Grief is Hard . . . Yet there is Hope

My Story

How Renewing Your Possibility is possible

Back in July of 2012 I was asked to write an article for a new online parent magazine to give a voice to grief from a mom and trauma that comes from loss.

This is because my life has been touched with deep loss and grief with losing my son to suicide.

NEVER in a million years would I as a parent ever think of losing my son during my life time. This is just something we don’t even consider or think of.  Yet I did.  I have been blessed with two sons and I am very grateful for the time I had with Ken and the time I have with Bryan.

Ken blessed me with many gifts . . as my first born, at first sight and first touch he taught me what unconditional love feels like, how to be a mom with ease and how to allow myself to feel and be with grief.

My intention of sharing my heart in this vulnerable space is to open the door of awareness.  Grief treats everyone differently, it is very unique for everyone.   Yet there is hope with what we can do to renew our possibilities with life after loss.

OH the pain of feeling grief . . .

December 20, 2008, my world forever changed. My son, my first son chose to leave our world.

The police could not find us as we were out Christmas shopping, so the officer went down to our business and asked my other son Bryan to call me for us to come down.  I arrived at the gym, wondering what was going on. The police officer came into our small office, then closed the two doors so others may not hear.  I don’t know what he was thinking, because there was a complete open ceiling. The police officer looked at me then asked me my son’s name, I confirmed and then his home address, I confirmed.  Inside I wondered what was going on.  Then he said it . . . I am so sorry, your son committed suicide. (that pains me to say it every single time . . .as I am brought back to that exact moment in time.)

I looked at him in disbelief, I asked “HOW DO YOU KNOW?”

My son lived in Prescott Valley, AZ and I live in Edmonds, WA.  I repeated several times, “are you sure?”  Each word that came out of the officers mouth answered each question.   I didn’t and would not believe it.  I said, “I need to see him”  I could not nor did not want to believe the officer.

My body was in shock, my mind was numb and in disbelief.  I wanted the world to stop.  . I wanted the world to go backwards . . just like in the Superman movie, when Lois Lane died, Superman flew out to the perimeter of earth and flew counterclockwise really, really, fast so Earth spun backwards to make time go backwards . . .I wanted that for me . . .so I could talk to my son.  So I could hold his hand and look into his eyes and share with him there was another choice . . BUT I could not .  .  . I was not superman.

I wanted my son to be ALIVE

When I got home I immediately pulled out my gratitude journal and wrote how grateful I was for the 30 years I had with my son.

The pain was intense, I felt overwhelmed, immediately I started thinking ‘I have to do” something.  Possibly that was my natural soothing mechanism, because I did not have control.  Isn’t that interesting?  There was this illusion I held, that I had control, yet  that myth was shattered.  I found myself going back to my mind asking, what happened.  I thought to myself  “why was that choice even an option?” What could I have done . . . what if.  . what if . .  and then I had to let go of control again.

I had a great support system around me for the first 30 days, and then I had to learn to allow the grief, allow the pain, allow the numbness, and feeling out of control, and the feeling of overwhelm to be a part of my life.

When it came to taking care of my son’s personal matters I was all over it, because it was something I could hold on to, something that I could touch of his, that moment in time allowed me to grasp a piece of his life, because I wanted him on this earth so badly.  The little things mattered, his stuff mattered, talking to each of his friends mattered.  I was able to hang on . . yet the reality was, I was hanging on to keep Ken alive.

Grief is a Gift

Odd thing to say, isn’t it?  Grief stopped me in my tracks.  Internally I heard, woahhh nelly, you are not going anywhere. Grief allowed me to be with where I was in life, heart ache, disbelief, numbness, shock, overwhelm, and a feeling of being out of control. Grief allowed me to be in the moment, honoring what I was feeling, and acknowledging all that I was feeling.  No matter how painful.  Who wants to be in that space of deep heart ache pain?  Ughhhh.

The doing was done, I had to learn how to function with grief

After packing my son’s belongings and closing down his home, attending his two services . . all the doing was done, I had to learn how to function . . .function in any given day.  I kept my routine of getting up early in the morning, taking my vitamins, going to the gym, releasing sorrow, anger, pain, frustration. Even though we live in a world of uncertainty and daily change, It was something I could count on, structure that I needed to feel I had an area of my life I could count on.

After my shower and a bite to eat, I spent an hour to an hour in-a-half as I needed, to journal, cry, read books that supported me.  A couple of books I always had by my side were, “I wasn’t ready to say goodbye” by Brook Noel and Pamela Blair and “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer.  For me these books supported me to allow my feelings to flow, however they showed up. This is how I was able to get through my day at work.  There were days that were more difficult, and when I needed to I would close my door at work, and just allowed myself to cry as I worked.  There were days I felt so overwhelmed, I literally had to stop what I was doing and just sit and do nothing.  My body literally just shut down.

For the first nine months . . .

I reduced the number of work days to 4 so I had three days to grieve, process and rejuvenate.  My body would not allow it any other way.  I tried going back to 5 days a week in May. .  it was too overwhelming for my mind.  I still needed the three day rest.

Grief is a process, a slow process. Time is grief’s ally. Allowing the process of grief opens the door to greater self awareness and self acceptance.  It taught me to be with my feelings of, sadness, anger, frustration, overwhelm versus ignoring or running from my feelings.  It also taught me how to say “no” and how to set boundaries.  Grief shows up with loss, any type of loss. Loss of a loved one, a friend, loss of a marriage, loss of a job, loss of something you worked so hard for and nothing happened.  Loss occurs every day in someone’s life.  So learn to be with grief, gently,  Allow the grief to move through you.

A few tips to allow yourself to be with grief

Be gentle with yourself.  Spend time with you. .  alone, quiet time.  If you can, play some quiet meditation music.

Stay hydrated.  drink plenty of water as grief sucks the life out of you.

Slow down and let go of all thoughts.  Allow yourself to feel.  We tend to make ourselves wrong all the time or we think we have to “do something a certain way” that is called it has to be “right”

Journal your thoughts on paper – there is a physical release of emotions and energy when we have a pen in our hand and releasing the thoughts from our mind through our fingers . .

Read books that support your type of loss.  One I can offer, “It’s Ok to not be OK” by Megan Devine.

Seek out a grief counselor or a grief coach.  A professional that resonates for you and where you feel safe.

Ask close friends and family members for help with the small stuff, if you want it.

Know there will be people who don’t know what to say, or they will say something silly to try to make your feel better.  There is nothing that anyone can say to make you feel better.  There is nothing to be FIXED.  That is a myth.

What do we need to hear, “I am so sorry for your loss. I do not know what to say or do, but I am here for you, to love on you.”

There is Hope  . . .

I can assure you there is hope, for renewing what is possible with resolving, unresolved grief.

Something to consider, ‘A thousand mile journey begins with the first step, and can only be taken one step at a time?”

One step is to notice, be aware of the painful patterns that keep showing up in your life.

Download one of the ebooks under the resources page and read up on loss.

Schedule a 15 minute complimentary call to share what your experiencing so you can ask me questions.

Take that first step.  Do something that you have not done before.  It’s ok, to not be ok, yet please don’t stay stuck in your loss and grief.  There is hope on the other side.

Remember, Plato,  He said  “The beginning is the most important part of the work.”

Yours in Gratitude and to Renewing Your Possibility. . .