As 2013 ends, Angela and I discussed what each of us would write to kick off the New Year… it was decided that I would write a year in review while she focused on the upcoming year. I’ve rewritten this article so many times now trying to think about how we collectively would have experienced 2013. But the truth is I can only write from my own perspective and hope that somehow there is something that holds true to you too.
My friend Tracie labeled 2013 the “Year of Deena”… which when she first said it I rolled my eyes and sighed. But truth be told in the end she was right. 2013 was all about losing and finding myself once again.
2013 didn’t start out that way… it started out much like the previous year had but then April rolled in. And in the same week that my family and I would be acknowledging the 1 year anniversary of the passing of our oldest son, Owen.. I lost my job of 13 years. Which came as both a bruise to my ego and a loss of part of my identity. When I couldn’t claim that title as part of my persona I felt a sense of failure or let down. Being a mom, wife, friend, all the other adjectives I could use to describe myself didn’t seem like enough. And somehow in my soul I knew that was wrong. And so I decided to let myself sit in that space…
And in doing so I felt myself and my family begin to heal.
Looking back at 2012, I think I was just going through the motions… I was able to avoid as much heartache as possible by keeping myself really busy. Work, kids sporting events, homework, etc. Anything to keep me from being to present in my grief.
In 2013 I had to learn to grow and accept my life for what it is… heartbreakingly beautiful.
At first, I wasn’t sure if I would make a good stay at home mom. I knew I was a good weekend or after work mom. But full time with a 4 and 10 year old – I doubted myself a lot at first. I worried that if I was teaching my 4 year old and not a preschool that he would somehow fall behind or not be social enough. And was I disappointing my 10 year old because I wasn’t working. Would he be embarrassed that I was just a mom now?
As the year ends what I’ve found is that my kids are doing just fine. I feel them healing from the loss of their brother in the stories they tell and reveling in our time together. I see them excelling both in their school work and their social life. I still struggle a little bit when people ask what I do for a living. I’ll feel myself wanting to say oh I’m a VP for a charity, instead of just saying I get the privilege of raising these 2 boys. What can I say, I’m a work in progress.
My health? Well I’ll be honest I always thought well if I was a stay at home mom I’d be in phenomenal shape. I’d have plenty of time to work out without the stress of having to commute and work, etc… I can honestly say I’m in no better shape physically than I was when I was working. I do however feel that I am healthier than I’ve ever been.
Instead of using exercise as a way to force my body to be something it may never be. I use it to bring about what I need for that day. I run on days that I need to release stress or pain. In releasing pain, it’s the ache I feel in my heart over the loss of Owen. Running is the only way I’ve found that can make the rest of my body ache as much as my heart. And in doing so it helps to release the pain. I also discovered power yoga. For me, power yoga is like getting a deep tissue massage where at times it hurts just enough for you to recognize the sensation. Then it releases and with it the tension eases too. I use yoga to center me and to bring about a feeling of peace or relaxation. And then there is my guilty pleasure, horseback riding… which brings me a sense of pure exhilaration and joy. I believe everyone should have one activity that just makes their soul sing while doing it. For me that is horseback riding.
Spiritually, I found that meditation and charity work has enabled me to find more peace in my life; to recognize how blessed I am with what I have and to be thankful for what I’ve been given. Charity work reminds me that there are others that need help. And as cliché as it sounds any charity work done probably helps me heal far more than I am ever helping anyone else.
I’m looking forward to 2014 with a renewed sense of self. I wish you courage, strength, and knowledge that you are enough exactly as you are right now.
From my family to yours “Happy New Year” – Deena