One of my earliest lessons in my grief healing journey. And one I still need to remind myself of.
The week of prep for my LH's funeral was pure chaos. We don't live in the same town as our families so my house was full. Literally my living room was wall to wall bed. I was surrounded by family who love me unconditionally. But there were 3 people I needed to see that week who were not family members. I could write a separate blog for each of them...but not today.
An amazing woman who lost the father of her first born many years ago and was still thriving in life. She had always been a great friend. And gives fantastic hugs. I needed to see her.
My LH's friend who I had tried to get to connect with him the night of his suicide. I was concerned about him. Still worry about him.
And a woman who I had just started to get to know because her son had passed away. That she was still functioning fascinated me. I had always viewed her as a pillar of strength and I felt that if I could see her I would be able to suck up some of that strength. I was desperate to see her.
Grief has no rules
I am living in very surreal times right now. I'm still healing in my own grief journey. And I've met some incredible people along the way.
My very own Redneck is about to hit her one year deathaversary and I'm doing my utmost to keep my own shit together to support her through that.
I watch as some of my new online contacts pass their wedding anniversaries and birthdays of their LH or LW. The grief is real. And it's raw. And I learn a lot from what they share.
I have also recently made some new friends closer to home. Which was a very brave act on my part. Not easy at all, but necessary since I was running a little low on friends. One of said friends, who I'm totally smitten with, just lost her Dad. She's just entering her year of firsts.
So I've been asking myself a lot what I would like to have been told at the beginning of my journey or as I was approaching my first year. And I've narrowed it down to two.
Grief has no rules. I should state up front this is not my image. I saved it. Don't know where it came from. I'm shitty at that. But it's frightening how accurate it is. It's also frustrating as hell that grief is presented in such a straightforward manner like the picture on the left side.
And because it's not straightforward the myth that the first year is hardest is complete BS. So to anyone in their first year please hold on even tighter for that second year.
Keep it simple
I joke sometimes that my goal for the day is simply to stay functional. But really it's not a joke. Sometimes we have periods in the grief process where that's all we can manage. Eat, make yourself presentable, stay functional. There's no need to move mountains.
Find a support group. In person or online. I cannot stress enough how much it helps to know others have had your experience. It feels like you are being "seen". Know that other people see you. I see you. You are not alone in your pain.
As I was reflecting on these two precious beings in my life and their respective journeys, I was also having a tough weekend. And then I remembered the days following my own loss. And the amazingly simple message I would receive from that woman I needed to see in the funeral prep week.
The sun is shining.
That was it. Repeatedly.
The sun is shining.
I remembered it as I was outside this weekend, desperately trying to get my own head on straight. It's a gratitude message, yes. But it's so much more profound than that. Sit with it awhile.
I see you.
The sun is shining.
I am Michelle. Above all I am a mother of four incredible little beings. I am a certified Personal Trainer and Healthy Eating Coach, an educator and a real estate investor. I am a coach who also participates fully as a fitness enthusiast, a runner, and a swimmer. I speak from the heart and have no filter left to tolerate bull shit.