A year ago yesterday my fiancé unexpectedly died. It shook my whole world. I lost my partner, I had to move in with friends in another state, so I lost my apartment and my community, the people that were going to be my family, my plans for the future, my job doing in-person energy work at a spa, and pretty much everything. He passed away in the morning, and in the evening when I opened his phone and learned he was having an affair. I found out over the next few weeks that he was living a double life and was a criminal and I thought we had the happiest of all happy lives together, so I also lost my illusions.
Those of you who have navigated grief, and especially complicated grief know that it's a journey and it goes up and down, backwards and forwards. At first I was mad at myself for missing someone that if I had known the truth about, I would have left in a heartbeat. Now I know that's how it is. Then I was mad at myself for needing so much help from so many people to get through this time. Now I am just grateful and I see that it was all necessary and I'm glad I had and still have it. Then I was mad at myself for the fact that it takes so long to process and heal all of this. Now I know it takes the time it takes. Period. I am no longer mad at myself, but I realized that it is going exactly how it needs to go for me.
Yesterday a friend who had a very similar tragedy only a couple of months after mine took me out to a fancy restaurant to celebrate. I wore the super sparkly shoes I bought for my partner's funeral a year ago. I bought them with the intent that my new life be sparkly and beautiful, even if my new life started with this horrible loss. It has been beautiful. I have had adventures, put my feet in the ocean many times, seen great art, had great sex, made great connections, heard great music in concert, had great food, seen family and friends that I love, and so much more. It has been the best of times and worst of times on steroids.
I just celebrated passing that milestone of the year mark yesterday and stepping into a new chapter today by getting a new tattoo. I have four tattoos. One little heart that I got matching with my brother Adam maybe eleven years ago, one set of three small hearts my daughter tattooed for me with her own tattoo gun when I moved to Georgia four years ago and would miss my three grown kids. One I got only a few days ago when Adam was back in town. We got matching flowers. And one I got today with sparkles, so even if I'm not wearing the shoes or even feeling particularly sparkly, I am sparkly.
That is what I want for my new life, sparkle. I want glamour and nice things, even in small ways like the sparkly fall centerpiece I made on my table with bits and bobs I gathered from boxes in my room. Even if it's bigger like going out last night and having sparkly cocktails and buttery beautiful beef filets with a friend, wearing shoes so sparkly, you almost need sunglasses to look at them. I want sparkly to be laughing and fun and enjoying the beauties of life big and small, from having grand adventures to taking solo summer night walks that I love. I still have rough days. I still have trauma to unpack and process. I still have some big hurdles to scale. I want to remind myself, though, that healing is not only struggle and facing the hard things. It is a lot of that, but it is also self-reclamation and building a new life from scratch that you enjoy. There has been more good in this year for me than most years of my life. It has been so, so, so hard, the hardest year of all, but also so fun and beautiful.
Going through this process also gives me first hand experience in grief that I can bring to my clients in my energy work practice. Some things a person can't understand until they have lived it. I've lived it. I get it. I have worn sparkly shoes as I stepped into the valley of the shadow, and tattooed sparkles onto my arm, because I know the valley of the shadow isn't where the grief ends. It becomes part of your life in some ways, but also creates stronger self confidence, acceptance, and builds something new and beautiful.
for more a great article on the grief process click below.
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. You deserve all the sparkle and joy in your life, no matter what you have been through. It's time!