Tuesday, July 7, 2015

~Embracing Grief While Moving Forward~

I can see the sunshine even when it's cloudy...restoration always comes, if you look for it.

Can you imagine what's next after the storm you just went through? Or, what will come next once you get through the storm you're in? Can you even stop and think that far ahead?

What's next? 

It takes time to come to terms with death and dying.

This I know. 

My friends tell me so. 

They are wise. They know time is on my side. For time is the healer.

Brain fog, feeling out of sorts, dealing with a loved one's death and resuming a life worth living takes time. Healing is a process. Moving forward is a process. Putting life events in proper perspective is a process. And as we know, life is one big test!

When I went to a grief support group only a couple months after my Mom died, I learned about death and grieving in a way I never heard before. The grief counsellor shared information about how to view death in a healthy way. She said there is no "I wish I woulda, coulda, shoulda; when someone dies, there is no reason to feel guilty that you could have done more or better, that dying is a normal part of the life cycle and everyone has to face it and when it's our time, it's our time." She said "it's a very normal and natural part of life and has been going on since the beginning of time." And she said "time is the healer, give yourself two years and then re-evaluate your life." That is a short version of what I learned. 

She had a very calm manner and a peace about her I don't often witness. Listening to her and internalizing her words of wisdom had a profound affect on me and brought me to a place of peace. She also said in our culture, we don't use "correct" language when discussing and dealing with death. We "fluff" if over by avoiding the words death, died and dying. That delays our healing. We understand intellectually that someone died, but emotionally it may take longer to accept when we don't use or avoid accurate terminology.

It is only recently I can use those words to describe my Mom's death. Some days I can say it without thinking about it and other days I can't utter the word death or died in relation to my Mom because it's too final and I want to deny in my heart of hearts I'll never see her again. The words fall short for how much I miss my Mama.
I spoke to a clergyman within the first couple weeks of my Mom's death. I was crying a river. Tears that I never experienced before. She said however many tears you cry is how much you loved that person. Somehow that helped me.

Out of something so dark and sad in my life, something great is happening. I created, with my sister Jan, The Sandwich Woman Community on facebook, Twitter, Instagram and my blog. I'm also in the throws of writing my book and hope to publish before this year is out. 

Our social media have become a global community - your global community. A place where we can come together and feel connected while caring for those we love. During the last several years caring for Mom, I went through extreme feelings of isolation; I was withdrawn and I was full of sorrow. This is what compelled me to reach out to others via social media. To create a space where anyone could visit while going through this difficult journey. A place to connect and not feel so alone.

The Matriarch of our family was slipping away, a day at a time, a minute at a time and there was no stopping it. What a helpless feeling... but that was then and this is now. One thing I am sure of; my Mom wouldn't want us to fritter life away in sorrow. She always wanted/wants the best for us and always encouraged us to be positive and look on the bright side. So, that is how I intend to live my life. She's not gone, she's still very much a part of my day and she goes everywhere I go, for she lives in my heart. 

Keep in mind, grief and loss are not an illness. You don't get better from it. You learn to live with it. You don't have to like it, but you can accept it to the best of your ability.

To learn more from my grief counselor log onto: http://www.barbaracoyne.com/
With loss, comes restoration. Keep shining your light. Keep putting your best foot forward. Keep looking up, doing all that you can do to make a difference in your own life and the life of others. Never give up. One step at a time, you are creating a life worth living! 

Best wishes for better days ahead!
Carole Brecht

Instagram: @San_Gen_Woman & @tangled_bee
Twitter: @SanGenWoman

#caregivers #caregiving #eldercare #familylife #love #thesandwichwoman

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