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Celebrations, Grieving and Exit Plans




June is a complicated month for us. It is filled with many things. It’s end of the school year, fathers day, and birthdays. It is busy, where most of us are at the end of our ropes and we are just needing a break. This year is different. In some regards it is easier due to covid and in other areas, I am looking for the pause or fast forward button so that I can avoid or skip it all together.

Normally, there is end of the year wrap up with a list of hundreds of school assignments all due on the same day. There are exams and finals, but this year there is non of that and so many are now breathing a sigh of relief. The school year is completed. Can I get a “hell ya!” From all the parents that have SURVIVED home schooling/online schooling. Those who at the beginning were asking for ALL the wine and hard alcohol so they could survive being home with their children…. You did it. For those of you that didn’t know how you were going to juggle working from home and homeschooling at the same time…. Breathe. It is over and now you can throw all that online learning…. In the closet. [Devices, technology are expensive and we don’t want to throw it in the trash]. I know I for one am grateful that elementary is done, however there is a sadness that my girl did not get to celebrate the end of elementary and celebrate this milestone with ALL of her classmates and friends. SO much has been taken from our kids. I am grateful that my high school student is going to be finished her first year this week; that she does not have to write final exams and that her marks will just be determined by her assignments and assessments. I can hope that in the future finals will not be counted as much for a final mark in comparison to what our students accomplish with their assignments throughout the semester. With all these changes that have happened to our world there is hope that systems will change for the better and that we will evolve as a collective for our children for their development and success.

Fathers day as usual is a celebration, but also there is a sadness that overshadows it. In my home my two older girls always get to spend fathers day weekend with their dad. I have always enjoyed the mutual respect for the celebrations and milestones that come yearly between their dad and I. Now though. It feels different. I should be celebrating fathers day with Marley’s dad. Marley and I should be waking up and making a fathers day breakfast and her sneaking [as successfully as an excited almost 7 year old girl could be] to give him his fathers day present that she made and another that we picked out together… Now however, there is a vacancy. The day is still important and Marley’s dad still deserves to be recognized. Marley was not his only daughter and he is still appreciated, but these special days are a little bit MORE special when children are young, because their excitement is contagious. They love you like only children can and their giggles, smiles and wiggles, the energy is almost whimsical. That whimsy is now gone, an unnatural end, there are questions on how to move through these days that can only be solved by experiencing and moving through them. This fathers day, if you have young children, enjoy the whimsy. Enjoy the excitement and spend it together, creating memories that will last for you and them. Cherish the little ones breathe them in and know you are their world.

Birthdays. Also another celebration that changes over the years. When you’re little they are huge. Balloons, cake, gifts and friends. As you get older the gifts become less important and perhaps cake is no longer preferred [I love pie!] and creating memories with friends and family is the most important; having experiences. Marley’s birthday is on the 22nd. She would be 7 years old…. That is a hard sentence to write because it should say “She IS 7 years old”. The last two years has been just my girls, her dad and I. This year I feel like perhaps I would like to involve more people in the day. I would not go as far as to say it is a birthday party, but the day…. It is important for me to recognize her. She existed. I carried her and birthed her [she was the easiest pregnancy and easiest birth I had]. She was the one that actually helped me see how incredible and beautiful my body was. She was the one who made me feel so powerful and feminine all in one. For that she deserves to be celebrated. Empty does not even begin to describe the feeling that accompanies what goes on in the heart and mind when you loose a child. Not only do you grieve for what could have been [all the birthdays, all the milestones, first dates, graduations, first missing tooth, marriage, grandchildren…] You also grieve for what was, and what you had. With as many celebrations, there is as many tribulations to overcome.

I always say that you need to move with your trauma and grief and through it. It will never leave you but there are ways that you can make things a little easier. Prepare for the bad days. Make a plan and also have a plan B. People who have grief and trauma are experts at distractions. Distractions are amazing for moving through the hard days. Set yourself up for success. It's important to have an exit plan if your activity is too overwhelming, but ask yourself this before you use that exit plan. Can you express your emotion in the place your in for a moment and then choose to move forward into a better state of mind. If you can I highly recommend you do. where you can have support, where you have love around you. If you can not, are you able to take a break outside, in the bathroom or a bedroom for a few moments and then return? It is important to be able to move with your feelings and to acknowledge them. If none of these options are feasible then your plan B exit strategy is the correct decision for the moment. Just make sure people know that they are not the problem, that your just having a hard time. They will love you for it and respect you for it. There is no pause button or fast forward button to skip the parts we don’t like, but its those parts that make us who we are and help us grow as individuals. We can choose to seize those moments to propel ourselves forward or we can allow those moments to drag us down and keep us down.

If you are grieving, struggling and want to connect. I am always available to you. www.elementsofwellness.org


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