Dear Dawn: “I don’t know what to do with the hurt…”

Honor their memory, while moving forward as best you can. Here is my cousin's late husband's wedding ring, which hangs on a necklace that he gave her for their anniversary

Honor their memory, while moving forward as best you can. Here is my cousin’s late husband’s wedding ring, which hangs on a necklace that he gave her for their anniversary

Dear Dawn,

I love your Instagram posts, and faithfully read your blog, so I’m hoping you can give me some of that inspiration you offer. Three weeks ago, I lost my husband of 12 years, and I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know what to do with the hurt. You always inspire me, so I thought I’d take a chance and ask you if you have any inspiring words for me now. 

Thank you,

Beatrice

Dear Beatrice,
Thank you so much for your kind words, and thank you for writing in!

Mostly, I have this to tell you: Be gentle with yourself.

You’re going to be tired. You are. You’re going to cry. You should. You’re going to feel lost. You will find yourself again – a new, different (maybe even better) version of yourself. You’re going to feel defeated. You’re not.

Do these things: Rest. Eat well. Do things that make you happy. Watch your favorite movies. Read your favorite books over again – even the ones from your childhood. ESPECIALLY the ones from your childhood. Take long baths, get massages.  Let people take care of you. Let people hug you. Let yourself be pampered.

And, don’t rush this time.

To properly heal, you need to sit – and be present in the moment, and feel the pain of the past – before you can walk forward into your future.

Most of all, know this: You WILL be okay.

Recently, my friend lost her mother. I think we know how both comforting (yet overwhelming) all those Facebook “I’m sorry for your loss” messages can be, and what she did instead, that follows below, channeled all of the sad energy into a more positive direction.

In a post on her personal page, she thanked everyone for their comments, along with this: “One way you can help is to leave your favorite memory of my mom in the comments below.” It was an instant way for her to turn Facebook from a very sad reminder of loss into a sweet memory-sharing experience of someone she loved. Someone she loves. The best part is that no memory shared will be the same, so you’ll end up with an arsenal of positive memories about your husband to refer to when you need a little reminder of the person you knew, and loved.

I saw another unique way of dealing with loss when I saw my cousin over the holidays, and she told me of her sweet husband’s quick decline due to a brain tumor. I asked questions, but mostly I listened. That’s what I’ve found, most of all, is that  people just want to talk and be heard in times of loss, because there is nothing you can say that is going to heal their heart. There won’t ever be that a-ha moment of total healing, because that particular part of them is broken, never to be completely repaired again. But, while they can’t repair, they can remember. And, they can honor that memory.

As my cousin left to go home, I noticed she was driving a huge truck – her husband’s truck. I also noticed a ring hanging around her neck on a necklace. I asked her what it was. She said, “It’s his wedding ring, hung on the necklace he gave me for our anniversary right before he passed away. That way, he’s always close to my heart.”

It’s a way for her to keep him close, to remember him and to honor him, right next to her heart, where he already lives.

I would urge you to find ways to celebrate your late husband in your own daily life. Some people might say to try to start anew, but I don’t believe that’s really possible for you right now. It’s too soon. And, your heart has some healing to do. So, try one or both of these suggestions above, or create one of your own, that’s special to you and him. It will help. And, by focusing your energy and heart on positive memories, rather than the sadness and despair that the loss brings, you will eventually feel better, and you will start to heal.

And, again, be gentle with yourself.

You will be okay.

You are okay.

Sending you so much love…

xoxo,
Dawn

*Readers: If you have a “Dear Dawn” question, please send it to DearDawn@BeautyFrosting.com. While I can’t promise I’ll give you the answer you want, I CAN promise that I will answer you.

*NOTE: I am NOT a doctor. I am simply a person, who is navigating this world and life, right alongside everybody else. 

 

Dear Dawn: An advice column where head meets heart

Dear Dawn in back, and more heartfelt than ever. I'm here to help.

Dear Dawn in back, and more heartfelt than ever. I’m here to help.

Today on the blog is the reintroduction of something I’m really proud of, but it’s also a very personal post – both for me and a reader of mine.

When I first started my blog, BeautyFrosting in 2012, I had a whole page devoted to my Dear Dawn column. Readers would primarily write in with questions about beauty or baking or blogging, etc. But, interestingly, as my focus turned towards people and the goal of inspiring them, my “Dear Dawn” column seemed to dwindle.

Then, my Dear 15 Me episode of The Real aired in November, and the questions started pouring in, again. Only this time, they seem to be questions from the heart – just the way I like them. And, there are a BUNCH of ’em. They came from people wanting answers, people needing inspiration, and people just needing to talk.

Well, I’ve been given this forum for a reason, and if you send me a question, I promise I will give you an answer. Only, it might not be an answer per se, but more of my thoughts, personal experiences and messages from the heart. So far, while there are the occasional questions about home decor, my career path & makeup, more seem to be like this one from Beatrice. If it helps Beatrice, any of you – or one person at all, out there – I will have done my part.

xoxo,
Dawn

*Readers: If you have a “Dear Dawn” question, please send it to DearDawn@BeautyFrosting.com. While I can’t promise I’ll give you the answer you want, I CAN promise that I will answer you.

*NOTE: I am NOT a doctor. I am simply a person, who is navigating this world and life, right alongside everybody else. 

 

High-Low 4/7/14: Wrecking Ball & Sick For A Day

HIGH: Friends who just know you-and give you the best gift of all

High: Meeting Emmylou Harris & Daniel Lanois on their Wrecking Ball tour

When I was 18 – and a senior in high school – I lost my beloved grandmother whom we lovingly called, “Nanny.” Nanny was the heart of our family and her heart was in the kitchen. I think that’s why I always feel so at peace when I’m in the kitchen now.

When we lost her, music became even more important to me – and it was already very important. I would listen to Mancini’s “Moon River” on the Breakfast at Tiffany’s soundtrack incessantly. This only stopped when my big brother, Davy, introduced me to a record by Emmylou Harris – which was produced by Daniel Lanois – called Wrecking Ball.

One vivid memory I recall – among the many I have of that record  – is sitting in the sunroom of my brother’s ex-girlfriend’s-stepmother’s house for which he was housesitting that summer. This room was the “truth” room in that it coaxed us into sharing memories, complaining about – and to – one another, and was a place where secrets had a way of coming out that would change us forever.

The one common thread – amongst all of the drama – that I remember that summer is that record. Wrecking Ball. And what an apropos title it had! Good music has the most magical way of doing that – sitting in your memory like a lover lost that you just can’t ever forget.

Now, I have another magical memory of that record – thanks to one of my dear best friends, Lindsey Vaerst. This girl is one of the most considerate, thoughtful and giving people I know. She told me about Dan and Emmylou going on a Wrecking Ball 20-year reunion (really, that long??!) tour and I’m pretty sure that when she did, I turned into a giddy-faced, glee-filled 18-year-old again.

Giddy.

But she went above and beyond. See, she knows Dan and Emmylou and ended up getting us all-access passes. Well, shoot, y’all! I don’t get too impressed by many celebs – but Emmylou??!! Holy heck. I got to meet her and Dan and tell them the profound heart-filling effect that they had on my family with that record. It was SO special.

It meant the world to me. And I met the most magical people.

Magical folks - LA meets Nashville

Magic just seems to follow Lindsey Vaerst around – even when she can’t see it – and sometimes, I’m lucky enough to have it spill over into mine.
Thank you, my precious friend.  This is a lifetime pass gift  – meaning that you can’t give me anything ever again. What a memorable – and magical – night! I thank you.

LOW: Oh, just sick…for a day 

Sick. But so much healthier after.

I’ll keep this simple. I got sick. I got sick because I was going non-stop and my body rebelled and declared, “I NEED A BREAK!!” So I rested Friday and most of Saturday and (as Gomer Pyle used to say), “Surprise, surprise!” I felt better. I stayed in bed and read the rest of Mindy Kaling’s book (GOD, IT’S GOOD!!!), and ended up working on my book. Oh, what’s that, you say? You didn’t know I had a book? Well, I’m 1794 words in so I do now, folks! It was an important reminder to both listen to my body and take a little bit more me-time every week to see what creative magic might be stirred up. As always, the lesson of the low outweighed the low itself.

xoxo,
BF

BF Asks:

 

High-Low 11/25/13: Love Lights For Mallory

Sometimes the high is the low. And the low is the high. Life is full of these moments. Last Thursday, I had one of these such moments and it was one of the most beautiful, magical and memorable experiences I have ever experienced.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned here on BF that Lynn – a sweet friend of mine from college and BF reader – had lost her beautiful little daughter, Mallory last month very suddenly. Mallory’s 5th birthday was coming up on November 21st and Lynn asked if she could mail me a pink chinese lantern to release to celebrate Mallory’s life on her birthday in a “Love Lights for Mallory” cross-country celebration.

I was honored and said I couldn’t want to be part of anything more. See, I didn’t get the chance to meet Mallory but Lynn had written me and told me all about her girly girl. She loved pink so much. There is so much about you that is how I believe (and hoped) this little twirly, pink girl would have grown up to be like as a young woman.”

Well, as a fellow girly girl – and lover of pink – I knew that I had to celebrate Mallory in the way she lived. Lots of joy. Lots of celebration. Lots of girly things. Lots of love. And lots & LOTS of pink. Lynn shipped me the lantern and I immediately framed the box with one of my petticoats.

A pink chinese lantern in memory of Mallory

 

Next, my friend Lindsey and I crafted a celebration of life to honor Mallory and the beauty she is still adding to this world. We had pink cupcakes…

 

Pink cupcakes to celebrate Mallory's life and light

 

pink champagne, set a pink & tablescape and made 5 pink balloons into a centerpiece…

A "pink party" to celebrate Mallory Grace

 

Next, we headed across the street to my neighbors’ backyard and lit the lantern…

Lighting the lantern to send into heaven to be with Mallory Grace

 

and released the lantern into the peaceful, November night sky.

Releasing the lantern...

Then the 5 of us all released the 5 pink balloons – one by one – and made a wish in Mallory’s memory. We watched as both the lantern and the balloons turned from pink orbs into stars in the sky…much like her.

Thank you so much for including me, Lynn. It was a magical night celebrating a very special little girl. Much love and healing to the hearts of you and your family.

BF Asks: What was your High-Low this week?

*So what exactly is a High-Low, you ask? High-Low is the BEST & WORST part of your day, week, month, etc. I started this tradition with friends & family after I discovered it through a movie decades ago. Not only is it useful for reflection sake but it is also an excellent way to communicate with your spouse, kids or friends over the dinner table. By introducing this tradition to folks, parents have told me that their kids have opened up more and friends have told me that their spouses have become more communicative. Try it for yourself and let me know what your experience is!

 

High-Low 10/28/13, Dallas Moments (5 out of 10) and Laughing Stars

HIGH: My Trip Home to Dallas, Part 1

Well, my trip home to Dallas was just one big High, really. So here are the first 5 of my Top 10 Dallas moments.

10) Arriving to find out that my big brother, David – a.k.a. Sueño – is now playing golf. I seriously couldn’t stop laughing.

Apparently Brother has taken up golf.

 

9) Fresh off the plane, we immediately hit our family favorite – Mi Cocina. We always end up there for about 80% or more of my visit- this time, we were there 5 out of 9 nights. It’s our happy place.

My favorite pic ever of my Mom, brother and I at our family mecca - Mi Cocina Preston Forest

 

8) I’m such an avid nightswimmer that it’s always sad for me to come home in the fall & winter months because it’s too cool for my nightly jam session-swims. But that didn’t stop me from sitting by the pool, having a glass of champ and reflecting on my summer and fall. What seasons they have been! (p.s. I had just bought that Cynthia Rowley cardigan sweater at Marshall’s!)

A cool, fall night by the pool reflecting....

 

7) I was SUPER excited to get to go to the State Fair of Texas while I was home. Between the fried food (corndogs, fried oreos, fried snickers & more), the carousel, the Love Bug and the swings, I felt like a kid again. And the fact that I got to enjoy it with my big brother and new friends only made the day even more nostalgic and sweet!

The State Fair of Texas - the best fair in all the land!!

 

6) Now, this was just too much fun. Getting to go to Homecoming at our high school, Episcopal School of Dallas with my brother and some of our friends? Priceless. And Brother had gotten his 3 dates corsages. I felt like a teenager! See a theme here when I’m in Dallas?

Brother putting on my corsage before we headed to Homecoming!

 

I’ll have the other 5 for ya tomorrow!!

LOW: Laughing Stars – A new little angel is born.

I had a few lows over the past week but none was as low as this. A dear college friend who is always so full of light – and a loyal & loving BeautyFrosting reader – unexpectedly lost her little daughter. These are the things that we just can’t make sense of. Our hearts and minds cannot make sense of pain this profound. So all we can do is try to comfort one another, love one another, remember the good times, honor the memory and pray that in time we heal. I don’t have any words that can comfort as much as I would like but these words from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (from The Little Prince) always give me a pinch of peace when I’m most lost due to loss. I am sending as much love and light to this sweet family as I can muster. To laughing stars…

 

xoxo,

BF 

BF Asks: What was your High-Low this week? And what words comfort you in times of loss?

*So what exactly is a High-Low, you ask? High-Low is the BEST & WORST part of your day, week, month, etc. I started this tradition with friends & family after I discovered it through a movie decades ago. Not only is it useful for reflection sake but it is also an excellent way to communicate with your spouse, kids or friends over the dinner table. By introducing this tradition to folks, parents have told me that their kids have opened up more and friends have told me that their spouses have become more communicative. Try it for yourself and let me know what your experience is!

 

I remember.

Today. September 11th. It never gets easier.

 

Our recovery comes in our remembering. And our peace comes in our memories of the ones we lost. Here’s what I remember.

I remember being woken up by frantic phone calls from my mom and ex-boyfriend, Chris Telles, in Texas. It was still dark out here on the west coast and the sleep in my eyes would barely let me make out the horror that was playing out on the television. It was right before the second tower was hit. It felt like it was the acopalypse and at that age, I don’t know if I really even knew what that meant. I just remember thinking it. With these two calls, I remember feeling both loved and very, very alone.

I remember needing to get out of the house and desperately needing to be with other people. I did NOT want to be alone. It was unbearable. So I went over to Ned & Sarah Brower’s apartment on Spaulding. There, we sat in Craig Weaver’s apartment watching the footage. I realized I wasn’t the only one who didn’t want to be alone. And I am still so thankful for those people.

I remember LA felt like a ghost town that day. I had to go grocery shopping so I went to the Whole Foods on Fairfax and Santa Monica where I exchanged sad, gentle smiles with strangers to whom I felt instantly bonded. I don’t go back to that location very often because it will always remind me of that sad, scared, empty feeling.

I remember going to meet my new Hawkeye band members, Jeff Bell and Kalai King at their apartment with my roommate at the time, Lauren Kahner and her boyfriend – and our amazing piano player – JK Morrical. We sat there and talked for hours, listening to music and drinking wine – and I knew that I had found a family of a sort.

Hawkeye at The Roxy

 

James Taylor’s Fire and Rain came on and we were all silent. That song would always mean that mournful moment to me.

 

 

I remember that I loved Ryan Adams’ Gold that fall and his song, “New York, New York” will always give me chills and take me right back to that sad season. Songs are powerful elixirs like that.

 

 

 

I remember that after that evening, I didn’t feel alone anymore.

These are my memories and they are as vivid today as yesterday and I didn’t even lose anyone.
Blessings, love and healing to all of those remembering their loved ones today.

 

xoxo,
BF

BF Asks: Where were you on the day the world stopped turning?