Don't Give Me Grief! (I have enough of my own right now....)

If you have been following this blog and have read some of my past posts, you will probably remember me writing about the sad tragedy our family suffered on New Year's Eve Day. My husband's niece passed away unexpectedly from an undiagnosed, one in ten million condition that probably would have gotten overlooked at the emergency room had she gotten there in time.  Because my niece had lived on the west coast, and much of her family was in Texas, there were two celebration of life events that happened. One on the west coast and one in Texas. The Texas celebration was this weekend. 


My only frustration with this celebration was that it was delayed. Her parents graciously planned the event on a weekend almost eight weeks after the fact so that certain people could attend on this specific weekend, and ultimately, those people chose not to attend, most likely because they attended a celebration on the west coast. My personality tends to be judgy and critical so that was my knee jerk reaction to the news they were not attending as I felt they owed it to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, but that's just my opinion. Also, to be honest, I was frustrated for myself as well. I struggle with these types of events because of my childhood issues related to the passing of relatives and how I was taught to 'grieve.' The anxiety about this event has been building in me for almost two months.  I actually had to go back to my second blood pressure medication that I had previously eliminated. I really wanted this event to happen sooner, rather than later.  


One thing 60 years of life has taught me: There is no 'proper' way to express your grief.  We all need to do what we need to do to process it, live with it, and move forward, UNLESS the actions we take to do this result in self-harm or harm to others.  What works for you, may not work for me.  My childhood experiences with the passing on of family and friends has been mainly somber events at churches, funeral homes and gravesites. It has never really been celebratory. Celebrating someone's life, instead of mourning it, has been something my non-religious husband's family does. His father was memorialized with a gathering and celebratory beer toast at my mother-in-law's house. 


My niece was celebrated with a weekend of gatherings, meals, activities and an opportunity during the gathering for anyone to get up and speak about her.  There were yard games, archery, food preparation, bonfires, and family chats.  Saturday afternoon I learned how to play Shut the Box.  Sunday, I nocked arrows on a bow (I hope that is the correct terminology) and got four out of six arrows to hit the target. All of this was very far from my childhood experiences with memorials.


Sunday afternoon, we all gathered outside on the patio.  It was a glorious 74F (23C), breezy and sunny. We could not have asked for better weather. As we gathered, my sister-in-law asked us for funny stories about my niece. She began and talked about what vibrant and happy person my niece was, that she was a bright, shining, star, with crazy earrings, great clothing style, a passion for life. She talked about what she had accomplished in her short life (which was a lot) and how she was never afraid to venture off and try new things on her own. She ended her comments by saying my niece was a comet that burned brightly and quickly and faded far too soon. She asked that we all share a funny story (I think because she didn't want to do a lot of crying). The family who knew her well shared stories. I did not have a funny story but felt compelled to share our first meeting and how I felt like I'd known her far longer than that.  It was mentioned often that my niece had a passion for trying new things and that was what she encouraged in others. To step out and do something new. 


My sister-in-law's house was decorated everywhere with butterflies There were stickers, balloons, and art. My niece loved butterflies. We all got to pick a piece of her costume jewelry as a keepsake, and they were all butterfly related. I don't think she could have been represented any better than what was done. As we sat outside on the patio, I was waiting for a butterfly to make an appearance. If one did, I didn't see it but I'm hoping one eventually comes to my sister-in-law. I think it would comfort her greatly. 


As this is a weight loss blog, I'm going to mention food. The last few days have been tough.  Yesterday I ate chocolate, cookies, chip-like things, junk food. There was fruit and such and I ate that, too. Saturday night her family hosted a barbecue, and I ended up eating a few things I should not have as well as having a light beer while hanging around the bonfire.  I must have done well last week before the food mishaps this weekend because I literally forced myself to get on the scale the day after the memorial weekend. Monday is my weekly weigh-in. I was surprised to have lost two pounds from the previous week.  So, not a complete disaster.  I'm glad I worked out as much as I did last week.  Part of me is whining that it could have been more if I had been stricter about the junk food but I'm trying to ignore that voice.


As things were winding down the day of the memorial, my sister-in-law invited us to her craft room to do some painting with some other family members. Now, if you are REALLY a follower of this blog, you will know that my other sister-in-law and I bailed on the last painting activity that was held at Christmas because it happened just as we were getting ready to eat dinner. That painting event was one my niece was at. Can you imagine how we feel about that now? It was a hard lesson to take advantage of opportunities to connect with friends and family when you can.  Even though it was late afternoon, a long weekend, and I was tired, I went to do some painting on a canvas. Because I felt it was the right thing to do to honor my niece.


You don't know this about me, but I am not an 'artsy' person.  I'm a numbers person and I suck at decorating my house, picking out accents. I do okay with clothing because I've been practicing for 45 years, but I really suck at art. I do NOT have a steady hand at all with respect to painting. When we got to the craft room, there were some stacks of small canvases that had different generically outlined scenes on them. You would have to decide what color to put where and add enhancements. I was overwhelmed. I stood there and looked at the different options for a few minutes before my other sister-in-law handed me one and said: "Here, I saw this and thought of you." There were flowers and foliage in the foreground and mountains in the background (see photo above). It reminded me of our camp up near Canada, so it was really perfect for me.  But I was going to have to decide everything else. Ugh. 


My logical numbers brain said "well.... leaves are green, so let's paint those first..."  So, I did. and then moved on to deciding what color the flowers were going to be. They were mainly tulips so that was easy... then there were these daisy-like flowers and then the landscape behind the flowers and then the mountains. It got easier as I went on because I realized it really didn't matter. It just needed to be about me expressing myself. There was no wrong or right. The main point was to create something. And I finally did. I created a painting that wasn't abstract. I stepped outside my box and did it. For her, but it turned out it was also for me. 


I really think doing something she would have encouraged me to do helped me honor her and grieve her just a little bit. There were seven of us in there painting, and just idly chatting about this and that. It was soothing, relaxing and something I think I'm going to do a bit more often.  


There are so many ways to handle our turbulent emotions and daily angst. Many of us with weight problems use food to do that but fail to explore other, more beneficial ways of expressing and purging unhealthy emotions that we were taught to suppress.  I believe this blog has helped me (and I hope some of you, too) tremendously. I have processed so many conflicting and confusing emotions just by writing about them.  Sometimes we need someone to pull us kicking, screaming, and pouting out of our little comfortable box. 


When was the last time you tried anything for the first time? If you can't remember, I think that's a sign that it's time to do so. And don't worry, it's okay if you suck at it. 






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7th Decade Redhead
7th Decade Redhead

I'm 60+ years old female retiree who is finally figuring out why she's been struggling with losing weight her whole life. I want to share the lessons I learned so others can help themselves with their own weight loss struggles earlier in their lives.

60 Pounds by 60 Years
60 Pounds by 60 Years

My final weight loss attempt after 40 years of different diet failures. No shakes, no supplements, no surgery, no crazy food, no purchased meal plans, no fasting. Creating a healthier relationship with food and facing the painful truth about my relationship surrounding food. No BS, just common sense. And it worked.

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