I have a very hard time sitting still.
My spirit animal is a little boy named PigPen. Charlie Brown’s good buddy! He has dirt and dust swirling around him as he walks about. My all-consuming swirl contains all of my tasks, thoughts, and plans… spinning around me hoping to be caught and followed through upon!
I had an amazing meeting this morning with a woman who does mindset coaching. I am over simplifying her skills but she is precisely what the universe knows I need. Someone to reach into that swirl and slow it down. Someone to get ME to reach into that swirl and slow it down.
As I begin this blog, I put the tv on. Background noise, vestibular stimulation, what ever you want to call it. I am really just avoiding the quiet. The noise distracts me so that I can focus. So, back to the tv. Netflix opens and the premiere movie is about anxiety and Xanax. (Really??? C’mon universe!) An incredible movie about medications used to treat mental illness. I had an incredibly difficult time getting off of these medications.
It is not lost on me that I may one day need them again.
I am sitting on the couch. Reclining actually with my left foot on pillows. I have pins in that foot and will spend a couple of weeks trapped here. Many people would relish being trapped on the couch! I am not one of those people. I need to be active and busy. I am not one to sit still.
There it is again.
The universe telling me to slow down.
I must listen and feel.
I must be grounded.
(I think I need a Xanax)
It is December 1st. I have survived another Halloween and Thanksgiving without Molly. I am entering another Christmas Season with out Molly. I still have Gracie. I now have Jack. Where does Kenny fit in to all of this? My parents. My siblings. So many people to think about. What about me?
Well, what about me?
Holidays are tricky for those of us in prolonged and profound grief. They are hard for those of us who have experienced trauma. They come with expectations and traditions. They come with a reminder that another year has passed. They come with memories, good and bad that are impossible to put away.
Is this a bad thing? I do not know. It is simply how this time of year is for me. I am looking forward to January and that fresh start. A clean slate. The thaw is coming and the days are getting longer. All is once again good in the world. I will slow down then!
I think a lot of this year’s anxiety around the holidays comes from knowing that Jack deserves to have fun memories of these times. We go to Walt Disney World so he will for sure have happy memories, but what about Santa and tree decorating and the hanging of the stockings. I had so much fun creating these times for “the girls” as I used to refer to them. Molly and Gracie.
Gracie mentioned that she would like to decorate a tree again but she knew that I wasn’t ready. We have put a fake tree up in her bedroom these last two Christmas’s, but I know that she isn’t talking about that. She is remembering getting a real tree. Rearranging the furniture, decorating it. Sitting in a room lit only by the tree.
I get a nervous tummy thinking about it.
But is that a reason to avoid putting one up? Am I forgetting Molly by doing so? Am I somehow moving on from her? Does avoiding the holidays really keep her close to me? My grieving parents will understand each question. They will also know that there is no answer for any of them. We simply carry these questions and feelings with us as we try to reinvent a life with out our children.
Carolina, the coach I had a meeting with this morning gave me an exercise to do. It is something to help me begin to slow down and ground myself a bit. I have done it twice in the writing of this blog, which is turning into a public journal entry. (Isn’t that what early blogs were? Daily feelings, thoughts and dreams made public online?)
I am wrapping up a very emotional podcast season which centered around my childhood abuse and all that came from it. Sometimes I am thrust back onto those days and feelings. I am sure my critics will chatter amongst themselves about how I am too honest and simply seeking attention.
Well, I am seeking attention!
But not for me. I am seeking attention for all of you who have experienced what I have. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes the bad is just as important to share as the good. Those words are a bit judgmental don’t you think? How about this. Sometimes the hard is just as important as the easy. When I coached distance runners, I would often remind them that while winning races is fun, we learn most from the races we lose. Those are the ones that make us think.
I am entering holiday season number seven with out Molly. The length of time she has been gone is over half way through how long she was alive. The time will keep going. Before I know it thirteen holiday seasons will have passed.
This is life.
So, I must stop. Think. Listen. Feel.
All I can do is all I can do.
No matter where I go, here I am.
OK December, let’s do this!