In the muck? Look up!

I took a quick hike today. The sun was playing peek-a-boo and the temperature was vacillating between the 70s and the 80s- a delightful surprise on a fall day. Quite the contrast to the heavy thunderstorms of last night.

For most of the walk, I was looking down. I wanted to avoid getting stuck, sinking too deep into the mud.   Every few steps, muck, muck, muck! Towards the end of my hike, I laughed- I was walking around in the muck, exactely how I felt in my life.

And then I looked up. I saw the most vibrant blue sky, sunshine, and verdant, growing trees. What a contrast to the dark, sticky mud below!

What happens when you keep looking down at the muck, trying to control how stuck you might get? You missed the beauty around you and above you.

Look up. Oh dear one, look up above yourself and your own feet and fetes. Gain new perspective, even in the midst of muck.
Change your vision. Look up.



Permission to waste

I give you permission, dear Kate, to waste this year.

I give you permission to spend a lot of time and money not finding yourself.

I give you permission to squander, to make mistakes, to not have a path, purpose, or passion or not to be desperately seeking one. I give you permission to just breathe; to awaken each morning with no plan and just go where your heart leads – a new hike or the worn in spot on your couch.

I give you permission to just be and ignore the need to “do”.

I give you permission to step back and out of life for a moment and to fail. To fail big and large and miserably. Because in failing there is life. There is risk. And there is living large & unafraid. And too often, oh dear one, you mute your life so that you stay in the lines, and on the narrowest of paths.

I give you permission to waste this night, these words, this week, this month, this year.

For doing whatever you need to, dear one, is not at all a waste, but a win.


Perhaps has filled my mind lately.

Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps. 

Perhaps is a gentle nudge. A freedom to say, “maybe this is what this means…or perhaps not”.

It is kindness, allowing my wisdom to eke out, leaving room for questioning and the truth of another day to be just as valid.

Perhaps gives comfort to the soul weary of decision making & analyzing.

Perhaps lets me see with faith-filled eyes that perhaps there is more than one way to be. More than one what to think. More than one way to feel. More than one way to experience.  More than one way to love. More than one way to live.

Perhaps speaks volumes.

Are you listening?

The ball & the box

The ball and the box metaphor is a beautiful one that I stumbled onto today. Draw a box and inside it draw a large ball. On one wall of the box draw a button inside. This is your pain button. When grief is new, the ball that is inside the box is quite large. It takes up so much space, it almost feels like the box itself. Thus it is constantly rubbing against the button that brings up your pain.

This weekend, my pain button kept being tapped. Life naturally moves this box around, like a wooden labyrinth. So often, the pain button is just avoided. Other times, you keep slamming into that same darn spot.

This weekend that. A work experience where I wanted advice *pain button*  I wish I could ask Dad for help. Seeing my sweet friend’s 2-year-old sit with her “Papa” * pain button* “Dad, I wish you’d get this for yourself”. Driving home, thinking about Easter  *pain button* “I wish you both were here and we were having Easter dinner at the house”. Our house. Life *pain button* loss of parents stirred up. Over and over again.

I can go days, weeks even, without the pain button being touched. But man, did I make up for lost time it seemed.

And I’m ok. This is human. I can still feel, breathe, cry and an hour later, smack a tennis ball so hard, laugh with a cashier or honk at the drive that cuts me off.  Because life goes on, even if its hard. Even if I miss you more than I can express.

Oh, and pain button, you are welcome to take a vacation this week. You’ve been present enough. 🙂


Kindness is always paid forward

Today, I was late to work. Late due to a doctor’s appointment and delays on the train. The main lobby of our building in midtown Manhattan could not be used. Someone lost their life last night in front of our doors. A brawl that left a bar, and left one man dead.

The day was filled with meetings, productivity, sighs, and laughs. But like many days, you become absorbed in the day to day, the monotony, you disconnect from the truth you seek to be.


As I hung around later into the evening, a co-worker and I quickly caught up. When I realize how difficult of a time he was having I asked “what can I do for you”? He was so shocked, tears glistened in his eyes as he said “thank you. No one has asked me that”. We chatted about a few ideas, nothing that could be solved in the moment but with promises to touch base again.

Fast forward to nearly 10:30 pm. I am home from the grocery store trying to prepare my car for a donation tomorrow. But I can’t seem to get the back license plate off. The screws are rusted and stripped. After efforts with multiple tools, I realize this will not happen tonight.

Without a question, as late as it is, I text my landlord, asking if I can borrow a wrench in the morning from his workbench. He immediately writes back that he will get up early in the morning to take the screws off for me.

Just as my coworker did when I shared some kindness, I cried at this kindness. I felt helpless, not sure how I could change this situation or get the aid I needed. It can be so hard to reach out and ask for a bit of help, but if we don’t, we may miss those moments to allow others to be givers.

So I wrote to my coworker. Thanking him for allowing me to be with him and share some kindness, as I truly believe it opened me up to asking out of my own need and then receiving such help as well.

Perhaps it truly is “in giving that we receive“.

What we cannot share

No one knows, I realize. This game of loss is just me &…. No. It’s just me. 

Tonight I watched the latest episode of “This is Us”. If you’ve not gotten hooked, beware. If you ever need a jolt into tears, this script will do it for ya.

Two siblings, as close as can be, start to remember their Dad’s death from years ago. The sister has processed it recently. The brother still hasn’t. Their father died while they were in high school and are about 35+ now.

What moved me was the the last scene, the brother admitting to his sis, yes I have a really hard time thinking about Dad and his death. But. But, but, but. It’s on the phone, they just made up from after a fight, there is distance. So while he starts to cry, he shuts the conversation down.

This is grief.

Yes, there are moments when you are in it with someone- a friend, relative, partner, sister. But more often that not, you are in this journey alone. No matter how deeply connected you might be to another, who is missing that same person, who lived through the same timeline, it is not the same experience. To each, their own.

This is human.

For all the times I have heard, “You are not alone”, the one phrase I want to retort is “Yes, but I am. We all are”.

Hear me out. I am quite a gregarious person, who loves connection and meeting others. But nothing feels more true than the wisdom of I walk in this world in my shoes, my mind, my heart alone. It does not mean I am not in community with another, it does not mean I am forever lonely or lost. We enter this world alone, as unique, individual selves. And we leave it, changed I am sure, but alone and unique as well.

I will not say the alone-ness is “all ok” and “fully beautiful”.

But when grief wells up within me, there is no one who knows the pain better than myself. While I can share with words, no one else can live inside me- know what I am thinking when I cannot express it, know what physical changes I feel within my body, and no one can truly know what it feels like within my soul.

In that truth, there is liberation. There is the freedom that stops me from seeking someone, or something, ‘get it’ or ‘take it away’.

So even a sister to a brother who seem to have experienced so much the same in their life, their grief, their journey, their process will never be the same.

This is us. Human. Alone. Liberated. And maybe somewhat ok.

Father’s (day) light

There are so many that I love today that I dearly miss. My dad and his. Mom and her two brothers- godfathers to my sister and I. My grandpa I never knew.

Dear friends with kids who I don’t see often enough- celebrating their first, third, or sixth Father’s day.

So many men I miss. Too many, perhaps, for this stage in my life.

And. (Not but, or yet, or however). And I am grateful. My heart is full with the sorrow of those who are no longer here and the buoyed by the memories of the sweet moments we had together.

And this. First, the annoyance, blinding me as sit and reflect on this day. On and off, on and off this light flickers. Is an animal tripping it on, or a person flipping a switch, not knowing what it does? While right in my eye, it is dozens of times before I really pay fuller attention to this visual cacophony with light.

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This light shines into the corner of my sight and illuminates all that is dark in the outer world. Light in this hot and stormy night. Light in this darkness. Light, again brought forth in the tough day.

For where there is darkness, let there be light.

Even if you only last for a brief moment.

Be still and know. 

Know, know forever there is light.

Choosing Happiness

I choose to be happy in this moment.
Breathing in, I crave light & peace.
Breathing out, I let go of all the negative, even for these minutes.

I choose to be happy in this moment.
I connect to my heart, my soul, my deeper self.
The self that can recognize this moment.
Bringing mindfulness to the here & now.

I choose to be happy in this moment.
To know that I am loved.
To know that I am held.
To know that my inner self is more than just my troubles.

For I am grateful for these minutes.
The ones that pull me back to my true self and remind me that this is all temporary.
And if in the small moments of the day, I can reconnect with my higher self, I can feel that peace.
Choosing mindfulness, I can choose peace.




© katesaysyes



A Christmas letter to the folks

I miss our house. I miss decorating our tree. I miss my childhood chore/love, vaccumming up pine needles and how the warmth of the machine would make the room smell even more intense.


I miss you. I miss your navy blue robe with white piping from years ago. I miss your sleepyhead look, yet joyful Christmas morning smiles. I miss you collecting all the gift wrapping to recycle.


I miss your pancakes. I miss your starting a fire by 9am in the morning, just this one time a year. I miss your only watching “A Christmas Story” on the 24 hour loop- never on VHS or DVD.


I miss Christmas. Our Christmas of the years past. With the flow of many friends and family into our home, our hearth, our safe place.


I need this Christmas to be merifcul. I need the ache to not be so intense. And yet, can I ask that of this day? Will  it listen?  With Advent, I anxiously await.


So then,  I need to be mericful. I need to allow the pain to be present, even if it is intense. I need to allow this Christmas to be this Christmas- even if all I want is one more with you both.


Merry Christmas- I miss you both.


the hit of loss

I miss you both so much. And I don’t know how to miss you.

What, you say? Keep reading.

This time last year, my life was radically different. Mom was still here, but slipping more away after we lost Dad.


Today, I see that I am still in my winter.


I can’t wrap my head around that our first Christmas with neither parents, immediately follows the one without Dad. I just want those old days back. Where family gathered in our living room- giftwrap, or comics as we all used, was flying! My older cousins would happily play with sis and I. Mom would pass out presents and greet each family member as she would make her way around the room, cleaning paper, and smiling the whole time. I remember warmth, love, some much happy noise.

Truly, I’d give so much to have those days back. Sure, maybe it would teach me that I have romatizced them a bit. But, one more holiday with you both?


I’d ask for that day to never end.



Is there a rhythm to grief? I do not know. It is too close, too sacred, too of the now to surmise that there is rationality to this pain. What I know- is it lingers. It creeps around my world and my life, begging for more space. And that is how I don’t know how to miss you.

One year later, another parental death later, and I still don’t know how to do this, grieve.

I know there is no right way. But there is also no familiar landscape, some comfort of how I did this before. These losses are so large, and yet different. Together, it’s often too much.

I miss you both so deeply, so intensely, and live my daily life. Somehow, they are not in contradiction to each other.


Related: Winter Sullen Wonder Days