Bernadette A. Moyer

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Author, Writer, Blogger

Laughter and Tears

Laughter and Tears

By Bernadette A. Moyer

Like so many others, I am saddened to learn of the apparent suicide of actor Robin Williams. I had that same sad feeling over the untimely deaths of actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heath Ledger. We hear these stories and we are shocked and think what a waste. They have so much to live for, how could they commit suicide or use drugs that ultimately resulted in a premature death. We have that same feeling when a 17 year old teen takes their life. All we can think to say is “why?” and they “have so much to live for?”

Yet everyday people both ordinary and extraordinary decide that life is no longer worth living. More than 38,000 American’s died of suicide in 2010. That same year suicide was the third leading cause of death for adolescents.    

Although I blog about most things, suicide has been one where for the most part I have stayed away from except in 1998 when I had a poetry book published with a poem titled “For David” that reads;

Why, you made us cry

Why, you did not have to die

You took your life

Now it is all our strife

We miss you so bad

We are so sad

Your daughter so beautiful

Your daughter so you

Why David why

What did you do?

His daughter is a grown woman now who yearns for the father that she will never know. We try and make sense of the senseless. We can’t comprehend it. But the reality of life is that it is not always easy. Things happen that can and do break our spirit.

To young people contemplating suicide what I would say is that whatever angst you are feeling it will pass, the beauty of life is that everything changes. Today’s sadness may well be tomorrow’s treasured happiness.

“We live in hope and we die in despair” Richard Scott Harris.  It seems that suicide is when hope has been replaced with despair. We may never fully understand it; it seems like a really bold move in killing oneself.

We have learned as a society to take suicide claims seriously and to support and get help anyone that is talking about suicide. I’ve heard it said that many of the funniest of comediennes are also some of the saddest individuals.

What we know for sure is that life isn’t always easy, that asking for what you need and speaking out when you come up short might make all the difference. It has been said that “suicide” is a “mental illness” I think we can group many things into the “mental illness” bin if we so desire but the bigger question is why would anyone from a hugely successful actor to a young teen just starting out ever believe that ending life prematurely is ever better than living life fully?

Through the years I have worked with many teens and been exposed to hopelessness and helplessness of people of all ages. We can treat for mental illness or depression but perhaps we should also use these deaths to look at how we act and how we react and how we treat our fellow brothers and sisters.

In a world that is full of darkness and fighting both externally and internally I still want to believe that love and care cure much that ails us.

Life is so fragile and we are all so vulnerable, love and acceptance over hurts, judgments and denial. If you know of anyone that is thinking about suicide please help them to help themselves. I’ve heard it said that if someone wants to die, to truly commit suicide there really is very little that can be done to stop them. I guess the question we all have as we face our mirror image is “what are we doing to care for ourselves? What are we feeding our hearts and our souls?”

Our “why” anyone would commit suicide may never be answered but we do live in hope. We must believe in better days and a better world and know that individually and collectively we have the power to bring in the light. When someone is weak and can’t see the light perhaps it is our job to help light their way. We are our brother’s keeper, we all feel the loss in actor Robin Williams deciding that his life was no longer worth living. The greater sadness knows that we don’t feel that way about him and yet he felt that way about himself.

“Laughter and tears are meant to turn the wheels of the same machinery of sensibility; one is wind-power; and the other water-power.” Oliver Wendall Holmes

To honor Robin Williams for all the laughter he fueled we pray that he rests in peace and that his family and friends find comfort in knowing that he leaves behind a body of work that is far greater than any single act that resulted in his death.  

Imagine if we focused more and more on love and hope and helped to light the way for those living in the darkness just how great this world  and could be …

— 2 weeks ago
Along the Way

Along the Way

By Bernadette A. Moyer

How many people will we meet along the way? How many experiences will be having along the way?

We hear the old phrase, “one door closes and another door opens.” Many times we must close out one endeavor so that we are afforded the opportunity of engaging in another. Simply put we must give up something to be in a position to accept something new.

I watched a woman fight back tears today and I heard her say, “I am doing my best to accept this.” Her Pastor was reassigned to another parish and will be leaving. I immediately could feel for her. Just four years earlier it was me who was fighting back the tears. That same Priest was leaving his assignment with me to move on to the parish that this woman attends. She has grown fond of him.

Today I watched him in action; he was different from how I remembered him. He was more mature, more embracing and much more open.   He wouldn’t have changed if not for moving about and going in a new direction. He closed one door and opened another; soon he will close his current door as he takes on a whole new challenge.

The same can be said for me, these past four years I have opened doors and I have closed doors. I have experienced much “along the way.”  

One of my favorite quotes is, “You will always miss 100 percent of the shots that you do not take.” Wayne Gretzky

Every life has a beginning and middle and an ending and in the final analysis our life will be about all that we encountered along the way. Letting go used to be so hard for me, like the classic Italian Momma I wanted to hang on and hang on tightly with much love and passion. And yet today there is very little that I am interested in hanging on to.

We hang on at the expense of NOT letting go and therefore we are closed off when what we truly need to do is be open and receptive to what is next. Life is a living and a moving thing; it is about the journey and not the destination.

People choose the path in their lives and often fall into either a victor or a victim. We claim our role by the choices we make along the way. Each choice has its own consequences and each choice opens up something often at the closing of something else.

And my new favorite quote about change is “May the bridges I burn light the way!” Dylan McKay

“20 years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the one’s you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Here is to heading out and getting about and all that we experience “along the way.”

— 3 weeks ago
Why I Became a Writer

Why I Became a Writer

By Bernadette A. Moyer

Apparently I have been writing professionally for just over 16 years now. I know this because LinkedIn must have sent out an announcement to that end as I have been receiving “congratulations” messages. I say “professionally” because that is when I started getting paid for writing. I am paid for the books I write, some of my blogs I write and as a grant writer for numerous nonprofits.

I started writing because I had something to share; I continue to write because I have a certain audience and a significant amount of followers. I write grants because more than 97% of the time I am successful at it. I have written grants that funded programs as little as $16,000 and capital improvements as high as $600,000. And yes I am very proud of my grant writing success. Many have benefitted as a result.

But I became a writer because I had a story to share and a story that is timeless and resonated with many other people. It took me from 1983 until 1998 before I could put pen to paper and write about my first husband and his untimely unexpected accidental death. He was only 37 years old when he had a seizure in the shower and drowned to death. The autopsy reads, “Drowning as a consequence of seizure.”

His death made me question every single aspect of life. It didn’t make me a victim but rather a strong survivor. Initially I read every single thing I could get my hands on that related to death. I went into overdrive and became “I am woman hear me roar” I was more than motivated to give our daughter the best life possible. According to her handwritten college entrance essay, “my mother made sure I didn’t lack in any way because of the loss of my father.”

His death drove me! In 1998 I was ready to share not just my experience but also my new husband who was widowed and left to rear pre-mature infant twins. We immediately had depth in our relationship and knew how life could change in an instant. We both learned very early on, him at age 32 and me at age 23 that life is for the living, live it! My writings on death still sell in my books and articles and I often hear via e-mail from many that are grief stricken and looking to me for comfort and some understanding.

I have written poetry and articles on everything from pies to purposeful living. I write about my faith and I write about survivorship. I have come to a place in my writing where literally could write about a bologna sandwich. Whether you like bologna or not through the power of the written words I could make you feel something about that sandwich, up or down something!

Today some of my most appreciated writings are about family estrangements, a once almost taboo subject, today not so much. I have a lot to say about sexual abuse that has impacted my family and the many levels of denial and hate that resulted when I took a stand and spoke out about it. I have no regrets. I learned that a loving family behaves one way and a family in denial is neither loving nor a family at all.

Recently I learned that I was “liked” up until my Christian views didn’t mesh with the reader who not only couldn’t “like” my author page because I write about God but wanted others not to “like” me either. I share this because to write is to expose you and to open yourself up to both comments and criticism. Not everyone is going to get you or like you or appreciate what you have to say and to share. The longer you are in it as a ‘writer” the less you care because you know going into it that there is risk. You will risk being “liked” and “unlike’ and you will risk being known.

My writing is my voice; I share what I know and what I have learned in this lifetime. Nothing that has ever happened in my life was all good or all bad. It just was, and is, my life. I am rich in life experiences I have loved so deeply and lived so fully. For anyone who has an interest in writing and a story to share I say, go for it! There is no greater paycheck that to connect with other people that are going through what you have experienced and if you can give them the hope that you made it through and they will too, that is a gift. And that is exactly why I write!

It’s my anniversary, apparently I have been writing “professionally” for 16 years now and I still love it!

Thanks to all who read me. Follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer and www.bernadetteamoyer.com

    

— 3 weeks ago

My ride!

— 1 month ago