It's been three months since I've written to you all and so much has transpired during that time. First and foremost, to everyone reading this post - thank you for sticking around. I realize that I am not always the most obedient person when it comes to social media/blog rules. I might disappear for weeks (or in this case, months) at a time, but that is Grief for you. She really doesn't give a shit about rules. She barges in whenever she feels like it, takes a seat, and props her muddy, well-worn boots up on the table.
What began this particular respite wasn't the part of Grief that most people think of when they hear her name. It wasn't the loud, in-your-face, obvious Grief. This was actually the part of her personality that lingers, the one that never really leaves. It's the piece of her that silently takes up space in your being so that nothing else can live there. If I am being honest with myself (and you), she has made the place quite cozy with her sofas layered in memory blankets by the warm fireplace and her walls covered in the faces of two beautiful blond haired, blue-eyed boys. Their laughter and sarcasm fill my ears when I enter that dwelling and time ceases to exist in between the minutes buried within the hours of each day while I'm there.
However, during the last few months things have been different... quiet.
Not quiet like a meadow.
Quiet like a black hole.
In the past, I have mentioned my day job. My team has always been made up of a tight-knit group of people, many of whom have become dear friends and chosen family. It has always been a high-stress position and when you pack traumatic grief on top of that you have a whole new dimension of stress. This is something that we do not talk about enough in grief circles. I am a big proponent for naturalizing grief in our society, and grief in the workplace is where it needs to start. A 3-day Bereavement PTO package for the loss of an immediate family member is barbaric. However, that is the norm these days. The strength of character and will that it takes a traumatic griever to get up every day and function at a high level in a career/workplace is beyond anything that I can explain. If you have an employee or co-worker who is able to do this and you are in a position of power then you should fight for them and their right to grieve because you have a rare treasure on your hands. That is not to say that if your grief journey looks like soft pillows propped up in bed all day watching Netflix and letting your brain and heart rest that you are not showing strength. The point is that you are doing what is best for YOU to survive and thrive in this new existence. In many ways, Person #2 will end up becoming more grounded at the end of the day because she listened to her body and gave herself much needed time to grieve in the early days.
My friend, Jen Pastiloff, leads incredible retreats in Italy, France, and various locations in the US (if you don't follow her, you should - she is magic!) and sometimes uses a writing prompt called "I Give Myself A F*cking Medal....".
Well, friends. I give myself a medal for getting up every day and putting my feet on that floor. I give myself a medal for doing what it takes to look out for my team every day, for working my ass off for the six plus years at the company, for being "all-in" for my team, for facing nightmares and controlling anxiety - at least on the outside (ha!), and for doing my best to walk with integrity the entire time.
All while Grief planted roots deep within my bones.
Three months ago, my high-stress day job started becoming a much larger monster. Leadership changed along with structure and intentions. My job began requiring even more from me mentally and it warred with my friend, Grief, on a daily basis. My anxiety was at an all-time high and my health suffered. I found out that I have late stage-3 kidney disease. The more all of this squeezed in, the further I ran from that home deep inside me. I could no longer feel the warmth of the fireplace, but instead the tug of that black hole pulled at my limbs, leaving my nerve endings exposed. The silence became deafening and I knew it was time to make a decision.
I GIVE MYSELF A FUCKING MEDAL FOR KNOWING WHEN TO WALK AWAY.
I am now officially, terrifyingly, whole-heartedly, 100% self-employed.
Read that word again. Only this time, I hope you will do it with me. Release whatever it is that you have been holding onto - that thing that stabs you in between your shoulder blades and loves to leave that knot in your throat. Let it go.
Then... give yourself a f*cking medal!
Taking some time to breathe is exactly what I have been doing over the last few weeks. That, and finding my way back to a buried little room built just for me.
I will tell you more about this in my next post. For now, I am excited to share that I am finally - after 2 years - able to put the proper time into The Graceseeker that she deserves, and I will also be launching a sister company in the next few days called Periphery Mill which I am so incredibly proud to present to you all.
As always, thank you for being a part of our journey. We can't wait to see where it leads.
The Graceseeker 💙❤️