GrowHope Project

Choice and Balance

I just read a painful writing from a parent whose child died by a medical proceedure that went wrong.  She was asking how do you let go of the anger and injustice for the wrongful death and move toward a higher vibration to feel and connect with your child.  Her pain and suffering is just and is what many of us has had to wrestle with.  To lose a child is backwards and out of order just by the fact that they died before us; but the details in some stories leave much to question and much to wrestle with.  After reading her words, I felt the answer to “My How?” surface strongly and quite softly:

How, you ask, do you push through the angst and heaviness of such a loss?                       You begin where you are right now.  You express your feelings to those who can hold space for you.  You rage the injustice of it all.  You go to places that are dark, scary and confusing – you research, write, rant, cry, isolate, integrate and question the very being of all things until you are blue in the face.  You watch time go by slowly and at lightening speed – and wonder why you are being dragged and left behind at the same time.  You wonder what makes you get up and even brush your teeth in the morning – and the only answer you can come up with is, because you can.

You get to the place that there’s nothing left to feel or say and you exhaust yourself from the anger, the bitterness, the rage and unfairness of it all.  You start where you are….and you notice in one moment that will happen in another tomorrow, that you are being guided to a calmer, more peaceful place to softly cry, mourn your loss and feel your child’s presence in that calm and softness.  You begin to replace the rage and anger with what matters more – the connection you have with this beautiful child you gave love to.  How is a question that has no measure of time.  It is a meaure of choice and this choice has a time and a purpose all its own.  My child died once, yet I have let myself feel that moment thousands upon thousands of times.  How do you move from the anger, rage and injustice?  By starting where you are, leaning toward those who have found their way through their own story and believing more in the connection of your child than in the details of their death.  Balance and choice…..both will serve you.   My son’s absence is a mindset.  So is his presence.  It is in that presence that I have been able to choose to let the anger, rage and unfairness go.  Life has supported me on this journey – always has.








Helping Parents Heal


The next meeting of our Kona Chapter of “Helping Parents Heal” will be Saturday, September 24, at 4:00 PM at the Kona Community Hospital Conference Room #2 (look for the sign at the entrance of the parking lot below ER).

Helping Parents Heal is a support group for those who are learning to live with losses, disappointments, unplanned events that have popped up unexpectedly and learning from each other in ways we never thought about.  There are days when I have felt I simply cannot do this dance, this walk, this assignment that life has shoved in my hands.  And there are those experiences that have shown me that I not only can, but it is necessary to be that light for that person or be in the presence of her story, his grief – to understand that what has happened to me is no different from what has happened to you – it just came in a different package, in a different arrangement.

We, as a community, are the brave ones.  The ones who despite the enormity of the impossible, can look at our story with courage.  It is not an easy story to carry, but it is beautiful because it is wrapped with the compassion we have for each other; the shattered and battered hearts, the scars we wear from loving our children with all our hearts.

Please consider joining our group on the fourth Saturday of every month.  There will be a candle lighting for our loved ones, a short video on living with our loss, a guest speaker from our community and an opportunity to introduce your loved one to the community.  Feel free to contact me anytime.

Strong Enough



AGILITY    The ability to move in any direction anytime, anywhere

ENDURANCE    The ability to remain active for a long period of time

BALANCE    The ability to support yourself when and how you want

COORDINATION    The ability to move in a harmonious way

STRENGTH    The ability to overcome resistance

My continuing education materials arrived!!!    American Council on Exercise sent a box filled with all my study materials, and on the side of the box, in big red letters is the above, “TOOLS FOR LIFE”.  It caught my attention and had me thinking about these as LIFE tools.

I have been a member and supporter of the American Council on Exercise ever since I can remember.  This organization got my attention when I was just thinking about what it would be like to lead an exercise class.  That was 1985.  I was also thinking about losing a bunch of baby weight and was wrapping myself around the notion that smoking cigarettes might be getting in the way of the picture of health I had of myself.  Today that seems so long ago.  Much has happened from those days and to where I am today.  As I was expanding my interest in exercise and holistic fitness, my life experience was keeping up at a similar pace.  I have had some wonderful highlights to smile about; weddings, babies, new houses, great jobs and amazing friendships.  I have also weathered some storms; heart-break, divorces, debt, uncertainty, death of my son and mother and cherished friends.

Most of my career and life philosophy has been connected with Balance, Endurance and Agility – easier tools when I read the above.  The ability to support yourself, remaining active for periods of time and to move in any direction needed….But there were times that I struggled with the Strength and Coordination component.  I thought I was strong until….I thought I was able to move in harmonious ways until…..

To receive the benefits of wisdom without the practice of showing up, falling, getting back up…reflecting…falling again, showing up, turning toward something that is bigger than yourself and repeating the process….is not going to happen.   For years (I mean “years”), I would be a wreck before I took the mic and put on my music for my fitness classes.  The inner critic would remind me of all that I lacked.  It would try to compare me with others, point out my missteps and my shortcomings.  The heart broken woman in me was wanting to stay hidden in the land of loss.  Certainly the world would understand if I didn’t get up; there would certainly be the understanding that “this life storm” was an epic event and any response would be supported.  But there was that stronger voice that hasn’t always been the loudest, but it has always been constant, “You are stronger than this.  Trust that this is not for you, but for others.  They need you to teach from experience”.

The practice of showing up after adversity takes the cooperative efforts of all of it:  balance, endurance, strength, coordination and agility – each tool holds it’s own set of empowerment gifts.  Equally, the practice of continuing to show up during successful ventures requires the same qualities.  Yes, you were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.  Yes, indeed.

Hope and Promise

In remembrance of all those journeys that changed our best laid plans, those anticipated and unexpected losses, setbacks, disappointments and changing of what we thought life was bringing to us…this quote seems appropriate:

“In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all, and it often comes with bitter agony.  Perfect relief is not possible, except with time.  You cannot now believe that you will ever feel better.  But this is not true.  You are sure to be happy again.  Knowing this, truly believing it, will make you less miserable now.  I have had enough experience to make this statement.”  Abraham Lincoln.

President Lincoln was speaking from personal experience.  Like many of us today, he didn’t just talk about moving through pain, he had experienced what it was like to lead, make choices, support, fall, rise again, lose, win, compromise, reflect and wrap hope and a promise that we as a people would move into that place where healing would take place, in time.  There is always space for a peaceful resolve, a compromise, an apology.  In the concept of “The Warrior Within”, it is about taking off the protective armor and false masks and practice standing in the strength of integrity, compassion and awareness that “you” can make a positive difference in life as you stand in front of adversity.

I am reminded of a piece written by Alfred D. Souza.  He said, “For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life.  But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid.  Then life would begin.  At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”

Living a life, experiencing this life with hope and promise sets the tone for forward thinking, forward movement….that there is hope that the air will clear; that more space will be created for another to share their thoughts and wild ideas; that we can comfort and lift up, even when you can’t imagine being lifted out of the mess…..And life is messy….crazy messy…..with incredible joys and celebrations, traumatic losses and quiet restorative moments that puts order to the disorder.   This is what life is – all of it.  I have chosen to stay in the light of hope and the promise that I will have the courage and strength to hold all that life will give me to hold  and to hold it with compassion and kindness.



Trust Your Intuition

“Every life we touch intersects. Every Action goes out and comes back. Don’t be afraid of living in an awakened state….and don’t be afraid to listen to that inner voice.”
I have learned to trust what my inner voice is asking me to listen to. It has always had a strong presence in my life, but the voice was soft enough not to be too pushy. There have been times when I wish that voice had been a bit louder and persistent. I would have had softer landings during some of my bigger falls. Listening and trusting your intuition is not as simple nor as complex as others would have you believe, but first one must understand what “intuition’ is and what it is not.
in.tu.i.tion (/int(y)oo’iSH(e)n/; noun: the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.; a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning; direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process.

What intuition is not is woo-woo and is definitely not from the land of rainbows and unicorns.  Much of our culture, religious sects and parenting guidelines encourages us go to the heart, feel it, move with it, listen to it.  Just as here is a physical intuition that keeps us from falling forward or backward – known as a counter balance, we are asked to feel, listen, be aware of the inner intuitive balances.
Recently I asked a successful motivational speaker and author how he knew that he was suppose to be speaking before hundreds of people, sharing his story and writing about it. I wanted him to give me reasoning behind my writing, speaking engagements and the stepping out of my safe place of living. I wanted him to put my pieces in place that would give me approval that what I was thinking about doing was what I am suppose to do. He didn’t give me “my answers” but he listened to what I felt I was being asked to do. What I knew was this; when you feel deep in your heart, deep inside your being, that you are being guided to share your story for the betterment of another and not for your own self, that is a voice to listen to. This is what I call trusting your intuition.
Living with your intuitive voice is living with courage to be who you are suppose to be. The times I went against what felt was my path, there seemed to be more controversy, a bit more uneasiness, confusion and mixed messages. The times that I went with what my inner voice was guiding me towards, I found a peaceful voyage, tools to work with the rising tide, not against it.
I have learned to offer possibilities to another by reaching back with one hand while stretching forward with the other. Intuition is a strength stone I carry in my pocket. I will always be grateful for its gifts.

My Journey


I would not have believed you if you had said to me twelve years ago, that I would be looking forward to another day, more opportunities to smile, cry and be in the presence of family, girlfriends, leading fitness classes, creating positive uplifting playlists or writing about the death of my child and living with uncertainty…..

I would not have believed you if you said to me twelve years ago, that I would reach out to people I don’t know and introduce myself as a possibility to lead a workshop, a new venture, a presentation about surviving and thriving after loss…..

I would not have believed you if you said to me, that I would hold my baby granddaughter in my heart long before she was born or hold her securely in my arms and whisper to her that no matter what life brings, it is worth every bit of everything and not to give up on hope…..

No, I would not have believed you.

You see, when you have been crushed under the weight of grief and sorrow, you can’t see much of anything. You can’t hear the pleas of those who care about you. The moment before everything changed, you can’t imagine how deep is deep; how dark is dark or how much begging you do with the universe to let you leave this world to be with this child. Sound harsh? Does this feel uncomfortable? Do you wish another word was used so you felt a little more at ease?
Well, welcome to the world of grief.

Early in my loss, my dark days, a well-meaning person asked me to not to use the word, “died”, but to use the words, “passed on”. We were talking about the events that led up to Sean’s accident and the reports from the Colorado State Trooper and Coroner. I remember thinking how interesting he casually threw that out for me to consider as though he was offering a snack instead of holding a broken heart.  At the time, I was too stunned by the death of my son to respond to any comment, and when this was said to me, I must have been in the grief stupor – but the comment did not go unnoticed.

Today I am twelve years removed from the shock of that night. I have traveled far and deep, long and hard on this grief journey. I discovered, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, that the power to leave the place of uncertainty was always within me. Life catapulted me into a journey I would not have chosen for myself. Twelve years ago, I didn’t know where to look for my shattered heart.  Today, I look back and I can see that my heart was put back together one jagged piece at a time.  I was tended to by many who held me with empathy, compassion and courage.

If you would have said to me twelve years ago that I was going to look forward to another day with hope and purpose, I would not have believed you.

My journey continues, but now with hope, courage and purpose.

%d bloggers like this: