top of page
Search

My Journey of Grief: Embracing the New Me

During my morning walk, I was reminded of guidance I received about a week ago. To write and reflect on my journey of grief. When this first came to my spirit, I resisted. As I’ve been diligently working to keep myself in an uplifted place for the last several weeks. It is a daily practice and a daily battle. My beautiful mother went home to be with the Lord six weeks ago. While grateful in the depths of my soul she is no longer in pain, there are times when the grief just comes. It comes in very unexpected ways at very unexpected times. I work to follow the advice I’ve given so many over the years, “give myself grace.” That is easier said than done. It’s so much easier to give others advice than to take it ourselves. Anyone else feel that way?


As I reflected, I realized that I am holding on to a great deal of guilt. I have spent far too much time ruminating on what I could have done differently in my mother’s care. As soon as I do so, I am blessed with a Divine download and admonishment. God so graciously blessed me with a beautiful vision of my mother in heaven. She is doing wonderfully, healthy, strong and no longer in pain. I hold on to that reminder and vision in the times when the grief comes and attempts to stay too long.   


As I reflected on my journey of grief, I am reminded that grief is not only the loss of a loved one. There are multiple forms of grief. Over the past 2 years in my journey of caregiving, I lost a great deal of myself. My life shifted pretty significantly – some by choice and other by necessity. As I pondered more I realized I am grieving multiple losses in my life. The core loss: the loss of my identity. For more than 10 years, my identity has been around caring for my parents. And now that they are both safely in the hands of God, I find myself in need of reframing who I am and what my life looks like today. At the age of 53, I’m in place of a new beginning. I like to call it a “fresh start” rather than looking at the negative. In my most recent book “The Burnout Factor on Caregiving: Lovingly Caring for the Elderly”, the last chapter is entitled “Reclaiming Your Identity”. The chapter is only a few pages. That's all I really needed to prompt some real introspection.  


That reflection prompted me to reflect on other losses as I have honestly lived a life of complete self-sacrifice. And while caregiving is truly honorable, in true “Saving Superwoman” fashion, I did it to the extreme. I went all in and it was all consuming. And, now that, that responsibility is no longer there, I have to embrace this new phase in my life. My caregiving journey and other life circumstances caused me to step away from full-time seminary and ministry. It caused me to have a limited focus on nurturing and connecting with dear friends, some I’ve known for decades and others more recent. It caused me to loose sight of taking the best care of myself – yes, despite my constant teaching and speaking on BURNOUT. Again, it’s so very easy to give out advice than take it. In full transparency over the past year, I lost myself completely.  


Now, I could again reflect on this from a place of pain and sorrow. And in all honesty, I’ve done some of that. This has been a hard journey for me. But, today as I walked in the beautiful sunshine and singing out loud – as that is my therapy - I again heard in my spirit “write a blog on your journey with grief”. So out of obedience I’m a doing so. And in sharing these reflections, I realize that it’s time for me to get myself together. By no means am I rushing my journey of grieving my mother. However, what I realize that if I don’t intentionally get back out in the world and focus on serving my God-given purpose in life than I would be dishonoring my mother's memory and the gifts God has so graciously given me. And so while the last six weeks have been a roller coaster, I know that I have to get back to what speaks to my core, brings me joy – inspiring others to persevere through the difficulties of life, taking the best care of self and knowing that no matter what we face in life, God can and will get us through.  


For those that have followed me for some time, you know my life journey…well let’s just say I’ve had a few wilderness journeys. God has blessed me to heal and overcome from some very challenging life circumstances. A dear friend of mine once said, “April, what you’ve been through many would have not survived”. She was truly speaking truth. And, I give all honor to God. He is the ONLY reason I am still on this earth sane and in my right mind. And, as He has guided I focus on the “triumphs and not the trials”. Yes, I’ve endured and overcome a great deal in my life. And…I know I'm not alone. We have ALL been through something or a few things that have brought us to our knees. I’ve come to realize that’s the best place for us to be, on our knees. And sometimes, only the pains of life can take us there. I’m learning more and more to stay on my knees in the blessings of life as well.  


As I reflected on the Word of God a scripture, well a few scriptures stood out to me. But this one in particular given where I am in my life right now:  


James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

 

I’ve heard this scripture many times, but it recently took on new meaning. I purposely highlighted the last sentence “let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete...” I realized that persevering though the trials of life is about spiritual maturity. Coming to a place to realize that no matter what I face, no matter what we face – the trials, the tribulations, the pain, the loss, the betrayal, the attacks of the enemy – persevering through it all helps us to become mature spiritually.


Now, in no way do I relish the trials and tribulations. But, as I reflect on 53 years of life I realize it’s in those times that God has done his greatest work. That I’ve received the greatest revelations. It’s in those times that I’ve come closer to God and truly depended on him. It’s in those times when I’ve been able to embrace the beauty of who I truly am from the inside out.  


So, as I emerge from more than a decade of being committed to solely caring for the needs of others I find myself at a crossroads. I find myself at a place of needing to reclaim my identity and not allow my grief and pain to hold me in a place of spiritual, physical or emotional stagnation. Most importantly, not allowing the gifts God has gifted me to lie dormant and stop sharing all He has diligently placed within me.  


I know many of my sisters (and brothers) can benefit from my bumps and bruises. My transparency in sharing my mistakes and scars. As I know everything that we go through is not just for us, it is to help and bless someone else. That my fellow “superwomen” can still use a safe space to reflect on their life journey – the pain, trials and tribulations they face and have overcome.


As I reclaim my own identity and again attempt to “retire my cape” I do so from a place of genuinely seeking to reconnect with community. For us to know that we are not in this life alone. That in supporting each other through life journeys we can and will become stronger. We will come to the place of knowing that we can endure and persevere no matter how difficult the journey becomes. Yesterday, a dear friend of more than 25 years reminded me of that. We need our village to support and surround us in our times of difficulty, pain and in times of celebration. Thank you Robin 😊. And, thank you to all of my friends who have wrapped their arms around me this past few weeks.   


In addition to getting myself in gear and back into life I am committing to sharing a weekly blog. To share my journey of recommitting to myself as I work to not only reclaim my identity but renew, refresh and revive my identity. Let me be honest, I’m moving into foreign territory. I have no other choice but to focus on my own needs. While initially painful, I’m working to look at this time as a blessing. This “Saving Superwoman” has no other choice but “choose me”.


Again, my sisters the grief, pain and difficulties – let me be real – they are REAL. But, I’m committed to allowing this place I find myself in to be a new launching pad for my new beginning and fresh start. I am committed to not only reclaiming but embracing my NEW identity. Genuinely grateful for the first 53 years of life, and by God’s grace wanting to make the next 50 (or so) even greater. Building on all that I’ve not only endured but experienced. Building from a place of strength rather than solely from a place of pain and loss.  


As I close, let me share I know everyone’s journey of grief is different. I’m just sharing where I find myself today. Yes, the tears still come. I let them come. But I also put on some good praise and worship music to lift myself up again. I have to. That is my lifeline right now. I can't allow myself to stay down to long. I embrace relishing in the memories and making the choice to continue to live. My mother would want it no other way.


So, join me in this journey of transformation. I hope and pray something I share will help you reclaim your identity and CHOOSE YOU too!


Much love, your fellow “superwoman”

April  

 

 


39 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page