We are not looking to create a perfect life after loss… but a life we are proud of.
We can never ever go back to the innocence we had before our loss.
We can never ever get back the people we lost.
And it will never be perfect.
Today I share with you my imperfect life close to ten years later.
The Waiting Room
The first five years were so hard, I was stuck in the waiting room. I had real nightmares every night. I did what I was expected to do and I worked a job I hated. I was so angry at the professional world of loss as they had no clue how to help me.
But these first 5 years became the reason I built this work so I do not regret the struggles, the scary nights and the devastating heartbreak that took place.
The last five years have been about trusting myself not again…but really for the first time. During that time I also fell in love with someone new.
But something was different.
I was independent. Maybe too independent at first. I didn’t want him to help me with anything. I didn’t want him to pay for anything. And I didn’t want him to love me.
My focus was on creativity much more than a romantic relationship.This was a first for me.
And at the same time I was in the most healthy relationship of my life.
The more I focused on my worth, new identity, creativity and self, the more healthy my relationship was with the new person in my life. Eric is now my second first husband and to this day he is my best friend and biggest supporter. I never knew I could have such a healthy relationship with someone. I didn’t know I could build a company. I didn’t know I could write a book. I didn’t know I could be the woman that I am today. And I didn’t know I could love the way I do now.
But here is where I get even more transparent and I am going to mention something that I have not mentioned before. The truth is I don’t really get along very well with my step daughters. And that is ok. Because our life after loss is not going to be innocent, perfect, flawless. It will be strong, independent and resilient. It took me a long time to stop trying to fix everything. When I stopped trying to fix it and make us the perfect blended family I experienced a new part of my identity. Self trust. Trust that it is ok that it is like this. To still see myself as a good person even though I stopped trying to connect. It was ok to be rebellious towards the traditional life we are expected to live. If you also have relationships in your life that don’t work, stop trying to glue the broken parts. It is not your job.
Your job is to be who you are and the right people will be drawn to you. (Click to Tweet!)
The wrong people won’t. Just knowing this will change everything.
This last year has been about self care. It took nearly a decade to make this a priority.
I hired a trainer at the gym. I became vegetarian. I take close to 30 daily supplements to better my health. You see grief is the opposite of self care – it took me years to unlearn that. And it will take me years to take care of myself the way I am supposed to. This has been the hardest lesson of all.
A real life
I am 43 years old (always proud of my age) and I am planning on spending every day of my life convincing the world that loss is not the end but the beginning of OUR REAL LIFE. The life I live today is the most authentic, transparent, cool, and creative life I have ever lived. My life today has no regrets. It has less self judgement about how I should be. It has gratitude for the smallest things. It has a lot of sunrises as you know. It has healthy relationships. It has insightful weakness. It has failure. Tiredness. But above all it has something I never had before. Trust in myself. Good or bad. Strong or weak.
I know for certain that without the tragedies I have been through I would have never been able to be here today.
If there is one thing to take from this email today is this: Life after loss is not easy but it is the closest you will ever get to the real you. It is the closest you will ever get to trusting yourself. And it is the closest you will ever get to helping others find their way. That’s right when we heal after loss we become the kindest most giving human beings on earth.
PS. Life Experience magazine did an interview about my work. The last question is my favorite one as I am walking towards my most authentic self this next decade.
PPS. And come join our family and get to know who you are after loss.
Thank you for sharing! Going in to year #3 and just learning how to be me without the him. It’s a daily struggle and no one around me understands.
It’s good to know that soneone feels the same way.
Pam we are in this together. Year 3 is when things start to get better just a little. It is not a constant agony. I remember the shift. Sending you a big hug.
Wow! Love it! How you have just opened my eyes! I lost someone 10 years ago also, but not to death, but divorce! To another women! Worst day of my life! I now think very different about life and lessons learned. Thank you, I needed to read this today. Sherrie
Sherrie divorce is a death in a different way. He dies for you but he is alive for everyone else. I am so sorry you had to go through this terrible experience. Make sure you trust yourself as much as possible. Make sure you take care of yourself. And know you are worth so much.
Thank you I so enjoyed reading this, isn’t it funny how when I’m feeling a bit low I read or hear something that helps me on this journey…my soul mate passed away 15 months ago and whilst I’m starting to find my feet again….it is still a struggle !
I would like to thank you so much for your work, your sensitivity and your words. The love of my life I met with 38 committed suicide 11 months ago and I could not foresee it. Unfortunately he was part of my life only for 3,5 years. Although I cannot accept it for the moment I am on the way to realize that it was part of my (life)plan. It eases my pain and gives me trust to read your thoughts. I feel, I am understood. After it had happened, I had following thought: I would like to share what I learn from this experience with people who want it. Maybe this will be the case one day…. Go on doing your wonderful work and strenghtening the people getting in touch with you. Thank you! Valérie