When Life Keeps Happening (aka When it Rains, It Pours)

lotus-in-the-rainSo, two weeks ago, I optimistically wrote about “getting back in the groove” after life pulls you out of a routine.  And I was thinking at the time about a post that would be a follow-up to the great Tweetchat I had with the #BCSM (Breast Cancer and Social Media) Community about coping with life’s other curveballs during the middle of cancer treatment. I had a lot of ideas about what we can do to help connect with self-care even while we are trying to keep up with life’s twists and turns.

And then I caught one of those curveballs myself.  My grandmother died unexpectedly last week.  It was a good death–she was surrounded by all of her children and many of her grandchildren and lifted up with love and prayers.  But it came out of the blue.  And I spent the week in a fog.  I may still be in a fog.  Certainly I’ve had to re-do a lot of very simple tasks.  As my dad said, this week feels a bit harder because, “Everyone expects you to be back to normal, but it’s not normal.”

This experience has reminded me of a couple of things.  First, grief is like an earthquake.  You have the initial shock that knocks you off your feet, but you know that it’s just the beginning.  The aftershocks are coming too–and some of those can shake you just as much.  Second, it is so tremendously important to be compassionate with ourselves and with others.  I do grief work a LOT.  And I am always reminding clients that grief deserves time and space and self-care.  Even though these are things that I know down to my bones, I still had to remind myself that it was okay to miss a day of work, or reschedule clients, or just ignore the housework and catch up on some of my lost sleep.

And that reminder–the reminder that self-care is the critical element in both physical and mental health–is a big one.  So very often, when I am sitting with clients, they are talking about an entire string of challenges.  Not only do they have cancer, but their car just got rear-ended, or their elderly parent needs care, or their teenage child is acting out, or their relationship is struggling.  When it rains, it pours–cliche, but true.

Does that speak to your life right now? Do you feel overwhelmed, knocked down by burden after burden?  Are you struggling to understand why all of these challenges keep coming your way?

It is not because of anything you did wrong.

It is not because you “deserve” these challenges.

This is just life.  There is good stuff and hard stuff.  And sometimes life seems to be happening with a vengeance.  If you’re in that space, remember to take time.  Breathe.  Schedule breaks.  Ask for help. Get the support you need and the self-care you need.  Hang in there, because this too will pass.

Feel free to share your favorite “hanging in by my fingernails” tip.  And if you need some help or support, you can always email or call.

11 thoughts on “When Life Keeps Happening (aka When it Rains, It Pours)

  1. Ann, I lost my grandmother a few weeks ago, too, and I also was struck by the “fog” feeling. Life does suck sometimes, and we all need reminders to take time and space – even professional caregivers!

    You’re in my thoughts today.

  2. Dearest Ann – I am sorry for your loss. I can only equate it to how I was last year after coping with my mom’s dementia, I was in a complete fog and exhausted. Take good care, my favorite things are to watch the birds, walk in nature and get a massage.

  3. Your words are so wise. May you continue to receive the love and support you deserve right now.

    It’s so hard to recognize yourself as someone who needs support, at least for me. I have suffered grief on so many levels the past few years, I nearly ended my own life. I felt like a failure in every way.
    It helps to know that just being alive is a huge success because there are so many people out there who base their whole lives on loving and supporting others. Thank you.

  4. Hi Ann,
    What a wonderful post – full of so much wisdom. I’m very sorry for your loss. Please remember that even in those “good deaths” there is much to grieve for. Give yourself time to do just that. Thinking of you.

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