Last year was full of so much grief I couldn’t focus on much else. I eventually felt like I would completely break if I didn’t take some time away and travel. So I left paradise to spend time with family and friends and reconnect. It was very healing. I made the right choice. (See my earlier posts on grief)
Monday was the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. I imagined the day would bring back the pain of losing her. I was pleased to find that I was able to consciously recognize the day and not be overcome with sadness. So I didn’t need the companionship which I told my friend I was sure to need when she suggested we have a rain check for our plans that day. 😉
Instead I woke up and felt healthy. I decided to finally explore Switzer canyon by my new home base. The area was beautiful. I had fun climbing over fallen trees, walking on rocks in the dry bed stream and taking photos of all the natural beauty. Most importantly I set down and meditated, filling up on positive thoughts and clean air.
Later in the day I went home, cleaned and worked in the yard beneath the warm sunshine. I love gardening so that was refreshing. Later I went to run errands and decided to stop at Babycakes in Hillcrest for two delicious cupcakes. One was chocolate with raspberry filling, cream icing and a strawberry on top. The second was German Chocolate with coconut filling. I tried to eat slowly, but they didn’t stand a chance. I sat in the yard staring at a wisteria vine while soaking up sunshine and bathing in the warm breeze.
After all that I was exhausted and fell asleep, almost missing the chance to see my friend and her family at the park not far off. I took a long walk that evening, chatted with my brother on the phone and realized that the most painful of grief had graciously run its course. I made it through the first anniversary of my mom’s death without falling down and sobbing in pain. Not to say that’s a terrible thing but I much prefer feeling happy and thankful for the time we had.
I still have moments where I want to hold my mother and feel sad that I cannot, but when that happens I allow it to come and go as needed. If I’m doing something important, I use the same exercises that helped me overcome depression. I focus my thoughts on the positive and allow the negative to dissipate. (See my D.I.Y. Therapy posts)
In regards to the loving relationship and wonderful memories I share with my mom I know that I’m lucky, so, so, so lucky. I also understand that if I was still in my previous depressed state the grief would overwhelm me and I would not be able to feel the freedom of missing my mom without the weight of pain. This is something not everybody is able to experience. We all deal with grief in different ways.
Last week I was talking with a friend whose mother had killed herself. My friend mentioned how she didn’t like when people brought up the anniversary of her mom’s death. For her it was a memory she’d soon forget, not one that she wanted pulled into the front of her thoughts.
So if you’re grieving a loved one remember that how you grieve is totally fine. It’s your grief and you will heal if you allow yourself to go at your own pace. Don’t have expectations, just let it be.
If you know someone who is grieving, let them be. Allow them to be sad, angry or happy. Don’t assume you know how another should feel or what “stage” they should be processing. We are all unique.