I have to share my annual sappy Christmas post! It’s become tradition. It has also become tradition for one or more of my family members to make me cry when opening gifts. This year did not disappoint. The award for “make Mom sob” goes to my oldest son, John Wellbrock. So, here’s the story:
When John was 2 months old, he suddenly developed an illness which made it difficult for him to breathe. He was admitted into Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where he spent 10 days literally fighting for his life. His oxygen saturation was dropping into the low 90’s and at one point into the 80’s. He would cough and cough and cough and cough and NOTHING could stop it . . . except . . . when I would sing “Come Monday” by Jimmy Buffet to him. You see, when I was pregnant with John, Jimmy had just released his 4 disc album set “Boats, Beaches, Bars & Ballads” and his dad and I would blast it through the house for hours on end. This baby LOVED Jimmy Buffet from in utero! So, there I stood, over his crib, wires and tubes attached to his precious little body, my tired momma arms caressing his sweet little face as I sang him his favorite song. Over and over again. And he would catch his breath.
For 10 days this went on. I refused to leave his side. I told everyone who kept suggesting I go home and rest, “I don’t want him to ever open his eyes and not see his mommy standing there, praying for him and taking care of him”. The doctor told me he could die and I was not about to let that happen.
Call it exhaustion or be a believer, but on Thanksgiving night 1993, after I had nibbled at the plate of turkey and the fixings that my mom had delivered me, I sat in the rocking chair, watching my baby boy struggle to breathe. I drifted off to sleep, the light dim in the room, shining from the crack beneath the bathroom door. My eyes suddenly opened when I felt a presence in the room. A peacefulness enveloped my body as I silently watched a magnificent being of light stand at the foot of John’s metal hospital crib. This angel or heavenly being, just watched him. And he stopped coughing and studied. I knew in that moment that John was going to be okay as tears streamed down my face.
John was released soon after and had no long-lasting residual effects from his illness. They never did give us a definitive answer to what was making him ill. They labeled it an “echo virus” and said it was similar to Whooping Cough, but all of those cultures kept coming back negative.
Jump to Christmas 2016. My beautiful son, wrote me a poem about this time in our lives together. He made this gift . . . his words, his creation, our moment captured.
Forever I will remember that “Come Monday it’ll be alright . . for come Monday I’ll be holding you tight.”
Goals for 2017 include continued self-care, cultivating peace in my life, experiencing continued connectedness. This morning before heading off to work, I took some “T” time.
I’m currently reading 13 different books but my favorite is “The Gifts of Imperfection”. If you’re looking for an amazing read, pick this book up.
I also wrote in a Gratitude journal, with today’s instructed subject: “To learn from our enemies is the best way to loving them: for it makes us grateful to them” . . . not that I have “enemies”, per se, but a difficult subject to write about in a grateful way, nonetheless.
Finally, I took a few minutes to mindfully color. Just breathe and settle into my day.
Take care of yourself in some way today. Whether big or small. You are so very worth it ?
I wish you a life filled with an abundance of joy, tranquility, laughter and love.
I know this sounds dramatic, but this is the truest statement I have ever shared: yesterday forever changed my life. I cannot go into great detail as I would violate the trust of several others. However, I do want to share my experience with a semi-synopsis.
I discovered yesterday that prayer and love combined are the most powerful force in the universe. If we pray for those who have hurt our hearts and souls and do so with an abundance of love in our hearts, miracles can happen. Miracles will happen. Without a doubt.
We are surrounded by angels and guides and God’s light. I know this without reservation now. I have prayed my entire life, but it wasn’t until these past few months that I prayed with so much passion and from a place of utter desperation (not for myself but for another), that I finally understood the connection.
My heart and soul have been freed via a profound and beautiful experience. Perhaps some day I can share the details. Maybe in a future book.
A beautiful friend was once sitting in a dark church all alone, praying, when my deceased father gave her a message for me. I know I’ve shared this message before, but it begs repeating:
I finished the book proposal. I told myself I wanted it done mid-January. And, look at that. Turned it in to my editor by Jan 15th! This sample chapter turned out even better than I had dreamed. Inspiration was flowing through me. #mymuserocks
As I conversed with my amazingly talented editor, Alee, earlier today, I have to admit I was pretty blown away by how this process is unfolding. It’s as if the stars are aligning and I am seeing the path before me in this magnificent illumination of light. As Alee and I tossed around branding ideas for my new website, the themes for all of my endeavors came into clear focus: healing, hope, empowerment. She loved the idea of “hope for healing” which was the Tristate Trauma Network’s fall conference Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) banner theme.
This book, Unicorn Shadows . . . a story of hope.
Our Sammie therapy dog role and our Sammie’s Bundles of Hope Project . . . healing through therapy animal services and a hope-inspired project.
My podcast, The Healing Place Podcast . . . a safe space to share stories of healing and hope.
My upcoming speaking tour with a brilliant friend and leader in the TIC arena . . . continued sharing of the “hope for healing” message.
These four areas of concentration are practically full-time jobs in and of themselves. Yet, I find myself energized and in a constant state of creative movement. I should be exhausted! However, here I sit, mulling over digital makeover suggestions; talking to the President/CEO of Hay House Publishing, Reid Tracy, on the phone during a Q&A session tonight; creating new business cards with my soon-to-be-released www.teriwellbrock.com displayed in happy purple font; designing labels for our Sammie’s Bundles of Hope “Hope Folders” for care-givers; and editing my sample chapter in the book proposal.
This is really happening.
My suggestion to anyone out there hoping to make their dreams come true . . . take one step toward that dream right now. Research something. Make a call. Send an email. Write your short-term or long-term goals out. Put your dream out into the universe on social media. Then tomorrow . . . take another step. And the next day . . . yet, another. And do not stop moving toward that dream until you are sitting in your favorite space one evening, around 8:15 pm, and your heart starts to smile as your soul whispers to it, “This is really happening”.
My little sister, Katie, and I hopped on a Frontier flight out of CVG, headed for Orlando, FL, on October 20, 2017. This was a big flippin’ deal for me! The girl with a thirty year history of severe panic attacks had decided her dreams were bigger than her fears . . . and the present-day pull on my soul was greater than the haunted whisperings of my past. I sent up a few prayers. Okay. I sent up a few hundred prayers, climbed on board (but, not before caressing the smooth white finish of the jet, peaking out from behind the end of the jet bridge, reminding it to “fly safely”) and strapped myself in, a rosary in one hand and my favorite green fluorite stone in the other.
The flight was smooth. I may have even taken a millisecond glance out the window, just for the sake of saying, “Yeah. I looked.” I lost myself in my Mindfulness coloring book, focusing on the strange joy which dances around my head as I watch the white of the page transition to neon and glitter shades as my gel pen scurries between the lines. Katie and I chatted about writing our books, wondering out loud what awaited us at the Hay House Writers’ Workshop, and celebrated the idea of experiencing our first-ever sister trip. Alone. No parents. No kids. No spouses. We were on an adventure together, reminiscent of those nights before Dad’s bedtime stories, spent pretending Katie’s waterbed, clad in its rainbow comforter, was a boat, lost and adrift on a vast blue ocean. We could see the island in the distance . . . a yellow throw rug in the shape of a hang-ten foot . . . too far to swim toward safely. Sharks were surrounding us. Yet the boat was sinking! We would dive from the bed, belly crawling our way through the shark-infested waters, yelling to each other, “Save the babies! Save the babies!” And one or the other would scoop up the Drowsy Doll, in her pink polka-dotted pajamas, blonde hair sticking straight up on end from too many years of being carried around by those locks. The other would grab the naked doll we had named Johnny, giving his belly a good squeeze so he would return a long squealing doll cry from that squeaky hole in his bottom. We always made it safely to shore, snuggled up and giggling on the foot rug, grateful for the momentary reprieve from our real-life traumas. Our grown-up adventure was bound to be the same.
We worked our way through the maze of the Orlando airport, tired and ready to crash in our resort room, eventually chasing down the Super Shuttle, as it pulled out of the parking space on the transportation platform. Scurrying into the back seat, I buckled myself in, and contemplated throwing my travel blanket over my head. I-4 traffic, at rush hour, on a Friday night. Oh, boy. I do not drive on highways. Ever. Or bridges. I have issues even being a passenger on little highway jaunts. Reminding myself I was on a soul-adventure and my calling to share my “story of hope” far surpasses my over-ingrained phobias, I took a deep breath and prepared myself for departure.
“We must pick up one more passenger,” announced the driver, his accent thick.
Where is this person going to sit? On my lap? I pondered as I tried to scooch over closer to my sister.
As the woman climbed into the backseat, she joked about fondling me, in her attempts to find the seat belt latch positioned under my ass. I laughed along and helped her out by crawling on top of my sister. Cozy. This could either help my highway nerves tremendously or trigger some of my “feeling trapped” anxiety. So, I came up with the ultimate in solutions . . . I closed my eyes!
A voice from my left addressed me about ten minutes into our ride and asked, loud enough for all to hear, “Teri, why are your eyes closed?” Yep. My sister.
Have you NOT been paying attention for the last thirty years?
Deep breath in. “Because I have highway anxiety. Closing my eyes helps.”
Then the voice from my right chimed in, “Really? Do you mind my asking why you have highway anxiety?”
I’m an open book. So, I shared the quick version of my trauma history and resulting C-PTSD diagnosis: alcoholic parent, physical abuse in childhood, multiple molestations, date rape, bank robbery with a co-worker stabbed with a hunting knife, bank robbery with a co-worker shot and murdered. Just the highlights. My eyes sealed shut even tighter.
The voice from the right, even softer in tone than a few moments earlier, “I am a trauma therapist.”
My eyes shot open.
Are you fucking kidding me? Of all the people in the world to squish in next to me on a shuttle ride, through rush hour traffic on a crazy busy highway in a city far from home, she turns out to be a trauma therapist! You rock, God!
My eyes locked onto the gentle gaze of a beautiful soul. Our smiles exchanged in new-found friendship. Paulette, the trauma therapist from Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada, began sharing calming strategies. “Move your right foot up, toes lifted, while keeping your left foot down. Now alternate. Back and forth. As if doing a dance. One, two, three. One, two, three.” My feet tapped to the soft lilt of her instructions. My mind focused on the waltz happening in this shuttle. Far from the traffic zooming by, I was caught up in learning a new coping skill.
Almost an hour later, we halted the conversation, as we pulled into the Omni Resort drive. Our chatting had not paused since the moment Paulette had reached out with a hand to hold in heavy I-4 traffic. I now had an armful of coping strategies to add to my already overflowing toolbox of learned skills. I guess it’s time for a bigger toolbox!
It is time. Time to share my story. My family and friends have heard snippets. My therapist has sat on the floor of my dark closet, by my side, as I tore open the long-sealed and hidden storage boxes of my memories, as I rifled through their contents, sometimes in terror, other times in awe. It is time to dump those contents onto the floor and allow others to sort through the trauma and find hope in the chaos. It is there. I promise.