A tree drops its seed
Which creates new life.
Roots, a trunk and limbs of its own
Then outstretched leaves
Which fall in the fall,
Decay and feed
The roots and all
Until one day
It drops its seed
And nature starts again.
Man plants a seed
On a lawn of grass
To grow a tree
For shade, for swing;
To hide a view.
It grows and grows
And drops its leaves
And man complains
As he rakes them, bags them;
Pays to have them hauled away
In plastic on the curb.
He waters, rakes, prunes and feeds
(With chemicals of course)
Then wonders in the later years
Why the 'damned tree'
Begins to die
After all he's done.
© 2016 Kate McGahan
Acceptance is often confused with the notion of being “all right” or “OK” with what has happened. This is not the case. Most people don’t ever feel OK or all right about the loss of a loved one.
This stage is about accepting the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognizing that this new reality is the permanent reality. We will never like this reality or make it OK, but eventually, we accept it. We learn to live with it. It is the new norm with which we must learn to live. We must try to live now in a world where our loved one is missing.
In resisting this new norm, at first many people want to maintain life as it was before a loved one died. In time, through bits and pieces of acceptance, however, we see that we cannot maintain the past intact. It has been forever changed and we must readjust. We must learn to reorganize roles and priorities, re-assign them to others or take them on ourselves. Finding acceptance may be just having more good days than bad ones.
As we begin to live again and enjoy our life, we often feel that in doing so, we are betraying our loved one. We can never replace what has been lost, but we can make new connections, new meaningful relationships, new inter-dependencies. Instead of denying our feelings, we listen to our needs; we move, we change, we grow, we evolve. We may start to reach out to others and become involved in their lives. We invest in our friendships and in our relationship with ourselves.
We begin to live again, but we cannot do so until we have given grief its time. Be patient with yourself and those around you. Time and support will help you to heal the wounds of grief.
Consider reading the Jack McAfghan Trilogy if you cannot find the support you need in the corners of your life. Visit www.katemcgahan.com and sign up for your free book, "It's Not Putting Me Down, It's Lifting Me Up." Follow Jack on Facebook. Jack is always there to guide, support and love you through the journey. Our story is your story too. Jack's voice is the voice of your beloved.
Prayers for your journey.
|Letting Go - Balloons|
When we are faced with a difficult life challenge there is usually a lesson in it. Most of our life lessons are about Love
and about Letting Go.
Letting Go doesn't mean you don't love them anymore. Letting Go doesn't mean you won't miss them anymore. You can never cut the ties that bind two souls together who truly love each other. What you DO need to cut is the Leash of Grief and Guilt that binds them to you and prevents them from doing what is best for them.
As They say, set something free and if it was yours to begin with, it will come back. It's natural law, in Heaven and on Earth and in all the spaces in between life and death and life. Your loved ones cannot come back from a place they have not yet arrived.
If you are looking for Signs and not finding them, take a look at what you are doing. If your best friend is still on the leash of your grief, your best friend is not yet free to be everything he or she can be.
Letting Go is the most important thing you can do for both of you. It is the ultimate act of faith... and you will be rewarded for it.
Breathe. Then Let Go. It's time.
You say you love. Do you love them enough to let them go?
Do you trust them enough to have the faith that they will never leave? Do you trust yourself enough to have the faith that if they leave, you will still be okay?
"'Do not cling to me,' said Jesus, 'for I have not yet ascended to the Father.'"
(Jesus to Mary Magdalene)
This image makes me think of my father. He and my Mom split when I was a year old. Throughout my youth I would find myself waiting for the days he would gather me up for scheduled weekend visits. Sometimes he was a No Show but most of the time visits with him were good. He is the sentimental Irish part of me so between that and being a child of divorce, I suppose those are things that contribute to my deep pervasive feeling of longing. Just like the child in the picture waiting -- waiting for love, longing for a better life, waiting for the windfall of treasures, waiting for people to turn on the love in their hearts. Waiting for my books to sell. Waiting for life to give me a break; oh I've made so many mistakes! Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
"What are you waiting for?" they will ask. "You've been waiting for what (?) since you were a child? Then just change the way you look at things! Let go of the old and bring in the new! If you aren't happy it's your fault. Let it GO." hmmmmmmmm......
Has anyone ever told you these things so that you would be different than the you that you are? Who says we are supposed to be giddy and raucously happy? Why can't we just be ourselves. Things in our lives happen for a reason. We cannot be cookie-cuttered.
Do you find yourself longing for a life different than the one you are living? I have had many disappointments but also have had an element of success in my life. I have many friends and a supportive family. My cup is half full and I am the eternal optimist ...but somewhere in my deepest being there is a pervasive bittersweet longing. Longing for a certain kind of love or creative outlet -- or for a publisher or landfall of money or more hours in a day. Maybe a nicer house, a newer car. I think maybe when I find the right pair of jeans that fit me perfectly it will be the key to my happiness. When all is said and done, I am overall content but never joyously or exhiliratingly happy. We are in control of our thoughts and feelings to an extent but sometimes upbringing and DNA have a lot to do with why we are the way we are. There is really only so much we can control. The rest we must come to accept.
When we are children growing up, life circumstances can thread themselves right into our cells and to a certain extent we grow and develop into our own unique personal tapestries based on those threads. We become what we have experienced. We all have our stories and there is always a reason why we are the way we are. The best thing we can do is accept and embrace our unique selves and wait on the will of Heaven.
Something wonderful is coming. There is a reason for all of this. Keep the faith.
In Honor of Father's Day
(Excerpt from Book 3: Jack McAfghan's Return From Rainbow Bridge")
Upon my arrival at Rainbow Bridge Crossing....
As I was happily reuniting with Grady and some other friends, I heard someone calling my name. It was a commanding voice. “Jack!” I raced back to the Bridge. I was so excited! I thought maybe they were calling to tell me that Kate was coming!
But no, I was being summoned. They were recruiting me to go back to escort Kate’s father across the Bridge. No one crosses alone without someone they know and love beside them. I was the chosen one.
When I crossed the Rainbow Bridge with Thalia in the wee hours of that morning, I would not have expected Kate’s father to be crossing over the following afternoon. It was complex, for while she wept bitter tears for me, she also cried guilty tears for the fact that, while she loved her father a great deal, she simply had loved me more. Dealing with yet another loss interrupted her grieving process with me. The anger stage she was supposed to go through with me she applied to her father instead. Once she was done dealing with her grief over losing him, she would have to come back and finish the grieving she started with me.
I was told why I had to leave the day before he did. It was because they needed to teach me what I needed to know to be ready to best assist him. Lizard was my role model. He had shown me what to do and I had been well prepared.
When I arrived back on the other side of the Bridge to collect him, it was very hard not to think about going to her instead but I promised them I would stay true to my mission. It was the hardest thing I ever did, to be that close to her and to walk away again. My Rainbow friends had promised me that they would soon teach me how to be with her despite the veil between us, so I focused on that and it gave me hope.
It’s interesting that they chose me to be the one to escort him, but I guess it’s because he had one more lesson to learn before he got to Heaven. When Chuck walked the earth, he was one of those people who didn’t quite understand that I was a thinking feeling being just like him. He thought of me as Just A Dog, but then he would glare at me if I acted like one; if I barked or got too rambunctious or got my nose too close to his food. I was so surprised by his reaction when I came back to get him that day. Boy, was he happy to see me! It’s interesting how you learn how much someone loves you when they thought they were all alone and then you show up for them.
I was there with him because the moment we leave this world our Master makes sure that we are not alone. Not ever. I thought it was quite amusing how Chuck kept walking with a limp all the way across the Bridge, as if his knee still hurt him.
You don’t have to limp anymore. You don’t have a reason to limp anymore.
“I know,” he replied, but his head hadn’t yet caught up with the miracle that was happening. Sometimes the head takes awhile catching up with what the heart already knows. He was still stuck in the belief that he was who he was on earth, with his limitations in body and mind. His body was free and yet still he limped all the way across the Bridge, at which point he would be sent to the Rainbow Healing Center to correct his thinking so that he could be free.
I knew she would be okay because when you keep yourself very busy with tasks, you don’t have much time to grieve and feel sorry for yourself. She was getting ready to go into the city to close out her father’s apartment. We would all be very busy in the days ahead. She had cured me of my fear of bridges but nothing had been able to ease my apprehension over the unpredictable slam of the teeter-totter. After we returned to the other side of Rainbow Bridge, I went into the Healing Center too, to resolve that issue. We cannot take any fear into Heaven with us because love does not coexist with fear and Heaven is all love. The only way to be free is to rid ourselves of the fears.
Let Jack Heal Your Heart. Available on Amazon Worldwide in Paperback, on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and through your favorite bookseller.
Just like your angels, you are never alone. You can take Jack wherever you go and he will keep you connected to your loved ones, who are with you wherever you go.
Is it okay to get another pet if the spirit moves you?
Don't you know, I am the spirit that moves you?
You can't replace me, but you can bring in a new kind of love. You've had her now for almost three months. You see her healing. You feel yourself healing too. It has taken this long for you to trust each other. She no longer runs from you. She comes to you seeking love. You are healed enough now, to give her everything and more. But I know. I know you still love me. I still see you cry when you don't think you have everything, but you do. You do have everything.
He's so nice one minute but not the next.
I don't understand what's wrong.
He's usually easy going
Not so angry and headstrong!
What did I do to earn his wrath?
What can I do to change it?
I thought our life was right on track.
I'll have to rearrange it.
To make him happy, that's my role
To keep the family close,
To keep the peace and keep the house,
And not appear morose.
Because sometimes the smallest things
Seem to upset him so
And at those times, he grabs a drink
And then it's touch and go.
We keep this secret to ourselves.
We don't complain, we smile!
And go about our business
And become so versatile!
As we grow, we learn how much
Our family impacts us
And we tend to follow footsteps of
The only way it was.
We fight our parents battles
And we run from drinks and drugs
We run from love and closeness
And tighten up when someone hugs
Us because we're never certain
How consistent someone is.
We walk on eggshells all the time
Ready to dismiss
The other for their various faults,
We take a lesser stance.
We make them more important
Than we are in circumstance.
A lesson that is hard to learn
When we've grown up this way--
To be equally important in
What we want and what we say.
So if you cannot intervene,
Make a change in your own life
So that someday you can be yourself
With your husband or your wife
Or your significant other
If you choose a different route.
Because what you want is what you want.
Be true to your pursuit.
It's time to take the driver's seat
And move towards your life goals.
Decide what you want and go for it
And let go of the roles
You've played for years and mastered.
Your time's long overdue.
Take care of others, but care for yourself.
As they say "To thine own self be true."
From the book One Heart's Journey
by Kate McGahan LMSW
From the book One Heart's Journey
by Kate McGahan LMSW
I’m building a wall that I don’t want to build
A stockade ‘round my heart and soul
All because those before you filled
My life then left a gaping hole.
You pay the price of baggage carried
On and off throughout my years.
Some cast off and deeply buried,
Some I keep to tote my fears
Of failure, guilt, abandonment,
Which pull me down and hold me back.
These fears are much like bricks and mortar
Weighing down my heavy sack.
I’ve always had the tools I need
To ward off enemies unknown
Always ready to defend
By erecting walls of stone
Impossible to penetrate!
They kept me sound
They kept me safe!
They also sheltered me from love.
I’ve paid the price of seeming brave.
It’s time to cast those things aside
That I no longer need because
Not only do they weigh too much,
They sheltered me from what life WAS.
My life is very different now
How wrong of me to utilize
This defense when I’ve no cause
To doubt your word or your advice.
I feel exposed as I toss out
The huge amounts of sand and stone…
Afraid to be wounded without my “shield,”
I await the pain as I stand alone.
Only to find that the pain doesn’t come!
I tentatively discover
That warmth and tenderness surround
Me as I start to now uncover
The parts of me I’ve saved for you,
The one who taught me it’s okay
To be myself and share my truth
Knowing you’ll meet me halfway
With respect and courtesy.
I learn life is a paradox.
Tear down the walls with kindness and
Build gates of love, not walls of rocks.
Life is all about the experience of love
...Or the lack thereof...
And the expression
Life keeps dishing out opportunities
Good and bad.
When that happens
We either come through
Our Rite of Passage,
Or we smother the opportunity,
Burying it with our chosen painkillers;
Anxiety, addiction, depression....
Push the feelings away
And maybe one day
You won't feel anything.
You can become an inanimate object.
And life will still keep dishing it out
In the hopes that one day
You will learn
What it hopes to teach you.
Love is always the lesson.
This image shows the border between two countries: Mexico and the U.S.A.
Can you guess which side of the image is Mexico and which is the U.S?
Can you guess which side of the image is Mexico and which is the U.S?
I live approximately 1/2 hour north of Nogales, Arizona which is directly across the border from it's sister town by the same name, Nogales, in the Mexican state of Sonora. The population in Nogales AZ is just under 21,000. The population in Nogales MX is over 212,000.
As you already know, my page is far from being a political environment. While the topic of Mexico can be a delicate issue in this day and age, I do not encourage heated debate and I ask you to please refrain from provoking such disputes here. What I do encourage is awareness, bipartiality and applying what we have learned in our most important life relationships: Acceptance, Non-judgment and Compassion. Let's see how much we've learned....Is it possible? Yes. Si.
My grocery store of choice is Safeway in Nogales, 20 minutes South. The Green Valley Safeway is 20 minutes North and is very nice but there is just such a warm feeling I get from shopping in Nogales. I always leave with an uplifted heart for all the smiles and warmth I receive there. A few weeks back I was at the store and I realized that just two days before the largest drug bust in the history of the border had taken place just a few blocks away. It is a dichotomy. It has my attention and that is why I am writing this book. My Mexican novio (boyfriend) was an interesting dichotomy too, which is why I started this book 2 decades ago never thinking I would finish it. But some things are Meant To Be, aren't they...
I have been doing grief work and clinical hospice for the better part of 35 years and have written six books on the subject. It is a huge step for me to switch gears, dust off the screenplay I wrote in 1999 when I first visited and studied the US/Mexico border in detail. I never dreamed I would move here one day. (Check out how beautiful it really is by visiting my personal FB Page. I love to show it off!
(Find me at https://www.facebook.com/KateMcGahanLMSW)
Here I am now writing the novel to open minds and hearts to the diversity, complexities and love lessons of intermingled lives and agendas at the international border.
Stay Tuned for "The Walls Between Us," to be released later this year.
Everything is going to be alright. Love never dies and the end of this life is not the end of life at all. Something that appears to be the ending is always just the beginning of something else.
Have you read any of my other books? Did you enjoy them? If so, please consider rating them on Amazon to let others know they are worth the read. Reviews mean everything to me. I am not allowed to give anything in exchange for a great review, but if I could I would give you the world. Prayers going out to all who struggle. It sounds cliche but this too shall pass. After all, nothing lasts forever but Love.
I'm thinking of those who grieve as the first day of Spring arrives. Some of you still have snow and are living in the seemingly relentless cold shadows of winter. Some of you have floods. Some of you are still grieving the loss of a loved one. Spring should be a time of renewal but for those who struggle, it can have the opposite effect. Winter can seem relentless. While the rest of the world celebrates the sunshine on the crocus and the daffodil, those who grieve often remain in the shadows.
My latest book, an adapted version of my pet loss book by the same title, is designed to guide you through the grief related to a human loved one. Whether you are missing a partner, spouse, child, parent, other family member or friend, this book will give you what took me 35 years working with hospice and end-of-life to learn. It is a spiritual book that speaks to you from your loved one on the Other Side. It might just be the one thing that can bring the thaw to the winter of grief within your heart.
The Kindle version is currently On Sale for just 99 cents until this weekend. If you are nervous about reading an EBook, I want to reassure you that if you can read this email on your device, you can read my EBooks on your device too. It's really easy! You'll see!
Have you read any of my other books? Did you enjoy them? If so, please consider rating them on Amazon to let others know they are worth the read. Reviews mean everything to me. I am not allowed to give anything in exchange for a great review, but if I could I would give you the world. Prayers going out to all who struggle. It sounds cliche but this too shall pass. Nothing lasts forever but Love.
Find Book 6 HERE. Start healing your heart in a matter of minutes.
It's not about letting go of the love. It's about letting go of the grief.
|Don't Be Afraid To Grieve. You Can Never Lose The Ones You Love. Love Never Dies.|
I had been suffering in silence the loss of my dog, Jack, my father, my home in Sedona and the ending of a decade-long relationship -- all which took place within a four month period. I had been an end-of-life social worker and hospice counselor for three decades. Always I would advise my clients to stay connected with others, share their pain when they can and be cautious not to isolate themselves. I did not practice my own preaching. Part of me was afraid that if I stopped grieving that Jack would then be even further away from me, but that wasn't true at all. Remaining isolated, I continued feeling victimized by my loss and life changes.
In those decades of working with all kinds of people from all walks of life, it was the Veterans who had served in active duty during wartime that seemed to be carrying the most baggage with them at the end of their lifetime. Some were able to connect with like-minded supports but most, especially those from the greatly-misunderstood war in Vietnam, held onto their pain like they held onto their very lives during active duty. As if by letting go they would fall apart. Seeds of darkness had been planted in their heads and hearts all those years ago and most preferred to look the other way thinking they were strong enough to cover up the pain and leave the gory details behind.
But pain longheld does not go away on it's own. It needs release. It needs to be acknowledged and shared. The sharing of it is what releases its grip. Many of these veterans will release tensions, tears and emotions in their final hours of life, never knowing that their lives would have been much brighter and freer had they not stuffed their memories away in the dark archives of their being. It is human nature to release regrets, trauma and reactive memories as one's time of death approaches.
"A string of flashbacks came to me... all of them flashed before my eyes. The painful memories came to say goodbye. They are filtered out of us at the end of life. We cannot take them where we're going because they only weigh us down."
You Don't Need to Bear Your Burdens Alone. You Are Not Alone.
About twenty years later, I scheduled a Reiki Massage with an intuitive healer. At a certain point he was working on my left leg and he said, "What happened to your knee?" My honest reply, "Nothing happened to my knee." (I had hidden it away so long that I didn't even consciously remember that it had taken place). "Oh yes something happened...." and then he said, "I see a little red car spinning out of control." OMG. How did he see this when it had been erased from my very own memory? Why... because our bodies remember. Our hearts remember long after the mind has forgotten. Anything you hold inside of yourself without expression remains inside of you until you express it and set it free.
Perhaps you too have pain that you have suffered in silence. Those of you who know my story know that at the six month mark after my initial loss, my dog Jack came to me and he guided the pen in my hand to write a dozen pages, him speaking his heart to mine. Writing our story. That was the beginning of my healing.
If you are suffering and don't know where to turn, consider writing down the circumstances, your feelings, your story. If you don't like to write you can draw it. Sing it. Dance it. The very act of expressing something in a journal, a diary, a private place - is the beginning of release. After being "trapped" in your mind and heart for days, weeks, months, maybe even years, dare bring it into the light of day on the lines of your paper, the pages in your sketchbook. Already you will feel better -- but that is just the beginning.
My writing our story was one thing, sharing it was another. Ultimately the best thing you can do is to share your story with someone you trust, someone who understands and accepts you. You don't have to do what I did and share your story worldwide, but it would be a very good step for you to reach out to family or friends. If you do not feel safe sharing with them, find a very good counselor or support group that will guide you through the rollercoaster of emotions that you will experience during your time of grief. Grief is a trauma and trauma must be processed and released before you can live your life fully again. The right group will not only support you but the right group can even enhance your life moving forward.
Don't hold it in. Release it and then let it go.
If you are suffering the loss of a pet, I invite you to visit our Facebook Support Group and find out how powerful it can be to share with others who understand, validate you and help you to grow into a whole new you. The new you who is stronger and wiser than ever for your experience of love and loss.
How many take love for granted?
It starts out sweet and then disappears.
Imagine the fun they had putting this sculpture of LOVE into place. A few days later, people still notice and appreciate it.
A few weeks later people start using it as a landmark.
"Turn right at L-O-V-E, go down three blocks and turn left on
A few months later they pass in its shadow, hardly noticing.
Such is the way with love that is not nourished or nurtured.
But look! Years later it still stands tall and strong!
Of course it does. It is more stable and more powerful
than all the inattention in the world.
“Oh –it’s crazy really,”
I’d tell the girls at work
How I fell down the stairs
Or hit my head on the kitchen cupboard
Or broke my wrist chasing after the family dog.
I’d feign laughter over my “stupidity,”
Wondering if they could read between the lines
And see my helplessness
My misery. My lies…
Wishing that they could.
Praying that they wouldn’t.
Most of my friends didn’t care for him when we married.
I never understood why –
Well… so perfect.
All of a sudden he changed.
Overnight he became a monster,
Like a werewolf at full moon
when the sun goes down.
Only the sun never comes back up.
I tried to rise up when the kids went off to school
And I took a job that satisfied.
It should have been the happiest time of my life.
He couldn’t tolerate it.
He chided me. Ridiculed me
Criticized me. Beat me
Until I wondered what shreds of me were left
That I could offer anybody.
I should’ve been angry.
I should’ve fought back.
I should’ve left him.
But through it all I was loyal.
I was the only one who saw his insecurity.
I eventually realized
I’d had it all backwards.
He had needed me to need him so badly
That he did everything in his power
To make me feel so insecure
That I would never leave him.
My leash was his anger.
My prison was our marriage.
My armor was my spirit.
Somehow through it all
He never cracked my spirit.
Somewhere in the core of me
Was the belief
That I would prevail.
That I would be strong.
That I would find a way to pursue
What made me happy.
My spirit was stronger than his.
Now he is in how own prison
And my Someday has arrived
From the book "One Heart's Journey: Lyrics of an Imperfect Life"
A ripple on a silent pond can reach eternity.
The water becomes calm again but
forever holds the memory.
Butterfly wings across time, across space,
the gentle vibration cannot be erased.
The power of one, as small as those wings...
Small as the red-throated hummer spinning
eighty beats per second!
Too small you say?
Wait 'til the mosquito comes to your bed tonight
and never again say you are too small!
Yes, one can make a difference but wait!
Put two sticks together and then try to break them!
The effect of the butterfly wings ...
only possible because it has two.
And the power of many small loving hearts
can swell like a tsunami wave,
all because of
on a silent pond.
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