Missing mom…8 Lessons learned from losing a loved one

Twenty years ago my beautiful mother, Faith Suzanne Bonnell Bourne – Bonnie as everyone knew her, passed away from colon cancer.

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My beautiful mom just weeks before she passed away

She was 53.

I was 29.

I was married only 4 years at the time and we hadn’t yet started to have children.

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Losing anyone you love is difficult. Losing them so young feels unimaginably overwhelming. Before she passed away, I feared that I would go right after her from pure heartbreak.

She was my best friend. She was my mom for goodness sake, the person who carried me for 9 months and brought me into this world. The person who loved me UNCONDITIONALLY and BELIEVED I could do ANYTHING!

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In the past two decades so much has happened in my life, both good and bad. I have struggled through some very dark, sad days when I missed her more than ever, to be able to talk to and hear her sound advice. And I have experienced overwhelming moments of pure joy and gratitude for all that I have in my life today, despite the loss and hardship.  Today, we are raising three of the most amazing young ladies who my mother would have adored, and who would have loved her right back. I ache for my children who never got the chance to meet her, spend time with her and be loved by her.

My mom was crazy, inspiring, childlike, feisty, spirited, loving, lovable and so much more. She was that unforgettable presence that lit up the room when she walked in. The one everyone asked after and told funny stories about.

Having her pass away just days before Christmas put a real wrench into the JOY of this holiday for many many years after her death. Despite the fact that I had children shortly after she died, Christmas was just not fun for me for about 8 years (8   L-O-N-G years I might add). I suppose I needed that time to grieve, but I missed out on a lot of fun with my own girls by allowing myself to be stuck in the “loss” for so long.

Even if you have lost a loved one in any other month than December, Christmas is a time for family being together and it can be a real trigger for sadness when that loved one is so obviously missing from the festivities.

With age, comes growth and wisdom and the understanding of what life is all about. I have learned many things over the years and decided to share some of what I have learned to help ease the journey for anyone mourning the loss of a loved one at this challenging time of year

  1. Give yourself permission to cry

I say this to everyone. I held in my tears, the best I could, for so long, to appear strong. In the end I think it weakened me inside. Crying is a beautiful, therapeutic way to release emotion. Let it flow. I have discovered that the recovery time is much faster when I give myself permission to cry, and it is incredibly healing.

2.     Speak about them

When someone passes away, people around us tend to stop talking about our loved one out of fear it will trigger us to “think” about them, which could make us feel upset (or God forbid CRY). The best thing you could do is to speak about them, reminisce about what they did that was funny, tell stories, share pictures or videos of them with friends and loved ones. Doing this eases the pain for the survivors and allows us to celebrate their life – something we do not do enough of. This helps keep their spirit alive and honour their life!

3.    Create NEW traditions

No you don’t have to entirely abandon the traditions you had established when they were still alive, but being open to morphing and changing your traditions, layering in new things, is an important step in healing. Feel the gratitude of all the joy they brought when they were alive AND acknowledge how much they would have loved certain things (NEW or OLD).

4.   Take time to LOOK at what you DO HAVE

We can get so bogged down in the feeling of  sadness and loss that we actually MISS what is right in front of us. Our families, significant others, spouses, children are here with us TODAY, creating NEW memories and looking to us to bring meaning to our celebrations and our time together. Take the time to look into the eyes of the people you LOVE who are standing right next to you and HONOUR their presence and LIFE. There is no greater tribute you can give to those with you now, to yourself and to those you have lost. Life truly does pass by so fast for us all, and time is the one thing we cannot get back, so make the most of the time you have today because one day, this season, this year, will also be a distant memory.

5.   Believe that time WILL heal the pain

I remember people saying the phrase to me, “Time heals all wounds.” I can tell you when my mother’s death was fresh and raw, that was the last thing I wanted to hear. It actually felt dishonourable to think that one day the pain of losing her would fade away as if she didn’t matter. Well, over time, I have discovered that that couldn’t be further from the truth. There will forever and ever be many many spaces in your heart reserved only for your loved one, filled with memories and love, that will, for all eternity be a part of your soul. They have helped shape the very fabric of WHO YOU have become and those can never be taken away.  It is a beautiful thing to LOVE someone so deeply and come to realize that that love NEVER goes away and that by YOU continuing to live your life, shine your light, share your tales and stories of the person you have lost, with your friends and loved ones, for generations, you have created immortality for them. The pain WILL lessen as time passes. You WILL still cry. They WILL live on in you every single day and that is a pretty magical, underrated quality of living and loving.

6.    Know that it IS better to have LOVED and lost than never to have loved at all

Another phrase that used to scare me. The fear of “losing” someone I love and surviving with any quality of life seemed pretty remote. I believe that the very BEST part of being HUMAN is our capacity to LOVE, in a myriad of different ways. We are at our BEST when we are loved, and when we LOVE in return. Although I miss my mother like crazy every single day, I would not be who I am without HER, without my love for her and her love for me and in the end that is all we have and all that we keep with us.

7.    Find GRATITUDE in TODAY

Gratitude is a feeling of “appreciation and thanks” for all that we DO HAVE! Gratitude is the single best way to shift our energy from sadness to feeling better. We can find gratitude in so many different things – big and small. We can find gratitude for the fact that we are HERE today with the chance to make life better for ourselves and those around us, gratitude for the life we are living, gratitude for all that we have learned not only through the loss of our loved one, but also through their life and their impact in our own life, gratitude for the opportunity to love more and share more and give more, gratitude for the ability to live amazing MOMENTS today that will last a lifetime in the hearts and souls of those around us long after we are gone. You will not be grateful for their “death” it is sad and heartbreaking, but we can be grateful for their LIFE and how much richer in spirit we are for having had them in our life for the time that we did. Gratitude for today is healing.

8.    A commitment to LIVE your BEST life

Death is a reminder that life is precious. It is a reminder of WHY it is important to TRULY LIVE with passion, courage, truth, abundance, forgiveness, openness to new challenges and always leading with LOVE!! As I celebrate my mother’s life, I have also over the years taken time to reflect on the things she shared with me that she wished she had done, the regrets she had. I am reminded that life is fleeting and it is our duty to LIVE our very BEST life imaginable, to leave the world better than we found it, to forgive and to LOVE with passion so that there are no regrets. So that we can leave behind a legacy of love that will forever remain tucked away in the little corners of peoples’ hearts whose lives WE have touched while we are here.

I hope you gain some peace from what I have shared from my own experience of loss and that even one nugget will help you navigate your way with grace, through the holidays. I wish you nothing but LOVE and beautiful moments celebrating LIFE at this wonderful time of year.

Always remember one person can make a difference…that one person is you.

With much love always,

Kim xo

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The other day after I dropped my daughter off for a class downtown, I parked my car in a lot near a Starbucks, packed up my bag with my computer and headed down the street dressed with my heels and fashionable black winter coat. Visions of steamy almond milk chai lattes and getting caught up on some work while I waited for Madison to finish her class, danced in my head as I braved the cold evening air.FullSizeRender-29 copy

But half way between my car and the Starbucks, an older man dressed in a raggedy thin winter coat, wearing baggy pants and tattered shoes appeared as if out of nowhere, walking towards me. His hand was held out in front of him, a few shiny sliver coins in his palm.

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While I was moving at a fast pace – he was slowly shuffling directly in my path.

In seconds I looked this man from head to toe and realized his situation. I slowed down as I approached him and as we made eye contact I could see such a beautiful, kind sparkle in his blue eyes. He was older, and his soft voice had a faint Scottish accent. I instantly thought of my husband’s grandfather, a soft spoken but fiercely proud man and I wondered how this man had gotten to this point? Did he have a wife? Children? Family anywhere who loved him and wanted to protect him? A million thoughts ran through my mind as I automatically began to dig in my coat pocket for change. Not one to carry much cash around, I pulled out one nickel from my pocket and dropped it in his hand. As it clanged with the other few coins, I apologized for only having 5cents – but still he was so grateful and his eyes lit up with such a beautiful smile.

I suddenly remembered my daughter had paid me back with a $10.00 bill for something I had picked up for her the other day and I had shoved it in my back pocket for my latte as I bolted out the door from home.

As the older gentleman began to shuffle down the street, I called out, wait I think I have more money for you sir. I reached into my back pocket and found the $10.00. I was SO HAPPY I had an instant of feeling of hitting the jackpot. I reached out and put the money in his hand as he turned back towards me. I said, “Please get yourself something to eat,” and I turned to walk away.

He gently closed his hand around mine and pulled me in to hug me, kissing me on each cheek. “God bless you, God bless you. Thank you so much, thank you so very much!” He said looking straight in my eyes. It all happened so fast, but it felt like everything was slowed down. As I locked in on his gaze, I could see his eyes were glossy and tears quietly trickled down the sides of his face.

I walked away, speechless.

A mix of emotions and feelings flooded my heart and mind and I felt grateful for the encounter. For the reminder that the simplest of connections can have a great impact and leave you feeling changed, renewed, appreciative.

If you have a car, a warm coat (or two), money in your bank, a job, a bed, a home, people who love you – be grateful. You have a LOT! If you have a little bit EXTRA, food or money, give it to someone you pass by who is living on the streets. No judgement, just love. It will benefit YOU as much as it does THEM!

In the hustle and bustle of life, we sometimes forget how very fortunate we are. Every person is, at the core, the same, regardless of circumstances. Take a moment to acknowledge one another with love in your heart. These connections are gifts from the universe. THIS moment, this man’s sweet face and the feelings of love and appreciation that he had for what I gave him and the feelings of love and appreciation I had for what he gave me, will stay with me forever.

Always remember ONE person can make a difference, that ONE person is YOU!

Big love,

Kimxo

 

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The little things really are the big things!

Every night after dinner, my hubby and I take the dog out for a walk. Sometimes one or all three of our girls join us. I must confess, this ritual is new for me, at least on a steady basis. Up until even a couple of months ago, my hubby would walk the dog alone, or my daughter would go with him, occasionally I would join. Most often however, I would be caught up in helping the kids with homework, working on my own things or cleaning up the kitchen.

But I have had this great epiphany lately that the little things really are the big things. Oh sure, I have used this phrase countless times, I even thought I fully understood it. In many areas of life I have honoured this phrase, especially when it came to my children and being there for them. But for some reason, I neglected this often with my husband.  I took “us” for granted more times than I care to admit in the past.

I can’t recall exactly what it was that made me stop and reflect on this, but over the years we have built a solid home, a passionate love and a more beautiful friendship than ever (even through a lot of very trying years), and I have come to realize that yes, even in this 26 year old relationship of ours, the little things continue to be the big things. I really enjoy his company, our conversations, sharing what we are working on, the challenges we have had throughout the day or just talking about our dreams and the things we are most grateful for. I love holding his hand, skipping up the hill (yes I still skip) and watching him throw the stick for our dog. I look forward to these nightly walks, almost as much as our dog Hershey (and anyone who has a dog knows how much dogs LOVE their walks).

With all the hustle and bustle of life, all the demands and the goals and the business of it, this quiet time to just BE together, this seemingly  “little” thing is one of the best and biggest highlights of my day, because he matters…”we” matter and our love and connection matters.

Wherever you are at in your life, in your relationships, with your significant other or your children, create a daily ritual of time to enjoy the “little” things together, and you will create a beautiful “BIG” life.

Always remember one person can make a difference…that ONE person is YOU!

Lots of love,

Kimxo

Dedicated to helping you live your most AMAZING LIFE

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Day 30 of 30 days of gratitude…LOVE!

Well here we are! The final day of 30 days of gratitude, but of course, it isn’t really the end. Everyday there is so much to be grateful for, this is just a tiny fragment of the beauty of my life over the past 30 days!

On top of these posts, there were the regular trials and tribulations of life, including hot flashes (wickedly awesome change of life – AYE AYE AYE), a tragic young death in our family, a celebration of a beautiful friend’s birthday who died far too young, challenging times and everything in between. Because, after all, that IS LIFE!

I KNOW first-hand the power gratitude has to transform us. To change our circumstances, our fortune, our love life, our relationships with everyone who matters…I’ve lived it over and over again in every aspect of my life….and still, at times, I had to sit and THINK about what I have to be grateful for in each new day.

I started this 30-day blog-challenge to get me writing again, writing on one of my favourite topics no less. Writing has always been one of my passions, so this forced me into the daily consistency of it! For that I am grateful to be back on track. As much as it was work to write daily, now that I am on the last day – day 30 – I am struck by how much more I want to write about…how much more I AM so very grateful for – my family, my husband, my career. But in the end I choose to write about what I am grateful for every single day and that is LOVE.

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Love in all it’s forms. The way it shows up and pulls us through. Love for choice and change, for people and passions, for moving forward and for standing still to catch your breathe. I am grateful for the way love fills my heart and makes it feel electric and alive. Sometimes that happens when I hear my girls laughter through the day, beside me. Sometimes I feel it when I am laying in bed at the end of a day and I feel my husband wrap me in his arms, sometimes it is the grand realization of all the freedom and choice I have worked so hard to create in my business and the overwhelming sense of gratitude and LOVE I feel for all of it.

Gratitude, which is really another word for love, is something I take the time DAILY to look for, to think of. Because if I don’t, it is easy to get caught up in the speed of the day, the demands around us, the tasks that have to be done and forget to see the beauty and LOVE around us that we have to be so grateful for. Gratitude…LOVE…is a daily MUST.

So today, as I wrap up this 30 days of gratitude challenge, I commit to continually live in a state of gratitude because it FEELS so good! Because it creates such magical change. Because it is GROUNDING and LIFTING all at the same time, to the soul, to the heart and to all that matters. It’s not always about what we GET, it’s about HOW WE FEEL and gratitude and LOVE just feel so darn good!

If you don’t have a regular gratitude ritual that you do daily, I highly recommend it. It will change everything about your life. I’ll be writing on that more in an upcoming blog!!!

Thanks for following this – there are MORE great revelations to come.

Never stop believing one person can make a difference…that one person is YOU!

Decide that you are going to live your most amazing life by design.

With love and gratitude,

Kim xo

ps – please check out my NEW business page with all things inspirational, tips on how to CREATE and LIVE your most amazing life “By Design” in all areas. Including interviews with awesome people, product tips, marriage tips, changing careers and earning more money, raising good children and so much more. PLUS weekly FB LIVE videos. Follow me over on FB at Kim MacGregor – Live Your Most Amazing Life By Design

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Day 29 of 30 days of gratitude…beautiful memories!

I just got 6 – 8MM high definition video cartridges back after being converted to DVD’s. These 6 videos are from 17-18+ years ago when our first born, Maddie, was a baby and just learning to talk and walk.

EMOTIONAL? You bet!

I cried from these beautiful memories that make me realize that time goes by waaaayyy to fast! A reminder to savour the moments and spend as much time with our loved ones as we can, and of how precious my baby girls have always been to me!

Maddie cried-feeling a sense of gratitude for the love she has always been surrounded by.  Seeing herself as a baby and toddler and watching what were the beginnings of a wicked sense of humour, a fiery determination in everything she does, a beautiful free-spirit full of imagination and creativity all made her feel a deep sense of gratitude as well.

Gratitude is just one of this magical things that grounds you to your core and reminds you of what is truly important!

Today, I am ever so grateful for beautiful memories (and old home videos)!!

Never stop believing one person can make a difference…that one person is YOU!

Decide that you are going to live your most amazing life by design.

With love and gratitude,

Kim xo

ps – please check out my NEW business page with all things inspirational, tips on how to CREATE and LIVE your most amazing life “By Design” in all areas. Including interviews with awesome people, product tips, marriage tips, changing careers and earning more money, raising good children and so much more. PLUS weekly FB LIVE videos. Follow me over on FB at Kim MacGregor – Live Your Most Amazing Life By Design

pps – please share this blog with someone you think needs to hear this message xo

Day 28 of 30 days of gratitude…nature!

This evening I headed out in our yard to chat with my hubby as he was cleaning up from his outdoor work, I had to stop and take in the beauty and majesty around me, that I very likely take for granted many days.

The people who lived in the home before us were avid gardeners and won awards for their landscaping abilities. So we inherited such breathtaking beauty that sprouts up every year in our expansive gardens. And then there is the lake, from our view perched high atop the world, I feel utter amazement watching the birds fly at eye-level, seeing sailboats quietly pass by, and looking out at the water’s edge that seems to go on forever.

The world is such a magical place and there is so much brilliance around us daily, we just need to take a moment to slow down and really take it all in!!!

So tonight as I get ready to wrap up my day, I can say I am truly grateful for nature and her stunning, reliable beauty!!

What beauty is around YOU???

Never stop believing one person can make a difference…that one person is YOU!

Decide that you are going to live your most amazing life by design.

With love and gratitude,

Kim xo

ps – please check out my NEW business page with all things inspirational, tips on how to CREATE and LIVE your most amazing life “By Design” in all areas. Including interviews with awesome people, product tips, marriage tips, changing careers and earning more money, raising good children and so much more. PLUS weekly FB LIVE videos. Follow me over on FB at Kim MacGregor – Live Your Most Amazing Life By Design

pps – please share this blog with someone you think needs to hear this message xo

Day 27 of 30 days of gratitude…sleep!

I typically have “off-the-charts” high energy! I get up early and go to bed late because I LOVE everything I do and want to fit in as much as possible.

While I work hard, I have learned the importance of sleep and recuperating to recharge the body and mind, allowing me to start fresh again tomorrow. On the days when I have packed in as much as I possibly can….sleep is a welcome break from the activity.

On our way home from our Camp Tanamakoon trip earlier this week, the girls were chatting and singing their hearts out one minute, then it got silent. When I  looked back to check on them…this is what I saw. Three little angles sound  asleep. They were “spent.” And they were doing exactly what their body needed…when it needed it…sleep!

Madison, Ava and Elle MacGregor sleeping camp Taanamakoon

We had an awesome visit with my brother and a calendar full of activity and meetings (my “highlight reel). The flip side of that is that I have a ridiculous summer cough. and brutal hot flashes that keep me up at night!  Sleep is such a gift to me. So this afternoon, after lunch with my brother and seeing him off to the airport for his return flight to LA, we went to my in-laws for supper. Where I promptly fell asleep (for a good half of our visit).

The awesome thing was, there was NO judgment from anyone – and I got to catch up on a couple of hours of much needed sleep (which will recharge my adrenal glands LOL)!

Give yourself grace the odd day, to heal, recover and recoup, so you can jump back in and go full steam tomorrow!!! Today rest…tomorrow full steam ahead!

Today I am so very grateful for the healing powers of sleep!

Never stop believing one person can make a difference…that one person is YOU!

Decide that you are going to live your most amazing life by design.

With love and gratitude,

Kim xo

ps – please check out my NEW business page with all things inspirational, tips on how to CREATE and LIVE your most amazing life “By Design” in all areas. Including interviews with awesome people, product tips, marriage tips, changing careers and earning more money, raising good children and so much more. PLUS weekly FB LIVE videos. Follow me over on FB at Kim MacGregor – Live Your Most Amazing Life By Design

pps – please share this blog with someone you think needs to hear this message xo