I write this blog to you guys from a heavy place. It’s been 2 days since the passing of one of the greatest professional basketball players of our time –Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter Gigi. His passing is affecting so many, even those who only knew OF him. As I write this, it’s also going on a year since my divorce, and I can’t help but think of the horrible moments that took place that day also. In light of these two situations, I wanted to help those who may be hurting because you’re grieving a loss.
Often times, it’s hard to even process what just happened because we’re still in denial. We say things like “This can’t be real” “This can’t be happening” “I must be dreaming or in a nightmare” when in reality it is happening. This is what I like to think is the first stage of the grieving process. This taste of reality hits hard when there's physical evidence to confirm it. For example, I was no longer in denial when I had the papers in my hand signed by the judge.
Some of us may bypass the denial phase and go straight into shock. We still can’t believe that this has happened, and we’re just trying to wrap our heads around what happened in hopes of it making sense. I want you to know that it may never make sense, and at some point we have to come to terms that all of our questions may or may not get answered.
After the shock wears off, we start to really feel the impact of the loss. In this phase, we can experience a series of emotions such as deep sadness. We find it hard to stop crying, and even when it feels like there are no more tears, we still bleed out more. It seems that no amount of comfort helps. We may also experience anger. We are mad with God, ourselves, or the “universe” for allowing this to happen. We get easily agitated or annoyed by the smallest of things because we’re angry and want those around us to feel that we are hurting. I’ve been here before. The best thing for me was to remove myself from those closest to me and take a break from all of the distractions so that I could sit in silence and calm down.
After we’ve experienced the rollercoaster of feelings, we land at accepting the loss. And by accepting, I don’t mean being “OK” with it. Or that you’re all of a sudden “good.” By accepting the loss, I mean that we begin to understand that the loss is unfortunately out of our control. We accept that it happened. We accept that this will forever change our lives.
The difficult thing about dealing with grief or difficult times is that there’s no magic formula, and everyone has their own way of healing through the pain. However, in moments like these I try to go to God. There’s a scripture found in Psalms 34:18 that says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (NLT)
Many of our spirits are crushed by Kobe, his daughter, and the other families who died along with him in the crash. I pray that as you recognize your grieving process, and learn to heal you too can leave a legacy as great as he did.
I don't know about you guys, but I struggled a lot in the self care department in 2019. To those of you who made yourself a priority last year - kudos! There were so many factors that contributed to my lacking such as family setbacks, moving, starting a new position at work, and birthing a new business. Although each of these were legitimate reasons, I know that I still have to hold myself accountable, and work on not always putting myself last. Can we all agree to indulge in more self-care this year? If you're needing a good place to start or some ideas on how to achieve this, continue reading.
The first thing that I will be doing is allowing myself to wine down for 10-15 min after getting home from work and or picking up the kids. I'm guilty of coming home and immediately starting to clean or cook dinner while still in my work clothes! This is not good - it makes me more anxious and stressed. Instead, I'm going to commit to changing my clothes first, and then either laying down in the bed or sitting down to regroup. Only then, will I start cleaning or cooking. This way, I'm better prepared and can say a quick prayer for energy, grab a glass of wine, and ask Alexa to play some good music.
The next thing I'll be doing this year to help with self care is deciding at the beginning of each month, what's something that I've either always wanted to do or just something that I genuinely enjoy doing. This could be learning a new hobby, going to a new restaurant, giving myself a facial, scheduling a massage, etc. The goal is to decide at the beginning of the month, and then pick a date that I can feasibly do whatever it is. For this month, I desperately need a massage - I will be treating myself to that before the month is out.
Lastly, I'd like to be more aware and in-tune with my energy levels. Like most moms, we tend to overextend ourselves, and this does a disservice to our self-care needs. One of the best forms of self-care is knowing when you're physically, mentally, or spiritually drained, and taking the time to re-charge. It's okay to say, "Let's talk later" "Let's reschedule" or whatever it is that's commanding your attention.
There's so much more that can be done to improve how you take care of yourself, but it's important to start - no matter how small it may seem. I look forward to hearing how you've improved throughout the year.
Happy New Year!
Tierra Gerdine, Mompreneur and friend passionate about entrepreneurship and sharing her story.