Showing up for life

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You see, resuming life can be quite difficult after loss. There was a good six weeks I practically lived in a cave, me, my son, my mom. I didn’t wear makeup, I didn’t do my hair, and I wore sweats. My extroverted self didn’t even respond to half the messages and texts I received. Two of my friends got married 6 1/2 weeks after Fareed passed. I debated relentlessly if I would attend. I wanted to sit on the couch and cry. I wanted to be miserable forever. But, I knew that life had to keep going and I needed to step back in. So, I got ready. I curled my hair, I did my makeup, I wore a dress. I looked in the mirror and for the first time in weeks felt pretty. Life had started once again. I teared up through that entire ceremony. I wasn’t fully present, but I was there. I showed up. Honestly, the only way I have kept healing, is because I keep showing up.
I could have made the decision to stay home from every event, gathering or holiday. But I went. In the process, the people I love were able to love me exactly where I am at. I haven’t gone to any balls or extravagant parties. I am a grieving solo mother of two under two. Life is all about routine, there have been days where surviving felt like the only goal. I continued to show up. We were invited to a sweet two year olds birthday this summer. The last thing on my mind was meeting strangers and enjoying a party. We showed up. I ended up talking to a mother with a very similar parenting style as mine. That little conversation reactivated my joy for attachment parenting. Life was slowly forcing its way back into me.
I remember dreading going back to church. I swore people would look at me like a leper. They didn’t. They hugged me with open arms. There was a lot of “I am sorry for your loss” or “anything we can do to help.” Though talking of the loss was hard, genuine care was wrapping itself around me. I didn’t know how to quite handle everything, but all I needed to do was show up.
I am so thankful for my sons through this entire process. They gave me a reason to show up everyday. Before Charles came, I woke every day in anticipation of what William and I had in store. Though my heart was heavy, there was joy in watching him grow. All I had to do was be there. Charles’ birth brought new hope, new life, new routine. In the middle of a season of sorrow, it brought gladness. The three of us, and of course my amazing mother, learned how to adjust and grow. We are doing well as a family unit. Life looks really hard when I take a glimpse into the future. But, life brings joy and peace when I remember “give me today my daily bread.”
In the middle of pain, God gave me some pretty amazing people to call My tribe. People who have even traveled or dropped their own busyness to come along side me. I see him building new relationships that I can tell will last quite some time. I have been surrounded by friends and family who have been so patient with me. All they ask is that I show up. As I do, life starts to feel full again. Some days it all seems overwhelming. Even grabbing a coffee with a friend, my mind spins wondering if they will bring up a hard memory. Will I start to cry? Will I do the uncomfortable laugh and change the subject? No matter the circumstance, it is almost always good. All I have to do is show up.
I think in a season where I have been stretched, bruised, and crushed to my limits- I’ve learned that there isn’t a formula.
I find myself often wondering how people react and feel watching me put the pieces back together. I wonder if I am putting enough into my relationships. I want to be there for people as much as they have been there for me. I wonder if my grief is to much of a burden to others. I remind myself to just show up. Life comes back as I let myself be where I need to be, with the people I need to be with, feeling exactly the way I do.
I think the future and goals are important. My last blog was the essence of where I am. Realizing that I have a new life, nothing is the same. Sometimes, I can’t figure it all out over night- even as much as I would like to.
I have started slowly working out again. Between two kids and grief, I have no energy. But I want this, in the depths of me. So I show up, baby step by baby step. That means a simple 30 day squat and ab challenge to begin, but life has to start somewhere. I want joy again. I want to let God work in me and around me. That means making our home fit our life. That means enjoying activities for the boys. That means finding hobbies and outlets that make me thrive. That means eating healthy. That means running in the yard and dancing in the living room. That means pursuing community. That means baby steps that turn into big steps. That means showing up. Showing up for life, so it can remind me that it is beautiful.

Both of these photos were taken at that wedding. My sons excitement for life alone makes even the roughest days seem hopeful.

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