Stay Strong. These are words that I had engraved on the back of my son’s dog-tag. The dog-tag that held his sister’s thumbprint on the front. The thumbprint which was taken after she died in a car accident.
There have been times I have wanted to scream when people tell me I’m so strong. WHAT?? What choice do I have? There is no delete button, no stopping the world from spinning. Well, I suppose there is one way – but I’m too much of a wimp for that.
But truly, I don’t have a choice. I have lost a child and that is unimaginable pain. Those who walk this path with me have to learn to breathe all over again, learn how to put one step in front of the other when all we want to do is crawl, or lie on the floor. It kind of made me mad when I first heard those words “you’re so strong”.
Today, my mind was numb after watching my daughter’s friends graduate grade 12 and doing my best to celebrate with them for the past two days. Yes, we gave away five scholarships and yes I was proud of those kids, but today I have been in recovery mode. After all the preparations and planning, I had nothing to do today. I found myself going back to what I do to keep myself upright. I had coffee with my girl, I worked out, I meditated, I prayed, I walked and I biked.
A thought crossed my mind. Maybe….just maybe…I AM strong. Could it be? But what does strong really mean? I don’t know about you, but I think of an athlete when I think of strong. What do athletes do to stay strong? They train their bodies for starters. I thought…I do that…in fact I have found it to be the best therapy. I walk, I lift weights, I bike, I run….I simply can’t sit still anymore. Athletes eat a nutritionally sound diet. I thought…I do that…I would say I am on point with my diet 90% of the time. When I stray off of my clean and balanced diet, I feel weak and sick. Athletes also have a powerful mindset that is “strong”. It is said that they practice visualizing themselves on the podium or completing a spin/jump/etc with perfection. I may not be thinking of a podium, but I do take care of my mind with positive thinking and gratitude. I even like to think about the future and about experiencing joy again.
As you can see, my wheels were turning. I thought maybe we can use the “OK” days on our grief journey to “train” for the horrible days. If our minds and bodies are in good shape, then maybe we can survive the long journey of grief.
I’m still navigating this awful, bumpy road and I’m not saying I have it figured out – not by a long shot – but a healthy lifestyle and healthy mindset with a BIG dose of positive thinking and some help from above have helped me STAY STRONG. I’ve survived this for 202 day, so that means I can survive another 202 .
I have a son who needs me and so many things to live for while I am waiting to see my daughter again one day. If I have to be here, I may as well be the best ME and live the best LIFE possible.
Wishing you love and light.