2017 has been an interesting year. 4 days in, my mom’s best friend (who I considered more of family then my blood family) passed away. She was battling a very aggressive & rare form of breast cancer.?Fast forward to July, a day after my parents wedding anniversary, we got the call that my grandfather had passed away.
One died with their friends & family surrounding them, the other died alone.
I’d be lying if I were to say “I’m okay” cause the reality is even though I’ve come to accept they both aren’t here, I’m deep down still coping with the loss. It leaves me awake at night processing & thinking, especially with my grandfather’s death. With Francis we knew, we could prepare ourselves, we had time too say our final goodbyes, but with him it happened hours after he last spoke to my parents. And since then, things haven’t been too pretty. More family drama which at this point all I can do is pray that the Lord be with them and reveal to them what they’ve done is wrong…but that’s a whole other story. Money makes people do crazy things.?
Back to the sleep thing though. Less sleep = more issues. To be honest, as a self-employed freelancer it’s been very difficult to balance work with what’s going on. I made a lot of mistakes getting back into the groove. I’d forget to invoice clients, I’d forget to respond to emails, etc.?I went from being OCD very detail oriented to making silly mistakes at 3am while working on websites.
As self-employed entrepreneurs it can be tough for us to take the time we need to take a break. I mean, for some of us who can make $10K+ while we sleep, it may allow for more time to rest, but for those just starting out, or for those in the middle, sometimes we can’t take a week off (let alone 3 days!). I work from home full-time and I don’t have a car, so sometimes being stuck in the house all day really leaves me to my own thoughts which can be healing but at the same time somewhat destructive.
But I’m learning to cope and grow from this season in life?and I hope to encourage any of you who are going through the same thing at this time.
Accept Your Emotions
I really try not to bring up either deaths in conversation because if I dwell on it for too long I’ll break down in tears. When it comes to my grandfather it’s a mix of missing him and a mix of anger towards blood relatives. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be angry. For some reason I feel like we’re taught it’s bad to show emotion. I mean, how often do you hear, “Oh don’t cry” when you start to tear up or cry in front of someone? I had a family member tell me that at the funeral I should stop crying because he’s in a better place. For the longest time I hated crying in front of Jon because I thought it made me look weak. But you know what it makes me look like? A f*cking human.?Accept your emotions, realize it’s okay to cry alone and in front of others, and take the time you need to grieve however long it is as long as it doesn’t become destructive. ?As a business owner, the way you feel and react tends to flow into the work you do, so make sure to keep that in mind!
What Positive Coping Mechanisms can I use to fill the void?
Typically when we lose something there’s a void that needs to be replaced. Some people have faith. Others try tangible things. And some fill it with vices.
After the death of Francis I knew I had to change things in my life (especially with my own health). She lived a beautiful life. She had a wonderful family, husband, kids, and she did whatever she could to help others. Gosh she helped me so much and was always supportive of my ventures. She attended all my events even if she had Chemo the day before. She’s one of the strongest women I’ve ever met in my entire life. After her death I began to realize this was the year I needed to stop making excuses and really buckle down on my health. I started to work out more often. I’ve started to take breaks from sitting every 30 minutes to walk or play with the dog outside. I’m meeting with more doctors, budgeting to allow for a healthier diet, and doing what I can holistically to change my body so I’m able to serve others better. And for the times where I’m not feeling well or stuck at home, I’m doing my best to encourage people from where I am, just like she did.
With my grandfather’s death it has now put a pressure on me to spend more time with my father. With him being a doctor my entire life, it’s been really hard for our schedules for us to spend time together so now at almost 30 I’m trying to do that. Besides that, I knew I wanted to start an urban garden and backyard chickens. My grandfather didn’t have chickens but he did have a killer garden in his backyard! He grew everything from bananas to papayas to mangos to berries, herbs, etc. He would bring the fruit from outside and let us eat it. He had chicken things around the house (which thankfully my uncle gave to me before they cleared the house). Papa’s family in Sanford had a chicken farm which I got to visit when I came home with a baby chick from elementary school, lol. My parents took papa & I to drop off my newly acquired animal which I’m sure ended up making good meat down the road haha. Before he passed, he gave Jon and I $100 in cash as a gift. In his memory, we went and bought chickens to start our journey into urban farming. Next up will be the garden lot (I’m waiting for it to get cooler out). I’m beyond excited and grateful to carry this legacy on.
Having faith can also help knowing that their bodies are no longer in pain and their spirits are free and on to better places. But for those of you who may not have faith or any coping mechanism, ask yourself, “What are positive things I can do to help myself heal?” (And I’m talking something besides downing a whole bottle of wine or eating a?whole box of doughnuts alone).
Could you get a tattoo in memory? What if you made a substantial donation in memory of your loved one? Maybe take on a new hobby? Sign up for classes to learn new things?
Having a health coping mechanism can help a) prevent trauma in the future b) help the healing process
I want to hear some of your coping mechanisms below !
What Can We Learn from Their Legacy?
I’m a firm believer that each one of us is born with a purpose and that when we leave our story is meant to tell those left a message. Sometimes we may not see that message right away, perhaps it will take days, months, years. Perhaps it will show in a dream or perhaps in an item left behind, but I promise you there’s a message there. Both my grandfather and Francis were very loving human beings. My grandfather tended too be more pessimistic to be honest, lol, but he was sooooo funny. My love for classic cars and old things stems from him. Like I said above, Francis showed me that anyone can live despite the pain their physical bodies may be in.
Take a look at their life and reflect on the good that came from it.?How can you take those moments and bring them into your life or business to bless others?
How do we move forward?
And the part that’s always tough…moving forward. ?How do we move forward from someone who is no longer with us? I cannot even imagine right now how I’ll cope when my immediate family, Jon, my besties, or Hudson passes. I know right now it’s hard knowing I’ll go to Orlando and never see his house again. It’s difficult seeing my mom with her best friends together and seeing Francis not there. It’s hard watching my Dad grieve with the fact that he can’t call his dad to talk to him everyday (like he did for a year before his death). So how do we move forward when that loved connection isn’t there? We need to begin shaping our mindset and finding healthy ways to keep the memories & attachments without use entirely depending on them. This will take time. You can’t force it. And that’s okay. Be patient.
If any of you are dealing with the loss of a loved one and need to talk, feel free to send me message. Much love and blessings to you all today!