Today was a bittersweet day for me. I attended the funeral of my 99 year-old former grandmother in law. It was a day of reflection, sadness, soul searching but most of all remembrance.

The strange thing about funerals, is that there is no code of conduct to follow. Coming from a divorce, I wanted to be politically correct (whatever that means) yet I wanted to be true to my heart as well. Unfortunately, some of the time the two of those actions can collide. All I knew was that I adored this women and for over 15 years of my life, she was like a grandmother to me. Even if she was in her 100th year of life, I was heartbroken to hear the news she had passed. No matter what, I wanted to say goodbye.

We went to the funeral, hugs were exchanged, tears were shed, memories were happily recollected of favorite vacations, holidays and backyard parties. But most of all, we all had one thing in common, we knew the world would never be the same again without Ginnie.

Ginnie never said a bad word about anyone and had a special needs daughter that she insisted be socially mainstreamed during an era when that was clearly not the norm. Above all, she was a lady, as she was so eloquently described during one of the most heartfelt eulogies I have ever heard which was given by her granddaughter, Susan.

My point is, when we sit and remember loved ones, such as Ginnie, and reflect on their lifetime (and how they were absolute pillars of the family), I think it is so very important to think about how we can incorporate the qualities we love so much about our dearly departed friends and family into the lives we lead day to day. What better way to pay tribute to the foundation to many of our families than to emulate those qualities that we love so dearly about them.

Ginnie had taught me no matter what, life goes on. She taught me how to make peace with that. Even during terribly stressful times in our family, she always had a sense of wisdom about her that somehow, everything was going to be okay, and you know what? She was right.

She also taught me to fight the good fight; that life wasn't always easy. I was to expect that there were bumps and roadblocks along the way and to fight for what I believed in. And for Ginnie, that was her family.

I think sometimes, unfortunately, it takes going down memory lane a bit - even if it someone else's reflective journey - that keeps us in tune with our present. It's like a tune-up for our minds that keeps us in the now and helps us prioritize really what is important in our lives. Today, I was reminded of that when I saw my former in-laws mourn the passing of a loved one.

I was reminded as to the importance of family - divorced or not. We are all still intertwined and it is up to us how to make that work, not simply for the kids' sake, but for our own. Looking at my sister in law whom I hadn't seen in five years, was heavy on my heart as I hugged her and remembered how much of a sister she was and still is to me.

I was reminded of the importance of forgiveness. No matter what, the big picture is (in my life lesson manual) that we must move forward without regrets. I never want to be one those angry old ladies that blamed everyone for all of my misfortunes. We all make mistakes and it's what we learn from them that matters.

And most of all, I was reminded as to how lucky I was and still am today.

As I looked around the church and realized how very fortunate I was to have known Ginnie, it warmed my heart. By connecting the dots from my my past to the present, my life was starting to make a bit more sense to me.

It was remembering Ginnie's life and her past, that gave me the gift of my present today.

"You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now - and nothing can stand in your way!" Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Author's Bio: 

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1. Who is Patti?

I am a forty something single mom of two awesome kids. In the past six years, I have: separated and divorced, finished a graduate degree with honor’s, started a part-time career as a writing instructor at a local college, opened up my own business as a transition coach, and as of November 2008, became newly engaged! In addition, I have finished my basic training to become part of a collaborative law team.
As you can see, it has been quite an eventful few years! However, I have never felt more fulfilled in my life.

2. How did I do it?

I can honestly tell you that I have utilized many of the same principles I learned in graduate school (I have a Master’s of Arts in Teaching) and applied them to my life. I thought, “What are my goals? Where do I want to be in one year – two years – five years? How am I going to get there?” (Think of this as being your own tutor!)
Like a teacher does with her class, I wrote out my lesson plans on how to achieve those goals. Hour-by-hour, day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, slowly but surely, I kept my eye on those goals and made sure that I kept forging ahead, even on the days I barely could get out of bed. (On those days, I gave myself a gold star for even making myself a pot of coffee or going to the dry cleaners!)

This is a true testimony on how you can use a crisis to create a new path for your future. That is what I did. I took all the pain and suffering I had during my divorce, turned it around into a positive learning experience.

3. What is the magic formula that makes my business thrive?

I knew that knowledge was power and the better educated I was as to what I could expect from the transition going on in my life – my transition process – the better. I wanted to be one step ahead of the game when meeting with the professionals and my goal was to be the ideal client.I wanted to use this change as a way of exploring my character and my drive.

So, I challenged myself – I wanted to get the most for my money when meeting with my lawyers and other professionals for many reasons – I wanted to save money, not waste my time talking about emotional issues during our meetings and I wanted to get it over with as smoothly (and quickly) and possible. And, most of all, I wanted to learn the tools on how to learn and grow from this time of change in my life. I didn’t want this possibly uncertain time to define who I was. I wanted to own it and move on.
In the meantime, I read and studied books on goal-setting and laws of attraction as well as countless books on people who not only survived, but thrived during times of transition (refer to recommended book list). I realized there was very little information out there on how people overcame obstacles in their lives and the techniques they had when accomplishing goals during tough times.

While I was studying and researching the various aspects of life transitioning and how to do it right, so to speak, I would reward myself with reading books on how to achieve your dreams! As a result, Patricia Phelan Clapp M.A., the Transition Coach, was created!

All you need to do is commit to wanting to move forward in a positive direction.

Let’s get started! - (50% of my coaching is done via telephone and/or online correspondence)

4. What material will we cover at your coaching sessions?

* We will find the necessary resources for you during this transition process.

* We will focus on creating a positive client-based relationship that will give you the ability to compartmentalize this transition process separate from your emotions.

* I will help you achieve your goals and find a balance between the transition you are facing and moving on with your life.

* A step-by-step plan will be devised on how to come up with an action plan towards obtaining your goals.

* By creating a road map for you to follow during this time of uncertainty in your life, we can concentrate on empowering you with the peace, self-respect and hope that may have been lost along the way.

5. Background Information and Training

A. Adjunct Writing Instructor - Brookdale Community College

* specialty: collaborative teaching and process writing approach, basic skills teacher.

* focus: instruction via academic coaching – my goal is to have the students feel academically enthusiastic and confident upon completion of the class while mastering the fundamentals of essay writing.

* areas of interest/themes of the lessons: modern day heroes, laws of attraction, life lessons with Morrie from Tuesdays with Morrie, the Pay it Forward movement, how to stay motivated in an academic world.

B. Patricia Phelan Clapp M.A. LLC – Founder

* specialty - motivational speaker, consultant, coach – business and professional.

* focus - executive coaching, social media networking, finding professional resources for clients going through transition, working as part of a legal team on assisting clients to stay-solution focused and goal-oriented, utilize proactive methods on how to navigate the waters of change – both professionally and personally, how to encourage moving forward during times of transition.

* areas of interest - Collaborative Law. Social Media and Marketing, Strategic Planning, Success Principles for Entrepreneurs.

Mediation Training- as approved by AOC for CLE hours.
Basic Collaborative Law Training – completed 6/13/09

Graduate Student - Rowan University

* candidate for M.A. In Writing - 4.0 GPA (previously obtained an M.A. in Teaching - 3.97 GPA)

Favorite Quotes:

“We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness.”

“Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.” T.S. Eliot

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” Judy Garland

“Talk about a dream, try to make it real.” Bruce Springsteen

Business Address:

Patricia Phelan Clapp M.A. LLC

Piff – Tomaro Professional Building

1704 Maxwell Drive

Suite 302

Wall, New Jersey 07719

(732) 865-5377

“Helping you find the resources you need to stay focused and balanced during professional and personal times of transition.”