Monday, January 27, 2014

Small Steps Yield Big Gains

     We are now almost at the end of January 2014.  I would like to propose thinking about what the year may hold for you.

     I have set some goals for myself mostly related to my health.  This is important for you, also.  How have you been doing?  Do you eat regularly and try for balance in your food choices?  Do you go to bed at night or stay up and watch TV all night?  Are you sleeping all day?  Maybe checking in with your doctor wouldn't hurt.  You might not have the energy to get there, but go.  I did.  My doctor told me after I had lost both my son and husband, he didn't care how I had to drag myself there, he wanted me in grief counseling every week.  He was right.  I needed it and I went.  I had to.  I had lost my will to live.

     I have joined a weight management support group because my recent weight gain and eating patterns are of great concern to me.  I am not suggesting you try to lose weight now, but try to have a regular meal patterns and eat healthier.  I know I need comfort food, but am trying to avoid junk food bingeing.

     I hope to take a religious tour in September 2014 to Fatima and Lourdes.  I am looking to find more peace-- to put to rest any anger, guilt, resentments or hatred.  If there is somewhere that brings you peace, then I urge you to do what you have to do to get there.

     Writing The Amberella Tales has been very beneficial to me because of including my son in the first and second books and dedicating the first book to him.  I would like to continue the series and possibly publish my third book this year.  But I have to push myself.

     I want you to think how you can move forward even just inches in 2014.  Depending on where you are in your grief journey, the smallest task may seem like climbing a mountain.  And it's okay to feel that way.  But try with something very simple to begin re-claiming your life.  Shower & get dressed everyday, or make your bed or take a walk around the block.  Clean up the house for 15 minutes or do one load of laundry each day.  Anything which gives you some small sense of accomplishment.

     In the two years after Chris died,  I had piles and piles of laundry.  I even went out and bought an extra hamper.  I filled that, too, then piled more laundry on top of it.  I'm not even sure what it all was.  Finally, I had to splurge to get a laundry service to pick it all up, wash it and deliver it back.  I was able to manage to sort it and put it away once the task wasn't so overwhelming.  This was in addition to dishes stacking up in the sink and stuff all over the family room floor.  I know what it can be like when you are trying to survive, but not really living.

     I also had to go back to work and for a short time visit my husband daily in the nursing home.  And you have your obligations, too.  There is work, children, maybe elderly parents.  I know it all makes you collapse and cry.  You have to ask for help or get a cleaning and even laundry service, and order groceries online and have them delivered.  Otherwise, you will feel stressed, guilty and overwhelmed at not being able to get everything done.  The REALITY is you are GRIEVING and CANNOT EXPECT to get it all done.  If you are tending to your personal hygiene, getting to work, caring for other children or grandchildren and getting something to eat together, you are doing super.   If you are at home, pick one thing that bothers you the most and get it done everyday.  You can do it.  It's not easy, but you can do it.

     If you are able to take small steps to start this grieving journey, you will begin to feel better.  Be patient with and good to yourself.  When you start to feel better, you may want to consider something creative that might commemorate you child or something to incorporate your memories.  Some time may have to pass before you are able to do this.

    You can keep a journal which lets you get your feelings out and can help you see your progress.  There is painting, scrapbooking, gardening, quilting and needlework.  Be bold.  Resurrect a dormant skill or try new ones.  Any project in which you memorialize your child will bring you peace.   If you are able, you can volunteer for a cause related to your child's death or establish a fund-raising event for a scholarship or a charity.

     Start with tiny, daily steps.  You can move forward from there to re-claim your life.  It will not be the same, but you can move on from just surviving.  Feel free to comment and let me know how you are doing and what works for you.