As you know, life has its ups and downs.
The past month for me has been a series of mostly downs, unfortunately.
Those who read/have read my blogs regularly know that I am overall a pretty positive, upbeat person who tends to take change pretty well by comparison to most. I’m a go-go-go girl, and like to charge forward into the horizon with a can-do attitude and gutsy leap into the unknown.
Sometimes, though, I get knocked flat down. And then I just lay there for a while, feeling hurt, sad, mad, frustrated, and sorry for myself.
I started October in my usual manner – go-go-go get ‘em – with the sight for a wild ride of three workshops plus one cooking class to come! I set a goal to prioritize my yoga practice, and stay on-top of my to-do list at home and with work. It was looking all well and good until a phone call on Thursday morning, the 11th of October literally knocked me flat.
I was in yoga practice, and had missed about 8 calls from my mother. I had forgotten my phone at home (truthfully – I am thankful for that), so I didn’t see all the missed calls until I was safe at home, alone. I immediately called her, and was shocked to hear that my Grandma Joan had unexpectedly passed away in her sleep. They found her dead in bed that morning when she didn’t come for breakfast. I collapsed in sobs on the floor of my office, feeling the walls around me crumbling as I tried to process this new reality.
She was gone. Just… gone.
I’ve faced a chain of losses in the past three years of my life, and unfortunately, I see more coming in the not-so-distant future. It seems we each come to a few points in life like this, where we face the deaths of so many of our elder loved ones, be they four-legged or two. In 2008 I lost my Grandpa Abe; in May 2009 I lost my Grandpa Bill, followed by my childhood chocolate lab (my 12 year-old “sister”) before my birthday in July, and then my Grandpa YZ in November 2009. I lost my 18 year-old childhood cat in 2010, and then my other childhood dog Maggie, a 12 year-old golden retriever, in 2011. Despite experiencing these grievances, none have compared to the hole I feel in my life at the loss of my Grandma Joan. We were very close, and she always spoiled me, from when I was a baby to just last month. I loved her very very deeply, and made a point to go for lunch and treats with her often, have her for dinner, and stop by to bring her cookies when I was out and about.
I share all of this today for a few reasons. First, it is therapeutic for me to express my loss through written word, and second, to illustrate that no matter where we are in life, health, or happiness, there are twists in the road that will inevitably send you into a slump.
Since 10-11-12, I haven’t really been “myself.” I’m trying to get back into what is a “new normal” for me, but have been struggling to hoist myself from the ditch of grief. I’ve noticed that old crutches and behaviors have resurfaced (particularly emotional eating, and too much sugar), and I’ve felt extra lethargic and tired, like I can sleep forever. I haven’t been as motivated in my yoga practice or workouts, and find myself lacking the drive to DO, like I normally have.
Even those of us who seem to have the “health thing” down pat still fall into slumps.
But the important thing for me is that I recognize this past month as just that – a temporary slump – not a tailspin into an old way of life. I’ve needed the time to turn inward, experience my pain and struggles, and just exist in it for a bit. I know the process isn’t complete yet, and will I will always have a spot in my heart for my Grandma, but I’m opening up to the change life brought, however untimely it may have been.
This month, as we head into some of the craziest weeks of the year with the holidays and financial stress they bring, I will continue to take small steps toward reclaiming the me and life that I love and deserve. I can’t change the past. I can’t erase the weeks of pain and emotional eating. What I can do is to understand that like all things, this too shall pass.
Each day we are granted with a new opportunity to create a life and body that we love and cherish. Each day I wake to open my eyes yet again, I must give thanks for the blessing of breath, and possibility.
If you are in slump like I am, do not fret. It is normal, and part of the journey of life. Even if your slump has been a month, a year, or maybe 10 years, today is a new day. What will you make of it, and how can you learn from the depths of the slump you’ve experienced?
My Grandma and me, after a vocal performance last year at the orpheum theater. She was my biggest fan and supporter!
*Dedicated in loving memory of Grandma Joan Larson, March 19, 1930 – October 11, 2012 ~ May she live forever on in the lives of the remarkable children and grandchildren she raised.*