Create the 2.0 Version of Yourself After Loss

This past week, I have been on the go from Monday through Friday. The weekend wasn’t any better. It was jam packed full of activities albeit, they were events that I enjoy immensely: hiking, spending time with my daughter and grandkids and reading. However, I felt like I hadn’t taken the time to rest and rejuvenate.  

I went to bed Sunday night praying for peace and a restful night. Monday morning, I awoke with a renewed perspective – or so I thought. As I was preparing my day and planning for the week, I felt an inner gnawing to slow down. It was actually more than that. I felt God telling me, that I needed to S-T-O-P what I was doing. But I argued – God, I have things that I need to do, things that are on my to-do list and places to be. I resisted the nudge to stop everything that I was doing.

However, without explanation or logic, tears started rolling down my face. They started out as a few tears then they became a full-fledged stream that caused streaks down my cheeks and my mascara to smudge. It was then that I stood still and succumbed to them. I sat on the couch and just stared at the wall. My mind had gone blank, and I was thinking of nothing in particular. This was the much needed me-time I failed to give myself over the past week. It was time without an agenda, time without commitments and time reflecting on myself.

As I sat there gazing at the blank TV, I practiced my box breathing technique. It is the same one I teach my clients when they are having a tough time. It slowed my breathing down and my tears slowed down enough that I could see.  These few moments brought light to why I was feeling uneasy, hence the tears. I finally put my finger on what was causing my moments of sadness. This week is my son’s birthday. He would be 29 years old. In my sub-conscious, I must have been thinking of him. I remember being pregnant with him and how excited I was to have a boy! There will always be a void in my heart. I will always miss my son. He will always be part of my heart and soul.

In addition to missing my son, I had some big projects that I had been working on with deadlines and they were finally complete. It was a huge sigh of relief. I poured my heart and soul into a webinar for other grieving moms. It was successful and good things are coming from it. Grieving moms are reaching out to me for help. This was a sense of accomplishment in a way I never dreamed of.

When I looked back at how far I have come since my son died, I am in utter amazement. I never dreamed I would present a webinar on grief, record it, upload it to YouTube and Soundcloud then add it as a link to emails sent out to people who registered. I asked myself ‘Who am I?” I don’t recognize myself!

Grief is the opportunity for personal growth even for me. It may incorporate getting involved and helping others. It can be either in your loved one’s honor, much like my books and grief coaching is in my son’s memory, or a cause that is near and dear to your heart. This is a time to seek meaning, not in the whys of this happened, but meaning for my future. My son encourages me to do more and be more.

I also find renewed energy in old activities;  ones I enjoyed before losing my son; hiking, taking in sunrises and sunsets. I love walking my dog and spending time with friends and family. All the while, I know my son is rooting me on to enjoy life.

It also helps to stop worrying about “stuff. ” Stuff is the latest smartphone, current-year car, fashion clothes, or the hottest watch. You know what your stuff is. Life is too short. Live in the moment. Stop and smell the roses. These are all true statements and things we might consider even more now that our children are gone.

What is crucial is our current relationships with friends and family. I know that I say “I love you” to family members even more than ever. I prefer having experiences together instead of giving material objects. Time without TV. Time without cell phones. Time spent playing games, talking and being in the moment.

Serving others is a great way to expand beyond ourselves. One of my mentors’ sums this up beautifully: “When you are having a bad day, take a moment to make someone else’s day.” Look for opportunities to help another person. Make a conscious decision to open a door, smile, say hello, let someone in line, forgive another driver’s road rage, or buy someone else’s coffee. These are just a few impromptu day-to-day things you can do.

This gives me hope. I can create the new version of myself – the 2.0 Version.

Be aware of  your inner calling, God or intuition, what ever you call it. Listen to it. Stop, slow down, take care of  yourself and ask who can you become? Who do you want to be?

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