Posts Tagged ‘death’

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Failure – it’s a word I’ve been using against myself for a while now. But the last few months, since my aunt died, I’ve been quietly battering myself with the word.

Charlean was more than just my aunt. She treated me like I was one of her grand kids, and spent most of my childhood taking care of me. There’d be times once I was older that we’d have a difference of opinion, but she still loved me all the same. I spent the last few years regularly going over and bringing her books to read from my collection. But the books she wanted to read the most, she never had the chance to.

Mine.

And just a week or so before she died, I was promising I’d have a decent draft to bring by for her to read. I printed my manuscript. I was almost to the day job finish line. I could do it. I could finally let her read something I had written.

Then, I failed.

I was there when she died. I was there when the nurse came to clean the body. I was there when they came to take her away. It started at 3am and felt like it went on for an eternity. It was hard. Ridiculously hard.

Before my mother and I headed home, my uncle told me to go into my aunt’s bedroom and get the books she had borrowed off of her shelf. That’s when it hit me.

When I held those books in my hand and saw the bookmark where she left off, and the books she had yet to finish, it felt like an elephant stepped on my chest. I couldn’t cry again. I couldn’t breathe. Her life had stopped so abruptly, and then the thought finally hit me. I had failed her.

I have tried to reason with myself that I didn’t really fail her. But she always asked to read something of mine, and I always let everything else be more important than getting my writing career off the ground. She believed in me more than I ever have.

The thought still lingers there. It held me up on progress during my time I spent unemployed. I was ashamed of myself, and the words just wouldn’t come when I needed to write. All I could focus on was that word. Failure. I was out of time, so why should I progress?

It’s becoming easier now to confront this feeling. I’ve started writing again. Started edits again on the manuscript I had wanted her to read. I’m working on my projects and trying to balance things out and get my life back together. It still eats at me, but it also drives me.

I count her among those I must live for now.

~Angel

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I had a bad day yesterday. Not the worst day ever. I didn’t have a great appointment about my kidneys. Not the worst news ever, just more worry and stress. But because of the bad day and the bad news, I decided I’m not devoting any more energy to bad things. So, today I want to focus on something good.

Here’s something about me that confuses people: I hate Christmas time. I’m getting better about it, but it’s mostly one of those situations where 1.) there are several bad memories tied particularly to Christmas, and 2.) I get irritated with people that ruin it for me because everyone seems offended by something, or people lose the basic point of Christmas, or whatever. That isn’t what I want to get into, since it isn’t the point of this post.

Now, while I become a tad bit Grinch-y during Christmas time, I do love giving. I try to do what I can for people I love, pick a perfect present (in my mind at least), to let them know I actually put thought into what I bought instead of generic body wash gift baskets and junk they won’t really like or use.

But besides the things I buy for friends and family, I also work with local organizations as much as I can to help get things for people who have lost everything, or who are alone (a lot of times, these are Veterans), or people who just don’t have the money to do anything for their family for Christmas, etc. My mom and I will buy the things, give them to the organization responsible for distributing them to families in time for Christmas, and go on with our lives. We don’t give our names. Most of the time, my friends and family don’t realize I do this, except in instances where they ask me what I want for Christmas and I give them one of the people on my list to help and have them buy for them instead. Because trust me, I’m not in need of anything. I’m perfectly fine buying myself Batman collectibles and random other junk.

Another thing my mom and I have done over the years, which even less people realize, is buy a bunch of things for the residents in nursing homes and deliver them for Christmas. It can be anything from crossword puzzles, card decks, or handheld poker games, to body wash or blankets, treats, etc. There are a surprising number of people that are alone on Christmas in those facilities, because their families don’t bother to visit, or maybe they don’t have families for whatever reason. This kills me. If I had more free time, I would like to go in and visit the people that won’t have visitors but would like to. I can’t imagine myself ever being in that scenario, where I’m alone in a home with strangers, bored and basically waiting to die.

Again, we don’t give our names, we don’t want to be praised for doing something that I wish more people would do, just because it’s the right thing. We’ve started involving Lillie and Dica, my two nieces that live with me 50% of the time. One year we dressed them as little elves and took them into the nursing home with us to drop off the presents. The residents that saw them loved them, and the girls liked being “Santa’s helpers.” I was proud to have started showing the girls at a young age the benefits of giving to someone, not because you have to, but because you want to. Because it feels good.

This year, I hope to involve them more in the buying for families tradition, and have them help me pick out things for little kids their age that aren’t going to have much of a Christmas. I’d like for them to help with that every year, to see that not everyone gets quite as spoiled as they do every year, and that they can help make a huge difference in someone else’s life.

But I don’t just do things at Christmas time. Many friends, family, acquaintances, people through work, etc will tell you that I readily give when needed, and sometimes just because. If I can avoid people knowing I did something, I will avoid it, and let it be a miraculous gift from the Universe. My mother and I have bought and delivered an entire Thanksgiving dinner for a family I barely knew, because they had just lost everything. The home of some of my friends burned to the ground and they lost everything in it,  just a few days before Christmas, and we didn’t hesitate to go get them some clothes, food, random things they may need until they could get back on their feet. Mom and I have bought groceries for families struggling to pay bills and keep food on the table.

I’ve bought many, many friends random little gifts, just because. I’ve offered to buy or help with paying for the purchases of someone in front of me in Walmart, because they didn’t have enough to buy the things they need. I donate to the local no-kill shelter, where I got my big baby boy Lenny. I’ve donated to random charities, both with money and item donations (food drives, toy drives, etc). Every single time the gas station I frequently use has the donate $1 or $5 Shamrocks for Muscular Dystrophy, I buy the $5 shamrocks every time I’m in there, or at least the $1 ones if I’m short on cash that day. And trust me, I’m in that gas station A LOT. I organized the Legends of the Knight screening in Eric’s memory and, while I’m still gathering the money from that event, I’m happy to say that so far we’ve sent more money to the Muscular Dystrophy Association than I ever thought I could from one thing. At Hot Topic, and various other stores, when they have the round your purchase total up to donate your change – I usually do it. I leave some really good tips for exceptionally nice waitresses having really bad nights. Plus other things I can’t even think of at the moment. When I have more free time, I plus to volunteer at a place or two locally, even if it’s just a few hours one day of the week. If I ever make it big as a writer, and am more than financially stable, you can bet I will be donating monthly to Muscular Dystrophy, and offering any and all help that I can to the organization.

Now, here is the point of all of this babbling, because I sure as hell wasn’t doing it to praise myself. I wouldn’t keep most of the stuff I do a secret if that was the case. I don’t do any of this because I want people to think of me a certain way. I don’t do it for brownie points with God or the Universe or any other deity or religion or cosmic force you can think of.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

I do it because I want to give the world my very best. I want to do the best I can to put everything I can back out there into the world. I do it because I’ve been there, stuck at rock bottom, and I’ve been lucky to find my way out. I do it because of the kindness of strangers and family and friends that I witnessed as a child, when we were going through rough times. I do it because my mother taught me by showing me how good it feels to know you’ve helped someone else, whether they know it was you or not. I do it to pay it forward for the help I’ve been given in life. I do it because I don’t want to be part of the problems in this world, but rather because I’d like to help see those things change. I’d like to teach other people, whether or not they know it’s me, to give back too. Because maybe some day their stars will change, and the opportunity will present itself for them to help someone else. I’d like to think I could be a part of something like that. That if I’ve inspired at least one person to help another, that maybe my life has been worth something.

And since it is November, and this is the time we all try to mention the things we are thankful for, I thought I’d mention a slightly different group than I normally do in my Thankful posts.

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I’m becoming surrounded by these wonderful people in my life. Even though they may not all be physically close to me – some several states or farther away – they help and inspire and teach me to grow.

There are plenty of friends and other people that inspire me in some way, but these people inspire me, motivate me, and make me want to keep growing as a person and giving back to the world. These are a very particular set of inspirational people:

First, I do need to say that a lot of my drive to do better, to give, to inspire, and just live the best life I possibly can, comes from my friends Eric and Whitney, both of which are no longer with us. Eric died many years ago, and Whitney died in 2013. Both of them were dearly loved, and deeply missed. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of either one, because I miss them both more than I can say. They were some of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. I know I have to live the best life I can, or it would be a dishonor to their memory.

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I have a friend, Sky, that’s about to embark on an amazing adventure, volunteering in other countries and traveling for at least 11 months. She’s saving and working hard to pay her way on this trip to help other people and grow as an individual through this experience. And you know what? I think that’s absolutely beautiful. You can check out Sky’s journey on her blog: Sky vs World.

There’s Brett Culp, his amazing family, and the incredible people in Legends of the Knight. Because of the hard work Brett and their team and the people interviewed put into Legends of the Knight, so many people all over the country have gotten to host screenings of the film, and not only inspire everyone that watches it, but also help raise money for so many different charities and people that need it. I’m one of the many people that were inspired by their great work, and was lucky enough to hold a screening myself for Eric. I was even more lucky that Eric’s mom and brother were there, and we could cry together when we thought of how proud Eric would be. This is a blessing I will never, ever forget. You can learn more about Legends of the Knight on their website and order a copy of the DVD.

Which leads me to the amazing duo: Tommy and Samantha Castillo. Tommy is an incredible artist, and Samantha is his amazing wife (with quite a bit of her own talent.) They were kind enough to donate several signed prints of Tommy’s work to us for the Legends of the Knight screening. Tommy and Sammy visit a TON of conventions, if you want to meet them in person for some prints, or you can order online on their website. I have a huge collection of his work, myself, and it is gorgeous.

And these are just a few of the people I can think of that inspire me on a regular basis. People that motivate me to keep going for my dreams, and to keep trying to give the world my best.

Now tell me: Who inspires you to give the world your best?

~Angel

It’s time to revisit the Black Widow “Avengers” quote I posted a year or two back:

“I’ve got red on my ledger. I’d like to wipe it out.”

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I don’t think I fully conveyed what I wanted to get across in the original post I made in regard to this quote. And since I see that post still gets quite a few views, I thought I should define it a little better.

There are things in my life that I feel like I owe. Things I feel like I am responsible for with my life. This could easily go back to the infamous Spider-Man quote:

 “With great power comes great responsibility.”

In my world, these two quotes go very well together.

I feel like an incredibly guilty person. There are things I have done and regret. There are things I feel like I owe the universe in return for everything I have received and don’t feel like I entirely deserve.

But one of the biggest things that haunts me is when someone dies. A friend, a child, a good person. Suddenly a life is gone from this world, a light blown out, and somehow that makes me even more aware of my own life and what is being done with it.

And then I become Angel. the Girl Who Wants to Save the World.

I become the girl who does random acts of kindness, not to earn religious brownie points, not to ‘look good’, not for any reason other than I know it’s good and I need more good things in my life, because they make me happy. Helping other people just honestly makes me happy. It makes me feel like my existence isn’t a waste of air.

My ledger is gushing red still, but I use these good things to help wipe it out in my own mind.

Because in my mind, I don’t deserve to be alive. Not compared to some of these people that have died.

I have to live the best life I can. I have to travel and love and live, I have to put more good out into the world. For them. For all of the lives that ended too soon.

So, I try to brighten the days of others. I try to make people laugh when they want to cry. I try to show people an alternative to just the mundane routine, or to the destructive lifestyles. I try to inspire. I try to donate where I can, or raise money. I try to support the dreams of others, because we all seem to die the moment our dreams do. I try to give, big things and little things. Because not everyone has the same opportunities that I have had. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have the power to help them get those same chances.

I have a great power, and I am responsible for making the most of it. And I am. I will continue to do so.

I know this is a weird post, but I feel like I needed an adequate follow-up to the first “Red on my ledger” post.

~Angel

PART TWO: A slightly more detailed look at people that need to specifically be mentioned.

  • Whitney:

I still can’t accept that you’re really gone. It seems like every day there’s something I want to tell you or talk to you about, and I can’t just text you or come over and see you anymore. You were someone I could talk to about anything for hours. I miss that. I miss going to take pictures or run around at the mall, like that day we went to see the last Saw movie, eat Chinese food, and went shopping. I remember trying on clothes with you and just having a good day, where we didn’t have anything or anyone else to worry about. I treasure the memories of that day as some of the most peaceful ones I have. I miss you. I wish that we could’ve had more days like that before you left this world. You were a beautiful soul, and my rock when I was too scared and weak to go on alone. I love you. Thank you for watching out for me.

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  • Eric:

It’s a little over two weeks until what should have been your 23rd birthday. I miss you, and it’s hard to believe it’s been 8 and a half years since you died. It still feels like yesterday we were sitting in your room, listening to music and talking, just like we always did. It was a few weeks before you died, and I remember how scared I had felt the 6 months before that – from the moment I found out on Christmas Day, all the way up to that day in June. And I remember leaving, and telling you I loved you and I’d come back soon. But I never did make it back before you died. It haunts me every day. I miss you, I love you, and I couldn’t ask for a better guardian angel. You’re my hero, and where I draw my strength from. I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for you.

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  • Sam, Jake, John Ray, and Ryan:

The four of you, as well as Eric, were the most important people in my entire world for so long. And I don’t see any of you as much as you deserve. Sometimes it’s because it’s too hard. It’s a shitty excuse, but that’s how it is. I lost touch with John Ray because it hurt too much after his brother died. He reminded me so much of Eric, and I only ever wanted to tell him that I would willingly trade spots with his brother in a heartbeat if I could. I tried to keep up with the rest of you, and sometimes I do, but mostly we just talk online or text or something. I love you all still, but sometimes I can’t handle it. This is something I’ve realized the last few days. I do want to spend more time with you all, but I need to slow other aspects of my life down first. I’m too drained from work and illness to handle the extra strain on my heart and body. I’m sorry. Someday, it will be better again. Sam, we can go get nachos and mountain dew. Jake, we can hang out and watch movies and just be our old selves. Ryan, we’ll stay up all night on the phone talking about everything and anything. I’ll find John Ray someday and try again, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be strong enough. I love you all, and I don’t want to lose you. Ever.

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  • Chris, SP, Tori, Kristin, Josh, Kyle, and the ten trillion other friends I miss spending time with…:

I really, really miss you guys. :/

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  • Lillie and Dica:

I couldn’t love anyone more than I love these two. My own children will have a hard time living up to them lol.

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  • Skylar:

My not-really-but-might-as-well-be little sister, my muse, the Charlie to my Patrick. I’m more than happy to have you along on my adventures, big or small. I love you. I’m so glad you’re back from the army because I missed you so much it made me crazy. Good things are ahead for both of us, and you know I will always be right there when you need me. Take the world by storm, kiddo. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

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  • Brittaney:

Everything I have to say to you, you already know. You’re my best friend, parabatai, the Sam to my Patrick, Luigi to my Mario, Frodo to my Samwise, Ron to my Harry. I love you and our adventures and no matter what happens, I have your back chica.

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  • Taylor:

My Mr. J, my favorite, my heartbeat.

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~Angel

PART ONE – Because I am sick, and tired, and there is a lot to say for some of these and I’d like to give them proper spacing. So, a brief part one.

A lot of people like to post on Facebook something they’re thankful for every day for the month of November, and while that it a lovely idea, it’s not exactly for me. I much prefer my personal tradition of a blog post, something that can be immortalized and referred back to in future months for anyone who wants to read it or needs to, even. Forgive me for any errors made or anyone forgotten, because I’ve been pretty sick the last week or so and I’m still fairly miserable.

  • Simple Things I am Thankful For:

Batman. Breaking Bad. Books. Harry Potter. Adventures. Writing. Art. Doctor Who. Summer nights on the road, windows down and music up. Chinese food. Movie days with my favorite people. Curling up on the couch. My blankets. People that understand. Dreams, inspiration, and motivation. The Boondock Saints. Good memories of people long dead. Being alive when I can think of multiple instances that I should’ve been dead. Hope. Productive insomnia.

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  • Friends:

New friends, old friends. Living friends and dead friends. Former friends and friends I’ve yet to make. Every single one of you meant something to me, or still do. While I may not be around as much as I’d like to these days, thanks to sickness or work or school or whatever… It doesn’t change the fact that I love you all, and wish I could spend more of my time with you. In all honesty, at this point in my life, I should probably be with you all more than be at work. Someday soon, I hope, this will all change. Not all of you have pictures from hanging out recently, but I’d like to change that soon.

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  • Gone but not Forgotten:

Some days are worse than others. Some nights you’re wide awake wondering why you’re alive. Sometimes you have to live the best life you can for more than just yourself. Eric and Whitney, I’m trying. I really am.

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~Angel

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Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

One of these days, whether it’s in ten minutes or 60 years, I will be dead. This is the natural order of things. We’re born, we live, we die. It’s never a fun thing to anyone involved, but there you have it. I like to believe I will have lived the greatest life to my ability by the time that day comes. So, I’m making a list of things I want to do before I die, and I want to achieve them before I’m 35  –  a fair amount of time, really. I’d like to accomplish them all before then with years to spare for a second list. But we’ll see. Some are very serious things, others are a little… silly to some people. But to me, these are some important things. So hang in there with me.

Seven Things I’d Like to Do Before I’m Dead:

  • Finally become a published author. Not for fame or fortune or anything like that ( I understand how rarely that comes out of writing), but rather because I’d like to think there is something there in my words to help get someone else through a difficult time in their life. Books have served as an escape for me all my life, it’s only fair I return the favor.
  • Buy a drink for David Della Rocco. I could easily add extra shiny things to this: Have a drink with David Della Rocco, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Norman Reedus… in the Boondock Saint in New Orleans. But I’m stretching a lot there. Main point is, I admire David Della Rocco quite a lot, and would love to buy him a drink and just converse with him a while about various things. This is a slightly more impossible dream, but who knows.
  • Finally make it to England and Ireland. There is a huge list of places I want to go. HUGE. But I’ve been wanting a trip to England and Ireland both for forever. So let’s get those taken care of.
  • Feel comfortable in my own skin. I’m tired of feeling like I’m some hideous creature compared to literally everyone else. I want to love myself.
  • Make Sean Patrick Flanery proud of me. That sounds ridiculous to a lot of you, I know. But he really is an inspirational guy to me, and earning his respect would mean a lot. He’s one of my favorite actors and my favorite person I’ve ever met. He’s given me the motivation to take control of my life again, and I want him to realize how serious I am about that. I’m the girl with the Jimi Hendrix song for a name. I was a brief few moments in his life, but he was a huge chunk of mine.
  • Help someone else make their dream come to life. I’m a fan of helping people succeed. If I think you can do it, then you can.
  • Live my life as best I can for those that have passed on before me. Alright, this may be a bit rough to do as a ‘before I’m 35’ thing, and has to work until I’m actually dead. But still. I’ve lost too many good people too soon, and I was to carry on for them and live life as best I can for their sake.

 

There are several other things I could add to this, but these are the ones I’ve narrowed it all down to for now. I can work on these things. I’m 23 and have loads of time. But I have to start now. Because in the end, what I want most is to be happy. But I wasn’t born to live an ordinary life in the middle of nowhere. I was put here to do something more with myself and be something more. So, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll try to update as I take scratch these off my list.

Next post, Nashville. I hope.

~Angel

 

“I’ll be dead before the day is gone.”

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Taken in my field earlier.

Stress is a happy little erosion eating every single bit of happiness from my life. I lose sight of everything because I can’t get a grip on anything, and before I know it, life is spiraling out of my control. It’s crunch time. I don’t need this right now. And it never fails – one step forward, ten steps back. Get something handled or some good news, only to have it all followed up by a series of bad. No matter how hard I try to keep moving forward, I get kicked in the teeth and knocked on my ass.

I am tired.

After my surprise (and somewhat miserable failure) going away party for Skylar, when I was pulling into my driveway, I stopped in the field and got out of the car. Because I’m stressed, and sick, and exhausted, and honestly.. I’m just not sure what to do anymore.

And there it is. The forest. The field. The sunset. Calling me. Some desperate begging from the earth to just go. Leave. Forget everything and explore.

Obviously, I didn’t run off on some grand adventure. But I did walk around for a few minutes, taking in the quiet and letting myself calm down. I don’t feeling one-hundred percent better, but I’m not having a panic attack at least.

And it’s peaceful in the deep
Cathedral where you cannot breathe
No need to pray, no need to speak
Now I am under all

And it’s breaking over me
A thousand miles down to the sea bed
Found the place to rest my head
Never let me go

I really could use that vacation right now. Is it the 17th yet? Because I’d greatly like to not be Angel for a little while. Oh well. Until later,

~Angel