Good Grief! 8 Stages of Grief #MizMeliz

Posted on February 3rd, 2011 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

I have lost many people in my life.  They all live in Heaven and in my heart.  In order to cope with my loss, I have found it helpful to identify the stage that I am in.  Sometimes I go through them over and over again.  Or I digress a stage or two before I advance to a peaceful place of acceptance.

There is no perfect order or steps that you can take to reach that place.  One day it just happens.  You might not even realize it, someone else may point it out.  When that happens, I often experience an 8th stage.  It’s one of guilt that I have made it through even though I really didn’t want to.  I feel like I am too young to know all of this.  I feel guilty that I have life and the person I love is not here to experience it.  That’s actually the very thing that ends up pulling me out of the guilty feelings.  Thinking of the person as if they are here and know everything that I am doing.  I can imagine that they are proud of me and that they enjoy seeing me be happy.  I know that they can feel the sorrow and pain that I feel when I miss them, as well as the joys and triumphs!

Grieving is not good.  It is not easy.  However, it can be graceful and peaceful.

It is important to note that sometimes we experience these stages when we go through other losses in life.  We may feel this way if we a fired from a job that we love, when a close friend moves away, or when someone we love breaks up. Going through a divorce is very much like losing a loved one.  Not only the couple mourn the loss of the marriage, it affects everyone they know.

Here is the grief model called “The 7 Stages of Grief”:

1. SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

2. PAIN & GUILT-
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.
You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.

3. ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.
You may rail against fate, questioning “Why me?” You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair (“I will never drink again if you just bring him back”)

4. “DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.
During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

5. THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.

6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future.

Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.

I memorialized my Mom, Dad, and Sister by getting a tattoo of three hummingbirds because I feel their presence when I see a hummingbird fluttering by . . .

When Grief Revisits Me

Posted on February 3rd, 2011 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

Foremost on my mind today is a very sad issue. As part of my journey it is important to convey how very sad the loss of a parent is to me.  It seems that many of my peers are suffering a loss right now.  I guess I am at that age.  My own parents live in Heaven.  It takes a long time to cope with that kind of major loss at any age.

Nothing prepares you and no matter how close you are to your mom or dad, it is devastating.  At least three people in my life who I am very close to have recently lost their mom or dad in the past few weeks.  I can count about ten who are dealing with sick parents or their parent has died over the past few months.  It is heartbreaking.  It reminds me of how I felt when it just happened to me.  It was probably the most difficult time in my life.  Thinking about it causes me to revert to some of the deep sadness, depression, and pain that I experienced during those difficult years.  I have posted the Seven Stages of Grief.  I find it helpful to read that when grief revisits me.

I know that the final stages of acceptance and hope is where I want to be. 

I feel truly happy when I get there.  My mom and dad would want me to be happy.

When I see photos of my parents at their best and happiest, it helps me to recall the good times.  I remind myself that I am blessed with such happy memories.  For those whose memories aren’t as happy, in time you will be able to separate the good from the bad.  It takes time, but you will someday be able to look back and be ever so grateful for your life and the ones who brought you into this world.  It is up to you to keep the memory of the good things your parents gave you alive.  Learn from their mistakes, trials and tribulations.  Break the chain, if necessary.  Move forward to a peaceful and joyful time.

Monkeys are Always Out in Front!

Posted on February 2nd, 2011 by & filed under Check This, Everything Miz Meliz

Happy Chinese New Year!

This is the year of The Rabbit.  For all you Rabbits out there, I love you!  Who doesn’t love bunnies ?  I, on the other hand, am a Monkey.   Monkeys are curious creatures.  Not everyone likes them.  In fact, people usually either love them or despise them.  Not many people are indifferent about monkeys.  It makes me think.  I like being a Monkey.  Like all zodiacal descriptions of people, I fit the bill for the most part.  Personally, I prefer to read my daily horoscope at the end of the day.  It is interesting when it is spot on!  (To find out more about the Chinese Zodiac and The Year of the Rabbit, go to: http://www.c-c-c.org/chineseculture/zodiac/Rabbit.html )

Some people are upset that the signs of the Zodiac have shifted.  I don’t really know how that has happened or if it really matters.  I do believe that learning about astrology is interesting and that knowing myself and my tendencies is beneficial.  What do you think?

The Monkey

No task is too great for the clever Monkeys. They master most anything. They have extremely charming manners that draw others. Monkeys solve difficult problems with ease.They are quick-witted,innovative, and they have total and intense belief in themselves. No one delights in their own accomplishments like the Monkeys. Enjoying themselves immensely, they try anything at least once! Monkeys are intellectual and their memory is phenomenal. They recall the smallest details of everything they have seen,read, and heard. They must depend on that memory since they have an otherwise untidy mind. Monkeys are wizards with money. They are original, shrewd, and when they need to, they can fool anyone.There are a hundred and one fantastic schemes they want to try, and you can bet they make some of them work. Even when they take you in, it is hard to be angry with them, or begrudge them anything. They don’t care what opinions others have of them. They know they are lucky, and they also know they have the ability to change things when convenience calls. Monkeys are virtually unsinkable! When the odds are stacked against them, Monkeys know when to quit. Their timing is superb, and they will wait to try another time. If you try to trick Monkeys, they will probably catch you. They never make a move without a plan. They are great strategists. They can spot an opportunity in any form. They never miss a trick!

Monkeys are hard workers once they have a piece of the action. The bigger the piece, the better they do. Monkeys like to travel, and they want to do it first class.They need a certain amount of excitement in their lives.

Since Monkeys get what they want without too much trouble, they may not care about all their conquests. They lose interest quickly and must learn to finish what they start and take care of what they have. People always flock around Monkeys,but Monkeys don’t trust very much. They know a select group of friends that they choose carefully. Money is a must for Monkeys, and they usually have it, or will be in the process of getting it.They know nothing is permanent. They improve and try to do better, and often amaze even themselves. Monkeys like facts and they hate to waste time. Always remember, Monkeys don’t care if you approve of them or not, and if not careful, you will be eating right out of their hands! They are the ultimate diplomats and slip in and out of difficulties with ease.

Monkeys must be careful in romance, although clear-sighted, they are very critical and lose interest in anyone they can’t consider their peer.They are vain and egotistical,but even that is to their advantage.

Monkeys are always out in front!

Find the year that you were born and check out the Chinese Zodiac.  It’s fun and surprisingly accurate!  Xin Nian Kuai Le!  Nian nian you yu!  (Happy New Year and Wishing you prosperity every year!)

Grrround Hog!

Posted on February 2nd, 2011 by & filed under Check This, Everything Miz Meliz

Hitting the Wall

Posted on February 1st, 2011 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

Home sick today.  Stomach flu and cramps.  Last week I went to work even though I had the flu pretty bad.  I felt obligated because I knew it would be busy and I was needed.  It was a tough week for me.  My kids were all sick with varying degrees of the flu.  As a mother, I wanted to be able to focus on them and take care of them better than I did this past week.  I feel badly.  They are great kids.  My husband, who managed to not get sick this time, did just fine taking care of us.  Somehow being sick put me in a funk.

I felt great Friday and Saturday.  I went out with my girlfriend and had a fantastic time on Saturday night.  Then I hit a wall on Sunday.  I am glad today is the 1st of the month.  I feel like I can get a fresh start.  I am home.  I am sick.  But the wall is breaking down.  I know what I need to get better and get motivated.  I need to go shopping!

Seriously, I need to get groceries!  Some fresh homemade food is definitely in order.  All that comfort food from last week is weighing me down.  I need the antioxidants.  Berries, yogurt, and whole grains usually does the trick.  A salad and some lean meat for dinner sounds good.  Even the walking while shopping gets me going.  I have been pretty lazy lately.  Maybe I will even clean out the fridge and clean the kitchen.  That should do it!

Now, if I can only get off this couch . . .

I’ve Come Back Again

Posted on October 12th, 2009 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

I love Facebook!  There are many things that I like about it.  I enjoy posting pictures and sharing them easily with my family.  I like keeping an eye on my kids and seeing what their interests are.  I have been making new friends with other parents at my kids’ schools.  I have reconnected with relatives that live far away or that I have not heard from in ages. I have found friends from college, high school, elementary school, as well as old co-workers and neighbors.  All great stuff!
The most valuable thing that has come from my connections on Facebook has been the mini-reunions that have taken place with these long-lost friends.  But surprisingly, it hasn’t been finding these old friends and catching up with them that has meant the most to me.  It has been the person that I lost touch with somewhere between marriage and baby number three that I have enjoyed getting to know again.  Myself.
I have heard that phrase, “finding oneself.”  I never really knew what it meant.  I did know that I didn’t feel like the real me for a very long time.  Seeing old friends who knew me in school and before I had kids has brought back memories and most importantly my core values and interests have resurfaced due to these recollections.
Just today I got a comment from a high school friend, “I heard the song “True” on the radio today and it always makes me think of YOU!”  How profound is that??  “True” is a song from one of my all time favorite bands, Spandau Ballet.  I still quote lyrics from their songs all the time.  My love of this band defined me in high school.  I had forgotten about it for a while, but it always seems to come up again and again.  She remembers this about me?  Even now, after about 25 years?  We weren’t even that close.  Does she know how much it means to me?  How these words are so very meaningful to me? Even now!
So true funny how it seems
always in time, but never in line for dreams
Head over heels when toe to toe
This is the sound of my soul,
this is the sound
I bought a ticket to the world,
but now I’ve come back again
Why do I find it hard to write the next line
Oh I want the truth to be said
These lyrics remind me of my faith, my belief in God, my understanding of the journey that I am on in my life.  Exploring, reaching out, taking chances, yet always coming back and accepting the truth.
I had already considered blogging about my Facebook experiences when I got that comment today.  It was the catalyst I needed to actually get started.
I am in it now.  This is the sound of my soul.  This is the sound. . .
 

There is Significance in Everything

Posted on February 16th, 2008 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

 “It started out as a Mardi Gras party!”

 

Partygras! 2008 Melissa’s 40th ‘Academy Awards’ Birthday Party

You might as well know how it all started, in case you weren’t there.  Many of you were there – but maybe I never told you why Lito and I had the first “PartyGras.”  There is significance in everything.

After I had my third child, I suffered from severe postpartum depression.  And unlike Brooke Shields – I didn’t have friends like Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey to tell me how to live my life.  But I did  have a great supportive family and amazing friends who gave me sound advice.  I was bored at home having not worked at a “real” job for six years.  I was doing the mommy and me thing for the third time around and I felt stuck.  Of course most of my feelings had more to do with the postpartum than reality – but it is extremely difficult to separate the two at the time.

I needed an outlet, something to look forward to, something creative and fun.  Lito and I had attended an event at Julian’s school that had a Mardi Gras theme some time back and we loved it.  We talked about having a theme party or going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans ourselves someday.  We recalled being at Disneyland when they had a New Orleans style parade and they called it “PartyGras!”  We love anything and everything Disney!

So, the goal became having a theme party.  Something we can repeat for years that would become our “signature” event.  We tried for many years to gather our friends together by having Christmas or New Year’s parties and open houses.   But people always had other obligations.  We wanted something that our friends would look forward to every year.  It was something that I looked forward to every year!  I loved thinking about it, planning it and attending it.  It wasn’t a kid’s party or a birthday party, or tied to any religious milestone.  It was a party just for fun, that anyone could enjoy.  Well, almost anyone!  PartyGras is for adults only!

Why only adults?  Well, that was a no brainer at first!  I was surrounded by little kids and babies and everything I did at that point in my life had to do with children and/or other parents.  Mommy & Me, tumbling class, Karate class, Indian Guides, preschool, kindergarten, Barney, Blues Clues, diapers, feedings, snack time, nap time . . . And I had been focussed on this stuff (and loving it most of the time) for six years!  I needed and wanted to go out and have fun – adult fun, dressing up, having a cocktail in a glass, listening to loud music, singing, dancing, hanging out with friends, staying up late – very late, and letting loose!  One liberating thing was being able to say anything without being guarded.  In other words – I didn’t have to spell out things I didn’t want my kids to hear me say and I could use some “colorful” expletives, if I wanted!

“If the mountain cannot come to Mohammad, Mohammad will go to the mountain.”  Or in this case, vice-versa!  If I can’t go clubbing – I will bring the club to my house!  Luckily, with a little pleading, Lito agreed!  And so it happened.  It was a blast!  PartyGras!  The first one was a Mardi Gras theme.  Everyone came dressed in their best Mardi Gras costumes, there was a prize for the most creative.  It was a potluck – a Cajun Cooking Contest – with a prize for Lito’s favorites.  We knew he would try everything!  We had beads for the flashers, lots of drinks and karaoke.  That was the entertainment.  It was a blast!

I already planned on having one every year and the name of the annual event would always include “PartyGras” (pronounced pardy-graw.)  We crowned the couple who put their best foot forward with enthusiasm and zeal as “The King & Queen of  PartyGras!”  We started in 2001 which made it easy – something not planned – to remember the number of years we have been doing this!

1.  Partygras! Cajun Cookoff

2.  Partygras ’02: Flamenco/Spanish

3.  Partygras III:  I dream of Jeanie Pajama Party/60’s Convenience Foods

4. Partygras IV:  Club 10532 70’s Party/Fondue

5. PartyArgh V:  Pyrate Party/Potluck

6.  Partygras VI:  Vamp Night/Potluck

7.  Partygras ’07:  The Godfather/Italian

8.  Partygras! 2008:  Academy Awards/Hor d’oerves

And the winner is . . . everyone!  I hope you enjoyed it.  It was by far the best one ever.  I’ll remember always your acceptance speech, as you were given the Academy Award for what you are best at – friendship!  Everyone had their 45 seconds of fame!

I would like to thank you, my friends, for making these memories the highlights of my life!  No amount of medication, exercise, and counseling could bring me out of depression without your support and love!!!

Ole’

Is It Time for Life?

Posted on February 16th, 2008 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, Poems

Is it time for life? 
 
I have had enough death and illness. 
 
Yes, Simon jumped.  Dad died suddenly.  Mom died after a long illness.  Friends die of Cancer.  People have heart attacks.  It sucks! 
 
It makes me sad. 
 
I wonder.  What do I do know?  Why can’t I get over it? 
 
I am so happy about a lot of things.  I have a good life.  It’s my life and it is pretty cool. 
 
It is time. 
 
It’s time for life and love and happiness!
 

Looking at the Horizon

Sunshine and Rain

Posted on September 22nd, 2007 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, Poems

Where is the sunshine?
Where is the rain?
What happened to the fun times?
Before all this pain.
 
I identify with the seasons;
the elements are my friends.
I know all the reasons,
I’ve followed all the trends.
 
You are my sunshine
You are my rain
You are the fun times
You are the pain
 
There are days when I understand
everything that is happening to me
and there are days
when I am completely lost
 
The fog comes over me
The fog comes over me
The fog comes over me
It is dense and thick
and I can’t see
What is happening to me?
 
Where is the sunshine?
Where is the rain?
What happened to the fun times
before all the pain?
 
I am the person they come to
with all their problems
I am the one they seek
I have all the answers
I am at the peak
 
My intuition tells me
what I need to know
The answers come from my heart
the truth is what I feel
 
Everything is very clear
it is always the same
The fog lifts now
and I know your name
 
You are my sunshine
you are my rain
you are the fun times
you are my pain
 
There are times when I am lonely
There are days I am in need
You aren’t my one and only
But to you I make this plea
 
Be there for the sunshine
Be there for the rain
Be there for the fun times
Be there for the pain
 
When the fog has lifted
When the fog has lifted
When the fog has lifted
 
Come to the one with the answers
Come to the one who knows
I am the one with the key
If love is what you need
then I can set you free
 
Melissa Reyes
2-13-02
 
 

Meanings of a Kiss or a Gesture

Posted on September 18th, 2007 by & filed under Check This, Somethin' Different

-Kiss on the stomach; I’m ready.
-Kiss on the Forehead; I hope we’re together forever.
-Kiss on the Ear; You’re my everything.
-Kiss on the Cheek; We’re friends.
-Kiss on the Hand; I adore you.
-Kiss on the Neck; We belong together.
-Kiss on the Shoulder; I want you.
-Kiss on the Lips; I love you.
-Holding Hands; We definitely like each other.
-SLAP ON THA BUTT: That’s mine.
-Holding on tight; I don’t want to let go.
-Looking into each other’s Eyes; I just plain like you.
-Playing with Hair; Tell me you love me.
-Arms around the Waist; I like you too much to let go.
-Laughing while Kissing; I am completely comfortable with you.

 
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