No one had ever mentioned self-care during the time of my daughters’ death and it was something that I eventually found on my own. Hannah death occurred during the Thanksgiving weekend while I was attending college, while other families were enjoying their long weekend off from classes, I was consumed with the reality that my youngest daughter would be leaving me soon.
My college classes resumed the Monday after Hannah was buried and so did a new way of living, for me and my family. I began to realize that each day was almost melting into the next and I could not seem to grasp a new way of life. Old routines where I would juggle five children, household duties, and college classes were no longer my reality and I was now forced to figure out a “new normal” for all of us. During this time of new, I lost all sense of self-care.
I would like to share some of the practical ways I began to provide myself with the self-care that I so desperately needed and in truthfully, so did my other children. Learning how to move forward from a devastating loss affects you and those around you. As the mom, I was seen as the pillar of my family and I could not allow myself to sit in my grief and ignore my other children, however, I needed a healthy way to care for my wounds and move forward.
Please remember, I am not giving medical advice, just sharing what has worked for me and my family.
- Evening Routine – I began putting my four children to be at a regular time each evening, even during weekends and holidays. Every evening we would eat dinner together at the table, each child had a chore so she could feel like she was an active part of the family. After we ate, we all cleaned up; the table, the floor, and the stove were all cleared off and washed. All the dishes were washed, dried and put away.
- Bedtime – After dinner, all of the children would get a bath and head up to their bedrooms to make sure that their school clothes were laid out for the next day, and that their rooms were tidy. After everyone was in their rooms I would read a child book to them and then go around the bedroom and say our prayers. From there I would tuck them each into their beds, put on the night lights, and go downstairs alone.
- Personal Time – Evening was the absolute worse time of the day for me. Truthfully, I was so lonely and that is when my grief was the worst. It was pertinent for me to find ways to care for myself and I knew that once my children were in bed, that I needed to fully utilize that time. Every evening I would take a hot bath and read a chapter out of a devotional book, from there I would make a cup of hot tea, light a tea light candle, and continue my time with the Lord.
Tiny positive habits make the journey through grief more manageable ~ Stephanie Grams