Just a thought… Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it. [Author Unknown]
This is good-bye for a little while. I’ll ask you to read to the end to understand why and then we’ll reconnect soon (I hope).
I’ve been struggling.
First, I will tell you that if you haven’t seen Brené Brown’s amazing Netflix special The Call to Courage, I urge you to take an hour and watch it. This woman, who specializes in shame (of all things), has so much wisdom in one hour that I had to watch it twice to get even half of the messages. If you see it, you’ll understand what I mean. Part stand-up comedy and a whole lot of inspiration, this special truly lives up to its name. Special.
It’s taken quite a bit of something like courage on my part, if I can say that, to take a step and write those three words above the previous paragraph. I always prided myself (ah, pride…) on having broad shoulders and being able to take on whatever the world placed there. Whether it was struggling at work decades ago (it’s in the book…) or navigating the worst grief that a parent can imagine, I always felt “I can handle this.” Hell, I even wrote a book about it, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, LOL. And I stand by every single word in it, especially the ones about “Reclaiming Joy.” It’s all true.
I can’t let my pride about keeping up a strong outer appearance and veneer hurt my health any more. To be clear, I never struggled with talking openly and honestly in public about our love, our loss and our Lauren. Quite the contrary: I found a certain catharsis in being in a position to help other people, who also suffer, to understand that there is hope. In talking about her, I kept Lauren’s memory alive and hopefully encouraged others to talk about their loved ones, too.
But I also am doing everyone, including my husband and me, a disservice if I don’t take better care of myself.
Recently I’ve been in group therapy for some of the effects of the grief that struck us in May of 2015. Having taken a month off at that time to plan Lauren’s funerals, I hopped back on the air in June. And continued to show, by example, that life could go on in meaningful and joyful ways, after the loss of your only child.
But here’s the thing: I haven’t been taking care of myself the way that I should. As I mentioned in the book, I gave up the sobriety of which I was so proud in November 2016, the week that: a) Donald Trump was elected US President (don’t laugh: many psychotherapists say their offices are filled with people who are suffering because of what’s going on in DC), b) I had announced I was leaving radio and the station and city I loved, and c) a flight attendant gave me a Caesar instead of a virgin Caesar. The difference, vodka, was everything. And I was out of reasons not to drink. Of course, I later stopped again. Then started. Then stopped and on and on….
Not having boundaries or reasons for rules has not been a good thing for me. I’m addressing that seriously through AA (which is wonderful!) and treatment. But now, at the urging of those handling my care, I’m going way deeper. I’m attending an inpatient program where I’ll learn more about my grief and, in so doing, about yours, too. I want to be in a place of much more wisdom and information when people who struggle with great loss reach out to me. By the time you read this, I will already have started on this journey.
I need to get better and I need your help, so I’m asking you please to hold off writing to me. Rob has custody of my computer and cell phone for the next while and, believe me, with my anxiety over current affairs, that is a GOOD thing! But I’ve made him promise that if Trump is ousted, he’ll let me know during one of his weekly visits. Yeah, fat orange chance!
If it’s a matter concerning the AMAWaterways riverboat cruise (an ad on CHFI will be directing listeners to firstname.lastname@example.org) Rob will make sure people get the info they need.
But please understand I won’t be in touch for a while. Not on email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or through my journal. This website is also getting a facelift while I’m gone (while I am not, dammit!). I promise to return to this place the Tuesday after Labour Day. That will be the longest I’ve ever been away from here, but I have to do this.
When I return, I will be healed and ready to help others to heal again. The honour that has come with being helpful to those who suffer is not one I take lightly, but I need to be the best, the strongest I can be. I’m working on that, my own Call to Courage.
Be well and thank you for understanding. I’ll be back soon.