I was sitting here at my computer, I just came in from taking Isabella for her morning walk, I have a glass of orange juice and a Marlboro and was responding to a journal entry of a friend. When I started thinking about all of us. This community, this place where we come for solace, understanding, compassion, friendship. A place to grieve where the people who are reading our entries get it, truly get it. I have said a 100 times that it is so unfortunate that we have all had to meet like this, but what a blessing it is that we have. Which brings me to my topic. How alike we all are. I am here because some animal took my first born child and murdered him, some of my friends are here also due to death by violence, some from suicide, some by illness. All such different deaths, but deaths non the less. We all had to pick a casket, we all had to plan the funeral and choose the pall-bearers. None of us thought it would happen, that we would be sitting at the desk of the funeral director choosing the guest sign in book. I know I did not, especially not for my child. But yet we all had to do it, the common thread that brings us all here is the loss of the person we loved. Then we have the damn grieving process, friends of mine know me and know that I am so not into the 5 or is it 8 steps of grieving. You know that I am the one that always says "Grieving is personal". We do it in our own way, our own time, but we do it. My family and friends are fearful because I have not cried yet for Jason. He died on January 1, 2007 and I have yet to cry for his death. For months, people would actually call me and say "has it happened? have you cried yet?". They were all afraid that when it did happen, that I would end up at 1212 California St. For those of you not from Stockton, that is the address of our Mental Health office. Well I deal with his death everyday, he is not alive, how can I not deal with it, I just don't cry about it. This is why I always say that grieving is very personal, yes we all do it, we have no choice, but we do it differently and in our own way and there is no right or wrong way to do it. When we were in the funeral directors office choosing the casket, they did not hand us the book called "how to grieve for the loss of your loved one", right? There is no right or wrong way to do it, cry if you need to, yell if you need to, whatever it is you have to do to get through this horrible time, you have to do. The thing about that is, you do have to do it. You have to go through it, feel it, but you are not doing it wrong, you just have to do it so that you can live. I have learned a lot in this time period, I have learned that it is important to remember to take it one minute at a time, to hell with one day at a time for me, it is important to remember to breathe and it is important to remember to take a moment every once and awhile for yourself. Do something for you, just you. I did a challenge for all my friends last weekend with that as the challenge, a total of 38 people on my friends list participated in it, 20 sent me messages of what they had done. What it did was cause all of us involved to stop and think about ourselves for the moment. In this process called grief, this road we are on, life continues, whether we want it to or not, it does go on, the rent needs to get paid, the utilities will go off if we don't pay the bill, and we have to eat and work and raise our kids and live, whether we want to or not. So in that process, we have to remember to take care of ourselves. We are so alike all of us here, different cause of death, same story. We are alike and like it or not, we have to get through this life somehow. Coming here to this community helps, talking helps, crying may help, just remember if we are alike here, then we are not alone here. We are not alone. So take care of yourselves, and next week I will be sending out a new challenge for all of my friends on my list, and remember take care of yourselves and in doing that, you can then take care of your loved ones and the friends on your friends list, if we all do that one thing, we will make it. Mary
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