Got your attention!?!
My blog series on grief continues. There is "The Day That Changed My Life Forever" Then, there is the next day after the tragedy. Waking up and wondering if it was a mistake. Was it just a bad dream? The reality. There was a bitter pill I had to swallow that day and in the days to follow. My son asked if we were going to be homeless after his Dad died. My answer was "of course not!" The truth is I did not know the answer to that question. I was an at home mom for years. At that time I only worked part time; a luxury of being married to a leader and provider of our family. The morning after was a blur between blinding tears of anxiety, pain and the absolute shock that he was not coming home. Our home was filled with people and meal deliveries while I laid on the couch and sobbed. Our kids were hiding in their rooms. You find out that everyone deals with grief differently. While I needed a lot of people around me, our kids needed to retreat and be alone. I felt gut wrenching sickness watching my son sink into himself and my daughter turn to isolation. The bitter pill I had to swallow...I instantaneously became a widow and single mom of two teenagers that I had no idea for how to provide and care for by myself. I could not eat. I could not sleep. My bones hurt from the weight of grief. I was so cold. (I will never forget a prayer shawl someone gave me. It was the perfect gift because grief is chilling cold like an artic breeze through the soul.)
While dealing with this overwhelming pain and fear I had to garner enough strength to pick up the pieces to raise my kids. There was the business of all this. My late husband used to handle everything. There were bills to sort through and calls to make. I had to find my husband's clients to let them know of his passing. (He was a Private Investigator, it wasn't easy.)
Then, there were probing questions from well meaning friends and loved ones. No one knows what to say after a tragedy, myself included. But now I was not only dealing with grief, I had to navigate the pain of interrogating questions and judgment all while trying to take over the leadership position of our family.
I did not have to do this alone. There were so many people that came alongside us with patience, guidance and unwavering support. People came from all of our circles; past and present. My husband's sudden passing shocked our community. Everyone wanted to help for which I am extremely grateful. Yet, after a time, people had to get back to their own lives, which is normal. And then...there I was! There I was with sobering questions: what just happened? Is this real? The bitter pill I had to swallow: I was on my own. I had to face grief and uncertainty about the future. I didn't know what I didn't know and how difficult the journey ahead would be.
Hang on...the hope is coming!
While I had a bitter pill to swallow I also had a prescription and a treatment plan. It started with my faith. Then someone told me, "Grief hurts. You need to see a doctor." From there I began the path of healing. From physical therapy, medication, grief support, therapy, pastoral counseling, exercise to art, music and writing, I started my life over at 49. It was through weekly meetings with my pastor I had to deal with the question, "What am I going to do now?" We took inventory of my gifts and abilities to reinvent myself to start a new career. He encouraged me to take classes and I became a certified life coach!
Fast forward, my children are young adults, one in graduate school and another in college both pursuing their interests. I am a widow, single mom hustling in LA. I have an interesting life working in the music industry by day and life coaching evenings/weekends. We are all trying to use our life experiences to make a difference in the world. Life is not perfect and grief never ends, yet we are moving forward! Our life may not look like it used to or like anyone else's, but we are doing it our way!
There is life, hope, healing, new beginnings and possibilities ahead. If you are still here, no matter what bitter pill you have had to swallow, one can find purpose in the pain.
*My name is Jennifer. I am a certified life coach. Yes, I took the classes but most of what I know one can not learn in school. So...what bitter pill have you had to swallow? I can help with you with a new beginning.