Ever get your expectations up really high only to have them crash painfully down around you? Ever have tragedy strike on or near a holiday?
And find that pain haunts you year after year?
You know what I mean. You become preoccupied with ideas of what life should be like, of what you imagine goes on in other homes, and in being certain everyone else is celebrating.
And none of it compares to your reality?
Today, I’m sharing a bit of what’s made me who I am so you know where I’m coming from and see one way I become unstuck when life gets hard. 🙂
If you know me and my story, you know Mother’s Day is a day that could fill me with despair – if I let it!
Mother’s Day Isn’t Always Happy…
May 10th, just before Mother’s Day 1996, is the day I began the bleeding that told me I was losing our first child to an ectopic pregnancy. The pregnancy went undiscovered for weeks and eventually threatened my life too.
May 10th, 2009 actually was Mother’s Day. It was also the day my husband suddenly announced he was leaving for a woman he’d reconnected with on Facebook. I was pregnant with our fifth son at the time. My heart would never be the same.
Mother’s Day could become a day of utter sadness, not just for me but for my children as well. If I allowed myself to become stuck on day after day of sad memories as Mother’s Days approach, I could effectively ruin the holiday, not just for 1996 and 2009, but for every year thereafter.
I could ruin Mother’s Day if I wanted to, but I have a choice.
And I choose not to!
I didn’t have a choice about letting that much Loved baby live. I didn’t have a choice about whether my husband lived honorably or not, but I did have choices about how I reacted to both losses.
The losses created real suffering and that suffering needed to be honored indefinitely, but they shouldn’t ever rule. I chose to give suffering its time and place and live the rest of my life Joyfully for greater purposes.
I chose May 10th as my day of mourning those Mother’s Day losses. As Mother’s Day approaches, when I feel a bit of sadness creep up or when a thought takes me off guard, I push it back. It’s not allowed to rear it’s ugly head just any day, and it is certainly not allowed to steal my Joy on Mother’s Day. That sadness is reserved for one day a year, the day my baby died, the day my husband quit.
That allows Mother’s Day to still be my celebration.
You Too Can Choose a Day to Mourn
When bad things happen, especially when they are associated with a certain day, season, or holiday whether it’s Christmas, a birthday, New Year’s Eve, or any other special day, it’s important to not let them ruin the season forever. It’s important for ourselves and those around us, especially when children are involved, that we learn to celebrate our Joy and the holiday season again.
Quick Tips to Help You Choose Your Day to Mourn:
- Pick A Day – Chances are memories will be stronger around the anniversary of your loss. Pick a day of mourning close to that anniversary rather than giving sadness freedom to creep in at any time or on the special day itself.
- Put Grief in Its Place – Don’t forbid memories all together, but don’t drown in them either. Give sadness a place that makes sense for you. By giving yourself permission to grieve on just one day you discipline and contain grief that would prefer to run rampant.
- Nurture Your Grief – Grief needs to be disciplined, but it also needs to be nurtured. On your day of mourning, allow yourself to express your sadness in ways that are appropriate and comforting. Grief is very real. Don’t belittle what you feel.
- Be Joyful in Your Grief – This sounds weird even to me, but mourning is a sign of a loving heart. Grieving shows you are capable of loving and caring in ways some, possibly even the one who hurt you, are not. Pain is a gift letting you know something is wrong. Pity those who don’t feel it as you do.
- Be Gentle with Yourself – Don’t judge your feelings on your day of mourning. If you have trouble finding Joy in grief or in getting stuff done, relax. It’s okay. Baby yourself. Admitting your fragility allows you to handle yourself as the piece of fine, treasured, beautiful artwork you are.
- Confide in a Friend – Don’t announce your day of mourning to everyone, but ask a close friend for help keeping grief at bay until mourning day and for help getting you through that 24 hour period. Give concrete ideas of what you need: a homemade meal, a walk together, a listening ear, a Bible study, or an emotional art project may be helpful.
- Be Creative – Write a letter to the one saddens you, whether it is the baby you miss, the husband who walked away, or the parent who never cared enough. Burn it allowing the smoke and ash to rise to God. Buy a journal and cry it out privately. Paint dark swirling clouds. Kick box. Whatever it is. Express yourself.
- Be Proud Of Yourself! – Confining grief isn’t easy. Many will never even try. Look in the mirror. Talk yourself up like a player before a big game, like a Mama soothing a newborn child. You faced mountains and keep wolves at bay. You honor the heart you’ve been Blessed with, and you don’t give grief freedom to rain on your parade.
Often we have no choice in the cards we’re dealt, but that doesn’t mean we have to succumb to mourning and loss forever. By confining loss to one day, you too can enjoy any holiday season and begin to take your power back.
If you need help taking your power back, if you are beyond the intense pain but just can’t seem to move ahead as quickly as you’d like, if you’re stuck, ifs something’s holding you back or robbing your Joy contact me.
Together, we will get you unstuck and propel you forward, and I bet you’ll even have fun doing it!