The Adventure Continues…
Screw Their ‘Be Happy’ Advice
“Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face – I know it’s an impossibility, but I cannot help myself.”
― Nicholas Sparks
Eleven Pearls of Wisdom from a Grieving Mother
Turning the page on the calendar from October to November is something I dread. I now sigh as I mentally note what day Thanksgiving falls on. He won’t be there sassing me and neither will my father. The boys, as I often refer to them.
This was the fourth holiday season without Jeremiah, my forever twenty-nine year old son. When I close my eyes, I see him, his father and my father, quirky smiles and all. Their voices are almost audible as I hear them rattling off one liners at their end of the dinning room table in the home I once owned while mischievously snickering at their inside jokes. Ah. Yes, their wicked sense of humor. We, the living, are probably the butt of the jokes. Heck, knowing those three… I’m certain of it.
My humor is back for the moment while I write this note. It’s easier to be on the backside of Christmas than the weeks, days, minutes building up to the magical holiday intended to be spent with the whole family and friends.
A week ago, on one of those trauma-drama-grievin’-momma days, I stumbled across an article post on Facebook titled something like 10 Ways for the Grieving to Experience Happiness During the Holidays. Knowing it wouldn’t make a bit of difference on my heartbroken frame of mind, I was curious. Based on the title I knew it was a SEO driven article (compiled with only Search Engine Optimization in mind) as a holiday fluff piece and written by someone who hadn’t lost anyone close. As an intuitive, I knew they were not one of us – the grieving.
Clicking on it was probably one of the most unloving things I could have done for myself. The upbeat article started off light and cutesy. The choreographed and rhyming word rhythms were a dead giveaway. Pun intended.
Number one: Be Happy. It said something about finding things to be happy about. Really? My heart is in a million bajillion pieces and you tell me to be effing happy as if it’s controlled by a light switch? Yeah. Screw you.
Number two: Talk to Someone. Honestly this one kinda pissed me off. I’ve learned the hard way – no one wants to hear the sob story – again. It’s not that they don’t care; after a while they get tired of hearing it for the umpteenth time about as much as I get tired of saying it. It’s a relentless thought-loop with no happy ending in sight. Everyone gets it – I miss my son. Besides, I feel as though I’ve alienated my friends and family due to my grieving. The voice of an (then) important person in my life echoes, “Aren’t you done grieving yet? It’s been two weeks.” Again, they all got tired of hearing it. Why keep hammering the lid to the relationship closed? It’s over, Cynthia. Move along.
Number three: Look at Christmas Photos from Previous Years. Um… F**k you. How in the world is that going to make me happier? It would be like me walking up to you, the author, and… never mind, I won’t write it, think it, or even hint at it. Just know there is no pain that compares to the heartbreak due to the death of a child. Still, years later, when the emotions are tender and I come across a photograph of him, I choke back the tears no matter what time of the year it is. I still do not listen to the radio when I drive in case a song comes on reminding me of the good ol’ days of cruisin’ with my two sons.
My heart ached by the time I reached number four. I sat on the sofa somewhere in the middle of Texas over 1,200 miles from “home” and sobbed. I closed the app on my phone. Anger raged from somewhere deep within. I was inconsolable.
Who was the editor that thought this was realistic, helpful or even remotely accurate? Oh wait, the one who’s only interested in SEO rankings. Job well done and congratulations. I clicked on your f**king bait.
I was tempted to find the article and leave them a comment, but thought better of it. It’s a battle I didn’t want to get into. My opinion means nil, and it wouldn’t have made a difference. I was too emotionally charged and would have regretted it. I know what you’re going to say, “Yes it would have made a difference.”
Instead, my only advice is to do what feels good (aka survivable) in the moment, and don’t worry about what to do next. For me this year it was spending time curled up binge watching low-drama series and movies, going on extra long walks with Willie James, sleeping, baking cookies and eating them one by one until gone, watching the sunrise and sunset in silent gratitude, and – most importantly – not feeling guilty for how I felt in any moment.
Grief is an element of Love.
Our raw emotions are our own.
And, for God’s sake, never feel you’re doing it wrong or what you feel is insignificant.
Celebrate the memories.
If they smoked, light a cigarette to smell the familiar aroma if you want.
If they loved to drive on muddy two-tracks, go jump and splash in a mud puddle. Heck, come home as muddy as they did just for the fun of it!
Do something that helps you to feel closer to them when you desire it.
As an empath, I sense my son’s presence. It gifts me great comfort. Our relationship has been elevated to a level I didn’t know was possible. The hard part is not having the physical version of him here to hug, or to help me fix stuff when it breaks.
Here’s a few pearls of wisdom I’d like to share:
Number one: Grace. Always know they are with you even if you cannot hear, see or feel them.
Number two: Feel. They are well, and no longer hurt on the other side of the veil.
Number three: Trust. They DO want us to be happy, joyful and celebrating our life to the fullest. From their perspective (on the other side), their intent was never to cause us heartbreak.
Number four: Love. They love us beyond the measure of our language. It is pure and unconditional.
Number five: Forgiveness. Allow yourself to forgive yourself; all is forgiven from their point of view.
Number six: Signs. Ask them to show you a sign, or symbol, to let you know they are around. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Pennies from heaven.”
Number seven: No judgment. There is no judgment from the other side of the veil. They love and support us unconditionally.
Number eight: Ask. You may ask them for guidance. The messages may come as a thought, a phrase heard in a conversation, in your dreams, and maybe as a whisper. It’s up to you to allow and accept the guidance.
Number nine: Compassion. Not sure it’s your loved one communicating with you, place your hand on your heart and feel. Does the sensory information feel loving, kind, compassionate? Then it’s a message from a loved one. If it’s harsh, mean, unkind know it is not divine and it’s not to be acknowledged as truth.
Number ten: Freewill. Our loved ones grant us freewill to live our lives the way we desire. They will stand beside us unconditionally no matter our decisions.
Number eleven: Listen. Yesterday, after an emotional conversation with a person I love, I noticed my neighbor looking for his dog. I sensed how upset he was and the level of his concern for her well-being. I closed the lid on the laptop and stepped outside to helped him look for his furry companion from my space. He got in his truck and drove around the park looking for her. Close to an hour later the dog returned while the gentleman was on his second trip around the park. A bit later there was a knock on my door. The older gentleman came to thank me for my help. I explained her return to his site and how it was our neighbor who let the dog into his camper. He and I stood outside in the sun and wind. I pushed the button to roll out the awning when it began to sprinkle and moments before the rain fell from the heavens. We stood alongside my home for more than an hour. He spoke most of the time about his wife who’d passed in November, his home and shop, and he took the time to show me pictures of his hobby. We talked about campers, the deer at the campground, our dogs, and where to get the propane tanks refilled. It was a lovely conversation of two people who simply needs to share a few memories that molded us into the individuals we were in that moment. It felt good to be there for him and simply listen; and also to be heard.
What I’m trying to say is, do what makes you happy even if it doesn’t make their so-called top ten list. …and, it is okay to be an emotional basket case from time-to-time. At least you’re allowing yourself to acknowledge and express your emotions. There is something to be said about that…
Captured moments along the way…
Explore the adventures that got me here…
The Adventure Continues...“You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.” ―Chuck YeagerWhat are a few of the lines they say about tempting fate? If you want to hear God laugh,...
The Adventure Continues...“Life is an amazing adventure; it was never intended to be lived in gray-scale.” ― CK KochisMy breath hung frozen in the air for a moment before evaporating into the dawn of the day. The words thank you slipped through my lips as I observed...
The Adventure Continues...“How can you write from your heart if your head is busy yelling at you?” ― Barb ParcellsIt's not easy to let go of the critical monkey-mind voice somedays. When I edited the podcast interviews with Barb Parcells and Christin Bjergbakke, I...