Me, After Grief.

Sea Girt

“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.”

Quotes About Grief — Somet Things Cannot Be Fixed, They Can Only Be Carried

(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.

9 comments on “Me, After Grief.

  1. katie

    So glad you were able to trade for the light jacket, although truthfully the “light jacket” made me think of the miss congeniality quote… “all you need is a light jacket!” Thank you for sharing with the world, I really think it is important to talk about how you are feeling, and letting others know that it is okay to not be okay.

  2. Mindy

    Right there with you, my friend. Everything from the spending to realize you’re a different person on this side of grief. 100% relate.

  3. Dietitian Jess

    I’m glad you are sharing your story and taking it a day at a time. I think that first year is the toughest because it’s so unexpected to know how to feel and how to deal with things. Next week will mark 3 years since my dad unexpectedly passed away and I still have bad days. I hated when people said you will find your new normal, but it is true, but I still struggle with the thought of him not being here as “normal” at all. Just keep moving forward and lean on your support systems when you need them <3

  4. Anne

    I really love how you recognize that your experiences will necessarily *change* you. How could you be who you were before? You have experienced soul-altering, life-changing things in the past few years. You are strong beyond measure, and I am so grateful that you share your experiences with the world.

  5. Caroline Townsend

    This brought a tear to my eye and really resounded with me. I lost my dad 2 and a half years ago. It took me a long time to get out of the fog but it does get better. Or rather we learn to cope with it better. Great quote and it is so true. I really hope you keep moving forward and can trade the lightweight jacket in for a feather light one in the not too distant future. x

  6. Tasha

    I don’t know you but I do know what it’s like to be in your shoes. I lost my mom to cancer when I was just 15 years old. Those were some of the darkest days of my life. I felt pressed down and sometimes felt like I was choking on the grief. 15 years later, I have more normal days with a few horribly dreadful grief days – the ones where something major happens that I realize I can’t share with her, or the times where a song triggers a flood of emotions. You WILL come out on the other side of this and you already are on your way there. I hope you find your light again and I hope that your good days far outweigh your bad. Give yourself credit- you’re already doing amazing! <3

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