Mixed emotions…..

Are you feeling the pain of loss?

I get it !!!! so im keeping it real...

Mixed emotions can feel like pieces of you have just been cut up and put into a blender to be made into some kind of smoothie. Only this smoothie is bitter and tasteless, it’s one of those drinks you wouldn’t make for your worst enemy.

It sounds like a harsh recipe but life can be harsh sometimes!

When living through an extremely harsh time it can feel like you are slowly sipping that bitter tasteless smoothie by force. You don’t want to drink it but somehow it feels as though you’re being forced too.

While you are drinking this horrible drink you can see others enjoying their chocolate smoothie and you just wish you could swap with someone for just a moment and have a taste of something better instead of bitter.

The mixed emotions start to have a voice and all you can hear are the words “Why me?”

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Unfriendly **Reminders**

Life keeps us busy filling our minds to full capacity. The fuller the mind the more we start scribbling onto our calendars important reminders of events or errands which ensure we are sticking to our commitments. Those of us who are tech savvy like to use our computer calendars! Whichever way we choose to set up our all-important reminders the pressure to REMEMBER is lessened.

Events and errands chop and change from one week to the next yet the yearly all important dates we have celebrated every year are generally not put on the calendar as a reminder but rather a HIGHLIGHT of that day which builds anticipation. Families get together and celebrate birthdays!!! While couples take time out to remember anniversaries.

Having experienced a marriage breakup some seven and a half months ago I thought I would share about a confronting reminder that pops up particularly in the first year. Clearly the first year is the hardest for any difficult situation, whether a break up or a death in the family, both situations share in common GRIEF.

When a good or bad relationship falls apart significant reminders within that first year can be very confronting stirring up unwanted and painful emotions.

Not too many weekends ago it would have been our 28th Wedding Anniversary. During the week leading up to that day I experienced moments in which sadness overwhelmed me for short periods of time. It happened at work sitting in front of the computer while focused on doing my job. Background music in the office penetrated through my work focused brain and reminded me that my marriage was over! Sitting at the usual coffee spot for a bite of quick lunch a few days later set me off into fighting back tears of sadness, the tears lost their fight as I tried hard to compose myself in order to make my way back into the office.

The night before that dreaded DAY I spent a fun evening with my sisters. Waking up on the first broken anniversary I felt positive, I was convinced that the day was not going to get to me.  After all I had spent some tears already the week prior.

The day turned out beautifully as we visited a lovely country café with my gorgeous parents. The anniversary topic surfaced on several occasions that day, it seemed that I was doing well and I felt some relief thinking there was not going to be any emotional torrents of sadness anymore.

Despite all of my positivity a sudden flow of unexpected tears erupted later on in the afternoon as a large wave of sadness hit me, washing me over once again with GRIEF.

What would have been our anniversary was one of those REMINDERS that my marriage was finished. I felt similar emotions as we experienced our first Christmas after the break up.

It seems all the FIRSTS of special occasions pop up as reminders of what once was….

The intensity and frequency of grief changes, in the beginning it is as though you are out at sea helpless amidst natural forces as sadness and anger are relentless.  As time moves on the intensity softens as does the frequency. Daily sadness shifts into random moments often weeks apart.

Letting go of what once was can be one of the hardest experiences we face in life. When we have spent decades with someone whether it was good times or bad it’s impossible to simply move on instantly as though that person never existed. I often hear people say that dealing with the loss of a loved one who has passed is far easier to handle than a break up. People that have passed are physically gone forever. A partner no longer in a relationship with you is still out there living life. If you have kids with them the opportunities of having to interact are increased. In my situation while I have five children to my previous partner four of them are grown up adults living their own lives. While I do have a 9 year old to look after unfortunately his dad hasn’t been interested in keeping contact.  In some ways I can count myself lucky that I haven’t had to see my previous partner as I’m still under one year of break up and unable to comprehend having to see him any time soon.

I’m more than happy for additional time to pass before I need to cross that bridge. My hope is that  for whatever reason I have to face him one day down the track my heart will have healed enough that it won’t affect me anything like it would at this time.

That is possibly one of the worst parts about our break up story. The unhealthy marriage was dragged out for far too long which meant that the break up was extremely intense and painful. There was no adult discussion or mutual agreements.

Life is going to bring us unfriendly reminders. Breakups are painful. Anything that reminds us of pain is what we all want to avoid particularly in that first year! I’m more hopeful than I have been in a long time. The more my life moves on the less last year’s break up affects me.

Pain and hurt start falling behind like a competitor competing in a race only to find themselves coming last while your LIFE moves on and starts WINNING!!!

 

 

The Bitter & Sweet taste of December

The most sentimental month of the year is upon us…. December….

December sneaks up quickly every single year. Most people tend to shake their heads in disbelief that the year is nearly over. As you consider the other eleven months of the year it is December that succeeds at building anticipation into the lives of people. The anticipation begins in the shopping malls. Christmas decorations create an atmosphere of joyful celebration. Individuals visiting shopping malls may be battling all sorts of issues in their lives or their families yet the Christmas spirit provides a tiny distraction from the reality facing them.

Boxes marked ‘Christmas deco’s’ are pulled out of storage cupboards. These boxes are filled with Christmas treasures collected over the year’s. Some of the decorations may hold special meaning especially the ones handed down by someone in the family or the ones handmade at school by young children. The inside and outside of homes are decorated and tell a Christmas story unique to each family.

Over the years life changes and life happens. These changes can affect our families and lives drastically representing various joys, challenges and events. Depending on the types of challenges and events we each face determines the various emotions we have to deal with.

The intense and difficult events we face, the ones that take the wind out of our sails can leave us hesitant at facing the month of December.

December represents family, celebration, giving, sharing, holidays, laughing and fun. It also represents the end of the year. Most people begin considering what the next year will look like while others go a step further and make plans.

If you have been blessed to have had a relatively pain free year then Christmas is always a great way of winding it up. A good year lays the foundation for excitement to build in the home. Family members begin thinking about which gifts to buy each other. Christmas presents are stashed in secret places to keep them hidden. The smells of Christmas cookies or cakes send out signals from kitchen windows signifying the arrival of this special anticipated day.

I’ve had some difficult Christmas’s in times past in which the lack of money made it difficult to relax. Or the crazy Christmas house move that invaded all of the typical traditions that would have normally taken place, leaving everyone feeling as though Christmas didn’t really happen. Those types of Christmas’s although challenging were lived through as one family unit, a family of seven.

We all hear about families that break down. Sometimes we hear about it and gasp in shock at the news.

The shock and surprise is even worse when it is your own family that has broken apart. This is the reality of my year.  My recent blogs share about this journey filled with more downs than ups.

Christmas time marks five months of being a single mum to a 9 year old. All four of my other children are adults and live in Queensland. This Christmas I will be celebrating with my parents and sisters including their families. We won’t be alone. Knowing that I won’t be celebrating with my adult children is daunting. Just the thought alone has sort of been put to the side for the moment as I don’t want to feel the hurt of that too early.

On a normal Christmas month I would have already put up all of the decorations in the house and around the house. In fact that always happened on the 1st of December. I was never one to have had the presents purchased early. This would normally happen about a week before Christmas. I would spend hours with my husband shopping for all of the kids. We would stop for coffee on regular intervals just to keep our energies up as we navigated the shopping crowds. It was fun in a crazy way. I would also purchase all the ingredients to cook up a Finnish feast for our large family to enjoy!

Given the massive changes this year my Christmas is very different. No crazy decorations around my small two bedroom unit, just a small tree. No crazy Christmas shopping for all of the kids. Just a little shopping for my 9 year old as my peanut budget restricts me. For my adult children it will be equally hard and difficult as they spend Christmas without their mum and young brother. That thought alone breaks my heart in two.

As others plan and consider the New Year I can’t even fathom the year ahead. I’m still dealing with loss and hurt. While the pain has lessened it hasn’t disappeared. Some days I just hurt. It is no easy task to have had your identity as a mum of a large family switched to a mum of one 9 year old. My identity has changed and my responsibilities. I’m also my son’s only provider financially and emotionally. He is the one I am focusing on for the time being.

When you are in the middle of heart break the anticipation of Christmas becomes diluted. It is diluted in pain and hurt. My story is one of many. Many families experience breakdowns, tragedies and loss.

If you are one of the many who happen to be experiencing heart breaking events leading up to Christmas I only hope that my blog has a way of letting you know that you are not the only one. You are not alone. Others too are facing a Christmas not quite the same as previous ones. And that’s OK. There are no rules for how to feel. Allow yourself to feel the pain and the hurt. Talk about it with your family and friends.

As I consciously repeat to myself over and over again that “this pain will pass”, I’m aware that there are no short cuts through. I acknowledge my pain and have come to accept that this Christmas will be different…..

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥