it's hard to let it loose when there's no time to do so
When I had Selah almost 4 years ago, I took a year off from naturopathic medical school. If it weren’t for the Wendy’s Eating Husband, I would have never done so. I would have kept going because that’s what you do when you have Triple A Personality. You don’t stop. You keep producing, you keep succeeding, you keep staying up all night working on perfection. Slowing down meant inferiority, and I feared the judgment of others for this academic cessation.
The Wendy’s Eating Husband has a grounded sense of wisdom for the future that has never proved me wrong. Taking a break from school during Selah’s first year of life was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. It was my first break from full time school since kindergarten.
About 6 months into my year off, my ex-step-aunt called me. Had I been in school full time with a baby, I would have never answered the phone. There’s no time for long conversations with distant (ex!) family members when you’re in full time medical school with a baby. I had time, so I answered her call. In the conversation I learned how much my ex-step-dad and ex-step-grandma had loved me to pieces.
I knew my step-dad and his parents since I was 4 years old. I loved my step family as if they were my own, and they were a part of my life until my mom divorced my step-dad when I was 16. After the separation, my mom told me how much my step family hated me, and she used every piece of physical evidence to prove it. I believed her for ten years. I really thought it was true.
The conversation I had with my ex-step-aunt challenged everything I had believed about my ex-step family. I heard love through my cell phone, and it collided with my 10 year reality of hatred.
When you’ve believed with all your heart how fiercely you’ve been hated by those you have loved the most, and then someone tells you how fiercely you’ve been loved, and you’ve believed it all wrong, a healing crisis occurs. My healing crisis occurred ten years after the fact. I was loved!?
I could not stop crying, no matter what I did, for three consecutive days. I cried during the day. I cried at night. All I could do was take care of my baby and cry. I cried while bouncing Selah to sleep on our exercise ball. I cried while I changed her cloth diapers. I couldn’t cook or prepare food. Instead, I cried while I ate Gorilla Munch. On the third day, I had cried so much the two days prior that although my body was weeping, no tears came out of my eyes. My neck muscles were so sore that it was physically painful to continue to grieve.
During the three days of non-stop bawling, I could barely talk. If I opened my mouth, bellows came from my throat instead of words. I wrote in my journal, “I feel mute”. I was able to slowly scribble the following phrases, but it was done at a weeping snail’s pace. I loudly sobbed after each sentence was written, especially the last one. Lee is my ex-step-dad.
“I have a baby. A beautiful baby. A miracle.
Lee loved me.”
Prior to my year off, I felt so dead inside. Who I was on the outside didn’t feel like it was the real me. It was hard to laugh. I couldn’t identify what I liked and what I didn’t. I was indifferent to everything. I felt blah! all the time. When the three days were over, it felt as though I shed something heavy from my chest. My heart felt different. I felt alive to Archer. I was smiling. I laughed harder than I could ever remember.
This was just the beginning of getting in touch with myself and who I was. To be alive is to feel emotion. To feel emotion, I needed to be present to myself.
Had I not taken a year off with Selah, I would have never had this opportunity to grieve for three days straight. Since I had no other obligations than to care for her, there was space to grieve.
Grieving is a tender, vulnerable thing that can not be rushed. I was in desperate need of grieving, but I was unwilling to press pause. Thankfully, I had a husband who helped me push that button. It was the unhealed grief that made it so difficult for me to stop. That pause brought healing I would have gotten in no other way.
Is it hard for you to press pause? How have you made space for your grief? Have you noticed more laughter after you’ve let yourself cry?