In 1994, I was 21 years old when my first daughter was born.
Happily married my high school sweetheart for a year and a half; why not add a baby? Two and half years later, we added another daughter and two and half years from that. We finished our family with our third daughter.
Twenty-six years old, mother of three girls, two successful businesses, and having the overwhelming feeling of failure. Not knowing if I was doing this thing called motherhood correctly. Wishing each child would have come with her own owner’s manual.
Pause here for a moment…
Fast forward to 2020.
A forty-seven-year-old living as a widow for the past 5 years, still a mom to those three, now adult girls and running a successful business. I remember the evening I sat at home alone, deciding I was failing at my grief.
In five years, I had witnessed other widows and their ability to have been traveling the journey of grief like a breeze. (Well, that is another story for another day, just in that statement alone.) But here I was, doubting every aspect of my grief.
Was I doing it right? Should I be further along in my grief? Am I stuck in my grief? Is this what I should be feeling at this stage? Is this what life will be forever? This list of questioning could go on and on.
What did that even mean, “failing with my grief”? I have always firmly believed that we all get to travel grief exactly how WE do it. In those five years, I had spoken to many and always upheld my belief encouraging them they were exactly where they needed to be. But here I was, consumed with the idea I was failing. It was time for me to dig deeper into my thoughts.
I began journaling what I felt, then re-reading what I had written, sometimes days later. I sat in prayer. I prayed a lot, trying to allow God to tell me what He thought of my journey. I also think I was waiting for Him to scold me for the failure I was performing with my grief. It was in conversation with a friend that it hit me. I was using the wrong “F” word.
It wasn’t that I was failing, although that is what it felt like. I, in all reality, was FIGURING it out.
Figuring it out is discovering, determining, and trying to figure out a way to do it. Failing is a lack of success or the inability to meet an expectation. Well, I can tell you I had no expectations on my grief journey. I am not even sure I would consider any moment of grief a success.
So, as we travel this new journey of widowhood, it is what we are discovering, trying to figure out a way to do it. It is facing the moment and determining how we will navigate it. We are not failing because we seem to not be traveling as smoothly as the other widow. We are not failing because we are questioning the process. What we are doing is figuring it out.
Trekking through our own wilderness of the unknown, doing the best we can to find our way with this new normal.
Just as I was a new mom trying to figure out motherhood, it was not failing as I raised my girls, I was figuring out what each needed, and they all needed differently. If we knew exactly what our kids needed and how to do it all to code, we would not learn valuable lessons in life.
I have concluded this same outlook on my grief journey. If I knew exactly how to go through the grief journey, I would not have learned the valuable lessons on life that I have gained by…
FIGURING IT OUT!
Love and Blessings