I'm sure it will come as no surprise to you when I say that I've pretty much felt dead inside since finding out we were going to lose Petey. I realize it's still extremely early on so I'm cutting myself some slack on not feeling "normal" yet but honestly? I am getting sick of it. Grief is exhausting. Normally I am a happy, funny, warm, positive person who easily inspires and motivates people. People like being around me and I like being around people. I am usually fun. I am usually full of passion. I am usually full of MUCHNESS. But it feels like losing Petey stripped me of that. Honestly, I felt a lot of it slowly melting away during the seemingly endless months spent struggling with infertility but after this blow I am worried I may never again be the same person I was.
So when Lyndsey on my Loss board posted a link to a free 7-day challenge for babyloss mothers to "find their Muchness" and to see the beauty in life and in ourselves again in spite of our grief (through http://findingmymuchness.com/), I was interested.
Muchness is the energy, the life, the spark of positivity that fuels our days, our imaginations, and our confidence.
Lyndsey said that she was going to do this challenge as a way to honor her baby by not forgetting who she is; that while she is allowing her loss to change her, she's not allowing it to ruin her. That really spoke to me. I signed up too.
So that's what I've been doing this week: Finding my Muchness. Or, as the challenge put it, I've been using "helpful insight, inspired ideas and thoughtful support in an effort to rediscover my light and release myself from the shadows of grief".
I won't say I got all the way there or that I was even able to complete every single challenge but I did come to some helpful conclusions this week as a result of this program. Here's a summary:
- It's okay to not be sad all the time. I can allow myself to smile or laugh or have fun without feeling guilty that I am betraying or forgetting Petey.
- I need to keep myself from getting addicted to my grief because of the feeling that it keeps me connected to Petey. If I move on with my life my thoughts and memories of Petey will always be with me. They are not going anywhere and I can stop and think of him any time I need or want to.
- I can honor Petey by keeping his memory alive in intentional ways.
- Keeping busy is good for me. As soon as there is nothing to distract me my brain goes to my grief.
- Writing is good for me. Writing about positive things is even better.
- I do have the power to not let emotional triggers wreck me. I can reframe them in positive ways and use them as a way to remember my love for Petey
- There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for and a way to find my light in the darkness. It might be extremely difficult but there IS a way to find it.
Through the challenges, I was also able to look at myself in a new way and see that I am strong and courageous and determined and loving and ALIVE; I don't need to be defined by my loss and though it may take a long time and a lot of hard work, I CAN find a way to move forward even stronger.
I'm glad I took this challenge. I won't pretend that I'm magically "healed" now and bursting with light and enthusiasm or anything but it did give me some new perspectives on life and grief and some tools that I might be able to use moving forward. And it also managed to get me through this Mother's Day without a breakdown. So that alone made it worth it!
I hope my Muchness will just continue to grow and fill me up again as it did before. I'm sure it will be a slow process but in a week and a half I will be taking a giant step towards that goal; I'll be taking a long-anticipated trip to Toronto for a visit with some of my fabulously amazing IDOB sisters. I expect my Muchness meter to get a nice big headstart then and I can't friggin' wait! :-D