As is typical of most women and especially mothers, we are always running around taking care of everyone else. We have many roles and juggle so many things I think we could easily work for Barnum & Bailey! Cook. Taxi driver. Social director. Wife. Mother. Lover. Friend. Teacher. Nurse. Cleaning lady. The list goes on and on, and in many cases, this is all on top of holding down a full-time job. With responsibilities like this, it’s not surprising that taking care of ourselves falls to the bottom (the way, way bottom) of the list.
As I’m finally beginning to see some light at the end of what’s been a few long weeks of darkness, I’ve had a few “A-Ha” moments.
My 1st A-Ha moment:
It’s OK if you are not strong, and it’s OK to cry!
Really, it is!! No more swallowing tears and no more Wonder Woman routines!
I read a fabulous article based on the Bible’s shortest scripture – Jesus wept. The following is an excerpt taken from, “Why It’s So Important that Jesus Wept”, by Bethany Verrett.
Jesus knew the will of God and that Lazarus would be returned to life. He did not weep because He was uncertain of His ability to do this miracle or because He feared Lazarus would stay dead. Jesus wept because He experienced and understood the same feelings as the people around Him.
The Lord Jesus lived a perfect life, overcoming sin, suffering, and even death itself despite being clothed in flesh and subject to human weaknesses. Despite living a perfect life, standing before a tomb, He cried. For people, it does show that it is okay to grieve, to process strong emotions and terrible situations, and to cry.
Even though Jesus knew Lazarus would rise up and live he cried because he was grieving for his friends. He mourned. He knew what it meant to be heartbroken and crushed in spirit. If crying is good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me! If you see me and I shed a tear, it’s all good.
My 2nd A-Ha moment:
I’m no longer going to worry about whether my crying, sadness and grief makes others uncomfortable. If you have not experienced child loss, I understand why you have no idea why I’m still sad, crying or grieving and you know what? I am so happy you have no idea why I feel this way.
My 3rd A-Ha moment:
It’s OK to take time for YOU!
Instead of being the last person on your list, we must intentionally focus on ourselves. This means different things to each of us. I have been ignoring my own well-being since Melanie went on to heaven and if I want to be here for my youngest son and family it’s time for some changes.
For me, starting small is always best. At this point I can’t do big anything right now… hard for me to admit when I have always been an avid juggler!! These are the few things I’ve committed to do:
- Walking each day for 30 minutes. My pace may be slow but I’m not in a race.
- Drink 64 oz. of water.
- Take 5 minutes to meditate. I’m not sure how good I’ll be at this but I’m trying to learn how to breathe deeply using the Calm app. It is rather amazing what slowing down and just breathing can do for you! I’ve also started using this app when I can’t sleep at night. It has some nice relaxing music.
- Make Cameron his own “blanket of love” as I did for each of my older kids. Crocheting is something that is peaceful and calming for me. I can sit and do this while listening to music, a podcast or simply nothing at all. I made a Blanket of Love for Melanie last Christmas and it meant the world to her. I’m so thankful I have it and although her scent is beginning to fade from the pretty pink wool, when I wrap myself up in it for a moment it’s like she’s right there giving me a sweet hug.
Please remember, I am no expert. I’m just another woman and momma, walking this rocky road of grief alongside each of you and sharing my story along the way. It’s important for us to use self-care. It is not an act of selfishness. It’s an act of trying to preserve what is left of us as we walk the valley of the shadow of death.
My faith is what continues to sustain me and the time I spend throughout the day with my Heavenly Father is what gives me the strength to face each day. For today, it’s one step and one breath at a time. 💜💜💜