Bucket list item completed: Publish a book

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Well, I can gladly say that I have now placed a check mark next to something on my bucket list: Publish a book.

Yesterday evening it went live on Amazon and starting today I am in the process of setting it up to offer it for free for the next few days. It’s a nice short one, so if you have a few minutes please check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/Professional-Introvert-Dan-L-Bernhardt-ebook/dp/B00ZDXH24G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1434034314&sr=1-1

Death and Grieving as an #Introvert

images3 I’ve really struggled this week to type the words on my screen for a couple of reasons. The first is because I am taking notes on a possible book I am thinking of writing about my life experiences as an introvert working in a professional environment. Writing a book is sort of a bucket list item and I can’t really think of anything else to write about, so there you go. The other is because I have been struggling to find the words for dealing with grief. We’ve all dealt with death before. I consider myself lucky, in sorts. You see, I have seen plenty of death. I’ve seen it happen to people that I didn’t know. I’ve seen it happen to people that deserved it. I’ve seen it happen to plenty of people that didn’t deserve it. My sister passed away from cancer a few years ago. She was almost 40 years old. I wasn’t there for it. My grandfather passed away from a heart attack when I was only a few months old. I never knew him. My grandmother passed away from congestive heart failure back in 1994. I spent nearly every summer at her house learning about yard work and gardening. And cooking. I wasn’t there to see her go through the struggles of life/death because I was away for the Army. In fact, I flew home, had the funeral the next day, and then was back on a flight back to my unit. I wasn’t there. Recently, as in just a couple of months ago, a good friend of ours lost her teenage son to Muscular Dystrophy. I’ve known him since he was born, and watched as this disease destroyed his body. 11263866_10206974926396403_1418449672_n The weekend of his funeral I was out of town with my son at a wrestling tournament. Once again, I wasn’t there. A few years ago my “work wife” (just Google it if you don’t know) lost her baby. It was heartbreaking. She still had to have a C-Section to give “birth”. I cried at work in my little office. My eyes are watery now thinking about the moment I found out. She had, and still does have, the biggest smile of anyone I have ever met. She and her husband are awesome. I talked to her every single day at work about her pregnancy symptoms and the things that my wife (The Hippy) did to help her through the days. Suddenly that wasn’t going to be happy conversation. For weeks I struggled with what to say when she came back to work. Instead, we went to her house and brought some food. When she answered the door she looked broken, but smiled at us. Since the funeral for the teenager who passed from Muscular Dystrophy, two more of our friends (one very close) have been diagnosed with cancer. Our close friend found out she has Stage IV breast cancer. Treatable but not curable. Her daughter is in my son’s kindergarten class and they are best of friends. In a moment of “those things kids say”…we had a conversation with our son about the situation. We wanted him to be somewhat prepared. He’s an extremely bright kid. Makes me proud every single day. He was just selected for Montessori. But the next day at school he went to all of the classmates and told each of them they better be nice to his friend because her mom is going to die. Fortunately our friends understood, but I was still a bit nervous when I called them to give them the heads up before they found out from their daughter. Another mother from one of my son’s friends is also being treated for Cancer. Last week I got a message from someone who I have become Facebook friends with. He lives “across the pond” and was going to visit us in Montana with his wife. They have to delay their trip because his brother-in-law has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and does not have long to live. They have two children. So, needless to say (but since this blog seems to be somewhat therapeutic for me, and hopefully for the few readers), the past couple of months have been weighing on my mind. Remember when I mentioned that I consider myself lucky, in sorts? Well, I said that because I have seen death, but not been with close friends or family as they went through that process. As “luck” would have it, I have not had to deal with it in person up until recently. My conversation with our close friends after my son was sticking up for his friend tore me up inside. I didn’t want to have the conversation to let them know what happened, but they were so awesome about it. You see, the introvert in me doesn’t want to be a part of any of it. I’m not a talker. I don’t know what to say. Change that, I know what to say, but in my mind it’s too clichéd and empty. “So sorry to hear.” “You are in our thoughts.” “If you need ANYTHING, just let us know.” When my “work wife” smiled at us when we went to her house after they lost their baby, I finally had something relevant to say, “I’m so happy to see your smile.” When she came back to work, I told her how happy I was to see her back. I didn’t really have anything else to say. They now have two beautiful sons. It’s tough for anyone to have these conversations with people we care about. Whether it is via Facebook, email, telephone, or in person at a funeral. As an introvert, I pick and choose my words wisely. I would rather say nothing at all rather than say something stupid, or clichéd, or empty. So I struggle. We all struggle. We all grieve differently. It’s not because we don’t care or are indifferent, we would just rather say something truly meaningful from the heart.

Shopping at Costco

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There I was, walking around Costco.

Since I wasn’t by myself, it was going to take much longer to shop.

No, I was with my Hippy wife and son, and also mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law. They like shopping. In fact, they like shopping even if there is no intent to buy anything. Just get out and look around.

Not me. Apparently it showed.

“Are you bored yet?” the mother-in-law asked.

Before my filter turned on, I replied honestly, “Yes.”

You would have thought I told them over the loudspeaker (does Costco have one?) that I was having an affair. All eyes were on me (stupid filter needs to be faster) and the only person who didn’t look surprised, or hurt, or with lasers burning into me was the Hippy. She’s used to it.

“You don’t need to be here then.” I was told.

TRAP TRAP TRAP TRAP TRAP TRAP

I stayed. I acted “not bored.”

I’m a good actor.

Instead I concentrated on looking for people I might know so I could avoid eye contact with them.

I will say, though, that at least at Costco the employees don’t swarm around me asking if I need any help. Usually they are swarming to the food samples. Ok, that was probably an overgeneralization and if you are a Costco employee reading this I apologize.

But seriously, you don’t have to bump into me to get in front for that sample. I’m not grabbing one anyway.

Unless you are extremely attractive…you can bump into me. Ok, maybe not. I will overanalyze it and think that you are either hitting on me (zero chance of that) or I am being set up by the Hippy to see my uncomfortable reaction while she laughs inside.

And out loud.

And then posts it on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, text, mass email, YouTube, and Ellen.

Screw this; I’m going to non-judgmental Amazon.

Great, they even approach me with recommendations.