Grief Will Stay

“I don’t think you will ever get over the grief.” These are words spoken to me from my counselor a few weeks ago. Having a family, being a mom was my dream. And while I will forever and always be a mom, the dream of family has become fleeting. I will never have it now. One of the unfortunate consequences of divorce is along with dissolving all that is unhealthy, all that is good is gone as well. Try as I might to act like a sieve to catch the little shiny pieces, the holes are too big and all washes through. It has been so tiring on my soul.

My brother continues to tell me to lose all expectations to avoid continuous disappointment. But this is so hard. I have become a single parent in almost all aspects. Do you know how hard it is to parent a 17 year old boy? I envy those who can go to bed at night with someone alongside them. Someone to discuss the day, to problem solve, to truly be a partner in all of life’s challenges. I won’t use running solo as an excuse to be less of a mom. Trust me, I am doing all that I can to steer both of my boys in the right direction. But I confess there are moments I feel I teeter on completely breaking down.

As much as it hurts to continue to feel grief, it’s here to stay. Yes, grief won’t leave. But, it may be time for me to work on accepting the grief, letting it lay where it may fall. I can not change grief. I certainly can not go back in time and change my dream. But I can accept.

“Growth is uncomfortable because you’ve never been here before – you’ve never been this version of you. So give yourself a little grace and breathe through it.” – Kristin Lohr

Christmas Eve!

It’s Christmas Eve! I would LOVE if I could just pause this day. So many wonderful memories since I was a child are wrapped up in this holiday. My boys are the same way. My youngest was given a writing prompt at school to write about Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. He chose Christmas Eve. Mentioning family, tradition, his cousins – he “gets” it. My oldest loves the lights as we drive home from my parents at night. Should I even mention that their father has chosen to spend the night with his girlfriend – forgoing an HOUR with his boys and seeing his nieces (my brother’s girls) who adore him because “my time is limited with (her).” Hmmm….but his time doesn’t even exist with his youngest son tonight. The very night that T holds close to his heart. And D just asked “why isn’t Dad coming tonight?” How do I answer that? And why is that my job? And by the way, if I did answer that question honestly, it wouldn’t sound very nice. But I digress.

Tonight is going to be wonderful. Amazing. And I intend on soaking up every single minute. Some traditions change. Life evolves. Right now I am looking forward to new adventures. New memories. New.

I wish everyone a very, Merry Christmas! May your night be filled with moments that you can cherish.

Her…

So…a week ago I met her. Leading up to the moment of seeing her for the first time, I was in denial? I know there was a part of me that blocked all feeling. But, I did feel strong. And ready. I couldn’t help but notice her hand shaking as she tried to pass the money to the employee.  She insisted on paying for my tea as well. We made general introductions, shook hands, and sat down. Peering over our cups of tea, our eyes connected and of course a bit of uncomfortableness permeated the air. “Ask me anything,” she said. But, I made it clear – I hope – this was not a test in any way. Only a means to make things easier for all, but most importantly my boys, as we move forward.

My goal was to relay two points. Two views, maybe even two hopes.

Firstly, I do not want my boys to feel bad or as though they are somehow betraying me when they ultimately spend time with her. I want to be able to ease their concerns, worries, possible confusion by letting them know it is okay. And I wanted to be able to do this from an honest stance. A personal stance. And so I simply expressed I’m trying to make this easier for all. Realizing D was sixteen now and has the right to express not wanting to meet her, of this she was understanding and it was she in fact who expressed this point. “Whatever you (both) feel is right.”

Secondly, I desire to grow my family, not diminish it. I explained how important family was to me. Holidays and Birthdays being a gathering I wish to continue for my children – they are the heart of both. I let her know, although I understand it will take time, I hope she can join and welcome her as a part of these celebrations.

We talked much like new friends, sharing our histories at a level. Our education, our children’s sports, places we lived and why, jobs, and even more personal matters – one being her recent experience with Breast Cancer were all discussed over the course of our two hour meeting.

By all accounts, she was intelligent, pretty, hard-working, a dedicated mom, and while seemingly strong, a hesitant, soft, vulnerable, yet loving core was evident.

Each step I make during this process, I think “this was the hard part right?” There have been so many “hard parts” I am starting to think there will be no end to them. However, I’ve noticed I am getting stronger. And more aware. But as with most, there is more work to be done. Shifting perspective, saying goodbye and saying hello. It’s change.

 
“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

Where is Hope?

As if to suddenly have cold water thrown in my face, hope has appeared to have left the room. Sadly, it feels like it has left my life. Boiling, festering, lingering, holding strong – all the hurt and disappointment. Grabbing hold of the present, the moments of light. But the clock outsmarts me. Poof – it’s gone.

Drops of guilt, remembrance, dreams, memories, love, and pain wash down my face. But it doesn’t feel cleansing. “Is everything okay? You said there is a lot on your mind.”

Yes, yes there is. Don’t you know? Can’t you feel? Tomorrow would have been eighteen years. Tomorrow, eighteen years ago, was and still is one of the best days of my life. Laughter, love, family, possibility, and hope.

Please tell me. Where is Hope? I need you.

Trying

Trying equals effort. Some days, it feels too much.

I received an article in my inbox today referencing a study that linked a father’s mood to his children’s development. The article peeked my interest as it was titled “Dad’s Bad Mood Affects Kids, Big Time.” (To read the article click here) I immediately felt validated in some way. Sounds silly I am sure. But I firmly believe our moods, stress, outlook, our state of being, all have energy that is shared.

The energy in our house was like a tornado. Intense, thrashing, silently destructive. It was picking up speed and strength. The only way to stop it, was to somehow get out of the center. The force so strong, it seemed impossible. Until there was a clearing one day, a small opening. And so to save my family, I reached through that opening.

But what lay on the other side was not simplicity nor pure bliss. Struggles remain – this is life after all. The energy however has balanced. Sadness lingers just the same.

But I am trying. With all that I have, I am trying.

The Fourth

The fireworks, the smell of the grill, parades, the American Flag, watermelon, and corn on the cob, and potato salad, and patriotic colored desserts. The traffic, lawn chairs, fire truck horns, blueberries, and strawberries, and s’mores. And more fireworks. The Fourth of July. It’s friendships, families, camaraderie. It’s independence. The irony does not escape me. My favorite holiday is about coming together, independently.

The boys will be celebrating separately, by choice, doing what they each love. This alone gives me some piece of mind. For they are happy. Making memories that they will cherish. But my place is lost. Maybe this Fourth of July is more about independence for me?

 

14 Reasons Why I am Lucky

I guess in some shape or form we all have reasons for being and feeling lucky. But are we lucky as a result of some cosmic force providing us with wonderful pieces of our life? Or are we lucky as a direct result of reaping what we sow? Or maybe it’s because we just opened our eyes wide enough and altered our perspective just so? Whatever the reasons may be, they are there….reasons why you, me, are lucky. Certainly, I have more than just 14 reasons of why I am lucky. But, 14 is an important number in my life, a marker. So to list 14 just felt right. The first 7 are the more obvious of reasons. The bricks of my life per se. The second set of 7 are the deeper reasons. The ones that hold the bricks together and complete the structure, my life.

1. My two beautiful, amazing boys. Everyday they push me to be a better mom, a better person. They keep me in line. Make me question myself…in a constructive way. They are my motivation, my inspiration, my heart, and my soul.
2. My health. I am able to run, to practice yoga, to take deep breaths. I am able to clean my house, to walk my dog, and weed my yard. I am alive and well.
3. My friends. It’s nice to have people I can talk with, discuss my worries. Even complain. It’s wonderful to know I am thought of in so many ways.
4. My family. How lucky am I that I have family I can depend on to be there for me when I need them. I am loved.
5. My job. In my work, I have the ability to make a difference in a child’s life, however small. And they have made a difference in mine. What I do during my work hours is meaningful and full of hope.
6. My home. I have a roof over my head, a cozy bed, warm blankets, pictures on the wall that remind me of how great my life was, is, and is sure to be.
7. My dog. Yes, even my dog. He is such a caring, loving, sociable fluffy ball of happiness.
8. My breath. It centers me. Instantly relaxes me. It’s a gift that is always available.
9. Exercise. Some days it’s more challenging to begin a workout. But I never regret pushing myself to move. It uplifts my spirit. It feeds my body.
10. My sense of self. I have only relatively recently been able to feel and show my true sense of self. It was always there and shined at times. But now it’s more blatant. It makes me feel stronger.
11. Memories. Some good, some bad. But they all serve a purpose, a lesson, a reminder. I can look back with gratitude. I feel blessed.
12. Meditation. However short my practice is at this time, I’m still discovering. And escaping to a neutral space that allows me to stay the course.
13. To connect. I can connect with people. How amazing. Sometimes someone can relate the smallest of gestures that make the biggest impact. Stay open and feel the power of connecting.
14. My window. Sounds funny right? My window? Yes. I can look outside and watch my children play, hear their giggles, see their smiles, watch the intensity of their faces as they chase each other or ride their scooters or throw a football. I can see the flowers bloom and the grass getting longer. I can watch the cars drive by and the mail be delivered. All of these moments, these small gestures of life, remind me of why I am lucky.

Take a moment. Look out the window. Life is good.