Lessons

Life is short. As I’ve aged I’ve been made fully aware that this statement is all too true. We’ve lost so many loved ones and grieving is endless. So many have gone before us that I have come to recognize the importance of grieving and working through the grieving process, our health depends on it.

What I’ve learned, too, is that I’m capable of grieving in my own way and if I don’t attend a funeral, it’s not out of disrespect but allowing myself to grieve in my own way. I have helped many family and friends with funeral arrangements and some are harder than others, looking at the many photographic memories of the deceased I relive my own memories with that person. Sometimes, I laugh, sometimes I cry. I have learned through years of healing that the person never leaves us, they are just here in spirit, no longer in our physical world. This brings me comfort.

What’s my point? I’m not sure there is one. I am heading to Fort Liard today to listen to an Elder’s story for the Na Deh Kleh newsletter that I created for our people, and I thought about the lessons I’ve learned over the years. Grief is such a big one, the importance of grieving in a healthy way. Listening to the women in the healing circle yesterday and seeing Grandmas cry for their losses, made me think of years of pain our people have endured. It hurts my heart to see a Grandma cry for a child they’ve lost or a Mom cry for her son. Our people deserve to heal.

I remember many a day when I’d get in there and party with the family and friends of a deceased one to celebrate their life after the funeral. What I didn’t know at the time was that addictions stunt our grieving process, so we remain stuck in that time, finding it harder and harder to let the deceased go. Memories are relived and they are like a record player in our minds, stuck skipping. This ends when we stop using and start addressing the pain and start the healing work our bodies, minds and spirits need.

I still feel pain when I recall the good memories of past loved ones, anger when I think they could have been spared life if only they’d stopped drinking/drugging, and I still cry when the tears come. Healing and tears are good. Allow your self to cry but also allow yourself to enjoy life, too, that is what our loved ones would want. They would want us to be happy, healthy and to keep living life.

Healing and tears are good. Allow your self to cry but also allow yourself to enjoy life, too, that is what our loved ones would want.

Before I wrap up, I also want to share that grieving is not only about losing someone we love. Grieving is many things. We grieve when we lose or leave people, places and things. I grieved the loss of my favorite coat, a job I had to leave, and have grieved favorite places I’ve visited. Ahh, the ocean. My spirit aches for the ocean. So find someone to talk about those things, too. Find a professional or a friend you can trust to listen and help you unload some of that pain, so you can live fully today.

I wish for our people to heal all the years of pain, grief and loss. It seems endless for sure but it’s possible to take care of us so the pain does not control our lives or us. Creator intended for us to live in harmony and I’m sure that is what our loved ones, in the physical and spiritual world, want for us, too.

The sun is shining, so bless you this beautiful day. I wish you a great weekend.

 

Renee

Celebrate Every Day

Today marks my husband’s eighth year of sobriety. It has gotten much easier but it hasn’t always been so. We struggled through a lot of shit to get to today. We made it here together.

I remind him often how much I love him, how thankful we are for him, and how grateful we are for this life we have. The one thing we don’t do as a couple is celebrate our successes enough, though. The little successes matter just as much as the big ones.

Like tonight, just so happened we got tickets to Green River Revival, a CCR Tribute Band, and so we invited family to come along and we had a good time, with lots of laughs and loud tunes. I don’t remember the last time him and I went out anywhere together, gussied up and had fun with other adults. Made me realize how important it is to celebrate more often, no matter the occasion, just celebrate. Celebrate our lives, happiness and health. That ought to be enough, to celebrate every day.

Back in the day, we’d get drunk and high to celebrate and celebrate getting drunk and high, it was a lose-lose situation. Now, we can enjoy the good times without drugs or alcohol and remember the whole night. YES! I don’t miss those old days. We have a really good life and I am happy to celebrate that, every day. We deserve it.

I love you, my Lomens. I love this life with you. I’m grateful every day that Creator gifted me with the three of you.Good night.

Renee

It’s Time

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s time. I’ve been putting it off long enough. Today is the day I get my ass in this chair and sit down and start writing.

What’s new? The last time I wrote, I was excited about going to Tony RobbinsUnleash the Power Within (UPW) in San Jose, California with my auntie Lycrecia. Well, that was a blast! The hard part was coming home and being full of energy and drive and no one understanding but I’ve still not lost the drive. Honestly, I’ve never been one full of energy but Tony and my UPW family got me to see how important movement and drive are, among other things. At the event, I realized how many of us, including me, just coast through life. We do our daily routines without thought, ensure everyone is taken care of (but us, most times), we settle for less than what we want or deserve and it’s killing us. Stress and mediocrity is killing us. I want to live! I want to live up to my full potential. I know my purpose is beyond my wildest dreams and it’s up to me to make that shit a reality! BOOM!

I can’t recall where I left off when I last wrote and I’m not about to go check, I have no time, I’m on a roll. Tunes are cranked and I’m typing away here.

So, I am not sure if I told you of my newest venture, Na Deh Kleh – Our Paper. I started my own newsletter. Yup, decided one day I wanted to keep doing what I love to do and so I did, I just came up with a name, design and put it all together and ended up with a first edition! See? We CAN make shit happen when we want it bad enough! Whoo! The second issue of Na Deh Kleh newsletter was bigger and better and I’m so excited to include community members in this great passion of mine. After all, it is our paper and I want you to have a say. I welcome all Indigenous peoples from Fort Nelson First Nation, Fort Nelson, Prophet River, Fort Liard/Acho Dene Koe, Treaty 8/Fort St John area communities, and our Dene Tha relatives to contact me if they wish to be a part of our newsletter. As the year progresses, I know we will grow and continue to bring the good medicine to the people. I truly love what I do.

It is now April and it seems like just last month it was January. Time moves so quickly that life is passing us by. That kind of goes along with what I said earlier about coasting through life, before we know it, a year has passed and we haven’t done any of the things we dreamed of doing, nor completed any of the goals we set out for ourselves. It’s time! I challenge you to set one goal for yourself, pick something you’ve wanted to do for a long time but never did. Today is the day to set that in to motion! Find an accountability partner who will hold your feet to the fire and help you reach those goals; can be something big or small, just set that goal. Be courageous and love yourself enough to vow not to live small and DO IT, do the things you’ve wanted to do for a long time. Not every goal has to cost money, it can be anything. Cleaning up the closet you’ve been ignoring for a year, getting rid of the clothes you haven’t worn in 6 months, reading a book from cover to cover or whatever else your heart desires. Do it! Today is the day! I love you. You are worth it. The feelings of accomplishing even small goals are a tremendous gift to your spirit and energy. Who knows what you can accomplish when you start kicking ass on the small goals? Whoa!

I believe in you. I believe in myself, too. For a long time, I didn’t believe in myself. I questioned everything I did, as if I didn’t know myself enough to do what is right for me. Of course I know me! I know me best than anyone! I’d often find myself seeking everyone’s opinion before settling on a choice, even when I’d do what I said I was going to do in the first place. Imagine the time I’d have not wasted had I just done what I set out to do in the first place? I’d probably be off a lot farther than I am now but it’s time. Today, I’m more confident in my choices than ever before. I know what’s right for me. We all do. We all know the answers inside. I read something this morning and it was about our blueprint for our lives and our purpose. We were all born with a purpose and it’s up to us to look inside for what our purpose is. What’s yours? The answer doesn’t come easily. We’ve been hurt and through years of oppression and trauma, we lose sight of our purposes early on, especially if we’ve had traumatic upbringings and grew up in dysfunctional homes. It took me 5 tries to finally stop abusing drugs and alcohol. I knew that is not what Creator wanted for my life or my kids’ lives. I had a choice. No one was making me abuse drugs or alcohol; no one forced the drugs or alcohol in my system. It was a choice I made to do that to my body, my kids, my family, and my spirit. When I could see clearly enough I made the choice to go down a different path and here I am. This April 19 I celebrate nine years of sobriety. It’s time to choose life. Do it! I know you can!

If you ever want to talk, know that I am here. Reach out if you have to. Find someone to talk to. I am not a life coach, a counselor, a therapist but I have life experience and deep love for my people. I know the struggle. I also know how fucking great it feels to celebrate 6 months, then a year and another year, all for my own health and wellbeing and that my kids get to know their parents are alive, sober and really living. They’re worth it. I am worth it. So are you. Let’s choose life today, together!

Have a great and sunny Sunday, relatives. Don’t forget to make that goal! It’s time! Today is the day.

Renee

 

Morning Thoughts & Birthday Blessings

Today my Grandma would have been 88. She went Home to be with the Creator on December 26, 2016. The heartache and memories around her loss are still fresh, especially on days like today.

A lot goes on when families lose someone; the various stages of grief, funeral preparations and the emotional trauma of ‘what’s next?’ How do we move forward while being held hostage by our emotions and grief? How does a family heal when people’s feelings get hurt over things said and done?

I think back to the days when we lost my her and how confusing and chaotic things became. Miraculously, I somehow held it together amid the turmoil but I had a job to do and that was my focus. My job was to memorialize her and through that I was able to grieve and focus on what was most important in that time – her, my Grandma, our family’s rock. All the noise and stuff that was not my business, didn’t matter.

Most recently, our family suffered through another loss and with that, came more turmoil. Again, I focused on my job at hand and the most important person through it all – my cousin. I didn’t attend his funeral, although I heard it was a beautiful service. In all the deaths I have experienced, whether they be family or friends, I have learned to grieve in my own way, staying focused on the important stuff, honoring the loved one with peace, humility and grace, and taking care of myself. We all grieve differently and to thine own self be true; we have to do what is right for us. Every time.

Am I rambling? Probably. I’ve been up since 1:45AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. It’s 5:45AM now. I’ve had a coffee, let the dogs out, have two puppies running amok and it’s dark as night out still. I just have so many thoughts in my head and heart that I needed to just write. It’s my therapy.

Ultimately, I wanted to honor my strong, loving, hard-working Grandma on what would have been her 88th birthday today. I could never have anticipated how much our family structure would change with her passing but I know I’m stronger and wiser because of it. I miss her greatly, as I know we all do. I used to wish that things were back to ‘normal’ but were things ever really normal to begin with? I don’t think so. They just were. That’s life. Now they’re different. Maybe they are normal after all?? Life is crazy and beautiful in all its glory.

All I know for certain in this moment is that she’s with me in spirit. In her honor, I will practice love and kindness because that is what my Grandma exemplified every day. Happy heavenly birthday, Grandma. God bless you forever. We love and miss you.

R

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Grandma and me at the Behn family cabin
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Grandma, me and Grandpa – Keeping It Behn!
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3 Generations – Grandma, Mom and Me
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Our last family dinner with Grandma – thankful for memories!