Love On You Everyday

So much emphasis is placed on so-called special occasions or holidays. Of course, I’m speaking of Valentine’s Day in particular because it is today. This is just a short reminder that you’re special every day. You don’t require a “special holiday or occasion” on the calendar to celebrate you. Do something to celebrate how awesome you are as often as you like, and as large or small as you like. Today, take a walk, buy yourself flowers, order out or cook in, take a bubble bath, have a spa day, get a Mani/Pedi. It is so important for us to remind ourselves of our worth on a daily basis. The world may not and probably will not ever give you your props or value the quality of individual you are, but you should. Never forget you are special, today, tomorrow, and even in death. Now treat yourself like it. Have a beautiful and amazing day.

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye

I know how hard it is to say goodbye. Saying goodbye to my mom was one of the “hardest” things I think I ever had to do. I’ve been confronted with the question of whether it’s easier when you know the person is dying or when it’s unexpected? Well, for me, neither is easy. I don’t care if they have been sick and now terminal; saying goodbye is hard, and letting go is even more challenging. There is no real preparation for losing someone. It’s not like getting a will or setting up a trust. It’s a human life, not documentation. Life is precious and when you watch it slip away it’s a slow death for both the patient and the family. There aren’t enough words to make that type of pain sting-free.

What happens when you hold the decision for a person to stay at home or move into a hospice facility? Or how about whether to let them remain on life support or pull the plug? People having this type of responsibility can struggle the most. It’s a huge deal and a heavyweight to bear. There are certain factors to consider when you have to make hard choices. I have sat with this for a long time. More so since becoming a nurse and watching my patient’s family suffer through this process.

I will share the main things I think and had to come to terms with concerning making life and death decisions. First, we must start with accepting the loss and that can take some time. We then have to consider what the person (patient, family member, friend) would want. Are you honoring their wishes/desires? What does the medical professional say (brain activity, quality of life, vegetative state, hope, terminal)? And then we make a decision from there. I’ve come to realize that when our person is gone, we tend to hold on for our own selfish reasons. It doesn’t help or benefit them to just be here when there is no chance for them to have any quality of life. There is extensive cost associated with prolonging life and the main benefactor to that is the healthcare organization, not the family. Now if that individual was going to have a chance at life, then of course I’d hold on to that with all my might. But if not, as much as it would hurt, I’d have to let them go.

Sudden, unexpected or unexplained death is no easier than seeing it coming. You are blown away and left without being able to say goodbye or rendering any type of help. You are often left with a plethora of unanswered questions that may or may not ever be answered. I just can’t see how one way of dying is better than the other. It’s not and that’s that.

In the end, if you’re the person making the decision, take your time, process what you need to process, and proceed the best way you can. Hopefully, you have someone to talk to and walk through the process with you which makes it somewhat easier at times. Always remember to take care of yourself. Your mental health is important and therapists are great options for talking through things and figuring out the best coping strategies for you to handle your emotions, feelings, and mental health. Always take care of yourself. Don’t lose yourself in the process. May God bless and keep you as you get through your grief and difficult time.

Hard Times

Something happened and it had me feeling emotional and off-balance last evening. I went into my colleague’s patient’s room to sign off on medication for his patient. Without thinking, because I’m a helper and not realizing that he was taking care of an end-of-life patient. I stepped into the room and I could hear what nurses refer to as “the death rattle.” It was as if someone connected me to a Bluetooth speaker. The sound was so loud that it overpowered everything else and the somber looks on the family’s faces. I suddenly felt a shortness of breath. Not just because of the distinct feel and sound of death lingering in the air, but because of the emotions, it triggered in me.

As nurses, we tend to develop this hard exterior and the innate ability to block things out. Sort of like a turtle that uses his shell for protection. We move instinctively without consequence in order to preserve our mental well-being. That didn’t happen for me last night. I felt paralyzed in pain. I wanted to be able to look at the family with love, compassion, and empathy for what they were going through at the moment. I just couldn’t do it this time. I suddenly felt a knot in my throat and took a deep swallow. I cared not to look at any one of them. I couldn’t! And I could see them looking at me from my peripheral. They looked as if they waiting for me to say hello, do you need anything, or just a look of I’m sorry for what you’re going through. Again, I didn’t have it in me. It took everything in me not to burst into tears. Instead, I only looked at the nurse and the IV pump. It seemed like I was in that room forever. I’m sure it was only five minutes or less, but it seemed more like five hours.

I could remember what it was like to be in the seats they now sat in. I remember the wait, wondering when and if it would be over sooner rather than later. I started clenching my teeth together to avoid crying. When I left out the room, I told the nurse that I was sorry, but I couldn’t go back in the room with him and find someone else next time. I explained that being in that situation was a trigger for me and I didn’t want to sit in that pain. Of course, he understood. The rest of the night was extremely difficult to get through. Mainly because of being tired, and I became severely sad.

There’s something about losing control. I don’t like it. I like controlling my emotions and feelings. I like the illusion of keeping myself in check. I abhor feeling a loss of control. It got so bac I started having chest pains. So, I decided to sit at my computer and just write all this for my blog. I listened to my gospel playlist and cried until I felt better. As much as we try to control things, it isn’t always possible. Actually, I realize that I’m not in control, no matter the persona of control I claim to feel. God was, is, and will forever be in control of Sharon. I am not my own and because I surrendered my life to God a long time ago, He reminds me every so often I start smelling myself, LOL! (That’s something my mom use to tell us as children when we were being rebellious and trying to act like adults. It’s a country thing I think, lol).

As much as influencers, social media, and whoever else try to depict a picture perfect world without hiccups, failures, stress, stressors or just plain bad days, I’m here to tell you they exist. People treat me like I’m so strong and have all my “ish” together all the time because I don’t show it, talk about it or let it be known, but that doesn’t mean I don’t go through things and you should know best because I share it with you:) The good news is, although I can’t give you a timeframe, I can tell you that it will eventually get better. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. The caveat to that is that everyone’s morning is different and it may not involve daylight. It can happen when it’s storming all around you. Your morning won’t look like anyone else’s. Right now my morning is at 2:52 a.m. listening to Yolanda Adam’s “This Battle Is Not Yours.”

No matter what you or I go through, the battle isn’t ours, it belongs to God. The sooner we relinquish the reigns we hold onto, the sooner God can shine his light through and our morning can come. Thank you for taking the time to share in the many parts of my life’s stories. I hope, ultimately, that no matter how you felt starting to read this blog post, that you are feeling a fresh anointing and your morning has come. Take care of yourselves, be gentle with yourselves, and have a safe holiday.

Until Next Time,

Holidays After Death

Let’s just get right to it. I had an extremely hard time last week into this week. As a nurse, I deal with death quite frequently, but losing someone close to you is a whole other realm of grief. There is something about death that has had me in a plethora of feelings. I’d have to say that the first time I recognized that I was going through the silent trauma of losing a loved one was my grandmother, Doris. Some years later I lost my mom and nephew a month apart from my mom’s burial. That was three years ago and this year I’ve been feeling. Being a nurse has made me numb to certain things. Or I should say, I am capable of creating a barrier that allows me not to be too emotional when losing someone. Well, I don’t grieve all at once and it comes in ebbs and flows.

This past week something hit me like a freight train and I couldn’t contain it. I mean the feelings were so overwhelming that I didn’t know if I was coming or going. There was depression mixed with pain, hurt, and anger. I couldn’t even figure out exactly why it was or where it was coming from. I tried to hold on to the protective barrier I told you about, but one night at work I had to step away. I found myself locked in the women’s bathroom bent over crying my eyes out. When I stood up and looked into the mirror, I cried out for my mother. I could see her in my face and I told her how much I missed her and just wanted to talk to her again. As my “so-called” barrier crumbled before my eyes, I relinquished and sobbed until I couldn’t. Then I told myself to get it together, dry my eyes and get back to my patients. And so I did just that thinking it was over.

The next day at work I came in feeling extremely angry and full of this unknown painful feeling. I felt like I was going to cuss, scream, and holler at anyone who said anything to me. The charge nurse said something in a snarky way to me and I gave her a look while whispering a prayer so as not to get dismissed that night. I literally took a breath while giving this glaring gaze that said “don’t F with me tonight!” If she didn’t catch it, which I think she did, my nursing colleagues did. The team lead that night who is an amazing and helpful nurse was walking behind me. She quietly said, “Sharon, are you okay?” I said “no” and kept walking. She said, “yes, I know because you’re quiet and to yourself and that’s what I do when I’m not doing so good.” I kept walking but stayed locked in the doctor’s dictation room for the night. I was trying to do my charting, but the tears I was fighting back just started pouring out like a flood gate. I decide to listen to a song that came to me a few weeks ago by Jonathan Nelson & Purpose called “Manifest.” I put it on replay to keep my mind at peace and give me hope. It helped.

As I tried to figure out where my feelings were coming from, I realized that the holidays are here, and subconsciously, I am having a hard time coping with the many losses I have experienced. Holidays remind you of family, friends, and the times you share with the people who are close to you. This season can bring depression, anxiety, low energy, restlessness, and many other mental health symptoms. I’m still processing myself, but am understanding my triggers which is helping me get through it. What can I tell you about coping with loss during the holidays? Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling. Work through those feelings as best you can. Give yourself time because you can’t hurry the grieving process or the feelings that accompany it. Cry if you need to, pray, meditate, read, listen to music, or whatever relaxes you and keeps you in a peaceful state. There is no one fix to all solutions. It basically boils down to you finding what works best for you. It may also help to have someone to talk through your feelings with if that helps. Sometimes we try to keep everything inside and that can leave you ready to burst open in a not-so-positive way. Trust your gut, work through your emotions and take the time you need. I’m not there yet, but I’ve had the last three days off and that has given me time and mental rest which is what I needed. So, I’m starting to feel a little better. Don’t ever give up on yourself because you matter and this too shall pass. May God grant you sweet serenity during this holiday season as you process whatever your struggle is. Peace and blessings to you.

Until Next Time,

Respect The Boundaries

This post is specifically for me today, lol. I have to laugh because I have a hard time setting boundaries and I don’t really like it when people set boundaries for me. Now that I’ve gotten that truth out of the way, let me move forward.

Storytime. So, yesterday I had some wine and it wasn’t that much but my emotions were already fragile so drinking intensified that. I became overly sensitive and cried a little and for no reason, I might add. When this happens, I’m usually in a mental space that doesn’t allow me to be emotionally intelligent. I feel a sense of loneliness and want to be near the people I love. Being a travel nurse has a lot of benefits, but being away from familiar faces and people you usually interact with and see on the regular can make you feel alone. I won’t tell you that when my sister helped me drive here to Texas for this assignment it was great. Until she started with her goodbyes then I burst into tears and she said “okay now daddy, don’t start with that crying mess.” LOL:) Back to the story at hand. I called my besties and my sisters, but not one of them answered. I felt a tantrum coming on and I text my rant to them. Then when my sister Robin called me back, I went in on her with an out-of-this-world guilt trip because she didn’t answer the phone. She sat on the phone quietly giggling at my ridiculousness as she is used to it. I went as far as to say I could’ve died and she wouldn’t have known because she didn’t answer the phone. I mean when I lay it on, it is super thick, LOL:) She wasn’t having it and she shouldn’t have. I certainly don’t blame her. She recognizes my nonsense when I start dishing it out and politely and lovingly ignores the hell outta me.

You might ask the point of this post. I’m glad you asked so let me share that with you. Boundaries are needed in every relationship or interaction. It sets the tone for what and how you allow people to treat you. This is regardless of title, so it applies to family, friends, coworkers, jobs, etc. You get the picture. I’m a natural giver so I have a hard time setting boundaries and saying NO to people. I am practicing doing better, but I am a work in progress because I’m literally teaching myself how to treat myself better. This comes after years of self-abuse. Yup, I said it. Some of our trauma and abuse is self-inflicted because we don’t correct things when they happen. Or, as a friend shared with me, we don’t remove ourselves from the things that trigger us and cause us symptoms resulting in greater pain. It can make us cringe, hurt, cry, become depressed, anxious, and depressed, but we’ll still allow these things to happen to us. The word “allow” demonstrates the connotation of “self-infliction.” So, with all that being said, “Set boundaries!” It’s necessary and beneficial in the long run in terms of your physical and mental wellbeing. And don’t let people guilt you into being available when, where, and how they see fit. Do what’s best for you. Thank me later!

Until Next Time,

Debilitating Limitations

Flying always does something to me and for me. My favorite part is ascending during taking off. There is something about that feeling of momentum the plane gets by going fast when we hit the runway with that kind of speed. The plane shakes a little, my body shifts back into the seat unintentionally, and I feel the pull of gravity as we start going up. I tell you, that is an incredible feeling. It feels both exhilarating and exciting, and that’s just the beginning.

Flying is a lot like life, really. Many analogies come to mind when I think about it. Like, everything that goes up must come down. I can reference many metaphors to describe life as it relates to going up in an airplane. When I am looking out the window, I also observe the altitude at which we climb and what that looks like. Initially, I see the area below clearly. Still, as I climb, those things become smaller and smaller until they fade in the distance. Then I find myself looking at clouds that I could literally reach out and touch if I could. Eventually, we get so high that even the clouds are beneath me. Imagine that, if you will, soaring above everything.

When I reach that type of altitude, God starts speaking to me and letting me see certain things. As tears stream down my eyes, God shows me how limited my thinking is in comparison to how big He really is. How fabulous his creations are, down to their peaks, valleys, colors, and shapes. It’s pretty amazing, actually. But He then reminds me that I limit myself to what I can do, see, and be and what I can extend to those around me. Limited thinking is like a paralytic if you think about it. It keeps you stagnant, and it’s debilitating to your growth. I’ve found myself in this position many times because of my limited thinking. I can talk myself out of something quicker than into something. Why is that? It is because fear limits many things and causes me to look at situations as though they are impossible when they are not. I make them impossible by not changing my perspective of the situation or circumstance.

It’s nice to quote scriptures; at least it sounds nice. I have several I’ve kept stored away in my heart for when I need them. However, even as I say them, I realize that I’m saying them with doubt and disbelief to some degree. Like, I can do all things through Christ, but do I believe that? Most of the time, no, but I think God can do it, just not me. Even with his help, I still feel less empowered to do what He already said I could do with His help. That’s crazy to me, but it is a reality. I’ve also allowed people to place limitations on what I can and cannot do. For example, I always wanted to be a nurse, but everyone told me to find another career or work because I was not good at math. They always told me I had to be really good in math to be a nurse, and I believed them. So, I carried the burden of being too dumb to be a nurse for a long time. Oh, and by the way, I’m a nurse now and have been for more than 9 years. I’m also 48 years old, which tells you how long it took to get over that limitation.

Life can be hard sometimes, but it presents many opportunities to learn lessons we wouldn’t necessarily get if it were always easy. I remember writing essays for scholarships and listing my reasons for wanting to become a nurse. One big reason was to provide a better life for my sons. Show them that you can bore through them like a tornado and overcome them no matter the limitations. I also wanted the opportunity to show that they/we are not stuck in Baltimore, MD. There is a whole world out there for us to explore. A world that exists outside of our limited perspectives and fears we impose upon ourselves. Flying shows me I can go anywhere, do anything, and I can take my sons along for the ride. And although they are now grown young men, they don’t have to take on my limited thinking. Instead, they can start in their youth exploring the world and stepping outside the box that looks safe but is very limiting. I want them to soar above the clouds so they can see what I see, “no limitations.” My oldest moved to Arizona and is figuring out how to live, grow, and develop his own ideas and desires. My youngest is still trying to figure things out, but he is doing life his way. He cooks and sells dinners, and I encourage him to follow his dreams and passions. I don’t try to impose limitations that will discourage him. Instead, I offer him love and grace to make his own mistakes and learn from them. I advise both my sons when they need it, ask for it, and sometimes when they don’t. I always pray that God’s will be done in their lives and that He and I offer guidance along their paths.

People, there is a whole world out there waiting for us to do what we want and need to do to fulfill our destinies. Go out there and explore, live, laugh, and love. Life is too short to simply exist. It’s too short to limit yourself by thinking you can’t when in fact, you can. Take your own shackles off your feet and run! Run with zeal, with speed, and with an acceleration that takes you higher than you can imagine. See things you thought you’d never see, do something you thought you’d never do, and be the best version of yourself without limiting your thinking and actions. I hope that you decide to do some introspection in all that I’ve shared and do what needs to be done to live more without setting limitations. The world is yours and mine for the taking, but only if we take action. Let’s go see what else is out there waiting for us!

Until Next Time,

Vacation After The Vacation

I’m back after a beautiful, much-needed rest in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I had a blast and really enjoyed not doing anything. I didn’t have a timeline or schedule. I just winged it every day. Whenever I talked to anyone on the phone, they asked the questions, “what did you do today? and what are you doing tomorrow?” My response was always “I don’t know” because I really didn’t know from day today. I did whatever I wanted to do.

Now y’all, I am relaxing from my vacation, LOL! It may sound crazy, but that’s what I’m choosing to do. Pssst, and I’ll be leaving for another vacation next Sunday. Listen, I’ve worked through the pandemic all last year and this year. I am so happy to have some time to take a break. I will be back on my grind at the beginning of October, and I’m kind of looking forward to venturing off. Right now, it seems like it’s between Texas and Arizona, but most likely, AZ will be first. As a travel nurse, I can explore other areas within the U.S. that I may not go to otherwise. I’m also looking forward to applying for my Hawaii license to do an assignment on one of the islands.

Although rough and exhausting, this pandemic has allowed me to pay off some debt and be able to do a few things I wanted to do, like a vacation. So, moving forward, I get to build my emergency fund and continue paying off debt while preparing for school. I also had a setback with losing my preceptor at the last minute. So, I have to start over finding someone to take on working with me to accomplish my end goal of getting my doctorate degree. I was so upset initially, but I am working on not worrying and stressing over things I cannot change. Instead, I am searching for someone else who can precept me. I have the project all worked out, and it’s all about Nursing resilience through the use of a health benefits package. It focuses on mindful meditation to improve nurse retention and decrease work-related stress of nurses. If you know any medical professionals with a practice of their own or who work within the medical field that wouldn’t mind partnering, please refer them to me. I need a nurse with a graduate degree (M.S., Ph.D., or DNP) willing to work with me to complete my program project. Of course, I do all the work, but they play an essential role in my success. I felt discouraged at first, but I’ve pulled myself together and refocused my attention on finding another organization/preceptor.

Don’t get stuck y’all. Cry it out, think it out, scream it out, but remember you can only change what you can. I believe that everything will fall into place as it should. Just put in the work. All in all, I’m doing well and have many things on my plate to accomplish. I want to encourage you to take the necessary time for yourself. Do what it is you can do, and don’t stress about anything you can’t change. Live life for today because if you haven’t learned yet, tomorrow isn’t a promise. Don’t forget to make time for yourself and treat yourself right. Peace and blessings, everyone.

Until Next Time,

Do More of Nothing

I have had the privilege of doing absolutely nothing during my vacation. That is what that word means to me. I get to choose to do what I want when I want, how I want. It’s really the reason I go by myself. When you take others with you, and their definition of vacation differs from yours, it tends to make you feel obligated to do what everyone else wants to do. I don’t mind going on vacation with my sisters, but honey, sometimes I like, no I love the alone time with myself. It feels good to sleep in until the afternoon and stay up late. I eat whenever I want, and most of my friends are morning people. Not all, but most are, and honey, I’m not.

I just move to the beat of my own drum. Honestly, I haven’t had time to do too much thinking either, which is a relief. I haven’t worried about anything or anyone or been stressed out. I have just been chilling, drinking, eating, and sleeping. I only packed swimsuits because I knew what I came to Punta Cana to do, and it wasn’t to do excursions or go to fancy dinners. I came to just chill out, which I don’t really have the luxury of doing at home. I sure do hope that you all will take some time to stop and smell the roses. It’s an old saying but very true nevertheless. Treat yourself with some selfless TLC (tender loving care). You deserve it, and I give you permission to more of nothing! I bet your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical will thank you::)

Until Next Time,

When It Is Necessary

I am away on vacation right now in lovely Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I have been looking forward to this for a long time now. I have felt drained and just exhausted, so I knew I’ve required a little restoration vacation. Here I am, sitting on my balcony, writing my thoughts and hopefully inspiration for someone. I got here Sunday and spent most of Labor Day asleep. I did get up and make it to the pool and ate some excellent food and alcohol. Because I travel alone most of the time, I make sure I’m in when it gets dark. I’m a pretty simple gal, though. I like sitting, feeling the breeze from the ocean, hearing the gentle sounds of the waves, and the low volume of music in the background. This gives me peace and tranquility. I can get lost in these kinds of moments.

I spend so much time constantly doing that sitting still, and being is sometimes complex for me. However, this vacation is for just that. Time to reflect, relax, rejuvenate, and do some soul searching. It’s to leave the noise of jobs, contracts, people, family, friends, and all the things that occupy my space and time behind. Sometimes we just have to step away from it all. I came to Punta Cana, but it doesn’t have to be far away. You can take what the world calls a “staycation” to give yourself the same much-needed love. I guess I’ll enjoy my alone time because one day I’ll have someone to share my life, time, and space with, and so this is my time for sure. Y’all, if I could describe the serenity, I feel right now, but I don’t think any amount of words would do it justice. All I can say is get you some of this right here, honey. We all need it and definitely want it. I am in love, I am love, and that is all I can say right now. I hope you all are having a fantastic time today and for the rest of the week. Start planning your stay, day, away-cation so you can hit the reset button. As always, peace and blessings.

Wrapping Up

Now that I’m on my last days of vacation, I realize it’s time to wrap things up. I have to start preparing to return to the workforce, and that’s no easy task. I was sitting in the chair staring out the window this morning and thought to myself, what if I could just quit? Just walk away and do something else; oh boy, would that be nice. Yes, it would, but I am in no position to do that yet. I have had some mentoring about starting a new leg of my business while vacationing. So, I’ll definitely be putting that knowledge to use. I’m sad today at the thought of returning to work for someone else, making big corporations money from the sweat off my back. But as my french teacher, Madame Howard, would say, c’est la vie (that’s life/such is life).

I might as well stop complaining, whining, and crying because the truth of the matter is I shouldn’t place my energy where I can’t make changes right now. Instead, I take that energy and redirect it to effect changes that’ll produce the outcome I’m seeking to have. Besides that, I know I’m truly blessed to have a career, an income, and the ability to take care of myself. So, simply put, thank you, Lord. I don’t have much more than that today. Just be encouraged no matter what. Know that trouble doesn’t always last, and the next second is another one to make changes. I hope you have a fantastic day; turn your frown upside down and smile because you’re beautiful.

Until Next Time,