Category Archives: Healing

Soul-Searching For The Meaning of Life

“The wise use of intelligence requires more than academic intelligence; we need soul-searching and deep reflection to live a more balanced and meaningful life.” ~  Dr. Paul TP Wong

Life, what is it? Besides breathing and living, what is it? Why are we here? What are we here for? All these questions popped into my mind just a few years ago when life began to change for us.

As a child, it never occurred to me to think about life. I’m sure, like many other children, I was anxious to grow up and be an adult never thinking about the responsibilities that come with it. Then, it happened. I became an adult with everything else that follows – love, children, college, work… is that it? Is that all life is about?

When I reached the “adult” age I didn’t have any of the above questions. I guess I was too busy being a wife, mother, and employee which left me drained enough to keep me from wondering what life is. Then everything changed. From running around every day dropping off children at school, work, pick up children, doctor’s appointments, children’s extra-curricular activities, church, homework, etc; to only go to work. Well, there’s still doctor’s appointments, church, and work but it’s not that running around as before like a headless chicken.  

So now what? Now that I have the time to sit and think about life I began to question it. With the questions arose curiosity. What is there beyond these oceans? What kind of life do other people around the world live? I only knew what I had seen on TV, read in a book or learned in school. All of a sudden I felt like if I were in the Jim Carey movie called The Truman Show. I always thought that I lived in the best place in the world and never doubted it. But, what makes us think such a thing? It was time for me to explore what life is all about so I began soul-searching.

Prayer and meditation were the basis for my soul-searching. I have always believed in God and in prayer. I prayed every day and still do. But, after I began meditating did I realize that, while I prayed every day, I really never sat down to listen to God. So when I meditated I began to silence my thoughts and only listen. That is when I finally awakened. I loved the comforting peaceful silence that goes along with the meditation which has opened up a whole new outlook on life and answered some of my questions.

I began by doing things I had not done before – nothing illegal or bad. I wanted to explore the world, go beyond the ocean walls. I wanted to learn about other countries, their people, culture, and traditions. I wanted to meet new people and connect with like-minded people. I realized that life is not only about living to work. But only if we stop overworking ourselves, complaining, fighting or worrying and think about life will we awaken enough to see all the beauty this world has to offer and we’re missing. There is so much to do in life, so much to see and discover and so little time.

So, if you’ve reached the stage in life where you’ve slowed down, take some time, not only to pray but to meditate and listen to God speak. You will realize that you were not put on this earth only to work, but to discover the beauty of Life.

Helping Other’s Feel Better While Healing

I might get some heat because of what I’m about to write, but you know what? If I can help someone else feel better while healing, then it’s worth it.

A little over a year ago, I underwent a partial knee replacement surgery. While the surgery was a success I was given a prescription for pain. I began taking the painkiller every 3-4 hours as instructed and they worked. But, when the doctor said he could not authorize me to drive until I was off them I knew I had to endure the pain somehow. That night, I decided I would not take the pill; but I could not sleep because of the pain. At that point, I considered taking it and that’s when I realized this is how people become addicted! I wasn’t about to go towards that route so I got up and took acetaminophen. It didn’t work but I continued it for a couple of days. I switched to ibuprofen and nope, that didn’t work either.

My son, seeing me in constant pain and little to no relief, brought me CBD Oil and explained the benefits to me. I was not thrilled nor convinced. In fact, it bothered me that he would think I was going to take such a thing. “Are you crazy? No! I’m not taking that!” But he was insistent that it would help me and I would not feel any highs or lows or whatever happens when drugs are consumed. With no remedy in sight other than returning to the addictive painkiller, and needing to get back to work, I reluctantly decided to try it. But first, I wanted to do research. According to what I read, CBD does NOT contain the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the ingredient that causes the “high” effect. CBD Oil is used to reduce pain and inflammation, among other things. I read article after article with most of them talking about the positive results and little to no side effects. After a couple of days researching and reading I decided to give it a try. Still, with skepticism, I took less than the dose recommended before I went to sleep. Low and behold it worked. It was the first night, after stopping the painkiller, in which I did not have to wake up every 3 hours to take another dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. The next day I was fine until around 10 a.m. – about 12 hours after taking the CBD Oil. At that time I took another dose of the CBD Oil. The second night I increased the dose to what was recommended. Thereafter, I only took one dose before going to sleep. I went from taking painkillers every 3 hours to taking CBD Oil once a day! Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH It was funny to hear the doctor ask me if I needed another prescription for painkillers and when I responded that I did not he asked, “Are you sure?” He was surprised to hear that I rarely took the painkiller but I never told him why. I was no longer in pain after about a month of my surgery, therefore, I stopped taking the CBD Oil.

But it didn’t stop there. Right after the surgery, I began to experience ankle pain on the same leg which was operated. At first, I blamed it on the surgery. I just had surgery on that leg so it was normal for my ankle swelling. It made sense, right?  Well, it turns out that it was not related. Unbeknownst to me of how it happened, I had two torn tendons. While taking the CBD Oil, I didn’t feel the pain but as soon as I stopped taking it the pain returned in my ankle area. I had to return to the doctor and was prescribed another painkiller, a CAM  boot for 6-weeks followed by physical therapy. I didn’t fill the painkiller prescription. I was so happy with the results of my knee after taking the CBD Oil that I preferred to take the oil instead.

 

As of today, I am completely healed. Other than my immediate family, I didn’t tell anyone what I was taking until one day I came across an old friend. We began talking and he told me his wife was having a real hard time with fibromyalgia. He said that most days she could not get out of bed and was suffering from severe pain. I debated whether to tell him or not but decided to give it a shot. I explained to him how it had helped me. He told me he would speak to his wife and asked for information on where to get it. About two months after that encounter I saw him again and the first thing he did was give me a hug and say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I asked, “For what?” And then he explained that his wife began to take the oil. She was feeling better than what she’s felt ever since diagnosed with fibromyalgia and was back to work. I also shared the info with another person that I know is suffering from fibromyalgia as well. And I’m happy to report that she got back to me with great news.  She tried and it’s working. She told me she had not had a good night’s sleep, without pain, since before being diagnosed with fibromyalgia over 2 years ago until she tried the CBD. I am so happy for her.

Even though it was the CBD Oil that helped them both, not me, I still feel so happy for them and vowed that I’d share my experience to whomever I knew was suffering from an illness and needed a natural remedy. Granted, it is not something you can share with everybody. Not everyone has an open mind and may still consider it illegal. I’m a 55-year-old woman, and I can assure you, and anybody that knows me can also assure you, I am not a drug addict. I’ve never even smoked a cigarette! However, I will continue promoting CBD Oil because I am living proof that it does work and no one should live in pain!

We Exhumed and Cremated Our Son’s Body

Quotes-Life--Sorrow-quote--9748
Photo property of Angie Radillo

At work, I had a conversation with a coworker. It was an uncommon topic, maybe morbid to some. We talked about death. I told him how I never thought about what I’d do if any of my children died. Would I cremate or bury my child? Of course, it’s not something we, as parents, talk about or even think about! We believe, or should I say, expect that our children outlive us. That’s not the way it is and there are so many decisions that we are not ready for if we outlive our children. My coworker had a different experience when his dad died. He had the opportunity to sit with his father beforehand and write what arrangements his dad preferred. When the time came they were able to grieve and not dwell on the arrangements.

When my son died, we didn’t know what to do or where to go. Granted we were in a state of shock but had it not been for my boss at that time, who happened to be a pastor, we were clueless. From what funeral home to have the wake, to the casket type, color, memorial cards, clothes for the deceased, etc. there were so many questions that we were not ready for. After looking at what was available we made our choices. Frankly, I just agreed at whatever. I was too consumed with grief to focus on those things. I think my husband made most of the choices and I just went along with it.

Richie_1

After the burial, I felt worst. I felt as if I had abandoned my son in the rain, cold and heat. Many might say it was just a body lying in a grave, but for me, it was more than just a body. He was my son. I felt so tense. The tension ran from my shoulders up towards my head and extended through my arms. My jaws were clenched so tight that my teeth hurt. My chest ached with every breath I took. Nothing helped the pain I felt. The Xanax numbed it but did not take it away. I cried every single day – in the morning, in the afternoon, while driving, while showering, at work, before going to sleep – at any time. I just wanted to bring my son back home.

Almost a year after his death, we, as a family, decided to exhume my son’s body, cremate him and bring him home on the first anniversary of his death, July 9. And, on the year after he was buried, July 12, we brought his ashes home. We had a small gathering with some family and friends to celebrate his life and the Pastor did the blessing of his ashes. We also enjoyed Richie’s favorite meal, dessert, and drinks.

Richie's Urn

I know that many people didn’t agree with what we did. There were too many opinions on the matter, especially from different religious groups. But I didn’t care. The important thing was that I felt at ease and content with my decision. It was as if the weight was lifted off my shoulders. My jaw relaxed, and I was finally able to breathe without feeling the pain in my chest. Plus, I truly believe that the Lord would not have given me the peace I felt once we cremated Richie’s remains and brought him home if it were not meant to be or if it were wrong.

That was when we realized that we needed to have a plan. It’s a gruesome topic for some but if you think about it, it’s better to have a plan in writing than to try to figure things out at the last minute while grieving. Like my coworker said, it helps to avoid confrontation within the family on what needs to be done. Should you be buried, or would you prefer cremation; where to be buried or where to scatter the ashes; what music to play and so many other questions. If we plan these things ahead of time we will spare our loved ones from the agony of having to go through this. In the case of the loss of parents, it will avoid any conflicts that may arise if one sibling prefers cremation while the other wants to bury the deceased parents. The siblings would just have to honor the parents wish, as simple as that.

Yes, it might be a gruesome topic to talk about but for the tranquility of all involved, it should be discussed. What are your thoughts?


 

Not Just An Ordinary Day

La Pieta by Michelangelo

The image above is the sculpture of La Pieta in the Vatican sculpted by Michelangelo. It shows the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ after his crucifixion, death, and removal from the cross, but before he was placed in the tomb. It is behind a plexiglass to avoid damage to the sculpture, hence the glass union line from top to bottom. I chose this image because I can relate to the pain Mary felt with the death of her son.


July 9 is just another day, not a holiday nor a recognized day of some kind, but just another ordinary day. That is for others but not for me. July 9 marks the “angelversary” of my son’s death – 11 years now. Time sure does go by fast. But, unlike the saying, “Time heals everything,” guess what? It doesn’t. There are things that cannot heal, and the loss of a son/daughter is one of them. At least for me.

It is not that I dwell day and night on the fact that my son died. Nor do I live anticipating for this day to come, or his birthday. It’s something more and it’s uncontrollable. It’s the love we, as Mom’s, so strongly feel towards our children. Simple things can trigger the emotional rollercoaster, some so simple as looking at a calendar.

Last week while sitting at my desk at work, I was getting ready to update my calendar with future tasks reminders when it struck me. Right there in front of me was “Monday, July 9,” which caught me by surprise. It was there, glaring at me, tearing me apart. It felt like a dagger straight between my ribs and into my heart. All the memories of that night flashed through my mind and the tears started to build. What were just mere seconds of staring at the date on the calendar felt like hours. Our last conversation, our last hug, and the last “I love you” swept through my mind. The smile that I had before seeing the date just melted away. I felt the sadness building up. But I didn’t speak to anyone about it and I didn’t text my husband as I usually do when I feel the sadness creeping over me. I just turned towards my son’s photo sitting on the credenza hutch behind me and whispered “I love you and I miss you” and continued to work. The more I tried to concentrate on my work, the more the thought of my son crept into my mind. I could see his beautiful face just smiling at me. It was as if he were telling me, “Mom, it’s okay. I’m fine.” And I know he is okay but, try to explain it to my heart which doesn’t understand it. My heart only knows that there’s a permanent hole there which cannot be healed.

Grieving Mother Free Loving Memory Cards to Share

I don’t think there is a grieving mom who can say that she has healed after the loss of her child. Oh, I’ve had a person tell me that I will heal because based on her experience, after losing the love of her life through a divorce, she has fully recovered. Yes, she compared her divorce to the loss of my child. I wish it were that easy, but it’s not. She was able to rebuild her life with a new husband, but grieving parents cannot replace a son/daughter and that love does not subside. It’s impossible for it to subside because each child is loved unconditionally. Grieving parents may or can have other children, but each child is their own person. Therefore, no one child can replace another. There’s nothing – absolutely nothing – in this world that can replace the loss of a child.

I know I will continue to grieve for the rest of my life and it’s because of the immense love I feel for my son. I also know that it’s okay to feel the way I do. I feel that my grief makes me work through the everyday battles we come across. I use it to make me stronger because, my thought is, if I am going through life without my son, I can get through anything. For me, there has been no worst pain. And I know that every time I feel that grief, it is a sign of what a loving mother I was to my child and still am to my other two children. This strength I owe to the Lord and am grateful to Him every day.

Memorial Jewelry
Memorial Jewelry


So, will I work on Monday, July 9? I don’t know. It all depends what my heart is feeling on that day. I will prepare to stay home and celebrate his life with my family – maybe cook his favorite meal and remember all the great times we had together. Yes, July 9 is an ordinary day for everyone else but not for me. It is a commemorative day which will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I thank the Lord for not abandoning me in these moments.

To my son in heaven, “I will never stop loving you or forget you. May you rest in peace.” ~ Love Mom


Diary Of A Grieving Mother’s Heart 
by Debbie Centeno

Throughout these past years, I wrote about my journey through grief. My ups and downs, rants, joys, struggles and what I did to reach the peace I now feel. Diary Of A Grieving Mother’s Heart can be found on Amazon in both, paperback and Kindle version.