Guilt and regret are the ugly Hyde to the Jekyll of sobriety, even years in. With new awareness, we relive past experiences---or in many cases bemoan what might have been. Pain and sorrow previously numbed by a drug or drink of choice is glaringly present, and strikes unpredictably---in the midst of a family gathering; alone, late at night; smack in the middle of an important work presentation, or during a particularly deep yoga class.
For anyone who's lost a pet, the heartache is significant and can last a long time. Feelings of grief can cause mental distraction, loss of appetite, bouts of extreme sadness and even lasting depression. Why, then, are we expected to get back to work after the loss of a pet without being allowed to take time off?
Last week, Canadians came together to celebrate their country's 149th birthday. This week, South Sudan marks five years as an independent nation. Yet for many there is little to celebrate. For half of its brief life, the world's youngest nation has been ripped apart by war, leaving tens of thousands dead.
The emotional distress started to make me feel sick all the time and it came to the point that I just couldn't continue like this anymore. I decided that my first step to healing was to talk to people who have experienced the same type of loss, and by doing this it helped me realize that everything I was feeling was normal.
Who knew that grand-parenting would be so much fun? Who knew I'd be a solo grandma? It was understood in my marriage that somewhere in the future we would be very proud grandparents together. However, like many baby boomers, our marriage didn't make it. I've been single for 20 years and since 2009 I have been a solo grandma.
I could see my four-year-old son playing on the slide, but my two-year-old son was out of sight -- not unusual as we had a very large, gated yard. I didn't even have time to cover myself before a woman came around the corner, a look of fury on her face and my two-year-old on her hip. "DO YOU KNOW WHERE I JUST FOUND YOUR CHILD?" she screeched.
Coach passed away last Friday, having fought the good fight against cancer, the scourge of our times. You may not know Coach, but I hope you know someone like him -- a person who pours water on you when you are about to flame out, who picks you up by the scruff of your neck and puts you back on track, who shows you that there is indeed a big, wide world out there.
I think we do all women a disservice when we don't challenge the "Disneyfication" of our reproductive experience. Pregnancy is glorified as transcendent despite its many dark elements. Birth is similarly idealized. But miscarriages resist beatification; at best, they are an extremely efficient expulsion of expired reproductive material by one's own body.
The first time I carried a child, I suddenly had this intense urge to be closer to my mom. It was hard going through a pregnancy and a stressful birth experience without my mother's guidance and support (cancer can quit now, OK?), and I keep coming up against questions I really wish I could ask my mama, but that must be left unanswered.
I've learned that when you want to support someone who's critically ill, loving them isn't enough; you have to meet them where they are. That means letting go of your wishful thinking, your denial, or your selfish need to put a positive spin on things and allowing the other person -- the one who's dying -- to set the tone.
As an overweight kid who discovered the transformational power of fitness as a teenager, training to improve my fitness and my physique has always been a huge motivator. For many years it was why I trained. But it was not until my father became ill that I truly realized the insurmountable power of fitness.
Life is for the living. In the years to come you will wake thinking about your son and not his suicide. In accepting loss, your mind will search for memories of life before depression and suicide became part of your lexicon. There will be much work to do in your son's name and in support of youth suicide prevention.
While Mother's Day is a celebration of love for many, it is a day of pain and grief for so many more. There are many faces of motherhood, some less obvious then others. There are mothers whose arms are empty; suffering from infertility, miscarriages or the death of a child. The world doesn't recognize them as mothers but they are and always will be.