Managing grief in the new year!

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Many of us have heard about the stages of grief. For those of you who are not sure what those stages are, they are as follows: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. What a lot of people fail to mention is that it doesn’t necessarily progress in this order. Or just because you have completed one stage, doesn’t mean you will never go back. Unfortunately, I have found myself experiencing the stages of grief. On December 9th, I lost my older brother. My mother passed away 11 days later. In this short time, I have found myself flying back and forth through these stages of grief and it’s nauseating. I’m completely exhausted. I keep waiting for this moment when I will just “get over” this grief and all will be new again. Unfortunately, this is not the case. I will move between each of these stages at various times in my life. The time in between will just lengthen, and I will learn to live my new “normal”. Until then I will try to learn to cope and go on with the day-to-day. Because I know that is what my mother and brother would want me to do.

So, in this new year 2018, I am allowing myself to stumble, but I will always get up. I am allowing myself to grieve, but I will never give up. I will allow myself to move on, but I will never forget.

My mother, who at times, struggled with depression used to tell me “sometimes you have to fake it, until you make it”. So, I will allow myself some fake smiles here and there to help cope, but I will make it!

Our pastor told us in his sermon, to reflect on the past year and to instead focus on the positives and try not to dwell in the negatives. There are always Gods blessings around, sometimes we are just not paying attention. I would like to share with you some of my 2017 blessings:

  1. I got to spend another year with my mother! She was so sick, and I thought I was going to lose her many times throughout 2017. But I got to see her, talk to her, say goodbye, and love her! I thank god that he allowed me this time!
  2. I got to spend a terrific year with my brother. We took him on a vacation where he got to experience many first. It was like reliving my childhood all over with him. I am thankful I got to spend this time with him, and my children/husband got to see a side to my brother that they only heard about through me. My brother was special in many ways. He had down syndrome, but he was always smiling and happy!
  3. I became an adopted mommy for my mom’s dog, knebbles. This dog is my shadow now. I have always been a cat person, but this little dog has worked her way into my heart.
  4. God led me to organize a fall festival at church in October. It was a great success and it was a lot of fun watching people enjoy and fellowship with each other.
  5. I got to spend some time away with my husband this year. We went on a short vacation where I saw a Jim Henson museum. My favorite movie of all time Labyrinth, had an exhibit there. It was remarkable! If you knew how obsessed I was with this movie then you would be excited, I promise!

If you find yourself struggling, know you are not alone. If it were not for God, I truly don’t know how I would still be standing. Try and stay away from constant negative thoughts. It is okay for them to sneak in, but don’t let them stay. Sometimes it takes writing out the positives, because it is human nature to dwell on the negatives. My hope for myself and you this new year is to draw closer to God. Really, get to know him and form a relationship with him. Stay positive and never give up. My hopes for you and I are for a Happy New Year!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

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