Posted in cancer, faith, God, Grace, help, loss, prayer, soul, Thanksgiving

Death Comes For All

I don’t imagine this will be my most popular topic to write about but when you are told that yours may be imminent, it has been cause for me to explore the topic.  It is said that we are born to die.  And it is true, nobody gets out of this life alive.  Even Jesus had to experience physical death before eternal life.

In this day and age we have distanced ourselves from the concept of death.  We have hospice and funeral homes.  But just a century ago, most people died in their own homes, surrounded by family members and death was observed by families, up close and personal.  This is not the case today.  It was also something that many cultures embraced and prepared for.  Whereas, in today’s  society where we avoid the subject or reality of it, at all costs.  I am not saying that I am racing to the grave but I have made a bit of a study of it.

In many cultures or beliefs there is a bit of a ceremony at the time of transition.  Drums are beat, chants are made, music is played.  Here is the US, the priest or pastor is called at times and the last rites are said etc.  But what is all this about?  Is it for the departing soul or for the remaining family?  If you die alone, does it make an eternal difference to the dying?  Many of the dying wait until they are alone to slip away.  They find it difficult to do when surrounded by family and wait and quietly slip away when someone steps away for just a moment.  It’s as if they cling to life while surrounded by family but find it easier to depart when no one is around.  I have heard of this happening many times.

My very first experience with death came when I was 8 years old.  My young and beautiful step sister was dying of brain cancer.  I was very young when the reality that children die too, was thrust upon me.  It was sad and difficult watching a child I played with and cared for, die a slow and agonizing death.  And I am struck with my own cancer in my brain and my gamma knife success, how different it may have been if she had been diagnosed in today’s medical age.

My next death experience came when I had just graduated high school and my great grandmother (who had survived breast cancer in the 1940’s) was dying of leukemia. After graduation, I went to live with my grandparents once again and helped with meals and laundry while Nana took care of Nanny until she drew her last breath.  Nanny was surrounded by loved ones and in her own bed when she died.  The coroner was called, they came and took Nanny away and we had a traditional funeral service for her.

Then came the death of my second husband’s sister.  She drank herself to death.  She had been told where her drinking was taking her but she did not heed the warning and drank herself into full blown liver failure.  I remember being mad about this death it seemed so senseless at the time and she left behind 2 teenagers and a husband.  I later found out about some trauma that must have scarred her on a very deep level that she hid and it most likely ate her alive.  She died in the hospital and was not in her right mind as the toxins (from a failed liver) built up in her system.  It was very sad to watch, especially knowing that she had done this to herself.

Since my breast cancer experience, I have witnessed many folks on their deathbed.  I am a witness to their passing.  I am OK with being there.  I have had very deep conversations with folks who are passing over and I have had a glimpse of what comes after.  There is an after.  This life that we see and experience is not all there is.  Souls (mine and yours) live on beyond the relinquishment of the physical body.  The essence of who we are goes on.  It does not matter what you believe happens after that……know this, you will continue to exist.  The love you expressed, the people you helped, the kindness you showed matters.

Take some time out of your life to figure your next stop.  It always amazes me at how much time is spent preparing for things that MIGHT happen and so little time is spent on what is definitely going to happen, at some point.  Death comes for us ALL, no exception.  What are you doing to prepare for yours??

Microsoft Word - heaven.docx

 

Posted in cancer, faith, friend, God, Grace, gratitude, hapiness, healing, heart, help, Love, prayer, soul, Thanksgiving

Living From the Heart

Living from the heart.  What does this mean?  Another expression “living wholeheartedly.”  I love Brene Brown, she has done several great works on this subject of living wholeheartedly and authentically.  But what does it look like, this wholehearted living?

I will try to flesh this out in the way that I have been working on.  The Word courage actually has at the root of it “Heart”.  Middle English (denoting the heart, as the seat of feelings): from Old French corage, from Latin cor ‘heart.’  So we know that courage takes heart.  It has meant for me to moving forward despite the way I am feeling.  Courage does not mean that I am not afraid but that I continue on my path despite my fears.

The bible tells us that “perfect love casts out fear” 1John 4;18.  So, it is impossible to experience love when we are in a state of fear.  Courage is an act of faith, to move forward despite our fears.  It takes courage and faith to believe you are not dying of cancer when the doctors tell you that you have six months to live.

Much of this courage begins with thought and intention.  Humans are the only created being that have the ability to observe thought.  That means we can think about what we are thinking about.  We also have the ability to police those thoughts.

When I was first told I had six months to live, I sat one day and made a list of every negative, fatalistic thought that I had.  I memorized it and place it before myself so any time I had one of those thoughts, I recognized it and chased it from my mind.  I replaced it with prayers and healing intentions for myself.  This went on hundreds of times a day, in the beginning.  In time, I found I had less and less of those thoughts to chase.

I spend nearly a half and hour a day when I am in a dreamy state before I get up and and I do my work.  My true work.  I pray and meditate on my good health and healing intentions for my body.  I chase fear, I invite in love and light and express extreme gratitude for another day.  This time I spend is extremely important and it helps me to be fortified from within before I begin my day.  I am not in a particular position but I do practice breathing and listening to my breath.

In this state I envision and experience health with my thoughts and my emotions.  I express my gratitude for the simplest things: my body, my mind, my family, my husband, children, food, shelter.  I ask for nothing just gratitude for what I have.  I experience joy and contentment.  Here and now.

Living from the heart is rare.  People often say I am brave, if that means being authentic and genuine then yes, I am brave.  I guess I put a lot “out there” and express openly what others would not.  At times it does feel risky but it is mostly out of an attempt to help  someone who may be in a dark and fearful place.  To give them hope and potentially show them a way out.  I have been in dark places myself and I know how scary it can be to be alone with bad thoughts and intentions towards myself.  I spent many years there.  But those years have given me much compassion and understanding.

Living from the heart is healthy.  I believe it is what we were created to do.  To experience love and express love freely.  It is mainly negative experiences that cause us to wall ourselves off.  And with some folks who have proven themselves to be untrustworthy with our hearts, it is right to do.  I was not created to be anyone’s doormat.  Neither were you.  But I was created to be a welcome mat and there is a HUGE difference!!

I will share one of my favorite talks here:

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Casting For Recovery Florida

 

 

 

allie

Two weeks ago, I went to a wonderful retreat called Casting For Recovery, in Lake Mary Florida.  I had a wonderful time and met 12 wonderful participants, nine fantastic volunteers and 7 wonderful boat captains.

The premise of the retreat is to get 14 women together who have never met before but have a common experience of breast cancer.  To take 2.5 days to connect the participants through an activity of fly fishing.  Fly fishing has been found to be a very therapeutic activity for women who have undergone breast surgery and have mastectomies or the loss of lymph nodes.  The movement of casting the fly back and forth is very good for moving lymph and freeing up muscles and range of motion.

There are times spent in education about fly fishing, the equipment, the technique.  There were times to practice and work on the methods that we were being taught.  We also learned to tie our own flies.

There are also times spent in communion with one another.  Times of intimacy and sharing.  There were tears and there were cheers.  We were bound close to one another and genuinely came to care for each one there.  It was a time to reveal our true selves, what we hope for and also, what we fear.  It was beautiful.

There were gifts, laughter and stuffed animals.  There was time at night when we would sit and sip wine and laugh and share some more.

Finally on Monday morning we got up very early and packed our bags and met the Boat guides on the St. John’s river in order to actually practice what we learned and to catch fish.  My captain was a gentleman named Greg.  He was a successful businessman in his own rite and took time from his schedule for the past 7 years to come out and do this retreat.

They paired 2 women per boat and paired us by ability and desire to fish.  They put a woman named Michele in the boat with me because we both wanted to really fish.  Some ladies are more interested in a boat ride but not Michele and I.  We wanted to CATCH FISH.  So, Greg told us when we got in the boat that he had been able to put Casting For Recovery Ladies on fish EVERY year since he started.  So……NO PRESSURE!!  He kept taking us to different areas of the river that he thought were good potential and telling us where to cast to.  He was also trying to get us out of the wind so we could cast well.  He supplied the rods and opened a case for us to pick a fly.  The day before we learned that some flies cost hundreds of dollars so when he showed me his selection, I was reluctant to use his flies because I did not know which one were disposable.  I then presented the fly that I had tied and asked if I could fish with it.  He thought my fly looked good and said of course.  Well, much to my surprise, after about an hour I caught a fish using my fly and I had about 3 more strikes.

Catching a fish was just the icing on an already delicious cake!! I was very happy.  The media was also out there with us so I believe in May there will be a lengthy feature story on the retreat which I will post here later.  It was an incredible retreat, I highly recommend for anyone who has gone through breast cancer.  There are affiliates all over the US, so check online and apply.  It is well worth the investment of time.  I feel very blessed to have been able to participate.  In the photo above the yellow fly on the stuffed alligator is the one I tied.

fish

Posted in cancer, Chemotherapy, friend, healing, help

The Things People Say………….

It has been very interesting to have my new diagnosis and run into people in the community at events. I have had the strangest things said to me. I will list some of them here in efforts to help people communicate with folks who have a difficult diagnosis. First I will list some of the things said:

1. “OH, I thought you had passed” My common response to this one is, “well thanks for coming to my memorial”. Yes, this has actually been said to me 3 times. This one is obviously nothing that you want to say to anyone. The first time someone said it, I felt like I had been slapped. My new oncologist actually said this to me. Very bad form.

2. “You look awesome for a dead woman walking” This one is funny when I say it (jokingly)but not so funny when others say it. It hurts me a bit and I don’t see myself as a dead woman walking. I see myself as a person living with and managing a cancer diagnosis.

3. “How are you really doing”? This one bothers me because I am fairly transparent. If I was not doing well, I would be pretty vocal about it. One of the things that I try to strive to be is authentic. I am not much of a complainer and I am the cock-eyed optimist so unless things are tragic, I will be focusing on what is right in my life, not what is wrong.

4. “OH, you are out”? I am not bed ridden. I am still very active. You may run into me shopping, at the gym etc. I have pulled out of many community activities mostly because I have to steel myself against the things people say and the pity that some people exude. Let me just say this here. I hate pity. I am not pitiful, I am OK. I am doing really well and I appreciate genuine concern but I hate pity!!

5. “OH, wow You still have hair”? Yes, I am not doing chemo or whole brain radiation. Cancer does not equal no hair. Many people who are in the midst of cancer do not lose their hair.
That is a stereotype. And although, I have been bald before. I have a healthy head of hair now.

I know folks are well-meaning and most do not know what to say and do. I have a suggestion. Why don’t you just treat me like Dawn. Treat me as you always have. I don’t mind genuine inquiries about my health. I am happy to answer any questions that you may have, especially if you want to know what I am doing and you want to pass my name or information to someone else so that I may help or encourage them.

I believe I am still here to help others and I have done much research, scientific research into the routine and regime I am using daily. I am always happy to talk about that.
I love people and I know most of them mean well. These are just some guidelines when conversing with me or anyone who has cancer.

Thanks

Posted in bitterness, help, loss, narcissism

New Post on Narcissism: Respost

The Timing And Motivation Behind Why Most Narcissists Discard Their Partners

 

Why do narcissists seem to pick the worst possible times to discard their partners? Are they really that cold-blooded that they not only break-up with you, but also plan to do it at a time that would add insult to injury? What would motivate a narcissist to hurt someone they professed to love so much in such a heartless and brutal manner?

I have heard many stories of narcissists dumping their partners right before a major holiday, or on their partner’s birthday, or after their partner shared something very personal. I’ve also heard of narcissists ending relationships right before a special planned event, or when their partner was down on their luck, grieving the loss of a loved one or even diagnosed with a serious illness. The list of heartless, cold and calculating ways that narcissists end relationships continues on and on.

It is not your imagination. Indeed, it is true that the narcissist will purposely plan the timing of their breakups to occur during times when distress or vulnerability is extremely high in your life.

Narcissists thrive from kicking you when you’re down.

Adding to your troubles and blindsiding you increases the odds that you will become completely unhinged by the cruelty of their cold-blooded actions and complete surprise of your expulsion.

Narcissists are fully anticipating you to beg, plead and promise to change even more than you already have when they unexpectedly break things off with you. It is their deranged way of further managing you down the road and fully establishing their superiority and dominance over you. The more that you abandon all dignity in a desperate attempt to try to understand how they could simply dispose of you as though you never meant anything to them, the grander and more in control they feel.

Your pain creates a transitory jolt of self-worth that silences a narcissists nagging feelings of self-loathing. It gives them a temporary rush. Watching your heart break with agony is literally intoxicating to them. It’s the equivalent to a hit of cocaine. Their behavior, post discard, may appear almost manic as they become drunk in their own premeditated ego boost.

Flaunting a new  “supply” or relationship in your face just days or weeks later is their coup de grâce. Emotionally healthy people would feel too ashamed or embarrassed to publicly jump into another relationship so quickly. The narcissist doesn’t. Not in the least.

Why?

Because the narcissist has most likely been planning your discard and smearing your reputation behind your back for weeks, if not much longer. The narcissists’ supporters won’t think twice hearing that you were replaced so suddenly because they have heard all about your alleged faults and misdeeds for quite some time. They more than likely will be happy that the “poor” narcissist has found someone to rescue them from the likes of you.

What should you do if your narcissist breaks up with you unexpectedly and smears your character? Absolutely NOTHING! Their supporters are still under the influence of the narcissist’s stories just like you were. In fact, you’ve probably seen sides of the narcissist that his or her supporters have never seen or could never even possibly imagine. Guess what? You still stayed and hung in there in the haze of your Kool-Aid spiked cocktail mixed with shots of your own cognitive dissonance and unconditional love.

Do not try to defend yourself to your narcissist or their supporters. This is a waste of precious emotional energy that you will need. Do not try to sway the supporters in to siding with you. The narcissist has anticipated the things that you might say and has already countered them by planting a very credible sounding rendition of the truth in the minds of their supporters.

“But it’s NOT fair! Why should I let the narcissist get away with trying to destroy my character and play the victim while I’m the real victim and the one hurting?”

It’s not fair. But narcissists don’t play fair or by the rules. They are morally deficient and lack a conscience. For this reason you can never win a battle against a narcissist. There is no level that they will not stoop to in order to win. Your mind may be able to travel to hateful and horrible places, but your conscience will not allow you to pack your suitcase and follow suit.

You never entered the relationship to play games or “win.” You entered the relationship with an open heart and pure intentions. It may appear that the narcissist has “won” as they are running off happily into the sunset with their new soul mate while you are beyond devastated, just hanging on by your fingertips trying to put the pieces of your life back together and figure out what just happened.

As the fog slowly dissipates and you, like the thousands of survivors before you, will learn that there’s a name for the ABUSE you suffered. It’s called narcissistic abuse. You will realize that the narcissist tried to destroy, devalue and then discard you not because you were unworthy or flawed, but actually just the opposite. The narcissist devalues, destroys and discards from a place of insecurity and inferiority. “All cruelty springs from weakness”. ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Narcissists believe that if they can destroy and dominate good people who possess qualities that they lack, then they can adopt those qualities through some disordered process of osmosis.

If you’ve been discarded, most likely it’s a tribute to your strength.

You started seeing through the charade of the narcissist. You began challenging the narcissist on their lies and hypocrisy. You saw their mask slip and caught a glimpse of the evil, phony person that they have been hiding from you. At that point, you’re no longer a good source of supply. Your expiration date has arrived.

Your inkling or glimpse of the truth of what has been hiding behind the mask invalidates the deluded image the narcissist has of themselves. Their cover has been blown and to survive they need to discard you so that they don’t have to acknowledge the reality of their real, flawed self. To acknowledge the truth of their real-self would shatter the narcissist into pieces from which they could never recover.

Unfortunately, understanding the motivation and timing behind your dismissal does not lessen the torment of the feelings of pain, heart-ache and betrayal. You’ve been lied to, toyed with, and manipulated. Your love has been exploited and used as a weapon against you. Healing from this abuse takes time and tenacity.

When I said that you can never win a battle against a narcissist, I meant that you can never win if you play their game. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you lose. On the contrary, now that the relationship is over, you are no longer their unwilling opponent in their twisted “love” games. You’re sincere, genuine and you believe that love is not a game where there must always be a winner and a loser. Let the narcissist play the “You’re Always Going To End Up The Loser Game” with someone else.

You may still feel that the narcissist has won and that’s okay. Be patient with yourself. The more time and distance you have away from the narcissist, the more you’ll realize how mentally and emotionally imprisoned you actually were.

You are FREE now. So F.L.Y. (First Love Yourself) and let go of what you know in your mind is not good for you. That way you will be available to receive what you truly want and deserve.

Bree Bonchay
Bree Bonchay is a Los Angeles based Licensed Psychotherapist (LCSW) who believes “relationships are the currency of life”. She’s a relationship expert dedicated to helping people heal from break-ups, recover from toxicrelationships with narcissists and sociopaths and to never settle for a life less than the one they dreamed of. She is a Blogger, Advocate, Facebook Toxic Relationship Recovery Forum Administrator, Radio Guest Expert, and is the Author of her upcoming book, “I Am Free”. http://www.relationshipedia.me/
Posted in Uncategorized

Hello You!!

If you are my ex husband……..get a life!!  If you are a new friend welcome to my blog.  I debrief from life here and try to help others with issues regarding cancer, relationships and spirituality.  I hope you find it helpful, thoughtful and entertaining.

I stopped writing a while back when I realized my EX was my most ardent fan.  Which is really pretty pathetic!!   Now, I just don’t give a damn.  Writing helps me and some of my writings help others.

So hello and come along for the ride.  Like this blog to receive notifications of new entries.

:Dawn