My January wishes…

Everywhere I look, people are exhausted.
Who knew that change and uncertainty could be so exhausting?
Who would have guessed that four years later we’d still be dealing with the ripples from covid?
Whatever the covid years cost you and whatever you’re dealing with now,  I hope you will be gentle with yourself this year,
… you’ve been through a lot.
   xox

 

as 2023 winds down…

 

 

As we approach the end of 2023, we and our world are looking frayed around the edges. 
 
In the past four years the world has survived lockdowns and upheaval while we faced personal challenges at home and work.  
 
We who remain have survived… but living in survival mode and waiting for the next shoe to drop, has left us mentally and emotionally exhausted.
 
Our bodies survived but our hearts and souls paid the price.    
We are in need of rest and restoration.
 
Whatever you are doing this holiday season, whoever you are with and whomever you may be missing, please be gentle with yourself.
 
You’ve been through a lot and your exhaustion is real.     xox
 

 

 

 

What if you’re in pain…

 

 

What if you’re not in pain because your problem is unfixable but because you don’t have the tools and the skills you need to fix it?

If you believe that losing someone is the cause of your pain, then it’s easy to believe that your pain is unfixable.  But what if your pain is actually from feeling like you’ve lost the opportunity to make things right with someone?      What if losing the chance to say something important is what has actually been haunting you?

Grief Recovery gives people the tools to identify the truest source of the pain they’re feeling and teaches them the steps to take to heal.

Whether you use the tools once you have them… is up to you.    xoxo

A Thanksgrieving permission slip…

This is a note for the people who are feeling big stuff right now.

You may be newly alone, may have been alone for a very long time… or you may be surrounded by people and feeling alone anyway.   The why and the how hardly matters right now, what matters is that if for whatever reason you don’t feel like pretending to be grateful about anything this Thanksgiving weekend, you don’t have to.

You don’t have to pretend.

You’re entitled to your feelings.

… and yes there will be some folks who are uncomfortable with you having feelings.  

That’s okay.  

   …Let them be uncomfortable.

Your feels are real and they deserve your time and respect.

 

Whether you choose be with others, or stay quietly on your own this weekend,

Please be gentle with yourself.

 

Grieving our New Normal…

 

The world has always been changing but covid gave us more change in a few years than any of us ever dreamed of.

When change is small and incremental and we have time to acclimatize, we hardly notice the process … but covid wasn’t small or incremental, it stopped everything, all at once and we Noticed.

We noticed what we lost and we noticed what was suddenly out of reach…

Now we’re noticing the things that did not return to the way they were….  and for those changes and losses, both large and small, we are grieving.

We’re grieving plans that won’t come to fruition because of the ways the world has changed.   We’re grieving years lost trying to make old rules work and the new realization that new skills need to be learned and practiced.   Many of us are grieving the scarcity of folks who are safe to talk to about any of this.

The big lesson that covid taught us is that we need each other.   We are all more fragile than we were admitting and our emotional and mental healths deserve more care than they were getting.    As we learn to navigate this familiar-but-different world, many are looking for new and better ways to care for themselves and better skills to teach their children.

Recovering from grief is almost always about unearthing unspoken truths and speaking them with love and respect.

When you’re ready to talk, Grief Recovery Listens.

When life gets messy…

 

When life gets messy, emotions get messy and you may feel as though you’re a mess … even though intellectually, you’re doing okay…

The quality of our lives doesn’t rely solely on our intellect, it also depends on our emotional health and the support systems we’ve got to maintain that health.  Most folks aren’t taught how to maintain emotional health, instead they’re taught intellectual strategies for understanding, ignoring, or coping with pain so that they can get back to work and silently carry on.   Few of us ever learned how to name our emotions honestly and to heal our heart when it hurts.

In order to heal messy emotional pain you need tools that work on your emotions, not intellectual rationalizations for why you hurt.

Grief Recovery teaches people how to heal emotional pain using emotional tools.

… because trying to heal an emotional pain with intellect, is like trying to paint a wall with a hammer…

… it just makes a mess …

 

Are you keeping accurate accounts?

 

Have you added it up?

Are you honest with yourself about what the last few years have cost you… ?

… or the years before that?

 

Do you treat yourself with compassion and kindness,

… for all that you’ve been through?

 

When we don’t keep an accurate account of what it takes to get through each day, the tough times can find us with low reserves and we run the risk of falling into a kind of emotional overdraft.   From there, it’s easy to treat ourselves and everyone we meet with less love and kindness than they deserve.

 

The covid years showed us the cost of ignoring this basic accounting… and now many people are trying to rebalance their personal accounts.

 

People are looking at what they were taught to do, what they did and what they got from following the old rules.   Many are choosing to step off and find something different for themselves because of what they are seeing.

 

Even if your life isn’t changing much, the shuffling of others is a palpable and unsettling feeling

… and those unsettling feelings often loosen up unexpected grief.

 

Whether it is grief for the roads not taken… or for the old familiar, that seems long gone, your feels are real and deserve your respect.

Please be gentle with yourself.  xox

 

 

Grief Recovery teaches people how to take an accurate accounting and then, how to heal the hurts that have long been overlooked. xox

 

 

When we realize that we’re on the wrong road…

It can happen because someone died, we lost a job or a pet or a friend.   The loss pushes us to look at what’s important in life and we realize that we’ve been on the wrong path… for a LONG, LONG time.   It’s a frustrating and discouraging revelation.    We look back and see how hard we worked and how far we’ve come and don’t know whether to swear, or scream or lay down and weep.

This is a grief that isn’t often talked about.   It’s separate from the grief that started us looking back.

It’s the grief of stumbling and falling, trying and failing, learning who to trust and who we can lean on… and who we can’t.

One of the painful steps in Grief Recovery is accepting that people we trusted, gave us bad advice or set us on a faulty path.   They meant well…  but they were misinformed.   Worse yet is when we knew in our gut that what they were saying wasn’t right for us… but we were too young or inexperienced to step away from what we were being told.

The grief you feel remembering these moments is real.

Be gentle with yourself. xox

 

Your feelings are telling you something…

 

“It’s been a hard few years.”

Can you feel the truth rolling in your gut when you read those words?

They don’t need explanation or justification, those words speak volumes on their own.

It’s unfortunate that so few of us are saying those words…  Or talking honestly about how the covid years affected us.   Many are keeping their stories to themselves because of the crappy responses they heard growing up …

“What makes you think you’re so special?”

“Stop acting so Precious.”

“You’re Overreacting.”

 

Comments like those are hurtful.     They add shame to the pain we’re already carrying and tell us that our listener isn’t a safe person to talk to… but ready or not, we need to start listening to the stories around us.

After three years of coping with the effects of covid, we’re each dealing with our own collection of covid-related after-effects and emotions.  When you add that to life’s usual mix of change, grief and losses, it explains why everyone’s fuse is so short lately and why you may be feeling one inch from a meltdown more often than you’d like.

Pre-covid we’d grown accustomed to a system that exalted tireless workers and shamed anyone who “needed” a rest.   That’s how we learned to pretend that we were fine.   We learned to push through hunger and exhaustion, grief and sorrow as if none of that mattered.   We pushed ourselves to do more with less until we were running on fumes… and we didn’t say anything about it.

Like the townsfolk in the fairytale “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, no one was willing to say:  this way of life is bad for us.   It’s bad for our mental, spiritual and emotional health…

Then covid arrived and pushed the system beyond its limits.  Things that we could “put up with” before were suddenly too much.   Some collapsed then, many more are only beginning to feel the effects now…  We need to talk about what’s happening.

There are a million things that need to change if we are to live our happiest, healthiest lives and balancing the needs of everyone, is a tricky thing… but not an impossible one.

It’s scary to be the one who speaks up when others aren’t.

But we’ll never find the solutions we need, if we don’t start talking about the problems.

xoxo

 

 

Saying the words that need to be said…

There will always be well meaning folk who tell us “what we have to say” or “what we should say” but until we feel safe to say the words, they stay lodged in our hearts and our minds and our throats.

Important words, left unspoken keep us stuck in grief…

The Last Word

“I want …”

The words stick, like a seldom-used garden gate. I cough the rust from my throat, and try again. “I want a divorce.” I speak softly, aware that others are standing a few feet away. I can tell they are curious, their desire for gossip- worthy information outweighing my need for privacy.

“I know you left first. But you were gone before I could tell you, so I’m telling you now.” I reach out to straighten his silk tie, but curl my fingers back. The time for that is past. There’s no response, but I don’t expect one.

Staring at the muted, gray and burgundy wallpaper behind him, I consider my words. This may be my last opportunity to tell him. He deserves to know. Or maybe, I just deserve the chance to tell him.

I had a speech prepared. A detailed list of his sins and my virtues. But facing him now, I can’t remember a single word.

“You didn’t make me happy,” I finally say. “I’ve been a good wife. I ran your errands and made your appointments. I sent your mother birthday cards. I know your favorite team, how you like your steak cooked. I’ve heard your same stories a hundred times and still laugh at the right places.”

Behind me, someone has eased closer. I glare over my shoulder and they step away.

“You never even bought me a Valentine,” I whisper.
My hands tremble, but I continue. “I realized when you left.

When the first thing I felt…” Tears threaten to choke me, but I manage to swallow them back. “The first thing I felt was a sense of relief.”

The words hang between us. Not just today’s, but all the words that were never uttered.

I’m aware of bodies moving closer again, whether from impatience or curiosity, I’m not sure. My time with him is over. I need to move on.

I decide to straighten his tie after all. Smoothing the red silk, I step back. “I felt relief and that’s just wrong,” I say. “So I needed to tell you.”

And with one last brush of my fingertips across his coffin, I turn and walk away.

The Last Word is a work of fiction written by Tammie Rue Elliott.

 

Take a page from our heroine…

even when you wonder if it’s silly…

even when others might tell you it’s too late…

 

Say the words that you need to say.
It will heal your heart.
xoxo

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