Good morning. Today’s post is a little different than normal. I am sharing today that I was approached about a month ago by journalists from CBC’s The National- Chelsea Gomez and Tara Carman. They came across this blog when researching for a series on the lack of a consistent reporting system for maternal death in Canada.
When I saw the message, I had a lot of mixed feelings. Should I do this? CAN I do this? What can I remember (trauma brain).
I of course, immediately talked to Kristina who highly encouraged me to at least speak to these ladies. I took a week to think about it, weighing it out and ultimately decided to speak to them.
I am so so glad I did. These women were amazing at making sure we got things right, that Kayla was honored and that I was ok throughout the process.
I got to tell Kayla’s story, The part of the story that is HARD to think about let alone tell. I shared her very real struggle to get assistance and the lack of doctors really taking it seriously. It was incredibly painful and brought up alot of emotions but, it was also a very liberating thing to do. It has lightened my load a little bit.
Sharing Kayla’s story means she can make a difference for other women
Sharing Kayla’s story means all of this awfulness wasn’t for nothing
Sharing Kayla’s story means HOPEFULLY things in Canada’s health system change.
Sharing Kayla’s story means that if 1 person reads, hears or sees it, that potentially one more woman is saved,
Please take time to read this article below and tune in to the National tonight for my interview.
I’m going to tell my bereavement journey over the past 5 years. It’s what it’s like as a grieving parent from my perspective.
I’m going to preface this with a few things..it doesn’t matter the age of your child, nor the type of relationship you had, nor how the child passed, you will experience some, if not all of these things that I have over the last 5 years.
When you lose a child, you will have a big internal battle to fight for your sanity. The sheer pain of this loss is completely unimaginable and hopefully foreign to the majority of people. There is literally nothing in this world that anyone can do or say to prepare you for this piece. Not someone that’s experienced it, not having time to adjust to losing your child during a terminal long term illness, nothing. It’s a process that only time will be able to assist with, alongside, whatever treatment methods work for you.
Now when I refer to treatment methods, I’m talking about counselling, journaling, blogging, talking to friends, changes to belief systems, attending peer therapy sessions, going for walks, medication if you need that…all of this. What I have found in joining the club that nobody should ever join is that there is no so called silver bullet. This is a process you will work through, with trial and error and the prescription will absolutely change along the way to healing.
When I say along the way to healing, make no doubt about this: you will NEVER be fully healed. That is impossible and not a realistic expectation for you or anyone else to place upon you. This is never going to feel right. This will always be painful. But, there is still hope…because, your perspectives will shift and you will get to a place of quiet acceptance, embracing those horrible scars and morphing from this awful cocoon a changed person, and, if you’ve found your prescription that works, that person will be new and amazing version of that old self, “before”.
When you start out on this difficult road, you will indeed go through all of the stages of grief, but what nobody will tell you is that these stages don’t go in order and once you’re “through” a stage, you may return to it down the road.
Expect to feel anger. Anger that this happened to your child, to you, to your family and friends. Anger at other people that still have their kids there with them. Anger at people in your kid’s age range that are still here, doing all the things. Anger at everything and everyone. Blinding fucking rage. Anger that takes on an animalistic nature, the kind that makes you hit things(even if you’re not a violent person) the anger that makes you scream at the top of your lungs, into a pillow, in your car. That is the anger I am talking about. It creeps in on you. I had so much anger at people that were pregnant and had so much trouble being around them in the beginning due to how we lost Kayla. I had anger at people who lost their pets and equated it as the same thing I was going through.
Speaking of the pet thing, I totally get it, grief is born of loss- any kind, pets, people, jobs, relationships. But, what I have learned, is that nobody’s experience is the same as the next person. Please do not compare. Do not say you understand, even if you have lost a child. We can relate, but we don’t understand because like I said, nobody’s experience is the same.
Expect people to say some really stupid things. The stupidest thing someone said to me, and I shit you not was Thank God you have another daughter. I don’t know how I didn’t punch them in the face and let out that rage I spoke of earlier. I have come to realize that people say stupid things because they don’t know what to say. We are raised in a society where silence is awkward so we will do anything to fill in that gap. So, to all you people that have put that foot in your mouth at some point, here is my advice..sure say you’re sorry for our loss..and then follow that with, how can I best support you right now? Please.
Expect to question everything and bargain..bring them back, take me…take my ex (kidding), take anyone, just give my baby back. The questioning is normal but it makes the process hard: Why my kid and not her kid? Why? Did I do something in my life to deserve this?
Expect to look at pictures of yourself “before” and ache for that innocence of your face, with less bags, and wrinkles and without that knowledge of how fucking awful life can be at times in your eyes. This was so hard for me. I would see a picture and just close my eyes as though if I wished for it hard enough, I would be transported back to that time and place and this never ever happened.
Expect to start to see life without the haze of disappointment and anger and worry and awfulness. Expect to start to feel moments of happiness and feel incredibly guilty for it.
Expect to have days/weeks and even months where you’re fine, and then you see something so small that takes you back to where you came from and it cuts you at the knees and you feel yourself right back to day 1 (D Day).
Expect to not know how to respond when someone asks if you have kids. You will struggle with it. I used to answer that I had 2 girls and then what would happen is there would be follow up questions and I would not know what to say. People naturally ask how old? Etc etc…which gets awkward. Then I felt the need to explain, again, very awkwardly that Kayla passed away. With the inevitable response from this poor innocent person, I’m so sorry and the fear and pain in their eyes. Now, I rip off the bandaid. I say, I have 2 daughters. My youngest Kristina is xx years old and my daughter Kayla passed away x number of years ago at age 26 from HELLP syndrome, a severe form of preeclampsia. And then I wait for the response and see where to go from there. I used to worry that I was “bringing people down” but now I see it as an opportunity to educate on HELLP syndrome as well as make talking to bereaved parents a little less intimidating and awkward and let’s face it, less horrible.
Your belief systems will be challenged. You will lose friends. You will have family members that are alienated from you. It’s not anyone’s fault. You are changed irrevocably and these people are scared of catching your grief or just can no longer relate to the new you. That’s ok, because you will gain friends and build relationships in the weirdest places with people you never expected it from.
You will find new beliefs or grow stronger in your existing ones.
You will realize just how incredibly strong you are, how precious life is, and become even more compassionate than you ever were before.
Well friends, here we are again. Scary times, threats of hospitals being overwhelmed…gatherings for New Year’s restricted…again. I know I’m suffering from “pandemic fatigue” how about you? How are you doing in all of this?
The struggle to stay positive and less anxious is real.. especially when life throws even more hardships at you. Life at times can be incredibly hard, so what do you turn to when you need to pull yourself up.
For me, it’s paying it forward. I don’t necessarily mean monetarily, I mean pulling someone else up. Doing something kind for someone just to do something kind. Without looking for recognition. Without telling everyone what you did.
It’s seeing someone that needs support or a pick me up, and then doing something – anything even something really small for that person.
In life, it’s easy to get caught up in your own shit. It’s hard to see beyond your own little circle, it’s human nature to be self involved. When you look beyond yourself, and are compassionate to others, it helps your own mindset.
Have you ever selflessly done something kind for someone and not bragged about it? Have you done something just to help without expecting something in return? Try it today. See how you feel inside. Did it bring you to a better level emotionally?
I challenge you today to do an act of kindness and tell nobody. Expect nothing in return. Not even “good karma”.
Spread the love as we cautiously step into another new year that we hope and pray brings healing to the world and another step towards normalcy.
It’s been a bit! I have not been in the best writing space lately. Alot has been contributing to this..the ongoing uncertainty of this pandemic is the big one. I have been letting some great practices slide, becoming complacent in my mindset.
The last few weeks I have been growing increasingly fatigued and frustrated with the way people are treating each other. We are living in a very divided society and I’m sure these shitty times will be well documented for our future generations to shake their heads at.
There are many different opinions- I am refusing to acknowledge”sides” because that to me seems like I’m ok with it. And I’m not.
I’m not here to change anyone’s opinions or mind on any of it. I know that no matter what, I will not convinced you that my opinion is the way to go, just like I know that you can’t sway me from mine. That’s called respecting others.
What I would like to suggest is a truce. A place where we mutually respect each other and just carry on. Where we can actually co-exist in peace!
Until that happens, here is my plan: I’m committed to living in my own universe. My own reality where none of these ugly words are happening.
Yep. I’m ignoring it all. You can call me naive if you’d like. I really don’t mind.
I used to very blissfully exist in my own reality where everyone had the best of intentions for everyone and everything and honestly I was good with it. If it meant people took advantage of my kindness, oh well.
My ex husband made me feel like it wasn’t ok to think like that. He would tell me I lived in my own little world in disgust. I should have known then that relationship was doomed but I didn’t.
Well, I’m older and wiser now. And isn’t it funny that I’ve had to read books and do activities to come back to something that is naturally how I exist?
You can choose to live like this. It doesn’t mean you don’t pay attention to what’s happening in the world. It means you remain neutral unless there is really something that needs action for your personal wellbeing. It means shutting out the noise and formulating your own way out of this mess. It means respecting people’s privacy and comfort levels.
I know many of you are with me.
So off I go, to wend my way blissfully into the calm world where peace and love exist. Come with me, it’s wonderful here.
Things are starting to change again in the world at a rapid pace. Businesses are reopening, people are getting vaccinated, less people are sick and workplaces are preparing for employees to come back to work in person.
All of this is long awaited and for many, very exciting. We all need to be around other humans and have that social interaction, but let’s face it..for most of us it’s been quite some time and we have changed our lives to match being solitary!
So now what? How do we prepare ourselves to reintegrate into society? What if I am anxious about it? What to do?
Here are my thoughts, and they are just that…they are not medical opinions by any stretch of the imagination.
Now is the time to really embrace our mindsets and make sure we are practicing our self care the most!
There is alot going on and it is ok to feel anxious about it, I know that I am myself.
Let’s chat quickly about some of this stuff. The vaccination debate is really divisive. People have super strong opinions about it. It is perfectly ok to have your own ideas! Let’s just start there. It is NOT ok to push your beliefs/ideas on someone else. Whatever side of the discussion you are on, my advice is to keep it to yourself. No matter what YOUR belief is, other people will continue with theirs NO MATTER what you tell them. There is way too much emotion involved in this debate for you to sway anyone in either direction and it is not up to you to change that.
If you believe in vaccination and you don’t want to be around people that aren’t, that is up to you. Just calmly inform those people that you will be keeping to people that are vaccinated and leave it at that. No discussion. That’s all. The same goes if you don’t believe in vaccination. You do you, and keep your opinions to yourself.
There doesn’t need to be conflict or debate or arguing or even violence! We can agree to disagree and go with whatever path we are personally comfortable with. I’m seeing so much debate and division among families and that makes me sad. I really hope that we can find some common ground along the way.
So that addresses one thing. Let’s talk about the anxiety levels and what you can do to alleviate them.
You know I’m going to say meditation! Obviously. It is the BEST way to alleviate anxiety and work out what is happening in your brain. You need other self care too. Enjoy time outside, go for a walk, read a book on your patio, do a puzzle, knit-whatever makes you happy and calm.
When it comes to reintegration to society–yes I am calling it that because that is really what it is, I have some ideas.
So many of you have made a lot of really positive changes over the past year and a half. There are also some habits that are not so positive that have developed. My plan for myself is to write it all down and decide what I want to keep and what needs to go away. Then, create an action plan to make sure this happens.
The other idea, is to go slow. Baby step it back to seeing people. Go with your comfort level and be ok with saying NO. If there is a situation you are not quite ready for yet, decline politely. You don’t need to offer an explanation. Just no thanks or not today. That’s it. If your people don’t respect that, get new people.
This is a change and it has potential to be overwhelming and overstimulating. Make sure you’re building that reset time into your schedules. Most of all, ENJOY! Get a little social, wear your mask and be present.
There is no doubt that loss changes us. That fact is indisputable. The loss and resulting grief is and always will be there. And that is the same for every person in this world. No matter who you are, where you live, or what you believe, you will lose someone at some point in your life that is important to you. This is something we all share as humans.
What is different is the WAY in which it impacts us. The side effects of that loss so to speak.
Grief is such a profoundly personal experience that I truly don’t feel there is anyone that can truly understand anyone else’s loss. I can only speak to my experience and how my losses have impacted me.
I have had some significant losses in my life and to tally them up, well it is just too much to think about. Some of these losses had minor impacts and those were impacts that were fleeting.
Others, especially the loss of my daughter, shaped how I view the world. It brought to the surface beliefs that were long buried (the side effect of losing my dad).
It has given me severe anxiety at the mere thought of something happening to my surviving daughter, grandchildren and spouse. Thankfully, I have my tools to help me with this.
These are what I refer to as side effects of grief and loss. Some good, some amazing, some awful.
I had noticed another personal side effect and really started to be more aware of it recently.
I feel other people’s pain and suffering for loss stronger than I ever did. I mean, I feel it physically and emotionally. I feel like I am looking straight into people’s heart and soul. I unintentionally take it as my own.
This happens with people I know and complete strangers.
I see mothers crying for lost children on the news and I cry for them, feeling a fraction of their pain.
I hear a child crying at the loss of a parent and want to hold them.
I see something online about mass deaths and I worry for their friends and family.
A friend loses a parent. I see their pain and I know I can’t make them better.
Someone loses a pet and I know they are hurting just as much as if it were a human child.
These are all situations that are personal to them, and their grief will be different from one person to the next, but the pain is not really different. I am not saying that I know how they feel, I just know that I can see it and I know the sheer depth of it.
So, my side effect of grief is empathy and compassion to the extreme. And I am good with it. It’s turning me into the kind of person I always wanted to be and really was on the inside. It’s made me more inclined to give people grace, It has made me far less judgemental and made me take a few steps back to try to understand where others are coming from. And to me, this is a blessing in spite of tragedy.
I woke up today in such a space of gratitude, that it started a chain of feelings and events that made things just start to click in my mind.
I feel like I am finally truly grasping the lessons I took in my daily Unlimited 40 day practice. When you exist in such a state of being thankful for all that you have in the present moment, it welcomes in to you all that you could ever want.
I have been focusing on how happy I am in my present life:
I have a comfortable living space
I have a supportive spouse
I am tight with my family
I have a good job
I love writing this blog, it has helped me with so many things
I love my super supportive friends
Are there things that are not best in my life that I wish were different? OF COURSE!! But, I choose to focus on that which is good and therefore attract more of that to myself. The Universe will take care of the not so great things.
I have been writing a daily affirmation even when I didn’t truly believe it: My life is really really good. I am happy where I am and reaching for more.
This affirmation has brought me to where I am today, in this moment of happiness, satisfaction and excitement for the future. It has welcomed a new opportunity in my life that is bringing me so much joy and allowing me to express myself in different ways and leverage my creativity. I am so thankful for all that I have now, all that has happened to bring me to where I am today and what I will accomplish tomorrow.
What are you grateful for? What words are you speaking to yourself and what impact is this having on your life? Does this need to change?
This process is not something that happens overnight. It is gradual and it requires you to do some work. It’s not hard work but it is something that you must be consistent with. Here are some recommendations based on my findings:
Try incorporating a morning and evening gratitude practice for 30 days. Then, add in a daily positive affirmation for 30. Observe how this makes you feel and what amazing things start to magically appear in your life. Then, level that up; thank the universe/angels/god whomever you speak to for something you want in your life as though you already have it.
This is where I am at and it’s amazing what comes your way. Report back.
This quote this morning during my meditation grabbed me. I have faced more than my share of difficulty to put it mildly. And it has all changed me. It’s changed me in so many ways that when I run into people from my past, they are blown away by the transformation. It’s like being reborn.
The reason this quote got my attention today and got me thinking was the last piece…”we just need help in learning how not to run away.”
Powerful shit. I have been guilty of running and hiding all my life until the last little while. I just would avoid dealing with anything uncomfortable. I still struggle with some things but I am light years ahead of where I was.
I remember even as a child avoiding the uncomfortable. Vividly remember actually. Getting invited somewhere by friends, only to be questioned when I arrived as to why I was there. Little girls being mean just to be mean. And me not confronting it. Just mumbling that I must be mistaken and leaving hiding my tears
Being spoken down to as a teenager by a teacher who told me that math just wasn’t my thing. So I dropped the class rather than trying.
Cheated on by my ex husband for many years and not facing it. Turning a blind eye and pretending it wasn’t happening just because confronting it was too painful.
Stuffing down the pain of Kayla’s death because I didn’t feel I had the capacity to deal with it. Not feeling strong enough. Terrified that this would be the one thing that broke me forever.
All of these things are a lifelong pattern of not believing enough in yourself to just deal with it and end your own suffering. Believing that you’re just not worthy. You can spout all the self help and affirmations you want, but you have to face the feelings you have deep within yourself if you want to step into that radiant amazing being you really are.
Mediation has helped me start to emerge from my self imposed cocoon of doubt. Daily affirmations, and physically taking care of myself has also contributed to this. If you want to transform into your true beautiful self, you have to immerse yourself in the work. You can’t half ass it. You need to get in there and see the ugliness that’s there. You have to deal with it all.
I did a post this week on my social media after I had a big epiphany and I thought we should talk about it here because it was so incredibly powerful.
I have been doing alot of self reflection type of work and working on loosening my grip on trying to be in control of literally everything and for a bit, it had me upside down and sideways in my mindset.
The biggest self discovery happened this week:
I figured out that turning 50 messed with me more than I thought it did.
When I was close to that magic number, my body was suddenly against me, or so I thought. I was gaining weight “for no reason” I “needed’ to move to lower impact workouts because well you know, “I’m getting older and I need to accept that’s where I’m at”. Looking back and reflecting on that, I mind fucked myself. I know that now. I believed that to be true, I said the words and that is the shit I manifested for myself. Wow. Mind blown. LIke seriously?
I found myself eating things that I KNEW my body hated, because what was the point? I’m getting older and you only live once so eat the cake. And yes, eat the cake is a thing that you should do, just not the WHOLE cake.
In the midst of all this shiz, I started doing the Unlimited workbook that I spoke about last week on the blog. Every morning, you read a few pages of information, then you say an affirmation, meditate and you write what you’re grateful for. You also write 3 things you want the universe to achieve for you and then you let that go. This workbook goes for a 40 day period.
Doing this every day really gets you digging in your heart of hearts. You start to see where you are working against yourself simply by thinking or saying things a certain way.
This was the start of my epiphany.
Then, I listened to an audio lesson on mindful eating. There are meditations you do to understand why you want to eat and helps you to determine if you really are hungry or if that’s just because you’re programmed that way. There is an exercise to write down how food makes you feel. By the way–mindful eating is really just that, it’s paying attention to your body and your food. It’s still ok to eat a certain way if it makes you feel good or you’re trying to achieve a specific goal.
This got me thinking about life in general and what makes me happiest. Then, I made a list. I sat there at 5 am and wrote a giant list about what I practice when I am at my best.
This simple task, showed me in black and white, what I needed to do in order to pick myself fully back up. It’s a few days later and I am back to eating the food that best fuels my body, working out pretty hard core, I’m organized and focused at work and in my personal life and I’m HAPPY! Like so happy. I encourage you to do this activity for yourself and let me know how you feel afterward.
How does the above statement make you feel? It brings me down and makes me sad. It makes me feel or it implies that all bad things happen to this person and there is no escaping from it. It sounds dismal and negative. It sounds like a punishment that never ends. I immediately feel sorry for this person that is saying this.
Now, take that same statement but change one word: Why does everything always happen for me?
This sounds like revelation. It sounds like self discovery. Like nothing but good things happen for this person. It sounds like the universe, or God or Angels or whatever you believe in is doing this person a FAVOR.
See how easily you can shift things with a very simple shift in your perspective? That was a change of 2 very short 2 and 3 letter words. Crazy but true.
I have been practicing this mindset shift (at least doing my best at it anyway) and it is life altering to say the least. I am in a better mood, and my outlook on life is genuinely more positive and hopeful.
When something happens that we feel is a negative…rather than asking why it’s happening TO us, let’s start asking why it’s happening FOR us. Ask what doors will this open up for me? How does this event or thing change the path I am on? What lesson is this teaching me?
Life is so full of potential with this simple shift. It’s helped me see light in tragedy, and altered my overall view on life, and in turn, my beliefs.
I’d love to see you give this a try yourself. In the coming days/weeks or even months, when a challenging situation arises, or something “negative” happens to you, shift the view to why it’s happening FOR you and see where that takes you.