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.
The reality is that rebounding and finding your mojo once more after a significant setback, failure or loss involves a lot more than simply "shaking it off" no matter what Taylor Swift says. It takes some essential and necessary stages and actions that if missed will keep you stuck, and stop you from learning and growing from the experience, which no matter how unpleasant is a rich opportunity for personal growth.
Find ways to honour those you miss. Look at old photos and tell stories of any loved ones you have lost. Honour the expectations that you may have had for relationships, life and even your vision of the season, as they are a part of our story. Let a lost loved one remain alive in you, and be an active part of your experience.
While for many the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, for others, they are dreading the oncoming festivities because they may mark the 1st, 5th or 50th season without a loved one. No matter what denomination they are or what holiday they celebrate, there is one common factor that binds all of them together: someone they loved is gone.
The shifts in friendships and relationships are extreme. The negative ones go all the way to a feeling of being shunned. Here comes the living nightmare, take cover. A couple who lost two children. Sometimes it feels like we have a contagious virus that others try to dodge by avoiding bereaved parents.