I’ve written about this subject before and I have done numerous TikTok’s and YouTube’s regarding this subject BUT what makes this one different is I’m going to talking about dealing with loss and the pain that comes along with it in “real time”.
What I’m trying to say is this – I’m going to talk to you about the pain of loss while I am actively feeling the pain of loss.
Let me tell you what’s going on….
If you have been following me on any of my social media platforms, you will know that I have a constant four legged companion named Liberty. My sweet girl is a 13 year old pitbull that I have had since she was 5 weeks old. She has seen me through good times and through bad times. She has seen me sober and she loved me when I was an addict. She was the definition of unconditional love.
I lost my Liberty two days ago.
I hurt. Plain and simple I hurt and I feel like I also lost a piece of me on that day. Liberty’s passing was quick, I mean real quick. She woke up fine and I had to say “Goodbye” to her that evening. I knew Liberty was older and that she was on borrowed time, but that doesn’t make the pain of my loss any less. So I cried, and I cried and then I cried some more. I have cried every day but today was a little different. Today I asked myself this question “Lonni, what are you going to do with this pain?” I have to tell you, that was a good question and it needed to be answered. I mean, I could sit here and cry some more or I could start my healing journey and try to help someone else along the way. I knew the answer and I knew what I wanted to do so I chose to start my healing journey. I chose to try help someone else by sharing how I was going to start healing myself. I think Liberty would approve of this and here’s what I’m doing.
I’m giving myself time.
We have a tendency to put so much pressure on ourselves when I comes to time and healing. For some reason we feel that we have to issue deadlines for everything in our lives, including grief. I decided today that I was going to allow my as much time as I need. If it’s quick great, if this takes awhile great. I’m taking that pressure off and just letting the healing process begin.
I will be extra compassionate to myself.
I say this because I find myself loosing patience with myself. Tasks that should be quick are taking longer and I’m getting frustrated. If something does not happen the way I want I snap. I see this happening and I’m having to tell myself to just take things slow. I am purposely watching out my triggers, anything that will make me snap. I try to open a program on the computer and get irritated that it’s taking so long. I worked on my Blog today and hung up on customer support. I watched an YouTube instead and didn’t have the patience to finish it. I see all of this and I’m aware of what’s happening so I’m giving myself a break. When I get frustrated, I don’t get upset at myself, I say something kind to myself and move on. When I start to feel frustrated I remind myself that I’m hurting and that I might be blowing things out of proportion. I’m just kinder to myself because I hurt.
I will keep a close eye on my anger.
This one is real threat. I was raised to be a fighter and I thought anger was my super power. I was like this until just a couple of years ago. I was like this until I got sober. Once I got sober I let go of the anger but the anger didn’t let go of me. It is always buried deep waiting for me to either use it or waiting for me to let down my guard and it comes out. So, I have to be careful because I don’t want to give it the power it’s looking for. When I go to the store and someone cuts me off, I don’t chase them down to confront them. When someone looks at me wrong I don’t turn and look for a fight. When someone is rude to me online I won’t respond, I will just delete the comment. So like I said, I am being extra diligent with my anger. I’m keeping a very close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t take over. Because trust me, no one wants angry Lonni chasing them down at the grocery store. I repeat – No One!
I will remind myself to let people help.
When I hurt I shut the storm shutters. This comes from years of being hurt and receding into the happy spot I made for myself in my mind. In that spot no one can hurt me and I can keep myself shielded from the outside world. While this is a great defense mechanism in some instances, in this instance is does me harm. It shuts me away from the people who love me and want to help me, not hurt me. So I have to remind myself, that no matter how much I want to shut my feelings down and shutter myself away, I can’t. I can’t do this because this is when I need the people I love the most. My boys are just as hurt as I am and if I don’t let them help me, I won’t be able to help them. As much as it hurts, I cannot hide from this pain.
I will no make any major changes.
This is a tough one for me because part of my coping mechanism is change. When I hurt I want to change something to take that hurt away. My poor closet came under attack first. I purged my closet the first day, only to realize what I was doing and I put everything back. Next I thought about changing my hair, even though I absolutely love my hair. Again, I was looking to change my situation because I wanted to change the pain. I have to understand and remind myself that changing something like my hair or closet isn’t going to change my pain. It might mask it for a few hours or days, but it isn’t taking anything away. If anything it will make me pissed at myself once I get out of my fog. So stop yourself from doing thing different (at least for a couple of days).
I’m monitoring the voices in my head.
I have a real problem with negative self talk. It lead me to addiction and even today they can quickly turn ugly. I have already caught myself saying “you should have” “you could have” “what if”. I mean come on Lonni. Not one of those things would have changed the outcome and the only thing you are doing is hurting yourself. You are not making the pain less and you are not bringing Liberty back. So I listen very carefully to what I am saying to myself and I keep the negative self talk out of my head. This all goes back to being compassionate. Everything I start a negative thought, I tell myself a positive one instead.
So these are the active steps that I’m currently doing to help me through this difficult time. I hope these help you during your difficult time. If doesn’t just have to be about the loss of someone you love. It can be about anything. Here’s the thing that gets me. We often feel like we have to explain the journey that lead us to a painful moment. Bullshit. The story of the how we got there is irrelevant, what is relevant is how you are feeling at this very moment. What matters is that you hurt and you need to start your own journey of healing. Period.
I truly hope my words will help you in some way. I know I feel better now that I have this written and I know Liberty is proud of me for doing this. I love that dog and will love that dog until the day I pass. I will get through this – one step at a time.
Until next time – love you!