It has been just a little over a year since I lost my Dad. A year and a half since losing my Mom.
As I look back, I sometimes wonder how I made it through. There were certainly times I wasn’t sure if I would. Times that I wasn’t sure what making it through would look like. It has certainly been a time of change.
The changes, for the most part, are subtle. To the uninformed eye, they may not even be noticeable. The bouts of uncertainty. The lack of concentration and confidence. That quick feeling of dread when the phone rings. There is a level of anxiety when dealing with things I have always dealt with — but now insecurity and worry plague my ability to make quick and sound decisions. Small things I used to ignore, now melt into levels of stress that can become encompassing. A tendency to pull back. To isolate myself. Self-talk conversations that usually go something like “you aren’t strong enough to deal with this”, “you might just make the situation worse”. I am less likely to answer the phone, or reach out. Less likely to engage.
Yet by most accounts, things appear to be normal. On the outside, I appear to be normal. And that is generally how I prefer people to view me.
It is in the quiet times — when no one is around, no one is watching, no one is listening — that my emotions show themselves. It could be anything that triggers it. A commercial, a song, a video, something I am reading.
Sometimes, it is nothing — just me with my thoughts!
That is when my release comes. I pour my heart out to God and thank Him for getting me this far. I ask him to strengthen me. I ask him to show me the way. And then I sit, quiet my mind and try to let it all go! It is in those moments, when I turn my thoughts and my worries and my challenges and my insecurity and my stress and anxiety to Him, that I know I’m going to make it. I will be ok. I won’t be the same, but I will be healed.
I often share with my GriefShare group that what they are going through — what we are ALL going through — is normal. The hurt, the pain, the fear, the confusion are all part of a long journey. We all travel that path at different speeds, with a variety of different emotions and reactions. No two journeys of grief are exactly the same. And yet we can have compassion to accept what we each are going through. This group has been a lifeline for me and I hope we can be that for others!
So here I sit, with a life somewhat transformed. A year or so in the making. I have accepted that this was not something that was done to me. It was just something that happened. I am now at a point where I can see that how I continue down that path is my choice. I can choose what I do with those experiences and with my emotions. I can choose how I react to them. How I grow from them.
And I can choose where I will let it take me!
I may not be the same person I was a year ago. I may not seem that different, but I am. And that’s ok. I still wonder where I’m heading, but if this last year has taught me anything, it is that I am strong, even when I feel weak. I am a loving person, and even when I feel a need to withdraw, I can pull myself out and show compassion.
That is God’s work in me — and through Him I will be fine!