Often times when I’m out on my longer runs I witness seemingly happy families and couples–old and young. They’re in the parks celebrating, playing, walking and enjoying life together. Early on in my running journey this used to gnaw at me; it would be like getting dumped into an ice bath after a hot run. The loss of my Mom had me feeling empty or lacking in some way–I felt different and like an outcast. I’ve moved on (mostly) from this–the reaction of picking up the phone to call her first with good news, to turn to her when I needed guidance, or to cry on her shoulder has pretty much passed. I’ve come to accept that my family is not broken because of her physical absence. Over time I’ve come to appreciate our new normal and different family dynamic. Don’t get me wrong, every reminder of her passing still hurts and it still feels like it all just happened yesterday. But I embrace and appreciate the new relationships that have developed from it, the accomplishments I’ve achieved and growth I’ve personally had from it all happening. That may not make much sense to those who haven’t experienced a loss similar but it’s the best way I can explain it. I’ve also learned that I’ve come to fill her void for other people. I fought this for so long before–felt that I wasn’t strong enough or wise enough to fill her shoes. But just as God acts and speaks through us, I’ve learned that my Mom does the same through me–not such a cringe worthy moment when someone says I remind them of my Mom nowadays…who would’ve ever thought I’d admit that?!
To that point I often find myself being pulled in different directions by others. It takes a lot of effort on my part to keep myself together, focused and on task at times. I want to be supportive and helpful to others but this year has been a good learning lesson that I also ALWAYS have to make time for myself. I need to take care of my own needs before I can best take care of others. The past year has been a lot of output of energy and not enough input. I survived the last year and a half, I haven’t thrived from it.
Tomorrow is a new day and a new beginning for me. My focus will be on myself, it will be something new and different but good. I made a decision for me and I haven’t done that in a while–I start my new job! Looking forward, I realize that I am as strong as I let myself be. If I allow all my energy to be externally drained, I leave nothing for myself and it eventually catches up to me–it’s like sprinting out the start line and not having enough endurance to make it to the finish line. I spent the last year and a half externally focused and by the beginning of 2017 I was left clinging to my running and my daily coffee dates–aside from that, I wasn’t happy during the day. I allowed my happiness and spark to be nearly drained from me. The result pains me…not because I was laid off but because I didn’t see it sooner to make the change myself. I should have never let their well-being be at the cost of myself.
Nothing and no one should cost you yourself, your well-being, your love or your health. I was wanted by all but one…MYSELF. He (my <3) told me that the first thing he noticed about me was my strength. I was shocked. The day we first spoke to each other I felt beat up, burnt out and defeated–strong was the last thing I felt. Over the last six months I’ve realized and recognized that the strength he saw in me that day was the strength I saw everyday in my Mom. My Mom raised two daughters, ran a house/family, balanced a relationship, mentored others, supported many and toward the end gave all that she had left to keep doing so for those she loved. I look in the mirror now every morning–no matter what–and face myself. I look myself in the eye, I tell myself I’m loved, I’m strong, I’m enough and I’m worth it. Every day I wake up, I wake up for a reason, a purpose and my destiny. Life is too short to waste time. I may be wanted by all but I’m needed by ONE and that one gets priority, after that I’ll do what I can.