Friday, January 26, 2018

When Grief Consumes You

Honestly, I don't know how I'm still alive today. I do contribute most, even all of my survival with praying to God every single morning and night. Whenever my mom would talk about "post mom" -- I couldn't even fathom the thought. "When I'm gone....yada yada yada," -- no...no...no. One evening, we were talking over a couple of drinks before dinner. She went on again about her "post mom" talk. I immediately interrupted her and said, "WHEN I'M gone....yada yada yada." The thought, the 'talk of it' was so traumatizing that I told her that if she ever left me I would just die, or worse off, kill myself. "Oh no you won't, mama! Promise me." She used to call all of her daughters, "mama" or "mommy." It was cute. I truly believed the worst would happen to me if she ever left me. I was praying to God a lot then too, but not as much as I do today...post mom.

I hung onto God so tightly, that when the time came to hear that my mother left this world, I felt like I was in the arms of God. I grieved hard, but not enough that it would kill me. I saw beautiful signs, like the owl that came to my window at 4:17am (her birthday) and rainbows left and right days after she had passed. I heard Mom's voice, I felt her near me, I smelled her perfumed lotions. I felt her relief. I felt her happiness. I felt and knew that she was now in God's care. She was no longer in her bedroom in pain or going through a horrible depression because her life had taken a terminally ill turn -- and that's a scary thing to face! She looked death right in the face and said, "Bring it." She was the strongest woman I know. But I didn't think I was. I still have weak moments.

"And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." ----2 Corinthians 12:9-11

The worst part of the whole thing was watching Mom suffer here on earth. THAT was the worst part. The torment you go through watching a loved one suffer in excruciating pain has to be one of the worst experiences you will ever remember. This alone, makes letting your loved one go a little easier, because you want to see them relieved from their ill-ridden body at this point. It would be selfish to want to let them stay and fight it out. The hardest thing I ever had to do was walk up to my mother's death bed, kiss her forehead, brush her hair back and hold her hand while saying, "Ma, it's okay to let go. You can let go now. I'm gonna be okay." I truly believed she thought I was going to off myself after her death. All my life I promised to 'off myself' if she ever left me. But God said there was much more for me to do. I'm still trying to figure that one out. I just have to trust in Him.

I spoke about this on my Periscope live stream last night. In our lives, we are expected at some point to lose our grandparents and parents. It usually goes into an order like that, unless it was an accident or early illness. But realistically, we are supposed to see our parents leave before us. That's just the cycle of life. If you're over 40 and got to spend time with your parents -- you are one of the lucky ones. The worst is losing a child. No parent should have to bury their child --ever. That's just my views on it, and I'm sure it's a popular view. Life isn't meant to be about all happiness and lollipops. It has struggles, hardships, difficulties and a lot of sadness. But if you hold onto God with everything you have, you'll have this sort of peace that goes beyond understanding -- the peace that is in the midst of all your chaos. It's like nothing can destroy your emotional wellbeing, and if it does, it's short-lived. You'll be ok if you just trust God. All the struggles and crosses to bear are what makes us stronger. It enables us to help those who haven't been through theses trials as well. We are meant to live and withstand the tests. "Well, God never answers my prayers!" Like they say, the teacher is always silent when you're in the middle of a test.

The only thing that I can say that has worked for me so far, is PRAY, hold onto those who are still living here with you, and tell your friends and family how much they mean to you. Delve into your passions, whether it's art, music, cooking, writing -- delve into it like you never did before. The best artists create the most beautiful work when they're in the midst of sadness or distress of some sort. And that's just raw truth. Find people who will uplift you. Stay away from people who will create drama in your life. Remain consistent, even if you have breakdowns once in a while, get back up and try again. Grieving isn't pretty and it doesn't guarantee sane days. I lost it quite a few times. Sometimes, it's just crying -- no wait -- wailing, where you can actually hear my soul crying out. And then there are days when I'm just angry. Let these emotions go. I just ordered a punching bag in case the anger one arises. Ha, I'm not even kidding. Emotions are raw when you're grieving and sometimes, you lash out at the ones you love the most. So hang on -- it's gonna be a rocky ride, but you'll be okay.

Breathing exercises are so important too. I started waking up with this strange cough that would eventually turn into dry heaving or vomiting. I thought something was seriously wrong with me. It's called, "anxiety cough." It triggers my asthma, so when I wake up and have a coughing fit from stress, I take my asthma medications and drink seltzer. For some reason, this seems to quiet my cough and I can rest a little while longer. I realized it was stress when someone told me to take deep breaths and hold it in for 5 seconds for a few times. While I did that, the urge to cough was less. Other symptoms can arise, like heart palpitations. This is completely normal, but scary. I had to go to a cardiologist and get checked out. I was okay. I had broken heart syndrome.

Sometimes the best thing other than what I've suggested is to just get off social media for a little while. Go outside. Watch a movie. Read a book. Hug your dog. Spend more time with your friends and family and leave the phone in your purse or pocket. Social media fasting is sometimes a true blessing. Get away from politics. Talking about politics or reading about it creates a level of anger whether you know it or not.

These are things that have helped me. If you ever need to talk to someone, please feel free to contact me (on the side bar to the right of this blog) or DM me on Twitter. My Twitter name is @DebraPasquella. I will be more than happy to talk to you if you're going through more than you can handle. I'm not perfect, but I've been there and I know for a fact, God is in control. Trust that.



For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes! Feel free to watch Deb's live broadcasts over on Periscope as well!