LIFE | LOVE | LOSS
“What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined... to strengthen each other... to be at one with each other in silent unspeakable memories.”
— George Eliot
Thank you for making time to read our THMF Newsletter. The intention of all the hands, minds and hearts that touch the Taylor Hagen Memorial Foundation is for the words, thoughts and resources shared here to bring you insight, perspective, peace and joy in all that you face.
TIME TO REFLECT
At the close of a year we often pause to reflect on where we are physically, professionally, mentally, emotionally, financially and or spiritually. We look back to see where we have been and then dare to glance forward to where we are headed or where we want to be.
This reflection can bring up varying emotions depending on how well we ‘score’ ourselves on what we wanted or what we think we could have done or accomplished versus what really took place or even what didn’t get done.
Here is what I have been more and more aware of lately, it is what it is and we are where we are. I know this sounds almost too simplistic or Zen! However, for me I no longer wish to get out the measuring stick to grade myself. I am giving less and less power to the highs or the lows. I find myself transitioning into a place where there is more and more acceptance of the journey itself.
I am able to allow myself the space inside the journey to not know how to do it ‘right’. This is a HUGE step for me. I like to be the good student, the teacher’s pet, get all the answers right. I have not had much room in my mind or heart for things not done ‘well’ in my life. As time continues to pass and I keep seeking peace, light and love I find my attention has shifted to a place with more understanding, more acceptance of myself and others no matter where we are on our life’s path.
I invite you all to pause, reflect and accept where you are right now. Acknowledge the things you loved in the past year, recognize efforts made in any area of your life. Appreciate who you were in every place you showed up. If during this reflection you see places or people who you want to have different interactions with going forward, then create something new. Lovingly commit to forgiving yourself and others for anything you/they did or didn’t do. Take all you learned in the days and years that have gone by and use them for good moving forward.
Speak kind words to yourself, encourage and accept all of you as you look back. You can choose to do or be anything you want in 2020.
THE GIFT OF BEING PRESENT & CHOICE
For those grieving the end of a year can bring painful reminders of what was lost. My son Joey took his life in September of 2017. We had his sixteenth birthday a month later and then the holidays were upon us. When we got to December and closer to January so many people were saying how they were excited for the year to be over and a new one to start. I just felt shattered inside. The year I was leaving was the ONLY year left where he would have been here. It was the only time left on earth where he could be seen, heard, felt. It was the last time he would be with us on an adventure or vacation. I felt so destroyed leaving a place in time that I could never re-capture. Grief journeys are not linear. It is more a game of Chutes and Ladders where you climb then fall. It could be your first holiday without someone in your life due to death, divorce, moving to a new location or any other reason, it could be your twentieth. You might still feel raw powerful emotions of pain and loss. Perhaps your feelings have lessened through time and healing. The feelings of pain and loneliness are real and can feel overwhelming. No matter where you are mentally or emotionally, I invite you to breathe, relax your mind and choose carefully what honors you and where you are right now.
I recently participated in a Harmony Series event with Zach Rehder called ‘Tension’. He talked about relieving tension in our lives by doing two things that we can ONLY do right now in this present moment. They are to RELAX (you can’t relax yesterday) & BREATHE (You can’t breathe tomorrow). I encourage you all to practice these two simple things to help keep your awareness in the here and now! It is easy to let our minds wander to what was and then forward to project or worry about what might be. When we can take a deep breath in our nose and exhale slowly through our mouth at least three times in a row while releasing tension held in our mind and body, we will feel a little more centered and present in the here and now. I invite you to do this simple exercise as often as needed to bring yourself these feelings of peace.
Now let’s talk about choice. We don’t often get a say in loss, in pain, in betrayal. We do however ALWAYS have choice in what we do and how we process these events. I want to share some holiday thoughts on the gift of choice from Jennifer Stern who has a Facebook Group called Transformative Grief. She shares these thoughts below inside the Heart to Heart Newsletter from the Donor Connect Services.
“Choose to honor what feels right for you. There are no rules.” She talks about the first holidays after her mom passed and how participating in the same traditions brought her comfort and joy. She also acknowledges that sometimes the thought of doing the things they used to do can feel too painful and overwhelming, so don’t. No one says you must eat turkey or ham, you can have cereal or breakfast for dinner! Do what works for you and yours.
Jennifer goes on to say, “If leaving your home feels like too much perhaps you will choose to engage in an act of kindness by making a donation in your loved one’s name. Donate to the Humane Society if your loved one was an animal lover, to the Foodbank if your loved one was a foodie, to the library if your loved one was an avid reader, and so on.”
“Choose to give yourself the gift of extreme selfcare this holiday season. Holidays can be intensely emotional. If you feel the need to cry, cry. If you feel the need to scream, scream. Feel your feelings and nurture yourself in the most loving and compassionate of ways. Surround yourself in comfort by engaging your five senses in selfcare. Rest if you feel like resting. Dance if you feel like dancing. Go for a walk. Take a long hot bath or shower. Breathe. Breathe in strength and healing, breathe out pain and suffering. Know that all feelings are okay. Grieving is hard work. Grieving during the holidays can be especially difficult. There is not one way or a right way to grieve.”
Choose what brings you the moments of rest. Choose the people to spend time with who make you feel ‘more’ after you are together. Choose to eat the things you enjoy. Choose to love and accept yourself exactly where you are, exactly what you look like, exactly who and what you have in your life. I truly believe there is immense freedom to be found in choice!
I wish you everything good through this holiday season.
All my best,
SLC, Midvale & Orem
What’s Your Grief?
A website about grief & loss & ways to cope.
The Sharing Place
Support for families and children 3 ½ and up.
Helping children in their grief process.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Crisis Text Line
Text TALK to 741741
SafeUT Crisis & Chat App
The SafeUT Crisis Chat and Tip Line is a statewide service that provides real-time crisis intervention to youth through live chat and a confidential tip program – right from your smartphone.
Licensed clinicians in our 24/7 CrisisLine call center respond to all incoming chats and calls by providing:
supportive or crisis counseling, suicide prevention, and referral services.