"New Normal" A term that a person who has experienced loss hears quite often. And frankly, a term that they don't want to hear. Someone experiencing grief doesn't want a New Normal, they want their loved one back. After such a loss, they feel they will never be or experience Normal again.
The first year after losing someone close to you is incredibly difficult. Correction... seemingly impossible. For me, I lost my son, My Boy. He was only 16. You experience the shock, the stages of grief, and the extreme, never-ending pain. You sleep A LOT (or not enough), cry, scream, and beg God to please just stop the pain and bring your loved one back. You feel lost and completely detached from reality. You experience the first birthday and holidays without them. And each month that passes is even harder than the last. Then the big one, the one year anniversary of their passing. It feels like a giant mountain to get over, its obstacles full of anxiety, sadness and pain. But you know what was surprising for me? The relief I felt that day. I survived the first year. And that was when I knew I had to make a choice. I can let grief consume me, or I can LIVE.
Choosing to live your life after a loved one dies comes with a lot of guilt. If I move forward with my life am I dishonoring them and their memory? These feelings of guilt can keep us trapped in grief. Honoring YOURSELF is necessary in moving toward Normal. So how does one do this?
Grief is a very personal journey, but one that requires support (not optional here folks). Support can come from a grief support group, a therapist or doctor, or possibly a Life Coach or Pastor at a church. Alternative Healing methods are also very beneficial. In my case, I chose not to take any anti-depressants as we are a very holistic family, so I worked with a wonderful Life Coach (Chemory Gunko www.lifecoachestoolbox.com), and a very generous friend and Acupuncturist who gifted My Girl and I many sessions. (Jennie Luther www.familytreeacuwell.com)
Also, connect with the people who knew your loved one best. Together you can tell stories, make a space for your lost one while watching a movie that they loved, tell stories, laugh and cry, and share your deepest thoughts and emotions surrounding the loss. My Mom was there for everything when My Boy was alive and together we were truly able to understand the reason for his death. And My Girl and I talk about him anytime a funny memory comes up, or just how sucky some days are without him.
Honor the difficult days, because there will still be lots of them. Recognize when you need to take a break. Be alone with the sadness and really FEEL it. It's a wave and it will pass, but you have to ride it. On those days, practice a little self care. Take a salt and lavender essential oil bath, indulge in a favorite book, movie or binge watch Netflix.(Preferably something that will actually make you cry, our goal here is to be in the pain until is passes.) Treat yourself with favorite foods or tea. And if you have fur babies, love on them like crazy.
After the one year mark I also made the choice to establish a routine again. This seemed to accelerate my healing. No more sleeping odd hours and just surviving each day with no direction. I started with baby steps. Just getting out of bed and drinking a glass of water was huge! Now I have a morning routine (water, food, a little exercise), then I focus on work for a bit. I cook dinner again, and enjoy the evenings with My Girl and my boyfriend. I read again before bed (I couldn't focus enough to read for an entire year). And I actually fall asleep at a decent hour. My Girl also has a typical teenage girl routine. School, sports, friends, homework, and, yes, boys. All Normal!
My biggest challenge through this has been with identity. This is a common obstacle while grieving. My Boy, my children, were my life, my work, my identity. I was Mom. Now who am I? Well, I'm still Mom and always will be, but it is no longer wrapped up in the grief around My Boy. I focus on My Girl, and am more at ease knowing I transfer my nurturing nature to my clients as a healer. Making that choice has opened up the freedom of Normal.
After losing My Boy, I never thought life would feel Normal again, but here I am. Normal is a choice, one I didn't even realize I had. I think of My Boy every single day, I still talk to him often, and I gently touch his photo each time I pass it in the hallway. But I've chosen to do more than survive, I choose to thrive. Recently someone asked me, "What has changed? Your energy is completely different." "Honestly, I don't know," I said. "I just feel Normal again."
Love and Light
This morning I listened to a piece on YouTube that literally shook me to my core. Steve Nobel is someone I have subscribed to in the last year. I usually use his guided meditations and affirmations to get through my day. But today, I listened to one of his lessons that he calls Ascension News. And today's topic that I chose was "Moving Beyond the Familiarity Zone." It was a random pick, but obviously one that I was meant to hear today!
I have felt stuck in the last couple of weeks. With work, my health, and my overall well-being. Grief has taken its toll. After the one year mark of losing My Boy, I had a sense of relief to have made it through. I gained a little more energy, started some education for a new healing modality, and was able to get through just about every day. Then, all of a sudden, lack of motivation kicked in. Every day tasks are getting overwhelming again, and as far as my career... well, I've started to question my purpose. Is this really what I should be doing? Maybe I should just go get a J O B (frankly, my worst nightmare!)
Wow! After listening to Steve's piece, I now know I am stuck in Resistance. Resistance in metaphysical terms is simply the inability to accept what is. Yes, I accept the passing of My Boy. What I am resisting is allowing MYSELF to live. In my case, I have become apathetic. I don't have motivation to get myself to exercise, to cook, to sit down and finish my Biofeedback certification, to open another office. It is all overwhelming, and it has become easier to just let it go.
I know that's not what My Boy would want, and it's not what I want. I am a Starseed, a Lightworker, a Healer. In order to feel joy again, and live my true purpose, I have to dig in deep and keep going. As long as I stay in Resistance, my own ascension process is being compromised.
I am worthy of all the joys this human experience has to offer. So today, I make a promise to myself. I promise to be patient with myself while I push forward and live my life, my purpose. I promise to live in balance by honoring the days I need to focus inward, and recognizing my effort on the days I may have to push myself to do the things that are overwhelming. And I have faith that My Boy is by my side.
For you, out there, this means I will be opening another office soon. (A lot of you have been asking!) And I would love to hear in the comments if and how Resistance plays a part in your life. We all face it now and then! Love and Light
Tomorrow will be 11 months without My Boy. Time is not the same anymore. It has felt like a minute, but has also felt like forever.
A lot has occurred in my life since that day. Many happy moments with friends, family, and new pets. I've accomplished big tasks as well. Buying a home, selling a home, adding 2 new tools to my healing business. (More details in further blogs!) I go out with my boyfriend and share laughter and great music with friends. To everyone around me, I look like I'm "healed". Boy, I sure wish I was.
People say grief comes in waves. Some days are calm little waves, and others it's like getting hit by a tidal wave. Every morning I wake with the realization that My Boy is no longer here, and I'm still trying to get used to that. But, there will be multiple days in a row where I'm positive and have tons of energy, creativity and focus. I'm so grateful for those days. Initially I thought they were gone forever. Then there are they days where it feels like it just happened. I'm heartbroken and crushed. I become like a ghost, myself.
As an introvert, I don't "people" well. That may surprise some of you reading this because I can be quite social! It's my behavior in a social situation that changes depending on how big a wave I'm battling. There are days where I actually have to stay in my home and be in the pain of grief. When I'm ready to venture out, I'll be very selective about where I go, and who I spend time with. My friends that see me out listening to live music sometimes wonder why I'm not out on the dance floor. (I LOVE dancing!) Those are the times where I feel like I'm not even in my body. That's the ghost I was referring to. The one that just observes the room like I'm not physically there.
I guess what I'm getting at is that, yes, it's been 11 months. People know my story, but their lives have gone on just like they're supposed to. I'm still living it. Every Day. You may see me out smiling and laughing, or I may completely ignore and invitation from you. I have to take one day at time. Hopefully the waves will become a little smaller and easier to deal with over time. As the one year mark approaches, I am grateful for the continued support and understanding of those closest to me. They make each day bearable.
If you have experienced loss, please reach out and talk about it!!! Our society wants to sweep it under a rug like it's taboo or something. The pain is tangible, and needs to be recognized or it will never lessen. I had the pleasure of meeting a woman who also lost her son. It was so nice to have all of these feelings and experiences validated! If you need to connect, please comment or send a message... Love and Light
Do you remember how we all used a real map, or gave actual directions to get places? This really wasn't that long ago, but it seems like a lost ancient practice!
If you type my new address into Google, it comes up in a completely different place than it actually is. And most of my neighbors in this new development aren't on the map at all! This has made settling in to the new house a bit of an adventure!
My first inkling of trouble started on Move In Day. My movers called me completely lost adding another hour to their pay. Next, we were starving and tried to order DoorDash. I noticed where they placed my "pin" on Google maps, which made it impossible to order. This was only the beginning...
Comcast, Waste Management (don't get me started on these companies' customer service), even Amazon can't find me-- and Amazon knows everything, right? These are just a few. I've literally had to make notes on all of my accounts to NOT FOLLOW GOOGLE MAPS, and note the directions. Needless to say, they ignore it and call me completely lost.
So what does one do? The homebuilder did try to work closely with me to get this issue resolved. But they finally turned it over to the city, and you know what the city had to say...? We have to wait for GOOGLE to figure it out. Um, excuse me? Yes, I'm at the mercy of Google. Again, I ask, what did we do before Google?
As I sit here in the ether awaiting a valid "pin" on Google maps, I am practicing gratitude for my new home. It is beautiful! It feels like home, and is the fresh start My Girl and I have needed. And I'm really good at giving my friends directions so they can share in the happiness of our new place ;) Love and Light
Most of us have been there. Cleaning out, repairing, moving sale, fresh paint, and creating "curb appeal". Putting a house up for sale. *sigh* Yes, it's exciting. The idea of starting fresh, a new home, new decor! But figuring out the timing of selling one home, and buying another can be tricky. And this house is giving me a run for my money!
I sold my home 2 years ago without any real hiccups. Buyers were excited, loved the home and it was a smooth sale. So I was confident when I put this house on the market that it would be a similar experience. The first weekend I had 18 showings and a full price offer by Monday evening. Yay! On to the inspection. All normal things for a 55 year-old house. A little settling, sewer rooter and scope, etc. But, the buyer became a little jumpy and decided to back out. OK, no worries. I still have time to sell it before I close on the new house.
Back on the market, tons of showings, and a couple of offers come in. First one doesn't want the solar panels (buyer must assume the lease with purchase of the home). He actually asked me to remove them. Uhh.. yeah, that costs about $20K! Next! I accepted the second offer even though it was a lower price. The timing was more important to me. Whew, onward to the next step. This buyer fully read the previous inspection report, and a Structural Engineer report, and chose to have another inspector come in. I totally understand that. I was actually present when he came in, and he had wonderful complements about the home. His report was very similar to the first one. All NORMAL. Yet, this buyer got jumpy, too. "We are buying this for our son, and we normally buy newer homes." Then why are you looking at home built in 1962??? Oy, contract cancelled.
Luckily, my new home is not contingent on the sale of this home, but boy, it'd be nice to put a chunk into the mortgage and lower my payment. I threw a little frustrated tizzy fit after hearing about the buyer backing out. After I calmed down, I realized I'm not just selling a house. I'm leaving a home.
This was MY home. My new start after my divorce. My safe haven. A place where I can control the energy, and keep it feeling comfortable and loving. And most importantly, it was the last home where I had My Boy with me. So besides making it look nice for others, I realized I also needed to comfort the home, show it my gratitude for its protection, and, finally, say goodbye.
Yes, a home is energy, and an entity all on its own that responds to who is living in it. Literally, the day I put it on the market, little things started going wrong. A broken ring on a solar tube, a broken ice maker, etc. Nothing has gone wrong with this house since I moved in, until now. And the fact that buyers are backing out. It just doesn't happen twice on one house very often. It's a gorgeous home!
After looking more deeply into the house's response, it is telling me that it is feeling abandoned. It is very loving toward my family, and is being very picky about the next people that live in it. So today, the house is back on the market again. And, Universe, I ask that you match a loving, kind buyer with this wonderful home. Love and Light
May 2, 2018. Looking back on my 30 Day journey, and WOW, a lot can happen in 30 Days!
I've healed well from the surgery. I had to take a break from working out, but I'm back at it! It feels so good to move my body, and appreciate feeling the hard work I've put in within my muscles. I used to be such a gym rat. I make do with my treadmill and body weight exercises at home for now. Maybe when I can "people" again, I'll hit the gym :)
We're still in the process of selling the house. The first buyer on my home backed out, so we've been through more showings the last week, and now have another contract. That being said, we've been forced to be away from the house for hours at a time. That means restaurant food. I like to cook, but I also like the convenience of eating out when I can't be at home. Now that the house showings are done, my goal this week is to cook healthy meals. So far, I've grilled steaks with lemon-butter green beans, and I made a pot of pasta sauce yesterday. I don't eat the pasta, just the protein (lean, grass-fed beef and sausage) with some veggies. Tonight is a yummy Paleo recipe that my family loves, bacon wrapped chicken tenders with a honey mustard glaze, and veggies or salad. I'm researching more healthy recipes, so if you have any favorites please feel free to share in the comments!
The new house is almost finished! My Girl and I can't wait to move in! Here is a photo of the new kitchen!
During this 30 Days, I've also been thinking about ways to help My Girl. She is still struggling with the loss of her brother. But we've made some positive changes for now. First, she is participating in Home Bound school with a tutor. It became too difficult for her to be around so many people, and her lack of focus due to the grief was overwhelming. She is doing really well with her tutor, and is actually enjoying what she is learning again. I also want for her to have more responsibility so she has a sense of purpose outside of her studies. So, we got her a puppy. His name is Balto, he's a Siberian Husky. We will register him as an Emotional Support Dog. He gets My Girl up and moving, and gives her something to care about again. We've already been on a hike, to the dog park, on walks, and have had lots of giggles and snuggles. He's a handful as all puppies are, but he is so sweet and loving, and all hers!
So how did I do without drinking...? I did actually have drinks with friends last weekend. But my perspective is completely changed. I'm very conscious of what and how much I drink, I don't need it like I did before. In the future, I'll have social drinks here and there, and wine with a good meal. And honestly, I have places in my body where I can feel inflammation, and it immediately acted up after reintroducing alcohol. Not worth it!
I'm glad that I took the time to cleanse my body, rest my mind, and honor my spirit again these last 30 Days. I am going to bed earlier and waking earlier. I'm more motivated, and generally just feel better. I want to thank everyone that has followed me on this journey, and for the generous amounts of support, and to those who have reached out to share their stories. I plan to continue blogging. There's always something that pops up in my life that's worth writing about! As always, Love and Light
We all go through different stages in our lives. At times we are focused on our education, careers, and other times we focus on family, traveling, retirement, etc. I'm finding that right now, I'm in a place that is both enlightening and challenging at the same time.
Looking back, I went through pretty "normal" (I use that term loosely lol) stages in my life. I enjoyed my childhood which included school, gymnastics, dance, and my friends and family. In college, I bucked the system a bit by taking a break after 2 years. I worked 2 jobs to stay busy, earn a living, and have my own apartment. I did return to school after 18 months to earn my Bachelors Degree in Psychology, and continued to coach gymnastics (a passion of mine) for many years.
The next stage was marriage and children. I was 23 when I got married. Still a child, really, but we were in love and ready to tackle life together. At 26, I had My Boy. (My goal was to have my kids before 30 so we could enjoy them while we were still young and full of energy, lol) We decided that I would be a Stay at Home Mom. It was so important to me to have my children be with family while they grew up, and luckily we had the means to make that work. I spent every day enjoying watching My Boy giggle at new discoveries, crawl, walk and talk. When he turned 2, we moved to a bigger home, and set our sites on our next baby.
My girl was born when I was 29. Oh, what a gift that was! I'm that person who does not want to know the gender of my baby before birth. I like the surprise! There are MANY boys in both of our families, so I figured I was having another boy. The entire room yelled, "It's a GIRL!!" I couldn't believe my ears. Thank you, thank you, thank you God for this gift.
For the next 13 years, I was a Stay at Home Mom. Yes, I dabbled in businesses here and there. I sold custom purses and bags, I taught Tai Kwon Do, I worked as a PERA Educator in the kids' school, I was a Brand Partner for Nerium, and a choreographer for gymnastics. But my priority has been, and always will be my children.
The last few years of my marriage, my personal and spiritual growth became my second priority. This led me to discover my healing gifts. I've always known that I was meant to heal, my hands would buzz with this crazy feeling I could never explain. I was in the middle of a Biofeedback Session, when the practitioner looked at me and asked if I knew about Reiki. That explains the tingling and temperature changes in my hands! Since that day, I have become a Reiki Master and AccessBars Practitioner. (You can read about those on the Energy Healing Tab of this site) I also studied from home to become a Certified Health Coach. And, voila, the birth of The Wellness Garden!
I was so happy and at peace with the growth and knowledge I was acquiring, but I didn't realize how much I was changing in my husband's eyes. I was shifting too quickly, and he became unfamiliar with me, and uncomfortable with who I was becoming. I was becoming strong, independent, and clear of my path. Our life, what was once important to both of us, was no longer something I wanted or envisioned. He became irritated with me, and, as you read in a prior blog, turned to another woman with whom he chose to share his life.
So there I was at the next stage. Teenage kids, my own business, and on my own. I found a wonderful man to share life's moments with. Until the loss of My Boy. My world came to a screeching halt. How can I be a good mom to my daughter when I don't even want to wake up in the morning? How can I be a healer when I'm completely broken? Who am I? The Universe answered the second question for me when both of my office locations shut down within a week of each other. "Time to grieve, time to heal, time to nourish yourself."
I don't feel like I'm actually in a life stage right now. I'm in limbo, and this is a very challenging place for me to be. I'm a person who likes organization and direction. But, I keep listening to my Guides and Angels. This is where I'm supposed to be. I have the time and means to be here while my daughter struggles with her grief. And I take many hours a day for spiritual study, meditation, and coaching. I am nurturing my true self.
This morning, I went on a meditation journey with the intent and question of "What is the next stage in my career?" I was shown a beautiful landscape of light purple sparkling crystals growing tall. I walked through them with a beautiful Winter Goddess who then led me to an open expanse. It was a clear winter night sky, white crystal stars in the sky, and a body of water at our feet reflecting the light. "Be open to the beautiful opportunities coming your way." Not a clear answer, but it was so CLEAR that everything is going to be ok. And when the opportunity(ies) are presented I will KNOW the right ones. Love and Light
In psychology, a trigger is something that sets off a memory or flashback transporting a person back to the event of his/her original trauma. These can be sounds, smells, music, food, holidays, and important dates. When triggered, a person can feel anxiety, depression, and can possibly turn to past addictions. The past few days have been full of triggers in my world.
Because so much has happened in such a short time in my life, I experience triggers from various situations. The first is my divorce. 3 years ago, I realized that my husband was becoming quite close with a co-worker of his in California. His 3 days in Cali per week, soon turned into 5. He was distracted when he was home, and constantly texting. He changed his clothes, cologne, and started getting different types magazines in the mail (GQ instead of Woodworking, for example). I stood back and watched this relationship blossom for about 5 months. He became impatient with me and my interests (this was when Reiki completely changed my world, more on that later). Finally, I asked him point blank.
Three years later, we are both happier with our lives. He is still with her, and I have chosen forgiveness. I forged a new life and couldn't be happier with the changes. So what triggers me? The same manipulation that he seems to think I can't see through. Yes, I have an ego reaction to his behavior at times. I can see the lesson in each conversation and confrontation with him. And we've had quite a few the last few days regarding the care and education of our daughter. My mantra, "don't personalize!" It works most of the time LOL!
Dates are also a big trigger for me right now. It has been 8 months since I lost my boy. I try not to put too much emphasis on the date, but it sits there in the back of my mind. I get flashbacks of the night when we found out. I got a phone call from his dad in Cali, frantic, saying go to the hospital, our boy was in a car accident. So my girl and I jumped in the car, praying that everyone involved was ok. We had no details at that point. We rushed into the ER, asked about our boy, but the hospital had no record of him. A bunch of his friends were in the waiting room. One brave young lady finally stood up, and walked toward me in what felt like slow motion. I knew by the look on her face, and of the faces behind her. My boy never made it to the hospital.
My hand went to the back of my head, as if to steady myself with the information I just received. My girl didn't quite understand what was happening. I turned to her, held her, and told her that her brother didn't survive. She screamed, and collapsed in my arms. We couldn't stay in that waiting room. I took her outside and we just sat on the sidewalk in each other's arms. That scenario has played through my head for months. Now it only happens every now and then, but always on the anniversary.
So, how am I doing with not drinking? I used to drink to numb all the pain. This month, I didn't even think about it. Other than that, the biggest trigger is happy hour. Doesn't matter what I'm doing, but between 4-6pm I REALLY want a drink. I guess I'm in the middle of rewiring my brain, and breaking the habit lol. If we're out and I see two ladies talking over a glass of wine, I want one, too. My boyfriend gently reminds me that even after one, I won't feel good. And he's right, as usual :) That usually snaps me out of it. I haven't had one sip in 19 days. I sleep better at night, and I've noticed a nice change in my skin. No more bags under my eyes, and less redness.
I've found that triggers are numerous in my current world, but the trick to handling them is to almost step outside of yourself for a moment. Don't let the full emotion of the original trauma take over. Take some deep breaths, notice what you are feeling, honor that, and then let it go. Hand it over to whatever feels right to you, God, Source, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Buddha, Universe, whatever! Love and Light
I've always been the type of person to appreciate the little things in life. A blooming flower in my spring garden, the sound of chickadee's outside my window, the smell of soup on the stove, and a quick hug from a friend. But being incapacitated in any way can REALLY make you appreciate everything.
Through the grief process, I've learned how difficult each minute can be. One moment I'm feeling normal, the next, a quick memory hits me and I'm in tears. Some days I have tons of energy, others I stay in bed. I've gotten used to this the last 8 months, and take each day as it comes. Now, after having surgery, I'm facing another level of daily challenges. I'm a "do-er", and I don't play the victim card. I've never been one to identify with victim mentality. But, taking the time to heal is a must.
So, what do I have a new appreciation for? Posture- today I'm standing up straight for the first time in a week. Walking- wow, have I been slow this last week, and I get worn out walking down the hall! And, boy do I miss dancing. Sleep- I realize how much sleep it takes to heal. Eating- Practicing what I preach. Taking my time and chewing my food. It's easier on the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Fresh air- Recycled hospital air is icky lol.
I have so much gratitude for the love and support this last week. My boyfriend, my love has been by my side through this whole thing. Running errands, picking up food, making sure I'm comfortable, just sitting with me, and wiping my tears. I will forever be grateful for his amazing soul. And my Mom. Cooking, laundry, and most importantly sitting with me and talking for hours. My Mom is my best friend. She has been through a lot in her life as well. We can share stories, tears and laughter, and I don't know what I would do without her.
Today, I took a small field trip to see the progress on my new house. I was filled with so much joy seeing it come together. It's the little things, the details that are personal to us that make it a home. There are so many little things that we can appreciate on a daily basis. I plan to keep recognizing these as the days and months go on. Love and Light
As you've probably noticed I haven't blogged in quite a few days. Honestly, there wasn't too much to share for the first couple of days. In a nutshell, I started showings on my house that I'm selling (18 in 3 days!), and I spent some fun days with friends and my boyfriend over the weekend. No drinking, yay me!
Then on Sunday night, Day 8, things took a turn. Around bedtime (10pm!!) I noticed that my abdomen was becoming quite uncomfortable. I had a "cheat" dinner that included pasta and bread, which I rarely eat, so I figured the discomfort would pass quickly. By 1am I was at level 10 pain, and stayed that way for the next 12 hours.
My boyfriend (poor guy, it was his birthday) finally decided it was time to go to the hospital, this was not normal. After trying a cocktail of meds, the pain came right back. The doc then ordered an Xray. Results of the Xray were concerning, so we took a closer look with a CT Scan. Drum roll please... my small intestine was obstructed by some scar tissue, yikes! So, off to surgery I went.
I think that was the quickest surgery in history. I was in and out of there in a matter of 15 minutes! Doc said it was a simple procedure, but had we not caught it when we did, things could've gotten scary. Whew!
So now it is Day 11. Needless to say, I'm moving a little slowly, but am thankful that I get to go home today. My home, my bed, sunshine and my kitty cat. I also get spoiled by my mom, she's bringing me homemade soup. My house is also under contract. It all happened while I've been in the hospital, lol.
The last couple days have sure been a bump in the road, no one plans on these things, right? But it brings many things into perspective. I'm grateful for my overall health that is contributing to a quick recovery. I'm also grateful to my many friends and family that have reached out to send love and healing. As a healer, I never take health (physical, mental, spiritual) for granted. So, onward :) Love and Light
PS- My boyfriend will still get his birthday, just a little late lol. He earned it after taking such good care of me the last few days. Love him SO much!