My emotions have been very tender the past 2 weeks. I became an”empty nester” and as any mother knows, it’s hard to let your babies grow up, especially when they are out of the country and you won’t see them for 2 years! It has also been one year since the anniversary of April’s Family Disneyland trip and on July 26, it will be the anniversary of her death. As I look back on the events prior to her death, I am continually amazed at her strength, peace and love.
April was hospitalized and put on a ventilator the week before Thanksgiving in 2014. While fighting for her life she told Dad that she wanted to get out of the hospital and go to Disneyland!! Dad offered to take the entire family to “The Happiest Place on Earth” when she was well enough. And so, the making of the last family vacation with April was born. Every niece, nephew, brother and sister on April’s side of the family was there. What a true tender mercy to gather and enjoy family prior to her death. April never made it home from the trip and passed away to the spirit world after having one last family party.
I am finding there is a fine line when it comes to allowing yourself to grieve and not become bitter and depressed. The stages of grief are not new to me, I first learned of them when I was called to the office in high school in spring of 1986. My aunt, uncle and three cousins had recently died due to a very tragic auto accident. I was flunking every class in school and had “checked out” from my normal life. Thankfully, an exceptional teacher and coach referred me to the office for help. I remember talking to some therapist that I didn’t know, or like. He pulled out some chart, explained the grieving process to me, and attempted to teach me. His efforts over several weeks must have been somewhat successful because I still find comfort in knowing that the grieving stages are normal, and I often remember that it is EXTREMELY important not to “get stuck” in any of the stages, especially depression or anger.
Last Saturday was one of those days when all I wanted to do was stay in bed, feel sorry for myself and be depressed. I wanted to “check out” and felt I had every reason to. It was a good thing I had already made plans with my sweetheart to go on a hike. He had to pretty much drag my grouchy butt out of the house, but I did go and boy did I LOVE my hike with him. In fact, we ended up hiking 8 miles which was good for me mentally, spiritually and physically. It really is true that sometimes you literally have to make a conscious decision to get up, get out and enjoy life.