"The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to." - Elizabeth Kubler Ross
No, I'm not strong. Please stop telling me that.
I'm surviving. I'm in survival mode every single day. I'll never get over the loss of my husband because this isn't a playoff game that we lost or a job that I didn't get.
I lost my husband. I lost my best friend. My son lost his dad.
View this post on InstagramA post shared by Dr. Alisha Reed|Success Coach (@flywithalishareed) on Aug 24, 2020 at 5:37am PDT
In school, we are taught about the stages of grief––the textbook explanation. I'm also aware of the importance of grief counseling…I'm a mental health advocate. Yes, there are five stages––denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance––but there is no set timeline on how long these stages last or even if they are in that particular order. On any given day, I can go through these stages because I've learned that there is no right or wrong way to grieve.
This was my process.
This can't be happening to me. I'm only 40 and he was only 43, and now I am a widow. I am a single mom. Life with him was supposed to be like a fairy tale and he was my happy ending. We were supposed to travel the world together. We were supposed to build an empire. It's not supposed to end this way. Maybe when I go to bed and wake up, he will be here. Come on Moe, stop playing. This isn't funny. I know that I said some things, but I didn't mean it.
Until you lose your spouse, you will never know the pain. It's hard to accept that the "love of your life" is gone. With acceptance comes the acknowledgement of your feelings. You have to give yourself permission to feel every emotion possible. One day your heart will heal and your circumstances will change. Until then, it's OK to be angry...
OK, so it's just like that? He left me with all of this to take care of. He could've told me that he was going to leave us. How am I supposed to plan a funeral? I've never done that before. What am I supposed to tell our son? You ruined Christmas! How am I supposed to raise a Black boy on my own? What am I going to do with the house? What about your car? You just left me with your law practice? I'm so mad at you right now. You better not come back.
I read somewhere that "grief is the price that we pay for love." That's what we get for falling in love. I've experienced a lot of heartache my lifetime, but this hurt my soul.
Courtesy of Alisha Reed
"Grief is the journey, not a destination. It's messy and you have no choice other than to just have to 'sit in it'."
"Miss me, but let me go."That's what you always told me. I really miss you, but I get it. It was time for you to go. Heaven needed you more. I know that you are still here though. Sometimes I look up and know that it was you. I understand it now and it's time for me to spread my wings. I feel your presence. You taught me how to live. You taught me how to always bet on myself. Thank you.
How I choose to grieve will not be how you choose to grieve. "Society" always wants to place an expectation or time limit on someone else's experiences. You can't. It's my journey and I'm grieving on my own terms. If I want to post a photo on social media, update my Facebook status, have a drink with friends, send your calls to voicemail or ignore your text…it's my right.
I'm grieving on my own terms. I've always been unapologetic, but now, I'm on another level.
The day that Moe died, a part of myself died. I will never be the same person I was.
I heard him say that it's time to FLY…First Love Yourself. The truth is, I don't know who I am anymore and it's time to find out.
*This article was originally posted on FlyWithLish.com.
Featured image courtesy of Alisha Reed.
Dr. Alisha Reed is a Mother, Pharmacist, Certified Life Coach and Creator of the lifestyle brand Fly with Alisha Reed. Since 2014, after starting her brand Nola Bougie, Alisha has inspired women to live their best lives by becoming the best version of themselves. But on December 23, 2019, Alisha's entire life changed, and she began to question her purpose and message when her husband passed away at the age of 43. Heartbroken and now a widow as well as a single mother, Alisha was met with the question "how do I go on from here?" In order to live your best life, honor those you've lost, and defeat self-doubt you need to First Love Yourself. Alisha is still self-proclaimed bougie, but Fly with Alisha Reed showcases and encourages women to see that there is so much more than that.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports