Falling Apart... Again
the cyclic nature of loss, and what I thought I knew
The piece of writing that follows was queued to publish to my blog in March of last year... and then my son died.
I cringe when I look at the person I was back then. So optimistic. So many freaking silver-linings. But I'm also in awe of past-me: how she could string words together and paint pictures. How she truly believed that everything would be okay.
I can't pretend that I'll ever be the person I was Before. But I sure hope that my words come back to me someday. I guess it's fitting that I start my journey here by sharing this... a gift from the me who couldn't possibly know what it feels like to really have your world shatter.
Fierce love, Cid 💜
I’m sitting here, feet buried deep into the sand... filled with so much joy that it’s escaping in the tears streaming down my face. It’s hard to believe that a beautiful little beach town is where the newest chapter of my life begins.
This, my friend, is a physical confirmation of what I’ve come to know in the deepest depths of mySelf. When life feels like it’s falling apart, it will be okay. Actually, I now believe it’s necessary, the falling apart.
Just five years ago, I was in the midst of divorce--trying to figure out how I was going to pull myself through the wreckage while damaging my beautiful sons as little as possible. Wondering how I was going to find my place in the “working world” again after 16 years of being a stay-at-home, unschooling mom (quite possibly the furthest thing from a traditional career there is.)
The mask of happy wife I had kept in place for so long by sheer effort had broken apart into pieces, and lay shattered at my feet. My marriage, merely a partnership-of-running-a-household for many years, was far from the loving relationship that I had always longed for. No one gets married hoping for things to end... but we finally got to the point where neither of us could convince ourselves that “good enough” was good enough.
And once again I found myself at the place where the world I knew had completely fallen apart. I don’t know exactly how many times I’d been there before, but more than a few. The difference this time? I couldn’t sit there, stuck in the brokenness. I couldn’t do that to my boys.
They were the reason I got out of bed those mornings I wanted to stay under the covers. They were the glimmer of hope I could see shimmering just outside the darkness that surrounded me. They were my “why,” but they didn’t save me. I had to do that for myself.
Friend, I know how hard it is, when you’re looking at the pieces shattered on the floor around you, afraid to take a single step (because of course, at this particular moment you are barefoot). I know. I have cried those tears and wailed “WHY?!” at the Universe. I have also grabbed the closest piece of paper and hastily drawn a smiley face on it, certain no one will notice that I’m sobbing as I hide behind it.
So, how did I save myself? I think I must have broken apart so completely that a different outcome was inevitable. But looking back on what I’ve come through, I can see what I did (and didn’t do) that brought me to where I am now.
The first step was staying broken. Allowing myself to be sad and confused, and not grabbing the first bottle of super glue I could find to try to stick the pieces back together. It’s a grieving that our society doesn’t understand (and certainly doesn’t encourage), but I stayed there until I felt like I was ready for something else.
My something else? For the first time since probably elementary school, I started to consider myself. Which is funny, because one of the biggest complaints I’d voiced in my marriage was- “You don’t cherish me--you really don’t even *consider* me.” But honestly, I had set myself up for that by losing all understanding of what I wanted or needed.
So I began the process of self-discovery. Setting aside what I thought everyone expected of me (you know that “everyone” don’t you? Parents, spouse, siblings, best friends, coworkers/clients, neighbors… EVERYONE) and asking myself what it was that I wanted. And when I happened upon a situation that I didn’t know the answer, I sat with that, instead of grabbing for the closest possibility.
I shifted my focus to the things I felt drawn to. I began spending my free time with people and activities that made me laugh. I noticed when I walked away from something (or someone) feeling worse about myself--and I learned to drop those things quickly.
I clung to my long-held gratitude practice like a lifeline. Every night before I went to sleep, I listed out specific things I felt grateful for. On hard days, I fell back on the basics: my boys, our health, food in the pantry, a roof over my head with a comfortable bed, and that the day was over.
I learned to know myself. I began to get comfortable with making choices simply because it felt right for me. Slowly, I began to love myself. It wasn’t a quick process--more like lifelong friends finally realizing they love each other than movie-style, passionate love at first sight.
From that growing love, I allowed myself to start dreaming about a future when my energy healing and life coaching “hobbies” would be how I shared myself with the world and supported my family. I stopped believing the people who told me I needed to “be realistic and just get a job.” Instead of shrinking and conforming, I was able to stand confident in mySELF and what I wanted. It got to where I could actually feel my energy expand and strengthen during those interactions.
I learned to forgive myself when I slid backwards in the process. I noticed when I was beating myself up, and worked to change that pattern. I actually invested in mySelf (a HUGE source of guilt when my life was focused on what everyone else wanted) and used the new tools I learned to find freedom from the constraints—the many ways that I had been holding myself back—I didn’t even realize were there before. .
And right now, dear one, from the other side of all that—gazing at the gorgeous mosaic of my current life—I believe that each one of the shatterings I’ve experienced has led me to this. There were many of them, and those breaking points were exactly what I needed so that the pieces could fall into place where they were meant to be.