I SURRENDER…

Today has been a humbling experience for me.  I had to leave work early today. I was sitting in my office in tears. As I tried to respond to emails, I noticed that my hands were shaking uncontrollably. The more that I tried to pull myself together, the more I seemed to unravel. Even when one of my staff members stood in the doorway of my office discussing a project, my eyes continually filled with tears. I couldn’t stop crying.

Grief had come suddenly and snatched me, gripping me firmly and refusing to let me go. My Momma has been gone for 304 days. I’ve been doing better. Why today? Yes, there are things going on within my family.  But why has grief come to visit me in such a face-slapping, pain-wrenching way today?

Over the last 304 days, I had gained an understanding of grief bursts and had endured a few. I had learned how to make room for the bursts. I was becoming adept at giving myself space to grieve. But this burst was different, she was disrespectful. She gripped me so tightly that I felt like I was back at Ground Zero…April 7, 2018. The day that Momma passed. My heart felt like it had broken into tiny pieces all over again. 

How dare she do me like that?? Doesn’t she understand that I’ve been making progress. I’ve been good. I got my strength back! I’m not stuck in my pain. I’m doing the work necessary to process through my grief in a healthy manner. Who does grief think she is? I cried myself to sleep last night!! Wasn’t that enough?? No!! She had the audacity to show up at my job today and snatch me up in the most public, humiliating way!! Doesn’t she understand that I’m in a space now where I feel like I got this?!? 

Oh, wait!?! There it is!! I understand why she has come in today like an F5 tornado. I think I got this.  You see…I have worn strength as a badge of honor. I have fearlessly worn the Superwoman cape and made myself available to those in need…sometimes at the expense of my own health and well-being. I have praised God for giving me the ability to take a licking and keep on ticking. I have proclaimed that I am a warrior, ready to fight any battle!  Truth be told, I don’t have this. At. All. This grief burst almost took me out today. Something has to give…. 

After sitting in quiet by the water for a couple of hours this afternoon, this is what I know. The healthier part of me (we’ll call her Tasha) has been growing and flourishing since my Momma passed away. She is not down with the Superwoman Syndrome and she’s aware of her limitations. She believes in practicing self care and setting boundaries. She understands that she can’t be everything to everybody. She knows that “No!” is a complete sentence and is capable of using it when necessary. 

SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO SIT BY THE WATER….

Neph…on the other hand, is Superwoman personified. Neph senses that we were doing better and decided to put her cape back on.  She began relaxing boundaries and has been giving, giving, giving.  Giving to the point where I was feeling overwhelmed and wanted to tap out.  Tasha has grown so much in the last 304 days that she refuses to let Neph keep running us ragged and carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders.  She’s been quietly raising awareness that we were headed back down an unhealthy path.

But Neph was straight in “Save the World” mode.  Therefore, I was experiencing inner conflict. So, when this current grief burst hit…it knocked me to my knees because I was not aligned internally.  In the past couple of weeks, I haven’t been truly living from my core…the healthiest part of me.  When I am living from my core and operating in my most authentic self, I know that I no longer have the capacity to be nor do I want to be Superwoman. 

So, today, I surrender. I surrender my Superwoman cape. I surrender the idea that I have to be strong for everyone. I surrender the idea that I am obligated to say yes to family all of the time. I surrender the idea that I have to be the one that everyone leans on in their time of need. I surrender pride and acknowledge that I am absolutely nothing without God. It is only because of His grace and mercy that I am in my right mind today.

I surrender the idea that I’m less valuable if someone doesn’t need me. I surrender to grief for she has been one of the most transformative teachers that I have experienced to date. I empty myself of pride. I cast off the weight of the burden associated with trying to be Superwoman. I surrender to gratitude and thank God for my sister who let me know that it was okay for Neph to take off her cape. 

As I surrender, I open up to freedom, peace and joy and make room for the healthier part of me to come forth and thrive!!

Blessings and Love ~ Nephateria 

293 DAYS….

Wow!  Acknowledging that it’s been 293 days sent chills through my body.  Momma, it’s been 9 months and 18 days since we watched you take your last breath.  We will hit the one-year mark in 72 days.  Wow!  That’s the only word that comes to mind right now.  Saying that I miss you is a misrepresentation of how I feel right now.  I am saddened by the massive hole that your passing has left in my life; but I’m also grateful.  I’m grateful because I am keenly aware that God has kept my mind and has been healing the broken pieces of my heart.  It hasn’t been easy; but by the grace of God…here I stand 293 days later.

Momma!!  I have so much to tell you.  The last 293 days have included a lot of “firsts” for us.  I celebrated my 1st birthday without you.  I sobbed that morning until I had no tears left as I realized that my birthday card from you would not arrive in the mail.  One of my girlfriends was gracious enough to give me a card with $42 in it.  It didn’t replace your card; but it let me know that I was seen, heard, and loved.  I’m beyond grateful for friends like her.  She made that day easier for me.

We celebrated our 1st Thanksgiving without you.  I can sit and laugh today; but let me tell you…I was a mess that day.  I woke up in tears.  The thought of going downstairs without you that morning was too much for me to bear.  I had a complete meltdown in the kitchen; but we all supported one another and made it through the day together.  We did our best to make you proud!  And then came Christmas….

Christmas was your favorite holiday.  I vacillated between wanting to celebrate because it’s your favorite holiday and wanting to completely skip the day because you weren’t there.  Honestly, I just wanted to stay in the bed that day.  But the “true” reason for the season and the love for family that you instilled in me made me get up and help prepare dinner for our family.

It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions and experiences without you here.  But I’ve learned a couple things over the last 293 days.  One of the most important lessons is that my grief process is my grief process.  My daughter’s process is her process.  My siblings process is their process.  And no one process looks, sounds, or feels the same.  I learned to honor my process, how I was feeling and not compare my process to others.  I learned that comparing my grief to others or trying to grieve according to society’s timeline was keeping me in a dark place.  Learning to offer myself compassion, love, and space to grieve was a pivotal point in the journey.

Momma, I also learned that gratitude is a balm.  I don’t know when it happened; but I realize that the more I intentionally practiced gratitude (looking for and reflecting on the good all around me), the more I experienced joy and peace.  The more that I experienced joy and peace, the more I was strengthened and comforted.  For example, the more that I reflected upon the fact that although you are physically absent, all that you poured into me remains; the more grateful I became for the deposits of love and wisdom that you left embedded in my soul.  And the more grateful I become, the more I was able to withstand the bursts and waves of grief that continue to come.  Gratitude become a restorative agent and began transforming me from the inside out.

So, here I stand 293 days later.  Missing you; but full of gratitude and completely transformed by the grief process…