Birthday

I joke that I’m turning into an old woman. My muscles often ache, my joints pop, crack and creak. And yesterday, I turned another year older with the big three zero looming ever closer. In reality I’m far from what most would consider to be “old” and I’m young at heart I guess, that’s something having little kids does to you. 

I don’t know where I’m going with this post exactly. Other than to say, although I refer to myself as old, and my body makes somewhat unnatural and unsettling noises, I’m thankful for every day I have on this blue planet and I’m thankful for the birthday wishes even though I rarely celebrate the day!

One Year

I’m going to try my best not to cry today. My stomach is in knots though and I want to vomit. It’s been a year since he passed away. A year since my family and I surrounded my dad in that dreary NHS hospital room and filled it with as much love as we possibly could as we said goodbye. 

I wouldn’t say I have a photographic memory, but I can recall every detail of that room, every minute that ticked by and most importantly, every millimeter of his face. I can feel his skin on my fingertips still. I can hear every sound that echoed through that tiny room, including the sounds of crying and near silent prayers passing each persons lips, begging for the situation to do a 180, for reality to shift a different direction.

I will try not to cry today. I will try to laugh with the kids, to hold them tighter, to hold Curtis tighter and remind them all for the millionth time that I love them. I will send my love the best I can across the many miles to my family. It won’t stop their tears from falling, but it may just stop mine.

  

The Stigma of Grief

I hope my mom doesn’t mind me using her as an example as I write this, but talking to her and reading the words she has expressed to me recently, has me thinking about the stigma of grief. Time.

I call time a stigma of grief, because there seems to be an unspoken timeline that people expect you to “get over” the grief you feel after loss. Most people are aware of the idea that there are five understood stages:

  1. Denial and Isolation – Denying the reality of the situation and rationalizing the emotions and pain.
  2. Anger – The pain surfacing after denial and dealing with it by projecting anger towards people/places/things as a coping mechanism and often in a search for answers.
  3. Bargaining – Trying to regain control by using “If only…” to come to terms with the situation.
  4. Depression – Sadness, regret, sometimes verbalized, sometimes dealt with quietly and often helped by understanding and support both verbal and physical.
  5. Acceptance – A stage some never reach.

The last stage, Acceptance, is one that that sticks out to me most significantly. It is the stage that not everyone will reach and it isn’t a stage that means you are happy with the situation that has unfolded, but rather you have reached a point in your mourning that you are able to move forward with coping mechanisms. The waves of grief still come, but you may not be searching for answers still, you may have let go of the anger you had felt.

So with understanding that there is somewhat of an order, then surely there is no real timeline to how long you mourn. Yet, I often see people using terms like “Aren’t you over that yet?/Can’t you just let it go and move on?” to people who are in the thick of this emotional storm. Would you ask a person who has been given a bed of nails, whether they slept well? What answer would you expect?

I’m not writing this to put anyone down for feeling this way. Some people haven’t dealt with great losses in their lives, and thus, don’t have first hand experience of grief. I certainly didn’t have a significant connection to grief other than looking from the outside in, until my father died.

I hope that when faced with other peoples grief I can offer some sort of comfort or support, even if it’s just being there to listen when they are really in the rough of it. I don’t want to hear only about the good days because you may be afraid of sharing the negative feelings with others. I want to be there for you and love all facets of you, whether they are joyful memories, or sorrowful cries.

 

Sensitive Children

I was reading an article this evening where the author wrote about how her nephew is a sensitive child, and how his emotions are not something to be fixed, but rather to be helped along in learning to control and understand them.

I couldn’t agree more. Calvin is 3, he’s also 3.5ft tall and looks very much like a 5 or 6 year old child when playing with other kids. He is also very sensitive and some might say, overly emotional. This can sometimes cause problems. Often I am asked by other parents how old he is, and usually it is because he is acting like the 3 year old that he is, and he is dealing with some big emotions. He wants to play with everyone, he wants to be friends with everyone, and when faced with rejection, or a child who hits or pushes him away, he deals with is with great sadness and anger.

Part of me looks at these emotions and the way he handles them, usually with tears, and wants to toughen him up. But then I remember something, I remember that he is three, he is dealing with emotions that are sometimes much bigger than he is. There are adults, myself included, who are still learning to manage their emotions appropriately. So how can I expect him to stop crying if his feelings have been hurt, just because I may shrug off those feelings as an adult?

Right now I am dealing with him also not wanting to talk things over, he would rather deal with things by looking away, by crying and then eventually just needing a hug. I’m trying to get more response from him on a verbal level. I want to be able to discuss these overwhelming emotions with him, and perhaps to guide him in the right direction in handling them. I’m not trying to fix him, but he has to understand that sometimes, it’s just not the right time or place to cry.

This may always be a challenge for him. I know that I can sometimes be swept away by emotions, whether is be anger or sadness, but I have also learned ways to handle them. I hope he can get to that point as well.

Though he is sensitive, I can also see how empathetic he is. He may take another child ignoring him or not wanting to play, as rejection, but I know that when a child is alone, or seems to be sad, he is right there by there side to be the friend they may need.

I had a goal to lose 20lbs by my 29th birthday which is the 28th of this month. I’m not going to reach my goal. My own sickness, the kids being sick and moving from our house into a tiny apartment out a hault to a lot of my training, but I’ve maintained a healthy diet. I may not have reached my goal, but I have made gains. I’ve made gains in understanding portion control, the importance of drinking enough water, on how working out can improve my mood and my outlook and with understanding that this is a journey of progress, not perfection.

My goal weight still remains the same, my time line has just changed. I’m learning what exercises work for my body, and how strong I actually am! I need to dig out the scales from storage to keep track of my weight loss, but in the meantime I’m pretty happy with putting on my jeans without struggling and not getting out of breath as easily when I’m chasing the kids around!