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Monday, May 2, 2011

A Fine Mess

I didn't come undone.

I was in shock for sure and completely devastated, but I didn't lose my shit.

I couldn't.

I couldn't come unglued.

I had a younger sister to consider.

I had a younger sister that had just lost her parents and if I thought I was too young at 35 to be going through this, she was definitely too young at 23.

Not to mention, there was so much to be done.

So many decisions that needed to be made right away. There were phone calls to make, e-mails to send, notes to take, questions to ask, the repatriation of their bodies, a funeral home to select, urns to chose, a service to prepare for, documents, signatures, lawyers, and then ultimately, homes to clear out and an estate to settle.

I didn't make any of tough decisions alone. Thankfully, I had my husband and my sister by my side, but it still felt like I was the one in charge.

My emotions could wait.

I thought I could delay my grieving process just a little longer.

Of course, I was wrong, so....

Four days after the memorial service, I returned to work in search of normalcy. Almost a year later I quit my job and discovered a new normal all together.

In the year that followed my parents deaths, I exercised like a maniac, which made me feel stronger physically. It also created endorphins that made me feel better mentally. Today, I'm an endorphin junkie!

I talk about my loss with anyone that will listen in a honest and open way.

I seek help in the form of a grief counselor or a glass of wine at the end of a particularly rough day, but have never turned to antidepressants.

I work through and with my sadness.

I cry.

I go through photos and momentous and remember.

I write.

A lot.

I could have curled up in a little ball and shut the world out, I could have let this tragic loss break me, but I made a conscious decision not to. It hurt like hell, but I chose to put one foot in front of the other and just keep living.

Some may say I've pushed my grief aside in an effort to avoid it or that I have compartmentalized it; placing it neatly on a shelf to address at another time, but I assure you I DEAL with it every day. It's always there.

It is definitely a long and arduous process but I have learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be and I am very proud of the way I have navigated through such uncharted territories, especially considering I
became a mother in middle of all of it.
This post is for The Red Dress Club's writing assignment, RemebeRED. This week's prompt was: Tell the story (without any trivialization or modesty) of something in your life that you are proud of.

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Blogger Jessica said...

It sounds to me like you deal with your grief and sadness in many ways. You should be very proud of the fact that you put one foot in front of the other every day instead of curling up in the corner. You are a strong woman and a wonderful mother.

May 2, 2011 at 11:25 PM  
Anonymous MamaRobinJ said...

You should be proud of that! That's an unbelievably tough situation and from what I've seen from you by connecting with you through your blog, I have no doubt that you managed with with competence and class. And I know you deal with it. You should be proud of that too.

May 2, 2011 at 11:34 PM  
Blogger Alison@Mama Wants This said...

You are amazing. Of course you have to be proud, you have so much to be proud about :-)

May 3, 2011 at 12:07 AM  
Blogger Elena said...

You are an inspiration how you have pushed through and kept living your life. I'm sure that you do deal - everyone deals with things in their own way. What a wonderful post on pride.

May 3, 2011 at 6:04 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I am proud of you for finding strength, I am proud of you for allowing yourself to feel and process your grief whenever it comes at you, and sharing this glimpse into your life with us, too. *HUG*

May 3, 2011 at 6:04 AM  
Blogger Evonne said...

You should be proud.

One of my greatest fears is losing my mom. I don't ever want to go through that, but if I do I hope I can follow your lead with putting one foot in front of the other.

May 3, 2011 at 6:24 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

You sound like a very strong person. You should be proud!

May 3, 2011 at 6:32 AM  
Blogger Andrea (ace1028) said...

How incredibly strong of you. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing how all of this felt, feels, and what it's like for you every day. You SHOULD feel proud!

May 3, 2011 at 6:47 AM  
Blogger The Reason You Come said...

You stayed strong for your sister and yourself, and even though you wanted to come undone, you didn't. That's definitely something to be proud of!

May 3, 2011 at 7:31 AM  
Blogger Veronica said...

You grieved and you drew strength from yourself and those surrounding you. You did what needed to be done and you came out a new woman, one I'm sure your parents would be proud of as well.

May 3, 2011 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Sober Julie said...

This is something to be proud of indeed, you've allowed yourself to face it head on, this grief which could have overpowered you. Thank you for sharing.

May 3, 2011 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Suebug said...

I immediately thought of you when I was asked recently to think of someone I admired for their leadership and attitude. What happened to you and Leah is unimaginable, but you have not been defined by it. xo

May 3, 2011 at 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Yuliya said...

I am inspired by you.

May 3, 2011 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Kir said...

oh my, oh girl this post showed me so much of who you are , what you are about...and I am so lucky to just know you. Losing one parent for me was so hard but thinking of loing both of them and still coming out the other side, strong and supported...well I couldn't be more proud of you. What a journey you've shared with us.

May 3, 2011 at 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anne said...

Sounds like you have dealt with unbearable loss with a lot of grace and strength! You should be proud. We all grieve in our own ways.

May 3, 2011 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Jackie said...

I think pride should be combined with strength for this entry. Kudos to you.

May 3, 2011 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger C.Mom said...

Such strength and courage to take on all that you had to deal with. The truth is that we all deal with grief in our own way- and it sounds like you-apart from being an inspiration, have taken charge of the things in your life and taken each day as a new one.

May 3, 2011 at 1:45 PM  
Blogger Sherri said...

Tonya, this is have a lot to be proud of, even on the toughest days of dealing with grief of this magnitude AND a toddler!

I have tons of admiration for you, and love that you wrote about this for the prompt!

May 3, 2011 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger cath said...

Grief is subjective, not objective, and unique for every individual. What a marvelous twist on the prompt, your proud moment, as well you should be. Thanks for sharing.
(@jonesbabie on Twitter)

May 3, 2011 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Amazing, I love your blogs! You are so strong to be so honest and upfront with grief, grief is so hard to deal with and even stronger to be honest about. Proud, very proud of you!

May 3, 2011 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

You definitely have a lot of which to be proud, Tonya. There is no shame in grief, and everyone handles it in their own way. I'm proud of you that you found a way to deal with yours.

May 3, 2011 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Nichole said...

Love you, Tonya.
And my respect and admiration for you know no bounds.

May 3, 2011 at 9:25 PM  
Blogger Tina @ Life Without Pink said...

Wow you are very amazing and an inspiration. I am so sorry about your loss. Sounds like you handled with a lot of grace and had a great support system.

May 4, 2011 at 5:49 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

You were truly amazing and we did what needed to be done during that incredibly emotional time. I honestly can't even remember too much about those first few days. Like you say, "we were on autopilot", just trying to get through each day and take care of what needed to be taken care of. I will always be proud of us both for those days. You were and will always be my rock. XOXO

May 4, 2011 at 11:58 PM  

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