Don’t Be Stingy With Your Grief

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It’s taken me years to be able to grieve. No, I should say it has taken me years to be able to grieve in a manner that is not debilitating. It only takes one, you lose one person close to you and it sets in motion a lifetime of grieving that will only be compounded by the addition of more loss. We add loss, it happens to everyone. Once you have loss, you can’t get rid of it. Lose a parent, gain a child… you are still down one life. So we learn to manage it. We learn to manage our grief so that our grief does not manage us. I know all about being riddled with grief having lost both of my parents. A physical, mental, and spiritual breakdown of all things YOU. A crippling of your will, a weakening of your drive, a proverbial dampening of your powder… you can never be quite ready.

Three years after the passing of my mother, I am finally showing signs of life. A new man? Not quite, but a better man than the one I once was. Loss has a way of proving to you what is important, and it surprises you with revelations of what is now extraneous. I could write about the process for the next two years, but I’ve only come here to share a program that I owe my sanity and resilience to. It’s called GriefShare and it is very likely being held in a neighborhood near you.

So my description of it would be a group facilitated by people who have experienced a significant loss, that is geared towards people struggling to get on with life after losing a loved one. It is very much (Christian) faith based, but all are welcome. You start with a 20 minute video, then a discussion about the days topic (presented by the video), followed by some personal sharing if anyone is interested.  It’s typically a weekly meet-up that will run about 14 weeks, the frequency and duration being very important in building relationships and camaraderie within the group. Answering “how was your week?” is much easier than answering “how was your month?”, a monthly group would have never sufficed for me. I can’t stress enough how important it is to set time aside to grieve and work through your emotions. If you are anything like me you will push it deep down inside and let your feelings see as little daylight as possible. This often results in sporadic grief sneak attacks. I’ve found that setting aside a time to focus on my grief makes those surprise attacks few and far between. GriefShare is that time for me, it’s my weekly time of reflection and purposeful focus.

Click here to find a GriefShare near you

I’ve just started my 3rd round of GriefShare, there is absolutely no maximum number of times you should go through this process. Every moment of it helps. When you’ve gone through the GriefShare process you won’t simply know how to help yourself, but you will find that you are also able to help others that are struggling to cope with grief. If you do find a group and it has already started, go anyway. You can jump in at any week and it will still be very beneficial.

Now I often say this last part, but I never get a response. I am always available to anyone that has lost someone and am open to discussing what I’ve gone through as well as helping you find what may work in assisting your grief journey. I am also willing to just listen. You can be a stranger, you can be a friend, it does not matter to me. I am here to help. If you have my number, use it. If we are friends on Facebook, message me.

For everyone else: defnoyd@hotmail.com

 

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Songs of My Year

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2016 was a lot of things. Depending on who you are it was a very good year, full of happiness and growth. Alternatively… it may very well have been a terrible year marred by unwelcome imbalance and impending doom. Oh and anywhere in between, of course. Regardless of where you fall on the scale, I do believe we can all agree on one thing: It was a good year for music. I’ve compiled a list of the 20 songs released in 2016 that I feel are a good example of the vastness and diversity of the great music being produced in this day and age. My favorite songs of the year? Yes, my favorite. But I bet there is something here for you no matter what kind of music you like. This is in no particular order and the only requirement is that the single or album it was part of was released this year. I’ll limit myself to a sentence or two about each song.

1.  1000 Times by Hamilton Leithauser & Rostam

Album: I Had A Dream That You Were Mine

Produced by Rostam Batmanglij

I cheated, what can I say, this is my actual favorite song of the year. Hence the #1 spot. A perfect mix of a heart warming love tale buckled to the end of Leithauser’s raspy howls.

2. A Million Reasons by Lady Gaga

Album: Joanne

Producers: Mark Ronson, Stefani Germanotta, BloodPop

She’s outdone herself with the album Joanne and this song stands out. Showing growth in songwriting and appealing to an older audience.

3. Spit Out The Bone by Metallica

Album: Hardwired… to Self-Destruct Disc 2

Producer: Greg Fidelman

This is just what the doctor ordered. The pacey drums and blistering riffs hint that Metallica is at the top of their game.

4. PillowTalk by Zayn

Album: Mind Of Mine

Producer: Levi Lennox

This song debuted at #1 virtually EVERYWHERE in the world, breaking records while he was at it. Fucking in, fighting on.

5. Hearts/Wires by Deftones

Album: Gore

Producer: Matt Hyde

These guys are my favorite band and this album was a return to form in my eyes. This song brings your focus from melodic trance to dual roarings: Guitars and Chino.

6. The Numbers by Radiohead

Album: A Moon Shaped Pool

Producer: Nigel Godrich

Not much has to be said about who I think is the best band in the world. Radiohead numbs everything and this song has a nineties Radiohead feel to it. Elusive bastards.

7. We The People by A Tribe Called Quest

Album: We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service

Producer: QTip

I didn’t like this song from jump street… but it grew on me, you can’t argue with this beat.

8. New Song by Warpaint

Album: Heads Up

Producer: Jacob Bercovici

All girl rock alt-rock band makes a pop song. And they are gorgeous. Try to sit still to this one.

9. Me Too by Meghan Trainor

Album: Thank You

Producer: Ricky Reed

Only two possible questions: Do I include this song? Or How can I not include this song? Super catchy and…super catchy.

10. Faithfully by Skylar Spence

Album: Single

Producer: Ryan DeRobertis

Only song to be released in 2016 by for this guy (formerly Saint Pepsi). Do you know the sample? OK, it’s Aretha Franklin’s Wonderful

11. Loud(y) by Lewis Del Mar

Album: Lewis Del Mar

Producer: Max Harwood

Local heroes hailing from Rock Rock Rockaway Beach. How do I not know someone who knows them? Opening line on this song says it all “Can you please sit the fuck down”

12. Easier by Mansionair

Album: Easier

Producer: Mansionair

Three dudes from Sydney just making music to chill out to. Lyrics really hit home, does it get easier? Will I figure it out?

13. Perfect Illusion by Lady Gaga  (Second time on the list, remember that come Grammy time)

Album: Joanne

Producers: Mark Ronson, Stefani Germanotta, BloodPop, Kevin Parker

Perfect pop song. Queens of the Stoneage front-man taking on some guitar duties with super producer Mark Ronson. Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker on drums. The album also boasts Beck and Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. Lady Gaga could have four songs on this list.

14. Gardenia by Iggy Pop feat. Josh Homme

Album: Post Pop Depression

Producer: Josh Homme

QOTSA frontman popping up AGAIN. This is a haunting melody that you should not miss. Iggy is an icon for sure.

15. Brazil by Declan McKenna (single released in 2015, EP in 2016. Got airplay in the USA only in 2016 so we’ll count it)

Album: Liar EP

Producer: Declan McKenna

17 years old. Can’t say enough about his still developing talent. This is a gem of a song.

16. Everything You’ve Come To Expect by The Last Shadow Puppets

Album: Everything You’ve Come To Expect

Producer: James Ford

Arctic Monkeys front-man Alex Turner is back at it again with Miles Kane, one of my favorite solo artists. Beautiful depth to this song, tongue twisting lyrics and did you see the dang video??

17. Everybody Dies by J. Cole

Album: Single

Producer: J. Cole

Watch out, J. Cole is taking names. A modern dis track that has a better beat than 98% of rap out there. Oh, you recognize that sample? Minnie Ripperton Inside My Love… you probably heard it on A Tribe Called Quest’s Lyrics To Go.

18. Magnificent (She Says) by Elbow

Album: Litte Fictions (2017)

Producer: Craig Potter

You’ll have to wait a bit for the album but this brilliant single will hold you over. Elbow have been around for 20 years so if you haven’t heard of them you need to rethink your music taste.

19. Blackstar by David Bowie

Album: Blackstar

Producer: Tony Visconti

Clocking in at 10 minutes, this song is a trip that opens up a can of whoop ass at the halfway mark. RIP

20.7 Years by Lukas Graham

Album: Blue Album (April 2016 USA release)

Producers: Future Animals

This song makes me wanna tear up. Not admitting if I actually do. But if a song makes you feel that much it’s a good one.

Listen, you are probably complaining. I don’t care, It took over 4 hours to put this together because I kept listening to all this dang music. Pretty impossible to narrow things down so there are some songs missing for sure.  So who is missing? What song should not be on this list? That’s it for now. Keep the needle on the record.

I Heart Jamie Anderson

You can’t ask why. So don’t bother.

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Every now and then a babe comes along and is like “hey you there, stop everything you are doing and pay to me all of your attentions”

Good one, Jamie Anderson. I’m all eyes.

Read some real stuff about it here: http://www.mercurynews.com/sports/ci_25098487/olympics-lake-tahoes-jamie-anderson-wins-slopestyle-gold

Dealing With It. A Stream-Of-Consciousness Nothingness

Merry Christmas

On December 19th of 1999 my dad passed away, or my pop as I would call him. What can you do? It sends shivers down every holiday’s barrel. It can ruin you… but it can also make you persevere. What would you do? I avoided it for a decade. Thanksgiving is the event that sets my heart racing, it sends me panting, grasping for air. Christmas isn’t Christmas without you? That is not the case. It still exists. The spirit is still here and it is still kicking. Thank goodness. The holidays are tough aren’t they? They make you wax and wane. What if it’s marred with death? Almost unforgiving in nature and certainly relentless with reminders of a past that haunts you with lingering doubt. Will they ever be that good again? Will the Holidays ever make me smile again?  Will I ever wonder and wish and hope and dream… will I ever think that a miracle is around the corner? Yes. Help is right round the corner.  No one’s Christmas is perfect. Is this a sad thing? I seem to lose track of that notion. It can’t be perfect, can it? Of course not. That is what makes it so special. The imperfection, the flickering light. The new faces and new borns… they don’t know that this Christmas isn’t absolutely splendid. Well their naivety must make it so. The glimmer in their eyes, the sparkle in their smile… we can see that it is just the most wonderful time of the year and that it’s the most celebrating we can get in, in a two month span. There will always be a memory to smile about. Some things will never change. There is no reward in shying away from the jubilation at the end of the trepid season, we only torture ourselves. I am resigned to that fact. Each years adversity is overshadowed by a years worth of gained wisdom and peacefulness. It is getting easier. And all this time I thought it was getting harder. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. 2014 shall be one for the books, there is not one person that can deny it.