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The Ebb and Flow

Uncategorized Feb 04, 2020

Grief.

 

Always referred to like ocean waves or the tide... ebbing and flowing.

 

Imagine if, instead of fighting and resisting these waves in struggle, leading to exhaustion, we just float along? What if we allow the waves to carry us where we are meant to be? Where then might it take us?

 

Aren't you just the least bit curious?

 

I know life is not what we pictured, what we envisioned, since the death of our child. The waves came one right after another, barreling down and bringing unwanted change. So we fought and resisted each one, making us feel as if we were drowning, leaving us exhausted.

 

Change can be scary, yes. But change can also bring possibility.

 

One thing we can control is the change in the choices we make to live our after loss life.

 

I offer you to see change as possibility, to choose one wave at a time and just float, go with what comes, see where it takes you.

 

This is something I practice and encourage my clients to do...

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Holidays After Child Loss

Holidays bring our losses to the surface, magnify our emotions and all the things going on inside us. We're assaulted commercially with all things holiday, it’s in every store, on TV, in ads, it’s everywhere. We know it’s coming. How do we handle this?

 

First, know that it's okay to hurt and give yourself permission to do so.  

 

Awareness is key! Acknowledge that the holidays will look different then what we pictured or are used to and most likely will bring a layer of challenge. Grief takes a phenomenal amount of energy. Understanding your capacity will help avoid breakdown. 

 

Planning ahead and communicating with your people in advance, making sure everyone understands your boundaries and perhaps the need to change or avoid traditions and plans can greatly reduce the likelihood of having to do damage control.   Remember, not everyone will be grieving the same way you are grieving and that the way others will want to spend the...

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Grateful. Thankful.

I'm heartbroken she is not here, but thankful she chose us.

 

Thanksgiving has always been a time to reflect for me - the highs and lows, the learning lessons, gains and losses, to spend time with family, talk about the things we are grateful for, some football, give back, and food lots and lots of food.

 

Since Ari's death, it has been different. As much as I tried to keep it similar for our living son, it is still different. I have figured out ways, supports, tools to come to terms with the grief storm that is bound to happen around the heightened emotional holidays.


But, just because it is different doesn't mean it has to be bad. I truly am heartbroken that Ari is not here with us, but I cannot express the gratitude I have that she chose me - chose us.

 

I'm grateful that we were able to meet her, spend 9 hours and 51 minutes with her, bathe her, read to her, kiss her beautiful face and lips, smell her baby scent, hold her precious hands, pray over her and get her...

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Actions vs. Words

 
"Words just aren't enough."
"Words just can't describe what I am feeling."
 
I am sure we have all said one of the above statements, (if not both) at some point along our grief journey. And if we have not said them out loud, we have most definitely thought something along those lines.
 
I was never much for spoken words, not much of a talker, especially when it came to conflict. To me, truly saying what I felt inside meant I would be disappointing whomever I was addressing. I had always kept much inside, so I am sure you can imagine what losing my daughter did for my communication skills.
 
Since becoming a member of the bereaved parent 'club', I sought out and received professional therapy, counseling and participated in local and online bereaved parent support groups. While these each definitely have their own beneficial components in helping a grieving heart, I found words and talk therapy were not enough for me to sustain forward movement and progress...
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MOVE:ment Through Adversity

As we all know all too well, adversity is not reserved for day-time soap operas. Even the most fortunate have experienced adversity of some type, be it a loss of a job, health problems, failed relationships, disappointments at work, financial difficulties, etc.

 

But then there is the worst of adversities... the death of our loved one, our child.

 

I intentionally used the word 'movement' through adversity in the title as adversity has an uncanny way of paralyzing us. If we do not choose movement through it, we will be stalled in the white knuckle grip of adversity.

 

Here are three action steps to help you move through adversity today:

 

1. Take inventory. When we are dealt a loss, we tend to feel lost and that all is lost. Identify what is lost other than stating the obvious physical loss of your loved one.  What has changed and what is the same? Take a moment to breathe. Then, on a blank piece of paper, for 1 uninterrupted minute, write...

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The next better step

Someone asked me recently... "How can you just decide to choose better?"

 

My answer...

 

I had to make a real commitment to do whatever it took to get to the next better feeling. I recognized I could not go from A to Z without going step by step. A to B to C to D, etc... I could not go from the deepest sorrow and bitterness to joy in a day.

 

That meant taking small steps to keep choosing again, to continue to choose the next better feeling and emotion. To make an appointment to see a therapist, to reach for a different thought, to stop repeating the negative part of my loss story over and over and over again, to seek out an outlet to bring positivity into my life, to honor instead of resist whatever comes up in any given moment and steer it back to love, to recognize every opportunity is a place to grow, to align myself with high vibrations, to pray about it all and surrender when I knew I could not possibly do it on my own (I was not meant to), to make my...

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Surrender

Complete surrender.

 

Is it possible?


I think we all KNOW we have very little control when it comes to our circumstances.
We know this to be true, yet try to control things anyway... you know, try to make a square peg fit into a round hole type thing.


And when we say we are letting go, giving it to God, come what may, releasing the reigns, surrendering it all... No more than 5 minutes later, we snatch it right back.


What is with us???

 

Well, I am on a plane right now to a city I've never been, for an event I don't know much about, rooming with complete strangers, leaving behind my boys... Normally, I would be apprehensive about all of this, but the reconstructed version of me is all in of letting it all go 100% without thinking ahead, just being present, and surrendering expectations.


So today surrender is possible and I feel free!!!

 

If it's a God thing, it's a thing!

What are you surrendering to today?

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Better Together. Period.

Better together.

Period.


Losing Ari could have wrecked us as a couple. We could have become one of the statistics.

 

We could have given up on one another, went opposite ways when our grief did the same.

 

We could have wallowed in our own bubble of pain, not communicating or telling one another we need help.

 

But we didn't.

 

We found more love, more fight within us to not let her death break us, but to let her LIFE lead us.

 

She leads us every day to choose better. To be better as a couple. To be better parents. Better friends. Be better human beings.

 

It is not a walk in the park. In fact, it is more like a marathon.


But, not one other person on this planet will ever be able to understand the depth of pain we each carry more than one another.

 

Though we grieve differently, he gets me. He is my person.

 

Grief exists because love did first.

 

And ever since grief entered our life, it's been about finding our way through it......

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Running into the Dark

 

Ragnar Trail Run.


Northwoods of Wisconsin.

Requires running into the dark.


Head down, heart racing, following a path into the unknown, in fear, to the things ahead I cannot see...

 

Falling. Bruises, cuts and scrapes. Aches and pains. Struggling. Continuing the race, broken and tired. But fighting until it is finished.

 

I think this is the metaphor of my life.

After the loss of a child, life is certainly a struggle. I recognize and honor that truth. And it is ok to struggle. But you have a choice every day to fight for more. In truth, that is not easy. But it is possible.


You can either let fear of the unknown slip into every other part of your life, inhibiting you from truly enjoying it. Or you can battle and fight, start to stretch yourself, take risks (even with fear, not knowing the outcome) and still fully experience the beauty left in this life.


After the loss of Ari, the things I once feared and thought that if attempted I would surely fail, I have conquered. I...

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Split Paths

"I asked grief, 'what do you fear?' She said, 'turning into resentment and not compassion'."

Our grief constantly presents us with having to make choices, split paths, deciding major moments in life. When I saw this post on Instagram it struck a nerve, for I was once caught up in walking down the road of resentment after losing Ari.
 
Quite honestly, it can be pretty tempting and seem almost easier to stay in the suck, to follow the path of misery. It took a lot less energy to be swallowed up and consumed, without putting up a fight.
 
Right after Ari died, I was in go-go-go mode, trying to make things happen that most likely were not meant to be. It was kind of like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. Trying to make sense of Ari's death, finding the reason. Everyone kept saying 'everything happens for a reason' so I insisted on finding it. With no answers (because there will never be one), I was frustrated to no end.
 
Anger consumed me most of the time....
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