Being in the “don’t know” stage of life

2 orange butterflies on green plant

Has there ever been a time in your life when you have found yourself living in the “don’t know”? I am in that place right now.

This time in our lives is usually experienced when we have had significant loss in our lives where we have had to release something we strongly identified with – a relationship, a job, an image, beliefs or a way of being.

Those who follow and read my blogs regularly will know that I recently went through the traumatic experience of nursing my mom for the last fourteen months of her life until she died. I was a survivor of two traumatic motor vehicle accidents while still in the mourning/grieving process and I have recently left a job I’ve had for the last thirteen years.

I now find myself in the “don’t know” stage of my life.

Holding onto the old and what’s known can create hurt and frustration but being in the “don’t know” brings its own discomfort but it can also hold the vessel to new GROWTH.

2 butterflies mating

As we release the old and allow ourselves to be in the “don’t know” – don’t know when, don’t know how, don’t quite know what or with whom, something magical can happen – we open ourselves to the alchemy of our soul’s growth. We enter a portal of change in our soul’s journey that calls us to acknowledge a design and intelligence far greater than our own.

Being receptive to our own “don’t know” calls for courage, patience, curiosity and trust. We need to call on the support of those that love and support us and, of course, the loving wisdom of our heavenly Father.

Photographs by:

Reflections on a year that’s passed . . .

New Year 2016

The soul always knows what to do to heal itself.
The challenge is to silence the mind.

The new year . . . a time for introspection and re-evaluating our priorities in life.

I’ve learned a lot this year . . . I’ve learned that:

• Things don’t always turn out the way you planned, or the way you think they should
• Things that go wrong, don’t always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before
• Some broken things stay broken
• You can go through bad times and keep looking for better ones, as long as you have people who love you
• Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood
• I need to stop turning on my emotional television to watch the same programme over and over again, the one that shows how much I have suffered from a certain loss: this only poisons you – nothing else
• Nothing is more dangerous than accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the “ideal moment”
• Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: I need to tell myself that what has passed will never come back
• I need to remember the time when I could live without that one thing or that one person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need
• I need to remember to close cycles – not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance but simply because it no longer fits my life. I need to shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. I need to stop being who I was, and change into who I am.

Change is a process

As 2015 draws to a close and I reflect on what’s happened in my life and the lessons learned there was good mixed with the bad, but through it all I’ve been blessed. What I’ve learned in 2015 was . . .

The mourning/grieving journey has a lifespan of its own. There is no set time-frame, there is no way of knowing how and when it will manifest itself and you have no way of knowing how you will deal with the emotions attached to it until it happens. Then you will find the strength within yourself, given to you by God, to deal with it in your own way and in your own time.
I mourned the loss of a 30-year friendship that seems to just have died a natural death. I failed to see how one-sided this friendship was all these years until I stopped making contact. I’m waiting to see how long it’s going to take for this friendship to be revived and who will be doing the reviving (for now, it will not be me). The lesson learned that relationships need to be worked on from both sides and that sometimes we need to let go of certain people in order to let new people in.
People unexpectedly come into your life, add to the emotional rollercoaster you are on and you have no way of knowing where the new path will lead. Do you trust your gut and “go with the flow” or do you let it go? Do you take the chance?

The lesson learned here is that no matter how dark the stormy clouds around you, there is always the possibility of a little bit of sunshine waiting to shine down on you.

Kitty hiding amongst flowers

This all being said, I suppose the main lesson I learned in 2015 is no matter how many obstacles are thrown your way, you will find a way to survive.

I release all things from the past year that has caused any negative attachment. I prepare and welcome new changes, new lessons and new adventures. I welcome new opportunities to grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

I have been truly blessed to always be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes it takes me longer to get there but I do get there eventually.

Frangipani_Single

In the year that lies ahead, let’s strive to do the following:

Make time to bond and connect:
The oxygen of a healthy family is time together not merely time of physically being I each other’s company but quality time of connection and engagement, a time of bonding, talking, sharing each other’s dreams and anxieties, hopes and concerns about life today and tomorrow.

Do you . . .
• Grab food and run off to your next meeting, appointment, sports game?
• Technologically distracted – are you constantly checking messages on your phone i.e. text messages, e-mail, social media? Are you constantly on your laptop, tablet etc? are you glued to the television screen?

Review important relationships:
Re-connect, revisit and reinvigorate your relationships (sit around a table and share a meal while sharing the tribulations and triumphs of the week or year gone by, share Biblical values and thoughts, debate, laugh and sing together.

Strengthen awareness and understanding of Biblical principles, keeping families together . . .
Take a critical look at your religious value system

Nurture strong loving families:
Securing sacred uninterrupted time together for families is universal and absolutely vital if we are to nurture strong, loving families.

Parents (mothers and fathers) need to take responsibility to create space and time which is completely devoted to bonding and connection for the whole family, in an atmosphere of engagement – not distraction love not dislocation, awareness not distraction, loyalty not expedience, belonging not alienation.

What do you think?

In Memory of Mom: Life is a Journey

In loving memory_Death leaves a heartache_30 Oct 2015

Life is a journey

Life is a journey through many terrain
From gardens of pleasure to deserts of pain

From an ocean of love to a jungle of hate
From mountains of glory to canyons of fate.

There’s a highway for joy and a highway for sorrow
A road for today and a road for tomorrow.

So choose your path wisely and walk with care
If you follow your heart, you’ll find your way there.

I’ve been to the garden and planted seeds there.

I’ve been to the desert and felt the despair.

I’ve swam in the ocean and drank of it’s wine
I climbed up the mountain to touch the sky.

I went to the canyon and started to cry
I’ve traveled both highways, both today and tomorrow.

I’ve basked in the joy and wallowed in sorrow.

My Path has been chosen and I’ve walked it with care.

I followed my heart and I’m on my way there
So I’ll just keep walking till I find what I’m after.

To mountains and oceans and gardens of laughter.

Poem written and copyrighted by Angelkat50

Sinfonia_Mauritius by mom

ONE YEAR DOWN THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED . . .

October 2014:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/tapestry/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/to-each-life-there-is-a-season/

November 2014:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/warning-emotional-volcano-about-to-erupt/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/dear-mom/

December 2014:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/why-the-obsession-with-loneliness/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/christmas-and-new-year-blessings/

animal-cute-kitten-cat-medium

January 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/grief-mourning-and-bereavement-what-is-the-difference/

February 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/woman-heal-thyself/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/self-care-sunday-hard-questions-weightless/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/re-investing-in-life-moving-on/

March 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/how-to-help-a-grieving-friend/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/how-to-find-the-balance-between-work-and-home-life/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/what-life-has-taught-me/

April 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/i-am-a-sensitive-child/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/me-the-budding-entrepreneur/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/green-is-the-colour-of-my-life/

May 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/in-the-midst-of-movement-and-chaos-becoming-the-new-me/

June 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/i-am-capable/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/the-pain-of-watching-a-parent-age/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/stop-the-bus-i-want-to-get-off/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/what-happens-during-a-colonoscopy/

Frangipani_Single

July 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/me-the-budding-voice-over-artiste/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/what-im-learning-on-my-journey-to-wealth-creation/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/what-im-learning-on-my-journey-to-wealth-creation-part-two/

August 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/how-to-increase-your-financial-iq/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/river-of-life-a-time-for-reflection/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/finding-your-why/
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/wild-geese/

September 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/im-not-extraordinary-enough-the-power-of-vulnerability/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/how-do-i-start-a-blog/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/my-life-as-an-introvert/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/dont-resist-change-let-things-flow-naturally-forward/

October 2015 (One year down the road less travelled):
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/dear-trauma-counsellor-i-have-ongoing-flashbacks-and-voices-in-my-head-that-just-wont-shut-up/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/journaling-as-a-mindfulness-practice-for-thoughts-and-emotions/

REST IN PEACE MOM – 27 OCTOBER 2015

In Memory of Mom: Compassion and Support

In loving memory_Death leaves a heartache_30 Oct 2015

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

The friend who can
 be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion,
 who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement,
 who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

― Henri J.M. Nouwen: was a Dutch-born Catholic priest, professor and writer

Candle & purple flowers

What I also wrote:
ONE YEAR DOWN THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED . . .

October 2014:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/tapestry/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/to-each-life-there-is-a-season/

November 2014:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/warning-emotional-volcano-about-to-erupt/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/dear-mom/

December 2014:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/why-the-obsession-with-loneliness/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/christmas-and-new-year-blessings/

Butterfly

January 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/grief-mourning-and-bereavement-what-is-the-difference/

February 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/woman-heal-thyself/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/self-care-sunday-hard-questions-weightless/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/re-investing-in-life-moving-on/

March 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/how-to-help-a-grieving-friend/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/how-to-find-the-balance-between-work-and-home-life/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/what-life-has-taught-me/

April 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/i-am-a-sensitive-child/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/me-the-budding-entrepreneur/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/green-is-the-colour-of-my-life/

May 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/in-the-midst-of-movement-and-chaos-becoming-the-new-me/

Birthday milkshake_Cheers

June 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/i-am-capable/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/the-pain-of-watching-a-parent-age/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/stop-the-bus-i-want-to-get-off/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/what-happens-during-a-colonoscopy/

July 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/me-the-budding-voice-over-artiste/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/what-im-learning-on-my-journey-to-wealth-creation/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/what-im-learning-on-my-journey-to-wealth-creation-part-two/

August 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/how-to-increase-your-financial-iq/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/river-of-life-a-time-for-reflection/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/finding-your-why/
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/wild-geese/

September 2015:
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/im-not-extraordinary-enough-the-power-of-vulnerability/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/how-do-i-start-a-blog/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/my-life-as-an-introvert/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/dont-resist-change-let-things-flow-naturally-forward/

October 2015 (One year down the road less travelled):
https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/dear-trauma-counsellor-i-have-ongoing-flashbacks-and-voices-in-my-head-that-just-wont-shut-up/

https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/journaling-as-a-mindfulness-practice-for-thoughts-and-emotions/

Stop the bus . . . I want to get off!

Bus Back View

Yesterday I was, and today I am sad . . .

This week marks eight months since my mom’s death. Yesterday (24 June 2015) was exactly one year since finding out that my mom had another tumour and further surgery was not an option. What followed was a whirlwind fourteen months of caregiving and watching how mom deteriorated to the end.

Yesterday, at a routine visit to my own doctor, I was informed that I need to have a Gastroscopy and Colonoscopy as soon as possible. Since mom’s death I’ve been prescribed Vitamin B12 injections together with an Iron supplement and, in spite of this, my iron levels are not increasing and doctor says we need to find out why my body is not absorbing the iron being pumped into it. There may be many reasons for this – but I’m scared . . . Why?

Well, a lack of iron and constantly feeling tired was the very reason why my mom decided to go for a routine Colonoscopy in her late sixties. Fortunately for mom (at that time) her result came back negative. Her gut was so clean the doctor said he wished his gut could look like hers when he reached her age. Her next Colonscopy just over five years later – showed she had a tumour 20mm in diameter and a very aggressive form of Cancer which resulted in a whirlwind fourteen month end to her life eight months ago. From totally healthy to dead in fourteen months!

Today, I cried . . . I cried for the whirlwind fourteen months spent taking care of mom that just wizzed past me as I juggled a full time job, part time studies and taking care of mom in the last fourteen months of her life.

Mother's Day 2014 Rhebokskloof

Mother’s Day 2014 Rhebokskloof

I cried for the grief I feel and mourning her loss for the last eight months.

Crying Baby

I cried today, for the prospect of facing the same journey my mom faced . . . today, I cried.

Grief_Candle_Mourning

Part of my grieving journey is to feel immensely sad from around the twenty fourth of the month to around the sixth of the next month. I assume this has something to do with the fact that it was around the twenty fourth of October that mom looked like she was close to the end of her journey but only died on the twenty seventh of October. We had her funeral that same week so my guess is, from a Psychological point of view, why I usually feel sad around the last week of the month. This makes sense to me – I don’t know if it makes sense to anyone else?

Bus Overloaded

What have I learned about Colonoscopies?
A Colonoscopy is a day-case procedure in which the inside of the large intestine (colon and rectum) is examined. A Colonoscopy is commonly used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms, such as rectal and intestinal bleeding, or changes in bowel habit. Colonoscopy is also advised for adults without any symptoms to check for colorectal polyps or Cancer. A screening Colonoscopy is advised for anyone aged 50 years or older, and persons with a family history of colon polyps or Cancer should be screened at an age 10 years younger than it was diagnosed in the family member.
In my mom’s case – mom was diagnosed just after her seventieth birthday which means that my first Colonoscopy should be around age sixty (I’m not sixty yet).

What happens before a Colonoscopy?
In order to have a successful Colonoscopy, the bowel must be clean so that the physician can clearly view the inside of the colon. The physician gives very strict instructions regarding a particular liquid you have to drink and a very specific diet you have to follow prior to having a Colonoscopy. Without proper preparation, the Colonoscopy will not be successful and may have to be repeated.

Smiley_Crying

What happens during a Colonoscopy?
The doctor will insert a long flexible instrument into the rectum and will progress to the caecum (beginning of the colon). If necessary, pieces of tissue (biopsy) can be removed for testing, and polyps can be identified and removed. The Colonoscopy may allow accurate diagnosis and treatment of colorectal problems, without the need for a major operation.

The Colonoscope is disinfected between procedures so is completely safe. An intravenous line is inserted (a “drip”) and you have to lie on your left side. A sedative and a pain-relieving drug is given to make you more relaxed during the procedure. Your vital signs are monitored, and you will be given oxygen to maintain a normal blood oxygen concentration. The procedure lasts between twenty and forty minutes on average, and you will be allowed to rest until you are fully awake. You may feel slightly bloated and uncomfortable after the procedure, due to air inserted into your colon to improve visibility.

Bus puffing smoke

What happens after a Colonoscopy?
You will remain in a recovery room for observation until you are ready for discharge from the hospital. You may feel some cramping or a sensation of having wind, but these symptoms will eventually go away. A responsible adult must drive you home after this procedure and you should avoid driving or operating machinery for twenty four hours afterwards. Alcohol should be avoided and a course of pro-biotics is recommended to restore intestinal flora.

Unless otherwise stated by your physician, you may resume your normal eating habits after a Colonoscopy. Wait until a day after the procedure before resuming normal activities e.g. exercise. If any polyps were removed or biopsies taken, you have to avoid using any medication containing aspirin ad anti-inflammatory drugs for two weeks. Anti-coagulants e.g. Warfarin or Piavix can only be taken once your physician has given you permission to do so.

Dolphins in water

If a biopsy was take or a polyp removed, mild rectal bleeding may be noted for 1 – 2 days after the procedure. If heavier bleeding is encountered e.g. clots of blood, or if you have severe abdominal pain, this must be reported immediately. If you are unable to contact the physician, report to the emergency room at the clinic or hospital where the procedure was performed immediately.

Gastroscopy – same as above except that the inside of the stomach is examined and the doctor will insert a long flexible instrument into the stomach through your throat. The rest of the procedure is the same as for the Colonoscopy.

Funny (suprised) face

So in a few weeks I will have the (joy) of having two tubes inserted during the same procedure – one down my throat and one up my back passage. Yay!

How to help a grieving friend

I recently wrote a post about grief, mourning and bereavement and the difference between them. You will find the post here:https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/re-investing-in-life-moving-on/

IMG-20140213-WA0006

I am finding my experience of grief and mourning very strange. To allow myself time to grieve and mourn I have pushed those closest to me away to give myself the space to grieve and mourn without having the pressure of “getting on with life” from others. Generally people (society in general) have the perception that now that the funeral/memorial service is over, you should be okay and ready to “get on with life”.

I have now reached the stage where I’m missing that contact with my friends and family and want them to “come back” to me but at the same time I’m not ready to have people sitting in my lounge drinking tea and coffee for hours. I’m at the stage where a quick pop-in visit or quick telephone call to say “how are you doing?” or “is there anything I can do for you?” would be welcome but it seems like people are waiting for me to make the first move.

IMG-20140213-WA0014

Ocassionally, especially after a busy week, I sometimes wish I can get a call from someone asking if they can bring me a meal or a sweet treat, but at the same time not expect to be invited in to sit and talk for hours. The idea of calling first before coming is also good because I may not be in the mood to see people. I may want to just walk around in my pyjamas (or even naked for that matter).

My best friend of more than 30 years has not even tried to make contact with me since the end of January. She did not even make contact to wish me for my birthday. I had a missed call on my phone from her on 6 February and I have deliberately not called her back to see how long it would take for her to try again. At the time of writing this post, there’s still been no contact. I do understand that it is probably difficult to wish someone a “happy birthday” when you know they are grieving/mourning. There is nothing wrong with changing that to “Hi, thinking of you on your birthday. Hope you manage/managed to enjoy the day?” An alternative to this would be “hi, can we come around to bring you your gift?” and then surprise me by insisting I sit down and making me a cup of tea instead of expecting me to make you a cup just because you are visiting?

IMG-20140213-WA0008

Today while writing this post I was watching a movie on television about the life of actress (who also married a Prince and became a Princess) Grace Kelly. There was a scene in the movie, just before Grace Kelly was going to board the ship to leave her family home, where her father told her he loved her. This brought me to tears again. I am obviously still very volatile emotionally and is probably why I’m having this want/don’t want relationship with contact with the outside world. One minute I want people to come visit but within a few minutes I wish they don’t come.

What I’m also experiencing at the moment is that my attention span is very short. I find that I can’t focus on one particular thing for longer than five or ten minutes then I move on to do something else. I also lose my train of thought in mid sentence and forget what I wanted to say. My mind just goes blank all of a sudden and I cannot remember what I wanted to say. Maybe that’s also why I’m reluctant to have visitors at this stage? Maybe I’m scared that I will be bored with their conversation after five or ten minutes and that they will misunderstand or misinterpret my behaviour and think that I’m being rude?

Birthday milkshake_Cheers

Will my visitors understand when I suddenly burst into tears for no apparent reason? Will they panic and try to make me feel better by saying “don’t worry everything will be alright”? or “it’s ok. Mom is in a better place now”? when all I need is a loving hug or someone to hold my hand, without saying anything at all.

This behaviour is all new to me and I’m finding it very strange. Is this a temporary change in my behaviour or is this taking me to another level of maturity i.e. where trivial things no longer matter to me?

View from our table

As a child I’ve always heard adults say “you are never really grown up until you have lost both your parents”. Is that what’s happening to me now? Am I now finally becoming a “grown up”/an adult?

. . . but I still like Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse? Just saying . . .

Re-investing in Life (Moving on)

Franschoek Mountains

In my last post: Woman, heal Thyself – find it here: https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/woman-heal-thyself/

I spoke about coping mechanisms and gave you an idea of where I am on the “coping with grief” scale.

Last week (Wednesday) I celebrated my first birthday without BOTH my parents. My dad has not been physically present for my last twenty (or so) birthdays although he was still alive but I had my mom and sister to share it with. With my mom dying in October 2014 and my dad in January 2015, this was now my first birthday as an “orphan”. I’ve given myself the nickname of “Orphan Annie”.

French Huguenot Monument, Franschoek, Western Cape

SLOWING DOWN:
As I progress on this journey of grief and mourning, I’m finding that I’m spending a lot of time re-evaluating my life – how I spend my time, what I spend my time on, relationships I have (those relationships that serve me and those that don’t). I’m doing a lot of thinking (meditating some call it), taking time to “smell the roses”, slowing down – trying to stop being so busy with being “busy”.

EXERCISE:
Throughout my fourteen months as primary caregiver to my mom, I managed to maintain my exercise routine with my Personal Trainer three days per week (for one hour each). This definitely helped neutralize the stress hormones which helped me cope with the physical, mental and emotional challenges I faced during this period. Exercising also gave me the opportunity to focus on something other than what I was going through.

TEARS CLEANSE THE SOUL:
Having suppressed my emotions for fourteen months, I am now allowing myself to cry irrespective of when it happens (mornings, evenings, on my way to work, on my way from work – whenever it happens I allow the tears to flow freely). It has been said that there is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love. Tears are definitely giving me a release of my emotions (like a pressure-cooker letting off steam).

Rickety Bridge Restaurant, Franschoek

FEELING MY EMOTIONS:
I am no longer blocking my feelings. There are times when I feel deeply sad about the loss of my mom. I’ve postponed my feelings for fourteen months and it is now time to let it go – no more denial or covering up my pain. I am with my pain now – living in the moment – everything else can and just has to wait. I’m giving myself the time I need to heal because the sooner I allow myself to feel my emotional pain, the sooner it will pass.

The word “emote” is Latin in origin and it means “I move”.

WRITING LEADS TO HEALING:
I don’t keep a daily journal so I write through this blog. Using this blog to write helps me gain understanding and insight into what exactly is happening in my life – through sharing my story with you, my readers. This blog is my outlet for my thoughts and feelings. Writing is a powerful and highly recommended exercise in recovery.

JOINING A BEREAVEMENT GROUP:
I have nothing against joining a bereavement group but I believe that there is a time for this to happen and it just is not the right time for me right now. When the time is right and if there is a need, I will definitely find one to join.

Dessert at Richety Bridge Restaurant, Franschoek

HONOURING MY OWN TIMETABLE:
As Executor of mom’s Estate, there are certain tasks relating to the winding up of the Estate that has to be taken care of immediately and that is where my focus has been these last few months. Sorting out mom’s personal belongings is something I am not ready to do right now so her room is exactly as she left it the day she died.

Clearing out mom’s cupboards of her personal belongings, scattering her last remains etc. will have to wait a little longer. When the time is right, this will be done.

PUTTING OFF MAJOR DECISIONS:
I will continue to live in the house we shared until I can no longer live independently or until circumstances forces me to make a decision about alternative accommodation.

DANCE TO MY BROKEN HEART:
Grief can last years, but my nervous system needs a break every now and then. For now it is shedding the tears I need to shed when I need to shed them and going for a nice long drive afterwards. I feel an enormous sense of relief afterwards.

Dancing? Well, that will happen when it needs to happen.

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Find more information here:
Grief Survival Tips (http://funeralguide.co.za/coping-with-grief/grief-survival-tips/blog.html

View from table_2015-02-04 14.05.06

Recommended Reading:
“Man’s search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl
“Beyond Grief” by Carol Staudacher
All books by author: Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
“The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron

All these books are available here:
Shop at Amazon.com! http://www.amazon.com?_encoding=UTF8&tag=african09-20

Grief, Mourning and Bereavement – what is the difference?

Black and white butterfly

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my “journey called life” and welcome to 2015. Can you believe we are already in the 21st day of January? Where has the time gone?

To all my loyal followers and to the new ones who have joined along the way, as the New Year begins, let us pray that it will be a year with new Peace, new Happiness and Abundance of new friends. May God bless you throughout the New Year.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the long break since my last post on 24 December 2014. My regular followers would know that I lost my mom to Cancer on 27 October 2014 so my sister and I have had to face our first Christmas and New Year without our mom.

Grief Whirlpool

Then on 8 January 2015 we received the news that our dad had died which had a whole host of emotions of its own attached (we’ve had no contact since my parents divorce) and he died a day before the 13th anniversary of their divorce.

Grief_Stages of Grief

The 18th January 2015 would have been mom’s birthday and it was our first one without her so more emotional stuff to deal with here.

Happy Birthday pendulum

In between all of this, I was kept busy with the Administration of my Late mom’s Estate – if any of you have ever been an Executor of an Estate you will know how much paperwork this all entails.

Grief_Coping with Bereavement

Amidst all the emotional turmoil and administrative paperwork, I am also trying to set up a home-based business which needs to be up and running by June 2015 so I can be earning a steady income by January 2016.

So much thought needs to go into setting up a website (what I want it to look like), content (what I want to say on the website), what services I will be offering etc. This actually takes up a lot of time (mentally) and physically sitting behind a computer.

Grief_Kubler Ross the-change-curve

While going through all the emotional turmoil of what I’ve mentioned above, I’ve been wondering about the difference between grief, mourning and bereavement.

People generally use these words interchangeably but what do they really mean?

Is there a difference between grief, mourning and bereavement?

I tried doing a Google search and this is what I found:
Grief, Mourning and Bereavement – what is the difference?

Grief is the response or reaction to a loss
Bereavement refers to the state of the loss
Mourning is the action you take following a loss

God knew we would mourn our losses because He said:
“Blessed are they that mourn:
for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

Read the rest here : http://www.examiner.com/article/the-difference-between-grieving-mourning-and-bereavement

Grief_Mourning Dove

Other sources say:
Grief is what you think and feel inside when someone you loves dies. It’s the numbness, sadness, anger, regret, all rolled up into one. It’s the pain in your gut and a hole in your chest.

Mourning is expressing your grief, letting it out somehow. You mourn when you cry, talk about the death, write about it, or punch something.
Read the rest here: http://www.pastoralcareinc.com/counseling/difference-between-grief-mourning/

Grief_Candle Quote

More links on the subject of Grief, Mourning and Bereavement:
http://griefandmourning.com/grief-and-mourning-distinguishe#comment-2510

http://www.thecarecommunity.com/GriefSafePlace/DougsBlog/tabid/63/mid/385/newsid385/210/Default.aspx

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/emotionalsideeffects/griefandloss/coping-with-the-loss-of-a-loved-one-intro-to-grief-mourning-bereavement

Grief_Candle_Mourning

I hope you have found this post inspirational and the links useful.

Please let me know if you have any questions on other topics you would like me to do some research on. It’s an opportunity for us to learn together.

Till next time.

Christmas and New Year blessings . . .

Thank you to all my loyal readers and followers who have been with me on this journey called “life” this past year may you have a blessed, peaceful and safe Christmas and a joyful and prosperous 2015.

The past year has been a long and difficult road but by the grace of God I made it through to the end.

Looking forward to sharing my journey with you in 2015.

Card

Dear Mom . . .

Adult Angel

Today (27 November 2014) is exactly one month since you closed your eyes for the last time and left this mortal earth for a better life way beyond our comprehension.

Mom Solo

As I sat having breakfast this morning, I remembered our last morning together. How you grew impatient waiting for me to go through our morning ritual, getting you ready for Aunty May who was going to take care of you for the day while I was at work.

I remember how you asked “why are you taking so long?” when I had only just sat down to have my own breakfast. A few minutes later you said “I don’t hear any spoons!” which meant you were not convinced that I was still eating my cereal. Then while waiting for me, you said a little prayer . . .

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I awake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen”

The little prayer was followed by:

Take me now, Lord. PLEASE!!!

We struggled to get you into a sitting position, we eventually gave up trying to brush your teeth and proceeded to give you some breakfast and your medication. I felt so bad hurting you while I was changing you and getting you ready for the day, but there was no other way. No matter what I did it would have hurt. I apologised more than once and asked you to forgive me for hurting you. You said it’s ok. You said you forgive me.

I kissed you goodbye a little more than I usually did. I did not like the look in your eyes when I said goodbye. My heart told me to stay but my head told me I had to go to work, after all, Aunty May had already arrived to take care of you. She went to a lot of trouble to get to our house that early in the morning. I could not change my mind now and send her home again.

Mom at my 50th birthday party in Feb 2014

Mom at my 50th birthday party in Feb 2014

I left home with a very heavy heart that day, desperately wanting to stay home with you. I wanted to be there when you took your last breath. The Lord had other plans, though. He did not want me there. He wanted to call you home when you were alone, that is why He made sure that even Aunty May was not in the room with you when you took your last breath. You were alone mom. I did not want you to be alone. I so desperately did not want you to be alone . . .

Today Zoë danced in her last ballet concert. I was able to watch her dance for the first time because they used a venue which was accessible for me. I know you were there in spirit mom, but you were not physically present with us. We missed you mom. Zoë is such a talented little girl – our little star. The children wanted me to come home with them after the concert. Tami invited me for coffee at their place but I chose to come home instead. Tami looked like she was coping, like it was just another ordinary day for her so I could not go home with her and her family thinking that she did not feel the same way I do about today.

The three girls at my 50th this year

The three girls at my 50th this year

I felt so alone while driving home . . . so alone!

Why do I get so sentimental about everything when Tami is always so flippant and nonchalant about everything?
Why do I always take things so seriously and attach such a huge amount of sentimentality to everything when Tami acts like she doesn’t care?
Am I wrong to feel the way I do?
Why am I so sensitive?

These are all the questions going through my mind as the tears streamed down my face while I was driving home. I felt so alone . . . so desperately alone.

While I was driving my cellphone rang. Someone left a message. When I checked my phone at home it was from Tami thanking me for coming to Zoë’s concert and saying that she hopes I got home safely and she hopes I sleep well tonight. I responded by thanking her for inviting me to Zoë’s concert and said that I’m just not in a good head space tonight for socialising and therefore chose to come home instead. I was surprised when she admitted that she is battling today as well. Wow! so I’m not alone after all. I was so happy to hear that.

Mom (solo) laughing

Tonight I walked into your room after sunset for the first time to close the curtains. Up to now I’ve always made sure I closed the curtains before sunset to avoid having to switch the light on. Touching the light switch when the room is dark takes me back to when I had to wake you at midnight and at four in the morning for your medication. So instead of switching on the light in your room, I left the dining room light on so I did not walk into your dark room and did not need to switch the light on in your room.

After leaving your room I went to the kitchen to get something to eat. I cried some more while preparing my supper. While having supper I cried and could not stop crying. I paused for short periods in between and cried some more. I don’t understand why but I tend to always start crying just when I’m at the point of swallowing my food. I’m a strange person!

Does this mean the numbness I’ve been feeling up to now has lifted or am I going back to being numb after tonight?

I still have so much more tears stored in the well inside of me just waiting to come out, but they come out in cloud bursts. The tears stop as suddenly as they start.

I don’t know when they are coming – what will trigger them. The tiniest thing seems to set me off.

I miss you mom!