I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. -Henry David Thoreau
In mid-December 2006, Thomas, Lillian and I came to Reno to spend Christmas with my Momma and step-father, Frank. That trip turned into a separation from my husband and eventual divorce in September 2007. The year between September 2006 and September 2007 was one of the hardest, most uncomfortable and foggiest years of my life. I had landed in the darkness of my life. If you had asked me during that time if I could go back in time and change things so this were not to happen, I would have given you a resounding YES!!! Now, six years later, I see the wisdom, strength and courage that grew from having gone through this experience. I am grateful for having gone through this. I know that sounds weird, but that is how I feel. Had I not experienced this darkness, I would not be where I am today. This isn’t about what led to the separation and divorce. We’re all adults and we are aware these things happen … This is about sharing how discouraged and defeated I felt back then. It’s about how going through that led to the footsteps that brought me back to myself and brought me to where you see me today … Happy, Peaceful, Strong and going confidently in the direction of my dreams …
It was surreal, overwhelming. This could not be happening to me. Can I just blink my eyes, make it all go away, and put life in reverse? I could barely function. I had no appetite and had to force myself to eat. I still had about 40 or 50 pounds of extra weight that I had gained when pregnant with Thomas. The weight just melted off daily and was gone (plus some) in a matter of months. No doubt about it, it was TOUGH … GOSH DARN tough!! It wasn’t just tough, it was dreadful. I sought professional help before even coming to Reno. I began seeing a family/marriage therapist in Tacoma, Washington in September of 2005 and continued to have sessions with her via telephone for several months after coming to Reno. After my kids went to bed at night, I would cry and cry and cry. If they were awake, sometimes I would sneak out into the garage and cry … Thoughts of “How am I going to do this?” just swirled and swirled in my mind. I could find no peace. During that year, I had thoughts of ending my own life**. Although I had these thoughts, they were short-lived. These thoughts would only last about a nano-second as the split second thought after that was of …. Thomas and Lillian. They kept me going. They kept me moving through the motions. They helped me heal. They helped me grow. Where I am today seemed impossible, thoughts of the future were daunting … Like it would NEVER happen. Yet, it DID!! And now I’m going to write about it.
I had no idea how I was going to be a single mom to one year old Thomas and five year old Lillian and with the added component of Lillian being special needs. It was overwhelming to even think about. One thing I knew was that if I could just make it to both of them being school aged then everything would be okay. If I could be a mother to them, raise them, infuse them with what I thought they needed before they were with other “teachers” and “mentors” during the day (as opposed to being with me); then I would have the freedom to go full force in the direction of my dreams. Thomas began first grade this year and Lillian went into the fourth grade. I made it!!! Here I am!!
Here’s how I fumbled and bumbled my way through my experience …
- I removed as much negativity from my life as possible. I quit watching television, quit paying attention to the news, and steered clear of toxic people.
- I read, read, read, read, and read some more. I read self help books, healing books, spiritual books, any book that would teach me how to gain control over my thoughts and thereby gain control over my life.
- I surrounded myself with amazing, supportive, courageous, self-confident, successful people. One evening in July 2007 I attended an eWomenNetwork “networking” event facilitated by Kymberlee Simantel (who I now consider a dear friend and whom I love tons). That evening proved to be a crucial part of my healing and growing. I have become dear friends with a core group of women from that organization and they have always been there to support me, encourage me, give me a kick in the butt when I need it, and just let me be ME as I worked through all kinds of crud!
- I got more involved in the support group for my daughter’s chromosome abnormality (18p-) … The Chromosome 18 Registry & Research Society. I consider the other members extended family and I deeply care for and love them.
- I leaned on and let my family help me (my Mom, Frank and my Daddy).
This isn’t going to work for everyone. It’s just what I did and what worked for me. Hey! We are all DIFFERENT!! What works for one person, will not work for someone else. The key is to not give up. Keep on keepin on until you find the perfect recipe for you .. the magic ingredients that will mix well together for you and cook to perfection to bring you through whatever uncomfortable experience you may be going through. One critical thing to keep in mind is to let yourself have those moments, days or even weeks where you aren’t trying so hard to get past and through. It’s crucial to ask for help if you need it, whether it’s professional help or help from friends and family. Be with the uncomfortableness so you can learn and grow within.
Another component that I have just recently completed is a forgiveness exercise. This actually was part of a Money Magic Coaching course facilitated by my friend, Jamie Cooke of MC2 Wealth Solutions, LLC. As part of the course, you write forgiveness letters. This was very healing and therapeutic. Absolutely not something to be done while you are experiencing the rough time. It’s been 6 years now for me. This was just part of the process. I know I’m not done healing and growing and learning. I do know this though … I’m further along than I was 6 years ago and I hope to not be done learning and growing for a very very very long time …
**Please seek professional guidance and support of friends and family if you are experiencing these types of thoughts.
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