reaching my goals, I will always have the lessons and the experiences. There is nothing to FEAR! Once again I am setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Trackable Goals. Watch out world…. I’m back and I am EXCITED!!!

The importance of communicating your vision

My boyfriend and I are great at communicating. By that I mean we are open to communication and we both know the importance of it. We are able to stop each other when we realize our communication is not clear and that the other is misunderstanding what we are trying to convey. Our relationship is new, and we both realize that if we want it to grow we have to be able to talk to each other. We are also both very strong willed, powerful, independent, confident in our abilities… and a bit set in our ways. We each know how to get things done, and we know the way that works for us.

We have a lot in common when it comes to our personalities, but our lifestyles are a bit different. He loves the outdoors, nature and camping. I haven’t been camping in over 20 years, and I convinced myself that I didn’t enjoy it. Since I’m starting a new chapter in my life and it has been so long since I tried it, I am open to finding out if maybe now I do. I’ve changed so much in the past 20 years, it only makes sense that my likes have changed too.

This weekend we went camping for the first time together. Since this is his world, I left all of the decisions up to him… but I did request one thing. I wanted baked potatoes in the campfire. As we were preparing dinner the first night, he got ready to cook the potatoes on one of his grills. He is a great cook and he is the one with all of the camping experience, and I didn’t want to tell him that I was bummed that we were not going to put them in the camp fire. I tried to suggest that maybe we could cook them in the fire, but he already had his vision of how dinner was going to come together and so he wanted to cook them they way he had planned.

This is when I realized the importance of communicating your vision. You see, when I was a young girl and went camping with my parents, the ONE thing I really remembered was that we wrapped potatoes in foil and put them in the campfire. At the time I thought that was so clever, and I have always loved potatoes. I have such a vivid memory of those potatoes! I honestly don’t even remember how they tasted, but they must have been good because when I think of campfires I always want to wrap potatoes in foil and put them in. I even remember my mom cooking them like that in our fireplace at home because I begged her for them! Now, had I communicated this vision to my boyfriend he would have known that I wasn’t just requesting baked potatoes… I really wanted them in the fire!!

As I was sulking to myself about the fact that I wasn’t going to get my campfire potatoes, my boyfriend sensed that something was wrong and he asked me. When I told him that my vision was of us cooking them in the fire, he totally changed his plans so that I could have my campfire potatoes, and he asked me how long we should put them in the fire. I told him that google said 30 minutes to 1 hour. We put the potatoes in the fire, and he revised his plans for the steak so it would all be done at the same time. As it turned out… 1 hour was WAY TOO LONG. In the end, we ended up with no potatoes, because the blackened blobs we removed from the fire were totally inedible!

Had I communicated my vision in the very beginning, I would have known that he had never cooked potatoes in a camp fire, we could have done more research to find out how long to cook them, and we would have had the potatoes of my vision. Instead, we had a very delicious steak with some corn… and I learned the importance of clearly communicating my vision!

When people understand your vision, they can better understand how they can support you. It is your job to paint the picture of the vision.