By Terri Lee | February 08, 2016 at 12:18 PM EST | No Comments
Sometimes finding peace can be difficult, especially after the untimely death of a loved one, or natural disasters that destroyed your world as you know it, or after being violated through abuse and acts of rage, or being diagnosed with a disease. Some never find peace after a life-altering event. Through a tremendous loss, how can the strength to get up and move through life and the acts of daily living take place? Some days, how can the strength to simply get up be found? Will peace ever transpire?
After Jeff died, there were days I simply wanted to go away. Grieving, my heart experienced enormous unbearable pain—to the point I thought I should call 911. I experienced guilt for living, guilt for not saying what I wished I would have said, guilt for saying things I shouldn’t have said. I beat myself up pretty well, and quit doing the activities I had enjoyed. Anxiety, paranoia and what I called “the shakes” wreaked havoc on my body, and I didn’t eat and then ate junk food. Peace evaded me.
A friend gave me the book, Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman. Her compilation of her own words and quotes from other writings made all the difference for me. I felt that she understood what I was feeling; she had grieved the death of her sixteen year old daughter, and she shared her heartbreak and how she was consoled in this little book. Reading these 365 daily meditations initiated my healing.
Peace didn’t find me overnight, or on the thirtieth day, or sixtieth day, or in six months, or even a year after Jeff’s funeral. I began painting and writing to express my grief. A collection of poems about my grief, became The Importance of Calico Lima Beans. Additionally, I sought professional help for the “shakes”, or rather what my therapist, Jessica Miller called Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), triggered by Jeff’s death, but rooted in other traumatic events that I had experienced. There are days that tears still surface with memories and my heart aches due to Jeff’s physical absence. But he is here, all around in spirit, watching and taking care. I am forever changed by knowing him and being a part of his journey. I am at peace.
By Terri Lee | January 07, 2016 at 10:58 AM EST | No Comments
My Sunday Scribbles blog is just that, writing and posting pictures about whatever comes to mind.
I thought I would grow old with my husband, Jeff. December 28, 2012 a diagnosis of leukemia delivered in the emergency room devastated our lives. He fought a brave, but short battle and died April 5, 2013. Not sure where or when or how to start this blog, but I chose today, September 24, 2015. Today, not for any special reason, except that two weeks ago I returned from a trip to Scotland with a new perspective and ready to post the poetry I wrote during a time when grief was raw and a new emotion for me. That collection of poetry is titled, The Importance of Calico Lima Beans.
This photo was taken out of my room's window at Hotel Eilean Iarmain on the Ilse of Skye and is my favorite place. I'd love to spend a month writing in this room and daydreaming out of this window. A friend asked me if I learned anything about myself while in Scotland. I didn't have to think long about an answer. In Scotland I found peace, I laughed, I participated and found joy every day, and the joy I found wasn't due to just the consumption of whiskey. Now, the challenge is, how do I find joy, peace and participate in my daily life now that I've returned home? I began by being open and vulnerable, and taking chances with others and getting rid of items and ideas that bring me no joy.
November 22, 2015
Still struggling here with weekly blogging, I ran across an Alfred Hitchcock quote, " The scariest moment is just before you start." Boy, is that fitting, I'm always wondering how I will write a scene, write this dialogue, write this poem or write this blog. My point here is to start that first sentence or brush stroke, or walk, or push up.
Thanksgiving arrives in four days. I'll have family and friends over and after desert we'll play a lively game of spoons. For an added activity, I may get my paints out, purchase a few canvases and each of us can paint or write items we are thankful for (I wonder if they'll do it).
Cleaning today, I found an old birthday invitation my mom had saved in a pile of papers that I'd brought home with me on my last trip to Wichita Falls, Texas. The picture of it posted up above. The invite is from 1959, and on the envelope is stamped "Pray for Peace". Enough said.
November 8, 2015
Sunday Scribbles have been a little more difficult to write than I thought they would be. Most of my time writing lately has been focused on Writers Digest's Poem a Day Chap Book Challenger. I"m writing about WWII. I think I became more interested in this time after watching the HBO mini-series, Band of Brothers. So, here I go again with another challenge. the challenge can be checked out here: www.writersdigst.com
November 1, 2015
I still need to borrow my friend's teen-aged daughter to assist me with social media posting, #ing, etc. I've written the daily tasks down and will continue with the challenge at a slower pace. I continue to write The Bomb and poetry, and edit Texas Storm, and paint.
Fitness and Food Fridays
November 7, 2015
I attended Exercise Etc. Inc.'s Brains and Balance workshop. What about balancee? Poor balance can lead to increased falls. What's the big deal about falls? 95% of falls result in hip fractures which increases mortality and falls are the primary culprit of traumatic brain injuries. What can be done to help prevent falls? Speak to your physician about fall risk and review medications, have your eyes checked, ensure you take safety measures at home: grab bars and railings and perform strength and balance exercises. New ideas are emerging that cognitive decline as we age is no longer inevitable. Great news, uh!
November 1, 2015.
I'm two days behind writing a Friday post, and because I had a meaningful conversation with my friend Mary last.=, i made a decision to write about that exchange today. We had walked on this All Hallows' Eve downtown to a local bar. I mention to Mary that the basil and lime martini tasted divine, but concern about my health and the calories contained in that libation had me slightly on edge. I worry that I will gain all my weight back. Poor food choices and a nightly glass of wine, or two contributed to my demise. She told me, "That won't happen to you again. I know it." She added, "I don't know how to say this, except that you're not that person anymore. You won't go there again." "That person." I had to think about this statement. No, I'm not "that person" anymore; however, "that person" had the guts and determination to change her life and in doing so created a happier, healthier person who overall takes care of herself and has found herself worthy of doing so. I had forgotten that a few years ago, I put two pictures of me on my personal training studio wall: one of me at an obese weight and one in a figure competition bikini. I purposefully placed the photo of my larger self on top. She gave me the gift of health, strength, and confidence and a new life.
A little back story here: Eight years ago, I experienced squeezing chest pain that shook me out of denial about my poor health. AT five feet four-and-a-half inches tall, I weighed 192 pounds. On the brink of a major health crisis, co-workers worried about me. I could no longer take a short walk without resting,, my ankles swelled, my face reddened frequently,, and I played solitaire all the time because when I moved or bent over, I became dizzy and my held felt like it would ruptured (I thought I had ear troubles). I was on one blood pressure medication, and as a healthcare professional, I ignored these warning signs, until my good fortune of chest pain at work changed my life (high blood pressure is called the silent killer.) To shorten this story, I woke up, was placed on a second blood pressure medication, and slowly changed my lifestyle. After a sixty pound weight loss, blood pressure medication no longer was part of my daily regimen. I am compelled to include fitness and food on this site--Its part of me--healthy choices and exercise saved my life.
p.s. After my husband, Jeff died two-and-a-half years ago, I did not work out, ate junk food, and gained 15 pounds, For weeks after his death, due to stress, blood pressure medication again was prescribed. Today, I no longer take blood pressure medication, and I'm in the process of dropping those extra pounds (I've lost three!) and exercising routinely.
I decided to participate in Writers Digest 2015 October Platform Challenge, a daily challenge to complete an assignment for the 31 days of October. Will I complete each days assignment given by Robert Lee Brewer, Senior Content Editor of the Writer's Digest Writing Community? I think I will. Here goes (and this is a little scary to share):
Day 1. Define yourself as a Writer. Name: Terri Gerrard
Position: Respiratory Therapist, performing Pulmonary Function Testing and teaching Pulmonary Rehab; personal fitness trainer; writer; blogger
Skills: Creative writing (poetry, fiction and non-fiction); technical writing; blogging; public speaking; organizing; motivating; teaching
Social Media platforms: FaceBook; Linkedln; Twitter
Accomplishments: Children; Weight loss of sixty pounds and becoming a personal trainer, and figure competitor in my fifties. Article about health in Frisco Style magazine; participant in Loveland Loves Literature-read personal poem.
One sentence, who am I? Terri Gerrard is a resilient widow and mother of two grown sons who finds being creative, whether in the gym, on paper or canvas, or any other inanimate object exciting, challenging and fulfilling.
Day2. Set your writing goals Short terrm: write daily for 15 minutes; improve website layout; submit poetry once a month for publication/competition; blog once a week; learn about self-publishing; learn about the publishing business-query letters, etc. participate in local writers groups once a month. Long term: complete editing first novel, seek publication; complete second novel; complete 2 books of poetry.
Day 3. Start writing a blog-done. Phew day 3 checked off.
Day 4. Obtain URL- Done and my site remains a work in progress.
Day 5. Join FaceBook- I already had FB page
Day 6. Join Twitter-done. I have an account I really do not know how to use.
Day 7. Respond to three tweets-done.
Day 8. Share an article. Done on FB and I think I tweeted one, maybe two. I've been getting in 15 minutes of writing with this challenge, sort of. Time to get a little more serious about meeting my goal of writing 15 minutes a day. Here is a triolet, prompted by Writers Digest:
On contrails of a witches broom, jack-o-lanterns and black cats ride high above in the midnight sky. On contrails of a witches broom, ghouls brew a stew with dragon's eye "Look out, children," their parents fume. On contrails of a witches broom, jack-o-lanterns and black cats ride.