It is Wednesday night and I am finally sitting on my bed at a decent time this evening!! The past few weeks have been nothing but go go go! The big move I’ve been talking about, worrying about, stressing over . . . happened ten days ago. From dawn to dusk, we’ve been busy with a hundred different things. None of which, unfortunately, was writing my blog. And that has caused me new stress.
As a grieving mother, I know there are few places where I can find peace. Often, I’ve shared that writing is one of them. The calm I find in writing is different than that which I find while painting.
When I am mixing colors on the plate or I am swiping the brush across the canvas I can zone out. The fluid movement of painting is like Tai Chi for me. My mind disengages from the constant anguish of missing my daughter. The pain is still there but some of it flows down my arm and into the brush in my hand. I need this time for myself.
Writing forces me to focus on my feelings. I must dig into them to find the correct words to convey my thoughts. In doing so . . . there is a release of pressure from the hurt I have let. Generally, I am left feeling lighter. So, reversely, when I can’t write I feel an added heaviness with each wordless day that passes.
The new house (new to us . . . 108 years old) needs so much work!! We are living in limbo between two homes. Emptying the remnants of our life from the one in Grand Rapids and setting up a new one in Muskegon. The days leading up to the move I vacillated between feeling excitement and dread. Unsure if I would have the ability to reside in a city my daughter (as far as I know) had never been in. Would I forget the little things if there wasn’t a geographical reminder? There are things, I am ashamed to say, I’ve forgotten. Only another bereaved mom knows the gutted feeling one has when we know we can’t ask our child and there is a good chance we’ve forgotten “the thing” forever. But, I’m off subject now.
One thought leads to the next and within a few moments I’m down a different rabbit hole than the one I peeked into. Such is the brain of a grieving mother.
Back to what I intended to write about.
Taking the time to do what our souls need in order to find peace, and perhaps, healing.
With everything we need to accomplish, during any given day, it’s no surprise we often put ourselves near the bottom of the list. Jobs must be worked. Spouses need our time. Our surviving children require tending to. There are groceries to get, bills to pay, a house to care for. We must fulfill the duties needed to provide for ourselves. It’s what adults do. And, doing this can take up all of our time, if we let it. Leaving our soul in need.
Yet, taking time out for ourselves, feels wrong somehow. Doesn’t it?
On Monday, another bereaved mother we know, came to our house to give us a hand. She brought with her five delightful young people who were working toward being able to go on a mission trip. They were spread out inside and outside the house tackling various projects. We desperately needed the help!! But, halfway through their time here . . . I became very anxious. A panic attack loomed in the shadows just waiting to take hold of me. I started to pace . . . not sure of what I should do. People were giving of their time to be of assistance to us so how could I duck out? I desperately needed to be in a space that wasn’t hustle and bustle and noise.
I told Stacey. “I feel like I am on the edge,” I said. Even as I was speaking the words I felt ridiculous. There were six extra people at in the house . . . not six hundred. The “noise” was merely chatter between the kids. Nothing offensive. Yet, it was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, at that moment. I felt myself spinning out of control.
Understanding, Stacey told me to go to my room for a while. “Go write,” she said. I really wanted to do just that. But, I felt guilty and selfish for even entertaining the idea. My soul screamed “yes!!!” so I went into my room. Yet, I couldn’t relax enough to just sit down, never-mind write. All I could think about was how others were helping us and I was bowing out. I could hear my inner self yelling at me, no no no no, as I turned the doorknob and went back out into the midst of things.
I failed my soul. I let my inner self down. I MUST stop doing this!!! I am smart enough to understand that our soul needs spiritual food just as our bodies need nutrition to be healthy, More so, maybe. What is the saying? You are not a body with a soul, but a soul with a body.
Across the board, I think women have a difficult time giving ourselves what we need. We care for everyone else most days. With little left for us. You can not draw water from an empty well.
Self care isn’t selfish. Self care isn’t selfish. Self care IS self love.
Tonight, I am going to make a promise to my inner being to be more aware of my needs. To act upon them immediately, long before I find myself on the edge, and in crisis. I am going to cultivate a space, every day, in which I can just be.
I hope you make the commitment, to care for your spiritual and emotional self, with me.