About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The show goes on

May 29, 2012...exactly 7 years since Sean passed away...exactly 7 years since the most horrific night of my life.

I'll never forget cutting him down from where he'd hung himself.  I'll never forget his handsome face distorted in a mockery of life...his gorgeous blue eyes glazed over with death.  I'll never forget the kids screaming for me to save daddy or the police treating my home like a crime scene.  I'll never forget how hard it rained that night or how they wheeled his body through my family room and asked me to say good-bye to him there.  I'll never forget how my young children curled their bodies around me after everyone had left and how I stared at the ceiling in shock.

I've come to accept that I'll never forget those things.  How could I?  That night shaped my life and impacted my children's lives forever.  That night broke me open, tested everything I thought I knew about myself and erased some ideals I'd held for a long time.

Since that night, the kids and I have moved on in spectacular ways.  Those little kids have become amazing young adults who've overcome anxiety issues, nightmares, home schooling for a few years and grief.  When I look at them, I'm blown away by possibility. I've published my novels, kept the house standing and dated a bit.  It's been rocky but we're still here--and it's all looking good.  We've traveled, gone to a lot of hockey games, cheered at Bree's swim meets, watched many of Ben's lacrosse games and created a ton of great memories since then.  We're a tight trio, the kids and me. In fact, I'm in a place in my life that is so ripe with possibility and joy that I sometimes pinch myself to make sure it's real.

But I can't erase those images from my brain.  That one night 7 years ago was so vile that every year when it comes around I feel sick to my stomach.  I see those images in my mind all over again and feel that raw pain in my heart.  I lost the love of my life that night in a terrible way--like a scene from a movie.

I wasn't trained to deal with death like that. I'm not a paramedic or police detective--being up close and personal with death was traumatic for me.  It left a scar.  When I first saw him hanging there, I thought it was some trick of the mind.  I'd never seen anything like that and hope I never do again.  I wouldn't wish that horror upon anyone.  Of course it changed me.  My safe little world where I was a stay-at-home-mom who volunteered with the PTA, freelanced for "fun money" and had a handsome, hard-working, loving husband shattered into a million bits that night. In an instant--life as I'd known it had ended...but I wasn't supposed to crack?

Well, I cracked.  I'm the first to admit that I've gone through some dark times over the past years, perhaps I made poor judgments, lost time to sorrow, acted a bit nutty, shut myself away, became darker, felt lost, came close to losing everything and deepened my spirituality.  All of that is okay--it's normal for the process--yet I was constantly told to snap out of it, be who I used to be, not talk about it, be happy, think positive, "get over it".

Give me a f'n break!  I'm done defending how I feel about Sean, his death, or the hell we went through afterward.  (and believe me, no matter how I look at it, it's been pure hell and I'm often amazed that I'm still standing let alone excelling...it could have easily gone the other way.)  I refuse to justify my actions or decisions of the past few years to anyone--I was acting alone and in the midst of a living nightmare.  I did the best I could in any given instance--usually with zero energy and a massive amount of confusion.  Like I said a few sentences ago...give me a f'n break! 

Every year on the anniversary of his death we hike to wear we scattered his ashes and leave him flowers--not out of a morbid clinging on to the past, but as a memorial to the amazing man he was and how he lived his life.  He is more than his death--he is more than the mistakes he made while living.  He is nature, love, generosity, laughter, love and beauty.  We celebrate that when we hike.  We celebrate how far we've all come.

Yes, it's been 7 years.  I can't believe I just crossed that anniversary.  When I close my eyes, I see it all unfolding in present tense. It's a strange feeling, actually.  Hard to describe.  Time is meaningless when it comes to grief and trauma.  Anyone who judges this process is an ignorant ass.  I actually don't know what I'm more horrified by...his death or the reaction of people around me during the past 7 years.   Perhaps they are equally mortifying.

The show has gone on, as they say.  I'm finally at a place of acceptance, which means I accept that I will always love him, that those images are seared onto my brain forever, that few people possess true compassion, that my kids are amazing, that life is worth cherishing, that it's better to be alone than with anyone who makes me feel less-than and that I'm stronger than I ever imagined.  People kept telling me they wanted me to be like I used to be--but I've accepted that I will never be that person.  Everything that I was fell away--and provided me with an opportunity to really find out who I truly am.  I'm okay with that.  I like the woman I am now--I respect the woman I've become.

If anyone can't meet me in the present moment with an acceptance of who I am now and of the past I fully own, they don't deserve to know me or be a part of this big, messy, fabulous life I'm living.  That's just how it is.  I've earned the right to decide who's in...and who's out, regardless of family ties. I've earned the right to respect my journey without apologizing for any of it--especially Sean.
Sean Michael Easton--forever young and handsome. RIP

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Moxie--for my kids

This Mother's Day I'd like to give some advice to my children, who inspire me daily simultaneously with their brilliance and their absurdity.  This list is random in order--as most of the things that come to my mind often are--but it's written from the heart.

Moxie Girl Kids, this is for you.  I wish I'd been told some of these things at a young age instead of figuring them out for myself. I know you enjoy making fun of my talk about energy, my yoga and my talk of spirituality...but believe me...one day you'll know...and I hope you remember these words.  

Moxie Musing One:  Embrace your God given gifts.
          Whatever your passion is, pursue it.  God gives each of us music that only we can hear.  It doesn't matter if your unique talent doesn't lead you to the White House or the corner office--those things are irrelevant if they're not in balance with your personal truth.  What matters is that you embrace that gift, that talent, that spark and pursue it no matter what.  Maybe your spark will take you to the corner office--but don't go there because of money or validation, go there because it makes your heart sing out loud.

Moxie Musing Two:  Move away from me, go on big adventures, live your life without worrying about leaving me behind.
       I am raising you to be unafraid of the world and to be independent adults.  Never feel guilty for moving where your heart desires and living a big life.  I'll be okay.  I'm happy.  I want you to embrace your world without limits.  Go. Do. Live.  All I ask is that you check in once and awhile so I can share your excitement--and know that you're alive, that would be nice.

Moxie Musing Three:  Have faith.
    I don't care what you have faith in, but you must have faith in something greater than yourself.  Faith gives you Hope.  Hope gives you clarity.  Clarity helps you find a solution out of any difficulty. Faith is the foundation that keeps you strong.

Moxie Musing Four:  Live in the present.
     I honestly don't care what mistakes you make--and neither should you.  The only moment that ever counts is the present one.  What happened ten years ago is meaningless.  Forget about it.  Never let your past be an anchor for today.

Moxie Musing Five:  Find your inner Chi.
    I don't care if you do yoga or not, if you meditate or not (although I highly recommend it).  What I mean by this is find something that keeps you calm and practice it daily.  Life can be messy, you need to find something that restores your equilibrium as needed.  Don't waste one ounce of energy on being stressed--find your inner peace and guard it.

Moxie Musing Six:  See the magic in the world
    Always view the world with a sense of wonder.  Marvel at a shooting star, take time to watch the sunset, enjoy the feel of sunshine on your face, take long walks in nature...the earth is a marvelous place.  Never lose that childhood sense of discovery.

Moxie Musing Seven:  Be sassy.
     I know you each have this in you--keep it.  Stand up for what you believe in.  Voice your opinions, even if they're contrary to those around you.  Don't be a victim.  If you're wrong, admit it--but be proud of yourself for not just blindly following the crowd.

Moxie Musing Eight:  Trust yourself.
    Follow those goosebumps of intuition...listen to that inner voice that's guiding you.  You have inner knowing and wisdom that far exceeds anything I can teach you.  Trust it.  Never diminish yourself or settle for something less than you know you deserve.  Trust yourself.  Go for the goosebumps of excitement you get when you're truly on the right path.

Moxie Musing Nine: Always cheer for the underdog.
    Why?  Because they're brave enough to challenge the status quo...because we're all underdogs once and awhile.

Moxie Musing Ten:  Surround yourself with people that lift you UP.
     Popularity is overrated.  It's better to have a few good friends than a large number of empty relationships that will crumble when tested by crisis or adversity.  If you leave someone's presence and feel disjointed or down, then stay away from them with no guilt.  Life is short.  Be around people who see your beauty from the inside and cherish you for your quirks.  Be yourself--you'll find your tribe.

Moxie Musing Eleven:  Say no with ease...and say yes only when you mean it. 
     Your time is valuable...and so is your sense of calm.  If you truly cannot or do not want to do something that goes against your inner compass, say no.  It's okay to say no.  Too many people say yes too often and live lives of desperation and resentment.  Say YES to people and activities that enhance your life's journey.  When you get in the habit of saying no to things that don't lift you up, you'll know deep within you when it's the right time to say YES!

Moxie Musing Twelve:  Avoid Scorekeepers
    Believe me you'll know these types of people when you meet them.  They love to tell you how you've let them down, point out how much they've done compared to you, how you are lacking in some way, what you "should" have done or thought or said compared to what you did...they keep score.  Don't play their game.  More importantly, don't BE a scorekeeper in life.  Know that everyone is always doing the best they can at any given moment...the best THEY can.  It's not always about you.  Live and let live.  If you find yourself with a scorekeeper, remember moxie musing ten because I'm certain they will not be lifting you up or making you feel good about yourself!  People who are constantly keeping score end up very lonely.  Don't be that person.

Moxie Musing Thirteen:  Fall in love
    Let yourself fall in love and be loved in return.  Yes, you'll experience heartbreak along the way, but you'll also experience euphoria.  Sometimes I worry that I'm not setting a good example in this area because your father died while you were both so young...but I hope I've told you enough to let you know how much I loved him...and how much he loved me.  It's important to let someone close...to know what it's like to have someone love you no matter what you look like in the morning or what kind of hellish day you had...important to have that one person in the world who knows all of your faults and loves you even more.  It's worth it.  Let someone into your heart.  Find that life partner who will have your back and whose back you will protect as well.  Always be "all in".  Say "I love you" without regret.

Moxie Musing Fourteen:  Be kind
    My grandmother used to tell me to compliment someone every day--a stranger, a family member, or a friend.  It's amazing how telling the waitress that you admire her earrings or letting your friend know that her hair looks pretty today can completely light them up from the inside out.  Do you know why?  Because you're letting them know that they've been seen and appreciated.  Be the kind of person that when you leave someone's presence, they feel better for the interaction.  Kindness is underrated in the world, it seems, so value it, share it and personify it every day.  Every.  Day.

That's all I can think of right now.  You may not appreciate it yet, but hopefully someday you will.  Anyone else reading this may disagree with my words...but they're my words written because I truly believe them.  By practicing all of the above, I've reached a level of contentment that I never dreamed possible.  I'm following my bliss...and I hope you are, too.  For me on my personal journey, contentment is worth more than any material achievement.   

     Bree and Ben--I love you guys!  You've blessed my life in more ways than I can ever say.  All I want for you is a life that makes you happy on all levels.  That's it.  Truly.