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Is the final stage of grief really transformation?
I can’t begin to tell you how many quotes, books, articles, journals, and Instagram posts—the list is endless—say transformation is the end product of coming out of grief.
I say horse sh*t.
First, there is no coming out of grief; you simply learn how to absorb it within.
It never truly leaves your side, and it comes to visit without an invitation.
Secondly, why does it feel that wherever I look, there is another book touting the benefits of finding purpose?
I am not against finding purpose or those suggestions to help someone after a loss, but when you are in the throes of grieving, that purpose—that transformation—is hard to see.
I lost my father at age 12 and my mother at age 29. I’ve had four miscarriages and lost my husband four years ago at age 45—I think I have become somewhat of an expert in grieving.
Each time I’ve lost someone, I’ve looked toward self-help books to help me through and to find meaning—to transform.
Why do I do this to myself? Grieving is hard enough without all the added pressure to become this new person. All it did was make me “should” on myself. Do you know what “should-ing” on yourself means?
It’s constantly saying you should do something, knowing you should do it, but you don’t—kind of like sh*tting on yourself.
I “should” go for a run. I “should” eat better. I “should” try harder to lose weight. There are so many “shoulds” in this world, and we are all guilty at some point of “should-ing” ourselves.
If we’re living authentically to what is right and natural for us, then there is no reason to put pressure on ourselves or feel guilt.
Making changes to our lives and our thought processes isn’t easy and takes time.
Being a widowed solo mother to a 13 year-old son with a very hectic basketball and school schedule keeps me from doing the things that fill my soul.
I would love to practice my yoga daily or go get lost in that run I used to love so much.
Could I make time to work out? Could I find the time to journal? Could I find the time to…? You get the idea.
Are they excuses?
All the air-brushed Instagram gurus would say they are. They would tell me I can get up earlier or go to bed earlier. I could find the time if were a priority. That phrase makes my blood boil.
Of course, exercising, eating right, and reading more are priorities. I hate that I’d let society make me feel like I am not doing enough.
Is it a lack of time?
My therapist tells me to try to reframe my thinking. She says it’s not the time I lack, it’s the energy I lack. More importantly, it’s my mental energy.
Being a solo mom leaves me exhausted mentally, more than physically. I don’t have a co-parent to give me a break, and there is always so much to do.
Groceries need to be purchased; cooking, cleaning, paying bills, driving my son to practice; and oh, right—working. All of which leaves little time for this thing called transformation.
I know what I need to feel good about myself. I used to be a marathon runner. I have my 200-hour yoga certification. I eat organic. Hell, I even started juicing celery. All these things always make me feel better.
So, why do I continue to “should” myself? Because the guilt that follows is like another punch in the stomach.
Since my husband died four years ago, I have tried to figure out who I am. I know I am not the same person I was. So, who am I now?
I have allowed the bombardment of all those ads on Instagram telling me this new program will be my savior. I can’t tell you how many of those programs I’ve bought these last four years. The newest training workouts, the grief journal, and watching the latest influencer telling me her way is the way to go.
I read a quote once about the lotus flower. That it grows out of the murky, muddy water to bloom into this beautiful flower with the sun’s love. I used this as my guide through my grief and felt the pressure to become that beautiful flower.
Putting pressure on ourselves while grieving only leads to anxiety, depression, and thinking you are not living up to what society thinks your grief path should be.
It took a long time to finally see that a transformation doesn’t have to be this big, new awesome person stepping out of the grip of grief. I can do this in my own time, on my own path.
This is my journey.
I recently started writing. There is a lot for me to process and getting emotions down on paper is truly the best step forward.
I know there will be times that I will “should” on myself and will have to accept the guilt that follows.
I also know all of us are just trying to figure out who we are in whatever stage of life we find ourselves in right now.
I will soften and allow how I am feeling on any given day to be enough for me.
I guess this revelation is my transformation.