Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dream Board

Grief can really steer your brain away from reality. You become obsessed with pain and you feel like happiness does not exist in the world.  You see others smile and you think they are lying to themselves because the world couldn't possibly be that great for everyone else and not you.  You are smothered with thoughts of guilt, thoughts of what if I had done this, thoughts that are just not realistic.  You become consumed by these, as I like to call them, poisonous thoughts.  They grow and grow and grow and before you know it you are a tree covered in poison ivy and you can't breathe.  Grief is inevitable in life. We will all experience it at one point or another.  No loss is greater than the other.  Loss is loss. Hurt is hurt. We are all human and we all feel pain, some more than others. It's just how the dice gets rolled. One thing I didn't understand about my loss or think would ever happen was how much it could incapacitate me and my daily functions.  I've come to learn what my "triggers" are and things I should not partake in if it's going to leave me spiraling out of control.  It took me a really long time to learn what those triggers were but once I closed in on them I was able to prevent a lot of unnecessary heartache.  Like I said above grief can take you down a very very DARK path and it is scary.  You feel suffocated, trapped, smothered, hopeless, cheated, and most of all UNLOVED and ALONE. The thoughts that follow those feelings are so deep and entangled it is almost impossible to just stop thinking them.  You can't distract your brain from them like you would if you were suffering from a rough break up or the loss of your job.  The thoughts are your REALity even though they are so FAR from what you would normally find yourself thinking about. They become your daily focus and now it is completely clear why I couldn't even shower some days.

I'm sure you are all wondering"well....how the heck do you get out of that hell?" If you are grieving the loss of a loved one my only advice is to start small and do simple simple tasks around the house. Some days you will just go back to bed but others you might make big strides and end up taking those small tasks a step further.  Before you know it you are at target talking with a friend you hadn't seen in a couple months and also buying a shit ton of stuff you don't need or you are outside going for run.  Just like the poison ivy grows and grows, the same thing happens in reverse, you take one positive step and you find yourself at the top of a hill looking down at everything you accomplished. You feel empowered and you want to do it again the next day.  The trick is to not look up at that hill thinking it isn't doable.  Don't look up just keep looking down and focus on moving your feet.

I am currently in that positive spiral effect right now.  I never thought I'd blog again but I took that first step and let my feelings out and now look at me go...I'm letting the feelings flow through my fingers as I type each week.  It's so therapeutic that EVERYONE grieving should type their feelings.  We can type a whole lot faster than we can write and it feels like we are ridding our minds of these thoughts and feelings faster than we ever could before. I am climbing that hill each day and it doesn't feel like a daunting task anymore.  I am back to teaching, working out like usual but not obsessing about it(that could be another whole post in itself, maybe another day), meeting up with friends to catch up on their lives(even though those days can set me back because I end up rehashing my recent weeks but it still feels good to speak to humans), and finally I am LIVING and thinking normal everyday thoughts again.  The grief will never consume me AGAIN!  I refuse to let it.  I have worked way too hard to dig myself out of that poison ivy, I want to feel free EVERY day and so the uphill battle continues.  My life will never be easy but I have to remember the set of tools I've learned along the way in order to live my life as healthy as possible.

I recently created a "dream board" in order to force myself to focus on everything I want from this one life I have. I am trying to keep the positivity flowing and it honestly makes me feel so good to look at it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  I have complete faith that I will make all of the things on my board HAPPEN and happen SOON!  I refuse to sit back and wait.  I will have everything I want and more because I deserve it and I want to the be the person to reward MYSELF.  A good friend keeps reminding me that " GOOD THINGS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN" and I get excited every time she writes me those words.  BRING IT ON! I'm ready.

My dream board list: 
1. Travel the world
2. SOULMATE (One day, someone will walk into your life and make you see why it never worked out with anyone else) 
3. Wedding of my dreams (Get married under a beautifully lit tree with a massive heart(representing Micah's presence) on the trunk)
4. Rocks = BALANCE (doing everything in my life in moderation and not obsessing over ANYTHING)
5. LOVE ME in every shape, every emotion, EVERY DAY (love yourself first and everything else will fall into place)
6. Power over my thoughts ( Once you become consciously aware of just how powerful your thoughts are, you will realize everything in your life is exactly how YOU allow it to be)
7. A beautiful loving FAMILY
8. ALWAYS SHARE MY STORY (never stop talking about Micah with others including strangers)
9. Declaration of Intention ( This year I will "find balance." I will let go of the "anger" and embrace the "grief."  I will honor "my daughter" and love my "self."  I will stand up and share my "heart" with the world. 
10. JERF (Just Eat Real Food) - Real food= nourishing, sustainable, and delicious/ Healthy living is why I'm smiling/Happy taking care of my body/ Working out gives me Energy
11. ALWAYS GIVE (giving is the antidote to emptiness)

I hope I've inspired you all to create your own board because we ALL deserve to reward ourselves with EVERYTHING we want in this ONE life we get.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Life Doesn't Come With an Eraser

This quote struck a nerve with me last night as I laid in the bath tub after a killer leg workout with my best friend, Brittni.  I read these words over and over again and suddenly something changed. My mind was so clear and my body immediately felt such RELIEF. I had been trying to erase everything that has happened in the past 2 years: the birth of my daughter, the days taking care of her at CHOP, the long nights without her, kissing her little cheeks goodbye, all of the therapy sessions where I was constantly searching for ways to cope, the breakup between Bill and I, the grief we both share that will forever bond us, the short bursts of happiness that didn't last and tricked me into thinking I was finally starting to be happy, losing all of my baby/grief weight to only put some of it back on every time her birthday and anniversary come around, a recent relationship that knocked my socks off and then ended in such heartbreak,  renting out my condo and moving home because hospital bills and paying a mortgage alone again after 8 years was detrimental to me financially, I JUST WANTED TO ERASE IT ALL!!!!
But last night it was crystal clear.  All of those things do define me and have molded me in to who I am.  I had been searching and searching for who this new Michelle would be but I wasn't acknowledging my past.  I wasn't embracing it and accepting my reality.  I was running from it and trying to create this whole new better life.  Then when things wouldn't go my way in the process I would immediately be crushed because my plans of this new fabulous existence without hurt would then be filled with more loss and more hurt.  Talk about setting unrealistic expectations.  I was doing it all wrong. But if I didn't do it wrong I would have never learned how to do it right.  There is no right way for EVERYONE. Everyone grieves differently but I hope this post reaches someone on the level that, that quote reached me.  Words can be said a million times but until you process them in a way that fits your needs, you will never fully understand the true meaning of them.  I finally understand what it means when someone says "your past molds you into the person you are today."  It sounds so simple to understand but when your past is full of SO many losses you can't possible think that they should be the things that define you or make you better.  Who wants to remember the back to back losses they've experienced in such a short period of time??? I don't... but guess what?  I have to in order to LIVE in the NOW.  IT IS WHO I AM and it is a part of my journey in this world.  Starting now, I am no longer thinking that I am Michelle Thornton, the 32 yr old teacher/designer with a bright future and a blank past.  I am now Michelle Thornton, a loving mother, an incredible athlete, a dedicated coach, a hard worker, an emotionally equipped individual who can deal with any situation coming her way, a proud woman who will always acknowledge her amazing daughter that has passed, 1st team All American field hockey player, a national champion, an academic All American, (I've been blind to my other accomplishments because of grief getting in the way) and most of all I have become the most amazing teacher through all of this.  I have the opportunity to reach such a big audience because of my loss.  People admire me for still waking up in the morning and putting a smile on my face. They want to learn more about me and who I am because I AM still standing and I've made it. My audience ranges from students, colleagues, friends, family and even strangers.  I find myself educating people about grief, love, nutrition, fitness, life, home design, whatever. It's incredible to have so many people that love me and want to LISTEN.   I am able to touch so many lives and I am blessed.  I had lost sight of the fact that Micah gave me that special power.  Thanks Micah Girl, you have saved me once again. Gosh...what a legacy I will leave one day all because of my daughter.   

I will end this post with something my close friend Alyssa said to me the other day in a text. She said, 
"Funny how the people you think YOU will take care of in life really end up taking care of you in many ways!" When I had Micah the thought had never crossed my mind that she would EVER take care of me buuuuuuuuut she does..... EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It breaks my heart and scares the crap out of me that I was in such a dark place and wanted to erase such a beautiful blessing in my life. But what matters now is that I recognize those feelings and I never want to feel them again.  I am equipped and ready to deal with life.  I am not wishing for an easy road anymore, I want every challenge to come my way so I can prove, to no one else but myself, that I can DO IT and do it in a way that best suits ME! 

Life doesn't come with an eraser my friends so I will make sure from here on out that I write in permanent ink to ALWAYS REMEMBER where I came from.  

 I heart Micah 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Two Years Post Loss

Well, it's been 2 years since Micah has passed and I just haven't had the courage to make a single post. This page has been the furthest thing from my mind but it's time I release these bottled up emotions.  So here we go...brace yourselves.  

It's been a very dark 2 years with some bright and sunny short-lived days.  I've just wanted to hide in my cave and not let anyone in because it always ends in disappointment.  I, for sure, feel doomed.   I was naive to think that my life would be easy after being dealt such a shitty hand.  It is such a mind f#$* to battle this kind of grief along with trying to live life.  It feels like I'm screaming in a crowded room for help and no one even blinks.  They aren't blinking because they don't care, they just are so incapable of understanding the magnitude of the hurt. The feeling that no one can make this pain stop is something I just can't understand.  For real.... I can't understand how it can't be fixed.  My brain honestly really struggles with this.  In my 32 years on this planet any pain I ever had has always subsided or ended with time, whether it was physical pain from smashing my legs with a killer workout in the gym or the pain after a break up or even the pain after losing a family member. The "deep" pain always ends or dulls at some point.  The pain I feel now is like nothing I could ever explain and it is for sure getting worse.  It's something that blows physical agony out of the water.  This hurt has turned me into someone I don't even recognize anymore.  I AM ANGRY and I am so sick of being me.  I want out NOW.  I want a fresh new life with new memories and new beginnings. My skin crawls with any thoughts about Micah that swarm my brain.  I used to be a soft, caring, happy, beautiful, lively girl who wanted nothing more than to make people happy with my kind words and sweet gestures.  How can I focus on being that person when I'm itching to get out of my own skin every minute of every day.  Because I can't just step out of my skin and become someone completely different the anger grows.  It gets even worse when someone tries to tell me to get out and do certain things to jump start my happiness again.  How dare you!  As if you have any idea what's right for me or what I battle on a daily basis.  God, Micah, and I all have to laugh when those moments happen because it is so absurd.  My situation is so deep and complex that even my therapist can't give me a solution or tips on how to deal/cope.  And by the way, it's probably not a good idea to ask someone who is grieving if they are "talking to someone."  It's none of your business and NO, a therapist cannot wave a magical wand that will make it all disappear so that you don't have to worry about us going off the deep end.  That can still happen by the way. Sorry for the sarcasm but I did tell you I was angry.  You care and we appreciate that, we do, but it's complicated. PERIOD.  

I wish things were different but they aren't and this is my reality.  I'm not going to be sorry for doing what I need to do in order to keep myself alive and kicking because that's exactly what it comes down to.  It's SURVIVAL at this point and no one could have ever warned me about how bad this would be.  You all just gasped and covered your mouths when you heard about Micah because the unimaginable feelings of losing a child were so frightening that not a word could have been said.  I GET IT NOW!  I was oblivious the first year, so naive to what really happened.  I actually stare at myself in the mirror multiple times a week and say "yes, you were pregnant, holy shit you had a baby and she's DEAD, GONE, it wasn't a dream!"  The struggle is real my friends, but the one constant thing blaring loud in bright neon lights out for all the world to see is how much I LOVE that little girl.  LOVE IS POWERFUL and PAINFUL!  

I forever heart Micah.