This is the last installment of the topic of grief. I know I’ve taken an enormous about of time with this, but I feel it’s so vitally important to our lives as mothers of special needs children. If you try to build a life without the proper foundation it will crumble. My life is a good example. I was pretending all was fine and I was strong, I lived according to the rules (who’s rules I don’t know), I did the “should’s” and constantly worried I was doing enough.
Had I trusted myself and gave myself permission to grieve, I could have saved myself years of depression. So, here are the last steps in the grief process. Give yourself a gift and get through to the end.
Testing and Acceptance: Would it hurt if I …..?
Even in the pit of depressive despair, reality eventually starts to bite and you realize that you cannot stay in that deep, dark hole forever. You start looking for realistic things that you can do. These may be taken on as 'experiments' to see if doing these things help the situation in any way. As this project starts to work, at least in some ways, it is found to be preferred heck of a lot better than the depression and so you crawl out of that dark hole.
“I started by taking a shower and shaving my legs. I know that sounds stupid and easy, but it was hard for me to get up the umph to take care of myself. I then painted my toes. Each time I looked down, whether I was crying or not, I saw my red toes and thought they were pretty. It was a long road but each time I did a little more, felt a little better, and gained some confidence.” ~Linda
This stage is where the fun creeps back in. It’s one of stability, where you are ready and actively involved in moving on to the next phase of your life, no matter how short.
“It felt so good to smile. It seemed like forever before I did it. I feel now like I can do anything because I survived.” ~Hannah
This really is the exciting part because you will be searching for your “new normal”. Not comparing yourself to the cutesy mommies in the magazines, but making YOUR comfort zone. Your sleep and appetite should return (okay, okay, I’m still waiting for that one myself) and your daily activities won’t be so dramatic….well, dramatic in a sped house…..yeah, you got me on that one too. Point is, you’re out of the funk and life is upturning.
Growth: Hit me with your best shot!
I added this one because I think it’s important to also continue to grow, rather than just sit and spin your wheels in acceptance. This is where you shine and become an inspiration for other women and moms of special kids. These are the things I want to see from you:
o Renewed energy
o Reaching out to help others
o Finding of new emotional resources
o Smiling and laughing at your situation
You are never alone in your special needs journey, but you are the only one who can push yourself through these seven stages. How you cope with each stage is very individual. You may want to surround yourselves with friends and family or join a support group. You may decide to immediately make an appointment with a counselor (which I highly recommend) for one on one talking. Or you may be like me and try to re-gain some feel of control by cleaning….rote physical scrubbing frees my mind to think…alone in silence.
Each one of us needs to spend the time they need on each step. Some will breeze through one stage but stay in another for months. We are all different and it’s okay for you to devote the time and energy to properly earn the gold medal for conquering each stage. Re-read that again! It’s OKAY!! You owe it to yourself and your kids to do it right. And to do it again, if new grief creeps in as your situation changes.
Once you’ve mastered those seven layers, I’m here to tell you to indulge yourself. I don’t care what it is you do, as long as it’s mentally, emotionally, and physically freeing for you and not warping your kids. Fantasies of a bucket of margaritas, or a sexy stranger might have little downside, but taking a knife to certain people (you know what I’m saying), while tempting, would put you in jail and warp your kids. Indulge responsibly. Here’s my top 5 quick and easies I do at home when I think I’m going to crack:
1.Once the kids are in bed , I kick back with my favorite ice cream
2.Call/text/email my spectacular girlfriends who completely understand my rants, then kindly tell me I’m a freak, but they love me anyway
3.Watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report
4.Sit on the potty and read magazines. Sometimes I actually have to pee, but usually it’s just a ruse to get a few minutes with the door closed.
5.After the kids are in bed I put the portable DVD player on a chair and watch movies while soaking in the tub…..multi-tasking pleasure! I’ve tried the ice cream in there too, but it doesn’t work well.
What do you do that is a help?
Until next week,
I wish for you many blessings!