Observations after a long and difficult day

Today marked the 11 year anniversary of the day my sister’s van hit a combine in the fog, killing her instantly, and sending her off to wherever God takes His children. I wondered what specific day of the week she died on only to discover it was actually Tuesday. So today was actually the exact day she died 11 years ago.

Morbid, I know. But bear with me here…

My oldest niece took the day off work so we could celebrate the life of her mother by enjoying a relaxing day together. Little did I know that lunch would cause havoc in my intestines and ruin half the day. I swear I used almost every restroom in every store we pasted by!! We were in a shopping district and I found myself spending more time in the restrooms than shopping! After a long, rough day I found myself the only one still awake. I began to look back at my life as I scrolled through social media.

I have lived 6 years longer than my sister. She was 30 when she died and I will be 36 in April. During the years without her a lot has happened that I have been unable to share with her or talk to her about. When I had my second daughter, I needed an emergency c-section. She was a nurse and I know she would have been there for me during such a difficult time. But she was gone already.

I cannot help but play the what if game every year on October 30th. But I can’t do that anymore. It drives me crazy and just makes me feel sad.

I have learned some things about handling death since losing my older sister and brother (2007 and 2017). These are in the order I thought of them:

1) death is something we all face therefore since I know that I need to be prepared. Have a living will, God-parents for my children, and yes, assurance for my afterlife.

2) never, ever, ever bother to ask “why.” It only brings pain. Knowing why doesn’t take away the hurt of the loss. My sister is still gone.

3) I am not the only one who lost someone. My sister had kids, a husband, parents, 3 half brothers, aunts, uncles, etc. I miss her and am hurting and I am not alone.

4) Accept that she is gone and love the moments she was here. No, she isn’t coming back, but I have to think of the good times we had instead of struggling every day to be happy because I focus on missing her.

5) Someone else cares and I am loved. God does. He is there the moments I need and want Him, and waiting for me when I don’t. He is there and He loves me.

6) I must avoid ruining everyone else’s day just because I feel unhappy today. I know my sister died on October 30th, 2007, but the stranger checking my groceries out for me does not know. So I shouldn’t react unkindly toward the strangers who I think should treat me with kindness. I get what I give.

7) I remind myself every time I think of her (and my brother), I will see them again. It is within me to feel and know that we will all be reunited someday. That brings me hope that no human can take away.

8) there is no good day to die. Though some circumstances make it easier to let some people go, there is never a convenient time for a loved one to die. Hands down, it is never something I welcome. Death, for me, is the worst suffering of life. My sister died on my half birthday. I didn’t care because we never celebrated that day. But it kinda drives my point home…

I hope some of these observations provided some insight for some of you. And I hope I wasn’t too morbid on one of my least favorite days of the year.

Be blessed with a long and healthy life… emphasis on healthy!

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

(Written and published from my phone. Please forgive all random errors and spellcheck failures. I did my best on the fly.)

Cherish Life Pt. 1

Written around 12 a.m. on Saturday, June 24th.

Today began like any other day. I woke up groggy, called my mom (as I do nearly every morning), and got dressed. What I didn’t know was that this would mark one of the hardest days of my life.

I was born the youngest of five siblings but it was complicated. My mom had given up her son for adoption when she was 19, so I wasn’t even raised with him. As for the others, Mary was my only full-blood sibling, but I was raised with my dad’s two sons from his first marriage as well, so they all felt like one big somewhat happy family. The only problem was that I think I was born too late. I mean, I know God know’s what He is doing and all but the gap between my siblings and I proved to be a problem.

Dennis was the oldest sibling I was raised with. He was brilliant – I mean a true genius. But like many genius people, he had his pitfalls.  Those are not for me to share, but lets just say he struggled his whole life to overcome his issues. His mother had died when he was young, which is how our dad ended up with my mom, and that trial was one he struggled with his entire life.

…A life which was cut short.

Dennis is gone, but never forgotten, as they say. The hardest part is that before he died we had “parted ways,” so to speak. We had a fight in person, which then became a fight over email which ended in us not speaking. The cut off from each other ended up being permanent as he is now gone.

I am sharing all this partially to get it out there. Additionally I think it sometimes death helps us realize just how blessed we are. I knew I was blessed with a husband, children, and family and friends, but I took one life for granted. When we cut ties I let it be. I thought, “he will come back some day and we will make amends.” I didn’t even try to make amends. It wasn’t pride, really, it was more that I thought I had time. We had cut ties before and then made amends. How would this be any different? I thought time would heal all wounds and we would be friends again. I truly believed that it would work itself out.

It didn’t.

What I want my readers to know is that life is short. It has been compared to lilies in a field which bloom one day and then another day are gone. I truly never know when my candle will stop burning, nor do I know when the next person I love, like or care about in any way will cease to reside on this plane of existence. This means I should cherish life.

What I am NOT saying is to fear death or in any way avoid living. Neither am I saying that one should just do whatever because you never know when your number will be up. What I am saying is simply to cherish life as if each moment is special and unique, because it is.

I am writing this at 12 a.m. so more later.

(To Read Cherished Life Pt. 2, click on this link: Cherish Life Pt. 2.)

Super Momma Maggie

And So it Begins: The WORST time of the year.

From now until October 31st life is not quite the same as the rest of the year.  What, might you ask, brings significance to this time of my life?  Some of you might already know.  It is the worst time of the year for me.

When someone dies and even one person who loves or cares for them even a little bit, a hole is left behind.  Once that person is gone, no one EXACTLY like them will ever come along.  Each person truly is unique.  Our perceptions are different even if our experiences are the same, and it is that personal reality that shapes who we are and who we become.

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“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”
David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

Who we are and become is also shaped by each individual who enters our lives.  The homeless man I see on the side of the road who makes me consider what I should and could be doing to help the homeless – he effects who I Am.  The woman at church who is amazingly sweet, and entirely senile and has no clue that she effects so many with her sunny disposition and amazing love – she effects who I Am.  The husband who stands by with with every high and low, every gaseous moment I eat lactose anyway, every late night I cannot sleep and every single laugh, smile and quiet moment of cuddles in the dark – he effects who I Am.  And the man who came to this earth and walked on it, leaving behind the most beautiful, amazing kingdom you could even fathom and died in a horrible way so I could live forever – he effects who I Am.

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The woman who was first and only for six years before me, put up with my childhood thievery without killing me, endured midnight calls of desperation and immaturity, and was always as much of a mother as our own – she shaped who I Am.  Without her I would have been much like she was, and made many mistakes that I avoided simply because she lived and was honest with me about the trials and consequences of her choices.  I didn’t marry my high school sweetheart because she did.  Her choice made me re-think my own.  Two amazing girls came out of her relationship, but I am grateful that two amazing girls came out of my future relationship.  I avoided sexual activity to the best of my ability until I met my true love and married him because she did not avoid sex and shared with me what it cost her.  I never drank anything much until she died or even did any drugs because her and I talked about how stupid it was to get drunk or be high.  Her rigorous honesty and bare-heartedness (yes I might have made up a word!) made me who I have become.  Even the memory of her continues to shape me.  In her absence I am more active in her daughter’s lives then I might have otherwise been in her presence.  And I even have conversations in my head from time to time, thinking of what she might say if I were to call her.

I miss her.  Mary Elizabeth Mann Zawicki was the most extraordinary woman I have ever personally known, and a good sister – even if a frustrating one.  Her heart was too big and her patience with God too small but it made her who she was.  She was and forever will be my sister and today I began to feel the effects of this yearly time of mourning I have endured the past six years since her death.  Each year at this time I begin to reflect on her life, her death and her absence.

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May God bring you a little extra peace today if you have experienced the feeling of loss.  Hold on to those relationships – those people – who matter to you most.  Life is truly short when weighed against Eternity.  You never know when your candle will be snuffed out and never re-lit.  I could quote a dozen great quotes about living life to the fullest but lets just leave it at that.

~Supera Matris