Maribeth Doerr

living a wholeheartedly life in the midst of grief

2015 Recap – Completion (and Celebration)

2015 was full of changes for me.  I started the year working full-time at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Reno.  I was intending to only work full-time until another office person was hired and then my hours would go back to part-time.  When they offered me a full-time job, I said yes with a full heart.  It’s been a blessing in so many ways.  It’s also been a challenge to be up and out of the house early in the morning and being committed to a 9-5 gig.  Adjustments have been made and I get to work with the most amazing people!  It’s all been totally unexpected and a rather nice surprise at that!

2015 was also a year of completion (and I LOVE the sound of that!).  I finished Yoga Teacher Training and was certified in January after a 14 month process of classes, study, practice, teaching (and filming myself teach – YIKES!), and getting to know myself in the process.  I had a couple of injuries (both unrelated to yoga) that I had to work around which is one of the blessings of yoga – meeting yourself where you’re at in that moment of time.  This training helped me develop kindness for my body, something that was sorely lacking in my life!  In the fall, I registered with the Yoga Alliance and am now a Registered Yoga Teacher.  Never thought I would do this at age in my mid-50’s!  yogacertification

What am I doing with this?  Not much  . . . YET!  I have workshop ideas and I do want to teach soon.  Stay tuned for details on Beacon of Light Yoga along with my own personal brand of yoga for grief.  It’s all in process and I’m loving the journey.

Another completion after nearly 18 months of training and study . . . I’m a certified Baby Loss Doula.  This means I can be with laboring women who know their baby will be stillborn or die shortly after birth.  I can also help women who know ahead of time that their baby will not live long; I help them create birth plans and show them ways to parent their baby with the short time they have.  And of course, it also involves working with them through their bereavement process (something I’ve been doing since 1988!).  My thanks to those of you who helped me fund the doula workshop I needed to attend as part of this process.  I couldn’t have done it without you!BLDcertification

In November 2014, I finished Hospice Volunteer training at my local hospital, and I was assigned a few patients in 2015.  Such amazing work!  These families are precious, and my heart is overflowing with gratitude each time I make a visit.

It feels so good to have these big trainings done and I’ve been basking in more time than I’ve had for the last 18 months.  So what’s up for 2016?  I’ll have time this year to take on a few coaching clients again (holler if you’re interested!).  I’ll be practicing yoga and teaching at some point this year.  I also truly hope to take prenatal yoga teacher training in 2016 so that I can teach yoga to mamas pregnant again after a loss.  I’m looking at funding resources for this so holler if you know of anything!  Subsequent pregnancies are such a roller coaster and yoga can definitely help with that (and even help with bonding to that special rainbow baby).  I will also be writing more too so I hope you’ll pop by now and then!  Say hello!

Blessings to you and yours in 2016.  There are so many heartbreaking things happening in our world right now.  Please reach out and share your joy and kindness whenever you can.  The world NEEDS you!  My love and gratitude to you all.

 

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Things Rise from the Ashes in the Most Unexpected Ways

It was 4 years ago tonight that I sat with my dad as he took his last breath, just 4 months and 2 days after my mom died. Tonight we attended the Advent Soup & Worship at church and it just seemed so appropriate to do so on this anniversary. We had taken a long sabbatical from church but when my mom died, my dad insisted on going to church without her even though he couldn’t figure out how to get there from my house after he moved in with us.

Having a parent move in with you is a huge upheaval.  We tried to take care of him and we tried to take care of ourselves.  Big G and I reluctantly got up early to take Dad to church (and by early, sometimes it was 4am when Dad would get up to shave so we could be to church by 7:30am – eegads!!). We hadn’t planned on discovering what a church family/community can mean but when Dad died, we were adopted by some incredible people who let us know we did the best we could. I never imagined how much my life would change.

Four years later, I work there full time and my son works there part time (neither of us ever expected that!) I work with such amazing people, sharing my gifts, and I learn something new everyday. I like to think that my mom made all this happen. She’d get the biggest kick out of it all. So no sadness today; just joy at how things rise from the ashes in the most unexpected ways.  Life is remarkable.

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WriteGrief for the Holidays 2014

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What happened to 2014? If you’re like me, you’ve been muddling around in grief and all concept of time has slipped from the ol’ brain. I don’t want to be caught unawares on Thanksgiving Day and on into December so I plan to participate in WriteGrief for the Holidays 2014. Who’s with me?

Writing brings me such clarity, even when it’s stream of consciousness pouring out that seemingly doesn’t make any sense. It somehow soothes the neural pathways and voila! The light comes in and I find some peace. WriteGrief for the Holidays will not only help you find some clarity in your muddy grief but help you plan how you want to get through the holidays (and that may seem unthinkable right now but trust me, it’s doable!).

The details for the program are here but in a nutshell, 8 weeks of prompts, starting November 10 through January 11, 2015, $35 bucks. It’s worth it – and so are you!  You can join anytime before December 22 and still get all 8 prompts.

A sample non-holiday-related prompt is here.  Check it out.

The holidays can seem horrifying in the face of grief.  I know dearheart, I really know.  A little advance planning can really help.  We can do this!

 

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Asking for your help . . . Baby Loss Doula training

I have humbly created a gofundme project so I can complete my Baby Loss Doula certification.  I need your help!  Here are the deets:

My first baby was stillborn.  I was 19, in a new city, in a military hospital, with no one but my husband with me.  I didn’t get to see my son and wasn’t given any options for burial.

Three years later, my second baby was born and died 5 days later.  This time, the nursing staff encouraged us to spend as much time with our baby as possible and helped us make memories with him.  We were given support group information and these folks got us in touch with funeral and cemetery people who were wonderful with baby loss folks (many aren’t!).  The difference in my grieving process for my second son was so much easier because I was treated as a mother and my son was treated with so much dignity and respect.

Sadly, many families are still treated as though losing a baby is nothing to be upset over.  Can you imagine going through labor knowing your baby will be born dead?  I can and having to make decisions at this horrible time in your life is excruciating because there is so little time to do it, but years to live with the aftermath of those decisions.  I want to be there with women going through this agony to help them make the best decisions they can for themselves and for their baby at an unbelievably difficult time.  This is the only time they will get to parent these sweet little babies – help me help them . . .

To complete my Baby Loss Doula certification through Loss Doulas International, I need to complete a childbirth class.  Such a class is coming to my hometown (a rare event!) and is being put on by DONA.org.  The cost of this training is $145 and I do not have this in my budget to pay the tuition by September 19.  I need your help to do this . . .

This class is part of a 3 day training for Birth Doulas.  I need the first day for my Baby Loss Doula certification.  I would really like to take the entire 3 day training to become a Birth Doula.  My dream is to be a birth doula for women going through a pregnancy and birth experience after a loss.  Rainbow pregnancies are one gigantic roller coaster!  Having a birth doula who understands the fears and craziness of subsequent pregnancy would be a gift.  I wish I had had one for my two surviving rainbow babies!  

These extra two days are $425 making the 3 day training session $570.  I’m asking for your help in raising this money.  Should I be fortunate enough to raise more than this amount, the extra money will go into a fund to pay for Prenatal Yoga Teaching Training (I am a yoga teacher) that is not available in my town.  I want to teach prenatal yoga to mommies pregnant after loss. The total cost for the closest training is $2500.

Please help me help these women!  Pregnancy loss is so misunderstood; pregnancy after loss is even more so.  I can help these families, with your help.

Thank you so very very much!

In memory of Andrew John and Mark Adam Pruett and all the babies gone too soon . . .

Loving Mark Adam who taught me more about love, life, and myself than any other person in the world.

Loving Mark Adam who taught me more about love, life, and myself than any other person in the world.

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The Great Declutter Project of 2014

I have a walk out basement that is finished except for the laundry/storage room.  It’s always been a bit cluttered; you know that space that just seems to acquire anything without a permanent home.  It got really out of control when we moved my dad in along with 2/3 of my parents’ belongings.  In January, I was really appalled when I walked in and noticed that my guys had just tossed all the boxes of Christmas decorations (including the tree) on top of all the junk.   I was about to do some screaming when I realized they had done this because they couldn’t get to the closet that houses the Christmas stuff.  How they got it out in the first place is the real mystery here.  I was looking at 250 square feet of a mess that the T.V. show Hoarders would have loved–quite literally, stuff was piled on top of stuff from floor to ceiling–and that mess had begun to trickle through my entire house.

It’s taken six months but the room is FINALLY decluttered.  Can you hear the relief in my words?  There’s room to DANCE  now and my son and I have had a few dart games in there and holy shillelagh!!  With the energy change from this completed project, I couldn’t stop there . . . I’ve since gone through 97% of the house.  I feel as though I have my home back after three years of sharing it with my parents’ stuff and it feels so good!

Going through your loved ones things is a tough job.  I got stuck doing it by myself for both my mom and then my dad.  Lots of things were boxed up and stored in that laundry room because we were in a hurry after Mom died and I simply couldn’t decide what to do with most of it in that raw state of grief.  Three years later, I’m not so attached to bowls and artwork and . . . well, crap, my mother owned.  I’m still clinging to things she made like crocheted afghans and embroidered linens plus several photo albums I still need to go through but otherwise, I was able to let go of almost everything else  knowing I’m letting go of STUFF, not my mother.

Once my parents’ things were gone, it was time to go through our own junk.  I have to say, this resulted in some unexpected and surprising finds – some not so nice and others were totally delightful.  Here’s a few:

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Baby Mari

This is yours truly.  On the back of this picture, my mom had written, “Mari, dad carried this in his wallet for years, that’s why it looks so worn out. That smile is just like Eric’s.”  :)  Eric is my oldest surviving son.  I’m guessing Mom sent this to me after he was born, that baby that took years to get and the whole family was a little gaga over him.  I love that shiny bright look in my eyes.

Eric and Chad

Eric and Chad

Another classic photo find.  These are my babies at grandma’s.  On the back, Mom had written, “Look at that monkey go!”  I have no idea what Eric may have done to Chad to get him to climb up the chair like that but it looks hilarious.  These boys are now 27 and 25 1/2!  I found so many fab photos that were just tossed into this room.  My winter project will be to sort them all out and do something with them.  No more crazy photos littering up the joint!

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Gone With the Wind

I found a very old copy of Gone With the Wind.  I remember my husband buying this for me in a used bookstore many years ago.  He wrote this note on the flyleaf, “Mari, with lots of love for being a great sport.” I have no idea what I was a great sport about! Note the date – just over 20 years ago. Curious!  When I asked him about it he said, “Do not remember ol sport.”  I think he was channeling his inner Sean Connery.

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Best Find of the Great Declutter Project 2014

This was probably the best find of all, at least in my husband’s opinion.  It looks like a corvette but it’s really a decanter!  It was holding about a pint of SEALED whiskey.  This was a gift to my husband from his mom in 1987!!  27 year old Jim Beam.  We spent about an hour on google trying to see if whiskey like this could spoil but everything we found said if the seal wasn’t broken, it was probably fine.  Greg opened it, smelled it, poured a little into a glass and examined it for yuck . . . seemed okay so he swallowed it and waited 24 hours to see if he’d be sick.  All was well so he nursed this juice for a week.  He’s still alive so this gets the best find of the Great Declutter Project of 2014!

It was a toss up for worst find between old horrible cat food in the cabinet next to the washer (the cat died in 2008!) and this gem:

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Greetings from the Hole in the Wall gang

We have four large bookcases in our living room with a zillion baskets on the tops.  The baskets were filthy so I took them all down to wash and possibly chuck some when I found this lovely hole in the wall/ceiling.  There was something wonky with the gutter right there and well, at some point the water leaked through and caused this damage.  We have no idea when it happened as this was totally dried out.  Oy vey!  Mr. Fix-it got right to it and now we need to repaint the living room (needed it anyway) but the crazy hole is gone.  He fixed this right after he fixed the dining room light I broke with overzealous cleaning:

OVERZEALOUS CLEANING GETS SLOVENLY HOUSEWIFE IN TROUBLE. Dateline Nevada, July 30, 2014 . . . . As amateur housekeeper, despite being married 28+ years, Maribeth Doerr removed the 4 light bulbs and 4 globes of her dining room chandelier (Note: chandelier is stretching the description. It’s really a hanging light with nothing chandy about it.) The fixture including chainlink hanger were dutifully cleaned to a sparkling state (Note: sparkling only in low light on a cloudy day). When she attempted to replace the globes, it became obvious that one socket had been stripped during the removal process and now hung rather low compared to the other globes/bulbs. Gregory Doerr, said husband of the amateur unhousekeeping wife, will now have to remove the entire fixture after shutting off the electricity to that room and attempt a repair. Considering it’s Hot August Nights week in Reno where Mr. Doerr is himself a fixture with his 1965 Pontiac GTO, the repair will have to wait. Mr. Doerr was overheard muttering to his German Shepherd that this is what happens when ze wife attempts to clean where no one has cleaned before.

Between the books, VHS tapes, DVDs, CDs and cassettes we’ve donated to the libary plus bags of coats, jackets, and games given to Goodwill, we have empty shelves for the first time! And I LOVE that. The flow of energy around the house is so free now. The next step is the BIG CLEAN which will keep me busy for another six months but as much as I resist housework, the effort and result just feels so good – finally. My house is my own again.

If you have boxes of stuff from your loved ones and you don’t know what to do with it, my best advice is give yourself some time.  I really needed to wait before I got rid of everything; it was too heart-wrenching to do it all at once.  For me, I finally reached a point where the clutter bothered me so much, it was painful to not go through the stuff.  Once I got started and could FEEL the results (besides see the results), I was very motivated to keep going.  Doing it in spurts seemed to work for awhile so do what feels right for you.  And if you have to go it alone like I did, be really kind to yourself while you’re doing this work.  Play your favorite music and give yourself permission to cry or feel however you feel.  This isn’t easy work!

And now . . . I’m going to go dance through my empty laundry room, throw a few darts, and then tackle the disgusting spots in my dining room carpet.

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