My Healing Journey ~ 2014
Have you faced a year or period of time in your life that felt unbearable?
Looking back over my life, I see many moments that have shaped and defined me. There are many stories from my life’s journey. Today, I share with you about my experiences in the year of 2014.
Before this year, 2014 was the hardest year of my life. In it, I encountered multiple deaths of friends and family as well as a pet. The moments of that year that felt almost unbearable were the experience of Steven’s death and the loss of my marriage to a man with whom I truly thought I would grow old.
During those days with Steven in February of 2014, I barely slept. At night, I found myself in a half sleep state and would easily wake for various reasons...if Steven’s breathing changed; if he groaned; if there were any noises or shifts in the house. Also, I got up every time Steven needed morphine and meds and would then help settle him back into a restful state. There was one night I didn’t sleep at all as every 15 to 20 minutes Steven was experiencing seizure-like activity, and I stayed by his side guiding him through the night by telling him he was safe in the bed, would not fall, and had proper meds in his system which were preventing seizures. This seemed to help calm him, and thankfully he did not experience a full seizure. During the days, there was too much activity for me to really settle down for sleep, so I found myself staying busy and helping with whatever was needed.
In the hours after Steven’s passing, I was scurrying about the house arranging for the coroner to arrive, cleaning, and throwing out anything that was no longer needed all the while honoring the man who lie breathless, quiet, and still in death. I wanted Melanie to not have to worry with anything or see anything that may unsettle her, so I was doing all I could think to do so that Steven’s death would be more bearable for her.
They were, after all, high school sweethearts.
I stepped out of the way once the coroner arrived and then watched as Steven left his home for the last time. Once everything was done that I could do, I collapsed on the living room sofa and began to sob.
There was nothing left for me to do in that moment but weep.
After spending Steven’s last days with him and attending his funeral, I went back to work. I went back to my day to day life with no break or time off to process anything from that experience.
In the months that followed, I realized I was suffering from post traumatic stress. I would wake in the middle of the night thinking that Steven needed me only to realize I was in my own home...in my own bed, and he was gone. Strangely like a cycle, every four weeks after his death I would wake at the exact time he passed. Finally, I asked him aloud, “If there was anything I did not do or something I could have done differently, please reveal it to me. If not, please help me to sleep and heal.” From that moment on, I do not recall ever waking up in the middle of the night again to check on Steven and thankfully forgot his time of death.
Philip, my dear husband, was also struggling with Steven’s passing. Philip started having various physical ailments including back spasms and neck issues. The doctors and I both felt it was due to stress and that his body was physically mourning. I was doing all I could to care for him. Philip shared with me at one point that he realized I had not even had a chance to mourn because I had to immediately focus on him and his health.
In April, I found myself starting to have physical ailments due to the stress I was holding in my body.
Philip also struggled emotionally. There is no need to give specifics, but in June of 2014, I found myself in a physically terrifying situation in which I knew I had to leave my home. I deeply adored and loved my husband. I would light up like a firefly whenever he was around. Yet, I felt I had no choice but to leave. I had to protect myself. Thankfully, I had dear friends nearby who gave me a loving place to stay for the next month.
Work was a struggle. Most of my team members were new, and I spent a lot of time training them and being a right hand to my manager. I was often pulled from my own daily work to assist with issues. I was so exhausted but did all I could to keep going. At one point, I was told I was not smiling as much as usual, was not as cheerful, and that colleagues were asking if I was okay. Frankly no, I wasn’t okay. I felt like my entire world was crumbling around me, and the loss of everything I held dear felt overwhelming.
I needed to find a new home and thankfully found a place in July that would become my safe haven. Once I was settled, the real healing began.
“She wasn’t born herself. She found herself over a long and treacherous road. And the more treacherous the road became, the more of herself she found.” ~ Atticus
I would go to work, do my job, come home, and cry. This became my daily routine. The pain within me was so deep. As I sobbed, it felt as though I was trying to pull the pain from the depths of my soul. Deep within, I knew I was doing what was needed to heal. I could feel my spirit telling me that I had to go through it...that if I pushed it down or ran away from the pain, it would only come back worse. I did not need anyone to tell me to get over it, that I was or should be okay, that time would heal all wounds.
I needed to feel all of it...to sit in all of it...to just be in all of it in order to actually move through it.
And I found things, both big and small, to bring me joy. I went for hikes and enjoyed nature. Cooking has always been therapeutic for me, so I would make myself delicious meals. I spent a lot of time with dear friends and family who just let me be. Most of all, I slept and read. I realized in doing so how much I had not allowed myself to rest over the years and how important it is to do so.
In November of 2014, I adopted my precious cat, Charlie. He and I have a bond that is unexplainable. To this day, he gives me so much joy and love.
Also, I knew I needed to do something truly for me to end the year and begin anew in 2015. Through a series of events, I discovered Jen Pastiloff. Jen is a writer and yoga teacher who hosts unique workshops and retreats that are focused on being human and discovering more about yourself and others by writing and sharing aloud various experiences of your life. That year, she was hosting a New Year retreat in Ojai, CA, and I knew as soon as I stumbled upon her website that I had to go. (Click here to learn more about Jen and her life-changing workshops/retreats.)
I arrived alone in Ojai, CA on December 30, 2014, and what I found in the three days there was a tribe of beautiful souls who let me share my pain, sorrow, beauty, and joy. Two of my dearest and closest friendships were formed on that trip.
It was so cathartic. I kept saying how I wasn’t a crier, and Jen finally laughed and said to me, “I don’t believe you.” :-)
I could not wait for 2014 to be over. It was “my year of loss”. As the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2015, I shed tears of joy. I felt a weight removed and was so giddy I could not sleep at all that night and spent it sharing stories and laughter with three beautiful ladies. As soon as there were signs of the sun, I went outside and watched it rise.
After spending time to heal, I can see how everything from 2014 happened as it was meant to happen. It was a divinely orchestrated series of events that has led me to this moment in which I know more about myself. My journey of healing has helped me to realize there is beauty in every moment of life.
The moments in our lives are here to teach us if we allow them to do so.
I suggest and encourage that as you are working through your own experiences and healing, share with those that can fully support you. That is what I have done and still do with my own life experiences. I have a tight-knit group of life coaches, family, and friends with whom I know will allow me to simply be where I am...they do not need to change anything for me, they will not judge me or the situation, and they walk with me as I navigate my way through my various experiences, feelings, and thoughts. Once I have healed and better understand why I have been given certain experiences/moments in life, then I feel solid in the knowing and purpose I have gained and feel confident in what I am meant to share with the world.
If you feel I can serve you, talk with me. Share with me your stories and experiences. Are there moments in your life in which you need to heal? What moments have you faced or are facing on which you would like to shed light? Are you currently facing a time in your life that feels unbearable? I am here to help you navigate your way through your experiences and challenges, regain your footing, and help you find beauty in even the darkest moments.
"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
(Please note: In my writing, some names have been changed to protect loved ones. I share my experiences and stories while honoring the privacy of those dear to my heart.)