Monday, March 23, 2009

From a Special Guest Blogger: "I miss the President of my advisory committee!"

Hi everyone -- remember my friend Michelle who wrote a beautiful post in December about missing buying holiday presents for her mom? She's back again to share her thoughts about how to make big decisions without her mom -- something I can definitely relate to. Take it away, Michelle!

HEADLINE: Without the President of her advisory committee, Michelle finds change and making important decisions difficult.

That headline has so far only appeared in my head – but if someone were to interview me about the challenges you face after losing your mom, this would be near the top.

My mom Barbara died from pancreatic cancer in 2006. She was a great mom, my best friend and, yes, the President of my advisory committee.

Change is never easy for anyone, but change after loss has its own set of issues. The problem is how do I make big decisions and changes in my life when my mom – who was always there for advice, validation, and a sounding board – is not here anymore?

I am more comfortable in the space where life used to be. The past. Before mom died. Before everything changed. The past is an easier place to be…for awhile…because you don't have to deal with the present or future. But as time goes on, you want to have your full slice of life. It requires acknowledging loss and trying to find a way to move forward without forgetting the past. It is a balancing act that I continue to tweak. So, I am living in the present, longing for the past, and unsure of the future. No wonder my head is spinning!

I’ve got a big change coming up in my life – a move to another state. Even though I am an adult who is able to accomplish things all the time, I feel that I will somehow be incapable of accomplishing this task without my mom. I know that it's not really true, but that is how it feels. The truth is that it just won't be as fun or as easy without her – but it is what it is.

So, where do I go from here?

You’ll notice I used the term "advisory committee" above. That means that there are other people in my life who I can look to for advice and encouragement. I am lucky to have my dad, my sister Marci, and good friends all of whom I can (and do) go to for support. I can also look inside for the answers. Inside is where all of the years that I had with my mom are kept. I can access her from there: what she instilled in me, the history she left for me. In this instance, she would tell me to think of the big picture, realize that the positives outweigh the negatives, and have fun, enjoy, why not!

So, I am going to listen to my mom’s voice and go for it – with a positive attitude! And, since she is still weighing in on the matter, I can blame her if things don't go well…just for old time’s sake!

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