Let me start by saying thank you to all who have read and supported this blog. I have appreciated the comments and feedback. Writing this blog has been a big part of getting “unstuck”.
Those of you who know me well know that the guitar has been very “instrumental” (groan) in my life. Music has been my therapy and writing songs helped me process both good and bad. When I knew it would be a long time, possibly never again, that I would play, I figured that I would write the songs without the music. That doesn’t work so well for me. So, I discovered that I could write to process, without it being in song/verse format. And thus my blog was born. Writing allows me to see my thoughts in print, validating them. It has allowed me to document my progress and milestones, as well as gifts that have been revealed. I don’t want to forget the enormity of the positives that have occurred as a result of or in spite of The Stroke. I do a lot of my writing late at night when it has been a day of awareness. Tonight is no different. My head and my heart are wide awake (despite my head and other body parts screaming “Go yo Sleep!”) and I feel as if I must write.
I have eased into a routine with my family this summer. I am in safe and familiar surrounds for a while and I have much time to research and plan for the upcoming year. I also have much time to ruminate about everything that the last two and a half years have changed for me. I shouldn’t be left alone with my thoughts for too long. I end up believing everything that I think. Today there were some unexpected surprises from relative strangers. I need to fill in a bit here so thanks for your patience.
I have been looking for a way to stay healthy but also to give back a bit to the world, the universe, the source of all that has brought me to this point. I saw an ad for a Health Coaching program a few months back. I think I dismissed it right away but it kept surfacing and I felt I needed to at least investigate. Long story short, I have been undergoing training to become certified as a health coach. Throughout the process, I have had to do practice sessions on the phone with other Health Coach trainees. Since The Stroke, I have become more introverted in many ways. Being on the phone with a stranger is not fun. Plus, we are coaching each other and being coached. I am always open to reflection and introspection but not in the presence of strangers. (From all over the world) But I want to be open to this process so I participate as honestly as I am able.
Fast forward. As we trainees work through the weekly sessions, we have arrived at week nine, which addresses old wounds. As the coach it was difficult to use the provided script suggestion to someone who is generally healthy, physically and emotionally, so during a phone practice Tuesday afternoon, I had the great luck to meet up with a fellow trainee from California. As she went through the session with me, she humbled me (no small task) with her authenticity and her genuine interest. Most surprisingly, she encouraged me to look at an element of my recovery that I haven’t really spent much time processing.
If you’ve been reading my blog, I hope you can see that this is a way I can not only process but hopefully inspire and impact. I like to be positive. It is WAY to easy to get stuck in the negative some days (weeks, months). I try to practice gratitude to ward off negative thoughts which I feared would sink me. It was through gentle prompting that my training partner uncovered an obvious truth. Part of my recovery needs to allow for grieving. (Thank you so much for this gift Kim Mendosa) I wanted to skip that part because I didn’t want to appear negative. Appearances don’t help me keep moving all of the time. I write this blog for me first, and then hope the readers enjoy and get something from the posts.
In the spirit of being honest with myself, and wanting to heal the things that continue to keep me stuck, I need to write about my grief. Wow, that was a long winded narrative just to get to the point. This may not be pretty, it might not be inspiring, but I warned you, this blog is for me first.
I have been sad for two and a half years. It may have even started before that. I have lost things that were such an integral part of my existence. I lost my independence. I hate that I must ask for help. I know it has strengthened me but I grieve the old independent me. I lost my mobility. That’s a tough one because old me BS (before stroke) could do so much more physical activity and movement. I can no longer beat my son in sporting activities. I can barely engage in most activities with him. I grieve my loss of movement. I lost some pride. My life now is surrounded by embarrassment and awkwardness. I grieve that I lost my ability to walk comfortably into a room and not look damaged. I grieve my suaveness. Is that a word? As a result of change in finances and lots of debt, I’ve lost some “things” that I had accumulated in my life. That’s another blog. I’m not quite ready for that one yet. I grieve the loss of things. I grieve the loss of financial stability. I lost friends. Probably not permanently but I can’t engage like I did. I grieve the loss of hockey friends, motorcycling friends and others.
I grieve the loss of motorcycling and the experiences it brought. Ouch. That one’s big. It gave me power and freedom and was one of the only things I have ever done that allowed me to live completely in the moment. It allowed me to watch and help others achieve their dream. It presented opportunities to travel and meet some awesome folks. I miss you.
I lost my ability to play the guitar. No more late night howling to music. Okay, I thought it was singing. I grieve my loss of my guitar and self made music and all that it gave me.
I grieve the loss of the BS me. Wow. In print that really looks like something else. I’m not looking for sympathy or asking anyone to feel sorry for me. What’s done is done. I have already written about the gifts that came with this messed up experience. But I lost things and have to allow myself to grieve.
I am too slowly acclimating to the life of ASS (After Said Stroke). This is where my training partner had me well up in tears. She had me picture swinging on a trapeze, picturing the one I was swinging on as the past I hold on to. In order to move forward, it will take a leap of faith to let go of the bar and reach for the other trapeze. There is risk. What if I miss? What if the next trapeze is too different. What if I fall. What if, what if. I have a safety net of friends and family. I can take the risk. The alternative is to keep swinging on the same one and eventually lose momentum and stop. Not an option. So, here goes…..and here’s knowing the next bar is there and will take me higher. Thanks for reading. Again thanks to Kim Mendosa for her insightful, visual understanding of my next big step.
“…She took to the air with the greatest of ease
she was born to be gliding on the old trapeze
Some people don’t care if they live or they die
Some people want to know what it feels like to fly
Gather their courage and they give it a try”
Patty Griffin, “Trapeze”, Children Running Through