Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Small Step of Acknowledgement

"Progress is succeeding at small steps along the way." 
                                -If Not DietingEmpowerment cards

I have had a extremely difficult few months. 

It all started this spring with a torn rotator cuff in my shoulder. The pain and the disruption it caused in my life was more than I could have imagined.  I learned that the value of uninterrupted sleep is immeasurable and that chronic pain is real challenge to one's peace of mind.
All the while, I was taking care of my mother. 

Last summer I quit my day job, because she no longer could take care of herself.  I dressed her, bathed her, changed her diapers and took care of her medical care and finances.  It wasn't easy, but it was what I knew I would always do if the time came. 

 On July 4th, she went into the hospital with a life threatening infection.  The doctors didn't think she would make it.  However they were able to get the infection under control and she was moved to a step down hospital for therapy. 

 I traveled to and from her bedside, almost daily through July and august.  Anyone who has been through daily hospital visits, knows how stressful that experience is.

Then early September mom began to have respiratory difficulties which quickly effected her heart. One morning I got a call that she had needed to be defibrillated several times.  Later that day I watched as the medical team tried to get her heart back to a normal rhythm for the second time that day.   After many shocks and CPR there wasn't anything left for them to do.  I laid in her arms telling her I loved her, as she took her last breath.

Mothers Day 2013
 In the days that followed, I went through some of the worse pain I've ever felt.  I felt like there was a gaping hole in my chest.  I had lost my dad five years ago (watched him die too), but somehow this was worse.  Maybe because she was my mommy, maybe because she was my last parent, maybe because the role of caretaker (I had played in some sense my entire life) was ending, maybe all of the above.

 After the funeral, the day to day pain of the pain of grief has gotten much less, but now I am left with the details of her passing to deal with.  There is so much to do, so much to figure out and there financial stress on my family that is quite intense at the moment.

Then on top of it all, I found out the meniscus I had repaired in my right knee in 2010 was re-torn.  So on October 1st, I had knee surgery. 

 This past week, I found myself wondering "what the heck is wrong with me? Why do I feel depressed? Why do I feel less able to cope?  Why does my body feel achy and sore all the time (even when I don't workout)?

Now you would assume I should know why, considering the events of my life over the last months.  People even have said to me, "Stephanie, of course you don't feel great, you've been through a lot."  But I just didn't get it, not until the last few days.

If progress is succeeding at small steps, the small step I'm taking today is acknowledgment.

I want to acknowledge the huge amount of stress I've been through. I want to acknowledge that I'm healing and that takes time.  I want to acknowledge that I am grieving, I am scared and I am sad.  I want to acknowledge the energy of who I am has just taken a major shift, as my family of origin is no more, that somehow among family and friends I feel alone. 

There is a freedom I feel in the acknowledgment.  It feels like it makes room, room for something new. 

 Me and my 7 year old daughter went on a hike the other day.  As we climbed up a steep hill, she said to me "Nature wants to go down, not up."  I laughed at her wisdom and the truth in it.  As we finished the hike, I was still thinking about what she had said.  And I told her "I think nature wants to go down, so that IT CAN GO up."  She considered for a moment and ran off to play. 
Maybe there is something you need to acknowledge too?  Something that you won't allow to go down and it's stopped from ever going up.
Acknowledgement is giving not giving emotion and circumstance power...acknowledgment is a step towards transformation.

It feels like the moment when the last little bit of sunlight slips into the horizon.  That moment allows darkness to pass, however its coming is the only way the sun will rise again tomorrow.


Nicole D. Johns said...

Whoa, Steph, you hit a button for me. Thank you. I have had a terrible time acknowledging that I am in pain and grieving the loss of my marriage and the dreams I had for my future. Just keep moving I tell myself, but you have to keep feeling, while you are moving. And sometimes you really need to just sit the hell down and cry. Or just be still. Acknowledging pain and stress is a hard one for me, because one of the people who is "always so strong". So thank you. I needed this. Wishing you many blessings and peace on your journey.

Fresh and Feisty said...

Thank you for sharing this! I too have been struggling with acknowledgement. The last few days the idea that it's okay not to be okay has showed up in quite a few different places. So, sometimes it's okay to not be okay. Your mom is gone and you will always have to deal with that. You can be okay not being okay with that! And, now I'm not sure I've made any sense. But, thank you again!!!