I’m back. I know, its been a while. I missed you.
There is a lot I need to tell you, but first I have a confession. Its about hiding behind other people. I’ve loved writing and story telling since I was 8 years old. I wrote stories and kept journals in my free time. I kept a blog in college and turned it into a novelette when I graduated to share with the world. Then I let the world tell me everyone else is a better writer and I should stop. I should help other people tell their stories. So when I started ‘a peace of eden’ it was originally a mom blog community for stories, then it morphed into this women empowering, “me too corner” of the internet. People from all walks of life bore their souls and shared their struggles here. And I continued to hide.
I left the community I created when I needed it most.
When life changing events happen, my first instinct is to shut down my social media. So when summer of 2017 brought me into a season of a relationship ending, Facebook had to go. It was a hard fought love of almost 2 years that just wasn’t right. We wanted it to work, but it became more and more obvious no amount of love and hard work would make the puzzle pieces fit together. We had different personalty types, dreams, views of the world and coping skills. And even though I knew this would happen, it didn’t hurt any less when, less than month after he finally moved out, a new, 7 years younger, skinnier, more sporty than me blonde showed up on his social media as the new girlfriend. It felt like someone had put ice in my blood stream. In hindsight, this is a reflection of him and his inability to be alone, not me, but in the present moment it felt all about me, us and what was wrong with me that he would move on so quickly. So I quickly deleted Facebook, took his family off my Instagram and set about trying to work through the anger I felt toward this person.
Then, on November 17, 2017, as I was walking into work I checked my phone to find 3 missed calls from my mom. Panicked I stopped in my building’s lobby. Her sobs filled my ears and all I can remember her saying is “Its your dad. Your dad had a heart attack Kim. Hes gone.” I dropped to the floor and felt a hand reach into my chest and break my heart directly in two. Planning a funeral, calling his friends and putting him in the ground is a blur. It made no sense. Who was going to talk to me on my drive home from work? Walk me down the aisle? Indulge in junk food with me? 27 years, 4 months and 13 days. That is how long I got to keep my dad. He wasn’t perfect, but he was goofy and supported me, told me like it was and reminded me often that getting upset about nonsense just wasn’t worth it. He loved beer, fast cars, horses, working hard and most of all, me and my sister. He knew how to have a good time and was always the first one on the dance floor. He taught me about cars, hard work, and humility. It took me 27 years of prying stories out of my dad because he never talked about himself. And then in the midst of this hard thing, we had to put my dad’s horse down and give his dog, Duke away. That is when Instagram had to go. I couldn’t watch other people post’s about their awesome dad’s.
January 27, 2018 brought rain and a road trip down to Kentucky to pick up my new baby puppy. An Australian Labradoodle named Winnie. She was going to be my new companion and help me with my anxiety, get me outside walking and teach me as much as I would teach her. I spent hundreds of dollars making she she had the best crate, toys, food and treats. I hired a puppy sitter to come twice a day so she wouldn’t be lonely. Instead she brought an itchy throat and 2 asthma attacks in 4 days. After a tearful conversation with my doctor, it was evident that unless I committed to 3 additional medications beyond the ones I was already on to maintain my allergies and asthma, this girl needed a new home.
Which devastated me to my core.
However, the difficulty was not over quite yet. After taking her to the vet we were told she had gotten a parasite at her breeder that would take weeks to get rid of. So Winnie moved to my mom’s, my aunt and uncle said they would adopt her after her parasite was gone and we set to work to tag team take care of this baby we would have to give up. We both learned about sacrifice and selfless love. About getting up early and staying up late so puppy could play longer. About patience and not getting frustrated with tiny accidents. Winnie taught us that we just belong to each other and sometimes all we need is to rest in another’s arms for a minute. That is when my texting fell off.
I felt like a complete failure.
I couldn’t keep my boyfriend committed to our future, I couldn’t keep my dad alive and I couldn’t’ keep my puppy.
In my mind, I was a loser. I did not want to get out of bed. Grocery shopping and getting dressed were absolutely the most daunting things of my day.
I have a list 10 miles long regarding my dads estate, working full time, keeping my health in check and trying to maintain relationships. I’m ramping up to start graduate school and I have a household to maintain.
I’m exhausted. I am spent. I have anger toward my ex boyfriend, toward my dad, toward the universe. It’s palpable. I know my people sense it and it affects them.
You know what? That just isn’t the story I want to write in the next chapter.
Grief is a process.
That is the consensus and all you will hear as people try to give you their sage wisdom and pity eyes. It’s not helpful.
Community is helpful. Patient friends and family. Real, tangible check in’s. Authentic questions and follow up. Grief isn’t just about the process its about taking ownership of the process. Asking for help, choosing healthy healing steps and taking control of what the next part of your story says.
I may not ever come back to the dark world of social media, but I am out of hiding.
How can I help you grieve or let go of something today?