After a loss—whether it’s the death of someone you love or the end of a relationship—have you ever felt suspended in limbo? Plus, you just couldn’t find your mojo again?
Well, I feel ready to come clean with you. Ever since my dear mother passed away recently, I’ve been a grieving, heartbroken, stymied health coach and wellness author in crisis. In short, I’ve been feeling “off.”
While I’m working hard to get back to being “on” so I can serve you again, I’m now ready to make a confession.
Recently, I’ve been crying a lot (at least once or twice a week)—like the time I found NO mention in her datebook that I was moving nearly 3,000 miles to be with her in her dying days. Ouch!
Plus, Cheerful Connie isn’t around as much anymore.
Not only that, but I don't know where to live now that mom is gone. That's been a major challenge since I'd hoped to live in Mom's charming home.
A little bit of history is in order. Slightly more than a year ago, I gave up my apartment in New York City (where I’d been for a decade) and moved back to California to be on hand for my dear dying mother, who had stage 4 lung cancer. (She opted to forgeo chemotherapy and meds for fear of drastic side effects.)
Now that I’ve lost my mother, I’m all alone in another part of the country, without her and without my friends in the Big Apple.
Loss, I’m discovering, can wallop you. It can toss you into turmoil and turbulence. And if your dear mommy died, that can send you whirling.
Lately, I’ve also been in a quandary. Since I’m a health coach, life coach, and bestselling author (Sugar Shock and Beyond Sugar Shock), how can I share with you my intense pain and sad truth that I’m just not back to being my best me?
How can I serve you if I'm working on healing me?
And why is Cheerful Connie taking so long to return?
Where the heck is she?
While she’s starting to make a comeback, she’s still often frustratingly elusive.
Previously I shared about the many wonderful times we spent together and how we got closer. But I really gave you a half-truth.
What I didn't tell you was that my last year with mom was gut-wrenchingly grueling. In large part, it's because -- although Mom didn't realize it because of the cancer invading her brain -- she behaved quite cruelly towards me.
The reason I told you a half-truth before is because I was simply too embarrassed, hurt, and heartbroken.
What's more, I love, honor, and respect my Mom, whom I dearly loved, admired, and cerhished.
I really, really adored my mother, but I've been very, very reluctant to share her weaknesses.
Before, in this blog post, I offered only glowing praise for my mother and how she taught me—and you—how to leave Planet Earth with spunk and style.
Yes, fall 2011 to fall 2012 was a charming, wonderful, poignant time, during which my beloved mother shared valuable lessons with me. She blazed (often with me along) through her impressive culinary and cultural bucket list, and we had many pleasant moments together.
In other words, My Last Year with Mom was full of sweetness. But it was glutted with bitterness as well.
That’s why I now call this time with my mother My Bittersweet Last Year with Mom.
Now, I feel ready to tell you a little about the bitter part.
What made My Last Year with Mom especially gut-wrenching and tear-jerking for me was that the calm, coherent, often-poised mother I loved and knew vanished.
Instead, as her brain and body were overridden by toxic, cancerous cells, she inadvertently became Crabby Cancer Mom.
In other words, without rrealizing it, Crabby Cancer Mom was often accusatory, angry, argumentative, confrontational, controlling, cruel, demanding, difficult, distrustful, hostile, insulting, irrational, manipulative, mean, and vindictive.
This was not my Mom!
For reasons I still don’t quite understand—other than that dying people take it out on people they love the most—Crabby Cancer Mom displayed a particular vengeance and outright viciousness towards me, the one person, who loved her the most.
That was especially tough to take since I’d given up my apartment in New York City and relocated to California for her. (I’m now living in a cramped but peaceful place I hurriedly took after Mom angrily threw me out of her home for the umpteenth time.)
How sad. Mom treated me the worst, and yet I loved her the most.
What this means is that during My Bittersweet Last Year with My Mother, I was a victim of Mom Abuse. (That's something you never hear about. Instead, people rightfully come out against Elder Abuse.)
Anyhow, bear in mind that my mother’s mistreatment of me was unintentional. It was the cancer’s fault.
Real Mom was in the dark. She didn’t know what she was doing. At least I don’t think she did.
But although I knew Crabby Cancer Mom was NOT my Real Mom, I still often felt confused, frustrated, exasperated, aghast, helpless, sad, downright shattered, and absolutely frightened to be myself.
It's tough to convey the depth of my devastation.
Of course, experts recommend that you set limits in your relationships.
“Speak up for yourself,” they suggest. That’s really good advice -- usually.
But when you’ve made a strong commitment to be there no matter what for your dying mother, you can’t set boundaries, especially if—as the disease infects her thoughts and behavior—she treats you abysmally. So horribly that people who witnessed her putdowns were shocked that I was standing by her.
Anyhow, I’ve been reeling in aftershock for the past four months. And I’ve had enough.
It’s time to take back my power. I’m determined.
To get to a centered place where I can serve you again, I’ve now mapped out my comeback.
- I’m taking time out every day to nurture myself, including going to the gym, meditating, attending a grief support group, listening to James Twyman’s The Moses Code, or reading inspirational passages from authors such as Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Dr. Ken Druck and Anne Lamott. I’m also back in therapy, and I'm also working with a life coach.
- I’m cleaning up my food. In particular, I’m limiting or steering clear of quickie carbs such as sweet potato chips, corn nuts, and popcorn. (More about that later, but suffice it to say that I haven’t been perfect since Mom died. I did, however, stay away from the sugar so for those of you wondering, I have remained sugar-free despite my grief and depression.)
- I’m healing, getting perspective, and honoring my mother by writing a new book, which I’m tentatively calling, Bittersweet: How to Stand by Your Difficult, Dying Loved One and Learn from My Rollercoaster Last Year with Mom.
- I'm attending several transformational retreats and workshops.
- I’ll often be on e-mail and phone silence. (Admittedly, this is a requirement for most programs I’m attending, but I would do it anyhow.)
- I’m turning often to inspirational best-selling authors such as Louise Hay, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Annie Lamott, Marci Shimoff and others. For instance, I’m listening over and over again to the forgiveness track on Louise’s CD of I Can Do It. “Forgiveness of yourself, and of others, will release you from the prison of the past,” Louise knowingly says. Later, she charmingly puts it, to “it’s time to move with joy into the now.”
- I'm gearing up to begin intevriewing grief gurus on my Gab with the Gurus Show. Their insights and advice will help both you and me.
- I’m honoring myself and my need to heal by allowing myself to postpone presenting my Sugar Freedom Now Course. I've also delayed taking on new coaching clients.
Of course, you want me to be there fully, but in order to do that I need to refuel, regroup, rediscover my true calling, uncover my strengths, find inner peace, and reach a higher plane.
I invite you to join me. Go on your own voyage of healing and rebirth so you can Take Back Your Power.
Even if you aren’t grieving the loss of a loved one, you can become dedicated to rediscovering your own beauty and wisdom.
Please let me know what transformational methods work best for you to Take Back Your Power. I’m eager to explore tactics that I may be overlooking.
By the way, please stay tuned.
On April 15, I will be celebrating 15 years sugar-free (mostly). Yikes!
In honor of that landmark, I’ll be hosting a special Gab with the Gurus Show.
Thank you kindly for your patience during this challenging, but transformative time.
Special thanks to Jessica Urmanec for creating the illustration above.