As hard as I try not to feel like one of those cartoon characters walking around with a cloud over my head, it’s pretty hard not to. There are daily reminders of the multiple stresses in my life and I can’t seem to hold onto what I know is all that matters: the present.
I consider myself a positive person. I know that dwelling on the past is useless. I’ve gotten pretty good at avoiding a worrisome outlook. I believe wholeheartedly that bad things must happen in order for us to appreciate the good.
- I used to think that my father’s brain injury was all about anxiety.
- I used to think that my brother’s death made me feel guilty.
- So, when the third bomb hit and we had to give up our dog after only six months with her, I realized that all three of these major life events can all go under the same category…
In a sense, I lost my father to medical malpractice. Yes, he is physically still with us, but so much was taken from him. And it’s just horrible.
I lost my brother to alcoholism. He is gone. Forever. And I am so sad.
I lost Savannah to unforeseen circumstances. I was her person and the house feels empty without her.
So, here I am, with three losses on a loop, never having the chance to recover from one before the next came along; being reminded every day of what my father lost; haunted by the words my sister spoke into the phone when my brother died; wondering why Savannah isn’t following me up and down the stairs.
Here’s what I tell myself and anyone else out there who needs it:
1.) Feel what you feel. Be sad, angry, frustrated, pissed at the world…whatever you want. Cry. Cry a lot. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing. Cry if you need to. Don’t you dare hold it in.
2.) Eliminate things and people that don’t serve you. You’ve got enough on your heart. Say no. Walk away. Purge. And then, don’t feel the need to explain. Nobody needs to know. Make choices that work for you and be done with it.
3.) Try not to feel like you are just waiting for the next bad thing to happen. This is not Karma. This is just life. It’s all good, even if it’s bad.
4.) NEVER apologize for feeling like you do. Feel it. Embrace it. Own it.
5.) Dig deep and find the positive, inspirational, life-altering lessons from this experience. They are there for you if you are willing to see them.
6.) Ask for help. As much as you feel like crawling under a rock and avoiding the world, get out there and talk, listen, breathe, and connect. You are never alone.
To those who know me well, I give myself permission to break one of my own rules. I’m in the middle of this loop and swimming in sadness. Please forgive the unanswered calls, the cancelled plans, and the mood swings.
This is life right now. It is what it is. And I know I’ll be okay.