"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.
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
Want to discover where you are on your wellness journey? You don't have to look far. In partnership with European Wax Center, we're bringing you a customized wellness quiz to help you up your wellness game. Answer our short series of questions to figure out which type of wellness lover you are, what you need to bring more balance into your life, and then go deeper by shopping products geared towards clearing your mind, healing your body, and soothing your spirit.
Ready to get whole? Take our quiz now!
September is National Self-Care Awareness Month, so for my girlies who have been putting off self-care, here’s your opportunity to start. Self-care means exactly what it says: taking care of self. Why is it important? Well, many of us have busy lives that may include careers, family, and activities that consume us daily. Taking some time for self regularly can help prevent depression, stress, anxiety, and burnout.
In February 2023, Future Forum polled 10,243 people in six countries, including the U.S., and 40% said they are experiencing burnout, and 46% of that number are women. According to CNBC, many factors contributing to burnout include companies demanding employees return to the office, hiring freezes, and layoffs.
Psychologist Debbie Sorensen explained to CNBC why women and millennials are experiencing burnout in higher numbers. “We haven’t had time to recover from the trauma of what we’ve been through the last few years,” she said. “Women and young people, in particular, are putting an immense amount of pressure on themselves to keep going, keep working, no matter the cost.”
As women, particularly Black women, we tend to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Other people's problems become our problems, and then we are expected to show up to work and show up for our family and friends with a smile on our faces. Whew, chile! What if we are having a bad day? How are we supposed to cope if we have to be everything to everyone? Well, here’s your sign to make time for yourself, especially on the days when you are feeling down.
Below is a list of self-care ideas for when you are having a bad day.
Mapodile/ Getty Images
Spend time in nature
Sometimes something as simple as surrounding yourself with trees, grass, and/ or water can improve your mood exponentially. The American Psychological Association’s (APA) research shows that spending time in nature can improve attention, lower stress, and reduce the risk of psychiatric disorders.
Got to a Spa
There’s nothing like going to a spa. You can relax in a sauna, get a massage, and just be. According to research, massages help release serotonin and dopamine, which are often referred to as “feel good” hormones, that will instantly perk you up and have you going about your day with a smile on your face.
When was the last time you did arts and crafts? Drawing a picture, painting, or even coloring can help you discover your inner child, thus boosting your mood. Purchase an adult coloring book, or go to a paint-and-sip class by yourself, or you can make it a group activity and bring your besties.
Look your best
The old saying, “When you look good, you feel good,” didn’t just come out of thin air. There’s some truth to it. The Kentucky Counseling Center shared a link between self-care and feeling good. “Self-care regimens are extremely important not just to stabilize your day but to make you feel great. Simple things like getting a facial, taking care of your hair done, or exercising can make you confident because when you look good, you also feel good,” according to its website.
Dragana991/ Getty Images
There’s a reason why it is suggested that you breathe when you begin feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Breathing brings oxygen back into your body, and WebMD reports that it can decrease the fight or flight response that happens when you are stressed.
Spend time with babies
I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me smile quicker than a baby, especially a smiling baby. If you’re the same way, then spending time with a baby or babies may help put you in a better mood, too.
Last but certainly not least, do nothing. There’s nothing like laying in your bed and not being forced to do anything. Stay in this moment and use this time to relax and replenish your energy.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Catherine Falls Commercial/ Getty Images