“I’m really proud of how well you’re doing.”
I heard it first from my psychiatrist the other day—a woman who has certainly seen all of the ups and downs over the past 18 months or so. My best friend verified it when I told her how my doctor gave me a huge hug on the way out. “Yup, we all think the same.”
I heard it again last night, sitting across from a dear friend of my mom’s.
“You’re going to be OK, Theodora, I really believe it.”
(this is a great quote from this great book by Megan Devine)
That wasn’t the first time I heard that in these past 53 weeks since losing my mom—but it’s only been the past week or so that I’ve believed it. I sure as hell didn’t believe it four months ago. But here we are. I don’t think grief ever ends —it’s something we carry.
Last year, I wrote: “I feel as though I’m wearing one of those lead jackets they give you for X-rays at the dentist’s office, only it’s made of fear and worry.” After my mom died, that jacket became a heavy lead jacket of grief, depression and hopelessness.
I’ve been wrestling and writhing in discomfort with that jacket, but I think I’ve finally switched it for just a light jacket.
In telling my BFF how I’m trying to reign in spending (eating/drinking/other bad habits grief has been an excuse for) and quite honestly, forgetting how I did that pre-grief, I realized this:
I am not the person I was before my mom got sick.
I am not the person I was while she was sick, and in that horrific first year of my grief.
I am this new version of me. In some ways, it feels like I am Kimmie Schmidt, just dropped from the bunker. I’m this new person living in this world that’s totally new to me, and I need to figure out so much all over again, which is terrifying and exciting all at once.
I woke up on July 8 feeling like it was the first day of the rest of my life. It’s obviously not just the marker of one year, as Meg reminded me—it’s also all the hard work I’ve done on myself, with myself, with an extensive mental health team.
My doctor reminded me there’d still be some tough days—and I’ve had some “normal” tough days since in addition to a tough grief day, but I’m rebounding so much faster, which is such a relief to me.
But I am legit so ready and open to the future and setting big goals and making big plans.