Christmas is hard. Nine years ago at Christmas time, I lost my son - and needed to find myself. I learned that when you lose a loved one, life goes on, and you have to go on too. You have to learn to live with the grief first, then the pain, then the acceptance of - 'life goes on'. Life is no longer what it was, what you wanted it to be, it becomes a NEW normal. But in all instances, God will see you through it all.
I devoted myself to my son for 40 years, and along the way I lost myself. I was so focused on his happiness, I forgot reality and my own happiness. I felt like I had lost my soul and was empty inside.
Ten years ago, I retired from working, after 50 years of a career that took many twists and turns. I started working in a shoe store when I was 16 years old. After high school and college, I lived at home and had a full time job. My father taught me financial responsibility by charging me $10 per month rent for my room. I never regretted learning the many lessons of life he taught me and standing on my own two feet.
I will never forget the one statement he drilled into me from the time I was a teenager: "you have two feet to stand on and a head on your shoulders - use them."
After I retired, I realized how dependent I had become on my son, as an adult, for help around the house while I was living alone. He was married at the time. But then soon after, I lost him. I went through the grief and the pain. I had to reinvent my life. I had to do things for myself. I had to stand on those two feet of mine, and use my head.
A long-time friend of mine told me I was good at reinventing myself after several traumatic events or circumstances I have been through in my life. I started going back to church. In my last job, I worked on Sundays, therefore was unable to attend. I grew up going to church, then life changes, marriage and divorce happens, moves to other cities, and then coming back home to stay in my parents house after their deaths. All these things change a person. Circumstances can change a person.
After years of soul searching, reevaluating my life, reinventing myself again and again, I think I have finally found myself again. I have learned to stand on my own two feet. I use my head, I am a problem solver, and a creator of things.
The biggest heartache of my life was to lose my son. But today, I believe I have found myself, and regained my soul. Love is stronger than any emotion, more important than any other emotion, and hurts the most to lose it. God's love got me through many years of hardships, difficulties, and years of pain. I am a survivor - a survivor of many things, physical abuse, mental abuse, and losses of loved ones until there was only me, standing alone, to take care of myself.
Now that I am older, I focus more on myself and happiness. I did so much for so many others for so many years. I still do what I can for as many as I can, but resources and physical help are limited now. So I again reinvent myself to do what I can physically around the house, and giving what I can, when I can, to others. That is part of my happiness - the search to find my NEW SELF.