Today I’ve been reflecting on relationships that have begun and ended since losing Jensen; both so important to my grief journey and support system. There were moments today where all I wanted to focus on was what I don’t have and others where I could only think about what I’ve gained. They kept twisting and pulling at my heart. I had to take a break from these thoughts and started to do things to heal my heart. Then, I looked across the room and saw the relationship I’ve worked on every day since I could remember.
The relationship with myself.
Picture from my lovely shoot on October 15th with Eloise’s mom, Abigail.
When Jensen died, I lost the biggest part of myself. My son was gone and I felt like I could go along with him. Somehow I didn’t and I’ve been stuck in my skin ever since. He is my primary loss. Every loss and gain that has happened since he was here has stemmed from losing him. Each of those losses are called secondary loss. One big secondary loss, is the loss of my self and identity. I think this happens a lot with still mothers. They’re mothers, but don’t have a child physically here. It messes with their brains and how the world views them.
To put it bluntly, I am a mother and I have a son. Yes he died, but as I’ve said many time, death does not take away the love I have for him or my motherhood.
After I realized I was stuck with myself for the rest of my days, I knew I had to work on this relationship. The one that can change, but never end. There were times in the beginning weeks that I despised me and blamed myself for Jensen’s death. I hated Danielle before Jensen for her happiness and carefree look on the world. I was jealous of Danielle with Jensen because I still had him and everything made sense. Where did that leave Danielle after Jensen? I was mad because I doubted motherhood. There’s nights where I want to tear my skin off so I can be freed of myself. Some days I really am uncomfortable being around me, which makes sense and no sense at the same time.
It was the most unhealthy relationship I had.
I knew there had to come a point where I had to start working on loving myself again and seeing myself as the best mom I could be to Jensen. Each morning I tell Jensen I love him and tell myself I’ll get through this day. Then I work out to better my health and body. I eat good food to rise my energy levels and have bought myself new clothes to feel better in my skin. Each day I allow myself to write my feelings to get the bad thoughts out. When good feelings come, I allow myself to smile and even laugh. I’ve been to the movies once by myself and treated me to popcorn and a big red slushy. Guilt does pop in my mind, but I don’t focus on it. I focus on my breathing when my world starts to shake.
I’ve been in a relationship with myself for over twenty-three years. There are years where it’s been rocky and some that have been perfect. This relationship allows me to be the best I can be so I can embrace my motherhood, allow myself to be supported, and to support others. It’s the most important one to me and even though it’s not the healthiest right now, I’ll continue trying my best. For Jensen and for me.