Twelve years and counting…

17Sep19

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It’s been twelve years since my mom died.  That’s over a quarter of my life.  Many of my adult years have been shaped by grief, and that’s been hard.  But I’m also really happy where I am right now, so as much as I wish things had been easier along the way, I’m glad I’ve got those experiences under my belt.  That being said, there are some things I wish I could go back and  to tell my twenty-eight year old self to help me get through it.

1)  Don’t take a new job, move to a new city, and get into a relationship. 

Maybe don’t do any of these things, but certainly don’t do all of them at the same time.  I know you want to stop feeling this way.  I know you’re wondering when things will go back to normal, but they won’t.  It’s time to find a new normal.  Slow down; try not to move too quickly.   Be patient with yourself; don’t fear the feelings inside of you.  Running from them won’t make them go away.  

2)  Secure your own mask before helping others.

MaskOne of the weird things about being closely related to the deceased is how quickly you have to start caring for everyone who learns of their demise.  Your feelings are important too.  Everyone has a right to their grief, but sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to take care of yourself.  Don’t let your misdirected sense of duty get in the way of your own self care.  Remember, no one else is going to secure your mask for you.

3)  Therapy is awesome.

You’ve got a lot of stuff to work through and it’s not just all about death.  I know you know that therapy’s not just something for crazy people and that perfectly healthy people engage in therapeutic relationships to learn more about their past choices while thinking more clearly about their future choices — 

                  but I’m gonna need you to really know that.  

3)  You’ll be okay.

Seriously.  You’re going to be fine.  Ugggggggh… this is going to suck for a long time, but there’s something to be said for experience.  You’re going to learn about a certain kind of compassion well ahead of many of your peers.  You’re going to build a sense of family that extends beyond what you were born into.  You’re going to make mistakes, mess up, and sometimes it’ll feel like everything fell apart, but it’ll be okay because you’re strong, you’re smart, you’re introspective, and you know how to rise to the challenge.



2 Responses to “Twelve years and counting…”

  1. 1 Kate Titford

    True and beautiful post. I remember when your mom died. You were the first of my friends to lose a parent. I remember watching with awe while you were going through that — like you were going on a trip on a space ship or something and I needed to take notes for when I had to take that same trip. Prioritizing self care part is real and radical, not sure why it’s a lesson I *STILL* have to learn at least once a year.


  1. 1 All That You Can’t Leave Behind | The Masu

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Christine Marie Eberle

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