A failed game of pin the tail on the donkey

I am embarking on the third round of birthdays, anniversaries and holidays without my mom.

In the past two years it often felt like I was fumbling around in the dark with a scarf over my eyes, playing a twisted game of pin the tail on the donkey where I never even came close to the tail and I only ended up poking myself in the foot.

I love making mistakes. It is how I learn! Well, that is what I tell my three-year-old, although I have a hunch I say it out loud as much for her ears as my own.

What have I learned from my many grief journey mistakes, you ask?

I have learned that on the anniversary of a loved one’s death, planning a long contemplative walk on the sandy beaches of Sanibel Island—especially after a storm washes up loads of mussels and seaweed to bake in the ninety-degree heat thereby attracting thousands of small biting gnats—is not ideal. It is not even close to ideal.

IMG_4632

A photo from that day. It looks prettier than it smelled. (photo my own.)

I’ve learned that making ALL the special recipes that remind me of my mom on the Big Holidays is bonkers crazy majorly unrealistic. Not good. 

I’ve learned that self-care is paramount. That instead of eating food for comfort (the ultimate comfort, really), instead I can opt for restorative yoga. Or a cup of tea. Or some time alone to draw or paint.

I’ve learned that there is no gold star for grieving correctly. You do the best you can with what you’ve got.

I continue to learn to be compassionate with myself.

Yes, I have learned over and over that grief often sneaks up, surprises, but it can dissipate surprisingly quickly too.

Lastly, I have learned that love heals. If you close your eyes after blowing out the candles on your late mother’s birthday cake and focus on your heart center, you can connect with her. She will be there beaming and she will say, l love you. 


Have any lessons to share? We can learn from each other. xoxox. Sarah

 

 

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