Dirty Healing: A Turning Point. Letting Go of What No Longer Serves Us.

I recorded this 2 years ago before heading into a writer’s conference. It makes me cringe 😬

It also serves as a reminder to how much I’ve grown, how many times I get back up after failing, and how much life can change (for the bad and good)…

Don’t mind me while I indulge and reflect, take what works for you and leave the rest 🙂

….

2019 was truly the worst year of my life.

Yes, we had devastation in 2016 when I’d lose my husband to a car accident on his way home from work, all while he and I talked on the phone. I would spend 2017 and 2018 trying to rebuild, thinking I was close, but later learning that it was an illusion.

Once the trial came in 2019, nothing could’ve prepared me for what I would experience. A spiritual pain so real that it manifested itself physically in an instant. Agony. Right there in the court room, feeling every nerve in my body scream in pain and willing myself not to pass out.

Still, playing “tough guy”, after it was all over, I would insist that I was fine.

I was not fine.

I went on a war path.

I bleached all color from of my hair. (Screaming inside)

I jumped into a relationship with someone who ended up being not right for me and not what I stand for. (Screaming inside again.)

I remodeled my house, allowing someone to demolish walls in my basement and wreak complete havoc on my home.

I heavily drank, telling myself it was ok because it was only wine. My bills were paid. My kids were healthy. I’ve been through a lot and if I didn’t deserve to drink, who did? But that would get to be too much also.

I grew obsessed with becoming financially successful in real estate. A career that I once chose, as a single mom, in order to work my own schedule for my kids.. started to completely consume me. I was working 14 hour days showing houses, writing offers, driving everywhere, recording videos, sending marketing material. Losing sleep over transactions.

While I’d forgiven Daniel Tobey (yes, I have. Another blog for another day), I could not get over the callous ways of his defense team. I wanted them to see my face on a billboard and know that they didn’t “get to me”. My anger fueled my ambition, which wouldn’t be bad if it weren’t fueling me in the wrong direction.

And I have to admit that I still hope they remember Scott’s name forever. I hope they never forget my face in that courtroom, and some day, when my daughter, Sophia, who’s life’s mission is to become a judge, becomes one, I hope these attorneys have to stand before her, and oh, I hope she gives them Hell.

I digress though.

It all came crashing down in September 2019. After a series of very difficult events, I had something stop the record completely. Screech. Yet again.

Every belief that I’d ever had was shook. I think it’s what they call: a paradigm shift.

I was now upside down from my upside down, and it was only then that I realized I wasn’t healing as deeply as I needed to be.

I once wrote on my blog about building a beautiful castle (The Lonely Castle) around the hole in the land that was my heart; I didn’t realize that while building a castle is wonderful, admirable, and eventually necessary, some times we need to sink our fists, elbow deep into the soil and find our way to the other side of the earth, of our world that’s been flipped.

And while I won’t waiver from the need for mindset work, healing is not always as easy as a workout routine and positive affirmations. At some point, we have to get our hands dirty. Look at ourselves with honesty and ask what really needs to be done. Ask ourselves the questions we’ve been scared to say aloud.

One thing that I’ve realized is that when we finally decide to get honest with ourselves, God will literally move mountains to help. Two years ago, I was recording this video still very lost, trying to “come back”, but I still had so much dirty, gritty healing to do. So many questions I still needed to answer to myself. I wouldn’t know the rewards that were to come as a result of it all.

▪️2 years after this video (a turning in my healing journey),

▪️Almost 3 years after the trial,

▪️5 years after the tragic loss of Scott,

Today…

I am closer to my children, in a loving, healthy relationship to Mike, someone who continually surprises me with his depth of character; a step mom to Myles, and expecting a baby within weeks. 🤰

My anxiety and depression is balanced out. I’m not medicating. I respond instead of react. I am in the moment instead of somewhere else.

( And my hair is better too 🙂)

It’s amazing how life can change for the good just as fast as it does for the bad.

And while I fought God so hard on this for the last few years, I am ready to say that I am letting go of real estate. It doesn’t serve me. It wasn’t meant for me. I used it to fuel an unhealthy side of my heart, and it’s time to move on.

Life will have us white knuckle gripping the edge of a cliff. Sometimes it is for a moment. Sometimes it is for years. Just dangling and THINKING of ways we can get over this ledge. For me, my mind was determined to utilize real estate (and other things) to boost me up over it. God wants us to stop thinking and start praying. When we pray to God and are open to His answer, we realize that there’s no need to hold on to that cliff. Because maybe our feet are able to touch the ground the whole time? Or.. maybe we can fly?

So that’s why I am letting go 🦅

Thank you for reading this far!

Some of you have followed and supported me before our life became a local headline. Some of you right around that time. Some of you just started. And I am just ever so grateful for each of you. ❤️

I hope you all have lovely day, and if you feel compelled to, follow my blog and support me on social media (Click here for either)

Remember: Life is hard whether you live it to the fullest or not. Might as well live.

Big love, Megan

Funny Shit My Husband Says…

This was from a series of posts I used to write for an old blog of mine called, The Pigeon Hole. I would secretly write down the funny and endearing things Scott would say in natural conversation and then share it on my blog. He was an incredibly sweet man and loved to tease. And I thought I’d give you a peak into a different side of him.

1.”Hey, Boo.”

2.”If you get arrested tonight, I’m gonna be pissed.”

3. Him: “You got a mouse in your pocket?”

   Me: “What? No? Why?”

   Him: “Cause you’re acting pretty cheesy.”

4. Me: What movie ya’ watchin?

   Him:Goblins. I’ve never seen it before.

Oh what? You think I’ve seen it? No. No no. I’m not really into this. Oh, well, yeah, I do like this type of stuff but not really. Well, not goblins anyways… Dragons. I really like dragons. Dragons better than goblins. Goblins are pretty gross.”

5. “Play-Doh is a not a right. It’s a privilege.”

6. Me: “Hey, I’m on Facebook. Can I read you my uncle’s status right now. It’s kinda cute.”

   Him: “Sure.”

   Me:”If you purchased $1000 of shares in Delta one year ago, you would have $49 today. If you purchased 1000 shares of AIG, you’d have $33. If you purchased $1000 if share in Lehmann Brothers, you would have $0. But, if you purchased $1000 of beer, drank all the beer, and returned the cans, you would have $214. Therefore the best current investment is to drink heavily and recycle. It is called the 401-Keg Plan.”

   Him: “Ha! That’s funny.”

   Me: “I thought so.”

   Him: “Hey, you should comment him back and say: Did you know why they call a 401-K: 401-K? It’s because it is directly from Section 401-K of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.”

   Me: I don’t think so.

   Him: You don’t think he’d get a kick out of it?

7. Me: “Want some double-dipped peanuts?”

   Him: “Yeah!”

            *We share the chocolate covered candies*

   Him: “They almost have a peanut buttery taste to them.” 

            *insert silent pause*

   Him: “Could be the peanuts.”

8.          *looking at a water tower*

   Him: Do those really have water in them?

   Me: Yeah.

   Him: They’re for fires?

   Me: No, just part of the city’s water system. That’s all.

   Him: I think they’re for fires; they just knock it over.

   Me: Like for forest fires?

   Him: Well, yeah, any major town fire.

Obituary: Remembering Angeline O’Neil

In loving memory of Angeline O’Neil (Angie) who passed away in the comfort of her home on February 7, 2018.

Angie was born in Detroit on December 17, 1937 to Antonio and Frances Bartolotta. img_6532Later, she would meet the love of her life, James O’Neil, while working as a secretary downtown. They were wed on October 20, 1962.

Like a true Italian, Angie loved cooking and could always be found in the kitchen. She was best known for her pignolota and her cannolis. If she wasn’t cooking, she was cheering on the Lions and the Tigers. She also made time for the ones she loved, whether it was sitting at the table with a cup of coffee or watching Turner Classic Movies from the couch.

Predeceased by her husband, Jamesimg_6531, 3 brothers, Rosario (Russ) Bartolotta, Christopher Bartolotta, and Dominic (Danny) Bartolotta, 1 sister Rosa Maria Zerilli (Rosie), and a grandson, Scott Bajorek.

While she was considered “Mom” to many, she’s survived by her children: Brian O’Neil (Lori), Lisa David (Greg), Kathleen Peach (David), and Patrick O’Neil; grandchildren: Megan Bajorek, Matthew O’Neil (Jaime), Jason Sultini, Justin Sultini, Kristen Sultini, Erica Dewey (Lucas), Savannah O’Neil, Jacob O’Neil, and Clarissa O’Neil; great-grandchildren: Sophia Bajorek, Lydia Bajorek, and Jaxson Bajorek; siblings: Anthony Bartolotta (Marge), Sally Humphreys, Francis Bartolotta(Sue), and Frances Legato (Rob);

Visitation is Tuesday, February 13th at 10 a.m. Mass starts at 10:30 a.m.

St. Mary’s Queen of Creation: 50931 Maria St. New Baltimore, MI 48047

Luncheon immediately to follow at St. Mary’s hall

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* In lieu of flowers, the O’Neils ask that Angie be honored by making a donation to the Sandcastles program; A grief support program for children and their families. Click the link below to do so online or donations can be made at the church or with the family.

http://www.aboutsandcastles.org

Being Ok With Nothing

         On our third date, Scott and I had a long conversation about where “this” was going. We talked about what we wanted for the future, and I remember my neurotic tendencies enveloping it all. Finally, Scott grabbed my hands, looked me in the eyes, and said, “You’re gonna be my girl.” 

         My heart skipped a beat, and I smiled. Looking into his eyes, I felt the sincerity emanate from him. This was it. I was his. He was mine.

          What neither of us realized then is that we don’t get to keep people. They are lent to us for an undetermined period of time. . As much as we can “claim” someone on this earth. The truth is that nothing truly belongs to us. The only things we possess of our own are thoughts, feelings, and spirit.

         This is something that I quickly realized after having my oldest daughter. Holding her in the hospital and again, looking into her curious eyes, I knew. She wasn’t mine. She was my DNA. Her title in this life would be my daughter, but my responsibility was only to guide her on the ways of the world. And funny enough, many times now, she’s the one who guides me. 

        Eventually, she will leave me. She will have a family of her own to tend to, and it will hurt. If I’ve done my job right though, she will flourish on her own. This is my perspective with all of my children. Of course, I would later learn a deeper version of this lesson.

—-

         Scott died on the phone with me. Mid sentence. One moment he was “mine”. The next he was “gone”. 

        I knew, before, that life was short. I went to bed every single night and prayed to God, listing off the things in my life that I was grateful for. I said I love you. A lot. And still, nothing could have ever prepared me for the way my life would literally become the cliche that everything can change in an instant.

        I’ve asked “why” often since Scott was taken, and that’s an answer I won’t get in this lifetime. My “why’s” began with desperation, then they were bitter; then they came from a place of deep sadness and defeat… Now, I find myself slowly growing into humility. 

Why? 

Only He knows.

The answer isn’t for me to understand, but what I’m learning for sure is that people are lent to us. They come into our lives to teach us. They teach us in the literal sense, but moreover, they teach us in their actions and way of being. The relationships we form, both atrocious and Godly, contribute to our growth. They prepare us for something bigger. 

And for today anyways, I’m going let go of all possession and to look to bigger things. 

Love you all. 

The Things I Don’t Talk About

This is a photo of my oldest daughter four months before her father was taken from her. 

I don’t talk about my kids much on here, and that’s for a reason. 

For, when I think about the impact that this has on my beautiful children… when I look at this photo of my daughter… and I see how her face used to light up…and I remember the morning that I told her that her daddy passed away and watched that beautiful light shrink from her eyes into an abyss within seconds, the feeling is more than just uncomfortable. It’s unbearable. It’s helplessness. It’s deep sadness. And it’s anger.  It’s a faceless monster. 

We recently moved, and while disassembling my daughter’s bed, I found her dad’s obituary hidden under her pillow. She’s been sleeping with it every night for 6 months. 

I actively work to not think about how this has and will affect my kids. I’ve avoided it because the pain is crippling.

Our oldest and he were cut from the same cloth. They think alike. They’re both brilliant and rational to the point where (at times) it’s difficult for them to relate to others. He was a safe place for her to where she could turn. He was someone who understood her… in ways even I, her mother, can’t. 

Our 4 year old was the apple of his eye. He was her prince, and he was honored to be so and have a true “Daddy’s girl”. She’s a born romantic, and I relished the fact that she was going to grow up with the perfect gentleman of a father to set the example. 


Our son was two when his dad died. Every day he asks to see a photo of he and his dad on the slide. It’s all he has… and now I’m left to raise a man by myself. 


So right now, I’m scrambling. I’m sifting through the anger. I’m sifting and sorting to find a way to be enough for these kids. I’m frantically trying to find a new way of living that will turn this anger into fuel. To avoid bitterness. To avoid depression… To honor their dad and his way of living. 

I’ve learned that avoiding thoughts doesn’t mean the feelings go away. I’ve pushed away the angry thoughts of what’s been taken from my family, hoping that somehow they will just take the hint and go away. 

They don’t. They only get louder.

I guess now is just my time to listen to them… and allow myself to feel the misery. It’s just my time. 

Coping with PTSD in December

Well, here we are. It’s the end of Christmas break (hallelujah!).

Weeks ago, I was so looking forward to the “busyness” of December to slow down.

Before grief, I knew that December was a demanding month for parents; Take away one parent, add intense emotional pain and the demands of every activity my children are involved in, and you’ve got me: someone who was just pushing through the tunnel to get to the light:

Christmas Break.

Little did I realize that once the “busyness” stopped, then other things would come to take its place. Things like reality.

My current reality (and just going to put it out there): I’m living with PTSD because my husband was killed on his way home from work, while we were in the middle of a conversation. I am now left to make a new life for our three babies without him. I attended a funeral without him for the first time ever as an adult (my sweet grandpa, RIP). Other glaring firsts: My first wedding anniversary since his death. My first house signing. This was also our first Christmas without him. It was our first New Year too. We were forced to leave him in 2016. And it’s because of all of those reasons, that I find myself using the eff word a lot these days.

When my therapist told me that I have PTSD, I thought she was being dramatic. I’m not suppose to have PTSD. That’s something that men and women who serve our country get. People in uniform who run into burning buildings and kick down doors. Fighters. Defenders. Not a mother of 3.

Sure. If I hear sirens when my kids are not with me, where I know they are safe, I fall to my knees. Sirens. It’s always the fucking sirens.

Then, the other day, while driving on the way home, the red lights of a state trooper filled my rear view mirror. My heart sank as I pulled my car to the shoulder of the expressway.

I was speeding.

My heart sank and guilt and grief turned into curdled lumps. Sirens again. And they’re my fault.

To my surprise, I watched the trooper  zoom past me. It wasn’t me that he was heading towards. My heart sank again, and I knew to where he was going before I even looked ahead, but I looked anyway.

Up ahead there were dozens of flashing lights…and I bawled. Traffic came to a stand still. And I had to fight the urge not to get out of my car and run.

I wanted to run up to the scene. I wanted to find my husband, drag him out of his stupid car myself, and hold him in my arms. I wanted to beg God to please grant me a miracle. It’s something I’ve longed for since hearing his accident.

We were rerouted around this fatal accident. And as we passed, I didn’t see any other person… I saw my husband. Let me be clear here, I’m not speaking figuratively. My emotional reaction was so strong to seeing this other car that my mind thought it was my husband.

So that was new. Hey, I guess that’s another “first” to add to my list of this December.

December is a month where all of us, by nature, reflect on the past. Family traditions, etc. This is so bad for the grief process. I repeatedly say that in order to survive this grief, I have to be present. December took me by my face and shoved my nose in the mess of my recent past. It forebode me from being in the moment. Ok, I feel the need to say the eff word again, so I’m going to: Fuck December. Seriously, fuck it.

All sarcasm and negativity aside — I am now looking to January and February… and every other month for that matter. My goal: Focus on that which gives me hope.

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Lovely Days

mornings3

Happy Anniversary.

When we talked about it a few months ago, it’s not the one that either of us thought we’d be having . I was looking forward to the ‘surprise date’ you were planning for us, and I think of it often… what was it?

What would we be doing right now? This morning?

That, I do know …

You would pop up to the first sound of your phone alarm – set to the song “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, and I would pull the covers tighter, with my eyes still closed and listen as you opened drawers and selected a shirt from its hanger. On special days like Fridays (or anniversaries), I could hear you dancing or singing as you chose your ensemble. The creaking of the floor boards as you walked back and forth from the bathroom to our bedroom were like an extra blanket to me. Pure comfort.

Then, once your shower was finished, you were dressed and cleaned shaved. You always came and sat at the foot of the bed on my side, tucked into my little nook of blankets and the grumbled mess that I am in the morning. You would sit there, with your socks in your hand, and I would feel you thinking.

That’s when I would open my eyes.

This was our time to discuss plans for the day. See, it was the same thing every weekday morning:

6:45 a.m. Bill Withers’ Lovely Day

6:47a.m. Choose a shirt. Take a shower.

7a.m. Sit by Meg with socks and think.

My mornings are different now. They’re still the exact same replica of the one previous to itself, but the routine, itself, changed overnight. Mornings are difficult for me. You’re probably laughing because they always were, but this isn’t the “hit snooze 12 times” type of difficult.

I wake up every morning, sore from head to toe. The therapist tells me it’s because I’m a person who “internalizes” my emotions. I lay in bed and subconsciously beg God every morning that this isn’t true. Please tell me how to undo this. Immediately, I become angry with myself for even asking that.

Then there’s fear…

How am I going to get our babies and I through the day today? Do I have the strength to get up and make them breakfast? Get them to school?

Usually by this time, one of the kids has woken up, and I’m reminded that there is no questioning. There’s only doing.

And I’m doing my best.

6:45a.m. Lay in bed, awake.

6:47a.m. Pain, begging, fear..

7a.m. Get on with the day.

I know you’d be in awe of the way others have supported us. It makes me sad to know that some of these kind faces will never get the pleasure of hearing your enthusiastic voice. My God, do I miss your voice.

These are the things I miss the most. I miss my morning guy. I miss acting like you annoyed me, when secretly I admired your cheerful disposition and your energy. I’m really pissed at myself for not telling you every second of your beautiful life that I felt this way.

I’m sure our date would’ve been perfect, but it’s not the dates that I miss. It’s things like ordinary mornings and the sound of your voice.

mornings

Bystander in a Bar Fight: Independent Lady in this Election 

This is not a unique thought. It’s probably been written already. I wouldn’t know because I’ve been doing my best to avoid political opinions. But eh, it’s my blog, and I’m feeling a certain sort of something about politics right now; mostly, underrepresented, so I’m going write it out…

Holy smokes – anger, anger, anger. That’s all I’m seeing in the political realm. Anger that Trump was elected. Anger toward liberals who show disappointment in the election. Yikes.

My personal disappointment came several months ago when each party nominated two of the most morally inept candidates that I could have thought up. Therefore, going into the election, I was deeply sad that either way we’d have someone who physically turned my stomach.


 A rude, misogynistic bully or a sneaky, criminal career politician representing us. 

What I’ve come to terms with these last six months: Either way, the president is just a figure head. People were just as scared of Bush second term – and there was another group on the other side of the spectrum extremely frightened of President Obama. Like I said, a figure head (politically fancy term for mascot). Unfortunately, our mascot sucks right now. That doesn’t change anything about our every day life.

 It really doesn’t.

If your life was easy before, it will be easy now. If it was difficult before, it’s still going to be difficult. What makes a difference in your day-to-day life? Investing in the people closest to you.

Starting with our homes and moving to our communities – Let’s work to improve and stabilize what’s around us, and then, let us watch our lives bloom regardless of the mascot living miles away. 

Even before we work to improve our home situation or our community, we must work to improve our mindsets. Hate and bitterness is not productive. Positive blooms only within positive. 

With that, I’ll end this in a Mother Teresa quote (because no one can argue with her 😊)

Big love, Meg

Painting in a Tidal Wave: Finding Enjoyment After Loss

Grief.
Contrary to what I thought prior, it’s not an emotion. It’s a condition. An illness. 

 I am ‘fine’ for several minutes strung together at a time. I can even carry on a light conversation without losing “it”. Once again, I can do this for several minutes. 

Then the wave washes over me.

And that’s when I lose the “it” I mentioned above. 

Yesterday, my best friend of over 20 years, Lisa,  took me out for the first time since Scott passed away. It was a painting event during the day, and the proceeds went to the American Cancer Society. We even signed a petition while we were there. It was to get a law passed, making it more affordable for everyone to receive the pill form of chemo therapy. 

I was nervous about going, but I, like my kids, have “safe” people who are tender in my situation. Lee* is one of these people. 


When we were there, I met some of her coworkers. I shook their hands and said “hi”. I was working hard to hide my shattered heart. Mimicking my old ways, I wondered if the act was working or if my face betrayed me. No real way of knowing, I felt it was best to get lost in the art project at hand. 

Painting pallets. 

The highlight: We were able to beat the crap out of our pallets. They had hammers, mallets, and chains, and safety glasses. It was very official stuff, and I was into it.

So into it, that at one point I realized I was the last person, whaling on my pallet. To say it was a release would be an understatement.

I proceeded to paint my piece of wood, appreciating its knots, experimenting with different colors. Once we were finished with that, the art teacher told us to wait. It needed to dry.

We sat for a few minutes. Waited. We laughed at the spelling error on my stencil.


 I waited some more. We all waited. 

Then it came.

Your husband is dead.

It, just a thought, a whisper, a reminder from nowhere, washed over me like an ocean filled with the weight of 60 years of memories. Lost. 

It struck me so concretely, I spoke aloud, “What the hell?!” 

I rushed to the bathroom, locked the door, and stood in the dark and sobbed.

 What was happening? I don’t know. I really don’t. Here I was in the dark at 2 o’clock in the afternoon on a Sunday. 

Then came something else – a different thought, whisper, reminder…

It’s going to be ok.

I cried more, refusing to accept this.

It’s going to be ok.

It persisted. I was silenced.

I turned the lights on, wiped my tears, and turned them back off. I stood in the dark, holding the handle of the door. You can do this. 

I remembered to breath, then I opened the door.

As for my project, here it is: