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Year Of More

Meditation

My counseling session on Tuesday was so good. Exhausting, draining, emotional but so good. I needed a long nap when I got home but it was helpful in so many ways. When you go to the right counselor it should be an hour of your life with no judgement and only release. I’m thankful Sara pointed me in the direction of Renee a couple years ago.

Renee always gives me “homework” which is part of what I like about her. Not only does she listen with compassion but she also gives me practical ways to get from here to there. “There” being where I want to be. “There” being a place of peace. “There” being a place where I’m healing. And “there” being a place where I’m continually moving forward.

My homework this time is meditation. Just the word makes me cringe. I’m obviously having lots of anxiety and I’m an anxious person by nature so the idea of clearing my mind is so completely foreign to me. And Renee asked for me to start doing it 3x a day?!?!!?!?? She recognized it would be hard for me and she said my goals is to go 10 seconds of the 10 minutes of meditation with a clear mind. 10 seconds I can totally do 10 seconds!


I downloaded the app she wants me to use yesterday afternoon so last night before bed was my first attempt. I chose the “Anxiety Meditation” series for mornings but figured the “Peaceful Sleep” meditation would be what is appropriate for before bed. I was literally snoring within 10 seconds. Like I woke myself up snoring. So I snuggled back in and started breathing deeply again. And… Snoring! So maybe 10 seconds of clearing my mind without sleeping is going to be an issue at night. I’m guessing that maybe I need to do the sleep meditation sitting up on the couch instead of laying in bed.

I’m off work today so it seemed like the perfect time to get into the routine of my 3 a day meditations. And hopefully do better after sleeping in this morning. I sat cross-legged on the couch and started the session. Again, this one is only 10 minutes. I can do 10 minutes of sitting still and then hopefully 10 seconds a couple different times of clearing my mind. She talked me through breathing deeply at first which seemed easy enough. And then this is how the 10 minutes went: Breathe deeply, think about work, think about how I need to clear my mind, breathe deeply, think about work, think about how I need to clear my mind, breathe deeply, think about surprising Griff with our upcoming trip, think about money, think about how I need to clear my mind, breathe deeply, think about my niece, think about my niece growing up into an amazing woman, think about how I need to clear my mind, breathe deeply, check the time, think about how I need to clear my mind, breathe deeply, crack open my eyes and start rearranging the stuff on our bookshelves, think about how I need to clear my mind, breathe deeply, think about how I’m hungry, think about how I need to clear my mind, breathe deeply… The session is ending with a poem and it’s beautiful. I cry. It’s over. There is a quote at the end you can save to your phone. That was my favorite part of the whole thing!


Whoa… Meditation is hard. For my mid-day meditation I will be focusing on 5 seconds of clearing my mind. Obviously I need to work up to 10 seconds. I literally can’t imagine being able to go 10 minutes. But moving forward and pushing myself to do new things is what this Year of More is all about.
Do you practice meditation? How did you start? Any tips for me?

 

Bring It Into the Light

I have a counseling appointment tomorrow. I haven’t been in about a month and I need to go. I’ve needed to go for a couple weeks now. Scheduling is hard though but that’s probably just an excuse. I love counseling and my counselor so there is no reason I should put off going. But the last couple times I could go it had to be before work and I just couldn’t take having to go back to work after the emotional exhaustion. But tomorrow I’m off work and going in the morning. I know it will be hard but also healing like it always is. My counselor’s office is a safe space and I always feel like I can breathe a little easier just by stepping foot into her door.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about Survivors of Loved Ones Lost to Suicide. (Isn’t that a mouthful?) Everything I’ve been experiencing is normal which brings me comfort but it’s still pretty hard to admit to even those closest to me how much I struggle at times. Not that I’m embarrassed it’s just hard to put into words. It’s hard to explain and it not sound irrational or crazy. But I’m trying. Especially with Griff, I’m trying my hardest. I tell him the scary irrational things and he still loves me. He’s able to see when I’m in the darkness and bring me back to the light. One of the best things about him is that he doesn’t try to fix it because he recognizes that there are some things that just can’t be fixed right now. I’m sure it’s hard for him to see me hurting and not be able to fix it but he listens and comforts me and that’s all that can really be done right now.

I’ve been having pretty intense anxiety in the last couple weeks. I experienced a pretty intense and very personal loss a little over 7 years ago and I had pretty intense anxiety after that loss for a couple years. Mostly it centered around my brother and worrying about something happening to him. We were both living at home with our parents for awhile and I would stay up at night until I knew he was home safe no matter how much sleep it meant that I didn’t get. It would take every bone in my body not to text him constantly when he was out at night. At times it was almost debilitating but I didn’t tell anyone or get help. I just became a pro at talking myself off the ledge. And eventually after a couple years it subsided.

But it’s back. It’s back and it’s very intense and it’s definitely worse that before. In the morning before I knew Sara had passed away I spent half a day calling and texting her with no response back. At the time it was scary and I knew in my gut that something horrible had happened but in hindsight the thought of it (and trust me I think about it all the time) almost paralyzes me in fear. Which probably explains why the moment someone doesn’t answer a phone call now or text me back instantly my mind immediately assumes something terrible is wrong. It’s ridiculous and irrational but in the moment it’s hard for me to see that. So I worry. I panic. I feel so much fear that someone else I love will die.

Every emotion you have is magnified while riding the waves of grief. But I’ve read that grief after a loved one commits suicide is like no other grief. Mostly it’s because when someone dies by accident or illness or homicide you have someone or something to specifically be angry at but when your loved one commits suicide that same love one that you are grieving is also the perpetrator. So no matter how much you logically know that they were having severe mental suffering, emotionally it’s hard for that to bring you comfort. On top of the fact that the “what if’s?” and the “why did I not see her pain for what it was?” are on a constant loop in my head most days.

So the grieving process is creating a lot of irrational anxiety in my head. Again, it’s hard to explain but I’ll try. If someone seems frustrated with me I automatically assume they hate me. If I mess something up at work I feel like I’ve let everyone down and I’m a failure. If I experience a disappointment it feels like I don’t matter to the person or group of people who have disappointed me. If someone brushes me off it feels like I’m obviously too much to handle right now. Again, logically I know that all this is absolutely not true but my anxiety tells me different and it’s paralyzing.

I’ve had what I’m pretty sure are 2 panic attacks in the last week. Both times I was able to talk myself down but I was definitely shook up and I’m thankful that I’m seeing my counselor tomorrow. And everything I’ve read has said all that is normal. Which is comforting but still doesn’t make it ok. I don’t want to feel this way. It’s like I’m a shell of myself most of the time and only the the parts of myself that I don’t necessarily like are showing. And it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting wearing the “I’m ok” face which is why inevitably after a few days or even a week or so I crack and and then completely lose my shit. I would do pretty much anything to have a full 24 hours of not being filled with anxiety and fear or to have a night of falling asleep easy, sleeping well and then waking up feeling well rested. But since that isn’t in the cards I’m going to make sure I keep getting help. Because I know nothing will ever go back to the way it was before but I do know if I get help I will eventually find a new me and a new ok and a new normal.

I hesitated writing a lot of this because I didn’t want to freak anybody out and make them worry about me (Mom and dad, I’m looking at you). And if you are reading this please don’t be alarmed about my anxiety. I am truly getting help and promise that I will continue to do so. But I want to be open. Because if you are reading this and have ever felt this way I want you to know that it’s ok. There is no shame. You absolutely are not alone. And no matter how much you feel lost, or like a disappointment and a failure, you are not those things. That’s the anxiety talking it’s not what people see or feel when they look at you. If Sara taught me one thing that I will always take with me it’s that bringing your fears and hurt out of the darkness and into the light is always the beginning of the healing process. So I urge you, no I command you to ask for help, then get that help and take some time for self care. You have only one life and you need to treat it like the precious gift that it is.

Love yourself well tonight friends.


 

Cruising

I just want to say thank you for all the kindness everyone who has read my blog has shown me through comments, messages, and texts. It’s definitely a little scary being vulnerable and putting my complete feelings out there but there is also something free-ing about putting all of it out into the light.

It’s weird how your brain works. How just when you think you can’t take anymore sadness or anxiety or focusing on your loss something switches and you wake up with some of the best and funniest memories in your head. I was exhausted last night before bed. Like knock down drag out exhausted. My head hurt. My body hurt. My brain was foggy from pushing through a very long workday. But you know what? I slept good. Really good. I woke up and the fog had lifted. I felt positive and hopeful. And since I woke up I haven’t stopped thinking about the cruise my family went on when my dad retired.

It was 7 days in the Caribbean. And it was definitely 7 days full of adventures.
During the day we would be lazy on the ship or go on excursions. At night we would eat some of the best dinners around a big table and talk about everything we did that day then head to a comedy show, a dance party on the top deck or karaoke. It was some of the best 7 days of my life.


There is a day on the trip that is hands down the perfect example of how Sara was the Anna to my Elsa and the Ying to my Yang. We stopped in Belize one of the days. Sara, Chris, Heidi and I didn’t have any plans so we figured we would just “wing it”. We stumbled upon a beach bar run by a Canadian couple and they told us they knew the perfect person to drive us around the island to explore. My ever cautious self was like “NOPE, not happening!” but I was out voted and that’s how we met Manny. Manny showed up in his car and asked if we wanted beer which of course we did. Heidi, Sara and Chris for fun… Me to relax and not think about us getting kidnapped. He drove us to a convenience store with bars on the windows made us a makeshift cooler out of a cardboard box and filled it up with ice and beer. 


Then we were off! We went to a Rum factory where we got free samples, he drove us by super fancy houses owned by big time executives from America. We went for lunch at this water park/restaurant where we had traditional Belizean food. Then he just drove us around the island. At one point he said “Oh this street right here is the Blood and Crypt dividing line. Gangs are really bad on the island.” By then I had relaxed enough to think Chris who was unarmed would definitely be able to protect us from a gang fight. (Whatttt???) We saw some cool cemeteries. We ended back at the Beach Bar and spent the rest of the time hanging out with the Canadians and their friends. 

I had a blast! A blast because Sara forced me out of my box. She always trusted everyone and I have a hard time trusting anyone. Our balance was sometimes the best and worst things about being sisters.

I almost forgot to mention that when we got back to the ship that day Chris and Heidi decided to breakdance in the lobby bar…


The day we stopped at Grand Cayman Sara, Chris, Heidi and I didn’t have any solid plans again. We just wanted to go to the beach. So after asking around we found a resort that would let us pay for a day pass. What’s the first thing we see other than the most beautiful stretch of ocean we’ve ever seen? A banana boat! Like the banana shaped intertube that gets pulled by a speedboat. And of course Sara was all over it. And once again I said “Nope! Not happening!” About 5 minutes later I found myself sitting on a banana boat. It was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done. It seems crazy to say that but we were out so far into the ocean and going to fast. You had to hold on for dear life. At one point Sara fell off and Heidi being the great person she is jumped in to “save” her while of course Chris and I just sat on the boat and laughed but then had to pull both of them out of the water and back onto the boat. It was a hot mess but the best hot mess I’ve ever been a part of. We didn’t get any pics of that banana boat but we did get a couple pics of the beach that day and the view still takes my breath away and makes me smile because of how much fun we had.

Before we left to go on the cruise Sara was paranoid about being seasick so the doctor gave her these patches to wear on her shoulder. They seemed to work great for her and she wasn’t sick like I was at points during the trip. But on our last evening on the boat something really bizarre happened. We were eating our last dinner and it was so fun and bittersweet. You know the end of vacation feeling where you either want to move to the vacation spot or be home in your own bed right that minute. Sara was acting really weird. At first I thought that she was just sad and emotional about vacation being over or that she was missing the kiddos. But after dinner when we all went up to the deck party she was saying how she felt terrible. Dizzy, almost drunk but she hadn’t drank at dinner. She ended up having to go back up to the room. Well… Chris came back down later and come to find out Sara had pulled a typical Sara and not realized that she was wearing 2 sea sickness patches at once! We laughed forever about that especially cause I’m pretty sure my parents thought she had been roofied or something at dinner because of her bizarre behavior.

I’m so thankful today for these memories. Thankful that my sister always pushed me farther than I ever wanted to go and forced me (most of the time) into so many adventures. It’s definitely sad and a bit scary to think about the fact that she’s not here anymore to force me out of the happy safe box I like to live my life in. Luckily Griff and one of my best friends Courtney are really good at pushing me the way Sara did. Forcing me to stop over thinking and just live a full adventure filled life.

It’s a scary thing thinking I have to force myself out. Force myself to take some risks. Force myself to start living out some adventures and not to hesitate. But I guess that’s what living a Year of More is all about. And that’s what I’m promising myself I will do.

I’m Not Ok

It’s no real secret that I’ve been struggling pretty bad since last Thursday. I was off work and catching up on my shows which should have equaled a good day. But there was a suicide scene on Chicago Fire. It wasn’t just an implied suicide, they showed the aftermath and I almost threw up on myself. And since then I just haven’t been ok. 

I spent a couple days hiding the “not ok” but then Sunday in the middle of the day it came pouring out and it hasn’t really stopped since. And here’s the thing, I’m ok with not being ok. My sister, my best friend, the Anna to my Elsa… She died. And it was less than 3 months ago so of course I’m not ok. But my “not ok” makes other people realllll uncomfortable which in turn makes me realllll embarrassed and awkward and filled with anxiety. Which I’m sure you can guess that those things are a bad combination especially when I’m not ok. 

That saying “when it rains it pours” is the truth. It’s weird to me sometimes that 3 months ago I was living in my happy little life is good bubble and now nothing seems the same except my relationship with Griff. (Literally thank God for Griff.) 

Work is weird and hard and exhausting mostly because being “on” and faking ok for 11 hours a day is hard but I make it happen because it’s my biggest priority right now. My saving grace is that I work for and with amazing people who have been so very patient and tender with me.

My friendships other than a few key people that have been my lifeline are awkward and uncomfortable for me. It’s about the time that everyone has moved on because Sara wasn’t their sister, mom, daughter, or best friend. And that’s ok. It’s what happens. But it’s hard to open up to people about my pain when it seems to get brushed under the rug. And the thing is, I don’t need solutions I just need people in my life who acknowledge my pain and sit in my sadness with me. 


My family is the most amazing and strong group of people I’ve ever known but we’re all hurting, struggling and in a deep amount of pain so sometimes leaning on each other is hard. It’s that whole “I know you’re barely moving forward so I don’t want you to worry about me now too” thing. When I’m with them all I really want to do is laugh. Belly laugh. Laugh until we cry. Because laughter reminds me that we’re healing no matter how slow that process feels. 

This morning with my coffee and the sun coming up it feels a little easier. Maybe because I’m putting my words and feelings out into the Universe and maybe because the big waves have settled. Either way I just pray that I get a couple days of less anxiety, not as many tears and a few moments of peace. 

I’m Jessica Ann Loftus. And I’m not ok but that’s ok with me right now. 

Angel Stuff

This week was a weird one. My emotions were all over the place. I missed Sara something fierce. I was sad, mad, weepy, crabby, and flooded with memories. I got a break (finally) from the guilt and regret and the running through the last couple days of Sara’s life over and over again that’s been haunting me for weeks now. But that was replaced by thoughts of the future and everything she would be missing and then trying my best to recall vividly every memory of our childhood. My brain was exhausted most nights but my sleep was full of weird dreams and lots of tossing and turning. 

(My parents used to randomly surprise us with weekend adventures to hotels in St Louis. I think this was at Westport. We thought it was so fancy and cool to stay there and eat at Ozzie Smith’s restaurant.) 

Griff and I were in Chicago last weekend. It was the literal breath of fresh air I needed. It was beautiful outside and we walked everywhere. Memories weren’t flooding my brain every time I turned around. We are good food and drank good beer. My heart was full and happy. We spent all of Saturday just the two of us. Walking around the city. Talking and then not talking. One of the best things about Griff is that he doesn’t mind my silence. He lets me talk about anything I want to but also let’s me be inside my own head when I need to. 


Sunday we had brunch with our friends Heidi and Joe. She’s pregnant and it was the first time I got to see her baby bump in person. It was happy and exciting seeing the evidence of the new life she’s creating. I’m drawn to anything right now that’s obvious evidence of life which is probably why her baby bump was so incredibly beautiful to me. Heidi has always been gorgeous but that baby bump made her glow. That new life inside her made my heart so happy.


Sunday night we had dinner with my cousin Julie and her husband Joe. (Have you noticed a “Joe” theme in our life??) It was the first time in my adult life Julie and I have hung out without all the rest of our family. I’ve always loved her and always had fun with her but being together as friends was the best. I wished we lived closer so we could hang out all the time. We reminisced about our childhood and also talked about adulthood. We shared Sara memories and shared the pain we both feel right now. We shared it all over a great meal and good drinks. And it was good for my soul. 


Maybe that’s why coming back into “real life” this week felt hard and exhausting. I didn’t really have it in me. I took my anxiety medicine almost everyday. 

It’s a weird time right now in the grief process. People have definitely moved on but I’m still living this everyday. I’m not mad at them for moving on. It’s what happens. Sara wasn’t their sister, daughter, mom, best friend, or cousin so of course their life won’t always be tinged with her loss. I don’t blame them for going back to the days that they don’t constantly think of her but it’s hard for me to see it happen. I still want to talk about her all the time. I want to say her name outloud a million times a day to remind myself she existed and always will. 

But an incredible thing happened this week. Everyday there was someone who contacted me and spoke truth into my life. Almost all of them didn’t know Sara and aren’t in my everyday life but they took the time to reach out to me. They took the time to acknowledge what I’m going through. They took the time to tell me they care. I can only describe this as Angel Stuff because each time it felt like God reaching down from Heaven. It was beautiful and crazy all at the same time. The day I was beat down and feeling like I could never make a difference for people the way Sara did someone messaged me thanking me for being so open and honest in my grief because it was making a difference for them. The day I couldn’t stop thinking about my wedding someone messaged me with an article about a wedding after a loss. The day I was raging someone messaged me about how a couple years after their loss they still feel rage like no other. All of them said they felt compelled to reach out to me. Angel Stuff for sure.


These messages reminded me that when someone is on my mind I need to reach out to them. There has to be a reason that those thoughts come into your head. So in my #yearofMORE I promise to reach out to people more. To tell them I’m proud to know them. To acknowledge life is hard for all of us but they can push through. So my prayer this morning is that you will do the same. Even if it’s a bit out of your comfort zone. Live a year of more love and kindness to others if only because that’s how Sara lived. ❤

Wave of Rage

It’s been 55 days, almost 2 months. Those numbers make my heart ache. I can’t believe it’s been so long and also not very long at all. Isn’t it weird how the only time we measure life in days and months is birth and death? And that lasts about a year for both and then we’re back to years again.

My grief is making me grumpy today. It’s like fighting against the tears and the pain today are just too hard, too exhausting. So my stomach hurts (I’ve been getting consistent stomach aches since Sara died.) and my patience is gone. All I want right now is my couch, my favorite blanket and a good book. But that’s not in the cards today cause moving forward means you still have to manage your life and your responsibilities.

The rage wave of grief is crashing into me. I’m just mad today. Mad that life is unfair. Mad that I can’t just pick up the phone anymore and call Sara on a bad day but even more so on a good one. Mad that she’ll miss all my wedding festivities. Mad that my life will always be tinged with her loss. Mad that she felt there was no other way out. Mad for the conversations we never got to have or will never get to have. Mad that she’s missing out on some of the best days of my life and what could have been the best days of hers. Mad that Sara didn’t ask for help. Mad that she knew how to get help and chose not to. Mad that she left us here to pick up the pieces. I’m mad as hell today. 

Is it possible to simultaneously want to rage and be gentle with people at the same time? Cause that’s where I’m at right now. I’m so angry it physically hurts but at the same time I don’t want to take that anger out on anyone. I want to be gentle with those around me because what if their day is as hard as mine. What if I’m their last thread. What if they’re looking into darkness and my smile can bring them back to the light. So I don’t rage. I smile. I’m kind. I say “excuse me” and “hello”. I make eye contact. And even though I’m faking it for the moment I know that the rage will subside. Because you can’t fake being nice and have people genuinely be kind back to you and it not change your outlook. Grief is weird and hard and exhausting.

So if you’re reading this today or 100 days from now, smile at everyone you encounter through your day. You don’t know if your genuine kindness could bring them out of their darkness or even bring someone like me out of the rage I’m feeling. 

Lover of Words

I am a lover of words. Which is why it’s kind of weird for me that it’s been a month since I felt like writing last. There were a couple different times my hands hovered over the keyboard but I just didn’t have the words in me. Usually writing brings me comfort. Usually seeing my own words on the page bring me peace. But over the last 30 days I’ve let other people’s words bring me that peace.

I’ve lost myself in “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist in a bathtub with bubbles up to my ears. Her books have always spoken directly to my soul but this one was different. It took me to places deep in my soul and my sister’s soul. Places that made me laugh and then places that made me cry fat hot tears until I had to put the book down and walk away. I truly feel like it changed my life and the trajectory of my grief process. Not because it was about grief but because Shauna opened up her soul and explained all the things I don’t yet understand about motherhood and building a home because I’ve never done those things before. Her honesty and vulnerability was so raw and her words reminded me of Sara. From the phrases she used and the way she takes on the world sometimes it felt like Sara was talking to me again. It gave me comfort and clarity.

I’ve lost myself in the facebook posts of One Fit Widow which may seem weird cause I’m not a widow but her words about the grief process are amazing. She speaks her truth completely unashamed and I love it. When words have failed me the last 53 days her posts have swooped in and helped me be able to express myself.

I’ve stuck with my ever faithful Liz Gilbert of Eat Pray Love fame. Her posts and her blogs have always been inspiring and beautiful to me. She is a powerful but vulnerable woman. She can always take what I’m thinking or feeling and say it better than I can. And on nights when I can’t sleep Eat Pray Love is always my go to. I can always fall asleep if I’m dreaming of delicious meals in Italy.

Most recently I read “Love Warrior” by Glennon Doyle Melton. I read it in one single sitting on a 5 hour train ride home from Chicago. I love her story. I loved that she found a way to rise in the face of everything in her life. I loved that she admitted her weakness and got help when she knew she needed it. And when I got to the part of her story where she realizes that she is a Warrior I had to quit reading and catch my breath before I came completely unglued on the train while Griff was sleeping next to me. It was one of the most powerful chapters of a book I’ve ever read.

I’m thankful to have these women and their wisdom in my life. I obviously don’t know them in real life but I feel like I know them because the gift of words, honesty, and vulnerability they have given me is so raw and speaks so much truth. I think I love the words because they all remind me of Sara so much. The way she loved. The way she spoke truth into so many people. The way she fought for what she wanted in life.

Grief is hard. So unbelievably hard. I don’t care if you are walking through it with warning or it comes crashing in and busts open your life. It’s still hard and messy and scary. And I know because life is life this won’t be the last time I walk through grief but I feel like the next time I will know what words I need. What words bring me comfort and truth and life. I feel like because I am a lover of words that it should be no surprise that it’s words from others and words of my own that help me always choose life. 

A Good Table

Yesterday I went to my sister’s house and got some of her things. If you’ve never had to go through your loved ones belongings after a death I can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly bizarre and emotionally exhausting it is to do. There is a super fine line in wanting everything that person owned and also not making your house a museum of this person’s things.
I took a funny Christmas sign that I loved, some jewelry, a couple signs Sara had up in her office, a couple gifts I had given her over the years, some pillows (we’ll talk about Sara’s pillow obsession at a later date), and the blanket I always used to cuddle up with in the nook in the kitchen when I lived there. It felt like too much and at the same time not enough.

As I looked around at the life she had built it’s still so hard for me to wrap my brain around how much she was hurting. Her home was one of only 4 places in my whole life that I considered a safe space. I wish I could have made her see how much happiness was inside of those walls. How much light and love and memories there could still be made in her home. It’s still one of my safe spaces because so many hopes, dreams, good conversation, and love happened and continue to happen at that house.
I literally can close my eyes and picture Sara cooking dinner while my niece and I sat in the kitchen nook on the couch snuggled under blankets (that I’m so thankful to have) reading and talking about our days. My nephew would come bursting in and out from playing with his friends. All of us laughing and joking. My brother in law would get home from work right as dinner was ready. We would all sit down to eat together at the table. That alone was one of the best things about the year that I lived with Sara and Chris, they made dinner time a priority. Not a play on your phone and watch tv priority but a sit around the table and discuss life priority. I love their kitchen table for that reason. It’s like I can almost rest my hands on it and feel all the energy and love from those conversations and dinners.

I think that’s why, even before Sara’s death, it was important to me that Griff and I had a table of importance in our house. A table that mattered. A table that we could not only eat at but we could connect with each other at. A table I could serve my family and friends meals. And it had to be a table big enough for all of us to crowd around. So tonight when Griff and I sit down to dinner I will honor my sister with good conversation with my fiancé. And make sure that this year of more is filled with more meals around a table I love. 

21 Days

It’s been 21 days now since my world stopped spinning. 21 days of playing “what if” and “if only” in my head on constant repeat. 21 days of worrying about my niece and nephew. 21 days of headaches, tears and not sleeping. 21 days of feeling like I’m living in a fog.

It was a really bizarre thing going back to work and entering the real world again. It felt surreal walking around and seeing people just carrying on with their everyday lives. When something in your life has changed so drastically you expect other people to seem different but they aren’t. You still hear people complaining about stuff that shouldn’t matter. You still watch couples get in fights in the checkout line. You still see kiddos misbehaving. You hear people make comments about “killing themselves” over some dumb thing in some dumb moment. The hardest part about being back in “real life” though is people still expect you to be your old self. They expect you to care about all the small details you used to. People expect you to be the emotional rock you’ve always been. But the thing is, you aren’t that person anymore and somedays you aren’t sure if you will ever be her again. So tonight I’m thankful for the people who are patient with me and who love me right where I am in this moment.

The last 21 days have been the hardest days of my life. They have been dark and scary and more emotionally exhausting than I ever thought any day could be. But I have also seen light in the last 21 days. Light in the form of presents of comfort that have shown up at my door. Light in the form of gift cards for my family to use to make new memories. Light in the form of so many hugs. Light in the form of people letting me know they aren’t ashamed to get help now. Light in the eyes of my fiancé as I fall more in love with him everyday. Light in the way that my family is communicating openly and honestly with each other. Light in the way my friends have been checking in on me. Light in the way that I’ve seen women reaching out to help other women.

Because of this light even in my darkest of moments when I feel like my heart will always be broken I feel hope that it will eventually heal.

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