Time. Time. Time.

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When I was young I was told children should be seen and not heard when adults were present. It was expected and enforced. When we had company over, the adults socialized in the kitchen and living room. The children either played outside or in the bedrooms. Period. The end. 

But being the curious rebel I have always been, I would sneak into our long hallway and stand outside the doorway so I could hear the forbidden adult conversations going on in our kitchen. I just had to know what adults talked about when children weren’t around. But after listening and hoping I’d hear some juicy adult tidbit, I would walk away slightly confused but mostly bored. I thought adult parties were a drag and would get a little sad knowing one day I would be attending them as an adult myself. I dreaded the thought of going to boring parties, eating boring finger foods, and talking about a lot of confusing nothings. I couldn’t imagine myself stating things such as:

           Where does the time go? Before I blinked my eyes, time got away from me. There isn’t enough time in a day. The older I get the faster the time goes by. If only I could be a child again.

 Time. Time. Time. Is that all adults talked about?? I had so many questions but not nearly enough answers. I was a 10 year old listening to adults talk and had no clue what the hell they were whining about. All I knew about time was that it seemed to slow down when I was waiting for something fun or important or exciting. It seemed like I was always waiting for something.           

40 Years later….. I am an adult. Where does the time go???

Another November has come. Another November is almost gone. November 19th was the date of Shawn’s birthday. It was his 3rd Birthday in Heaven. It would have been his 51st Birthday if he were still with us. For the first time, I could not find the words and did not know how to wish him a Happy Birthday. Should I wish him a 3rd Birthday or a 51st Birthday? Is he 51 years old in Heaven? Do I celebrate the year he was born? He was 48 years old when he was called home; is that his age in Heaven?  Does he have an age up there? Do they celebrate birthdays like we do down here? Do they have celebrations for the day you entered Heaven? Am I supposed to celebrate? And is there time up there?  Does it go by as quickly as it does down here? Is he waiting? Waiting for me? I truly do not know.  I am as confused as that 10 year old. I have so many unanswered questions, but…

     Before I blinked my eyes, time got away from me. 

 Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. As I counted the weeks leading up to the previous two Thanksgivings without him, I could remember the feeling of dread. I thought it would never get here and just wanted it over. I have now experienced my 3rd Thanksgiving without him. Time won’t slow down for me. For the first time, I have been so busy trying to create a life, make enough money to support myself, and trying to be the best me I can be for our children. For the first time, I guess I didn’t dread the upcoming holiday as much without him because….

     There isn’t enough time in a day

Since I lost him, I have endured many “first-times.” I am sure some people think I have experienced and lived through all of them by now. I continue to think I must be finished with all of the “first-times” by now too, but then, I get slammed with another. Today, for the first time, I caught myself thinking…

     The older I get the faster the time goes by. 

 But then….

What happened to that 10 year old curious rebel?? Where did she go? Did I turn into one of those adults who think there isn’t enough time to live? I think I was beginning to.  Then I realized I was wasting too much time worrying about it and not enough time enjoying it. TIME. Life and time continue to spin madly on. It always has and always will, but it’s up to me how I choose to use my time left here. Do I want to be an adult or a 10 year old? This time I know the answer….

     I want to live my life just like Shawn did.

 He was a 10 year old adult. He spent his time working as an adult would, he but loved life like a 10 year old. Shawn used to spend a lot of time trying to make me play and look at and love life as a child. I somehow got lost again and forgot what it is I am left here to do…. LIVE! 

Happy Heavenly Birthday/Celebration/Anniversary Shawn-

 I will continue to live my life. Play like a child. And love fiercely just as you taught me.

Until we meet again..

I’ll always love you!

D-

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Spread a some LOVE today! And thanks for reading! Please share this with your friends. HUGS!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Shawn

 

Dear Shawn-

I really cannot believe I am walking into that time of the year I spend so much time the rest of the year trying to forget. For most people the ending of the year is usually a fun, joyous time. Families with young children are gearing up for their Halloween/Fall festivities. I can remember doing the same for our children. But now, I am preparing myself to feel which ever emotion decides to show up on October 31st. Do you remember it was our first date 34 years ago??

     This is the time of the year when the air begins to change and the leaves begin to fall. We always loved the first cool spell of the year. I loved when we would open the windows to welcome the cool, crisp air and let the smell of fall enter into our home. I think I’ll do the same this year; I just wish we could experience it together like we used to. Football season is upon us as well. I remember our Football Sundays. When I hear the opening music the NFL plays right before the game starts, it reminds me how we would have the grill fired up cooking our Sunday dinner while watching the game. I really took those simple days for granted. I miss them.

     November 19th is coming too. It’s your 51st Birthday. I know we would have celebrated it with our children, family, and friends. It makes me sad to know it won’t happen again this year, but it does make me happy to know you will be celebrating with your mother since she joined you in Heaven a few weeks ago. Then comes Thanksgiving following right behind.  It will be the 3rd one without you. I still cannot believe it. You are missed around our family’s dinner table. It will never feel the same to eat Thanksgiving dinner without you sitting next to me.

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   And along comes Christmas….. Holiday parties, family get togethers, shopping, gift giving, and spreading the cheer. Ugh! Another Christmas without you.  Another Christmas I will have to pretend I am OK. Another holiday season I have to walk into gatherings alone and feel like the pink elephant standing in the room. 

     Finally, I must face December 30th.  I must once again relive the day I lost you. Since then, this time of the year has been a sad and emotional one for me. This year, I feel differently.

     Lately I have been thinking about the word acceptance. I’ve decided I hate that word. I think it’s because when I became a widow I was told about the “stages of grief” I would experience. I know you remember how much I hated being told something I didn’t want to accept and how I would simply choose not to accept it. I was told a part of the grieving process is a stage called acceptance. I think that is where I am, and I really do not like it. Everything about grief sucks, but this really is a bummer. I have no choice but to accept.  I am forced to feel yet another stage of grief.

     Just when I think I have this grief thing figured out, I get hit with another stage. It’s been almost three years since you went on your long extended vacation up to Heaven. It’s been three years of nonstop trying to find my new normal. This acceptance stage I am experiencing now is teaching me yet another lesson I never wanted to learn. I guess I must accept that grief will never go away. It just goes from one stage to the next one. For me, this stage has been the silent one. It doesn’t come with tears. It is by far the scariest one I have had to feel. It is also the loneliest. This is the stage I have accepted that spending the close of another year without you is part of my reality. Three years ago, I never dreamed I would still be searching and trying to figure out what my next move should be. Three years ago I never dreamed I would still be searching for my new normal.

     Shawn I miss you. I miss us. I miss every little moment.  I didn’t realize one day I would have to accept I will never experience them with you again. How could I?

    I guess I have no other option but to embrace this “acceptance” stage, continue to move forward and wait for the next stage. Rest assured I’ll do it my way.

I will always love and cherish us. Until we meet again-

Daneen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fairy Tales

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Who doesn’t love a good old fashion fairy tale??
I loved reading fairy tales. At a very young age I can remember looking at the pictures in books. I would imagine my own story in my head because I was not able to read yet. I can recall looking at the fancy way the words ONCE UPON A TIME began every tale and would always be on the first page. The first few pages of the story always had cheerful images and bright colors. I can only guess this is where I learned all stories would start with a beginning. Beginnings are happy, exciting, and can give us hopeful feelings. They give us a reason to want to continue and see what happens next. But then, somewhere in the middle of a story the images and colors turn dark and dreary. My story would become frightening, and I would be afraid the mean scary image on the page would take away the happy beginning from my imagination. I guess this is where I learned happy beginnings can have scary, unplanned moments in their story. Oh and then… thankfully the colors and images would again become colorful when the knight and shining armor would save the day. The last page always ended with AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER. My story always ended leaving me feeling happy. I guess this is when I began to think all stories have an ending.
As I got a little older, I discovered the “tween” section in the bookstore. These books were different. The print was smaller; they had chapters, and there were no pictures. The books all had a happy cheerful beginning and some even continued to start with the words ONCE UPON A TIME. But like all fairy tales, there would always have a dreary middle part when the bully who drove an old pickup truck would crash the prom and try to beat up the football team’s quarterback. Why? Well because he was in love with the quarterback’s girlfriend (who happened to be the captain of the cheerleading squad.) And like all stories, there was a “THE END” at the ending. Now that I was reading from the tween section, the endings were a little different than the fairy tales I once read. Sometimes the cheerleader hadn’t planned on falling in love with the bully, but they still LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER. And I guess this is where I learned not all stories ended the way I imagined they would when I began reading the beginning.
And then life happened. I became an adult.
Who has time to read imaginary fairy tales when you are an adult? There are too many other things we need to be doing rather than reading fake stories. Marriage, children, mortgages, work, house work is what life is all about. Princesses, princes, castles, white horses, beautiful fields and streams, and happily ever after endings are only made up in books and movies. RIGHT??? Nope. I now know I lived obliviously to the life I was living because it wasn’t the way my mind envisioned what fairy tales should look like.
I truly lived in a fairy tale, just like the tales I used to read and imagine at one time in my life. Our ONCE UPON A TIME was a happy, cheerful one. Our castle didn’t look like the castles in my storybooks. We didn’t look like the princess and prince either. But somehow we made each other feel as if we were. The beginning was tough, but we managed to pay our bills and raise three beautiful children in our castle. And then somewhere in the middle of my story a dreary, dark part happened. I lost my knight and shining armor. I lost everything I had once upon a time. The colors on my pages were not colorful and cheerful. My days and nights became my worst nightmare, and I thought it was our The End. And at the time, I thought it was my ending.
Now I know my fairy tale is not over. My prince still lives in my heart. My knight and shining armor continues to protect me. He is helping me to learn how to live my real life fairy tale in a different way than I once thought I would. As I move forward with my story, my life with Shawn has been the most beautiful chapter thus far. I cannot wait to see how he will help me write my next one. I know with my entire heart he is writing the best chapter for me yet….
Sometimes what we think our story should be isn’t our story at all, and what we think is THE END is really just the beginning of a new chapter.
Look around at your very own fairy tale. I bet it is more beautiful than you think it is.
Hugs!

 

 

 

Feel this.

 

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 I remember my old life and the other Daneen. She unknowing would constantly seek, invite, and look for stressful situations into her life. If drama wasn’t involved, than something wasn’t right. Life had to be busy, and she never had the time to be still because for goodness sake, if she took the time to be still, something wasn’t getting done. The world was spinning madly on. Life was happening all around her. She would hear sad news. She knew people were hurting. She knew life was unfair. She knew a lot was going on, but she couldn’t really see past her own little life she had created. She was busy and knew someone else out there would take care of the hurt and injustice going on in the world around her world.

Yeah. I remember that life. And although life is still madly spinning on, this Daneen has a new way of feeling and viewing life. Yes, I have been busy with life. I’ve had many, many changes and more life lessons learned I haven’t yet had the time to share with you. It’s been about a three-month world-wind for me. I almost forgot and got lost again until yesterday. Sunday, July 17, 2016. 

Yesterday I was doing stuff around the house when I heard a report on the news. Three police officers had been ambushed and murdered, and one suspect killed in my home state and not too far from where I now live. It stopped me in my tracks. I thought,  “Again?? Another shooting??? What’s wrong with people????” I had to think hard. “How many has this been in the past few weeks? How many killings took place in other states?? Damn…. I’ve been so busy, I can’t remember.” I heard about them. I knew I heard the sad stories. I knew I heard of the injustice people were screaming about. But did I really hear?? As the day went on, I heard the names of police officers and stories about their lives and family. I sat on my sofa, frozen in front of the television, and then I realized I had forgotten….. I’ve been so busy I forgot to feel. I felt for the victims. How could this happen to them? They were here protecting us? How sad can this be for them?? They were only doing the job they took an oath for?? 

And then…My heart broke.

I began to think of the victims’ families, their friends and their co-workers. The list went on and on. This Daneen knows what they are going through and what they will be facing for..the..rest..of..their..life…. Somewhere out there, a wife, daughter, son, mother, father, sibling, fiancé, cousin, friend, co-worker is hurting. Somewhere out there, someone is going to bed without their love next to them. Somewhere out there, a child will have to start school in a few weeks and be surrounded by other children whom have their parents. A mother and father are questioning why they are the ones who have to bury their child. Somewhere out there, someone is experiencing a pain like no other. Somewhere out there, someone has just had everything they once knew ripped from them in a few seconds time. Somewhere out there, someone’s life will NEVER be the same. Somewhere out there, someone just became a single parent. Somewhere out there, someone has just realized their new title is widow or widower. Somewhere out there, a widow will no longer be called Mrs.; she will be a Ms. even if it is against her wishes.

This Daneen can only pray for you. Once the funeral is over, the flowers and casseroles stop getting delivered, the sympathy cards stop coming in the mail, and the news media moves on to another sad story because they will. Now is when you will really begin to feel this.

I realize my journey may not look like another person’s journey, but this is what I wish I would have known when I experienced my loss. And quite honestly, if someone would have told me, I probably wouldn’t have listened. That is why I’m writing this now. If this Daneen could have an opportunity to have just one moment with the grieving love ones, I would tell them the following:

  • You need to feel this. You need to feel every emotion that surfaces. Don’t push it away. Don’t hide it. It WILL come back if you don’t allow yourself to experience it.
  • You will cry. You will cry a lot. You will cry often. Don’t run away from your tears. Let them roll. Let the snot run down your face. And when you can’t cry anymore, Cry again.
  • Do not let anyone make you feel invisible by telling you to be strong. Or worst, tell you that you are strong. Strong??? No. You are alive. You have no other choice but to live, that doesn’t  mean you have won a prize for being strong.
  • People move on. They move on quickly with their lives. You WILL feel forgotten. Although your world has stopped. Theirs hasn’t. It’s easier for them not to reach out to you because life is too busy for them to possibly have to stop and listen to you for a while. It makes them too uncomfortable. 
  • Not all family members and friends will be there for you as time goes by. At first they say they will, but they will find a way to justify  their absence. And somehow, they will make you feel as if you have wronged them.
  • Invitations come abundantly and quickly at first. But that’s when you don’t need them and usually don’t have the strength to go. But as time goes on, the invitations slow down and don’t come as often. And then.. they turn into the obligatory birthday, wedding, and shower invitations. Don’t go if you don’t feel like it. And don’t let them make you feel as if YOU are wrong for not going. They do not have a clue how it feels to be surrounded by people yet feel so alone.
  • You will forever question Why? Why has this happen to you. Why?  Why did God take them so soon. In time you will begin to find your own peace. We are the ones left to feel and live with this. You will begin to realize they are in a much better place than we are.
  • Will the pain ever go away? Nope. But somehow with time , you are able to cope better and begin moving forward. One.Step.At.A.Time.
  • With time you will begin to feel again. You will begin to see life differently. You will begin again. A new and better way. You will be a different person. Never let anyone from your old life make you feel shameful for living YOUR life the way you need or want to.
  • You WILL make mistakes.  A LOT of them. Just remember mistakes are just a way to help you grow, and learn. Embrace your mistakes.
  • You too will have moments of time in which you have “busied” yourself so much that you forget to feel and reach out to others. The good news?? You are now different. You feel compassion like you have never felt before. And guess what?? Life happens. The family and/or friends that made you feel forgotten will evidently experience some kind of loss. You WILL be there for them because you now understand the depths of pain from a loss, and your heart can love them with empathy and understanding. 
  • You will feel love again. But only stronger and more pure. How blessed are we to now know what love really is??? And oh yeah…. it is ok to love some people from a distance. Never feel pressured to have to show or prove you love them by being present in their life. Especially if they are the ones that hurt you the most.
  • Remember this is YOUR life. You get a second chance. You can change the rules you once thought you had to follow. Live YOUR life now with YOUR rules. 
  • Honor your loved one by living life to the fullest. They are doing the same while they await your reunion. 

Please know I do care. I am hurting for you. I understand your pain. The way you grieve is personal. Let no one tell you how you should walk this walk.  It’s been 2 1/2 years since I experienced my loss. I still hurt. I still make mistakes. I still cry. But I am at peace. I follow my own rules. I am moving forward. Let no one tell you how to grieve. Grief has no rules. Feel this.

Hugs!

 

 

 

 

Warning! I’m a Cry Baby!!

Hello All-

The following are a few short clips of chapters from the filming which took place back in February. I had posted on my “The Journey of the Widowed Diva” Facebook page the trailer and have been anxiously awaiting for more. I just received these tonight and couldn’t wait to share them with you. I need to warn you…. it was the sad part of the interview. I hope you don’t mind the tears. I know now it is my tears that is washing my pain away. Hopefully, I will be able to share with you the funny, and happy chapters soon. You will see each one of these videos again in my blog.  I plan on using these sad, tearful videos to help explain how my pain has weakened and my happiness has grown. And who knows the title of my next chapters?? They possibly could be titled Moving forward, New outlook on life, Happiness and Growth, and maybe.…. My heart is ready to feel again…. WWWHHHAAATTTTT????? 

P.S. And if you didn’t know by now I am from New Orleans, I am sure after listening to my accent for about 2.5 seconds…. you will know. :-0

LOSS-

This chapter is what I had experienced the morning I lost Shawn.

 

 

 

 

 

Family-

This chapter is how I feel about my family members.

 

Friends-

This chapter is about how my friends are bringing me back to life.

 

Healing-

This chapter is about my wake up call and the beginning of my healing process.

 

Please stay tuned… My Journey has just entered into another chapter.

 

Hugs!

A letter to my beautiful, supportive mother…

Mom,

First off, SURPRISE! YOU’VE BEEN HACKED. This is none other than your ‘baby bird.’ I wanted to write this quick blog not only to show you my appreciation, but also, all who follow you so they can know just how special you are to me. This year has been a whirlwind for me. Right after dad passed, we became each other’s rocks. We formed a strong bond that we had never been able to do prior to “that day” and it only got stronger as time went on as we were able to share our deepest emotions with one another. I saw you in a new light. You were vulnerable, quiet, devastated, and just down-right a freakin’ mess. Adjectives that I would have never described you as before. As I desperately followed behind you trying to scoop up the pieces of your broken heart, I started to admire you. For once, you weren’t the mother who had the tough-girl mentality. You weren’t the mother that I saw intimidate others. You weren’t the mother with the snarky, potty mouth. You weren’t the mother I felt I could never relate to, the mother that I thought I gathered zero personality traits from. You finally showed a side that I had hardly seen come out. A soft side. An honest side. A humbled kind of strength. It was in those dark months that I saw you in a new light. I finally began to appreciate who you were. I longed to see that side that I didn’t think I could “relate” to, but I also appreciated the side where I felt that I could. My became my very best friend.

Fast forward to nursing school…

I just ended another semester, as you know from the 3 phones calls and text that I sent to you while you were at work (me being the spoiled brat I am, I needed your attention RIGHT THEN). I know I say this every semester, but this one was truly the most stressful one yet. I felt like had the weight of the world on my shoulders each time an exam rolled around. I moved in with you in order to help with finances, but also because I just needed the comfort of my mom and best friend. With that, I want to apologize. I want to apologize for being absent. Even when I was home, I was locked in my room studying or exhausted from a shift at Children’s Hospital. On weekends, I got out of town as fast as I could to escape the stress of school. For that, I truly apologize, mom. You have been nothing but supportive this past year and I haven’t shown you the appreciation you deserve. So again, I’m sorry and I appreciate you so, so much. All the stresses in life should never come before those you love and care for. Our time here is precious. We, of all people, should know that. I love you. Thank you for everything you do for me. It does not go unnoticed.

Xoxo, Baby Bird

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“Us”

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Where do you begin when someone asks you to describe your relationship? For me, it was one of those moments that stopped me in my tracks. I mean, where should I even begin? How do I explain a relationship that started when I was a few months shy of 16 years old? Do I start with how we met in high school? Got married at the age of 20 and 21? Had three children by the age of 26? Isn’t that where most people would begin?  Wouldn’t most stories start with how they fell in love? How life was so perfect together? The white picket fence that perfectly wrapped around the manicured lawn. The sound of the birds chirping in the morning while they sipped coffee from matching coffee mugs on their patio before heading off to work. How they held hands while they discussed their feelings to avoid arguments? How they would gaze into each other’s eyes while they told each other about their day at the office?? Probably most would start like that, but not me. Not our story.

So here it goes….

Shawn and Daneen’s relationship AKA “US

There were never dull moments in the Lockharts’ home. We never had a white, picket fence. Our lawn wasn’t manicured, like some. The birds in our back yard didn’t chirp. They usually made screeching sounds because Emily’s cat was always in the trees trying to catch them. We never had matching coffee mugs. I had my favorite, and Shawn never cared what kind of mug he drank out of. We never held hands while we “discussed” our feelings. In fact, I don’t ever remember discussing feelings. We fought. We yelled. We even threw things at each other sometimes. There was never any gazing into each others eyes. We starred, with daggers into each other’s eyes while we yelled profanities if one of us had hurt feelings. And then…. we would make up once I made him realize I was right about whatever we were discussing. And somehow he always found a way to make me believe that he agreed I was right…

Try and visualize this true story.

It’s a football season Sunday. We didn’t go to church because we decided to stay home to get things “done” around the house. I am still wearing Shawn’s tee-shirt and baggy shorts that I slept in. My hair is in a messy ponytail with no makeup on. A pot of meatballs is on the stove. I have the washing machine and dryer running like crazy. I can hear the TV. The Saints game is about to begin. I hear a beer can getting cracked open in the den. I then hear…. Shawn: Hey babe. Take a break and come watch the kickoff with me. I walk into the den with a load of clean laundry in my arms. Me: Hmmmmmm… where should I put this clean laundry? Oh I know. I’ll put it on the sofa and fold the clothes while I watch the game with my man. But wait. I need to stir the meatballs. I need to take the clothes out of the washer and transfer them into the dryer. I need to start another batch of laundryShawn: Where are you? It’s about to start. Me: I’m coming. Oh wait. I need to stir the meatballs. Damn. I’ve got sauce on his tee-shirt. HOLD UP!! I’m coming.. I go back into the den. The dogs are now sleeping on the pile of clean laundry on the sofa next to Shawn. Me: Why did you let them get on the clean laundry? Shawn: Huh? As he took a sip from his beer while never taking his eyes off of the game. Me: I knocked the dogs off of the “clean” pile and brought them back into the laundry room to start all over again. I grabbed another pile from the dryer and made my way back to the den so that I can fold them while I watch the game with my man.   Oh Wait… I need to stir the pot again. DAMN!!! Shawn: What??? You are missing the game. Me: I say through gritted teeth… I’m coming!!!! So now I’m pissed. I am now aggravated. I look at Shawn (with daggers) as I walked back into the den, laundry in my arms, dogs on the sofa, I have nowhere to put the clean pile of laundry, and I scream…. WILL YOU HELP ME????????? He finally looks up, and I can tell by the look on his face he knows I’m pissed about something, but he has no idea what it could be. He takes a sip from his beer, scratches his boys and then asks me… Is that my tee-shirt? And is that spaghetti sauce on it? Me: WWWHHHAATTTT?????  I threw the laundry at him as I screamed profanities at him. I am sure the neighbors heard me. The dogs jumped off of the sofa. The birds stopped screeching. He knew he was in trouble and without missing a beat, while smiling his that smile at me. ShawnYou look so sexy in my tee-shirt  Me: Really??? 

And then….

We are walking out of our bedroom. The sauce from the tee-shirt I was wearing is now smeared on the shirt he was wearing. The game is now in half-time. The meatballs sauce has bubbled out of the pot, and is all over the place. The dogs are licking it off of the floor. The clean laundry is now thrown across the den. The birds in the trees are screeching at the cat. And Shawn and I are being US once again. Until…

Shawn: This house is a mess…..

Damn! I miss my man!

Hugs!!

The colors of my world

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When I look back to the first year without Shawn, every memory of it was fuzzy, cloudy, and/or a grayish color. One of the last colors I can remember was Shawn’s eyes. I kept looking into them and praying to see his blue eyes look back into my eyes. It was his dull, glossed over colored eyes that told me I was losing him that morning. I think it was that moment of time which forever changed the way my eyes see color.

The only way I can try to explain the memories in my mind of that first year is as if I was living on a television show on an old black and white television set. You know the kind I’m talking about….Huh?? My black and white year had an antenna on top of it with foil wrapped around it and when I would hit one of my million “fuzzy” moments, I would try to rearrange my antenna in a new direction in hopes to find a clearer vision. My show was on 24/7 in my head and it felt as if most people around me tuned into my show to see what I would do next. There were people who cheered me on, there were people who tried to tell me what or what not to do, there were people who wanted to live my life for me, there were people who judged me, there were people who embraced me, there were people who loved me through my darkest days, and then there were the people who turned against me. I tried to move my antenna (oops.. I mean my life) to find my way of seeing clearer, but there would always be someone viewing my show through their eyes with their own perspective. I remember how everything overwhelmed me and I lived in a state of confusion. However, the one and only thing I was sure about was I knew with my whole being I would NOT grieve in silence. I wanted my voice heard. I wanted to tell my story, my way and not how others perceived it. It all started twelve days after Shawn’s death. I remember hearing the words in my head to write. Write what? I had never written anything in my life and I had no idea how to even begin. And what  was I supposed to write? I was heavily medicated so the confusion only magnified. But the word WRITE kept screaming in my head. So I got a notebook and pen and sat down to write. I’m not sure if it was the medicine or my A.D.D but it lasted about five seconds. I threw the notebook against the wall in my bedroom, popped another anxiety pill and put myself to sleep. The next day when I awoke from my coma I heard it again… WRITE. I am sure by now you know I am a rebel and I do not like when someone tells me what to do. I remember I looked at the crumpled notebook on my bedroom floor and right next to it was my IPAD which Shawn had given to me a year or two before. Hmmmm….. EMILY!!!!! WHERE ARE YOU???? I told my Baby Bird I had to write but I couldn’t physically do it. So she downloaded a Journal app for me. It was then I started to “write.” I wrote (typed) to Shawn every single day for weeks. I poured my whole heart out to him in my journal. I told him how sad, lonely, and confused I was. I told him when someone tried to reach out to me, and I told him when someone hurt me, too. But as much as I was trying to explain my grief to him, it just did not feel right to me. I knew without a doubt he already knew how I felt, so why would I continue to write to him? And then I had my AHA moment. I was grieving in silence. I was not using my voice. And I wondered how many others where silently living in darkness like me. I wondered how many other people couldn’t see the colors in their life anymore. I had to decide did I want to continue to live in dark silence or did I want to use my voice and be heard??

I started seeing the colors in my world again when I began to use my voice and share the intimate details of my darkness with others. I knew there could be consequences by being so open and raw. I was opening the door and inviting people into my world. I knew some would embrace me and some would judge me. I took the chance and went with my gut. I decided I would keep it real and do it my way. If I decided I would let others watch my every move I made, than why not let them see me be me??

Once upon a time, before I experienced my darkness, I too viewed others in my perspective. When someone lost someone or something and they were going through the thing called grief, I watched them, judged them, and figured by now they should have been over it. Why aren’t they moving on??? I didn’t realize they were probably living in darkness and were silently trying to rearrange their antennas while I viewed their television show. 

There has not been one day since I lost Shawn I have not scratched my head and wondered if I am doing something right or wrong. I still have no idea what my future holds for me. I’ve learned and have accepted I can not look too forward into my future. When I do, I cannot see color and I feel anxious. So I take one day at a time. And guess what???? My one-day-at-a-time is becoming more and more colorful. Some of my days have more color than others, but I am beginning to like what I see. I am beginning to like how I feel. Yes, it has been over two years. No, I still do not have it all figured out but I know Shawn can see me with his blue eyes. I, too, can now see in color again. I pray my days, lessons, and my experiences is building the future which I cannot see at this time. I can only be hopeful it will be a very colorful one. Anyone who has decided to view my show, I pray it can somehow help them see colors again, too.

LOVE and HUGS!!!!

Open your eyes and heart. Go find the colors in your days!

 

 

Do you remember?

 

Hey Shawn-

Today I was thinking about you. Today I was thinking about us. Today I was thinking and I smiled because I remember us.

Do you remember the spot on the levee by the Lakefront where you told me you loved me for the first time?  I went to our spot today. I stood there by myself and gazed at it. I saw us. I had my blue sweater on and you had your jeans and jacket on.

Do you remember all the high school dances and proms we went to together? Today I found our prom glasses, the pictures, dried up corsages and your boutonnieres.

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Do you remember when you asked me to marry you? Today I put my ring back on because I wanted to feel it on my finger once again. It felt good.

Do you remember when we became pregnant?  Today I looked at thousands of pictures. I saw how young we were. I saw our beautiful babies who helped us grow up.

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Do you remember when we built our first home?  I miss the house on Crestwood Street. Our children were babies. We made so many memories in our first little modest home.

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Do you remember the camper?  We had such a great time with our children and dogs when we got away for our weekend camping trips and some beach vacations in our little home away from home.

Do you remember watching our children live their childhood right in front of our eyes?  The tee ball, baseball, Brownies, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, dancing school, dance team, karate, guitar, art classes, and so much more.

Do you remember the nights we splurged on a babysitter and went out on a date?  Our dates were never dull and I loved how you used to look at me.

Do you remember how we stressed and worried over our finances? How we always felt we should have been saving more for our future but chose to live for the day and give our children the best we could?

Do you remember when our children grew into teenagers and started going out? And started doing the things we used to do when we were their age?  They never could get away with anything because we knew what they were up to because we once did everything they tried to get away with.

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Do you remember the stupid, petty arguments we had because we never felt we had enough time for one another? They were so silly.

Do you remember our adult weekend get-aways?

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Do you remember the wasted moments we shared while worrying about things we thought we were in control of? Silly us…. 

Do you remember me? Do you remember the Daneen who lived that life with you? Do you remember the beautiful memories we unknowingly made at the time? Can you see the life we had as I can see it now?  Have you realized we really did have it all? We really did love with all of our hearts? We really did give all we could to our children. And each one of them have  a beautiful, unique soul. 

Can you see how I am not the same girl who lived our life together?

She was the girl who couldn’t see the life she once was living in. She was always too busy wondering what’s next?? She was the girl who loved and felt loved, but didn’t truly know how to feel and give love the way I do now. She was the girl who thought life was going to be or get better, later, after she finished everything she “needed” to do. Can you see me now?

Do you remember her? I do. I am not that girl anymore. I lost that life and if I hadn’t lost it, I would have never known how beautiful our life together once was. I smiled. I remember her.

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Hugs!

 

Memory Lane 101

 

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My latest blog  ” Tell My Children I Await Them In Paradise” was my 50th post published last week. I started this blog a little over a year ago. So much has happened since then. I thought it would be good to go back to memory lane and revisit some of my first posts. As I read them, I can remember my thoughts as I typed out words which flowed freely from me. I can now recognize what I was feeling but didn’t know what it was at the time. I can also state when I was writing these blogs, I believed in dreams. But what I didn’t know is that my biggest and wildest dream could come true…… Please read to the end and stay tuned.

The following was my first blog called “My Journey.”  I remember I was nervous and insecure about starting a blog. I never wrote anything in my life. I was afraid of what others would think. But something pushed me to do it. It has been my biggest outlet and healing source for myself. Little did I know was somehow my release would help others who have experienced heartache too. Please enjoy….

MY JOURNEY-

Hello World! My name is Daneen H. Lockhart. Welcome to my journey of a 47 year old widowed diva. Please join me as I walk through my sad, bad, good, and funny healing process. A loss of a spouse, child, parent, friendship, relationship, pet, or job is a heartbreak that hurts to the core of our soul. I was hoping that there was a healing manual with instructions on how to cope after a loss but, sadly, there isn’t one. So let’s invent one together. I pray that I can somehow help you as I am learning the many lessons of life after loss.

I love dressing up, wearing perfume, great haircuts and hair color. I love makeup, beautiful handbags, expensive jeans, and shoes. You can NEVER have enough shoes. I guess these are some of the many reasons why my girls started calling me “Diva Daneen”. Why not? You only live once. Why not look your best while living?

I have been a licensed cosmetologist for a hundred years. I once owned my own salon and now I am a proud co-owner of a beauty school called A jour Academy of Beauty. Sounds fancy huh?? I teach and sell beauty. But most importantly, I try to teach by example that beauty comes from within. We must walk with grace and dignity no matter what life throws at us.

However, anyone that knows me, knows that I can curse like a sailor and fight like a man. I have no filter and have been told that I have “foot in the mouth disease”. I speak the raw truth. When push comes to shove, I can throw a mean right hook.

When I lost Shawn, I knew that I would have to walk this walk with grace and dignity. However, I learned very quickly that I was in a fight like no other. I would have to fight with both fists for my and our children’s life. My knight in shining armor was not here on earth anymore to protect us. It is all on ME now to fight for us. I think it was the “fight” in me that saved me from rolling over to die when I lost my one and only, my husband of 26 years, high school sweetheart, father of our three beautiful children, and most of all, my best friend. I miss my friend… I know that he wants me to continue this fight that I am in and he wants me to win. I WILL win this fight, because Shawn always told me that he loved how I could be a “girly girl” and how I could knock someone’s head off if they pissed me off enough. 🙂

As I said before, I speak the raw truth. I am walking into a new, unknown chapter in my life. My blog site. I pray that I do not upset any of my family members with the details I plan on sharing. Life is way too short to be nothing but truthful. How can one begin to heal if you aren’t honest with yourself? This is MY healing process…. Please stay tuned for my next blog. I want to warn any family member or friend that it will be a very detailed story of the worst day of my life. The day I lost Shawn.

 

This next one was my second post ” What in the world am I doing??? I’m a Diva. Not A Blogger.” It was by far the hardest, most heart wrenching one ever. As I read it now, I can now remember some more memories from that day. It amazes me how my mind blocked some of them, and how now I can recall a few more of them. Are the memories ones I wanted to remember? Yes. Were they good ones? No. Why am I relived I can recognize them now? Because it is a part of me and my journey. They were the last moments Shawn and I had together. I feel blessed and honored to have been the one by his side and it was my voice he heard telling him I loved him....

WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I DOING???? I’M A DIVA. NOT A BLOGGER-

Oh! Hello there! It’s MMMEEEEEE!!!! Somehow I found my way into a bloggers world. I am not an author and have never blogged before. So why am I here? Well it’s a long, beautiful, and sad story. I hope that you will join me while I tell it.
As I sit here with my two dogs and my grand dog, I am trying to figure out where I should begin telling the story of two teenagers that fell in love in high school at the age of 15 and 16. Do I begin our story of how we met or do I begin our story of how we lost each other? Don’t all fairy tales begin with “Once Upon A Time” and end with “And they lived happily ever after”? Our fairy tale began like that but, sadly, it didn’t end that way. Since our fairy tale isn’t the typical kind, I will begin with the sad ending, so that I can share at a later time the beautiful parts of our fairy tale. Along the way, I hope to begin the healing process while writing our story that began over 30 years ago but now must wait. Welcome to my journey…..

Monday morning, December 30, 2013 started out like every Monday morning for me. I woke up, fed my dogs, made a pot of coffee, started a load of laundry, fired up my computer to check out what my friends were up to on Facebook and posted an inspirational quote for the day. However, this Monday was going to be a little different for me. Shawn, my husband, and I took off from work for a much-needed week-long break. We had planned to spend time together and were looking forward to it. I remembered going into our bedroom and asking him when was he going to get up. We were supposed to go to the grocery that morning to prepare for New Years Eve. He wasn’t feeling well the night before and said he still didn’t feel good. So I left him, went back into the kitchen for another cup of coffee and chatted on FB with a few friends about their plans for New Year’s Eve. After some time, I decided that I was tired of him complaining that he wasn’t feeling good and thought if I would make a fuss he would get up and get ready for our day. I mean we DID go to the doctor on Friday and were told that his lungs were fine and the shortness of breath he was complaining about was probably just anxiety…. So I went in and told him that I was leaving to go to the grocery without him. I jumped into the shower and began to shampoo my hair. A few minutes later he came in with a cup of coffee, took a few sips and then jumped into the shower with me, just as we always did ,everyday, our whole marriage. He asked me why was I being so nasty to him and I told him I was tired of him saying he didn’t feel good and that the doctor said he was fine. I asked him what was he feeling and he said he just doesn’t feel good. That wasn’t a good enough answer for me, so I turned my back to him and continued my shower. He got out, dried off and got back into our bed. I got dressed, put my makeup on, and dried my hair. When I walked back into our room and he was STILL in bed, I told him that he had two choices. 1.) Get up. or 2.) I was calling 911. At this point, I was thinking he was just being lazy and he only “thought” he was sick and if I threatened him, he would get up to start our day together. So back into the bathroom I go to finish up my hair. The next thing I remember is hearing a loud crash and then a gurgling sound. Shawn wasn’t in our bed. Where was he? I ran to the other side of our bed, and there he was. On the ground, bleeding. My thoughts were, “Oh My God… He passed out and hit his head”. I screamed his name, he looked at me and said “Help me put my underwear on”. I did, and then everything seemed to slow down like a slow motioned movie. He began the gurgling sounds again. I remember screaming, “Don’t do this”!!!! He was trying to tell me something, but I couldn’t understand. “No Shawn, don’t do THIS.” I really didn’t know what “this” was but I knew I needed to call 911. I picked up his cell phone and dialed it. I remember the operator asking what the emergency was and I said, “I need help”. From this point, my memory is broken up into small segments. I remember holding his head, talking to the operator, leaving him on the floor to put the dogs outside because I knew the paramedics would be getting there. I remember being told to roll him on his side, feeling his body sweating, the gurgling sounds, his eyes, OMG… his eyes. At some point I picked up my cell phone while holding his with the 911 operator on the line. I called our son. Why did I do that? I don’t know. I told him to get home, his father was having a heart attack. How did I know he was having a heart attack? I don’t know. I remember leaving him again to get clothes for him because I just knew that once they got to our home, we would be going to the hospital. Thank God the operator told me to talk to him. I leaned down put my lips on the side of his face. I could taste his sweat. I began to tell him that I loved him over and over again. I begged him to stay with me over and over again. His eyes….. His beautiful eyes. Please Shawn, look at me. I told him again that I loved him, he could hardly say it, but I heard him. He said “I know you love me”. I think this is around the time I knew we were in serious trouble and time slowed down even more. I was losing him. I remember asking the operator where were the paramedics and she said that they have arrived and should be in front of my house. I then left Shawn again ,which to this day I regret, and ran to the front door. As I approached the door our son, Shawn Jr., was entering the house. I asked him “Where are the paramedics?” and he said “Outside”. This is where there is a lapse of time in my memory. The next moment I can remember is when I’m standing back in our room looking down at our son holding his father and telling him to wake up. ( I think this is when Shawn took his last breath. In my son’s arms. But I am not sure.) The room was silent and I no longer heard my husband gasping for air. I heard the paramedics coming in, the dial tone from the phone that somehow I still had to my ear, and me screaming in my head…”This is NOT happening.” This is when another lapse of time occurred that my memory can’t recall. The very next moment I can remember is when my son and I were in the kitchen and I must have been freaking out or something and he grab me and said we need to pray. So we held each other and began The Lord’s Prayer. I remember praying….”Our Father Who Art in Heaven” and than I pulled away and stopped. There wasn’t enough time to pray that prayer. My husband was dying on our bedroom floor. As I turned back and looked into our room, I could only see his bare feet moving back and forth from the pushing of the paramedic while they were performing CPR on him. My mind told me ‘this is real’ but I didn’t want to believe it. So instead of praying, I began screaming at God, “DON’T TAKE HIM!!!” over and over again. I could hear what was being done to my husband. I could hear what they were saying. I could hear my husband dying. So then I decided to start BEGGING God to not take him. I began to start making promises to God that if He didn’t take him that I would take care of Shawn no matter how God would choose to leave him. “Please God, don’t take him, I’ll take care of him even if it means he is a vegetable.” God had other plans…. I heard them call the time. It was over. The next moment of time is one that will forever be engraved in my mind. I was sitting by our fireplace and I felt his soul leave mine. I know I had an out of body experience. I saw myself sitting there with my head and shoulders down. My hair was hanging in my eyes with shock on my face. I looked into my son’s eyes and told him “He’s gone”. Shawn looked back at me and said “I know”.

This is where my journey of a widowed diva began. I now somehow had to muster up the strength to make phone calls to family members. I had to wipe my smeared mascara from my eyes. I had to face my two daughters and tell them that it is true. Their beloved father was gone.
Stay tuned for more of our story. The “ending” is really sad, but I promise it will get better as I get to our “beginning”. I also promise that you will be amused at the things that this Diva has learned how to do on my own. Things like cutting grass and starting a lawn mower. Unclogging a garbage disposal. Draining a 75 gallon fish tank with a hose that I had to suck on one end until it began draining. Spitting. I learned quickly how to spit out slimy fish tank water. I also learned very quickly that I had to take control of MY life and start learning how to live it MY way. So many people want to help me in anyway that I may need. You have no idea how blessed I am to have the support system that has rallied around me and my children. However, there are also some that want me to live my life the way they think I should live it. I’ve been judged by some of the decisions that I needed, not wanted, to make. There is no time or space in my life for negativity and judgmental opinions. I am relearning how to live, this is my second chance at life, and I am going to live it the best that I can….. These are just a few of my many lessons I’ve learned so far. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to.

I will continue to post some of my older blogs. They will all be titled Memory Lane” within the next few weeks. I will also continue to write new ones, too. Please continue to follow me. A lot of great and exciting things are coming which I can honestly say is God-sent and my dream has come true. I am working on all the details and once everything gets solidified, I will share my good news with you within a week or two!!! It is because of YOU and your support I continue to share and walk my journey.

Hugs!!!