This week I had the opportunity to attend “Modern Loss”, a grief and expressive writing retreat at the Kripalu Center in the Berkshires. For three days, I had the pleasure of connecting with 30-odd women, sisters from all walks of life traveling the same path through grief and loss.
What a privilege to have the time and space to escape into a space of self-care, personal development, and spiritual nourishment. To talk openly about my experience to a multitude of understanding ears. To share and open and feel a sense of normalcy in this bizarre and mind-altering world of bereavement. I am fortunate to have been present in such an experience.
I had a realization recently.
I’ve been in survival mode for 4 years now.
In Spring of 2013, I drove my tin-can Hyundai Accent, loaded with plants and guitars, from Massachusetts to Madison. Three weeks later, I was pregnant. Carrying a deeply wanted but slightly unexpected baby in a new city a thousand miles from home. Byron was born, and I experienced just what motherhood actually takes. The sleep deprivation, the intensity of love and emotion, the loss of self, the hormonal shifts, the stress. Then came Claira, and the readjustment to motherhood with a toddler and newborn. Tim died when Claira was only 10 months old, and I truly went into *survival* mode. My entire world and identity shifted in moments. I lost everything. All of my energy went into the care of my children and my own desperate attempt to stay afloat.
In the past months, I’ve acclimated my little family to our new home, new life, new rhythm and routine. I’ve started to feel like I can breath again. Like there is a sliver of time and space that could be reserved for caring for *me*.
So I’m going to follow this opportunity wherever it needs to go.
I’m not going to make this some sort of self-care-weightloss-fitness-super-widow type of blog. I’m not interested in going in that direction with my writing. But I would like to share that I am finally, FINALLY, in a space to better care for myself. And I hope that makes me a better mother. A better person for the world. A healthier person. For my kids, and for me.
For a long time, I was devoid of happiness and hope. I was a brittle, bitter shell of a woman, filled with smoldering molten lead. I was a hooked trout flopping helplessly on the shore. I was a thunderstorm personified. I was nothing.
I’m whole again, now. A new person ready to take on this new life. I want to move forward with intention, passion, and good health. I have goals and visions for my future. And I’m finally in the physical and mental space to take that on. So I’m taking it on. I’m looking forward to where this new path will take me.
In the words of Jack Byron: “Onwards and onwards.”