First Things First

First Things First

My friend gave me this sign after I started my blog. I love it, but I wish it had been a sign that said Welcome Home Chandler posted over our door as he came back home after his recovery.

So today I reminded myself…get up, brush your teeth. Move.

I won’t say that today was filled with meaningful activity. I spent most of the day doing returns of items that didn’t work where I thought they would — wrong color, wrong size, just WRONG. And I bought new items in their place that I will likely return this week because they are the wrong size, wrong….well, you get it.

Some of my OCDness is being focused toward Chandler’s room. We want it to be a comfortable, welcoming guest room. We also want to put some things on display that remind us of Chandler. But we don’t want it to be a creepy shrine of sorts.

It’s not easy to figure out the balance between too much and just enough. I think it is very unique to the person doing the grieving. Maybe for one person, walls covered with their deceased loved one’s pictures may be just what they need. For now at least. Someone else may need to simplify and keep only a few special reminders of their loved one.

What I know for myself is that I cannot stay surrounded and immersed in all things Chandler all day every day. It may not seem like that because I wear Chandler’s jewelry, have his picture on my living room shelf, display special gifts given to us after he died, and talk about him all the time.

What I mean is that on a regular basis, I have to make myself move outside of the all-consuming reality that my son is gone. I have to spend time in the “normal world” even as I am trying to figure out my new normal.

What does that mean in real time? It means I have lunch with a friend, even if maybe I’m not feeling like I want to go out. It means I go for a hike with my family or friends to allow all my senses to take in the majesty and beauty that God created for us to enjoy. It means I dance even though it doesn’t make sense to dance right now.

My heart hurts knowing that so many people reading these words are missing their loved ones and would give anything to hug them one more time. I don’t claim to know everything about what you should or shouldn’t do — I’m trying to figure this out day by day. From my own experience, maybe if you feel like you don’t want to get up tomorrow, just put your feet on the floor, walk to the sink, and first, brush your teeth. Then get dressed. Then go grab a cup of coffee and maybe a bite to eat. Maybe call a friend to see if they want to have lunch, or tackle a work or home project you’ve been meaning to get to. Put on your walking shoes and stroll the neighborhood for 20 minutes just focusing on your surroundings, not on the pain that is your constant companion.

Oh, my friend, it is not an easy road we travel. Loss is loss. We all experience it in one form or another. We have to feel what we feel, to embrace the process of grief. And we have to move outside the walls that grief can tend to build around us. But first…

Brush your teeth.

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