I wanted to thank you for your sweet response to my last post sharing about our loss. Each and every note and email and comment you wrote meant so much. Thank you.
A wise friend encouraged me to be gentle with myself during this time while I heal emotionally and physically. Be gentle with yourself… what wonderful advice. I loved that and it really has been such a healthy mindset—and not a bad way to live period. Here is how I have been being gentle with myself and what I have been doing lately to help the fog lift:
- Doing the things that make me happy. Long walks, takeout, crosswords, music, magazines, Netflix, and spending time with friends.
- Doing things that make my children happy. I have been especially grateful for my little chickadees these past few weeks, and as a result I’ve been more indulgent (and more patient) than usual. Extra ice cream, park time, play dates and movies for everyone.
- Feeling the feelings, talking, writing and sharing. I was nervous to press publish on that last post. But it turns out that it was quite cathartic to put it all out there. So many of you have experienced the same sort of loss, and it has been so helpful to share my story and to hear yours.
- Getting back into the flow. After a few days of weepy wallowing, it was time to rejoin society. Returning to regularly scheduled programming and a routine that includes showers, under-eye concealer, real clothes and leaving the sofa is a good thing.
- Saying yes. So often in life we say no when someone offers to do something nice for us because we don’t want to be a burden or an imposition. But when I was recovering from the surgery and the physical portion of all of this, I just said yes. Can I pick up dinner on the way home? Yes. Need anything from Costco? Yes. Can Harper come play? Yes. Another brownie? Another episode? Another glass? Yes. Yes. Yes.
- Saying no. Sometimes no is the best answer. Spin class? No. Conference call? No. That thing you invited me to that I don’t feel like going to? No.
- Buying things. Contrary to what a professional therapist may lead you to believe, retail therapy may actually be helping. I bought a couple dresses to spice up my spring wardrobe, among other things. Since there has been a sudden spike in spending, I was not at all surprised when SunTrust called to see if my credit card was stolen. But it turns out that my card number actually was compromised. Some crook Ubered all over Miami, went on a shopping spree at Zara and made a series of charges to an online dating site for single parents. The jig is up, my friend. SunTrust is coming for you.
- Reading my reads. Currently reading and thoroughly enjoying this book and this book.
- Watching my watches. A friend who knows me well and loves me well recently gave me her HBO Go login information. She knew just what I needed in my time of need. I have been catching up on Girls, Togetherness, Veep and Olive Kitteridge.
- Going to church. We took the family to church the Sunday after everything. We’ve been trying to lean in and worship even though it aches a bit. It was good to be surrounded by friends and a community of people who are all trying to believe. It was like every song we sang that day was chosen especially for us and our situation. This song and this song really got me. I ugly cried pretty much the entire service. It was humbling but quite healing.
- Not going to church. We made the obvious choice not to go to church on daylight savings Sunday. That day, being gentle with myself meant sleeping late and not rushing out the door. Instead we had a leisurely family breakfast and went for a stroll together on a nearby trail. The sun was out and my heart felt full of joy and peace and gratitude for the first time in recent days.
The fog is indeed lifting. I knew it would. There are still sad moments but the sting is gone. Time and distance from all of this is healing. And I think I will continue to put things through the being gentle with myself filter. You should try it.