I am…

Fill in my strengths. As part of the healing process, I am supposed to be practicing self-love through affirmations but my mind goes blank.

I can describe the strengths I see in my Love, our children, and my chosen ones without pausing for breath. But when it comes to describing myself, my mind goes blank or on my bad days goes to my many (some days never ending) flaws.

When I have shared this sentiment with my chosen ones, they tell me wonderful things about myself and I feel their love for me. Why can’t I see this for myself? Have I truly been conditioned to not see myself as being valuable and worthy of love? As one of God’s children, why this is hard for me to do for myself?

At some point in life, I believe that I forgot how to shower myself with love. I have been busy with taking care of children, being a wife, learning to stand alone, being a child to aging parents, being an employee and handling all that life has thrown at me. So busy with others and life, that I believe that I simply forgot how to express love for me.

As I am grieving the loss of my father and blending two families together, I am searching to find the right affirmations that will help me heal and find the right path for our tribe.

We are often told, it’s none of your business what others think of you. This isn’t necessarily true. In dark times, we need to hear from the angels (our chosen ones) that God has put in our lives.

I asked my chosen ones from different parts of my life for one postive thing about me with no further explanation. (Apparently I only have 2 friends who follows directions but I know it is all out of love for me.) Some of their responses…

From AP,

“Lady, you are tenacious. You go after what you want with all your heart, and you protect those you love with all your strength.”

From AA,

“You are a great listener.
You protect those around you.
You are honest.
You are trusting.
You are strong. ”

From TG,

” No matter how old or professional you are….you have the heart of a goofball! You may not instigate it, but if the opportunity arises…..😊

So not a bad thing! It is heartwarming and endearing.I hope life never takes that from you. At your core, it shows a resilience.”

From CH,

“you’re VERY caring about people. You’re giving of…you, your time, your home ”

From DW,

Good friend

From SH,

“You are organized you are thoughtful you are a good mother. You are good with finances. You are a good friend. You are a Christian You are a good daughter. You are smart. You are a good tennis player. You are fun to be with. You can be witchy when necessary. You open your heart to others. You are a good social chairman you are a good driver. You can be spontaneous .”

From EV,

“1. You make an effort to keep in touch with people
2. You throw a hell of a birthday party
3. You have amazing children
4. You have a fabulous gift of hospitality/- your door is always open
5. You are a good cook”

From SW,

“You care very very deeply for those that you love!

You are kind

You are smart

You are a ton of fun and you make me laugh

You work hard

You are open to tying new things and are adventurous

You don’t gossip”

From MT,

“You are such a wonderful woman with a kind heart. I don’t know what I would have done without you when I was going through all my crap. You are so thoughtful and put everyone else first. Also one of the smartest tech savy peep I know.”

These messages mean the world to me in my time of need. They affirm that I am living up to God’s plan. I am using the blessings that He has bestowed on me even though I was not seeing it. Although I am human and so very flawed, I am making a difference to others. I am grateful for and humbled by what my chosen ones have shared with me. Their messages made me smile with love for them, laugh at inside stories and shed an occasional tear at their sweetness for noticing little things that I consider part of daily life. This reminded me why they are my chosen ones.

Most of all, I am reminded that I am loved even with my flaws! Now it is time to pray that I see me as they clearly as they do.

A letter to Popsy.

So today is the day that I’ve been dreading. It’s your Memorial, Dad. It means that your death is real and that you are gone. I was there when you passed last month but I’ve been denying it. How can you be gone when we all love you and need you?

So many times I have picked up the phone to call you and tell you about the kids, the weather and that my paperwhites are blooming. I can hear myself saying to you “I know it’s February and they are outside in North GA but they are blooming. Crazy, isn’t it?” Each time I realize that I can’t speak to you, my heart breaks again.

Soon after your death, my BF, Susan, told me that my VM was full. I was listening to the messages and your voice was still there from our wedding last summer. You were asking if we were home yet. “Make sure you call us when you get home, Honey. We love y’all.” My heart broke again and I couldn’t stop the tears. On my worst days, I listen to your voice, wishing you were still here with us.

I often think of you as I am looking at our wedding pictures from last summer. Lord knows that we upset some family and friends since it was just immediate family and a couple of our closest friends. If we had made them happy by waiting and had a larger wedding, you wouldn’t have been there. I am so thankful that you were there for our special day. It wouldn’t have been as joyful without you.

I thought that I was going to be okay on this trip. After all it’s been over a month since you passed. As we got closer and closer last night, my slowly healing heart started breaking again. I cried from Birmingham, AL until Tupelo, MS. Maybe just maybe, I got all the grief and pain I’ve felt out last night then maybe just maybe today will be easier. Not very hopeful though, since the hard knot of grief around my heart doesn’t seem to be loosening. Praying hard to feel joy since I know that you are with Nanny, Pops and all our family in heaven.

You weren’t always the Dad that I wanted. But you are mine and who God decided that I needed. There have been so many times when I was so angry with you and hurt by your choices. At some point, I realized that you asked for forgiveness and showed love through simple things like sharing plants and gardening knowledge with me. It was time to let the hurt go and accept what you had to give. I am so thankful that God blessed me with the gift of forgiveness and a second chance with you. You are so important to me.

I’m avoiding the grief books a friend lent me. If I read them, then you are really gone.

I couldn’t share your obituary because then I would have to acknowledge that you are gone.

When you passed, I wanted to feel relief for you. You were free from the horrible pain that you had been in for years. I couldn’t though. I was screaming inside. “Don’t you know how much we need you? Gram-Gram loves you and needs her husband! We love you and need our Dad! Aunt N and Uncle P love you and want their brother! The kids love and need you! You won’t see them grow up. Who’s going to count their ribs and make funny faces with them. Who will teach them about our love for gardening, Dad? I don’t want to do this without you. You can’t leave us!”

You had passed and were lying there tilted to the side in the bed at hospice house. I wanted to make sure you were comfortable and make sure you were warm enough even knowing that your spirit was no longer with us. I hated walking out with Gram-Gram and Sissy thus leaving you alone. I felt like we had abandoned you. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done.

I was so angry with myself. This had been coming for so long, I was supposed to be prepared for it. I was supposed to be thankful for God relieving you of your pain. I wasn’t. I was shattered and felt bereft without you here. My Dad was gone.

I drove Gram-Gram and Sissy home after you passed. I’m thankful that the Lord’s angels kept us safe from harm because I don’t remember a single thing from that 1:30 am drive. Not a damn thing.

We are keeping our promise to you and being here for Gram-Gram. We love her so much. I swear it’s not a burden at all. Hopefully we aren’t making her too crazy. I’ll admit it, I’ve been needy. Sometimes just hearing her voice brings you close.

We brought all sorts of pictures of you from the past. I feel guilty about not doing it prior so you could have told her your stories. I know that Uncle P and Aunt N will help tell your stories. Gram-Gram will enjoy hearing about the crazy things that you got into and seeing the scrap books full of your young life.

You would enjoy the party later today. Solemn funeral services are so not your thing. I’m sure that you will be looking down on us loving seeing that you brought your family together. I promise that I will try to be happy later today but I’m struggling right now. I’ve cried a box a Kleenex while I’ve written this letter to you.

I miss you today, tomorrow and forever, Popsy. I will miss having you around for our adventures and seeing all the kids grow up. But you will be with us always and I’ll love you forever.

Rest in Peace.

Daniel Bradley Perkins III

February 19, 1943 – January 3, 2019