In The Arms Of An Angel


In The Arms Of An Angel

This morning at 6am I did a good thing for myself and went to yoga. Sometimes I go even when I am not feeling it, because I know that is when I need it most. It grounds me. The place I go to is a real community too and speaks all the spiritual lingo I like, which I appreciate.

But this morning when I arrived the instructor was in the room stretching to this song and I had to leave and go to the bathroom to wait for it to finish.

This song reminds me of my brother, Dean, who died at the age of 30. God, he was just a kid! I’ve gone through his things a hundred times looking for clues, and I see evidence of a young man who was sentimental, scared and feeling so despondent.

He kept cards we had all given him and ticket stubs from baseball games and the like. His life was barely getting started and my life has never been the same since his death.

As hard as I tried to get my head around the news when I first heard it, I just couldn’t accept it.

I had been out for the evening with my ex-husband. One of the only nights we took a much needed break from owning a restaurant. My sister was sitting in the back booth when I came in and simply said, “You need to call Mom.” She was so odd, I remember saying, “Did she win the lottery?”

She didn’t win the lottery, but she did have a police officer show up at her house and tell her that her son was dead.

He was found in a hotel room with copious amounts of drugs in his system. There was no note, even though my father told everyone at his funeral that he had killed himself. An investigation was done and the coroner said the cause of death was “unable to determine.”

When I think about him alone in that hotel room it makes me utterly distraught with sadness. I wonder why he didn’t call me, like he had so many other times in his life. It mattered not to me if he needed money or just wanted to tell me how hard he was working to make things right. I always had an ear for him. I thought we shared everything, but I guess he couldn’t share how utterly broken he felt with me, because he was my big brother and he felt he should be strong.

I just loved him! I know my boys would have loved him, too. They would have seen what I saw in him, when the rest of the world didn’t.

I know he watches over me. He is my angel, which is pretty ironic, since he did so many devilish things when he was here. He was always into trouble. Most of my childhood was filled with his antics, but I never cared, never judged him.

When I talk about feelings, change and authenticity, I am a person who understands how really precious our time here is. My brother was my friend, my hero. He always had my back and I tried so hard to have his. He was a person who was always up for an adventure. He was a person who not only walked to the beat of another drum, he created the beat.

When I say, “What’s the worst that can happen” it’s because I know what that is.

The worst thing that can happen, is that you don’t tell the people in your life how you feel about them. How much they mean to you and how much you love them.

I never got to say goodbye to my brother. He just left. The last time I saw him was not the best of circumstance. I was at his court appearance for some trouble he had gotten into and it didn’t fare well for him.

When the Balif came and handcuffed him, he looked back at me before they lead him out another door. If I close my eyes I am back in the courtroom with that look. I felt so helpless at the time cause I was just a kid, too. I wanted to do something for him but I felt like I couldn’t. If I had the day to do over, I would have jumped over all of the benches and held him, told him how much I loved him and that nothing was so bad that he had to take his life.

Please do not take anyone in your life for granted. Do not think that you have unlimited days with them to tell them how you feel or to make things right with them.

Life really is short and often times the people we love most, are taken from us without notice. Embrace everyone that you love, everyone that you want to love and everyone that you yearn to make things right with.




What is acceptance?  1)It is the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered. 2)The action or process of being received as adequate or suitable.

The holidays are all about acceptance, right?

We give money to strangers ringing bells, donate clothing, buy unwrapped gifts for charities and have a drink with people from the office that we wouldn’t otherwise bring water to, even if they were dying of thirst.

And we go home and visit family and extended ones, for an elaborate meal.

We all seem to like what these holidays represent or are supposed to but for many of us, the contract we have with family members give us stress, tension and fills us with trepidation. Movie companies have made millions on this topic.

The memory is an interesting character and a very convenient one. While we may only remember the good about a meal, someone else might only remember the bad, which can make coming together nearly impossible. Most people have a hard time forgetting and will cling to the bad like velcro.

I don’t know why edibles aren’t a staple the minute you walk in the door at family gatherings. They would break the ice, cut the tension, release all inhibitions, probably provide more than a few necessary moments of laughter and maybe even allow people to be their real selves and speak some much needed truth. Starting with your strong dislike of where they put you to sit.

Like being in a dentist’s chair, you’re a captive audience to the person sitting next to you. Your conversation for the evening could either be about The Little Mermaid, their new hip or dead silence while they sneak text their friends. There is a lot of noise at the table but generally no conversations. The latest movie might be mentioned, the weather, a book they downloaded on their kindle or their next vacation.

Hours later, after checking your watch to make sure it hadn’t stopped, you finally head towards the door to leave. You have never felt so alive or so happy to see all these people…fade from the distance as you back out of the driveway, swearing you will never do this again.

We leave the meal with a list of grievances, starting with the one we have with ourselves for putting up  with ill mannered treatment and off handed comments from people who say they love us, because they magically get away with treatment we would never put up with from anyone else. Why is that?

These contracts we have with our loved ones allow us to accept the unacceptable. We tell ourselves, “They didn’t really mean it.” “That’s just the way they are.” “It’s only once a year.” They seem to get a pass for being rude, dismissive, condescending and just plain mean. Which makes me wonder why we accept unacceptable conditions, when it comes to love?

Isn’t love supposed to be supportive? Generous? Kind? Sweet? Loving? I think so, but some people are in such pain, they cannot express anything other than regret, anger and fear, which often comes across as control. If you know this then their words cannot hurt you. Most people are not intentionally trying to hurt you.  They are usually triggered by some deep seeded pain which has nothing to do with you at all.

And while their words are like weapons and might sting a bit, remembering it is their pain and not yours, allows you to accept their otherwise unacceptable behavior towards you, even if it’s from the people who say they love you most.

And if you can’t handle their pain, and you simply cannot accept what you feel is unacceptable behavior, then you can choose not to spend a holiday with them or any time at all for that matter.  After all,  when you break it down, your time is the absolute most precious gift you can give someone.  Give is to those who give it back.