Surviving Life's Lessons

September 23, 2013

Tales from the loo . . . Some of the most peculiar things happen to me when I’m in the bathroom.

Filed under: A funny thing happened . . . — mlarocque11 @ 2:14 am
In today’s story we see our heroine on yet another expedition in search of medication to help her cold symptoms. Bravely but cautiously we see her walking into a darkened room. There is a sense of moisture in the air. The darkness and moisture are overwhelming and she searches for a source of light. Alas, a light switch!! She readily recognizes it as some sort of lavatory. The moisture is easily explained by the trickles of water dancing down the walls as if in a race to see who will make it to the drain first. Also evident is the damp fabric flippantly tossed on the floor most likely left behind by someone enjoying the shower of water from the waterfall. Now. able to inspect this room clearly. she walks towards the sink and notices a mirrored box mysteriously mounted to the wall. “Hmm . . ” she thinks, “I wonder if there is an antidote inside this box to help me recover from… my cold?” Glancing down she notices a small electric device that was unplugged from its receptacle. “I believe this was disconnected purposely!” Leary that she may not be alone in this region she plugs in what she now discovers as a small light. She turns back to the mirrored box and once again prepares to examine the box closely when she is suddenly startled by the sentry who undoubtedly was stationed there to deliberately deter any explorers or pirates also in search of antidotes or potions. Those items will reward quite a bounty to be sure. Staying calm our heroine gently removes the sentry, using his own suspension line so as not to be injured. Thinking that her prisoner could alert others there was only one choice to make to ensure her safety. She notices the waterfall mere steps away from the mirrored box. Moving quickly she dangles the prisoner over to the waterfall. Frantically, he begins climbing his suspension line but he is no match for the mighty waters that crash below. Bravely he submits himself to his watery grave, dying a proud death. Grateful that she averted certain torture she moves back over to the mirrored box. It was strangely enticing, so shiney and bright. It was certainly a treasure that would be behold much admiration. As she reaches for it she hears a click and notices that it’s not just a box but a container filled with various medicines and ointments! Confident that no one else would discover her find she quickly locates the medication she needs to cure her cold and quietly closes the secret door. As she withdraws from this area our heroine feels a sense of accomplishment and relief once again averting sure danger. Now all she needs plenty of rest for her next expedition!

July 7, 2013

Our Purpose

Filed under: Grieving — mlarocque11 @ 9:26 pm

From the second we’re born we are swept into this whirlwind called life.  Within this constant swirling of the winds resides our life’s purpose imbedded somewhere in the paths we follow.  These winds contain a chain of events in our lives; happy, proud, exciting times are paired with scared, sad and helpless times.  The frustration of not being able to prevent tragedies or sickness can consume our lives blurring reality and the lives we are meant to live.  No explanation is ever provided for the loss and sorrow in our hearts.  The breeze simply continues to move us down our paths leaving us with the pieces of our broken lives to pick up along the way.  By no choice of our own, our lives continue to move us along these paths that were planned for us before we were born.  The cycle continues, the breeze moves us along for we still have more paths to follow.   There will be more sorrow and pain but there will also be time for rejoicing.  Our families and friends have helped us so much and through them we have learned to pay it forward, comforting those who are saddened, scared or sick, helping mend broken hearts while all along learning more about ourselves.  We are all perfect in God’s world; we all shine brightly and bring joy and comfort to many.  Because of this we can all embrace each other and recognize that we are not just acquaintances, distant friends or buddies.  We are the gifts that God has given to each other to help us along our paths, picking up our pieces with us and reminding us that while we briefly crossed paths, if only for a moment it was for a purpose.

June 16, 2013

Filed under: Grieving — mlarocque11 @ 11:13 pm

Moving On

While some may think that time heals all, some things don’t heal as quickly as we’d like.  Just when I think I’m feeling better something reminds me of the pain of loneliness that haunts me at times.  I still miss his voice, his laughter and touch, how our hands intertwined fitting perfectly into each other as if they were pieces to God’s puzzle. I miss his steady breathing as he slept next to me.  I ache for his kiss when he went to work in the morning and came home at night.

They say that grieving, after some time, is more for the survivors’ loss of normalcy rather than the actual loss of their loved one.  Going through it I can’t tell the difference.  The sadness takes over and you don’t want a psychological explanation of it, you just want it to stop!  Sometimes it starts slowly and you just go with it knowing it will eventually pass.  Sometimes it rushes up like a wave rolling and surging, tossing your emotions around like buoy in a storm.  There is no stopping it; it is relentless as it tortures your mind, reminding you of what used to be.  I call it my dark place.  So many situations trigger these thoughts; it can be a song, a smell, a place.  Holidays and birthdays, anniversaries and family gatherings are not the same.

Everyone seems to act normal as they tiptoe around me with their comments.  Hearing some of them they just bounce off me. They don’t know I can hear them and I don’t care what they say.  They don’t know me anymore. I’m not the same person anymore.

When Dave and I met my life changed forever and I finally felt like I was home.  Now, with my home ripped out of my arms I now have a new role in my life and I must succeed.  I have two young women to guide into their adult lives.  I need to set new rules of “normalcy”; new traditions, celebrations, events and even friends are our priority now.  Our old friends seemed to step back.  I know they keep tabs on us but they never show their faces.  They’re still searching for just the right thing to say.  What’s to say now?  A sheepish apology of too much time passed?  They don’t know me anymore either.  It’s funny.  I’m just as guilty as they are when a friend loses their spouse or significant other.  The circle of friends you once had seems to thin out; perhaps fearful that they may suffer the same fate?  They avoid them under the guise of “giving the family space”.  Hopefully it makes them analyze their own families and relationships.  It’s made me look at mine.  My family members and friends are more precious to me. Time goes on whether your life changes direction or not.  To stay in my dark place is not only unproductive but it’s selfish of me.  Who is benefitting from this emotion?  No one.  I am a valuable person.  I have a family and a new circle of friends who won’t step back when I go to that dark place, they’ll hand me a light to help me find my way back home.  Thank you, my friends and my family for leaving that light on for me.

January 21, 2013

Life’s treasures . . .

Filed under: Grieving — mlarocque11 @ 4:35 pm

Life’s treasures . . ..

Life’s treasures . . .

Filed under: Grieving — mlarocque11 @ 4:27 pm

You never know what treasures you’ll find hidden in the random boxes in your basement.  I continued the never-ending task of emptying out my basement so I can one day get it finished.  Exploring the remaining boxes of sentimental tokens I’ve been saving I ran across a misplaced homemade Christmas ornament that had “2006” scribbled on the back, nothing else.  I recognized this as Sarah’s art work and eagerly dove into my past, a journey few of us dare take.  Sometimes it is painful but as I go through the remaining holiday boxes happy memories flood my mind of my girls looking for Easter eggs, proudly showing me what the tooth fairy left in exchange for their tooth, a Thanksgiving decoration they made in Girl Scouts out of a glove and feathers.  Those memories triggered even more exciting activities my girls and I shared.  Going deeper into my boxes I found an old photo albums that my mother made me.  She made one for each of us documenting the landmarks of our lifetime since we were born.  I find my mom and dad’s wedding album and gaze at the pictures of my mom, a stunning beauty on her wedding day confident, young and hopeful, and my dad looking more like a nervous young boy playing dress-up in his daddy’s suit than a young man marrying the love of his life.  Seeing their innocence I can only imagine how their life together started out, sharing so many firsts; I only know how it ended in 1978 when my dad passed away. 

Digging further into my box I found an old metal jewelry box that was once my godmother’s.  In it the first thing I saw was a tiny pink deck of cards with a picture of a Yorkie puppy on it.  I smiled as I remembered the card games I would play with my friends Lynn and Sue and how I would very carefully put them back in the box after each time.  I giggled to myself as I reached inside and retreivedr my old “Mood Ring”.  Sadly, it’s magic had faded over the years.  I found my dad’s Zippo lighter that I gave him on year for his birthday.  I remembered picking it out with my mom and wrapping it lovingly for him.  He was so happy when he opened it and gave me such a tight hug; I remembered wishing he’d never let me go.  Looking through the box I enjoy more loving memories of my childhood, my first English bulldog, Tony, one of my grandpa’s rosaries, my dad’s First Communion Bible that he gave me when I made my First Communion.

As I neared the middle of this box of memories I uncovered remnants of my teen years in old school yearbooks.  This particular collection was probably the most fascinating, looking at the pictures of all the young children who were once my classmates, my peers, my close friends.  Some of us were so close and we shared cherished secrets with each other, others were classmates of mine that had become a distant memory of this time lost.  I found all six of my yearbooks, documenting my life through what we called “Junior High” and high school.  Through social networking, I have been able to reconnect with so many friends from my childhood.   It’s been so exciting reuniting with them, sharing pictures of our children, news of our families, tears from our losses.  This box was a testament of a part of my lifetime that was once the most important period of time for me as a young women coming of age.  Our teen years played an integral role in forming us into the adults we would become.  What I thought was a mere memory was the discovery of new found new friendships and interests that I never believed possible.  I am grateful for these social networks and I hope to reconnect with more friends and family.

Finally, in the very bottom of the box was an American flag still in the same box it was shipped in from the Veteran’s Administration to my mom after the death of my father.  He was a veteran of the United States Air Force during the Korean War.  This article is one that probably gives me the most pride in my dad.  Even though he was required to register for one of the Armed Services he was proud of his Air Force service and serving his country.

We all have these boxes in our homes, taking us on journeys that bring back such a rush of emotion and memories while comforting and nurturing those feelings that we thought were buried forever.  Some things are meant to be saved, memorialized, revered.  They live in darkness protecting the secrets of our first love, old school projects and pictures, diaries of who we wished we could be; a valuable bounty that goes beyond wealth or riches, they are our life’s treasures.

December 30, 2012

2012 Reflections

Filed under: Grieving — mlarocque11 @ 8:38 pm

2012 Reflections.


Filed under: Grieving — mlarocque11 @ 8:36 pm


2012 Reflections

Filed under: Grieving — mlarocque11 @ 8:21 pm

The beginning of 2012 showed so much potential of beginning to live healthy and happy with Dave getting healthier and stronger; then he didn’t.  Very quickly his condition worsened and after 2 months of suffering and fear of the inevitable our lives changed forever. Now, learning to navigate while I now sit in the pilot’s seat, it is up to me to make sure our daughters’ lives are full of the fulfillment, wonder, health and happiness that Dave and I promised we would give them when we exchanged our wedding vows.  As we agreed, our girls are being raised with a Catholic upbringing, charity in their hearts and compassion for their neighbor.   They are good girls and I thank God for giving me 2 such precious gifts and entrusting me to teach them His word through our daily lives.  Although sometimes I think God trusts me a little too much, but if He thinks I can do it I guess I can do it.

During this year a lot of physical changes took place around our home, several desperately needed home repairs were made as well as cosmetic changes that helped make our home not only much safer but as comfortable and welcoming as Dave and I dreamt it would be.  Looking around at the changes made that all 3 of us negotiated I see so many things that inspire us, calm, and comfort us. Dave would be very pleased with the results as these changes were made with him in mind during the entire renovation. We made a home that he would feel so proud to show his friends and family and celebrate our lives and those of our loved ones within our four walls.

Though as I reflect on the activities of this year and the changes to our home one thought stands out in my mind.  It is one that Dave’s sister has been telling me for years, in fact, so many of our friends from our former workplace would tell me the same thing; Dave was always proud of our family and our home.  The paint and decorations don’t make it a home but the love and pride inside do.  His love for us is felt in every room of this house with the memories of our laughter and his devilish pranks swirling in our minds. I smile reflecting on these memories in each room, as each corner you turned opens a new memory, experience, giggle, or hug and snuggle.

As the end of this year relieves us of all the pain, confusion, questions, sadness and sorrow that each of us suffered I am grateful that my girls and I have such a large loving family that will set aside their lives to help us over the bumpy times, dry our tears and make us smile.

For those of you who had a celebrant year I congratulate you and wish you all the best for your family.  For those of you whose pain and sorrow and sadness are just at the threshold, I can only promise to you that it WILL get easier and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  I have learned this from many, many of my dearest friends and family who have carried us through this most difficult year in our lives.   I learned this  through the beautiful people who took time out of their days to comfort me, cry with me, cheer me on and just be my friend.  Even without actually being in the same room I felt their hugs around me, their tears running down their faces and their whispers of love and encouragement.  You have all helped me get to this phase of my life and I don’t know what I would have done without every one of you behind me. You are cherished friends, beautiful souls who deserve all the best health and happiness for your families and know that I am ALWAYS behind each of you when you need me to be.  Thank you all.

Goodbye 2012 . . . Happy New Year 2013 !

November 19, 2012


The first holiday is particularly hard after your loved one has passed.  Every first landmark is difficult, especially birthdays, a wedding anniversary or the anniversary of their death.  Although Thanksgiving isn’t the “first” holiday without Dave somehow the reality of it all has set in.  Easter was more of a blur because it had been 3 weeks since his passing and we were still in shock.  Now that Dave’s been gone for 8 months the realism of life without him has very abruptly interrupted what was us just going through the motions of day-to-day life.

Emily was especially affected and she finally was able to begin  her grieving process by letting the pain out.  Up until this time she had this memory tucked away safely in her mind so she wouldn’t feel the pain.  She saw the pain Sarah and I were going through and thought she had to be the strong one to keep us going.  In some ways that’s exactly what she did for us; she kept us going and reminded us that her dad wouldn’t want us crying all the time about him and she is right.

Emily’s breakthrough finally came over the weekend when she was, yet again, on the computer reading blogs about her favorite celebrities and friends.  I had asked her several times to do something and she would dismiss it responding casually, “Okay, I got this, Mom.”  Finally I kicked her off the computer and told her to get busy and again, she casually dismissed me.  It didn’t even sound like my Emily.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been witnessing her drift farther away from our family by hiding in front of her computer or in her room listening to music. Sure, most teenagers do the same thing but this girl wasn’t my Emily.  There was no personality, non of her characteristic funny stories about her day at school.  I was losing my daughter emotionally.

I knew what she was doing, I did the same thing when my dad died when I was 15.  She wouldn’t allow herself to even think of her dad because  it hurt too much.  It was so much easier focus on fun things and not feel any pain, not think of her dad and how sick he was.  Plus, she believed that if she stayed strong she was helping Sarah and me so it all made sense to her.  She finally got to the point where I was able to sit her down to listen to me.  It was such a cleansing breakthrough even though it was extremely painful for her, but she was able to FINALLY grieve for her dad.  She let go of those emotions that she had locked away safely in a place where they couldn’t hurt her. The only problem is, if she never let go of those emotions she could grow up with trust issues, depression, self-esteem issues, anxiety.  She could grow up like me.

I did the same thing after my dad died.  Initially I cried when he passed but after that I put those thoughts away because they hurt too bad.  It wasn’t until Dave died that I realized my mourning was for not only for him but for me.  When my Uncle Mel died this past fall the emotions I felt losing the  person that was a father figure to me for quite some time all came flooding over me.  Emotionally I felt like I was hit by a train.

But then I realized all this pain I was letting go of was not just for Dave and my Uncle Mel.  I was letting go of my pain that I buried so deeply it made me forget.  Suddenly I was remembering suppressed memories of my dad.  I remembered how difficult our family life was because of his alcoholism. I remembered him being drunk every day and yelling for us all the time; yelling for us to come home through the front screen door when he could barely speak or stand.  I remember all the arguments he and my mom had that were so loud the neighbors would call the police.  I remember the arguments getting so bad that my mom took us out of bed to sleep at my Grandma’s house a few blocks away.

I also remembered the few times he tried to stop drinking.  He quit one time for a whole month.  That month I got to know a very different man, a very different father and someone who was sensitive, intelligent, loving, humbled.  I remembered when I was a child how he and I would watch National Geographic together and learn about exotic animals.  Although as a father he failed miserably because of his illness, as a dad he taught me about responsibility by buying me any animal I asked for just so I could learn about them. He taught me compassion for other living things by helping me nurse a baby bird that had fallen from its nest. The bird died but he helped me understand the reason the baby may have fallen from the nest.  He taught my sister and I how to swim in Lake St. Clair and then put up a huge swimming pool for us which became my obsession every day during the summer.  He taught me how to dive by tossing coins in the deep end of the pool and let us keep what we found.  That was a favorite game for everyone in the  neighborhood and once word got out all my friends wanted to dive for coins too.    My dad adored my mom and he would write her notes on the bathroom mirror telling her he loved her and sometimes apologizing for the argument.  Unfortunately the bad times grossly outweighed the good and my mom filed for divorce.  My dad couldn’t bear to lose us and he would try to quit drinking again. They never did divorce and he died shortly after his body started shutting down from the sepsis ravaging his liver from alcohol abuse.  I REMEMBERED ALL OF IT and it hurt!  It hurt that I had put those memories away instead of treasuring the good times with my dad.  Those good times were very few but they were good.

Emily was able to let go of some of that pain and, like the floodgates opening, cried and grieved her daddy, her best buddy; they were so much alike and had the same things in common.  They would watch WWF and RAW together, NASCAR, NCIS and all the corny Christmas specials.  Dave adored me and the girls and spending time with us was like breathing life into him.  He was, in lot of ways, a big kid himself but he would tell the girls about when he was a kid, fascinating them with his stories then running down the hall to verify them with me.

So now we have our first holiday since Easter and the reality has set in.  As Emily put it, we’re not a family of 4 anymore, we’re only 3 now and that hurts a lot.  It does hurt but we can’t change it; at least now that she’s allowed herself to feel that pain she can move on with her healing.  She says she feels like a huge weight has been lifted and she feels emotionally lighter.  She’s starting to get back to herself but now she’ll let an occasional tear fall.  She’s allowing that pain to come out because she knows now when she lets it go she’ll still be all right.

November 11, 2012

My awakening . . .

At times when the house is quiet I reflect on how I got to this particular day in my life. So many days seemed endlessly filled is pain and grief. Now I am beginning to let go of those emotions, realizing that Dave’s life wasn’t in my hands, he was in God’s hands all along. What is left in store for my family is unknown but knowing that when it is my time Dave will be there with open arms to welcome me Home too. For now I must embrace what is now my “new” life with my daughters and our families. You feel like a child at times, afraid of the unknown future, fear of forever being alone, fear of not being accepted.  For me, the fear that I’m raising my girls the right way, the way Dave and I discussed how we would raise them. So while I sit in this silence, pensive and weary from the past several months all I can say is please bare with me. Every day brings a new challenge that I must do on my own. Some days I don’t even want to get out of bed. This, too, shall pass I’m told. I have to hold onto my faith and what I was raised believing and do the unthinkable. I must lay all of my trust in God’s hands and say “I trust you will make the best deciions for my life”

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