Monday, July 7, 2014

Recovery Post Workplace Abuse: July 4th, 2014 a place where grief and recovery from trauma mingled together

July 4th, 2014 would have been my mom's 99th birthday.  Born, lived and died in the U.S., our celebrations were always intertwined with her birthday and the U.S. national holiday.
Every day on the road to recovery is different.

Plans are made.  Plans change.

Life is never stagnant.

It is constantly changing.   Ebbing and flowing.

Recovery starts, then life intervenes.

So it is with this blog.

I've got a series started.  Just in its beginning phases.  Laying the foundation regarding debunking the lies.

Then suddenly I stop and veer off here or there.  Wherever.

Ebbing and flowing.  Plans made.  Plans changed.

This past week was no exception to this rule.

I veered off either into past blogs because it's easier - and also because I like what I've written - or into the here and now re: birthdays and holidays.  Ironically one of each for Canada Day - my grandson - and the 4th of July - my mom.  Each born on their country's respective patriotic holiday almost 90 years apart.

Last year, this week was almost unbearable in its intensity:  the first of the firsts.  Or should I say since my mom passed away in August of 2012, the last of the firsts:  July 4th and her birthday intertwined.  Inseparable.  As we always celebrated the two together.  Only this time, she was no longer there, and we were not going to the U.S. to celebrate her birthday.  No small town patriotic parades for us last year.  No fireworks.  No patriotic holiday on the 4th - as Canada celebrates its special day on the 1st.

I was alone that day last year.  And lonely.  And depressed.

Some time ago, a friend gifted me with the book by H. Norman Wright Surviving the Storms of Life, a trauma  specialist and prolific writer.  As I read pieces of this book, I realized that when my mom died, not only did I lose my mother but there were also secondary losses - the visits, special times of bonding ... and her birthdays.  The aforementioned parade.  The fireworks.  The family gathering.

Always when growing up, her birthday and the 4th of July were intertwined.  After I grew up and moved away to Canada, the tradition continued.  I often took the children to the U.S. to celebrate her birthday with her.

All that is gone now.  A secondary loss to the main loss of losing my mother.

So this year, I wanted my family around me.  I didn't want to be - or feel - alone on what had always been a special day to all of us.

Both of my children - and two grands - leaned into the moment.  Surrounding me with their love and support.

We bought a special take out lunch and went to a nearby park.  I dressed in my mother's traditional "birthday" t-shirt and all the red, white and blue I could find in my wardrobe.  And nobody blinked an eye that I was dressed for the American 4th of July in Canada.  (Canadians are laid back that way.)

The grands sporadically ate and ran off to play on the swings and back again - several times.  Energy in motion.

The adults enjoyed food, talk and bonding time.  Memories of my mother.  Memories of other 4th of July times when we were all together.  Photos were taken to remember the day.

Just the way a birthday should be.

I gained something unexpected from this low-key, laid back celebration of my mom's birthday and her life.

I gained a sense of closure.

I know that I'll never forget this grand ole girl - nor should I.  I will always miss her as she was part of my life for more than 60 years - which is a pretty long time.   I learned most of what I know from her.  I realize now that I learned more from her than I had realized at the time.

Yet, as time goes on and I learn healthier ways to deal with my issues and losses and create new traditions and memories, the separation becomes more bearable.

Until tomorrow ... dear friends ... when hopefully we once again start work on debunking the lies.


On my journey towards recovery, nothing is ever predictable.

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