Appreciate where you are in your journey even if it’s not where you want to be. Every season serves a purpose.
I came across this quote the other day when a friend of mine shared it on social media. It resonated with me so much and the only thing I would change about it is that it’s not necessarily where I don’t want to be, it’s where I never in a million years thought I would be.
I was laying in bed last night just before midnight trying to figure out why I couldn’t sleep. Usually when that happens I have a rush of thoughts rolling through my brain and my creativity goes into overdrive. Last night I was thinking about all the women I have connected with over the last few years, who have been through incredible loss. I am still, three years later, connecting and walking with other people who have found themselves on a journey to a new normal.
Although it is all very informal at this point and I don’t share a lot of it, it is the most fulfilling and meaningful work that I do. In fact I don’t consider it work at all, I consider it my obligation as a human to help those who are walking a road similar to what I have walked. It is my obligation to share what I have learned and the perspective I hold and to give others the opportunity to grieve how they must, while at the same time guiding them through the process.
Some may say, “Meg that’s not on you, don’t put that much pressure on yourself”, but for me, it makes sense and it makes me feel like I am living with purpose.
Sometimes I hear the stories and I still think, “I can’t imagine”, and it’s true I can’t. But then I remember that that was me and I am too living a life unimaginable and although I made it through the really dark storm, I am still finding myself drowning in the waves of grief at times. Connecting with these people and hearing their stories of loss and perseverance inspires me more than anything ever has.
It’s almost been three and a half years now since Nick died and my life couldn’t be further from what I thought it would be. I thought I would have been in the process of starting a PhD, I definitely thought I would be close to being out of debt (Nick and I had a financial plan that would have made us debt free by 35) and I thought I would have been celebrating my three year wedding anniversary later this year.
Instead I am only in the process of applying for a Master’s Degrees, not a PhD, I have mountains of debt (most of which came after Nick’s death), and I am a Mother of one and Step Mother to two. I am also in love with a police officer which I swore I would never date a cop and I am living in a town I once marched through as a police officer for a funeral and remember thinking how gorgeous and quaint it was at that time.
It still is and we love it.
Saying my life is different than what I thought it would be is a huge understatement. If I am being honest, if I had the choice three years ago to plan my life with a guarantee it would happen; i never would have planned this one. Not even close but the beautiful thing about life is more often than not we have no idea what life has in store for us and we often make plans that can’t be further from what is actually going to transpire.
I have mentioned many times before, I LOVE my life. It’s not easy, we have ebs and flows, and we still find ourselves having days when we want to curl up and momentarily forget about what is happening around us, but we NEVER EVER stay there for too long.
I realized last night just before midnight that I have officially been with Scott for four days longer than I was with Nick. Now for some of you reading this you might think, “so what’s your point”. I don’t really have a point but when I made that realization I can tell you my heart and brain was confused on how to feel about it.
On one hand I thought, thank god Scott has made it. On the other hand I thought, does this mean my relationship with Nick is now void? I also thought morbid thoughts like, well this was the time Nick and I were on top of the world when it all suddenly came crashing down on us, so I better not get too comfortable because shit’s about to hit the fan.
I told you, it was close to midnight, I was exhausted, and my brain would not quiet down. The thing about anxiety and those damn grief waves is that they come when you least expect them and when they do it can be extremely overwhelming. In this case all I had to do was look at the monitor sitting next to me to see the sleeping baby boy to bring me back to the present.
Managing my anxiety isn’t always this easy but this time it was.
This coming August I am taking a course to become certified as a grief recovery specialist through the Grief Recovery Institute. Three and a half years ago I wanted to become a forensic psychologist and work within the criminal justice system. Now I have no desire to work with those who aren’t ready yet to receive help (notice how I say yet? I don’t think anyone is a lost cause) and I now dream of being the person inside of the appointment room waiting for the client whose not only ready but fighting to hold back tears because grief is uncomfortable, experiencing apparent shock, and facing crushed dreams. I dream of them sitting down beside me and allowing me to walk with them through their journey.
My life is nowhere near what I thought it would be, but it is exactly where it is supposed to be. I wholeheartedly believe this.
When you find yourself overwhelmed with making plans or struggling because nothing is going the way you want it to, or the way you think it should, just remember; life is a funny thing. We don’t get to choose our experiences, we only get to choose our reactions and even then; sometimes we don’t always have control.
If you are in a season of disappointment, sadness, or defeat, reach out to someone you trust and get it all off your chest. Acknowledge your pain and discomfort. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling and then seek out perspective from those who have been there.
I’ve heard the grief recovery method is superior to other grief recovery programs and I can’t wait to not only work through my own grief using this method, but to also share my learnings with anyone who needs it.
Until then I am always one message away and although I will never try to sugar coat what you are going through, I will help you to discover even just a small glimpse of light to help move you towards the next season. This process is never easy but you don’t have to go at it alone and if you do your best to never give up, this too shall pass.
Happy 4th of July to all my American readers. Be safe and enjoy the day.