I Hereby Grant Myself Permission to Be Shitty

Six weeks ago, I started seeing an amazing new doctor who finally diagnosed this mystery illness that has made me so sick the last two years. He has begun weekly IV treatment along with a host of other alternative therapies that are finally starting to give me my life back after two years of countless ER visits, trips to the doctor and testing. The treatments are really helping. But, when I have to go more than a week between them, I start to feel really sick again, and some weeks I feel worse, before I feel better. I’ve gone from being in bed 80% of the time to about 20% of the time, though, so that alone is a miracle, especially when you have four children. I have decided to document my journey here to show the up’s and down’s of my healing journey, in hopes of offering an honest view into my world, as I fall and rise, yet again and again and again. Through my years as The Grim Reaper Girl, I have learned above all, that our struggles teach us as much as our triumphs, so I hope you can be inspired by my acceptance of all the parts of this journey, and myself in them. 


Days like this are really, really hard for me. This healing journey comes with its up’s and down’s. (If you missed my updates on my recent diagnosis’ of serious chronic illness, go check my Facebook page). Right now, I have severe asthma and allergies on top of the chronic illness I’ve been suffering from for 2 years. I have a severe infection in my lungs and feel like I can’t breathe. I’ve been in bed since Sunday and this week I had to postpone my weekly IV treatment because it’s just too much for me to drive an hour and a half each way to the doctor, receive the treatment which really drains me, and then come home and have to take care of 4 kids alone for 3 days until my husband has a day off. Today I feel really horrible – bad anxiety (a side effect of my treatment), extreme fatigue, nausea, headache, heart palpitations, brain fog, chest pain, and a wicked cough. And I woke up this morning to find out my 3 year old who just got over a horrible case of the flu that almost turned to pneumonia a couple weeks ago, now has CROUP. Croup is what my nephew died from.

This shit is real, folks. I don’t make it up. It is absolutely ridiculous how often we are sick. It is absolutely unbearable feeling horrible myself and taking care of a toddler who feels awful – when he doesn’t feel good, he is mean and nasty and whiny and gets into trouble all day long. So, I should be in bed, but instead I’m pulling him off counters and shelves and candy cabinets all day long. Oh yeah, and there’s also a 16 month old to take care of and 2 other kids to take to and from school, and make sure they get their homework and chores done. Mamas don’t always get a day off. No matter how sick they are. 

I’ve worked really hard to train myself to stay in FAITH instead of FEAR but days like today, I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle ALL ALONE. My husband works 7-7 most days. I have paid a babysitter enough money to put her through college, to help me this last year and a half, but she has limited availability because she’s in school. So, today, I am just trying to be ok with not feeling great, and wishing I could feel super loved and supported when I’m feeling really alone and overwhelmed. Am I allowed to feel that? Am I allowed to have days where I kind of just can’t get to a place of positivity and faith and lots of words of inspiration while I try to heal?

Well, I’m the only one who can give myself permission to just be as I am. So, I hereby grant myself the inalienable right to just say, THIS SUCKS. THIS IS HARD RIGHT NOW. I know it will pass, but right now, it hurts and its hard and I would LOVE more than anything to feel your love around me right now.

Tomorrow I will probably be back to peppy-steppy-feelin’-and-believin’-Megan. Today, I am allowed to just be Megan. And maybe even, Shitty Megan. Or, at least, Shitty-Feeling Megan.

And I feel SO much better when I just express myself honestly to the world. Don’t you?!!!!!!!! I hope this inspires you to be honest about your struggles. When we give ourselves permission to be real, we give others permission to do the same, and the truth is, sometimes this being human is hard, isn’t it? Let’s not try to pretend any different. What makes it worth doing, is being in it together, and knowing there is as much beauty as pain.

Ahhhh…I feel more faith-filled already. I know this will pass, and I’m trusting some miracles are on their way…and I am so grateful I have this community of people around me to support me from near and far through this. Thanks for being here, thanks for listening. Remember, whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone. I’ve probably been there. I see you. I get you. We’re in it TOGETHER, and we even get to be SHITTY together if we want to.

Just Added Another Angel to my Heaven…

My Grandma passed away yesterday. 😦

The last week or so watching her go as been pretty painful – one of the most painful losses I’ve had to witness yet, even in all the death I’ve experienced these last few years.

This is the third grandparent I’ve lost in 8 months. Wow.

And, she is number 13 in 3 years. Can you believe that? Thirteen deaths in three years?! I shared that number with a friend yesterday and he responded, “If I lost 13 people, I wouldn’t have anyone left. That would be all my family and friends.”

That made it hit home for me. It really has been quite a thing.

I told myself the other day, “Wow, I must have some really wonderful friends and family – God seems to want ’em all back!”

I had a really horrific weekend, hence the reason I didn’t come and post. I did journal though, but what I wrote in my journal would need lots of black “censor” tags over it! I always say, a good journal is a best friend in times of grief. You can tell it anything, be honest, uncensored, horrific, angry, scary, mean – and it doesn’t judge you. In fact, if you read it back, it even gives you a good little dose of empathy, if you’ll have it.

I’m not feeling as angry now. I’m just taking this all in and trying to find the “Gifts in Grief,” as I always do. That’s such a funny term I’ve picked to use, because, really, at this point, fresh off a loss, it’s a hard thing to think of – finding gifts in grief.

But, I did find gifts, believe it or not.

This was the first time I really felt at peace with someone leaving. You might think, “Well, it’s easier to let go of someone in their 80’s who’s lived a long, full life,” and in some regards, you are right. But, on the other hand, this loss snuck up on us, when we thought she had years left with us, and it was a very hard loss to watch. I was angry and sad, and when I first heard she was dying, I decided to be angry at the sky/God/the Universe for handing me another death because, well, seriously, haven’t we had enough here lately?!

I sat at her bed side and my whole body held itself against what was happening. I was angry for myself, having to sit at another death bed. I was angry, again, for knowing all the signs of death. I was angry at my circumstances of kids, stress, work and life getting in the way of spending more time with her before she went.

But, again, I forced myself to get quiet and go within. I sat next to her bed, and closed my eyes, and did something very unusual, for me – for anyone, at that.

I smiled.

In my quiet, I could feel my Grandma’s spirit. I could feel her becoming a piece of the Earth, the sun, the sky. I could feel her almost splitting her spirit into a billion pieces and spreading herself out over the entire cosmos. There, there she is in the blade of grass. There, there she is in the warmth of the sun on my skin. There, there she is meandering down the creek in a flood of water. There, there she is, standing behind me, whispering, “You have been such a joy to me, dear.”

A feeling came over me that I could not describe. Something I had not identified yet, even in all this death. I could not name it, until one of my best friend’s named it for me, in a text message, the next day.

Friend: How are you doing today?

Me: Strangely, ok, somehow. Can’t explain it, but just feeling really at peace with it.

Friend: It took me 40 years to figure out that the “somehow” is the answer for a lot of my problems. Sometimes (a lot of the time) I wait it out. Something changes, everything changes. It is not my will activating anything, that much I know. Grace is a nice word for it.

Me: Nice way to put it. Thanks for sharing that.

1. a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b : a virtue coming from God
c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace
2. a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior:
Synonyms: forgiveness, charity, mercifulness.
3. mercy; clemency; pardon
Synonyms: lenity, leniency, reprieve.

Yes, I do believe it was Grace that swept over me as I sat there at her bedside and found a smile in me. I felt unspeakable joy, peace…and grace.
The day before, I had read my Grandma this passage out of “You Are Here” (take notes, I want this read at my funeral!). As I sat there, I felt the words become powerfully real and true in this experience.

This body is not me.
I am not limited by this body.
I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born,
and I have never died.
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars, manifestations from my wondrous true mind.
Since before time, I have been free.
Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are a game of hide- and seek.
So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say good-bye,
say good-bye, to meet again soon.
We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment.
We meet each other in all forms of life.

~By Thich Nhat Hanh, Chanting and Recitations from Plum Village. Page 188.

It was in that moment, that this feeling of being the Grim Reaper Girl seemed to dissipate in me.

I’ve called myself that, because I’ve felt like death was following me, and that I somehow, always end up ushering people out of this life. I don’t like all the ugliness of death in it’s physicality – it’s uncomfortable, unspeakable, hard to witness, hard to be fully present to. But, I am able to be present to it, and I think if I can be fully present sitting at death’s doorstep, I can pretty much face anything.

And, it’s not all ugly. It’s really how we look at it. I’ve been blessed to have people come into my life and remind me of what an honor it is to be with someone in death. In Buddhist teachings, they say Death and Birth are interconnected. We could not have one without the other.

I’m not religious, I don’t know what happens on the “other side.” I’d like to believe in a Heaven that looks a little like Robin William’s painted heaven in “What Dreams May Come” or Susie Salmon’s “dogs dancing” heaven in the book, “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold.

It does comfort me, though, to hear what people who’ve had NDE’s (near-death experiences) say – it’s always this overwhelming sense of peace, light and love they describe.

Believing we are all headed for that unspeakable joy and grace, I decided this time, to see the honor of celebrating someone into the afterlife, not just the hurt. It doesn’t take the hurt away, it just holds the hurt in that state of grace. I don’t know if I could do this again with death, and I don’t think I could ever go back, say to my nephew’s loss, and be able to find smiles through the tears over a loss that cruel. But, this time, for a girl who has certainly felt enough of the pain of death, it was nice to feel a little grace, too. 

A thought came into my heart as I smiled, “I’m NOT the Grim Reaper Girl. I’m just an angel on earth (as we all are!), helping other angels find their way home.”

What an honor that is, don’t you think?

So, what’s the morale of my story, my dears?

Celebrate life, every day, in every way.

Celebrate life, even ’til it’s last breaths on this Earth.

Celebrate life, even into the afterlife.

Wake up each day, and celebrate your life.

Always remember, there is joy unspeakable to be found, in every moment, in every experience.

For every sorrow once brought joy, and every death, large or small, to the afterlife, or just a new life on Earth, is a rebirth as well.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me.

Facing Another Loss

#13 is looming on the horizon…

Not going into details to respect my family’s privacy in such a hard time, but just thought, seeing as this is my place to share on life and loss, and my journey through it…I’d come here in the rawness of grief and tell you, think of me.

It’s been a hard couple days, but yes, the piano practice of grief has made me a beautiful composer.

I forced myself to get out in nature day before yesterday, and had the most blissful amazing day of “seeing the beauty around the pain.” I hiked all the way up a mountain, unprepared, not intending to. I had to carry books in my hands up steep cliffs, in the wrong shoes, with only half a bottle of water on a wind-whipped day. But, I forced myself to do it, to remind myself how strong and capable I am, how I always have everything I need within me.

It reminded me of the journey through grief. We often feel unprepared, but find, we have everything we need within to get through it.

On the way back down the mountain, butterflies danced with me. Butterflies are my sign from the other side, that my angels are with me. Yes, I do have lots of angels. Lots of angels on heaven and earth with me. That is one thing I have in abundance.

As hard and numbing as this space is, I feel so raw and pure, so unadulterated, unfettered, innocent and hauntingly vulnerable. I am proof that there is beauty in pain.

Maybe it is my job to BE the beauty in the pain.

Maybe it is my job to simply SEE the beauty in the pain.

I’m not sure, yet, because right now, I feel more pain than beauty, but I am trying, trying, trying…trying to be the beauty, see the beauty, and not let the pain consume me.

Thanks for listening to my grief ramblings.

Set Fire to The Rain

How do you rise from the fire when you’re still in the flames? 


I am hurting so much right now, it’s nearly unbearable. I’m not just in the flames, I am the flames. I am a raging fire of anger and pain.

Every time I say, “How much more can one person take?” Or, “How much worse can it get?” It gets worse. I get handed more shit. Yes, I am fully aware that there are 300 million people in the world who probably have it a lot worse then I do. But, right now, I have had three years of intense struggle, pain, and loss, and some days I just wake up and think, “I don’t know if I have any fight left in me anymore.”

Today is the one year anniversary of Kayta’s best friend’s death. For that, and so much more I’m dealing with right now, part of me would like to cry and scream all day.

There are two songs I’ve adopted as personal anthems lately. Adele’s Set Fire to the Rain and Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger. I keep hearing, “I set fire to the rain, watched it burn on your face,” and, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

I want to set fire to the rain. I want to be great. I want to be stronger. I want to rise from the ashes like a phoenix ONCE AGAIN.

But, right now, I just want some peace. I keep trying to meditate because I know that’s where I can find peace but when I’m this angry, it’s really hard to get quiet and go within. It’s almost like I don’t want peace, like I’d rather hold on tight to my anger. Maybe for the moment I am content to be angry. Maybe I just want to be a raging machine for a second.

My friend told me the other day that a word I beg for often, “Reprieve,” is actually a word for a stay of execution right before death. 

I pondered on that for second. Then I thought, yes, that’s actually quite fitting! I do want a REPRIEVE, because my life has been all death, loss, change, struggle.

Here’s the thing, I will come out the other side of this, like everything else. But right now, I am accepting what is – remember my infamous Eckhart Tolle quote that has been the soluble solution of my life?

“Freedom from suffering is accepting this moment as it is.” 

Well, right now, I am accepting this moment as it is, in part at least. I am accepting that I am angry.

Thich Nhat Hanh says, “You should cradle your suffering like a baby.” So, I’m trying to be kind to my suffering and not judge it or try to get rid of it.  Just look at it, comfort it, and say, “I’m sorry you’re suffering.” I’ve got ten posts almost written on this topic because I know it’s so important. But, it looks like I need to start taking my own advice in this moment…follow my own steps.

First step to dealing with anger/pain/sadness/grief?

“Any negative emotion not fully expressed in the moment it arises leaves behind a remnant of pain.” ~Eckhart Tolle

I didn’t need ole’ Eckhart to tell me this. I have freaking LIVED it for over a decade now. I don’t want to be struggling and suffering, and I know I’m the only one who can change my perspective to see the beauty of life around the pain again. But, I can’t get there ’til I get my anger and sadness expressed first.

So, I’m angry. I’m hurt. I’m sad. There ya go. Tomorrow, I may be a vision of peace again. But today, today I am a vision of pain, and that’s o.k.

I came on here and found two comments from a new friend today and it just busted me open and finally, I let down my tears into a swelling river and felt at least a bit of release, and now a bit of peace. That’s why I’m posting today. Because, it’s been my habit to self-sustain – not to depend on anyone else for help in times of need, not to “need” anyone or anything, to put on a brave face and get through it on my own.

But, a good friend recently taught me the beauty of asking for help, and so I’ve been trying to do it more.

On my first big “out me” post, Grim Reaper Girl – Part 1, many of you said, “I’m so sorry, I wish I had known…I would’ve…” One woman’s comments on that post stuck with me. 

Now, I keep coming back here to the blog thinking, “Ok, wait, maybe I don’t always have to be a vision of strength, maybe sometimes, I can be weak, and just ask…for…well…a reprieve.” 

Maybe the only reprieve I need to get through all this to find the “gifts in grief” again, is to be reminded I’m not alone. To hear, “I see you, I care.” I don’t want to “need” that. But, my own living truth is the words, “Why are we here? FOR EACH OTHER!” So, I’m living my words. I’ve given this blog as my gift to you, but you are a gift to me, too! 

I think I had this idea that I should always be a vision of strength for you. That showing my hurts and struggles would make me look…WEAK. But, actually, I’m remembering that it’s been my goal to emulate DEALING with pain. I don’t want to teach you to just put on a brave face and say, “I’m ok” when you’re not. I want to teach you how to express your hurts, cradle your suffering like a baby, reach out and ask for help, give yourself empathy for the pain you are facing, and then…THEN…after all that, we’ll start working on the “GETTING THROUGH the pain to the gifts on the other side” part.

(Wow, I feel so much better now! LOL! I guess I did just need to express it! First step is always “Express it!” Geez, Megan, haven’t you figured that out by now?!!!) 

Thanks for listening. I feel Stronger, and I think I’m starting to Set Fire to the Rain.

Please let me know you were here today?


Dear Blogiverse: Hello…and Congratulations

"The World Revs Its Heat Engine" Photo credit: from NASA on Flickr, no known copyrights exist


Nice to meet you.

Thank you for greeting me so warmly.

I’ve recently begun my own WordPress Blogiverse journey, and find myself to be quite content here in the WordPress hemisphere, because, well, you guys are awfully nice. I love meeting bloggers from all sides of the globe, and I’m thankful for my “homeroom” WordPress peeps!

I feel like I’m now a part of something – part of a rare community of self-expressing abandoned minds and insightful hearts. We all seem to share a common trait – we’ve got words stirring within which we’re compelled to expel at least 1-5x a week! So, we are joined in our self-expelling!

But, what really gets me is this: I talk, and you talk back! Huh?! What?! 

Some of you are even following me, connecting with me, and I’m connecting with you, too! Yes, the WordPress Blogiverse simply…ROCKS. 

Isn’t it a wonderful thing to have a space to write your world, and know that probably, someone somewhere out there is going to read it?

Photo courtesy of http://www.fromthebungalow.wordpress.com "Blissfully Bald" Freshly Pressed post

From My Blogs Giving Me the Finger to Blissfully Bald: Why My Wife & I Decided to Shave our Heads, Coming out of the Bloset to Brain Dead…Take her off Life Supportwhat a wonderful little Blogiverse we have here, wouldn’t you agree?!

Add in Grim Reaper Girl – Part 1, or two (yup, that’s me) and thousands more self-expressing word-ists joining daily, and what have we got?

Well, seems to me, that we,  in our totality, are encouraging a bit of…diversity! Some home-grown validation, connection and acceptance..all at once.

Wow, congratulations to you Blogiverse and fellow blogging bloggers and readers! You are bringing a warring world to inspiring peace, one well-chosen word at a time.

Now, I leave you with the Stars Wars anthem (duhn duhnn…duhn duhn duhn duhhhhhnnnn duhnnnn…) probably zinging round your head...as you venture back to your bit of the Blogiverse, boldly going where 445,814 other bloggers have gone today! 

Keep up the good work, and thanks for taking me along for the ride!

Yours truly,

Recent WordPress Inductee, Megan Aronson

P.S. If I haven’t met you already, please introduce yourself below so we can unite within our divine little Blogiverse!!!! LOL!