I’ve recently and FINALLY begun the journey into continuing education, namely focusing on bereavement and loss support. I have so many hopes and dreams in these next steps and a very passionate fire within myself to support those who suffer, just like I have. It is bittersweet to finally be back in a place that isn’t riddled in a pea soup thick, grief fog that prohibits me from taking on any type of new information. There are only some of you that will understand exactly what that means. Be grateful if you don’t know the depths of pea soup thick, grief fog. This is something that those of us who have swam in the dark depths of, wish upon no one.
Currently, I am studying a MOOC (massive open online course) and for some, the name of this course itself, may be deterrent enough to scare the shit out of a curious learner. “Grief MOOC – How grief can empower or kill us”. As a griever and one that doesn’t take things too literally or to heart, I knew this course was for me immediately because grief HAS almost killed me. Grief HAS, on 2 occasions, stripped me of everything I once knew and it felt like I was dead inside. It has blown my world apart in ways some will never understand or respect because, the fact of the matter is, our society sucks when it comes to learning and speaking about grief and death and loss and the tolls it can take on the living… mentally, physically, emotionally and in our surrounding environments in general.
In studying the first few chapters, I was blown away at the fact that I have experienced at least 6 forms of grief in a time frame of 2 years and 3 months. From traumatic or sudden to disenfranchised grief and it’s been heavy enough that I landed myself a permanent role in grief known as “Complicated or Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder”. That doesn’t include secondary losses either and those rushed in like raging river waters and flooded equally as the primary loss. No wonder I envisioned myself hanging from that tree last fall, right!? No wonder. But, I didn’t, I didn’t let it kill me.
So, what about the empowerment? I consider myself a very lucky human being that had the ability to still hear her gut when her gut spoke that it was time for more help at one of my worst and most shameful times. I could’ve laid down in the aftermath of my baby boys death, let it kill me and society would’ve accepted it because no wonder I was a mess right? “She lost her baby, I’d be drunk too, in fact I’d probably kill myself” was one thing I heard along the way. Pretty empowering, right? I was definitely on that path however and truly began to not give a shit. I had someone telling me I was horrible person and mom, that I deserved to lose my son in the months leading up to the incident which helped me to admit my realities and live my truths. I quickly realized under the support of caring professionals and my own self reflection, NONE of that was true of myself and that not a single opinion of me, good or bad, mattered but, that of myself. Self discovery and re-learning myself and life itself has empowered me. Self awareness is empowering!!
I could have conceded to all the negatives that life and death seem to sometimes be. Concede to the negative that death is the end and losing Brandon and than Jamie so sudden and traumatically could and should have killed me. Is that what Brandon and Jamie would want for me, for me to be for Jackson? To concede to life because I’ve lost? Absolutely not! Those 2 are surrounding us cheering us on louder than some of the living humans in our lives! Sad but true. Jamie was always one of my biggest supporters, even the last phone conversation we had less than 2 hrs before his being would leave this earth, he was cheering me on and I him in the next chapters we were about to take. Over a year later and the pain of that conversation has turned into an empowerment on parenting our son. Hope, laughter, support, beautiful friends and family and professional supports who believe so damn much in me, that empowers me! Brandon, he empowered me. He gave my life back at the cost of his and there is an unscripted beauty there that no one else in this world has to understand but, myself and that empowers me into places I never dreamed of.
I have my Mom to thank for A LOT of the positive, strong and courageous qualities I seem to carry. I watched this woman raise 3 children, all who played rep baseball province wide, while she still played ball herself. She had a corporate career in the 80-90’s dealing with ignorant corporate men as a warranty department manager, not to mention the turmoil my almost non existent father would throw her and our way once in awhile. Resilience, strength and courage is an apple I bit off my mom’s tree. We have and probably will still butt heads at times, however, if it wasn’t for her and what she did for her own self so many years ago, I truly don’t believe I would be half as resilient or courageous otherwise. I don’t often say it Mom, but, thank you for everything you did for us 3 kids. Knowing and seeing what you did to keep moving forward, the importance of it is so very clear in the chaos and I use it to empower myself moving forward, just like I watched you do for so many years.
To all the beautiful humans that have helped empower me along this way.. Mom, Lisa (my best hooker), Lisa B, Lynn (my hobbit), Susan A, Marilyn O, Pam, C, Jenny B, Gillis, Roger B, Lee and Di, Christine, Kim, Kirsten, my entire day treatment team, Corah, Bailey, Talea, Jen… I’m sure I’ll think of a few names after this is published too… Thank you! I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. I am grateful, I am empowered!!
“At any given moment you have the power to say, this is not how the story is going to end” – Unknown