First, I want to say thank you so much to all of the readers who have commented on the Blog, Twitter and Facebook since my last post. I’m blown away by the response. I’m grateful and thankful for such a supportive and accepting reception for my big secret. (If you have not read it yet, you can view it here)
I truly appreciate the comments directly around my terminology “childless mother.” I am again blown away by the love and support I am receiving. While it may not be a technically accurate statement, it is truly how my shattered heart feels. I will likely continue to use that phrase for a while but please know that I do believe that I am a mother regardless my current relationship with my children. I just cannot find any other words that so accurately describe the absolute heartbreak and deep grief that I have been experiencing.
One of the beautiful results of sharing this part of my story is that I feel like I am able to start taking the next steps towards healing my broken heart and finding peace within this situation; a situation that still catches me off guard and forces the wind out of me often and sometimes unexpectedly. I use the words “next steps” here as a reminder to myself to take it slow because I have a tendency to make a decision and then have an expectation that I can just jump and be done or through with whatever “it” is.
In this case, I feel like I’ve ripped off the band aide and now want to jump full body into healing. "Ok, I shared my secret now I can move on, right? RIGHT??" Not so fast. Not only can I not rush through my healing process but I also cannot compare the timing of healing against my expectations for how quickly I desire to be through this painful experience. That only leaves me feeling beat up by my own self-judgments.
As much as it irks me, healing is not a competitive sport. There are no play-books, no game films to review; there are no points for reaching milestones in a fast or elegant manner. I cannot sit here and calculate at what point I will be beyond this grief and moving into whatever emotion comes after grief on the healing spectrum. There are also no points for keeping my shit together, no applause for maintaining the appearance, real or portrayed, of mental wellness. You get the picture… and yet, I imagine how quickly I could move through this if the goal line were in my sights and I knew how many yards were left before that celebratory end zone dance.
And you know what? I could plow through this process. I could deal with the surface grief and pain. I could, I am sure, convince myself that the other stuff, that deep painful stuff really doesn’t need to be addressed. I mean really, what good does it do to revisit it all anyway. I could. However, I will find myself revisiting it at some point down the road anyway. Except then it will definitely be a messy, painful experience likely accompanied by irreparable physical, mental and emotional carnage. Ask me how I know.
I’ve decided that I am going make it my dominant intent to look at this healing process in the same way that I am looking at training for the Half Marathon I’ve committed to run this coming fall. I cannot go out today and run 13.1 miles just as I cannot decide that I am over the grief and pain and have it be so. It must be a slow and steady process, and I know that I will have days that I feel really terrific and days when I want to crawl inside my blanket cave and wait out the storm.
I promise I will not torture you, dear readers, with my stories of training for the Half but I will share with you some things I have learned and am learning about processing through deep emotions while striving to keep my heart open - even as outward forces appear to be working against that goal.
Look forward to taking these next steps, sharing my story with you and continuing along this journey one step at a time.