This is another one of my very personal blogs. It’s totally unrelated to physio, pregnancy and motherhood. Instead it’s inspired by my late husband’s birthday to-day, and with the ABS releasing alarming statistics showing a 13% increase in deaths by suicide from 2013-2014, I’d like to write about resilience, support, and love. I hope my sharing and honesty helps someone.
“I’ve been thinking about you lots and just wanted you to know I love ya!!”
I received that message last night from one of my late husband’s closest friends, who over the years, has become one of my closest friends too.
“I LOVE YOU” …….. Funnily enough, I have been thinking about those three words a lot lately. Some of us are afraid of them. Personally, I’m not. I don’t think I over use the words though, and I guess in context, they can mean different things. (Like when you get an ‘I love you’ message from your slightly pissy bestie in the middle of the night ?). When you’ve experienced the depths of emotions, I think it almost becomes easier to say? Or maybe, you just know how you feel about the people closest to you and you want them to know.
Since my late husband’s suicide, I’ve noticed something beautiful. My closest posse of friends and family (male and female) regularly sign off text messages and good-byes with “I love you!!” Sure, between close friends, it rolls off the tongue pretty easily. But why are we doing this? I think it’s because we’ve all experienced intense loss. I am the first to shut people down when comparing their grief to mine. Sure, I lost my husband, but these people lost their Dad, brother, brother in law, son, son in-law, friend, colleague, cousin etc. It’s all loss right?! No doubt, I face some bigger obstacles, and deal with it on a daily basis, especially with two kids regularly bringing up their Dad, and wanting to know the finer details, but we all share something in common. We all know how precious life is. I’m sure that’s why we say it to each other more often these days.
Love is a profound thing. It can come out of nowhere when we experience romantic love. We learn the depths of motherly love when we hold our new born babies in our arms. We wonder “how can I possibly love a second child as much as my first?” but we do!! In the past few years I’ve wondered, can you love someone else after the death of a spouse?…. yes you can! Love is limitless, and knows no bounds.
But if love is limitless, why are we so hesitant to use those words? Fear? Vulnerability? Will it be unrequited?
All my life I’ve been told I’m a strong, mental tough, and resilient woman. My late husband, in search of answers to his own demons, often asked me…… “how are you so happy?” “how is it that you are so resilient?” At the time, I had no idea how to answer those questions. I don’t know?? I’m just me!
Since his death I have been pushed to my limit of coping, self caring, self nurturing, physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. I have questioned my apparent strength and resilience countless times. Am I really as strong as people say? Sometimes I get really angry and frustrated when people tell me I’m strong. In my head, I don’t think I have any other choice!
Lately I have given it a lot of thought. (I have possibly become a bit of an over thinker, but big things in life tend to raise big questions) It takes courage, perseverance and self love to be resilient! To me resilience means being honest with yourself, recognising your feelings and emotions, labelling them, becoming non-judgementally aware of them, owning and learning from your mistakes, being kind to yourself, throwing yourself out of your comfort zone, asking for help & accepting help when you need it, not being afraid to fail, failing and not berating yourself for failing, accepting that somedays you just don’t feel strong and that’s ok, waking up the next day and starting again, enjoying and celebrating not only your achievements, but the success and achievements of your friends, colleagues and family, being mindful & present, helping others, and practicing present moment gratitude. That’s what makes someone resilient.
Something that also helps me when I’m feeling at my lowest, is reminding myself that it it just a phase, it is momentary, it will pass, and I will come out of it stronger. Three steps forward, two steps back….. as long as I am moving forward, I will be ok!
So, over the weekend when I was feeling quite flat and emotionally drained, I did what I needed to do to pick myself up. I went to a 2 hour yoga inversions workshop. I’m a TOTAL novice yogi!! But I loved every minute of it. There’s something about inversions that makes you look at things from a different perspective. The inversions were challenging but I managed to, at least momentarily, stick all of them. The final meditation was fantastic too. I took up meditation after my husband died to manage the post traumatic stress I suffered from finding him post suicide. To meditate, you need to be brave enough to truly open yourself up to your inner thoughts and feelings, and sit with difficult and uncomfortable feelings. I had quite an emotional release and tears streamed down my face. It was incredible. I walked out of the yoga studio a different person. Strong again…. at least for now.
Many times in the past few years, I have felt like I am walking a very long and lonely path. But, I have NEVER felt alone. I have so many people in my inner (and outer) circle, cheering me along on the sideline, every step of the way. People that genuinely care. When you are real and share your honest thoughts and feelings, it lightens the load. To those people, I am eternally grateful and I LOVE YOU!!!
Have you told the people closest to you that you love them recently?? Why not do it today ?
So Happy Birthday Chrissy!! Like I said to you right up until your very last day…. I will always love you x