It is no secret that I love project life. It is amazing memory keeping system that takes the complicated out of scrapbooking. Most importantedly it allows you to tell the little or big stories of your life without the distraction of intricate design. This is just what I needed with attempting to tackle my own loss story recently.
Loss is a part of everyone's life and I am a huge proponent of digesting it through art and creativity. I have been a lifelong writer (Hello kitty Diarist at very young age:) and my ability to put words to paper have gotten me through the most difficult of times. But, when I discovered memory keeping and blogging I found a even better venue for processing the most trying of times. Sharing photos+words have become a powerful tool for allowing my unique voice to be heard and maybe helping others to see the end of the tunnel of loss as well.
*The Story Behind the page: Throughout this post, I want to share what I learned while creating this pocket page and the moments that came along with this memory keeping process. When you see a * it's design/story talk:) I hope it helps you discover your own story.
Last August before moving to Austin, Tx. I decided with the urgings of my therapist that I needed to make a much needed trip to my Mothers and Stepfathers grave. In the last year my grief had taken a turn for the worse, I was diagnosed with complicated grief. A grief that I was avoiding to the point that was causing me severe emotional (return of paralyzing anxiety) and physical (not eating or sleeping properly) symptoms. I was truly a hot mess... I would talk about my grief and even cry. But, I was not feeling any of it. Just going through the motions of what was expected of me. Being a great actress:( I began avoiding anything or anyone that reminded me of my Mother. If I ever was confronted with my feelings I would run like hell. I even stopped going to church and praying the rosary. Something you would think would give me great comfort yet only reminded me more of that loss.
*The five senses journaling prompt: I have used this technique for many of pages in the past and even showcased this in my Destination:Childhood self-paced class for Big Picture Classes. So, Pretty much the gist is taking the Five Senses (smell,sight,hearing,touch and taste) we all learned about in elementary school to break down important memories in journaling form. It makes the memory keeping process so much easier, especially when telling life stories that might seem difficult.
Here is what I came up with and plan on printing these out and placing it next to my pocket page in my project life album. A) Smell: The scent of the yellow roses in the bouquet (both of our favorites) I got for her for my little picnic in honor of her and I at the grave sight. Minnesota summer air so fresh and intoxicating. B) Sight: My Moms/ Stepdads gravestone and wrong year she was born:) she must of thought she was a year older when she approved that date. I remember the giggles Fred and I had about that and decision to just keep that way. The bittersweet sight of my own reflection in there gravestone. The late afternoon light coming in through the stain glass cross window in the chapel they lovingly built together. So, grateful to have that place to go. Reading the book Wild and all the comforting underlines I had made on its pages. C) Hearing: Listening to The Appleseed Cast on repeat. The sound of a young Mother and her little girl visiting her Fathers own grave (and our "chance" meeting that turned out to be just what the Dr. ordered for both of us). D) Touch: of the grass near near my picnic blanket. The August sun beating down on my face. The warm granite gravestone underneath my finger tips. E) Taste: of the lunch I brought to "share" with like the old days. Chicken salad on a croissant, her favorite French donut and of course a caribou latte:)
After finally making this trip, I felt like I had the healing and awareness again I needed. I also felt a renewed connection to my Mother and Stepfather stories and the unique legacy of love they left me and others. I also on this visit reconnected with the two individuals that walked every step of this loss with me. My dear Step Aunt and Uncle. I truly don't know what I could of done it without these remarkable people. And the realization that family sometimes comes to us not through blood relations, but life changing experiences. Thank you Mary Dee and Scotty for the care you gave mom and Freddy in their last days.
I still have moments of grief, but they are much more manageable now. I have accepted the person I loved most in this world is know longer physically with me. I am learning new ways to coping with this large hole in my heart. The holiday season is very hard, but I know I am not alone in this and beyond grateful for the memories I do have. Some people never in a lifetime experience what love I had for 37 years. What a gift indeed.
Seriously creating this project life page and blog post has created even more healing. Allowing to move further forward. Letting this story live safely in my album instead of always carrying it in my heart. *oh this is why I love memory keeping. I can move on...my momma would want that and so do I now. Love, C.