capture your grief, day 4: belonging

I love the smell of glue sticks in the morning!

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I really didn’t think I’d be doing a whole art therapy project this morning. But when I read CarlyMarie’s description for day 4, this is what came to mind.

I love vision boarding. I keep our old magazines for this purpose (which my husband loves—not).

I jotted down some of the relationships/groups in which I belong, and found images for those relationships.

OK, my original vision for this project was better than this. If only I would have remembered that vision before gluing. Picture this: I was going to wrinkle every image to represent that every relationship changed with Kade’s death. But since I forgot to wrinkle before gluing, I decided to wrinkle only the stars peppered throughout, that represent Kade in all aspects of my life.

(Am I supposed to be explaining this or should I leave it to the eye of the beholder?)

There has been ebbing…and waning…and retreating…and even severing in my relationships. Mostly there has been flowing to the ebbing…waxing to the waning…and advancing to the retreating.

Is any relationship the same over time? Don’t they all change? Losing a child might just be a magnification of that (albeit a Hubble Telescope kind of magnification).

And my relationship with myself…would I have even included that on a poster-board before my world changed with Kade’s death?

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Instructions for CarlyMarie’s Capture Your Grief, Day 4: Belonging:

When your child dies, your sense of belonging can be torn apart. Friendships change and we often become the elephant in the room. The circles we belong in no longer feel comfortable. This is a secondary loss. As human beings we need to feel that we belong. If we do not belong, we are left feeling isolated which is a lonely place to be. Have a think about the relationships you have in your life. Have you found your tribe? What do they mean to you? Are you in need of a new tribe? Surrounding yourself with like-hearted people – people who make you feel good, the people who make you feel at home will become cherished like family. “True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to BE who you are” – Brene Brown.

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capture your grief – day 4: support circles

I can’t say enough about the healing power of a group. The Compassionate Friends chapter meetings that I attend have been a help. (The Compassionate Friends is a nation-wide support for child, grandchild, and sibling loss). It’s good to hear what other people have done in certain situations, and I’ve met friends I can connect with outside of the group.

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Early on, I read a book called The Grief Club: The Secret to Getting through All Kinds of Change by Melody Beattie. She lost a son, and has had numerous other losses in her life. It emphasized that you are not alone in what you are going through, even though it might feel isolating. Find those others. There are others. They can offer you the support that no one else can.

A former coworker led me to a smaller group: for moms whose kids died in young adulthood, called Hope for Hurting Moms. It’s always worth the hour drive to let my hair down and be with the smaller group of mamas who get it.

I read another book called Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives. It revealed research that showed that novel and adventurous experiences, which form new neural pathways in the brain, are healing for trauma and grief. This inspired me to start my own little group of bereaved mom friends that I call The Healing Moms. We get out (sometimes a feat in itself) and try new things. Sometimes our new thing is a restaurant we want to check out; this month it’s a hike in Boulder.

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The Healing Moms participating in CarlyMarie’s The Mother Hearts “I See You” Project 2016