I will never forget the day my cousin Norma called me on the phone – it was 7 am and my mom had passed away at 3:14 am. She had gotten my message but she had a late night- her and her husband had just celebrated their daughter’s wedding. I heard myself tell her my mom had gone to the ER and she was gone. She had left me.
Norma turned out to be the one to prevent me from committing suicide – although I don’t think she knows this unless she reads this post. Anyhow, she and her daughter (my cousin also) Michelle came over and I don’t remember what happened but Norma helped me in every sense of the word. She hugged me, she made sure I ate, she planned my mom’s service, she helped me every step of the way. But I couldn’t move or function or breathe.
The service came and passed and so did a couple of weeks and I began to not be able to move or function. I wanted to die. No, actually, I was already gone. I believed my life was over. Norma called one morning and she gently reminded me “Melo, you have to get moving,” I said I understood but I didn’t. We began the task of clearing out my parent’s things but what I did isn’t as clear as the necessity to move and to find the consistency of getting up everyday.
I now understand that many times when we lose a child, a parent, a spouse, a loved one- we lose our identity. We lose ourselves in the process of the loss and when it’s quiet and still, we have no idea where to go or what to do. I realize today that many of us are not lucky enough to have a “Norma” in our lives that can come and take us through our loss but I would like to suggest some starters for you – the how’s and the why’s!!!
Yes, I know you may be thinking – how can you explain the how’s and why’s of grieving? And my answer is this- it’s imperative that you have resources, tools, support and find the will to have a life after loss.
Here we go:
One step forward, one hundred steps back.
You either will or already have days where either by force of responsibility or the denial of what you are experiencing you will continue the shell of what was once your life. You have to go to work, go to school, take care of your family … do all the things that you were doing prior to the loss but the difference is – that you aren’t the same. That version of you is no longer – so the steps you take .. become reversed. The place for you to go to center yourself is to recognize there is no ok- it is now just learning to live after loss.
Most everyone in your life will show you both sympathy and empathy but here is the truth…they keep going and their lives keep going and you will be left with all that grief and the feeling of being lost. You need support. Get it through therapy, support group, online, or a support system of your family members/chosen family of friends – but don’t think you can do this on your own. Get support. You can receive support from me and the AfterChloe Facebook group by clicking here – it’s free and you’ll get daily support!
Move … literally
I got a Fitbit and now I move through exercise but 80 pounds weight gain and two years is what it took me to get moving. I believe and resonate with this wonderful human – Natalie Rensi – click here to read her blog. She helps with diet and exercise- ( he lost her baby boy Mac- so she knows grief) and she’s so kind and such an amazing soul! Go check her out!!!!
Find some joy
Yup – you can find happy again- even one minute or through laughter. Ask yourself – what makes me happy? Is it a good meal? Is it a shower? Is it talking to your best friend? Go find that happy!!!!!
It’s not ok.
This is the truth, you have to recognize that your life has been altered for all the rest of your life. This creates shock, sadness, denial, fear and uncertainty. Believe this and understand that you are not ok and make peace with this space – it will take processing this journey – be gentle with this truth and most importantly yourself!!
I applaud you- I pray for you and I am here for you. Loss is the most difficult journey of your life. Last night I watched a YouTube video of a gal who is helping her mom through a terminal illness and I cried for my mom for an hour. I miss my mom, my dad, and my daughter Chloe everyday of my life.
I send you grace and love, I encourage you to get moving and remember-it’s your pace, your timing, and your ultimate decision!