We Are in This Together

Will your grief, pain and suffering get any easier? This is one of the top questions people ask me.

I recall asking the same question after my daughter died 30 years ago. It was horrible. I felt like my heart was ripped out and there was a hole in me. It was like that sculpture Melancolie which was created by Albert György and can be found in Geneva, Switzerland. My grief left me empty, incomplete. I lost a child. Fast forward 30 years and my pain and suffering resurfaced. My son died by suicide. Of course, I questioned how or if I would survive the loss of a second child.

This time my grief was different. My first child was only 9 months old, and her death was an accident. My second child was 24 and he decided on his own free will to end his life. My daughter and I had a short period of time together. We did not have the opportunity to dream of her future together.  I didn’t get the chance to celebrate her first birthday, watch her walk or talk. My son, we had 24 birthdays, as many Christmases and talked about his future, what he wanted to do and who he wanted to be. The conscious decision to die by suicide was difficult to understand. Why did he do it? Why didn’t he talk to me? Why didn’t see it coming.

For some reason, I felt like my second child’s death is harder than the first. I have asked myself why a hundred, if not a thousand times. My first loss was 30 years ago. I still recall how painful it was. However, I have moved forward and continued to live my life. I don’t have such a heartache for her. Instead, I recall the memories that I had with her during those precious 9 months. With my son, it has been 4 years and my heart is healing. I do things in his honor, such as writing Thursday Thoughts, 2 books and helping other’s move through their grief. I know this is something my son would want me to do.

I also get asked, “how have I made it through the loss of two children?” When my daughter died in 1991, I had very little understanding with grief let alone the loss of a child. Since then, both my parents passed away, my sister died at 53 and other friends and family members have gone before me – including 2 young adults to suicide. The losses I experienced between the death of my two children in 3 years has helped me in my grief with my son.

My grief has not gotten easier. I got better at handling the hard stuff. I made a decision to heal. I did not want my sons death to take away the life that was still ahead of me. I have two adult girls and their families who need me and deserve me.

I learned to handle the hard grief by tapping into my personal training and nutrition background to take care of my physical health. I worked with coaches and mentors for my mental and emotional health. I turned to God, or it might be your higher power, for strength. The challenges of my loss are far too great to handle on my own. This opened my choice to go at it alone or lean into God/Higher Power. The more grief I had, the more I leaned into God/Higher Power, the more God/Higher Power showed up. Amazing to me how this works!

To further my relationship with God, I am fasting for 21 days. No, I am not doing a water only fast. It is a modified fast. I cut out sweets, caffeine, and TV. My breakfast and dinner are a quality protein shake and lunch is solid food. I eat/drink my meals between 10AM and 6PM. I wanted to revamp and reset my health and deepen my relationship with my Higher Power. The purpose of fasting is to set aside time to pray and meditate by eliminating some of the things I desire in the flesh and developing the relationship I need in the spirit. When I want a sweet, I replace it with a thought of gratitude. When my stomach is empty and hungry, I feast on God’s presence. When I want to watch TV, I spend time praying.

I am on day 4 of my fast and am not perfect. I had a cookie and missed my prayer time last night. I give myself grace because this is a journey. I do not expect perfection. Am I getting results? Yes! I feel more connected to God/Higher Power. My stomach doesn’t feel bloated, and I am able to focus better. Giving up the sweets, caffeine, and TV and replacing it with a focus on my relationship with God is turning out to be a good thing. I am excited to see what the next 17 days bring. I expect more joy, gratitude, and happiness!

Would you be willing to fast to feel more peace and happiness? I didn’t until last Sunday.

My grief has not gotten easier. I have learned to handle the hard stuff.

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