What is this?
Maybe it won't end up being anything at all, or maybe it will be a glimpse into my heart, my life, my current situation, my testimony.
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Friday, September 22, 2017
Onboard a plane, destination sadness. Or at least that's the goal.
Well that was kind of dramatic...<rolling my eyes>
On September 23rd it will be 3 years since Brandon died. It took 3 years to use that word instead of "passed".
It seems silly that I need to seek out sadness. Connect with my loss. Most would think I've spent enough time with sadness in these 3 years. But no - seems I've avoided it like the plague. I guess it's not all that uncommon. But it did take me by surprise.
I worked SO hard on my grief. I went to therapy. I got involved in support groups. I attended Griefshare and grief seminars. I read books, listened to pod casts and journaled. I started a monthly Young & Widowed support group at the HeartLight Center. I thought I had "dealt" with this.
On the contrary I'm finding that I accepted my grief, but I never felt my grief.
That first year I was in shock and survival mode. From diagnosis thru death I had to stay strong to show Brandon I could do this. He broke when he'd see me cry, so I couldn't. He could no longer be my strength when I was weak - so I had to be strong for both him and Aria. I could not allow myself to feel the pain, fear and anxiety that was bearing down on me as I watched him slip away.
Then I had a newborn and Lupus and a house and a job to take care of on my own. I simply could not allow myself to feel, I had to just do.
So I "did" grief. I did everything I could. I kept myself busy, I smiled and laughed. On rare occasions tears would slip through the facade, then I'd logic them away with statements of faith and acceptance.
I could not allow myself to carry the sadness because I feared I could not hold one more thing without it all crashing down.
So I didn't.
And I became quite good at compartmentalizing those feelings.
But the reality I have found is like the quote: "That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."
I think now that I am engaged to Karl and in a loving and supportive relationship the walls of those compartments are coming down because unconsciously I know that someone will be there if I fall, so now I can take this on. And in due timing as I think the sadness and pain and fear are starting to overflow those walls and seep into other areas to get the attention they need.
This is surely a realization I do not want to face. To be honest I'm annoyed. I thought I had done the hard work.
Trust me, I know that everyone's grief journey is different, and we do not "complete" this - we "incorporate" it, and we need to be gentle with ourselves, and I'm doing the best I can with what I have and blah blah blah. Yes, all of that is absolutely true - but it doesn't make it any less annoying or scary to have to deal with.
I'm tired of dealing with grief.
...Or not dealing with grief.
So I sit here on a bench in Miami staring out at the water, writing and trying to connect with the sadness I have distracted myself from. To feel it and give it a home in my heart.
I keep trying to "schedule" my grieving. I do it when I go up to his grave. When I run to Miami. But the truth of it is that I can't do it that way. Yes, it gives me needed time for reflection, but not authentic bereavement.
I will need to feel the sadness when it surfaces, of course at the most inopportune moments in life. And I know I need to give it that space instead of stuffing it back in that box.
I need to incorporate it.
And embrace it.
Wish me luck...
Monday, April 3, 2017
These days I have been able to answer with, "Really good, actually.", and it still surprises me. I hope that brings hope.
Saturday, March 25, 2017
This date has held such mixed feelings over the years.
I remember March 25th 2006 with happiness. The joy of making a life long commitment to an amazing man and taking his last name.
March 25th, 2011 was tainted with fear as we faced a cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy and uncertainty.
March 25th, 2014 was full of excitement as we anticipated the arrival of our daughter.
Then March 25th 2015 came with deep grief as I faced what would have been our 9 year anniversary alone with our 8 month old.
This year is different yet again. As I expected it to be because grief is a journey not a destination.
March 25th, 2017 came with less dreadful anticipation. Less fear. Less ache.
Today I feel more grateful then sad.
That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt at all. Of course it still does because love does not die with the body. It lives on in legacy and memories. Forever.
However, this year I can focus on the fond memories I've collected from all the years we lived out our vows, not the despair of the life stolen from me through death.
I am in a good place these days. It's refreshing to be able to say that finally and consistently. When deep in grief it feels like it will never be any other way.
But God has redeemed my life yet again. As He has done over and over. He has given me many new roles in my life and a new sense of purpose. I have been renewed not destroyed.
It has taken time and hard work, but would it be any other way?
As I visited Brandon's grave this morning tears fell of course, and my (sometimes) sweet girl wiped them from my cheeks. Unlike the past 2 years, those may be the only tears I cry today. And that's ok. Brandon hated to see me cry.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
At the end of the summer my lupus got to a new level of difficult. Back to back steroid treatments, steroid shots, maxxing out on numerous NSAIDS and I still was in excruciating chronic pain and fatigue. My doctor recommended I start the next level of medications. For the most part once one progresses to this next treatment level there is no going backwards again. Some can find long term remission or medication managed lupus, but I have yet to go more then 6 months without needing to adjust treatment because of progression.
I was just not ready to go there yet, especially since there is a risk with these immunosuppressants for developing cancer, a door I just cannot easily open, especially since my mom did develop Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma as a result of her autoimmune disorders.
So, I requested and was granted a 3 month medical leave of absence from work to allow myself to attempt to recover from the past 5 years of stress and seek some alternative "Hail Mary" treatments and appointments as a last ditch effort before infusion treatments.
I started weekly acupuncture and a supplement called Mannatech my mom has been trying to get me on for years. I was referred to a Neurologist, a Pulmenologist, a Dermatologist and seemingly all the other "ologist's" to get fresh eyes on my health. Thankfully all checked out well and the Lupus has done no permanent damage, and my grab-bag of symptoms were solely flare related.
About 9 weeks into my leave of absence I started feeling relief and by the end of my 3 months I actually felt the best I've felt in years.
I spent a lot of time reflecting on the situation and what the next steps were and I came to the difficult realization that at this time, I just can not work full time and have lupus and be an active parent to a toddler. Something had to change, and lupus and motherhood were not exactly negotiable.
So I considered resigning from job. A choice that when laid out logically makes no sense whatsoever. My position allowed me to work from home and had been incredibly supportive of the challenges I had faced in the past 5 years. I had health insurance for Aria and I and relative job security as I was recently given an amazing opportunity to create and direct a new department.
But God. He had a different plan for me.
When there is great risk and uncertainty in a choice and yet I have complete peace about the decision I am about to make - that's when I know I am following His direction for me.
And so I resigned from my job.
Something I never have done without having another job lined up.
HeartLight Board of Directors and help in the preparations for our annual Gala and invest more time into the group of Young Widow(er)s that I facilitate. I have even been able to take on a little interior design work on the side and after trying (and LOVING) a couple products - just became a consultant for Rodan + Fields.
I am grateful that in this moment I turn the pages of this new adventure with hope and anticipation, something I really didn't think would be possible again in life after loss.