blogging from a to z april challenge – a

I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. The goal is to publish one blog post a day for the month of April, except for Sunday, that corresponds with the day’s letter. I participated in 2016. That year I didn’t have a “theme” other than the general theme of my blog, honoring my son and my grief and healing journey. I enjoyed going back and re-reading my posts from the challenge, stoking my Kade memories.

I decided I will choose a theme for the challenge this time, beyond that of my blog. Recently I was given the assignment from my therapist to write about how my recent master’s degree experience has impacted my grief and my continuing bond with Kade. There you have it—my theme.

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A joyful milestone beginning my final, clinical, year of the program

Kade sunglasses cropped

Kade, Washington Park, Denver, 2010. Kade’s little brother, Asher’s, first outing after being born.

How my Recent Master’s Degree Experience has Impacted my Grief and my Continuing Bond with Kade

A

The word I’ll choose is ambivalent. I don’t believe I ever used this word, or knew its definition, before grad school. It means having two seemingly contrary beliefs, or feelings, at the same time. It’s BIG in counseling, mindfulness, and working toward being able to sit with difficult emotions.

I felt connected to Kade in my program with all I was learning and the program’s heavy self-reflection focus, and also disconnected from him (and my life) because I was so damned busy. I felt as if I remembered him more because I was experiencing class content that pertained to him, and also less because I made less devoted time for things like journaling and going to his memorial stone.

Ambivalent. I’m feeling ambivalent about the A to Z challenge right now. I’m anxious about my decision to participate, and I’m questioning this topic I chose, which is personal and a little abstract. And I’m happy I decided to participate to get me writing again, and to have completed my first entry.

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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.