Happy New Year! I pray that it will be a better, more positive year full of love and kindness and happiness for everyone. I wish for everyone to be able to be more positive, smile more, laugh deeper, and love greater. Remember, be you! You are beautiful! And you are enough!
Last year was the year of healing me. While I will continue to work on this throughout the rest of my life, I plan on continuing writing about the struggles that I go through as a caregiver to hopefully help someone in need. I also plan on continuing seeking out the positives in every situation no matter how small.
I first came up with this saying almost three years ago during the blog-o-sphere’s April A to Z blogging challenge. I’ve tried to share positives everywhere I go and with whomever needs it. I learned to remove negativity from my life when TheHubs was deployed to Albania/Kosovo in 1999. It wasn’t until midway through last year that I realized I needed to remove my inner negative in order to continue on this positive path. I found the Operation Beautiful campaign, and a few more with the same “love yourself” mentality, and decided to started leaving my own post-it notes around in public places to help give strangers a smile. It filled my heart with love to write and leave the post-its around for people to find. Whether they found it helpful or not, I will never know. But in my heart, I know I did the right thing and someday someone somewhere will NEED this and if I don’t do it, they may never know that they matter! That would be one life I couldn’t have affected.
In doing this, I am now trying to thank everyone who has affected my life in some way, someone who has touched my heart and made me smile. With my first post of this new year, I am introducing a new series called Celebrate The Small Things. This is a blog hop where bloggers will band together to find something to celebrate each week. There aren’t many rules.
1. Sign up on the linky
2. Post celebrations in your blog each Friday. This doesn’t have to be every week but every month or so I will tidy the sign up list and if you haven’t posted since my last tidy up, I’ll likely remove you.
3. Hop around and celebrate with others. This doesn’t have to be the entire list, but if you could try to visit the 5 people before and after you that would be lovely.
4. Feel happy! 🙂
If you’re interested in learning more, please visit VikLit’s website. And if you have time, you can always visit the other blogger’s too.
Here’s my first Celebrate the Small Things post for 2015. It is a letter to John Legend thanking him for his song, All of Me. I wrote about this last year on my other blog, but didn’t quite understand the impact it would make, on both my husband or me. I would love to be able to give this to him so he knows exactly how it has touched our souls. But contacting a celebrity is oh so very hard. I hope one day he will be able to read this.
Dear Mr. John Legend,
I wanted to take the time to write you a letter regarding your song, All Of Me. I’m sure you’ve heard many a story about this song and how it is so incredibly perfect; but I’d like to share with you my story and how it has impacted my life.
The first time my husband heard your song, really listened to it, was right after he dropped our son off at the school bus stop. He told me he sat there, parked, with tears streaming down his face. When he told me this, it brought tears to my eyes.
Our story is much like a fairy tale, at least in the beginning, maybe even now but in a different from normal way. It’s not really love at first sight so much as two souls, destined to be together, finally finding one another and holding on. Five days after we met, he asked me to marry him. A month later we were married. December 22nd we celebrated our 25th anniversary. We’ve beaten so many odds, so many things that would have torn even the best couples apart, to get where we are today.
I’ve been paranoid since day one that he’d leave me. Because my father was in the Air Force and we moved around every four years, it’s been difficult to keep relationships – friendships and boyfriends. They either failed after a period of time or they disappeared into the wind. And because my upbringing has shaped my view of myself, I’ve always blamed myself for their failing. For me, it’s been hard to accept that he would be around so long. To this day I still have sad dreams where he leaves me. I never truly understood just how much he loves me.
My husband is also a disabled veteran who suffers chronic migraines, chronic neck pain, PTSD, and TBI. Before we had the diagnoses, before we had it managed, we didn’t know how to communicate. I think being a man is hard enough when our boys are raised not to show emotion. It’s a sign of weakness. But to be a soldier and to have emotional issues is a hundred times worse. They tell the soldiers to “Buck up. Charge on. Embrace the suck. Deal with it. Get over it.” But they never tell them how. They are left broken, not only on the outside, but on the inside as well. So when all these emotions, all these fears, and nightmares manifested inside him, things didn’t go well in our house. It didn’t help not knowing what the problem was and all the medication and medication changes really messed up his brain chemistry, too. He never knew how to tell me what was going on in his mind. Most of the time it came out through anger – not at me; but I always managed to feel it was my fault. He never knew how to express himself without saying something wrong. So he kept it all bottled up inside him. Silence killed me. I always imagined the worst. But I loved him. That’s all I could do.
It wasn’t until he sought help that he started learning how to express himself and communicate. In his learning he began teaching me. That was about five years ago. He has opened up to me about what has happened. I doubt I will know everything. But it doesn’t matter. We are communicating and learning. It is a never-ending education. One in which we both must practice.
I think the last two years have been incredibly hard. There was a time my husband rationalized. Because he always feels he is a burden, because his depression has affected me and our son greatly, he felt that I’d be better off without him. He didn’t tell me this at first. I had no idea. We were going through another medication change and I just thought it was his body adjusting to it. I never saw any signs. He wore his mask well. He only told me about it after his epiphany and after he spoke to his doctor about it.
Honestly, it scared me. But I was grateful he didn’t follow through. Lord knows we have enough medication at his fingertips that it would have been so easy for him. But he didn’t. And for that I thank God.
I thought I buried it so I could move on and continue doing what I always did. However, it must have hidden in the darkest of shadows, poking at my subconscious, taunting me because by Christmas 2013, I had fallen into my own dark abyss with no light to guide me through. I thought I was alone, that no one would understand what I deal with on a daily basis. To look at my husband is to look at anyone. He’s even had someone remark in a snide way, “Well, you don’t look disabled.” You cannot imagine how deep this cut him. But he put on a smile, a mask, and said, “Thank you.” To this day, it still eats at him. As for me, when I have had to decline invitations to social gatherings, and explain that we cannot come because of my husband, potential friends’ eyes would glass over in complete incomprehension. After a while, we lost all our friends, and any potentially new ones would stop asking. We were alone. I was alone.
I’ve tried to live my life as positively as possible. I learned to surround myself with positive people and cut out the negatives during my husband’s Kosovo deployment in 1999. I’ve always wanted to help other people find their own positives when I was growing up and I’ve also tried to share that with people on my blog. However, it wasn’t until last year that I realized I need to cut out my inner negative in order to keep my positive life going. Three years ago I came up with the phrase, “Find the positives, no matter how small, in every situation.” I tried to hold on to that when I fell into my pit last year; but the demons screamed louder and blackened the light.
By the time I couldn’t stop crying, I knew I had to seek help. I researched and found a group of military/veteran caregivers and took a chance at their Caring for the Caregiver seminar. It was definitely and eye opener and set me on my path to recovery. My year of healing began January 2013 and will continue the rest of my life. Now, a year later, because I took the time to heal, I can now help my family again.
Being positive is one of the hardest things to do, especially in the face of hopelessness. To me, though, it is the only way to get through life. I love your positivity you exude in your work and your life. You truly are an inspiration. Your release of All of Me hit it big on my 45th birthday. I believe it was a message.
While you wrote that song for your wife, you’ve given my husband a voice to express his feelings for me. While I never truly comprehended the depth of his love, 25 years later, I am starting to understand. Every time your song plays, he tries so hard to sing along. He grabs my hand when I’m near, looks at me when I’m not so near. His eyes glisten and his lips tremble. Most times a single tear will fall. My heart is filled with so much love. I still don’t quite understand, but maybe I’m not supposed to. Maybe I’m just supposed to accept that he loves me so deeply, that we were meant to be together until the end of time, that we are two halves of a single soul merged together forever.
Last week, my husband was sitting on the edge of the bed, listening to your song again and he cried. I hugged him and cried with him. And then he told me that he tried so hard, and for so long to memorize that song for me so he could sing it to me at our 25th anniversary dinner. His traumatic brain injuries and PTSD make it near impossible to commit things to memory anymore. It frustrates him to no end. But this, this just made him sad and angry. He just couldn’t remember the words. Not only that, he couldn’t get past the first verse before he started crying again.
Because we got married so quickly, because we didn’t know each other well when we did get married, and because the military has kept up hopping around since, we didn’t have a honeymoon let alone an “our song.” Now, 25 years later, with the greatest of thanks to you and the love you have for your wife, as well as your gift of poetry and song, All of Me is now our song.
From my heart to yours, thank you.
Celebrate The Small Things is a weekly celebration where we celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large the item in question. If you’re interested in learning more about Celebrate The Small Things, please visit their website, visit others participating, and sign up if you’re so inclined. It’s always great to see what everyone finds in their day to celebrate! And it adds to a positive outlook on life!
It is a blog hop, after all. ❤