The Fulfillment Series

The Fulfillment Series

Thursday, July 20, 2017

What is Self-Soothing?

A few days ago, someone told me that dealing with loss is a good time to practice self-soothing. I nodded, but I'm not entirely sure what that means. Lie in bed all day? Stuff my face with pizza? Cry until my tears run out? These are things I *want* to do, but I *need* to walk the line between grieving for someone who's gone and living for those who are still here.

Deek tells me to be patient with myself, to take the time I need to grieve, and I love him so hard for his love, patience, and kindness. Sometimes I do lie in bed. Sometimes I do cry until my tears run out. And yes, I *have* stuffed my face with pizza. Twice.

I honestly don't know how to grieve. I've been fortune to have friends and family with long lifespans, so this is my first real, adult experience with this sort of pain. And he was my PaPa. The first man I ever loved. He used to take me everywhere with him, and I was happy as a clam to go. He was my PaPa, and I was his BabyDoll.

The first man I ever loved walks me down the aisle to the last man I'll ever love. 

In college, I took a really great class called Relational Communication. In one lesson, we talked about grief and how to respond to people in the midst of it. Our professor said people don't want to hear platitudes. They don't want to hear you're sorry. They want you to be able to sit with them in their grief. Cry with them. Love them through their pain. 

At the time, I didn't truly understand. Now I do. 

I guess this is where experience teaches more than academia. Where life is learned by living, not studying. But I say with my whole heart, this is a lesson I'd rather not learn. 

Yesterday, I spent the day with my Mema. We cried, we talked about PaPa, and we read some of the lovely cards friends and family had sent. But PaPa's absence filled the room.

If you are the praying sort, please pray for my Mema. If you're the good vibes sort, please send them her way. This woman lost her partner, her best friend, and the love of her life. They were together over 60 years--married almost 63. 

My heart aches, my throat closes, and a fresh wave of tears form when I think of her sleeping in her bed alone, eating alone, *being* alone. It breaks my heart because I know, I witnessed firsthand, just how very much they loved each other.

If you see me or talk to me and I'm not myself, know that I'm muddling through this tsunami of grief. I'm trying to figure out how to self-soothe, whatever that means. I'm trying to make sense of a world that doesn't have PaPa in it. And know that even when I reach the other side of this sea of sadness, I'll never quite be the same. Because like I said before...this BabyDoll is sorely lacking without her PaPa.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Tribute to PaPa and Family

On Friday (7/7/17), I received the call I'd always known would come one day but always hoped, however unrealistic, never would. My PaPa, my grandfather, left this earth peacefully in his sleep. I'm shattered. Devastated. Heartbroken. My PaPa is more special to me than there are words to express it. I've always been "PaPa's Babydoll." And though I know I'll continue to be, this BabyDoll is sorely lacking without her PaPa.

There is a hollowness inside my chest that aches. I know heartache isn't actually in the heart, but it sure feels that way. A few days ago, I read an article that said "Grief isn't linear." And that's true. Sometimes I can muster a smile, but other times, I can't hold back my tears. Grief is like this terrible up and down rollercoaster that you can't get off of. 

People keep asking me if I need anything. Yeah, I do. I need to have my PaPa back. 

I've always felt lucky to be part of my family, but I don't think I realized *just* how lucky I was (and how unique my family is) until I grew up. Not everyone gets together with their entire family--and by that, I mean well over a hundred people--several times a year. Not everyone knows the name and life story of their fifth cousin twice removed. Not everyone has a big group of people who cheer you on in the good times and cry with you in the bad times. Not everyone was taught the value of family and shown unconditional love.

But I was, and I'm forever grateful. And the reason I know all these things and was taught these wonderful values is because of this group right here: PaPa and his siblings.

Top, right to left: Stacy, Ed, Harold
Bottom, right to left: PaPa, Wendell, Bunkie, Eldred.

At first glance, to people who don't know them, they may just look like a bunch of old folks. But they're the liveliest bunch you'll ever meet. They had such depth of personality that it's impossible to catalog, but I'll try in as few words as possible. 

Stacy--The oldest, the leader, always ready with a hug. 

Ed--The storyteller who could leave you with a stomachache from laughing so hard. 

Harold--The jokester, who was always ready with a goofy grin and a riddle. 

Wendell--A hard worker with an infectious laugh. 

Bunkie--The quiet observer with an artistic soul. 

Eldred--Poised and regal despite growing up with six brothers. 

And PaPa--the baby--was a mix of them all. 

Though they're gone now, I can still hear the sound of their voices and the symphony of their combined laughter.

These people, along with Mema and her outstanding "kinfolk," created my family. And they didn't just limit our gathering to their family, they opened it up to our extended-extended family, to friends, and to the community. With their warm, generous spirits, they never wanted anyone to feel alone, especially during the holidays.

This is my heritage. This is my legacy. I am luckier than I have any right to be to have had these wonderful, amazing people in my life. And I'm forever changed by it.

Even as my heart breaks, I can hear PaPa saying, "Don't cry, BabyDoll. I'm juuust right, and I'll see you again directly." Until then, I'll endeavor to carry the torch and to model the behavior PaPa and his siblings displayed for me. I'll do my very best to apply their lessons to my own life--love deeply and passionately, give wholeheartedly, cherish your family, welcome everyone, be present in everything you do, laugh hard and often, tell jokes, be silly, explore your artistic side, honor your family name, set an example, and live your life to the fullest each and every moment.

This one image keeps coming into my mind, and it brings me a little comfort as I move through this non-linear grief. Backstory: PaPa and his brothers created a card game when they were little, and they played it all their lives. I can still see them sitting around a table playing it. They all had asthma. And they would laugh so hard during their card game that they'd all need their inhalers. Like synchronized swimmers, they'd whip out their inhalers, take a puff, and continue laughing and playing.

So, in my mind, I see his brothers and sister sitting around a table playing that card game, and they've had an empty seat waiting for years. This Friday, PaPa took that empty seat, and they dealt him a hand of cards. I can almost hear Stacy saying, "Lawd, Darwin, we've been waiting for you for a while now." And when I imagine this scene, my heart hurts a little less, just for a minute.

Goodbye, PaPa. I'll always love you and cherish the time I got to spend with you. I loved every minute of being your BabyDoll, and I'll do my best to make you proud.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Guardian's Touch by LA Dragoni

For a ghost there are only two choices. Heaven or Hell.

Coming August 1, 2017
Guardian's Touch, Touched by Afterlife, Book 2

Life has returned to normal for Tamara and Dex after helping a horde of ghosts cross over. Their brush with the afterlife affirmed one thing: happily ever after is real.

When odd pranks around the farm escalate to destruction, Tamara fears mischievous teenagers are vandalizing the neighborhood. Then Dex starts to act out of character. Meanness slips into his usually playful disposition. One day he even ridicules a co-worker publicly. Tamara watches helplessly as he seems to lose the ability to control his own actions. When Dex’s abnormal anger turns violent—toward Tamara—their happily ever after is threatened. Desperate to help Dex and herself, she sends out a silent prayer for help.

She didn’t expect Cal to come to her aid.


Pre-order now!
Mark as to read on Goodreads:
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Ghost Touch, Touched by Afterlife Book 1 ebook is marked down to just $0.99 for a limited time.

For fifteen minutes each night a portal opens in Tamara’s barn and a horde of ghosts spills into her yard. Their leader, Cal, a quiet, unassuming cowboy, fulfills an aching loneliness the death of Tamara’s mother left behind. Tamara can help the ghosts cross, but can she let Cal go?

Available in ebook, audiobook, and print from Amazon.
Also available on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and other e-tailers.
But hurry before the price returns to $2.99.

About the author:

LA Dragoni isn’t too particular about who falls in love or where they fall in love. Whether it’s paranormal, mythical, or time travel, LA simply considers it her job to divine their story and share it with you. She lives in Central Oregon with her husband and children, but haunts ghost towns and cemeteries throughout the west, in search of the next adventure to sift through her storytelling brain. Learn more about LA and her work at