Dealing with Grief

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS THE WAY YOU WANT TO

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I’m listening to the radio and the host mentioned how excited she is for Thanksgiving to be coming up next week. I didn’t even realize how quickly it came up.

Before, I would have had my Thanksgiving Day reservation made at Boulevard Five72 and a complete menu for the day after Thanksgiving all prepared by November 1st!

Now, the holidays approach like a regular day for me and I can almost slip through it unnoticed – until the invites come flooding in from friends asking for me to celebrate with them.

Of course I am always grateful, but the holidays after a loss is hard.

Even when you are surrounded by loving family and friends, sometimes it’s still not the same.

Through the smiles and laughter, there are times when a deep sadness peeps through and I wish I was home surrounded by what was familiar.

So, all of this is to say that I know that for some, the holidays may not be easy to navigate. In fact it may be downright hard.

I’ve come to realize that while the holidays will not be the same – some years will be good, some passable and some not so good – I had to give myself permission to do the holidays my way.

I focus on one day at a time and allow myself to do what makes me feel good, even if it means not following the expectations of what others may want me to do.

Every year, Derek and I engaged in our own holiday traditions. One of those would be to go to Bethlehem, PA to look at the Christmas lights and watch Santa ride through town on his Clydesdale-drawn sleigh.

I had a need to continue the tradition even though he was not physically here – so one morning, I just got into the car and drove to PA. The experience was different as it wasn’t during the night as I was used to doing. I also didn’t see Santa, but funnily enough I ended up having a good time exploring the Christmas shops and museums. I let go of expectations and gave myself permission to experience the tradition in a different way.

There are no expectations for you to be able to get through every day smiling and happy and that is ok even if others do not understand.

SO GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO DO WHATEVER  YOU NEED TO DO TO GET THROUGH THE COMING WEEKS.

If you want to stay in and create a voice message that says you are “Out of the Office”–
do it.

Book a trip for the holidays or indulge in something that makes you happy.

Leave a party early or not attend at all.

Or cry.

Give yourself permission to let the energy flow however you need it to.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO PLEASE EVERYONE
AND KNOW THAT EACH YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT.

I used to go to South Carolina to spend the holidays with my best friend and her family. The warm weather and running after my nieces would help me to reset.

This Thanksgiving is a toss-up of spending it with friends or taking an impromptu trip up north. Or I may make lavender and white chocolate cocoa, put on my favorite sweats and binge watch movies.

For Christmas, I always hold an annual Cookie Swap party in early December. However, this year, I have not given a single thought to the actual day and that is ok. Whatever I decide on, I know it will be what I want to do to make me happy. It will be what my soul needs.

SO YOUR MISSION – IF YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT – IS TO DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO DO,  WHATEVER MAKES YOU HAPPY OR CONTENT. THAT’S ALL THAT YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT. ♥

Sending love and light always.

Val

 

RECIPE FOR LAVENDER & WHITE CHOCOLATE COCOA
Combine all of these ingredients into a small container to use whenever you want this indulgent treat.

¼ cup powdered milk
½ cup vanilla pudding mix
1 cup white chocolate, shaved
2 tbsp lavender

In a small saucepan, add ¼ cup of the Hot Chocolate Mixture into 1 ¼ cups of milk. Stir until heated through and the chocolate has melted.

Strain to remove the lavender and Enjoy!

Image by © Andreaobzerova
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Vanity Plate Moments and Finding New Connections

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Perhaps the stars in the sky, are loved ones letting us know they are near, by guiding us through the night | Author Unknown

Our loved ones are always around trying to let us know that they are okay or are always near to watch or guide us. And sometimes they will go through extraordinary lengths to get our attention. However for the widow/er sometimes it’s like a being in a crowded mall with your child and you bump into an old friend. There are so many noises and stimuli including the conversation of catching up with your friend that you don’t always immediately hear your child calling for your attention.

For myself, I had so many emotions and “noises” going on in the first weeks after Derek passed, I couldn’t hear him grabbing for my attention with the exception of the truly extraordinary like when the car radio would play the same song over and over or the time when I felt like I was being woken out of bed by no one in the room (that is a story for another time).

Derek and I used to talk, text or I.M. each other almost non-stop throughout the day — the only time we were not in contact was when we were in meetings. With him gone, I missed that constant contact that soundboard to bounce ideas from, to share stories or to just say “I love you.” It was frustrating to me because there were so many signs pointing to him being present but I couldn’t hear him…

…That is until I lowered the noise in my heard and learned to tuned in to the “right station.”

It began three months after Derek’s passing. I was spending the day with my friend and her 2 god-children in Poughkeepsie. We were returning from my favorite place — Cracker Barrel and were dropping the boys off home. The music was playing and the spirits were high in the car.  The melodies of Barry White were drifting in the background and my friend was recounting stories…stories that I vaguely remember. I was sitting deep in my thoughts wondering why I was still “here?” More importantly, what was I going to do “here” now that my soul mate was gone? Silent tears began to fall…

In an instant the music stopped; the string of thoughts stopped as I heard a voice tell me to look up. In front of me was a white Hyundai SUV stopped in front of us at the light. The license plate said “VALUVAL.”

I stared at that plate for a long time as I couldn’t believe what was in front of me. Of all the places, of all roads of all times, I would stop right behind a car that would hold so much meaning for me. My relationship with Derek changed in that instant. He wasn’t gone, he never left …I just couldn’t hear him.

While my communication with Derek has evolved and expanded, I still talk to him in the most visible way possible — through license plates. Usually, I will ask a question and there will be a car in front of me or near me answering that question.

Below are just a couple of examples of my communications with Derek through this medium. Every time I see a new one I still smile in loving awe and amazement — even the very small and subtle messages. I had to let go of the control of wanting my communication with Derek to be the way it used to. I had to let go of the idea that he had fully abandoned me. He wasn’t going to answer the many texts or emails I left him telling him how much I missed him. He wasn’t going to call me on the phone to tell me he loved me. But when I let go and opened my mind and heart to accept whatever happened, we found a new way of communicating.  And in that, I found that  we are never without them and they are never without us.

March 2013: The one year anniversary is approaching in three months and my anxiety attacks have returned. I find myself in moments when I’m not breathing…

On this late night I’m heading to the supermarket to pick up a couple of items. I get out of the Clarkstown-20130309 - Exxhalecar and emotions begin to overwhelm me; I find myself on the verge of crying again — I put my shades on so no one sees my eyes.  As I return to the car, right in front of  me is the plate – “EXXHALE.” I had been holding my breath again and I finally exhaled>

April 27, 2013: I had just finished my journal entries that was part of my weekly homework in my new Path of Light class. I decided to go out Orangetown-20130427-Maitreya1and take one of my weekend drives and mediate on what I had learned about always being conscious to shine our light into the world. As I was driving, I started to think about how excited I was to be in this class and wondered what the topic of discussion would be for the next week. Just as I was thinking of this a car turned out from a gas station in front of me. The license plate said “MAITREYA.” That following Wednesday in class we received a channeled lesson from Lord Maitreya in disconnecting from the mass consciousness.

IMG-20131028-NewWay1October 2013: It’s been a little over a year since I’ve learned to look for signs from Derek through license plates and yet I still find myself questioning whether my communications with him are real. On my walk home from the bus stop, I found myself posing that same question. I kept wondering how would we communicate effectively? I felt like Derek and I were speaking two different languages and I was not feeling confident that I was “doing it correctly.”  I pulled out my key to open the door; I fumbled and dropped them on the ground. As I stooped over to pick them up, I noticed the license plate “NEWWAY.” Yes, we were learning a new way to talk and I just  had to trust in my ability to get the message that I needed.

March 22, 2014: Was going through a particularly emIMG-20140322-Undead1otional day. Both our anniversary and my birthday was coming up in April and I was feeling Derek’s absence more than ever. I went to the mall hoping to distract myself with a movie. The tears began to flow as I entered the parking lot. I started talking to Derek on how much I missed him. In that moment I doubted that he was really with me — I said to myself that he was dead and that I was making everything up in trying to believe that he “existed.”  As I pulled into a parking spot, there in front of me was a Jeep Liberty with the license plate said “UNDEAD.” Even through the tears, I had to laugh and thank Derek for “bringing me back.”