Spreading the Spirit as Far as I Can!

I’m still learning on a daily basis through emails and texts how many people were touched by Tim’s amazing spirit and his giant smile. I’ve realized that as I go around the country continuing the work in the fight against Alzheimer’s for Mom and the millions of others impacted by this dreaded disease that Tim’s spirit is with me everywhere I go.

After the issues with contractors and changing accounts over to my name last week, I was looking forward to going to Connecticut and Massachusetts to get away! The trip definitely didn’t disappoint! I arrived in Branford, Connecticut on Monday night excited because I had just realized that the venue where I’d be speaking on Tuesday for Artis Senior Living was a beach club. It was breathtaking and exceeded my expectations in every way. In the morning session, I gave a presentation on the book tailored for professionals (home care specialists, nurses, health care business owners etc) who would each receive CEU credits for attending. We had a ball, and everyone loved my enthusiasm and my spirit. Since July 17th throughout my presentations I give credit to Tim for all the work he did for Mom and also discuss the steps I’m currently taking to fill the void left by his death.

In the morning session with the professionals most people commented either directly to me or in their evaluations on how my “spirit” impacted them in a positive way. One woman told me she hadn’t been excited to attend the event, and that her boss insisted she come. She told me I had totally changed her attitude about the profession she’s in and that she realized it takes a certain “spirit” to serve people in need when debilitating illnesses strikes. About a dozen books were raffled off in the morning and I signed them all.  I got more hugs after that session than I can remember. I had intended to go back to my hotel during the break between the morning and evening sessions, but the beauty of the venue compelled me to stay. During the more than seven hours I had to enjoy, I walked on the beach, I sat in the gazebo writing, and I laid out in the sun listening to music. I also cried – both tears of joy at how I had inspired people both with my journey with Mom and with my attempt to rebound after Tim’s death, and tears of sadness that Tim wasn’t here to share it all with me.


In the evening session, caregivers and families were in attendance. The room was welll-suited for probably 60 people, yet 88 people were in attendance. Because of the way the room was split, I had to “describe” what was being shown on the screen to the 25 people seated on my right who didn’t have a clear view. Surprisingly, they may have enjoyed the presentation just as much if not more than the people who could actually see the photos and strategies in my presentation. I got a rousing standing ovation at the end!


Half of the room was in tears, including some of the Artis Senior Living staff members! We did large sections of group hugs, individual hugs, and sharing of personal stories. Even the wait staff and bartendars who prepared the scrumptous dinner and drinks wanted signed copies of the book. I was overwhelmed! Artis had only purchased 60 and there were many more people than books, so the staff took care of strategically distributing them. I’ll be mailing more out this weekend to some of them who really wanted a signed copy. The one question I was repeatedly asked was how I was able to give such great presentations and continue to focus on Mom after losing Tim. It’s actually an easy answer. It’s what Tim would want, and his spirit is clearly shining through me now and spurring me on.

The next day in Reading, MA the morning and afternoons sessions played out just as they had in CT, we were just in a different city in a different venue. There were tears and hugs again, even from the staff members and even more comments about my spirit. This time between the morning and afternoon sessions I went on a ninety minute walk through the historic part of Reading. It was very relaxing and rejuvenating!


I got up on Thursday morning at 3am to get to the airport in time for my 6am flight. When I arrived at the airport it seemed I was the only one there! Others begann to arrive slowly but while waiting for my flight to board I had time to reflect on the worldwind two days. When we landed in DC I headed straight to work and worked a full day. My day wasn’t over at the end of the work day, because it was also the first night of the Security Administration course I teach for Webster University. I was exhausted, but pressed on with my usual enthusiasm during the class. I did share with my class about Tim’s passing because the University had made provisions for a backup instructor in the event I didn’t feel up to teaching the course this term. Last night after I got home I sent my normal “test email” to my class to ensure I had the correct information to contact them with class information or updates, and I asked them to confirm receipt of my email.

All 14 of them responded last night and today. Most of the time I only receive the word “received” or “receipt confirmed”. The students in this class however wrote lots more, almost all of them commenting on my amazing spirit, and how fun and informative I made the class in spite of my loss. One student wrote to me today that he recently had a loss of a loved one and didn’t believe he could focus this term and had planned on dropping the class. But he said after meeting me and my positive spirit and having thoroughly enjoyed the first class, he decided not to quit and to press on as I was doing. That email made my day!! From Monday afternoon when I boarded that plane, to today with the email responses from my students the theme from this week clearly is “my spirit”. While I am the person that everyone saw standing in front of them this week, and I’m the person who shared with them the passion I have for my work, I believe the spirit they felt was definitely Team Veney. Tim and I are still a Team, they just can’t see him – But they can certainly feel him through me and I pray that will always be the case! Team Veney forever!


5 thoughts on “Spreading the Spirit as Far as I Can!

  1. Thank you, Loretta, for this post. I anticipated that you’d write it soon after your latest road trip and I looked forward to reading it. As you found the CT and MA venues, so I found your writing here – it and you did not disappoint.

    As I read, I discerned the thread running through your words of your spirit; confirmed by so very many folk who had the privilege to be with you, to hear you, and to be inspired by you for the being of their lives and for the doing of their labors…

    In this, I am happy that you and Mr. Timothy remain bound together in this, one of your life’s callings. I do trust that Tim — your memories of him, his spirit, his love of life and his love of you and your ongoing (for the rest of your life) reflections on your 31 years of life together — is with you…

    At some future point, I’d love to engage and explore with you the nature of your spirit; for I believe that though it is not, in your present sense of its essence, less or other than your bond with your soulmate Tim, it – your spirit – is also (meaning, at the same time) other and more…

    I write this because I’ve been awake since 5am reflecting on an encounter I had last evening. A new priest friend here in SC invited me to be the “kick off” presenter for a program he’s begun in his parish, “Pints with Priests”; gathering 20/30-somethings to engage in conversation with clergy about things that matter. There were 20 folk, most young couples, some just married, others married a few years, some with and some without children. I was free to talk about whatever I desired. I chose, first, to introduce myself to them through the lens of my philosophical/theological framework, then to open a dialogue about our relationship with Jesus (of course, reading from one of my sermons, “Relationships are hard!”), then asking them, “How do you characterize or describe your relationship with Jesus?” Their responses were enthusiastic, varied, and rich; from “close” to “formerly close, but life is full and complicated” to “wanting to find again that spiritual bond”. I then asked them, “What wakes and keeps you up at night? What do you worry about?” Again, their responses were varied and full…

    One of my immediate take-aways (the clarity of which I discern through the lens of your post [thank you again!]? We were talking about spirit; in a word, our individual senses of ourselves, our individual essences that no matter how close we (they) were to our spouses, partners, families, etc., each of us possessed in an utterly, spiritually,’individually unique way.

    All said, I had a ball with them! That’s no surprise. I always do!

    What did and does surprise me (though on immediate reflection, if I had the wisdom and insight to have anticipated it I suppose I might have glimpsed it; now having seen it, I am reminded of somethingbI have come to believe about us human beings), we always are immersed in the search for life’s meaning and in that quest we’re always talking about ourselves and what matters.

    Loretta, this is my extended intro (or, as I’m wont to say, “running all the way around Katy and Sam’s barn” – just a silly phrase I coined years ago to mean my roundabout way sometimes of getting to my point) for opening a conversation with you about your quintessentially, wondrously, divinely and humanly individual spirit; one that you have embodied from the moment we met and, I trust, will continue to embrace as long as you have breath.

    OK, enough for now!

    Much love

  2. WOW!!!! Thanks Paul!!!

    I wish I could have been at that event last night!! I’m sure it was outstanding!! And what a cool name for it!! Pints with Priests – just awesome! It’s certainly sounds as if the conversation was as good as the drinks! I’d LOVE to have a conversation with you!! Spirit is something I too often struggle to define, YET it’s the word people use most to describe me!

    Going further, I’d love for us to revisit our courses in 2017 – and maybe adding one on grief and recovery. Being on the road now for more than 2 years, I’m learning that people are hungry for inspiration, guidance and sometimes just to be in the room with others who share a common interest. You bring so much to the table when it comes to inspiring people, provoking thought and providing comfort! I digress ….. I don’t think I’ve shared this with you, BUT I have reviewed your reflection at Tim’s funeral dozens of times… mostly when I’m down and need uplifting… It’s the most animated, funny and loving tribute ever!! I laugh and laugh every time I watch it. Yours, along with the reflections from Chris, Mike, Kim, Kendal and Michele it was one of the best funerals ever in my opinion! It has helped to inspire me to keep going.

    It’s so amazing that your conversation turned to spirit last night… That’s very exciting, especially given how you explain the richness of the discussion!! I hope that you will continue with those types of discussions in programs like that – maybe even at Clevedale.

    Now all we have to do is set a date for our talk!! Woo Hoo!! Looking forward to it!! And thanks for your amazing comments on this blog post! Quite the week it’s been! Now I await contractors to fix a hole in my ceiling. That’s not likely to be nearly as much fun!!

    much love!

    • Loretta, you’re welcome! Thank you again and again for your post!

      Yes, let’s revisit our course planning. I think our “Coming Out of the Dark – A Road to Restoration” has some good material for beginning to frame a retreat especially focused on loss/death/grieving. (I’m also reminded of the St. Mark’s course, “Losses and New Beginnings”, which, as I recall, brought you and St. Mark’s together!)

      And our conversation about “spirit”, yes, I look forward to it. Strikes me as a face-to-face, real-time convo.

      Love always

  3. YES, Excellent idea about “Coming Out of the Dark”! I’m in…and totally agree that it should be an in person conversation. YEP, Losses and New Beginnings definitely brought me to St. Mark’s and the rest as they say is history!! Much love

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