November 27 is the anniversary of my son’s passing. As the day gets closer on the calendar my anxiety level gets higher and higher. November 2020 was a long exhausting month. I was dreading the day. No one quite gets the dread you feel as the day gets closer and closer unless they’ve been there.
I was thinking and obsessing over what I would do. I wanted to go away somewhere to grieve, mourn, think, and celebrate Mike’s life. My sisters were going to join me, but life happens and they weren’t able to come. I made a reservation to go to Saint Michael’s in Maryland to stay for 5 days. My hope was to walk along the water, drink wine, and just escape my reality for a couple of days. Well, COVID cases were rising and travel was discouraged and I made the decision to cancel my time away.
As Thanksgiving drew closer I dreaded the day. I was invited to go to Thanksgiving dinner, but had no desire to sit around a table and talk about what I was thankful for when in reality there was not much I was thankful for. I hated the whole month. Reading on social media what everyone is thankful for, reading COVID related posts and arguments, political debates with the election which still wasn’t resolved all had me anxious and depressed. I took a couple of days off from work. I couldn’t concentrate, but I couldn’t stand being alone either. It was a very dark time. One I was filling in with wine and feeling sorry for myself.
On Sunday November 29 I stumbled across a Wine Free Work Week Challenge from Angela Mascenik on Facebook. I signed up for it. On Monday November 30 I tuned in to her day 1 of the challenge. My first comment I wrote was “I have no idea why I am here. Tomorrow is my son’s birthday who died in 2016. I don’t think I can get through the day without wine.” Angela commented “you are in the perfect place………”
An idea formed in my mind. I spent Mike’s birthday walking with a friend of his at a local park. I had lunch with my other son. My sisters arranged for dinner from one of Mike’s favorite places with his favorite meal. (BBQ ribs). I went to a local grocery store and paid for a birthday cake anonymously. It turns out the recipient was a 12 year old boy whose family had covid and they were quarantined at home. The gesture eventually made it on to Facebook and later into USA Today. It was the first December 1 I spent sober in 5 years.
That weekend I joined Angela’s 6 month group coaching program Stop Overdrinking and Start living. With her help, weekly coaching, and the support of the group I am learning to process my feelings, change my thoughts, and love myself. I have decided I no longer want to just exist and drink wine to numb my feelings. I am determined to learn to live again. I have learned I have a passion and a desire to help other grieving parents.
The idea to start a blog to share my journey with the world was born. In this blog I hope to reach other grieving mothers and give them some hope and some inspiration that life can go on. It is possible to live and love again following devastating loss. If you are reading as a newly bereaved parent, a long time survivor of loss, or the loved one of someone who has lost a child, my hope is you will learn how to begin to live after suffering child loss or how to support someone who has gone through child loss. Finding hope…………