My Personal Journey of Giving Myself Grace: Coping with Loss

My Personal Journey of Giving Myself Grace: Coping with Loss

“Grace is to the body what good sense is to the mind.” –  Rochefoucauld

Over the past seven months, my family has experienced immeasurable loss. I recently lost both my stepmother and father to cancer, as well as my mother to a rare brain disorder. Losing one parent is difficult, but losing three is unimaginable. To say I am in a tough season of grief is an understatement. 

Most of my blog articles are written by Christina, a professional. This month I am writing as a daughter who has lost her parents. Balancing a career, single motherhood, and home life while also trying to grieve has proven to be a huge obstacle. A close friend advised me that instead of trying to keep up with everything, letting go and giving myself grace is okay.

So, what has that meant for me so far in this journey?

I recently celebrated a milestone birthday and took a trip to the beach. I enjoyed four days of sun, sand, music, and relaxation with friends. I was not someone’s mother (human or dog), a caregiver, or a social worker. For those few days, I was just ME. As I boarded the plane home after an amazing weekend, feelings of anxiety came over me; I must face reality when I got home. I promised myself that I would continue to give myself grace while I heal. Instead of worrying about how clean my kitchen floors are, I have dedicated more time outdoors with my little one. Instead of fixating on having all the laundry done before Monday morning, I brunched with friends and enjoyed laughs until my stomach hurt. I have taken more time to read and less time mindlessly watching tv. I have taken more lunch breaks and shut down my phone during playtime with my daughter. And when I feel a breakdown coming on, I stop what I am doing and allow myself to feel the feelings, even when it comes at the most inopportune time (thank goodness for waterproof mascara).

Even in the afterlife, my parents have taught me an invaluable gift; to take time for yourself, give yourself grace, and enjoy this precious life you are given.

My Personal Journey of Giving Myself Grace: Coping with Loss

It’s a very special month for me, as this time last year I was preparing to bring my sweet girl into the world. In one week, we will be celebrating my sweet Laila’s first birthday. It sounds cliché, but “Where has the time gone?”

Navigating Life as a Working Mom

Navigating life as a working Mom, along with caring for aging parents over the last year has been a challenge. I am in, what is considered The “Sandwich Generation,” a middle-aged adult sandwiched in between caring for their aging parents and their own children. According to The Pew Research Center, 1 in 10 parents are caring for an adult in addition to their children. They spend about three hours per day on caregiving duties, split between their children and their parents. 

Juggling Work and Caregiving

Just yesterday, I made multiple phone calls to arrange durable medical equipment to be delivered to my parents’ home, attended one of their telehealth appointments, all the while juggling work and managing a very busy toddler.  Thankfully, I have siblings who carry their share of responsibility, as well as a very understanding and flexible employer. Whether you are on this journey alone, or sharing responsibilities with other family members, here are some things I have found helpful when managing these demanding caregiver roles:

  1. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule: I couldn’t manage being without my Google Calendar! My appointments are color-coordinated for work, personal, and family. I also am able to privately share the family appointments with my siblings, along with assigning who is responsible for which tasks need to be done.

  2. Enlist non-family caregivers: We have to admit when we can’t do it all, so enlisting outside agencies for support is sometimes necessary. Convincing my parents of the idea of a “stranger” coming into the home was no easy task, but thankfully they recognize the need now and are open to some assistance. This provides some much needed respite for my siblings and I.

  3. Self-Care for the Caregiver: Caregiver burnout is common and happens often with those caring for their loved ones. Signs of burnout include emotional and physical exhaustion, withdrawal from things of interest, changes in appetite and weight, difficulty concentrating, and lack of energy. Be sure you are doing the things you need to care for yourself-rest, proper nutrition, exercise, etc.

  4. Be Prepared Financially: Dual caregiving can be expensive. While some insurances assist with expenses, a lot can be out-of-pocket. Check with your local Area Agency on Aging to find out what benefits are available. Assistance with utilities, meals, etc. may be available. 

Now that you have read my list, what tips can you offer to help navigate this caregiving journey? Comment below.

As always, Advocates For Seniors, LC is here to help with whatever you may need. 

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1 thought on “My Personal Journey of Giving Myself Grace: Coping with Loss”

  1. I lost two sisters within 6 weeks in March and April, both too young. I was having difficulty getting out of the anger cycle and was not one to talk to a grief counselor. I am in the healing profession being a Massage Therapist but could not heal myself. I decided I needed an energy healer so sought out a Shaman that I knew to have excellent credentials. A 55 minuter session was unbelievably healing, the heaviness on my heart was lifted and so now I can go on to do what it takes to get back to happiness, and positivity. I still grieve but it’s different.

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