A quote by Chuck Palahniuk, from Fight Club I just heard the other day, and it hit super close to home. So what have I done with my life now that the life I knew is over. The slate was theoretically wiped clean, and I get to rebrand myself. I get to become whoever I choose. I am no longer “Jason’s wife” no longer a “we” no longer “me” as I’ve known myself for the past few decades. Some things have stayed the same. I still have two kids, a cat, and a home, but besides that it seems as though everything changed. Every relationship, my behaviors, beliefs, habits, routines, interests, even my taste in music. It felt as though nothing stayed the same. The day Jason died my world was turned upside down, and shaken to its very core leaving me just a shell to figure out how to nurture and regrow into someone different. Hopefully someone better, stronger, and more empathetic.
One of the strangest things about experiencing a loss is that it ends up being compounded by many other “losses” as well. Some friends and family fall by the way side never to be heard from again. People you thought without a shadow of a doubt would be there for you no matter what. They don’t know how to handle the transformation taking place in front of their eyes. Activities you used to love don’t bring you as much joy, there are so many new things out there to try. On the flip side others who you may not have known or been close to in the past show up as pillars of strength and friendship for you.
When you are born you are given a few years to figure everything out and sort of grow into your own little person. When your husband dies it’s as if people expect you to just keep on going as the same person not skipping a beat. Or they claim they want you to take your time and grieve, but then seam scared to witness you grieving. Scared it may be contagious or scared they will make it worse or maybe it’s just too sad for them to deal with. I don’t know what it is, but what I do know is that if one of my friends or family looses someone I will never leave their side weather they like it or not. Those people who did not leave my side reminded me of the parts of me I wanted to hold onto, and the parts I didn’t want to lose. They let me know that maybe some of the new parts I was trying out weren’t such a good fit, but they would support me until I figured that out. They never judged me, and held my hand as I fell into my deepest darkest place no matter how scary it got for me or them. They are still holding my hand today as I continue to claw and crawl my way out of that hole.
Some of my habits that changed were that I started drinking again. Almost immediately. I had been sober to support Jason in his journey for almost 11 months. I quit biting my finger nails not on purpose I just stopped. I had bit my fingernails my entire life. I quit sleeping. I had always slept 8-10 hours a night, now thanks to my new found grief I was maybe getting up to 4 hours of sleep a night if any. I basically quit eating. I had been on a good keto diet for a while, and once grief hit food became just a necessity only eating a few bites to sustain me each day. I quit being an attentive mother. I basically did enough to keep us going. We all moved into my parents house the day Jason died. Thank God I had that option for myself, but most of all for my children. See I was just sort of a shell of a body going through the daily motions. Someone said to me it would feel like walking through mud on a foggy day, and that was exactly how life felt. I would get the kids up every day and off to school, and put to bed every night. I did what I could to help keep some sort of normalcy for them. Some mornings packing their lunches for school while still awake from the day before. I would spend my days shopping, hiking, exercising, doing anything but sitting at home. Trying to constantly stay occupied doing things that felt “good.” I would spend my nights with a “best friend” partying, and trying anyway to feel good. Always avoiding any time I would be left to sit alone with my own thoughts. At the time nothing was scarier than being alone. Alone meant time to think. If I was alone I had music on, and I had it on loud enough to where all I could do was sing along still unable to think still avoiding having to feel the immense emotional pain that I was in.
I lived this way for months. My friends and family started to worry about me. Hell, I started to worry about me. I wasn’t eating, wasn’t sleeping, only finding “joy” in bad or obsessive habits. Then one day I realized this IS my story, and this IS my reality. I can either continue down a this very dangerous path of self destruction or accept my sentence and move on. On New Year’s Eve going into 2020 I decided it was time to change. Time to become the person I needed and wanted to be. I needed to be the best I could be for myself, and even more importantly for my two kids. If I can’t get healthy how could I ever expect them to be ok.
I decided I would pick a word to focus on and make that my New Years resolution. The word I chose was balance. I have spent the past 10 months working on balancing my life. Some days I do a great job some days I fail, but I haven’t stopped trying. I am doing much better being a mother, much kinder to myself, and following much healthier habits. I am trying to figure out what I want to do with this new life I‘ve been given, because I sure don’t want it to go to waste. I am hoping to one day crawl all the way out of the hole, and be able to help others when they are ready to crawl out as well. It is possible. I see the light, and want to be the light for others. I want to become someone people are drawn to, and trust, and seek out for advise and help. I want to help others through their darkest hours. I am working towards becoming a life coach, and think this is a perfect step for me to be taking. I can’t wait to see what new life I build for myself and for my children.