Grief's Tomorrowland

It is the future that we are afraid of the most, when someone we love dies. 

We are afraid of tomorrow. 

Tomorrow becomes the most scary monster of all. 

You see, grief owns a big mansion inside your tomorrow. 

She has three pool houses. 

A few gardeners, boats and fancy cars.
And is sending you invitations to her big house every day. 

She has this smirk on her face while she is inviting you. 

Knowing that you have no choice but to visit her on her tomorrowland. 

And you tremble and crumble. 

You weaken and perish. 

The big mansion feels like the house of horrors. 

You try everything you can to not visit, but it is impossible. 

Tomorrow comes and there you are standing in front of the big door. 

You don’t even have to ring the bell. 

Grief opens the door and rolls out a big red carpet for you. 

“Welcome to your tomorrow.” she says. 

Showing her ultra white front teeth. 

“Come on now, don’t just stand there. 

Come on in and let me show you around.” she continues and puts her arm around you seemingly gently pushing you in. 

The door closes and you are being ushered to the kitchen. 

“Here, why don’t you sit here all day long?” Grief says and points at an old chair next to the table facing the window. 

“Don’t worry about the dishes and the empty fridge, you won’t need much here.” she says and is on her way to the other side of the table, pulling up a chair for herself. 

“Tomorrow will be here before you know it, and maybe we can spend it in the bedroom.” she says and smiles with a frozen smile. 

As soon as she says the word tomorrow, you feel nauseous. 

You wish you could lie down. 

“Yes, don’t worry.” Grief says as if she could read your mind. 

“The bedroom windows have blinds so you won’t have to see the light at all. We can head up there now if you want.” 

At that moment you remember all the many yesterdays you had in this kitchen and in that bedroom buried under the sheets. 

And this is what you do next that surprises her. And you. 

You leave the kitchen and walk outside.

She gets up and runs behind you. Yelling. 

“But this is not what normally happens when you get here in the morning. We stay in the kitchen then go to the bedroom.” she says. She is losing her words a little. 

“Yes I know.” You respond surprised with yourself a little. 

“I just felt like I needed some fresh air today. I haven’t tended to the garden since he died. I miss it.” you say and walk towards the part of the garden that has roses. 

You used to take care of them. 

You would put the big rocking chair right next to them and read your book. 

You missed it. 

Yes, you are crying. 

Yes, grief is yelling at you. 

Yes, the bedroom is calling your name from upstairs. 

But tomorrow just became today and you chose to change it, from a scary monster to a rose garden. (Click to tweet!)

And for the first time when grief mentions tomorrow to you again, there is a moment where you don’t feel as scared anymore. 

You may even drive the big car that’s been waiting to take you for a ride all this time. 

And of course you know grief will try to drive you, but let’s worry about that then. 

For now, the rose garden is waiting for you for some love and care. 

And as you can tell grief is besides herself trying to find a way to sit next to those roses, but the sun is blinding so she turns around and walks back in. 

Watching you from that window. 

Counting the minutes for your return. 

Thinking that tomorrow will be scary enough to keep you inside the house. Once again. 

But for now, well for now you don’t have to worry about that. 

You won your today. 

The sun chased grief away. 

And the rose bush garden is blooming again. 

And did I mention the car outside of tomorrowland is a bright red? 

Grief doesn’t like colors, so you do have a shot at driving. 

With many reclaimed tomorrows. And cars with all the colors of the rainbow, 

Christina

P.S. I hope you are listening to the Dear Life Podcast. 

PPS. And you have registered for the Temple World Weekend event.


20 Unconventional Books For Those Who Are Grieving

Let me start by saying the list below is not what you would expect. 

I am not a conventional grief expert. 

I wrote both of my books Second Firsts and Where Did You Go? seeking to find a voice that resonated with my kind of broken heart. 

The kind that needed answers. And a plan. 

I could not relate to the words that were shared in traditional grief books. 

Words like bereavement. Grief. Widow. 

These words made me want to bury myself under the covers and never come out. 

They made me even more nauseous than my broken heart did. 

Some were helpful at first in regards to knowing that I was not the only one feeling insanity after loss. 

For example Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking made me cry and connect with a part of my broken heart that I thought was forever lost. 

Also A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis 

Another favorite was What Remains by Carole Radziwill 

Of course Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom was so special. 

Then years later books started to become real, honest and I fell in love with When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi. 

And a few others that I share on this list. 

This list is here to help you find your way into a new chapter of life after a devastating loss such as a loss from death, a divorce, a break up. A job loss. A career loss. 

And any invisible loss that you may be experiencing. 

Grief is complex and long lasting and our society has failed to understand what is required for us to not only heal but really find our way to fully living again. (Click to tweet!)

The books below range from spirituality, health, brain science as well as physics. Understanding our universe, and figuring things out for ourselves is a key ingredient to mending our broken heart.

We have to advance our education of ourselves and the world around us if we want to redefine who we are after loss. 

Some of these books you have heard of before and some will be completely new. 

Enjoy them. 

 

The Physics of the Soul 

- Amit Goswami 

The Quantum Book of Living, Dying, Reincarnation, and Immortality

This book integrates science, spirituality and consciousness to describe concepts such as the afterlife and reincarnation. 

I believe that the truth is multidimensional and requires knowledge from many old and new concepts. 

We need to immerse ourselves in this integration of mythical and modern truths. 

 

Mysticism and the New Physics 

-Michael Talbot 

Mystics have long held that the physical world is an illusion. This book shows how quantum physics is putting forward ideas that confirm this perception. “We are not born into the world. We are born into something that we make into the world.” 

After loss we seek to understand where we came from, where we are and where we go when we die. We deserve to know the truth. 

 

The Holographic Universe 

-Michael Talbot 

Two of the world's most eminent thinkers believe that the universe itself may be a giant hologram, quite literally a kind of image or construct created, at least in part, by the human mind. 

Their theory explains not only many of the unsolved puzzles of physics but also such mysterious occurrences as telepathy, out-of-body and near-death experiences, "lucid" dreams, and even religious and mystical experiences such as feelings of cosmic unity and miraculous healings.

Read this book slowly and learn everything you need to know about our reality. I have multiple copies in my home and it was one of the inspirations for my book Where Did You Go? 

 

Beyond Biocentrism

Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death 

-Robert Lanza 

Read it slowly and take it all in. 

“I am reality without beginning. 

I have no part in the illusion of ‘I’ and ‘you,’ ‘this’ and ‘that.’

I am one without a second, bliss without end, the unchanging, eternal truth. 

I dwell within all beings as the pure consciousness, the ground of all phenomena, internal and external. I am both the enjoyer and that which is enjoyed. In the days of my ignorance, I used to think of these as being separate from myself. Now I know that I am all.” 

 

Many Lives, Many Masters

The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives

-Brian L. Weiss

When you read this book you will be transported to the author’s private office and you will feel a part of his sessions with his patient. You will believe in an endless and continuous life for us all. 

“We must accept what comes to us at a given time, and not ask for more. 

But life is endless, so we never die; we were never really born. 

We just pass through different phases. 

There is no end. 

Humans have many dimensions. 

But time is not as we see time, but rather in lessons that are learned.” 

 

The Risen 

Dialogues of Love, Grief & Survival Beyond Death 

-August Goforth, Timothy Gray 

I am surprised this book is not more well known. I believe that all of us can connect with the consciousness of our loved one. And one day many years from now this will be the norm. 

“The primary message of this book is "there is no death." The primary means by which this is accomplished is through the gradual raising of the reader's vibration, towards making contact with their own Risen loved ones. It takes trust, curiosity and time to read this book - and you will be glad you did.” 

 

Dying To Be Me

My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing

-Anita Moorjani 

In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body began shutting down—overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realized her inherent worth and the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was released from the hospital within weeks—without a trace of cancer in her body! 

 

Proof of Heaven

A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife

-Dr. Eben Alexander 

Thousands of people have had near-death experiences, but scientists have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those scientists. A highly trained neurosurgeon, Alexander knew that NDEs feel real, but are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.

Then, Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by a rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human—shut down completely. For seven days he lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back.

 

Creative Visualization

Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life

-Shakti Gawain

After loss we have to learn how to visualize the new life. The new self. The new identity. The new existence. Nothing is the same anymore. This book is a classic. Buy the workbook of it too. Work your way through the pages. And create yourself. 

“When it comes to creating the life you want, Shakti Gawain literally wrote the book. Now considered a classic, Creative Visualization teaches readers how to use their imaginations to manifest their deepest desires.”

 

The Artist’s Way 

A spiritual Path to Higher Creativity 

-Julia Cameron 

Julia teaches us to write our morning pages. And she is such a good teacher of creativity. After loss we need to engage in our creativity to heal. Without it we would be lost in the waiting room of grief forever. 

“In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to right now. The precise moment I was in was always the only safe place for me.” 

 

The Soul of Money

Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life

-Lynn Twist

Oh dear money, you give us so much more grief after loss. 

And this is why I share this book as a foundation for those who are grieving. 

We must shift our point of view of money especially when we had to overcome a tragedy. 

We have so much to learn here. I am such a student of what it means to understand the energy of money. I have a long way to go but this book is a good start. I have also seen Lynn Twist speak live at a conference in 2010 and she is mesmerizing. 

“I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to learn to solve. 

I asked for prosperity and God gave me a brain and brawn to work. 

I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome. 

I asked for love and God gave me people to help. 

I asked for favours and God gave me opportunities. 

I received nothing I wanted. I received everything I needed.” 

 

The Art of Money 

A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness

-Bari Tessler 

Bari has spent over two decades teaching her class The Art of Money with thousands of students across the globe. I hope this book gives you practical advice and tools to use in your everyday life after loss. “Enough” isn't out there; it's a relationship to what you already have. Unless you work on that first (or simultaneously with how you're making money), you will never feel like you have enough, and you will always feel poor.

 

Healthy Healing

A Guide to Working Out Grief Using the Power of Exercise and Endorphins 

-Michelle Steinke-Baumgard 

Instead of helping in the aftermath of loss, many of the books and strategies meant to guide us through grief only add to the sadness. No one understands the need for a new approach more than Michelle Steinke-Baumgard, who lost her husband in a tragic plane accident and became a widow overnight. In the darkest moment of her life, the mother of two young children found solace and hope in the unlikeliest of places: exercise. She recorded her journey in her blog, One Fit Widow, and soon had a huge community of devoted followers. Now, Michelle offers her revolutionary solution to grief to everyone struggling with their own loss.

 

Ultimate Veg

Easy & Delicious Meals for Everyone

-Jamie Oliver 

As some of you know I believe in a vegan lifestyle. I know this is not for everyone. But if you wanted to cook a veggie meal once or twice a week I hope you grab this book. When my hubby was diagnosed with colon cancer he became vegan within that first week. We need to be healthy and strong in our life after loss. 

 

The OMD Plan

Swap one meal a day to save your health and save the planet 

-Suzy Amis Cameron 

“With OMD, I never, ever want to guilt you into changing your behavior. We all know that “guilt” or “should” or “being right” doesn’t fuel meaningful and sustained change. My goal is to share how easy, fun, delicious, energizing, and gratifying plant-based eating can be. I also want to acknowledge that it can be seriously hard to change the way you’re used to eating, shopping, and cooking, so I want to help you gracefully handle the challenges of incorporating more plant-based meals into your life.”

 

From Heartbreak to Wholeness

The Hero's Journey to Joy 

-Kristine Carlson 

A guidebook for discovering how heartbreak can become the doorway to profound meaning and joy from the bestselling co-creator of the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff Series.

In 2006, after building the bestselling franchise Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff with her husband Richard, Kristine Carlson faced a shattering loss―the sudden death of her beloved spouse. Woven together with the remarkable stories of others’ loss and recovery, her deeply moving story reveals a clear process of healing that is common to everyone and goes far beyond ordinary prescriptions for getting through hard times. In her new book, From Heartbreak to Wholeness, Kristine offers a life-altering map for navigating the heroic journey from loss to joy―one that ultimately awakens readers to a deep love affair with life.

 

The Hot Young Widows Club

Lessons on Survival from the Front Lines of Grief

-Nora McInerny 

The Hot Young Widows Club isn’t just for people who have lost a spouse, but an essential tool for anyone who has gone through a major life struggle. Based on her own experiences and those of the listeners dedicated to her podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking, Nora offers wise, heartfelt, and often humorous advice to anyone navigating a painful period in their lives. Full of practical guidance, Nora also reminds us that it’s still okay to laugh, despite your deep grief. She explores how readers can educate the people around them on what to do, what to say, and how to best to lend their support. Ultimately, this book is a space for people to recognize that they aren’t alone, and to learn how to get through life’s hardest moments with grace and humor, and even hope.

 

Setting Boundaries Will Set You Free

The Ultimate Guide to Telling the Truth, Creating Connection, and Finding Freedom

-Nancy Levin 

When we are immersed in grief, our boundaries become gray. This book is a must if you feel like you are living life for others. Our family and friends feel like they have a say in regards to the choices we make after loss. They don’t. 

“This book includes exercises and practical tools to help even the most conflict-averse, people-pleasing readers learn new habits. You'll learn how to recognize and take inventory of your boundaries, view your boundaries differently by creating a Boundary Pyramid, learn how to say "no" effectively, and set your Bottom-Line Boundary.”

 

Do Less

A Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management for Ambitious Women 

-Kate Northrup 

When it comes to grief we try to run so far away from feeling pain that we end up working hard for years. We do a lot so we don’t have to feel. It took me a whole decade to learn this lesson. Kate, finds the words we need to hear to convince us that doing too much is insanity. Her book is geared towards mothers and I hope if you are a mother who lost her spouse through death or divorce and you are doing too much, to grab this book. I believe with all of my heart that when we do less we have time to heal. We have time to redefine ourselves. 

 

Soulful Simplicity

How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More 

-Courtney Carver

After loss we need to find a way to simplify our lives as grief has made it all so complicated. We need to lighten the load. Courtney is truly amazing at this. She shows us the power of simplicity to improve our health, build more meaningful relationships, and relieve stress in our professional and personal lives.

We are often on a quest for more—we give in to pressure every day to work more, own more, and do more. For Carver, this constant striving had to come to a stop when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Stress was like gasoline on the fire of symptoms, and it became clear that she needed to root out the physical and psychological clutter that were the source of her debt and discontent. 

 

Tiny Beautiful Things

Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

-Cheryl Strayed 

I am sure you know the bestselling author Cheryl Strayed from her book Wild which was also made into a movie. But Tiny Beautiful things is my favorite. Cheryl is the real deal. I have watched her climb, from a writer with no money to pay her bills to a famous author. Her voice has stayed the same. Passionate. Raw. And always telling the truth. Grab this book and put it next to your bed.

 

I have many more books to share with you but this list should keep you going for a while. Remember, grief needs to lead us to a new life, a new identity and a new chapter. If it doesn’t, we stay in what I call the Waiting Room and that is not a place to live fully or die. (Click to tweet!)

Until next time,

Christina 

PS. If you want to receive this letter in your inbox every Friday you can subscribe here: www.christinarasmussen.com/miab


How To Cross The Street In 2020 And Other Lessons

I know you want to believe in a better decade. 

One that won’t break your heart. 

One that will only bring you joy and love. 

One that will redefine you. 

Bring you good people who understand you. 

Possibly a new love or two. 

Money. Luck. And less grief. 

I want all of this too. 

But what if there was a different way to look at the new decade or the new year. 

What if there was another way to expect a new chapter for yourself. 

I don’t think we should be looking for more, for better, for other. 

But for knowing. For understanding. 

For feeling love regardless of how much love we have lost. 

This year let’s look back and see the war zones we have been a part of and how we braved ourselves through them. 

We are not here to be comfortable. 

Sail through life as if we have already died. 

We are here to be thrown in the midst of a big wave. 

And swim our way out. 

Here are my personal waves and lessons I learned from new invisible losses while navigating life reentry from the loss of my first husband. 

*These lessons apply to every kind of loss. 

**These are my personal experiences and may not apply to all. 

 

A NEW MARRIAGE 

In these last 10 years I fell in love with a new soul mate. 

But it has been so different to anything I expected. 

It is a different kind of love. 

One that is grounded in partnership. 

One that needed time to grow to be what it is. 

A second love may need a lot more time to grow than a first love. 

We come into it without innocence, without dreamy eyes. 

We bring tears within the first 24 hours. 

We have fear. Anxiety. 

We walk in to a new relationship, already tainted. 

So it starts from a different place and it requires a longer runway. 

Be open to experiencing a different kind of love and you will be pleasantly surprised. 

 

BLENDING A FAMILY 

Blending families and raising children that are not your own is not easy. 

For the first time in your life you see someone wishing you away. 

And this someone lives inside your home and you can’t run and hide. 

And this someone is a child you can’t be angry towards. 

And you think about your old life and feel like you will never be a whole family again. 

You try to parent the kids you were given and you fail every day for years. 

It doesn’t matter what you do and what you say, the way they see you without love is something you will always remember. 

My lesson from this last decade has been one of unconditional care. 

Not love. But care. That you keep caring for your step children even if they wished you were not in their life. You do what is right for your soul and your beliefs. 

You stay true to you. 

This lesson was tough. 

I couldn’t run away from it. I couldn’t change it. 

I couldn’t reenter from it. I had to let go of what I thought we could have together. 

And that letting go gave me peace. 

For those of you with blended families. 

Some of you will feel incredible love and rewards.

And some of you will never have love reciprocated or see those rewards and we need to be ok with that. 

We really can’t make our second life be inside the containers our first life was in. 

 

A NEW IDENTITY 

I became someone new in the last ten years. 

I made impossible dreams come true. 

And I realized that no matter the success, the accolades and the impossible quests ultimately they are not your life. 

The identity that is still trying to emerge after loss has nothing to do with your conquests but with how you learn to love, live and laugh again. 

That is the only reentry that matters. 

And yes, create. Yes succeed. Yes become. 

But don’t confuse it for who you are. 

I am not my books. My work. My creations. 

I am not even this letter that I have been writing since 2010. 

I am a simple woman who is struggling to love deeply without fear. 

I am a pedestrian always working on learning how to cross the street without getting hit by a car. Loss for me has been the biggest lesson. 

Losing love has been incredibly hard. 

But finally I am learning to let go and cross the street. 

I am learning to love myself again and all the people in my life for who they are and for however long they are here to stay. 

 

We are here to lose everything and everyone we love and still stand on our feet. 

And maybe we are also here to find a way to make not lemonade with lemons but calm inside the tsunami that is called life. 

Life may be an acronym for LEARN IT FOR ETERNITY. 

We are only supposed to keep the love and the lessons.

Everything else is passing. 

The perfect weight. The great car. 

The big home.

The success. The money. The jobs. 

Don’t work too hard. 

Don’t stop dancing. 

Sing even if you don’t sound good. 

Be curious about people’s lives. 

Talk to strangers. 

They are on the same trip you are on. 

They too lose everything and everyone. 

They cry at night like you do. 

And they all have a last day. 

It’s the exact same trip just different lessons for their eternity. 

Everyone is grieving. Everyone is hurting. 

2020 is going to be a year made of both sadness and joy. 

It is what it is. 

The sooner we realize that LIFE means LESSONS, 

the less loss we will experience. (Click to tweet!)

With crossing many more streets in 2020,

Christina


My Evening With Robert Redford

The ice-cold evening froze my feet as I was making my way to my 7:00pm appointment. 

The grass was stiffened with snow bursts on it. 

It was chilly. 

A December night that sounded quiet as I walked from my hotel room to the spa within the property. 

We had never been to Santa Fe New Mexico before. 

The hotel was situated just 20 minutes outside the city. 

The glacial like air I was breathing in my short walk to the spa nearly made me want to turn around and go back to my room.

I persisted with my head down walking up to the main desk to check in. 

Two smiles greeted me as if they were happy to see me. 

I smiled not baring my teeth. 

Making small talk about the weather. 

And how dark the night seemed away from all the city lights. 

They walked me to the changing room and showed me where I should go and sit after I changed. 

They pointed me towards a warm lit room with a golden fireplace, and medium size chairs all around it. 

I thanked them and proceeded to put all of my belongings inside the locker, including my phone. 

I grabbed my key and put it inside my robe pocket. 

And started to make my way towards the fireplace room to wait until someone would come and get me for the massage. 

I gently opened the door and as I looked up I saw one man sitting there.

It took me less than a second to recognize who he was. 

Robert Redford himself. 

He looked up to see me, and I think he knew, I knew. 

He was the only person in the room. 

I made a split second decision and walked towards him and sat on the chair right next to him. 

Leaving all the many chairs around us empty. 

I sat there sinking into my big robe.

No makeup, no eye shadow and my uncombed hair in a ponytail. 

Unprepared, underdressed to say the least. 

It was the most loud silence I ever heard.  

This was not like running into a famous person in the streets and asking for a photograph. This was something else. 

What forces could have orchestrated such a meeting.

We must have sat there in silence next to each other for possibly 5 to 10 min. 

Towards the end I started to doubt the experience. 

Maybe this is not Robert Redford I told myself. 

Maybe a lookalike. 

In that moment of doubt the door opened and two women walked in. 

One stood in front of me and the other infront of him. 

One said Ms Rasmussen and the other said Mr Redford

We both got up together. 

I followed the woman who said my name and he followed his. 

We turned left, they turned right. 

And that was it. I was back in my own life. 

I learned something that day. 

You can be inside an ordinary day, feeling as if the whole world is on your shoulders and something deeply extraordinary can happen. (Click to tweet!)

Something you could have never expected or imagined. 

The moments I spent sitting in silence next to Robert Redford felt like someone else’s life. 

But yet I knew it was my own. 

Incredibly unlikely, impossibly true. 

As we are traveling towards a new decade I want to remind you that at any point, and at any moment in time you can walk inside an extraordinary experience. 

As I got back to the changing room picked up my belongings and made my way out into the icy night, somehow I could no longer feel the cold. 

My feet did not stumble upon the frozen grass but instead a dark night full of stars. 

Smiling by myself walking back to my room, excited to tell my girls about what had just happened. 

And when I did the girls responded with “Mommy who is Robert Redford?” 

And I just laughed out loud, knowing this was the perfect ending to an evening I was never going to forget. 

I know you too have had a moment that defied the odds. 

Don’t you forget it. 

You live inside a universe that makes no sense, for both unexpected tragedies and miracles. 

But we spend so much time focusing on all that we lost that we forget our evening in front of the fireplace with Robert Redford. 

With a few unforgettable moments,

Christina

P.S. See you March 20th at 1440 Multiversity for an extraordinary weekend together.

Register here: https://www.1440.org/programs/faculty-led-programs/personal-growth/self-discovery/temple-journey


The Visit on December 25th

I am afraid of a thousand things. 

Afraid of losing love. 

More people. 

Moments that will never come back. 

Experiences that I will never have again. 

I grieve a thousand things every day. 

My wiser self wants to go back in time and witness everything from this self. 

The me that is here now. 

I even want to go back to my very first Holidays in deep grief. 

I want to visit with myself and just follow me around the house. 

Run next to me when I was chasing down the mailman. 

Cry with me. 

Open the door to the friends who came over and brought gifts for my girls. 

Drink coffee with me, as I was sitting alone on December 25th, 2006. 

Feel his presence at the house, especially then. 

He was there with us the first couple of years. 

We had put a gift under the tree for him, and somehow it moved on its own. 

We all gasped. 

I wish I could see that again. 

I wish I could witness my grief without all the pain. 

I wonder what I no longer remember because the grief got in the way of me staying present. 

I want to visit with myself just to see my youth in the midst of all the grief. 

I didn’t really know how very young I was then. 

Thirty four seemed old to me, if only I knew how young she really was.

I wish I could see her physical strength. 

She worked all day and took care of the kids after work until late at night. 

She was healthy then. 

In the beginning of the grief journey her body was ready for the fight, I wish I could go back to celebrate that with her. 

I want to see when it was that she started to get tired. 

When was it that grief took over?

When did she become afraid?

I want to remind her of her daughters’ joy in the midst of grieving. 

They played. They had fun in the snow. 

They giggled at their gifts. 

I want to visit with you too. 

But most of all I wish for you to have a chance to visit with yourself

I wish you can marvel at yourself.

I hope you will be able to see the courage in your breath while you are drinking that cup of coffee alone on December 25th. 

I wish that you can sit by your side and hold your own hand as if you are a wise old friend. 

And even though this day is very hard, gaze at yourself getting through each moment however much you lose each second that goes by. 

I have built a home around each memory I never want to lose. 

And that includes the moments I lost to grief, I have reclaimed them. 

By going back to visit with myself, each time I remember a new thing that the pain of grief took away. 

May you find the strength to sit back from the loneliness of December 25th, 2019 and marvel at yourself. 

And in many ways I am there with you too, keeping you company. 

Not letting you forget your courage. 

It takes a lot for a grieving heart to get through the Holidays. 

It takes a miracle. (Click to tweet!)

With many visits,

Christina

P.S. Listen in to the Holiday episodes on the podcast.

PPS. This week marks the one year anniversary of our Where Did You Go? book. Thank you for all your journeys.


Nobody Said Anything About The Physical Pain Of Grief

Nobody ever said anything about the physical pain of grief. 

The nausea. The breathlessness. 

The stiffness of the body. 

The ache at the back of the neck. 

The panic attacks that feel like a heart attack. 

The insomnia. 

The cold hands. The dizziness. 

For me, grief was always very physical. 

And it was the biggest surprise of all. 

I knew I would be broken hearted, but I didn’t know my body would suffer as much and for as long. 

There were times in my life that I didn’t think my body could make it through a grief experience. 

When Bjarne was diagnosed I slept with a paper bag on my face breathing in and out every night as I was hyperventilating for two weeks. 

When we got home on diagnosis day, I threw up. 

And when we got the news at the doctor’s office I became dehydrated fast. 

My body weakens and crumbles in front of grief. 

I remember one Sunday, months into my grief journey being alone at home, I could not be with my body. 

I couldn’t sit down. 

I could not stand still. 

Being alive was so uncomfortable. 

I could not eat anything the first few months. 

I could not swallow. 

I could not smell food. 

I could not be. 

Being inside our own bodies when we have lost someone we loved, is a very hard thing to do. 

As I am writing this letter to you, both of my hands are cold just by remembering. 

But I have been thinking about this, this week. 

Especially because the Holiday season is just around the corner and everyone is eating, drinking and are hosting dinners and parties. 

When someone is deeply grieving, their body finds it very hard to be in these gatherings. 

Grief is eating us from the inside out, while everyone else is feasting on Holiday food. 

The polarity of the experience is almost hard to believe. 

And I know it sounds gruesome. 

But how can I understate the experience of grief during the Holidays. Its ruthless. 

I will not join the world of invisibility by being polite about what it feels like to grieve during the Holidays. 

Maybe this letter will find its way to your family and friends, so they know how much your body is in physical discomfort. 

So they can take care of you more. 

The physical pain of grief is not visible in the same way as the physical pain of a wound, or a broken arm or surgery. 

People don’t know that your body is suffering as much as your heart. 

Well, let’s tell everyone. 

Everyone should know. 

And what can they do about it? 

We need lots of listening, instead of casseroles. 

Holding hands, instead of forks. 

Warm baths, instead of Holiday outings. 

Above all we need, familiar faces around us.

Not strangers with wrong words. (Click to tweet!)

I wish you less physical discomfort dear friend, and remember that I know how much your body is suffering during this time. 

I wish I could take all your physical and emotional pain away. 

I hope this letter brings you comfort in knowing you are not alone. 

With physical grieving,

Christina

P.S. Starting this Saturday December 14th and throughout the Holidays I will be sharing Dear Life Podcast episodes about grieving during the Holidays. I hope you listen in: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dear-life-with-christina-rasmussen/id1465291728


Go Back To The Battleground To Save Your Life

I had a mammogram scheduled this week, and I wasn’t just dreading it. 

I was petrified of it. 

And this was not the only time I felt terror for a simple test. 

I spent months coughing over the summer and I avoided every X ray I was offered. 

You see, when you spend years as a caregiver seeing death, destruction and lives completely changed through disease you are terrified of a simple diagnostic test. 

You have what I call Medical diagnosis phobia

I came up with this term as nothing else was close to describing the fear when I enter a diagnostic machine of any kind. 

This letter may not be as poetic as all the others, but it is equally important. 

I want to ask you to be brave when it comes to these diagnostic tests. 

I know how scary it is to have them.

Doing the mammogram this week was not fun but afterwards I went and found myself the most tasty vegan cauliflower and potato pie and celebrated my courage. 

I was proud of myself for getting the test done regardless of the terror. 

I don’t use the word terror lightly. 

For people like you and I, who have seen as much as we have it is terrifying to go back to the battle grounds. 

Today I will ask you to do just that. 

If you have a test you need to get done like a mammogram, colonoscopy, scan or you have had symptoms that you have been ignoring, please call and make the appointment. (Click to tweet!)

Then, either reply to this message just to tell me you did it, so I can celebrate with you. 

Or if you are reading this blog on social media, please write in the comment area that you called your doctor or scheduled your test. 

I want you to live a healthy and long life. 

You and I still have a big life to live and work to do here on earth. 

Let’s keep each other alive. 

I know I can’t take the fear away on that day, but I can share my fears with you so you never feel alone when you go back to the battle ground. 

With diagnosis phobia and love for my life,

Christina

P.S. I hope you are listening in: www.dearlifepodcast.com/episodes

PPS. And if you are looking for life changing gifts for your family and friends I hope you gift them Second Firsts and Where Did You Go?


A Melody And Not A Jingle

It’s the smell of food being made. 

The lights on the decorated trees. 

All, reminders of a life. That is no longer ours. 

The ghost life. 

On days such as today, we get thrown into a life that no longer exists for us, 

but we are forced to see it on others. 

People who have not experienced tragedy can’t possibly know that when they invite us to their beautifully decorated homes with the 5 course meal on the perfect table set, they might as well be scratching our wounds. 

I know, it’s harsh to say this. 

I know, I know. 

And yes, they mean well. 

They want to give us their world so we can feel better. 

But they might as well be eating their five course meal in front of a homeless man. 

Parading their luxury cars in front of people waiting for the bus. 

Need I go on?

You may ask, then what? 

What can anyone do for someone who has lost their whole world? 

For the grieving soul. 

They should have pajama parties in front of the tv for us instead. 

No meals planned. 

No home cooked pies. 

Gifts given without wrapping papers around them. 

We are alive but not fully living. 

Anchored on the edge of life. 

When life becomes vibrant around us, we may lose our grip and fall back into the abyss. 

This is why it should be a slow save. 

A gentle hand helping us up. 

The getting back should be a quiet song. 

The holiday season for those grieving, needs not be a reminder of all the things they lost, 

but a prayer for healing. 

Can you hear it?

Quiet, but yet there for us. 

Inviting, but not forcing.

A melody and not a jingle. (Click to tweet!)

Life can never get us back by reminding us of all the things we miss. 

It must slowly light the way with some popcorn, a new set of bed sheets and maybe a good glass of wine. 

Anything else, would be trying way too hard. 

With prayers, 

Christina

P.S. And if you find time to listen to a podcast or two I hope my guests and I can keep you company while you are in your pjs. www.dearlifepodcast.com

PPS. And if you know anyone who wants to subscribe to receive my letters weekly send them here: www.christinarasmussen.com/miab


Will You Come And Sit With Me?

It’s heavy in there, isn’t it? 

It is as if you are carrying a whole arena. 

One, no one can see. 

No witness to it. 

Even you, you are blinded to your own hurt. 

The heaviness, steals the words you wish you could utter. 

There is something about the weight of it, that can mask your voice. 

When we have not named our pain it feels less real. 

The less real it is, the heavier it feels.

The less seen, the more impossible to carry. 

And we become pain lifters. (Click to tweet!)

We all suffer quietly unless, well unless someone can sit with us. 

And as we sit together, the arena of hurt transitions from the unseen to the seen. 

In many ways, I am sitting with you every Friday. 

Finding the words that can unburden the shame, the stress of your job, your obligations, the ways you were treated, the men or women who hurt you. 

The hard moments you never told anyone about. 

The things you think are not worth sharing.

Especially those. 

There is so much hidden pain inside us all. 

This is why a good friendship can save our life. 

A kind stranger can free us.

To be seen from the inside is the most healing experience we can ever have. 

When I write to you about your hidden arena I am also revealing mine. 

You see, we save each other this way. 

As I am writing to you I see us sitting together on this bench. 

You were the first there and I joined after. 

Even just the act of sitting next to each other is deeply felt.

Like a big bang.

A big bang. 

That can lift the pain arena off your heart once and for all. 

Mine too. 

With a lot of sitting together, 

Christina

P.S. Join me at The Temple World Event. You can register here: https://www.1440.org/programs/faculty-led-programs/personal-growth/self-discovery/temple-journey

PPS. For those who have not read my book that reveals the Temple World, you can check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Did-You-Go-Life-Changing/dp/0062689622

 


Catch Me If You Can

I was trying to explain how I feel to someone new in my life.

She seemed lost.

I could see it in her eyes, she just stared at me in silence. 

She was struggling. Trying to understand me. 

Attempting to respond with the right words. 

She was failing, for me and for her. 

And it hit me. 

People like you and I live in many worlds. 

We live in this life, in our old life, in a life we wish we could have. 

In the future. 

In many versions of the future. 

In the dreams we have at night. 

In the invisible world. 

The list is long. (Click to tweet!)

When you meet someone new, what can you really say that could capture who you are now? 

You are many selves. 

The old self, the current transitional self, and the future self are all overlapping. 

You are also occupying many lives. 

Your past, present and future life. 

It’s like you can jump from one world to another in one sentence and they can’t catch up. 

Sure you can slow it down for them. 

Sure you can tone it down by talking about one world at a time. 

But it will feel as if you are sharing only a small part of you. 

Your conversations will fall flat. 

And this is why it feels so lonely after loss. 

You see, your loss has added multiple inner worlds and you live in them simultaneously. 

So you go out every day thinking everyone else also lives in many worlds. 

And they don’t. 

They don’t know how to travel with you.

It took me many years to understand what the empty look I got from others was all about. 

They are not judging. 

They are not hating. 

They are just trying to understand what we are telling them. 

And they can’t catch up sometimes. 

Not because we are smarter than them, but because we are no longer living in a linear way. You jump outside of time and space a hundred times a day after loss. 

You go in your memories. 

Then you go into all the possible futures. 

Then you come back in your present. 

And you do all of this fast.

The saying, ‘Catch me if you can.’ takes a whole other meaning for people like us. 

With many worlds,

Christina

P.S. One of the worlds I live in every day is the TEMPLE WORLD, from my book Where Did You Go? 

I hope you come and spend a weekend with me in Northern California so we can travel outside of time and space together. REGISTER HERE: https://www.1440.org/programs/faculty-led-programs/personal-growth/self-discovery/temple-journey