Browsing Tag

denise barry

Guest Posts

Me, The Rebel

April 24, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Denise Barry

When I was very young I wanted to be special. I didn’t really know what special meant, but I wanted it to mean that I would be different than my parents. I loved my parents, it’s just that I didn’t want their life. I didn’t want to get married young and have a bunch of kids and work my fingers to the bone at a low paying job just so I could make ends meet. Yet, I didn’t know what I wanted.

I talked to my older sister about this one day, while we were doing our homework in the room we shared. I said, “Dar, I don’t want to be like mom and dad when I grow up.”

Offended, she told me that there’s nothing wrong with them and maybe I’m just being ungrateful. I felt very ungrateful then, and very guilty for feeling so ungrateful, so I kept my big mouth shut from then on.

I didn’t like my first boyfriend. I only went out with him because I was eighteen and he was the first person who had asked me out. I thought he was gross, quite frankly, and I didn’t want to kiss him. But I did, because I thought I was supposed to. My mother told me I would marry him, that he was “the one”.  I was terrified, but I sat on my bed one night and cried because I knew if he asked me, I would say yes. My mother thought I should marry him, and mom always knows best. Better than me at least, who didn’t know what she wanted.

I was working at a job I hated at nineteen. I had quit college because I had landed a full time job already, and isn’t that why you go to school; so you can get a good-paying job with vacation days and great benefits? My father was so proud of me! What did I need school for? Continue Reading…

cancer, Guest Posts, motherhood

My Mother’s Hands.

November 12, 2014

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black
By Denise Barry.

Growing up, I didn’t really look like anyone in my family.

Adults would study me and proclaim that I must have come from the Milk Man. When I was mad at my family, for whatever reason, I’d use this as a tool to feel sorry for myself, casting myself as the outsider.There was, however, no denying that I had my mother’s hands. My three sisters had long, beautiful fingers, like our father’s. I, on the other hand (literally), had my mother’s short, stubby fingers. Back then I refused to see the resemblance. I was afraid that if I looked like my mother, then I would act like her too. My mother was part traditional/part tyrannical. At least to my child’s eye. She cooked, she cleaned, she baked chocolate chip cookies. But buried deep in the pocket of her apron there was a sadness, an insecurity and a loneliness so extreme it manifested in many ways. She was easy to anger, hard to please and in need of a lot of attention.

As a little girl I was always trying to please her and be her favorite, even if it meant tattling on one of my sisters. I needed to be deemed the “good” daughter. As a teenager I rebelled. I wanted my mother to know how much she’d disappointed me. As an adult, I craved her time and attention: a lunch out, a day of shopping, a visit to my house for a coffee chat. But my mother flatly exclaimed she preferred to stay home.

Years after I was married, I was able to bury the need for my mother. I focused on my own family, pretending it was enough.

On the very day my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, everything within me changed. It wasn’t about me any more. I didn’t care how she had made me feel once upon a time. I only cared about how she felt, and how to get her through this.

Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, healing, loss, love, Uncategorized

The Night Before My Sister Died.

September 25, 2013

THE NIGHT BEFORE THE DAY MY SISTER DIED by Denise Barry.

*

I dreamed of my sister the night before the day she died.

She and I stood facing each other, just a few feet apart, and I remember thinking, “Wow, she hasn’t looked me directly in the eyes in such a long time.”

Darlene and I had grown apart over the years, but I still felt closer to her than anyone else in my family.  She was my big sister, my best friend and, whether she had liked it or not, my protector growing up, so there was no way I could not feel close to her, no matter what.

As I studied her face I found it interesting that she looked younger and more radiant than the last time I had seen her.  She’d been looking tired and run-down lately and I’d been concerned.  I wanted to tell her that, but the look in her eyes kept me quiet. She had something to say.

For a long time she didn’t say anything, but her eyes never left mine.  Not even when her hand shot up to clutch at her throat.  Not even when she said the only words she would say; “Oh my god Denise, it hurts so much!”

In real life, when I see someone in pain I go into panic mode. But not here.  The only thought I had was that Darlene was the only one in my family who never called me by my nickname.  To everyone else I was “Dee”, but Darlene knew me before the short version of my name stuck (thanks to our little sister) and for some reason I felt comforted by this.

Besides, even though I noticed a hint of fear and sadness in her eyes, on a deeper level I recognized acceptance.  Whatever was going on here, she seemed okay with it and if she was okay with it, so was I.

Until the phone rang the next morning.

It was our little sister calling to tell me that Darlene was in the hospital. She was having emergency surgery for the aortic aneurysm she had, which had burst the night before.

Forgetting all about the dream, I went into auto-panic.  Fear came crashing into my body in gigantic waves, one after the other, until I thought I would drown in it.

“This can’t be happening,” I thought.  “What if she dies?  She can’t die!  They have to fix her!”

On the way to the hospital I decided she was going to be fine so I went ahead and made plans for her recovery.  “After the surgery she’ll be good as new”, I assured myself, “and I’ll go to her house every day and take care of her, and we’ll be closer than ever before.”

But she wasn’t fine.

And there would be no recovery.

At Darlene’s funeral, I turned into a parasite, latching on to anyone she had known and sucking them dry of information about her life—the one I hadn’t been a part of for way too long.  I desperately needed to know that she had been happy and that her short life had not been wasted.  But it didn’t matter what anyone said because it was never enough and I crawled away hungry for more.

When I learned that Darlene’s best friend had been with her the night she was rushed to the hospital I cornered her and began my interrogation; “Missy, tell me everything that happened that night, everything!”  I shouted maniacally.

Instead of running away, she nodded her head sadly.  She understood.

“Well, Darlene and I were playing cards and I was making her laugh and then all of a sudden she grabbed her throat and said, Somethings wrong. I feel funny, and she told me to stop making her laugh because it hurt when she did.”

Icy shock ran through me as my dream rushed back.  This was no coincidence, I was sure of that.  The realization of this slowly settled into the void my sister’s death had left in me, and for the first time the questions fell away.

I knew Darlene had come to say goodbye to me and to plant the seed of a promise; we will always be connected, no matter what.

head shot Denise

Denise Barry is an inspirational writer and author.  Her children’s picture book What Does the Tooth Fairy Do with Our Teeth? is available now on Amazon!  To learn more about Denise, visit her at www.denisebarry.net

Jennifer Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. She has been featured on Good Morning America, NY Magazine, Oprah.com. Her writing has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, and more. Jen leads her signature Manifestation Retreats & Workshops all over the world. The next retreat is to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day/New Years. Check out jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: Seattle, Atlanta, South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Miami, Tucson & The Berkshires (guest speaker Canyon Ranch.) She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.

 

Poster by SimpleReminders.com. Pre-order their book (which I am in!!): http://www.SimpleReminders.info Subscribe for more: http://www.bryantmcgill.net

Poster by SimpleReminders.com.
Pre-order their book (which I am in!!): http://www.SimpleReminders.info
Subscribe for more: http://www.bryantmcgill.net

Guest Posts, Inspiration

The Blank Page by Denise Barry.

December 19, 2012

The Blank Page by Denise Barry

Sears Adventure

 

When I was eight years old I desperately wanted to be a writer.

I didn’t know I could be one without a typewriter (yes, I am old enough to have used a typewriter!) and I knew my parents couldn’t afford to buy me one, so I fiercely prayed to Santa Claus on a nightly basis, begging him to bring me one for Christmas.

When Christmas morning came, I held my breath as I tore into the beautifully wrapped box with my name on it, from Santa. I reached inside and pulled out….a ream of paper.

I glared at that paper with as much hate as I could muster. “Why am I getting this?” I thought, bitterly. “What am I going to do with paper?”

It should have made sense to me that if I was getting paper, the reason I was getting it would follow. But I was too fixated on what it wasn’t to have any common sense.

My mom had been watching me the whole time. “Is there anything else in there?” she prompted, sounding amused.

I looked in the box again. I don’t know how I had missed it before, but there it was – my typewriter!

I didn’t notice that it probably weighed less than a pound and it was made almost entirely out of plastic. All I knew was that it was the color of my heart, and it glowed, just like my mother’s eyes as she watched me jump up and down, hugging it close.

The paper meant something to me then. I fell in love with it. I remember how I gently slid that first piece out of its package, not wanting to crease it in any way. It felt so smooth and clean and pure. It was as empty as a new day, just waiting to be filled with whatever I chose to fill it with. What a delicious feeling. What a gift!

I excitedly rolled that page into my typewriter and began tapping away on the keys. I watched as words appeared, then sentences. I couldn’t believe that what had been just a thought in my head was appearing on this blank canvas, right before my eyes! The reality of this scared me. “What if I make a mistake? I can’t just erase it, it’s ink!” I thought. The paper felt so special to me, I didn’t want to waste even one piece of it!

Well, it turns out, I did make mistakes. A lot of them. But I never wasted even one sheet of paper. With every piece I crumpled up and threw away, I was one page closer to what worked for me, what felt right.

When I was nine years old I wrote a song for my mother, which she made me sing ALL the time! After she died a couple of years ago, I found it tucked away in an envelope, inside her box of treasures. She had saved it for all these years.

I am humbled to realize that my thoughts are creations. MY creations. And that what I create can be powerful enough to touch someone so deeply, they treasure it for a lifetime.

What a powerful gift we come equipped with and no Santa required (sorry Santa!).

If you would like to see the original song I wrote, click here

Shared with love by Denise Barry. To learn more about Denise, click here.

%d bloggers like this: