New Blog, New Theme as of June 4

Thank you to all  my friends, some whom I know, some whom I would love to know, who read Memoirs from My Two Lives.

 When I broke my ankle in December, I didn’t see any redeeming quality to what had happened and I blamed bad luck, as I am born on a 13th. However, I must admit that there would have been no other way to pin me down for almost three months. This time gave me the opportunity to write, unless I wanted to go crazy with boredom.

There is some good in everything that happens to us and the biggest  surprise was when I looked at the  blog stats and saw that almost 1,700 viewers chose to accompany me on this  journey,  and they were not my mother or my kids. I am divorced, so they weren’t my husband(s) either. But the time had come when that journey ended. I notice many people check daily for new postings and I miss blogging daily.

I  would lie to begin a more interactive blog on a lighter theme which would be of interest to many. Who didn’t have experiences with dating? Good, bad or funny?  

The new blog will be on the theme of: The Ups and Down of Dating.

 We all have good and bad experience when it comes to dating and I encourage and hope you to share your own stories. You may choose a pen name, if you would like to be anonimous, and your story  could be as short as 100 words or as long as 1,000. 100 words. No tragedies please. This is meant to be an upbeat blog where people laugh  and hopefully relate to our stories in some way.

The new blog will be  launched on  June 4, which will mark 30 years since I came to America, a date which is very meaningful for me, as I  lived exactly 30 years in Romania and 30 years in America!

The new blog:

Patience not My Virtue

 I was hoping for more suggestions or comments on my suggestions, but I only received one: A Diagogue about what makes us happy.

I thought the suggestion was valuable but I could not think of the format and the person who proposed didn’t yet get to me with what he had in mind in terms of format.

I am a great believer in Laughter and I am considering as the next theme:

“Stories that made me smile”

I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t feel happy when laughing and in a good mood, so the theme takes into consideration the suggestion.

I don’t have time to post before the end of May, but Internet dating Stories will start the Series

Do you think this is a good idea?

Please comment by a short yes or no and of course more than you feel like it.

Ideas Needed

Hello friends,

Overall, I am finished blogging about Memoirs from My Two Lives and will start a blog with a new theme.

I am still brain-storming (with myself, so far) as to what would be a good, attractive theme?

I’d really appreciate your suggestions.

Here are some of my ideas:

1.Too old to date too young to be alone — experiences of internet dating and other romantic disasters

2. Single parenting — what happens when parents divorce?

3. The unexpected expected —

4. Things you thought could only happen to others but they happened to you and yours.

5   Can you laugh at yourself? Funny stories from our daily lives.

6. A Little Bit of Everything — a combination of all the above themes.

Your thoughts are much appreciated.

Please leave comments.

I plan to resume blogging after May 20.

Have a good weekend everyone.


A Final Commentary

I would like to say a temporary good-bye, by asking the readers of this blog a question which for the  last few weeks had been on my mind:

Do you think Kate Middleton,used positive affirmations to  become who she is today?

 I could just close my eyes and imagine this beautiful middle-class young woman looking into the mirror and reciting to herself:

“I shall become the future Queen of England!”

Because… fate has nothing to do with with it!

Immigrants and “real” Americans… Fate or Positive Thinking?

When I started this journey of writing

 my memoirs, was because I broke an ankle and was stuck in my bed! I named it “Memoirs from My Two Lives,” because I am an immigrant. 

Many of you  chose to accompany me  on this writing journey, thus making it a pleasure for me to continue to write. I thank you.

I started this journey when I was really angry because I broke my ankle and that was the last thing I needed to happen at the time. I had just moved near Harrisburg and had no friends here! Now I have good neighbors and we care about one another.

In December, when I started to write, I had to cancel a trip to California to visit my younger  daughter and meet her husband I was also hoping to see my oldest, now in Medical School at Harvard. The broken ankle ruined my plans!

 Fate or Positive Thinking? What determines our lives?

I shared with you my personal journey because this is the only one I know intimately, but I hope some of the things I shared will make some of you think of their own lives.

 Now, at the end of this journey, I am asking again:

Is it Fate that determines what happens to us, or could we change everything by the way we think? Could I have “wished” to be born in America instead of Romania?

My personal conclusion is that it’s a little of both, we are born with a certain fate, but it’s the way we look at it, what we do with what is given to us that determines our life.

I might imagine that three days after her marriage to Prince Charming, Cinderella put back her rags and cleaned the kitchen floors, or that the Prince, after a while turned back into a frog because this was his comfort zone…

However, I chose to imagine they lived happily everafter! Choices, it is the choices we make with what is handed on our plates of life  that matter. Of course this is a personal conclusion and in America we have the freedom to say what we believe.  This is why so many people chose to come here.

I am an immigrant from Romania and I have lived half my life in Romania and half my life here. I am bilingual and I had the unique opportunity to live in two cultures, two lives and to conclude that we are not that different after all.

It is not the economics of life but the emotions common to the human race, not Americans, Mexicans, Romanians or Australians, that make us who we are. We may express our emotions differently, but they are the same emotions for all

It is the inside, not the outside which defines us as The Human Race. A superior race!

The Gift that Keeps on Giving!

Suicide of someone close, no matter if you loved or hated them, will leave life-long consequences. However, it is up to the individual to allow the tragedies in our lives as an entitlement for self-destruction.  In other words, if something bad already happened, it could become a justification for slowly destructing one’s life, generally by self-neglect of one’s health, by using substances to numb the pain instead of facing it and learning from the past so it may never happen again.  Someone i love beyond words recently told me she never liked therapy.  Neither do I. Therapy is hard work, unplesant at times because it forces one to look inside, at the only person one cannot walk away from: SELF.  Perhaps other therapies, such as massage and facials could be used in addition to psychotherapy to make the process easier.  No, psychotherapy is not pleasant but if one is lucky to work with a good therapist and is willing to look inside the self, then miracles may happen.  The past is not repeated over and over again, the patterns which lead to delf-destruction by making the wrong choices are changed and replaced by true self-love and appreciation. We learn to chose the right partners because we see at last our worth, that we deserve to be appreciated, cherrished, truly loved. Yes, love starts at home, and the home is the self!  

After a suicide, there are  degrees of pain, confusion, anger, sadness, depending on our relationship with the person we lost, the age when it happened and again, as the psychiatrist said, that “bucket of resilience,” we were blessed with upon birth.

Following Kevin’s death, our family, already desintegrated, disintegrated further because, as my daughters so well expressed, now they lost the hope of ever regaining their father’s closeness, love, approval. They were both teenager, both females and needed then more than ever the admiration of the first man they ever knew, their father.  At the time of his death, they were angry at him, angry because he had chosen to be absent from their lives, from our life and death troubles, such as my cancer diagnosis, disability and loss of business. Still, they were hopeful and he died, he chose to die and no questions would ever be answered by him.For the wounds to be healed we needed to give ourselves answers and many times have suspended judgement, accept things as they were. He took away forever that dream of hope for reconciliation, however we had thechoice to allow the past to destroy our future. It was a choice to learn from it and make a better, more meaningful life from what happened, or justify self-destruction because bad things happened anyway! Yes, it was a choice! The choice to numb and self-destruct is easier, the one to understand and move on to true self-love and in a better place, takes time and work. it takes detrmnation and the willigness to make choices.

The immediate impact  of Kevin’s death was anger and because the Holidays were coming, we all decided to bestow our anger on the Holidays.   As a result we stopped celebrating both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yeah, let’s take it on the Holidays, they were still there, they didn’t betray us, so now we were betraying them!

2005 was the year when all our Christmas treasures, all the memories we created every year, all the decorations, went right in the trash! No, we had no memories, it was all a lie and lies belonged in the trash!

I could not remember what made me do the research on the beginning of the institution of marriage, how and why it first started, but what I remember from the research was that in ancient times marriage had the purpose to provide for the safety of the woman and children, to give children a safe environment. The notion of romance was introduced much later, and if the husband, whose duty in old times was to provide for his family died, then it became the responsibility of his brothers to take care of the orphaned children. I was a divorced woman, a single parent of two teenage daughters. What family?

We did not live in ancient times, we had no family, we were the three of us and our friends to begin a journey through the Hell of recovery from a suicide loss!

Each of us reacted differently and at different times after the loss of Kevin, the fear of losing our home, the divorce, my illness and the loss of the overall dream of security  we once had.

 It was all a lie, pretense, and my daughters were determined to build their own lives, alone, because, as I interpreted it, those who should have taken care of them, didn’t. We, the parents, betrayed them. Their father bailed out, but I was alive, responsible. How was I going to continue, at least try to protect them when they were about to fly out of the so-called nest? How was I going to do it from a distance when I had failed while they lived with me?

Out of respect for my daughters and becauseI believe they have their own stories to tell if and when they chose, I will not talk in detail about their reactions, their pain, confusion and what is still, in my opinion, a wound that still needs mending, so that these two amazing young women could live their lives to the fullest.

I have faith, they will each accept and resolve their healing  at their own pace, in their own, unique way.  We are given choices and consequences, and not choosing is in fact a choice.

 What I would say, is that both my daughters flew out of our nest as soon as possible. I  chose tostay in the house which carried the memories of divorce, illness and now suicide, while my only family, my daughters, chose to go away, away from the memories of pain and disaster, and I was happy they did. I encouraged them to go as far away as possible. In Romanian we have a saying, “change your place of living, you change your luck.” I hoped they will have better luck elsewhere, however I also know change requires work and further choices to make, otherwise the pattern will repeat. 

But my children were my lifeline, should I have stayed or move far away? Should I have locked myself in the house and slowly die of sadness, anger, confusion, all stirred in the depth of my soul…

I wasn’t even understanding what happened, why it happened… I knew nothing about suicide because suicide never happened in one’s immediate family, oh no, it always happened to others!  However, when it happened to you, it was like the “elephant in the room,” nobody talked directly about it. He died of “sudden, “unexpected” death.

For instance, if  he died of a heart attack only if it were a heart attack, we’d speak about it and send emails about the symptoms of avoiding a heart attack, now that it happened to someone in our immediate family.

Not so with suicide! We didn’t speak about it and if on top of it,  the church  where the family belonged believed suicide was a “sin,” then those left behind were really screwed, as the image of  Hell needed to be addressed.

Our church, thank God, didn’t believe, or said anything about Hell. Now I felt I was on my own to figure out where did his soul go? Oh, no!  I had two souls to worry about, my mother, an atheist, and my ex-husband, who took himself the gift God gave him, the gift of life. It was true,   suicide may be interpreted as murder against oneself and therefore not obeying the 6th Commandment, however my research showed that in the case of suicide, the Bible does not clearly state that those who kill themselves go to Hell! In fact, the only unforgivable sins are rejecting Christ (Mark 16:16) and blasphaming the Holy Spirit. (  If this held true, my mother, not Kevin went streight to Hell, a rather unsettling thought, because she was a doctor, she saved many lives and did the best she knew how with what she had available during her life on Earth.

This approach to trying and understand the complexity of where the soul goes, life, death, suicide, atheism and above all the immediate, ardent fear of what was going to happen to my daughters, how were they going to handle these tragedies in the long run, especially that they were away from my protective eyes consumed me day and night! I could only protect them with my thoughts and prayers. I felt helpless and worried …

There was also an immediate personal  effect Kevin’s  suicide had on my personal life. I lost the desire to ever have another mate. I would never trust my  judgement of men. How could I not have known he had a gun and bullets in our home he was not a pacifist and for the entire over twenty years we lived a lie! After his death, the girls confessed when I was going to work every evening, he was never feeding them, but cooking for himself alone, that the chair didn’t break because he sat on it but because in a fit of rage against the children, he broke the chair, but then asked them to not tell me.  Secrets. Dark secrets. I lived in the mist of dark secrets for twenty years and didn’t even dream of them. Who was the man I married? What else didn’t I know and was going to jump out of some closed to bite me when I least expected it?

Years of therapy helped me scratch the surface of the multitude of problems facing us. I needed more to understand the root of the problems!

As 60% of the married population we ended up in divorce, further more Kevin ended up as another statistic which at the time, was, every 17 minutes a person ends their life…

I was given a full plate in this life-time, but don’t they say, “God never gives you something you can’t handle?” God knew I was strong!

The little girl  in me, the same one who ran away from home at the age of five, defying the nanny, and crossed the street to play in the park alone, because nobody was willing to take her, emerged once again.  Strangely, this was the story my mother always told people about me: I was determined, I was brave, I had a mind of my own!

My choice after the dire circumstances of 2005 was to try and understand my past, what happened to my daughters whileIi was convinced I offered them a childhood of security and happiness, unlike mine.

I decided  to understand the dillusions of my past before stepping into my future, so that the patterns of the past might never destroy my life again!

In addition to  the regular Al Anon meetings, now I was attending a Suicide Loss support group and I was so active in both groups, soon I was elected the  group representative of the Al Anon group, and trained to become a facilitator  for a suicide loss support group.

As if this was not enough, in 2008, at the age of 58, I applied and was accepted in graduate school, a Master’s  program at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia.  The major, Clinical Psychology and Counseling.

At the present time, I am one course away and 300 hours of internship, from earning my M.S. in Clinical Psychology.

Life continued to happen, good and bad, and some of my goals needed readjustment.

In spite of all the hardships, I will never, ever stop wanting to cross that street and play in the park of life… unless, of course, a car runs me over. However, the good news is, I have learned to only cross on green and even when I cross on green, I still look both ways!