From Heartbreak to Wholeness by Kristine Carlson: Chapter Two — Preparing for the Journey
As I continue to grieve my grandchildren moving way, working long hours to not think, I managed to find time to completed Chapter Two which asks what is the message in the mess? I still don’t know. Unable to think logically, I am still on an emotional roller coaster.
I miss my grandchildren so much, clinging to the few things they unintentionally left at my house — my grandson’s favorite pajamas, which are now under my pillow, and my granddaughter’s perfume.
My grandson purposefully left his favorite soccer ball, the one I recently bought him, so he’d have it when he visits. He left it behind the plant to the left of our front door, the place where his soccer ball always sat when he was here. He’d race out the door, snagging the ball as he went, kicking it across the parking lot. Now, it just sits. Looking as alone and sad as I feel. I have to move that ball. Every time I come home, I see it and start to cry.
The chapter lists four essentials to this journey to wholeness:
Making time and space for healing
Prioritizing your needs
Aligning with supreme self-care
I haven’t laughed much recently but I was nearly giggling as I typed that list.
My work is intense many months out of the year, especially during the summer. Because June was my last month with the children, I prioritized them, often leaving work much earlier than I should have and not working weekends as I usually do. Now I am far behind in my work. I have neither the time nor the space for healing. Admittedly, work is an escape for me and right now, I welcome that escape.
Prioritizing your needs — when have I ever done that?? I am a nurturer, a giver, a listener — I help others heal, and I work, a lot.
As for the self-care bit, see above. I am writing this, so I think that counts but, otherwise, I am working.
Mindfulness — are you kidding me? I am doing that — at work. Keep my mind on the task at hand. Think about nothing else. Not sure this is a good thing.
Chapter Two Exercise
- What is your “message in the mess”? I have no idea. If there is some meaning in my grandchildren leaving, I haven’t unearthed it. Honestly, I feel guilty, as though I’ve done something wrong and am being punished for it. I don’t know what that is but this is how I feel.
- Why has this experience shown up for you now? What is it here to teach you? Again, no clue.
- What are some of your greatest fears at this time? That I will rarely see my grandchildren. That their visits will be so infrequent that I will hardly know them when we see each other. That they will change from the loving, generous, kind children they were when they left.
- How has grief shown up? Ate you acknowledging your grief and making space to feel it? Grief is ever present. I look around and see so much that reminds me of the children. I see a random grandmother with her grandchildren and I cry because she is not me. I don’t have space. I work, come home, do chores, go to bed, and start over. My husband becomes distressed when I am sad and cry so I try not to show him how I feel.
Your New Story — As you embark on this journey of healing, how can you best prepare for it?
I don’t know how to answer this. I work. Work helps. I read when I can. Reading helps some. I write. Writing helps. But nothing is helping that much.
The book suggests self-care but I don’t have time for that. I work, a lot. I take care of my husband who has health issues and is fifteen years my senior. I take care of my pets and my home. How is there time for anything else?
After the second chapter, I am feeling defeated. The suggestions aren’t plausible. Will this book help at all?
I have a friend who left her husband many years ago. She was broke and relied on her mother’s help to buy a house and pay bills for three months while she wallowed in depression, sleeping 15 hours or more a day, rarely getting dressed, and seeing no one other than her mother. Obviously she need that breakdown to heal. After three months, she emerged from her cave, found a job, proceeded with her divorce, and found a boyfriend. I can’t do that. I have to keep going. Self-indulgence is not an option.