Friday, October 12, 2018

Book 4 Now Available in Paperback!


This little book will answer every question you ever asked about the end of life -- and some you haven't thought to ask yet.  Let Jack guide you gently through the decisions, the Stages of Grief and into the Healing that will show you that you have become so much more for the love you have shared. 


Charlie's Story is Unfolding

Once Upon A Time a golden cat was abandoned on the busy highway at the edge of a sleepy border town.... 


It's another true story!  Our lives are a little different now since returning from a recent week in New York. While we were away this orange cat took up residence on our porch. He made himself quite at home ...and he has never left. Having already become the local "Resident Cat" here in our neighborhood, life is really quite good for him. Yet he has no home to call his own. He clearly had a loving home at one time, for he is loving, tame, domesticated, clean and smart! Yet he survives within the feral community around us, for the girls come around to see him, neutered and all.  

Will he take up residence with Kate and Joey and Immy?  Will he choose to go with Katsy, who is lonely and wants him desperately to live with her and who gives him all the comforts of home?  Will he adopt himself into the feral community where Tiny, the elderly man next door puts out a Friskies Buffet every day and leaves his door open for 'his' cats to freely come and go? Or perhaps he will choose to stay with Dennis, the loving owner of the park, who waits for Charlie to make his daily rounds and who, with his poodle's approval, allows Charlie to roam freely in and around his house. It was Dennis who arranged for him to be neutered. It was Dennis who started calling him "Ocher" for his color, long after Kate started calling him "Charlie." "Charlie," because not only does he somehow look like her father, Charles, he is the spitting image of Charles's little cat Barney, who fell through the ice at their Canandaigua home many long years ago.  Who IS this golden feline? 


Destiny is at work once more. How it will end? Find out soon, as Jack McAfghan tells the story that is By Design and unfolds in the lives of those in the sleepy little border town in Arizona.  


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We'll keep you posted on progress! 

"Only Gone From Your Sight" - #1 New Release on Amazon


SAMPLE CHAPTER...
from 
Only Gone From Your Sight:
Jack McAfghan's Little Guide to Pet Loss & Grief
by Kate McGahan


CHAPTER 4 

NOT ‘JUST’ A PET

It was hard for friends to know how to comfort her. After all, I had been like her child, her boyfriend, her husband and her best friend all wrapped up in one furry package. Pets can become like family members especially for those who do not have a family of their own.
You might find it difficult to open up your heart and talk with most people because you fear they might think you crazy for loving me more than you’ve loved any human. All too many who deeply grieve the loss of a pet have been ‘reassured’ by a statement from a well-meaning friend, “It’s just a dog/ cat/ horse/ hamster/ rabbit/ parakeet... You can get another one.” Forgive them for they know not what they do or what they say.
   Even other animal owners might not understand. Some people who own pets are only master, not friend, and they miss out on the best parts of the human-animal bond. If only they could see that we are there to teach them and to give them the love that has otherwise been missing in their lives. The love most humans do not know how to give…or receive. These are the people who might laugh or sneer at you now when you call me your soulmate because they never have heard of such a thing. They think that all soulmates are romantic relationships between two people, not loving relationships between two beings, two friends, two soul travelers such as us. Pity them for what they do not know. Pity them that they cannot treat anyone else better than they treat themselves. Pity them for the love they’ve never had or recognized.
Love is chemistry beyond our control. When true love comes into your life it can transform you in the most extraordinary ways and change everything you ever believed in. You are never sure where true love is going to come from and it can be quite a surprise when it comes from your pet.
While it may sound strange that someone can grieve more deeply for a pet than for a human, there is a certain undeniable depth that comes from sharing a life of unconditional love. It doesn’t matter how many legs I have or how many you have, it’s a soul connection. No matter how we found each other, no matter how long we have been together, it is a relationship like no other. I have given you the kind of love that takes humans a lifetime to learn, if they ever learn. I know the power of love and I want to give it to you. It is the most powerful force in the universe. I came into this world to give true love to you and to draw true love out of you. How many people in your life do that?
Of course people do the best they can, giving and receiving their imperfect human love. There are a few special people on earth who are very old souls and they are capable of loving at a very deep level. They give the highest form of love; love that is divinely pure, honest and unconditional. It holds the loved one more precious than oneself. It sacrifices without complaint, without resentment, without keeping score. It gives and gives and expects nothing in return. It’s the same kind of love that I have given to you. I came into the world to love and be loved and I chose you. Love is why I came here. You are the reason I came. My love has become a part of you but you don’t seem to understand that yet. When I am gone you don’t seem to know who you are without me. You don’t know your identity without me. I will teach you. I will teach you through life and I will teach you through death. I will teach you that love never dies.
When you love from the depths of the soul in your heart, you are never apart from the one you love no matter how far away you seem to be. Even when I am gone from your sight, I am never gone from your heart. We live in the heart of one another for eternity, beyond the reaches of this world. The love runs deep. That's why it hurts so much for so long when we have to say “goodbye”. That’s also why you will get through this. Our love runs so deep that nothing can touch it, no, not even death. Our love will win. It always does when it is true.


I tried to comfort her. I spoke in a voice she could not hear. her grief and sadness drowned me out. I wanted to tell her what I have always known. That life is but a dream leading to love. Love, more powerful than her fear could ever be. Love cannot be destroyed. It grows and grows until it is stronger than death. 

Soulmates change all the rules in the game of life. We have been brought together, you and me, by a common destiny. We have known each other before and we will know each other again. I will continue to transform you from beyond the grave and help you to see that love is more valuable and powerful than anything else.
There will be others who will not understand this kind of love. They will raise their eyebrows as they stand in judgment of you and comment how silly it is that you loved me this much. Don’t worry about them. I feel sorry for them. They obviously have never encountered a soulmate of their own or they would know better. They would know that traditional rules do not apply when a match is made in Heaven. Once you know this kind of love you will never question love again. You’ll know it when you see it. You’ll know it when you feel it. You will never be confused by something that is something else.


EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY BECAUSE 
OUR LOVE WILL SEE US THROUGH.
LOVE NEVER DIES.  

Keep Going! Click HERE to preview the first 5 chapters and/or order the book, 
available on Kindle and in Paperback! 

Why Do Happy Memories Make Me Cry?



...All of a sudden I remember you and me
Watching the clowns on the Playa with the little kids
Wearing big monster mask heads
Answering silly questions
That made us laugh like kids ourselves.

Your arms were around me
As we watched and laughed.
It seemed a magical time, a magical place.

From this I know.
No matter what should happen
Though we may drift apart,
There are many things that will make us look back
And smile.

If this is true,
How come I'm crying as I write this?



"A butterfly lights beside us, like a sunbeam and for a brief moment its glory and beauty belong to our world... but then it flies on again and although we wish it could have stayed, we are so thankful to have seen it at all." Author Unknown

Friday, October 5, 2018

I Don't Know, 'I Don't Remember, I Don't Remember' : On Being Transparent About Sexual Abuse


SEXUAL ABUSE AND POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
WHY WE CAN'T REMEMBER THE DETAILS
By Kate McGahan LMSW

Along with the rest of the nation, I have been riveted on the Brett Kavanaugh/Christine Blasey-Ford testimony. Why all the hoopla? Aside from the deeply disturbing values and attitudes that are being consistently revealed in current politics, the story touches everyone who ever abused, was ever abused, ever did things beyond their control under the influence, ever forgot …ever remembered.

Last week Dr. Ford reminded me of what happened to me. She reminds me of what I tried to forget. It’s not like I forgot altogether what happened to me. Oh no. It’s that when it actually happened, I dissociated from myself because, quite simply, I didn’t want to be there. I wanted no part of it. So I “left”! Dissociation is a natural defense mechanism for those experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) whether it is due to wartime, devastating natural disaster or sexual, physical or emotional trauma. 

When he came looking for me that first night when I was ten, I was hiding from him. I had already learned that I did not like the way he treated me. He was just, well, “yucky.” Every night through my terrifying moments, he would find me, hiding. Behind curtains. Behind chairs. Under beds and tables. He always found me. I don’t know why I didn’t just run away from home altogether but there was something in the experience that paralyzed me like a deer in headlights.

I don’t know how many times over the years he did this, but it was many times. I never told anybody about it. This was the first person who taught me to Not Say No, to Not Tell Anyone, to try to continue loving someone even though they hurt, abuse and betray. He taught me how to deny the Here and Now, how to suppress my feelings until it became natural for me to stuff them away altogether. He taught me to expect that someone you come to love will probably come to hurt you. He taught me that family can betray you.
DISSOCIATION:
WHY WE CAN’T REMEMBER WHERE, WHAT, WHEN
BUT WE ALWAYS REMEMBER WHO

Once he found me and took me to his bedroom, I couldn’t hide my body anymore, so I hid the rest of me. I vacated. I dissociated. While his hands groped and his aged appendage shook as he spoke dirty words to my virgin ears, I exited the situation. My mind was able to whisk me away. I floated up out of the situation. Around the walls, covered with pink and blue wallpapered flowers. Up the wall to where the white painted molding met the yellowed ceiling. Most of the time I’d be “up there” somewhere but sometimes I would go even further. I would go through the ceiling and out into the freedom that was the rooftop and the sky. Despite what was happening I had already developed a faith in God and the angels and I believed that when I went “up there” I had a measure of safety that I didn’t have below. When we are traumatized, leaving the scene spiritually and psychologically is a safety measure. It’s By Design for one’s survival. It's no surprise that we cannot remember details when we are "not there." The circumstances at hand are too overwhelming to process and so we are designed to have an exit route and that route is called Dissociation.



When someone drinks or does drugs, they can exit too, through blackouts, drug “trips” that take them out of context with their own bodies, straight into an altered state. This is why most of them do it. They can't remember the details either, those that happened during their trip. They too are seeking an escape from something in their lives that they can’t bear. Some people can’t find their way back. They can be stuck in a confusing state of Dissociative Disorder, which is a disorder of identity. When you leave yourself behind this way, the day eventually can come when you find that you don’t know who you are at all. You don’t even know what you are. You have not lived life like a normal “person”.

When children are abused, they can lose sight of who and what they are. Now nearly fifty years later, I still do not know my worth, my value, my best qualities overshadowed and disguised by lifelong shame. This makes no sense to someone who has never experienced abuse, that a child can have such shame and guilt for the torrid acts of someone else, but it is the nature of a child to suffer guilt for such things beyond his or her control. Many suffer this for the rest of their lives. 



When you're young and your parents divorce, you always think it’s your fault. After all you are still somewhat ego-centric, as all young children are, and you think the world revolves around you, so therefore everything must have to do with you, for better or for worse. With various types of abuse, there is deep shame for being submissive, for not saying “no” to something that is deeply wrong. There is guilt for not being brave enough to tell anyone, not reporting the perpetrator. Perhaps even guilt for enjoying the experience despite the circumstance. Horrors! 

One of the specific problems for children who experience abuse of any kind is that as they grow, their brains are developing too. What goes in becomes a part of them. Walking. Talking. Tying Their Shoes. Reading, Writing, Arithmetic. Words of praise become a foundation for how they see themselves as they move forward into adulthood. Physical, Emotional, Sexual Abuse. These too become a foundation for how they see themselves and rate their poor self-worth as they move forward into adulthood. They never know why they don’t trust, they fear betrayal, they avoid intimacy. They throw themselves into dysfunctional relationships – after all, we attract what we feel and we will be like magnets drawing the same kind of people to us who will continue to hurt, harm, betray and abuse. In our ongoing insecurity, we can become addicted to pathways of escape: drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography or work. We further dull our awareness of who we are because we don’t like who we are and we must find some way to escape from our own lives. It’s just another kind of dissociation. There are so many ways to lose ourselves. Each one of these situations is actually another opportunity to Show Up differently, but still we tend to focus on losing ourselves instead of finding ourselves. 

...Until one day we are reminded and it all comes rushing back. It fills every sense that had forgotten until now. The groping, the gravely voice, the lumpy pillows, the wallpaper flowers, the stale smell of the room. You can’t say when, you don’t remember how often. You only remember the flowers, the ceiling, the man, the hands, the feeling of terror and powerlessness ---- only now there is no escape from it. You have finally admitted to yourself that this has happened and now what are you going to do with it? You can’t heal what you don’t feel and now fifty years later you feel it’s full effect. You feel the fury, knowing how it changed the way you came to live your life. You see it from the eyes of an adult now. You know now that you deserved more in life but look how you always settled for less.


Last night anchor woman Connie Chung came forward. God bless her. She has remembered too: the trusted family doctor who delivered her as a baby who came to assault her as a co-ed. In fifty years she never told anyone but her husband. She now reminds me of one I’d forgotten. Our small town family doctor who fondled my breasts during a procedural exam for college admission.
     “Is someone playing with these?” he asked me.
     “No.” was my shy but robotic answer. 
      How on earth does one answer this?
     “Aww, that’s too bad,” he replied as he gave a last fondle.
     Oh my God I forgot about this until now.



So many of us are caught in the process of unlearning the erroneous things that we’ve been taught, needing to rewind back to our innocence and to remember the love and respect we must inherently have first for ourselves. We must tell our story and once it's told, to learn what we can from it and try to forget the part that only deprives us of creating a better story for ourselves in this new day and age ....knowing that the challenges along the way are what gave us the strengths of empathy, compassion and appreciation for the good things in life. Nothing is ever all good or all bad. The key is in accepting it as part of our development and moving forward with the strength of character that we have developed. We are different people because of these things and when it comes to our own testimony of ourselves, we are innocent.  

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change; 

courage to change the things I can; 

and wisdom to know the difference.




Thursday, October 4, 2018

We've Led Parallel Lives: You've Been Abused Too

(Excerpt from the upcoming book, "It's All About You" by Kate McGahan)

Tonight I read about a man who had been fondled by a stranger for twenty minutes at the age of 8. This guy grew up carrying his pain with him through 32 years of marriage to a woman he never really knew. He had buried his wound and locked it up tight thinking that time would take it away… while all along the secret followed him and haunted him.  It returned in every intimate moment that should have brought him joy.

Are you him? Am I?  What happens when someone is repeatedly abused year after year by someone they are supposed to love? By someone who is a member of the family who teaches only betrayal? I don't know about you but I've tried to heal for many years. How? By continuing to choose to be with ears that didn't hear, kisses that bruised and left their mark, hugs that engulfed and smothered ...and hearts that betrayed. They wanted everything and always on their terms. I have continually avoided closeness, as if I could avoid being hurt any more than I have already been! As if avoiding intimacy could keep me safe…

Why is this so complicated? I don't know about you but sometimes the new love I feel brings up old pain. The more intimacy we share, the more pain comes up. 

Do we brush the pain aside for the sake of comfort in the moment or do we look it in the eye and strive to show up differently?  I am trying really hard to show up differently in my life.  It's so hard! One by one my fears are leaving me but the bigger they are the harder they fall. Dear God help me to keep surpassing my comfort zones until the day comes when I am no longer afraid.

I want to talk with you about your abuse. I want to know if you have healed. Maybe that is the reason you don't reach out to me?  Is that why you seem so distant sometimes? Is it why I am?

I have learned that trusting myself is prevention.
I have learned that trusting someone else is the cure. 
The right someone. 
The conditions are right. We can do this.
We are the wounded healers. We can do this one kiss at a time.

I am not big and strong like you but I would do 
Everything in my power to shelter you and keep you from harm.
I believe you would do the same for me.
We will make up for the lonely years when no one was there.
From now on it will be on our terms at the right time in the right place
With the right one... in the right way.

Who knows, perhaps our shared drama of abuse is the very thing
That made it possible at this exact time and place in our lives
For you to find me and for me to find you waiting for love to find us.
If this indeed is true, 
I would go through it all over again to be with you.

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