It’s a new year and the start of a new decade. It feels invigorating and exciting to me and I’m ready to embrace all of it. I have a new planner, a new journal, refined morning and evening routines and a new stack of books to read. I am here for this year and can’t wait to see what is in store.
It wasn’t always like that for me.
In fact, for many, many years New Year’s felt heavy and not something I was necessarily interested in celebrating. The New Years between 2011 and 2012, only a few weeks after Caleb died, I wanted nothing to do with. Nothing. I couldn’t bear the thought of moving into a new year in which Caleb wouldn’t live. Caleb was alive for the majority of 2011 but wouldn’t live in 2012 and I wanted no part in celebrating a year in which my son wouldn’t live. It took years for me to grow from reticent, to somewhat comfortable, back to reticent all the way to being excited for the new year.
I’ve been gone from the blog for awhile; there are a variety of reasons why but the biggest was that 2019 was a heavy grief year for me that I wasn’t expecting. I needed time to sit in my messy tenderness to work through this stage of grief in which I currently reside and figure a few things out. I think sometimes when we’ve traveled further along in our grief journey and more time has passed, you feel like you have more of a grasp of what living with grief looks like and you can sometimes slip into the mindset that you’ve got it handled. Triggers are no longer a mystery, boundaries begin to take shape more and more, and you can anticipate difficult days a little easier. I’ve done a lot of grief work – support groups, in person and online, reading books and blogs, starting a non profit to help other families, attending events in the pregnancy and infant loss community, sitting on medical panels to provide a parental viewpoint to medical providers… I look back on my grief journey thus far and I’m proud for diving into this incredibly supportive and loving community, without which I wouldn’t’ have survived my raw grief.
This year marked my 10th as a grieving parent and 8th since Caleb went to heaven. The decade mark from losing Jackson, my first baby, hit me like a ton of bricks last February. And to be honest, the waves of grief just kept on coming through out the year, in a multitude of ways. I’ll say this- 2019 was an incredible year for me. When I did an audit of my calendar to review all I had accomplished and experienced I was thrilled with the breadth of it all. However, I also remember the debilitating fear of being happy that returned and stole my joy. The panic attacks that came out of no where that resurfaced and the dread of wondering if someone else I love will be harmed or, worse still, wouldn’t be coming into the new year with me, knocking me off center. Grief is complicated and 2019 reminded me of that ever present fact.
Each year I choose a word that I lean against for the duration of that year to center me, my anchor in what I want to see for the year ahead. This year my word is intention and my goal is to be wholly, mindfully, intentional about my life including my self care, my work, and my relationships. I will turn 40 later this year and I am myopically focused on being the best version of myself when I enter my new decade. This intention extends equally to my grief and assessing where I’m at on my grief journey and examining my story, my brokenness, my mending and being accepting of the fact that I may not have it all handled as I like to think I do.
The blog is back so you’ll be hearing from me much more often again and together we’re going to do a deep dive about what intentional grief and healing looks like. Dear Ones, I am not an expert – I am not a therapist or a grief guru like a lot of my friends seem to think I am. What I am is a grieving parent who carries a mended broken heart with me daily. I am a bereaved mama, a fellow grief warrior, who, like you, continues to refine my new normal where four of my beloveds are not in my arms. I’m excited and nervous to peel back the layers of my grief journey over the past decade- the good, the bad, the freaking horrible- and invite you to tag along as we intentionally cultivate our beautiful scars together.
2017-2019 were huge growth years for The Beautiful Scar Project and I’m thrilled at how far we’ve come. This year, we’ve decided to go back to basics- to refine our programs and take a deep dive in to how we can best serve the pregnancy and infant loss community well. For me, that comes with soul searching what content we put out to provide help and hope to our fellow grief warriors.
You’ll notice a variety of content – some familiar, some brand spankin’ new. The new content scares me as it’s pushing me into a new space in which I’m unfamiliar. But I whole heartedly believe that comfort zones aren’t conducive to growth so I’m leaning in hard to the new spaces to better serve our organization and our community.
It’s a new year and like many of you, sometimes I think “it’s a new year – now what?” I’m hopeful, however, that by going back to the basics, by being intentional and present, we can walk this grief journey together more integrated and more focused than ever to cultivate our beautiful scars.
Welcome to 2020, Grief Warriors. We will take this new year and our grief journeys together.