Letting Go to Grow
I’ve started this blog post on numerous occasions and when it comes time to finish and post it, I back out and tell myself that it’s a mistake. Sometimes letting others in on our feelings is scary because we fear judgement or misinterpretation. At the end of the day, what matters more to me is staying true to myself. I’m not an expert in anything other than me, I know how to articulate my thoughts and feelings into words and writing them helps me release any lingering emotions that are not serving me. My hopes are that in sharing my feelings it will help you witness your own and remind you that you’re not alone in your struggle, whatever it may be.
You know that feeling of heartbreak? Ugh. It’s an understatement to simply say ‘it hurts’. We all experience it to varying degrees and regardless of the circumstances that led us there, the emotional response we each have is our own. Lady’s transition to the other side was a major catalyst in a deeper self-reflection. I allowed myself to feel the pain of loss while doing my best to not wallow in it. Through doing so, I started to see myself in a different way and it wasn’t always in a good way, to be honest it was mostly in a negative way. All I could feel was the guilt, what I didn’t do, and what I should’ve done.
At the time of Lady’s decline, I was focused on getting ready for a local craft fair which entailed much more than just making my products. I was going back and forth to the city for a permit, business license and just taking care of all the logistics that go into branching your business out into the community. I experienced some road blocks along the way and I was proud of myself for pushing through and progressing. I started to feel so good in being able to take positive action in the direction of my goals. Then Lady got sick. To be clear without too much detail (I’m not there yet), Lady’s body was shutting down on her and she needed help to get to Heaven. I felt like it was my fault, that if I weren’t so busy with everything I would’ve noticed something earlier and been able to save her.
Loss, in any capacity, is hard and can leave us feeling low. Losing a job, a relationship, yourself, a dream or a loved one is not easy for any one of us. Different circumstances can trigger our responses to come about in ways we aren’t necessarily ready for or even recognize. When it was all going down and I started to feel like our days together were numbered, my initial reaction was tensing up and clenching my fists tight (figuratively speaking, hell maybe even literally) and not wanting to go down that road. The whole day at the craft fair my stomach was in knots, I could feel it coming but did my best to surrender to whatever may come, I asked God to help me be what Lady needed me to be… and so I was.
I was optimistic
and then realistic.
I was comforting.
I was strong.
I was able to give her a dignified goodbye.
And then she was gone.
And I was heartbroken.
Losing a loved one has always been my greatest fear. I’ve been scared since watching Mufasa in the Lion King (no joke, ask my cousins). All of the past fearful feelings that I thought I had outgrown or once viewed as “over” came rushing back at a magnitude that was hard to digest. I almost lost my spark by allowing myself to default back into a place of lack and pessimism. This came in a multitude of waves. I felt mad, lost, bitter and cynical toward myself. I wanted to turn inward, play small and hide. The lens that I chose to look at things through was pushing me further away from my true self.
I’ve worked on bettering myself and my mindset over the past few years. I’m pretty solid when it comes to the day to day stuff and try to not sweat the small things (of course I fall short). When you’re sad, grieving & going through all the motions it’s easy to hate on yourself and see all that you aren’t or all that you ‘could’ve’ done, but the reality is you are where you are. Taking steps forward with a new perspective is powerful and a form of self-love. I just think of Yoda in the Phantom Menace saying, “Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering.” It took me a while to see that I was causing my own suffering by looking at things from the wrong angle. Growing up, hearing about Heaven was good enough for me. I didn’t need any other explanation other than that’s where good people go when they die. After losing my Grandma and Lady, I wanted to know more. So that’s what I’ve been researching and believe it or not, I’ve found comfort in different belief systems while still holding onto my own.
More heartbreak will come in different forms as I progress on my life’s journey. Before I used to let my mind wander often, I’d get scared and it’d keep me up at night. I’m sure that’ll still happen again from time to time. From where I stand now, I see that there is a whole other side beyond the heartache. Although the sadness in my heart may never completely leave, I’m refocusing my energy on letting it bring out my smile rather than my tears.
Loss is heavy, and its weight makes everything else around you heavier. I had to deprogram my perception and sadness. After I allowed myself to feel everything, that’s what I did. In looking back on memories with Lady and all that had happened from my years of 18 through 29, I see just how much I’ve learned, grown and accomplished. I’m so thankful that I had my best girl by my side for all that time. I know she’s still with me and I’m thankful for the signs she sends me daily.
Sharing deep feelings is not easy, however I am a firm believer that vulnerability can connect us all. I am so thankful to each of you who reached out and checked in on me during this time. Your loving energy and kind words helped me very much, so thank you. I hope that through reading my words, something resonated within you. I put my heart into these posts and sometimes I feel like I’m just talking to myself, which is cool too. Encouragement is appreciated in the comments below. Thank you for reading. I love you.