One Year Later

I can’t believe that is has been a year since Melissa passed away.  Today is the day that she official died and to be honest it is still as raw as it was a year ago.  I have tried to write this post for weeks and since I can’t seem to write it I am going to leave links to where you can read some of her writing.

Here is a post where people wrote some memories of her and I post it on my blog.  Also she was a regular guest poster on my blog and you can see those post here or here.  Also here is her obituary if anyone wants to read it or see it.

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In Memory. . .

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Saturday’s With Melissa

I am not sure if anyone remembers my friend Melissa who passed away last year.  She had a blog that I was an author so before her hosting ran out I made sure that I downloaded all of her posts so that they wouldn’t be lost.  I loved her writing and I know so many people through out the country loved to read what she wrote as well.  I have decided that every once in awhile that I would find one of her posts and post it here because I know I can still learn from what she wrote and I think you guys can learn from it as well.  I am in no way taking credit for the things she wrote.  They are her words and as I have read through some of her posts I can’t help but smile because of who she was.

Enjoy and let me know if you would like to read more of her writing.

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Is there anyone you owe an apology to? Have you been neglectful in saying thank you to someone? Have you let some one know how much you appreciate them? I think it would be safe to say that almost all of us have failed to give an apology, forgotten to say thank you, and not told somebody how much we appreciated them. It happens with our families, coworkers, friends, and people we don’t know but interact with on a daily basis.

It often hurts and/or disappoints us when others fail to express their appreciation for a sacrifice we have made or service we have given. Guess what? We often hurt and/or disappoint others for the same reasons.

Most of us are very good at expressing our disapproval verbally and physically, but for some reason we often fail to share words of encouragement and appreciation. We have plenty of excuses for why we didn’t – there was not enough time, we forgot, we just did know what to say.

I have learned a couple if things about giving an apology, saying thank you, and expressing appreciation:

1. It only takes 30 seconds.

2. As long as you mean what you say, it does not matter how pretty it sounds.

Some examples:

Thank you. I know this was a sacrifice of your time, your emotion, and your finances.

I appreciate you. You have really gone out of your way to support me.

I apologize. Sometimes I get too busy and caught up in my own stuff that I am inconsiderate of others. I’m sorry.

Life is short. We have a very limited amount of time to say the important things. The words we let go unsaid, are often the ones that hurt is the most.

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This post was written by Melissa from Sugar Filled Emotions who passed away last year.   Please ask before you take any part of this post because it is copyrighted to her.

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I Miss You

I am sure most of you by now know that I love Kludgy Mom’s Idea Bank.  There are so many topics and prompts so chose from that I love going over there and picking one to write about.  If you are ever struggling to find things to post about I would go check out her site and I know you will find 100’s of things to write about!  For this post I chose to write about:  Is there someone who was in your life that you miss?

I chose this one because last week I read a book called “The Milestone Tapes” that I will be reviewing in a few weeks and it made me think of a few people that I really miss and I am sure I will miss them for the rest of my life.

The first person is my great grandma that passed away the spring semester of my senior year of high school.  She died in April and I still remember it like it was yesterday  I was super close with my great grandma and her dying was really hard on me.  There are days that I sit back and wish she was still around so I could talk to her or listen to all the fun stories that she told me.

The other person that I miss is Melissa and she passed away in October of last year.  I will always miss her because I did look up to her and she was always trying to make peoples days better.  I knew her when she started blogging and we became really close.  She was like a mom to me and it hurts to know that she is gone.  I will always wonder what pushed her over the edge and why she did what she did.  I also know from here that I can’t sit around and ask why things happened so I am living my life for both of us and I hope she is looking down and proud.

Those are 2 people that I will always miss but I know there will be more over the years but these two are the ones I miss right now.

Who do you miss?

 

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Memories. . .

I have had this post in my drafts for awhile now and I figured today is as good as any to post it.  If you have other memories of Melissa please feel free to leave them and I will add them to this post.

 

Kathy Stricker left this message on Melissa’s Facebook page for me to use.

I remember the first time Melissa wrote on Facebook.  It was beautiful.Melissa really touched my heart.  I could feel her emotions..just flow out of her.  I remember telling her  “you can’t stop you have to keep on writing”.  Melissa was so surprised by my reaction as I was by her response.I told her no..you keep going your Amazing.  I believe in Melissa’s writing she touched all our hearts in a very special way.  Melissa I will miss you so much TYSM for touching my heart & having me in your life…RIP xo

Stacey Burgess- Emailed me this about Melissa

So many of us here at her University were shocked by her passing, and I wanted someone to know that she touched my life just by knowing her.  She was not only determined and motivated to be successful, but she shared so many stories with me of people that she helped through her blog.  We would sit on the phone for hours, forgetting that we were supposed to be talking about her enrollment in school, and instead, laughing and talking about happy times, or discussing life’s tougher situations.  I have admired her strength, and feel that I have learned a lot about life and survival and loving others… just by talking with her.  I want her family to know that Melissa really will live on in the hearts of those, like myself, who she touched.  She was so humble and sweet that she probably never realized how great of an impact she really had on other people!  I will always smile when I think of the talks that we had, and I hope that time, love, laughter, and happy memories can heal the pain that you are all feeling.

Gala Gardiner-Emailed me this about Melissa

I dont’ have a ton of memories.  I recently started following her blog and shared a few emails back and forth.  Saddens me to not be uplifted by her any longer.  She seemed to always have the brightest things to say on the days when I needed it most

David Merriman- He emailed me this about Melissa

I am Melissa’s academic counselor for her psychology program.  I only had a few conversations with Melissa but she struck a chord with me the first time we spoke because of her pride in the advocacy work she was doing through her blog and social networking.  It was clear over the phone how much this work helped her overcome her challenges and how much strength she gained while helping others find their strength.  She was always one of my favorite students to talk to because of her positive energy.

 

It is unfortunate I didn’t get to work with her through to her degree but I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with her even for a short time.  She is a great example of the amazing things we can accomplish when we resign ourselves to never give up.

If anyone else has any memories please feel free to either email me about them or leave them in the comments and I will update this post.

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Dear Melissa

As you all know one of my best friends passed away on Sunday.  I have tried many times to write this post and I have never been able to get words down on the screen.  I have really struggled with this because it was such a shock to me.  I was orginally going to write about what I love about her but I have decided that I am going to write a letter to her so that I can tell her everything that I never got a chance to do while she was alive.

* I am not going to get into what happened and other things that are going on as a result.   I know Melissa would want me to keep living and let go of anger and hate.

Dear Melissa,

I miss you more and more everyday.  I wish that you would have called me and let me know you were so down so that I could have helped you.  I am writing this because I want to tell you and all my readers what I learned from you in the short time I knew you.

  • I learned how to be a better writer.  You wrote posts that made people think and I hope that one day I can become as good as a writer as you were.  Every post you wrote for my blog and even your own blog made me think and contemplate things in my own life.  It takes an amazing writer to make people realize that they need to make changes in their lives just because of something you wrote.
  • I learned not to ever let people treat me bad.  I saw what happened to you and I refused to let people do that to me.  I show the toll it took on her and I don’t ever want people to control me.
  • I also learned that admitting you have a mental illness is nothing you need to hide.  It was great to see that I can blog about things and there are people out there that won’t judge me and will understand.   You are part of the reason I wrote my adoption story and started to post things that make me vulnerable.  I guess I hope one day I have people come to my blog like you had going to yours!
  • I learned to look for join in the little things in life and how to deal with what life throws at me.

I will never forget you and everything you taught me.  I promise that I will live the rest of my life for the both of us!  I know I will see you again and I can’t wait til that day comes.

I love you,

Margaret

Grief-Melissa

I was going through my archives looking for a post to post about Melissa and I found this post.  I am not sure where it came from or why I had it as a draft and never published it.  I actually think she posted it on her blog but I know that we all can learn something for her while we are mourning her passing.

Grief Has Taught Me A Few Things

Until I began experiencing grief as a result of dad’s death, I never realized anything could feel as emotionally and physically painful as depression. In fact, they have felt so similar that I became confused, and had a difficult time distinguishing the difference between the two. At one point, I even convinced myself that I was heading toward a depressive episode.
I went to my psychiatrist, thinking she was going to raise the dosage of my depression medication, because of how badly I was feeling. Instead, she told me what I was feeling was normal grief, and while it hurt just as badly as depression does, it was not the same thing. She told me to be patient. She told me the worst of what I was feeling would pass in a few weeks. She was right.
She did give me a word of warning, telling me that with my history of depression I would have a greater chance of my grief turning into a depressive episode. Her solution was not to raise my medication dosage, but instead watch me a little more closely than usual.
Now that the pain of dad’s loss is not so intense, I can see the wisdom in what she said. I can also identify some of the differences between grief and depression, as well as acknowledge that I have learned a few things from this experience.
Both grief and depression include symptoms of sadness, tearfulness, disturbances in sleep, decreased socialization, and changes in appetite. In most cases, that is where the similarities end. Usually, after the first two to three weeks of the grieving process the person is – in most cases – able to carry out most of the obligations and activities that come with daily living. However, a person with severe depression will lack the ability to function for many weeks, months, and in some cases years. In addition, early morning awakening is more common in depression.
One of the biggest differences I have noticed between depression and grief is what my mind has focused on. During my severe major depressive episode I spent a lot of time thinking about myself – in a self negating way. Some of my thoughts during that time were that I was “worth nothing”, “a burden”, and “unlovable”. Nothing could penetrate my thoughts of despair, and my inability to have hope. Eventually, the only option I felt was left to me was suicide. In my grieving process, I have been in emotional pain, but there have been no feelings of despair or hopelessness. Nor have I had any negative thoughts about myself or suicidal thoughts.
There is no question that feelings of loss and sadness are a significant part of grief, however, those feelings are distinctly different than feelings of loss and sadness in someone with depression. A person with depression will usually experience a constant and overwhelming feeling of sadness, while someone grieving typically experiences sadness in “waves”. Most of the time, it is in response to some reminder of their loved one.
For me, these painful memories of dad are paired with positive feelings and memories. For example, when I began the process of trying to organize things in the garage I became overwhelmed with grief. Dad’s death was the reason I was having to organize the garage, and get things ready to move. That hurt. I sat down and cried for an hour. When I was able to calm down enough to get back to work one of the first things I found was dad’s coonskin hat. So in the middle of that emotional pain I found something to laugh about. During my depressive episode finding that hat certainly would not have made me laugh, in reality it probably would have caused me to cry even more.
While there have been plenty of times when I have wanted to be alone in my grief, I have noticed that I have not gone to the extremes I did during my depressive episode to isolate myself. I have maintained social contacts, and even reached out to friends and family when I felt overwhelmed by my grief. I have allowed myself to be consoled, something that would have been impossible if what I had been feeling was depression symptoms.
I still miss dad, and I know I always will, but at least I have a professional sport team, my mother, real friends, and online friends to help me through my grieving process.
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More Advice From Melissa

Here is another post that Melissa wrote for my blog.  This was originally posted on 9/10/2010.   It was entitled Love Letters To Yourself.  There is much I can say about this post or about her today.  I am going to write a post about her and I would love to be able to include any memories that you have of her.  I love you Melissa!

Love Letters To Yourself

In a previous guest post I briefly mentioned writing love notes to yourself, something I like to do. I find that writing myself love notes is a wonderful way to keep myself motivated and feeling good about myself. Love notes do not have to be long, just a few short words on a post-it-note are just as valuable as writing a long letter to myself.

There are times though, when only a long letter will do. Not just a long letter, but something like how people used to write letters long ago. Letters containing pressed flowers, smelling of perfume or having lovely pictures. Even writing them with a fancy pen that is only reserved for my special letters. It is all about making myself feel good and taking care of myself. I like to save these letters. Pulling them out when I need to hear special, loving words.

I believe that no one knows better what I need to hear to build me up than myself. These letters do that when, for whatever reason, my family cannot fill that need for me.

You never want the letter writing to yourself to become a chore, something you feel like you have to do, so don’t do it very often. It is about loving yourself, showing yourself compassion, not one more thing in the long list of things that you must do. Don’t get bogged down in using proper grammar, or punctuation, or making it perfect. It is about love, not about perfection.

Make the time that you take to write these letters to yourself special. If you find that you cannot get time alone during the day to do this, try it after the rest of your family goes to bed. Play some soft music, light a few candles, take some time and clear your mind before you get started. Think about the wonderful things you want to say. If you cannot do all that, you can still make that time special by putting some pressed flowers in your letter, decorating the envelope, even putting inspirational pictures from magazines and photographs in it. You could crush some fragrant herbs and put them in, or include your own drawings (even if they are only stick figures). Write some quotes on little slips of paper and stick those in as well.

Start your letters off with terms of endearment, like “Dear” and then put as much love and compassion into the letter to yourself as you can. Write it to someone you love dearly. As difficult as it might be, do your best to not write it in the first person. An example of this is:

Dear Melissa,

You are a wonderful person. I love how strong and self confident you are. You are a beautiful, inside and out. I value you. I admire the compassion you showed to those hurting people today. (and just keep going)

In your letters to yourself you could write about your good qualities, something you did that you are proud of, and things that bring you love and joy. Write about a walk you took, or a special time you spent with another person. You could write about something loving another person did or said to you. Use your imagination, write only about the things that build you up.

You can write your letter all at one time, or take a whole month to write it, adding bits and pieces here and there. Do it the way that works best for you.

On your hard days, on those days when you are hurting and your self worth has taken a blow, pull out your love letters to remind yourself what a wonderful person you are. Read them all, or read only one, whatever it takes to heal your hurting heart.

If you decide to try writing a love letter to yourself, I would enjoy hearing about it. Only as much as you feel comfortable sharing.

Written by Melissa Mashburn of Sugar Filled EmotionsMyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

Melissa-You Inspire Me

Some of you will know that Melissa used to post on my blog.  For those of you who don’t know Melissa passed away last night after they took her off of life support.  I am sad that she is no long with us but I am so glad that I have some of her writing that I can look back on a remember her by.  She was a great person and I looked at her more as a mother figure than as a friendThis post is a post she wrote about me on 10/1/2010.  I am re-posting it because what she said to me is how I feel about her.  I am going to take the next few days off of writing but I am going to re-post some the posts she wrote for my blog.  I am also going to be writing a post about her and that should be up in the next few weeks.  If you have any memories that I can include if you would please leave them that would be great.

Written by Melissa Mashburn of Sugar Filled Emotions

Most of the time when I write, my primary goal is to write about something that I find inspiring. Once I put it all down, I can only hope that my readers find it as inspiring as I do. Today’s post is really no different, except instead of writing about a topic or idea that I find inspiring, I am going to say a few things about a person I find inspiring.

You inspire me because not only do you have to live with all the normal day to day struggles that we all have, you also have some unique physical challenges that you could use justify a life of inactivity. Instead you do the opposite. You make no excuses. You do what you can, which is often more than what someone with a healthy body would/could do.

You are one of the kindest people I know. No matter how you feel, you have a kind word for me.

You are a shining example of strength in the face of difficulties. I admire your courage.

You have such a giving spirit. You are quick to make sure the people around you are doing okay.

You are a beautiful person, inside and out!

 

for being my friend. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life! Thank you for allowing me to post on your blog.

New Quote Of The Week

This week I am posting this quote with a heavy heart.  I am going to basically least leave it as a quote this week because I have had some really tough things happen today and I don’t have the heart to post about them right now.
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