Reclaiming your life

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I want to give you hope because I know it is so hard.  I want to tell you that everything will be ok - but it will never be ok that your loved one is gone .  You will be ok - just different.  I want to tell you that something or somebody will come along that will have all of the answers, and that it will all suddenly make sense.  I want that so badly.  I want to tell you that there will be another person who you will love as much - but I have no idea if that is true.

My life will always feel somewhat empty.  My heart will always be broken.  It will never be ok that Max didn't get a chance to live his life.  I know it would have been a beautiful one....because he was such a beautiful person.

What I can tell you, and I think that this is probably true for most people - is that there will come a day when you stop wishing you were dead.  I know, I know, you want to take your loved one's place.  I would still trade my life in an instant if I could, so that Max could have his.  But, I can't....and, by some miracle of the resilience of humanity, I no longer wish I were dead.  It took almost two years to feel this way, but I honestly love being alive again - despite how hard it is, despite the fact that Max is no longer on earth, despite having lost relationships that were once important to me, despite my broken heart.

I KNOW you are thinking that it is because I had Mo....and you are probably right.  I think that Mo has sped my process for sure.  No doubt about it.  I love Mo with the same intensity as I love Max....something I didn't think was at all possible.  I don't know if I would be exactly where I am now if I didn't have Mo, but I am pretty sure that the rays of light would have started filtering in again by now.  Mo is AMAZINGWONDERFULSTUPENDOUS! but he isn't Max. 

I am no expert on how to find your way back to life but these are my suggestions:
  • Temporarily cut out everyone who doesn't make you feel good.  This is SO important.  It's ok to be selfish, even if they mean well.  You just don't have the strength to worry about other people right now.  You are fighting a battle for your life.  You may regrow your thicker skin down the road and some of those people will still be there.  Those who aren't you don't need anyway.  It's ok to hurt feelings.
  • Try to get outside.  I'm not talking about getting "out" - like to the mall, or the movies, or parties, or weddings, or funerals (you can definitely skip these - people WILL understand).  Do these things if they make you feel good but don't do them if they don't.  They didn't feel good to me.  Get outside - someplace quiet, if possible.  Drive someplace pretty and sit in your car if you can't get out.  Roll down the windows, breathe fresh air.  Take a hike, if you can muster the strength.  Even once a week should be fine.
  •  Take the path of least resistance.  In everything you do.  Make your life as simple as possible.  Watch TV or read or write in a journal or get a cheapy massage (or a really expensive one).  Eat comfort food (you can worry about your diet later).  Wear comfortable clothing (I wore sweats for a year - it was fine.  Nobody cared).  If you have animals - play with them.  Animals are pretty uncomplicated.  They love you and they'll lie in bed with you while you cry.  I got my cat, Lupe, after my engagement broke off many years ago.  Cuddling with her put my heart back together.
  • Talk to your loved one.  Do anything that helps you keep them present in your life.  Look at their pictures and videos (if you can), visit their grave (if you can - I have a hard time with this one but it brings a lot of comfort to Ted), do things to honor their memory, do good things for other people who are suffering.  Whenever you can help someone else in pain, you will recognize a purpose in this life...and that's what you need - purpose.  The woman who hosted the grief event I attended on Sunday lost her only child.  She is now like a mother to many.  It doesn't bring back her daughter, but it honors her daughter's memory in a profound way.  It gives her life a purpose that nothing else probably could.  Touch as many lives as you can but take your time.  There is no rush.  Start small.  You will find your path.
  • Only tell who you want to tell.  I felt a burden for SO long to tell everyone I met.  I thought I was dishonoring Max when I didn't tell a new person that he was here - and that now he isn't.  The truth is that most people you tell, won't react with compassion and that might make you feel worse that you already do.  Share your loved one with those who show that they deserve to know him/her if it feels bad otherwise.  You aren't doing your loved one any disservice - I promise. 
  • When you are ready, start exercising.  It will make you feel better - and help pass the time.  
 Email me if you need someone to listen.  I know that sometimes that is the best therapy.  I have spent the last two years forming new friendships and reaching out to people who have been where I am and then waiting for a response, often times hearing nothing in return.  I will respond.  I promise.  teddyabby at gmail dot com.

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