Monday, January 05, 2015

On loss, grief, moving forward, and balance...

Sometimes it can be hard to find focus on a writing topic. I have struggled with what to write about lately on my blog. What do you want to hear? What do I want or need to say?
Many times I am left floundering with half-written posts that never get published or simply keep myself busy with the million other tasks a teacher does in a day. But fresh off of a 2 week vacation, I feel like I need to write about something that has been effecting my life for a while now.

I have had a difficult year. 2014 was hard in many ways for me but the one thing that has kept me going is my students, colleagues, and my family. I lost my mother to cancer in December 2013, four days before Christmas. My mother and I were very close, she was my best friend. It was devastating to lose her after only finding out in September that she had developed lung cancer and had found tumours that had spread all throughout her body and bones from a very aggressive form of the disease. Those last 3 months with Mom really put my life in perspective. I dropped everything and was at her side as much as possible. I had to come back to work from my maternity leave in November 2013 and luckily Mom was able to come home for a week or so during my son's first birthday. Many people wondered why I didn't try to extend my leave to spend more time with my Mom, but I felt as though I needed some distraction. My job focused my day and got me out of bed and stopped me from crying every moment of the day. I was probably not the best teacher during the last 2 months (or more) from that year, but I found myself able to move forward (the way Mom would want me to). It is all about balance, and trying to find that during a traumatic time can be very challenging. My Mom was very strong-willed and was "keeping her head up and pushing forward" throughout the whole ordeal.

No one wants to feel days closing in but it happens for some people. A person's outlook on life can make a huge difference in how the situation affects those around you during that time. My mom had sad days for sure (who wouldn't), but made the choice to remain as solid as possible for me and my sisters. A commitment to living your life the best way you can is really the only solution to being happy. There is no day that goes by that Mom doesn't come into my mind, and make my heart hurt. Not many days have gone by that I haven't cried. Having my little guy William is the one thing that pushes me to smile every day. Mom told me to take him outside as much as I can, don't let him just play video games when he's older, and hug and kiss him everyday - so that is what I do. In 2014, I found out I was expecting, in April 2015. Again, I cried that the one person (besides my husband) that I wanted to tell first, was not there anymore. But I am reminding myself that she already knows, and that she is super excited for us and is telling me not to be upset but be very happy and look forward to the new bundle of joy coming to join our family.

I know that grief and loss is not something you get over, but something you live around and adapt to. You grow around it, you become someone maybe a little different than you were before. This is all coming to be a strong realisation for me as I just passed the one year anniversary of my Mother's death, and as I spent my first real holiday season without her. I kiss my family and hug them all the time. I love deeply and put more effort into things I feel are important, including a lot of things that I deemed to be "little things" before but are now finding to be the "big things". I shrug off the things  I can not control and do not let them get the best of me, because if you can't control it then it isn't worth the worry - what will happen will happen and what will be will be. This can be a challenging outlook when life gives you lemons, but remember that there are always people who love you, and you just need to take time for re-balance yourself. You never know how much time you have for yourself or anyone you care for in your life, so be present. Live the moment as positively as you can, because it can all be gone in the next. Whether work gets you down, you're fighting with your best friend, partner or spouse, your child is throwing a tantrum, your car breaks down...whatever it can always be worse so stay positive and look forward with your head up because good stuff is coming to you eventually. Hug your family, show them you care the best way you can and life will be full for you; I know I will.