As I sit on the aisle seat of this plane, I feel the unsettling trembling of the aircraft as the plane lifts from the stability of the ground and into the sky. I have lost all control of this planes trajectory and my life is literally in the hands of the pilots and this large aircraft.
Losing control is frightening. Losing control and losing a child will usually bring us to a place of uncertainty and paralyzing fear --- which is intermingled with the physically emotional pain of grief. I have often stated that when Logan died, I felt as if I had been dropped into a dark foreign land. I didn't speak the language and I had no idea what I should do to get out of that living nightmare. I had no idea how to help myself and my family leave that place. It was frightening to the depths of my core existence.
As time moved forward and I did my "grief work", I began to grasp control of my life in any way that I could find. I needed consistency. I found that developing patterns of behaviors gave me a sense of control... Of consistency.... Of comfort. Routines create control. Control creates comfort. I've known people who changed their lives from crazy messy and clothes all over their bedroom-- to extremely organized, with clothing even categorized by color in their closet. When all control in this life has been ripped from you, these small pieces of control are welcomed.
As life continues on, we are faced with challenges and additional adversity. This is the nature of life and constant change. When the control of life is once again removed from our grasp and we are faced with the unknown, we can once again be faced with fear and anxiety. Catastrophizing is the term used when our brains look forward at the future and we can only see the possibility of bad things occurring. When this happens-- STOP! Breathe. Slowly breathe. Close your eyes. Relax. Recognize that everything in life doesn't end tragically in a life altering way-- as it did on our "bad day."
Use standardized problem solving methods to rationalize to console yourself when making decisions.
When my daughter sought her drivers license, I had great fear. I couldn't possibly lose another child!
1). Look at the problem. Really ask yourself the problem and put each problems into individual sentences. Problem- I was afraid Callie would be in an automobile wreck.
2) Better understand the problem. She needed to drive because she needed independence and to grow into a fictional adult.
3). List your options on how to move forward and brainstorm with many ideas. Options-- I could teach her how to drive myself. I could then have her take drivers education. I could also have her drive constantly when we needed to go somewhere together. I could also wrap her in bubble wrap and lock her in the basement.
4) Proceed with your plan of action. I did all of the above plans- with the exception of the bubble wrap and the basement. See-- I loved her enough to give her this gift of independence with the ability to drive. It was painful for me-- but this wasn't about me.
5) How did it go? Do I need to do something differently? Ha! This could be debated by all parties involved. Bottomline-- she hasn't died or become injured in a car wreck. That's huge and was really my goal!
We have suffered enough with our losses. We should not continue to continue to sacrifice more of our lives to this horror than is necessary. Be aware of when you are most susceptible to catastrophizing.
In all reality... We put great efforts into creating grand illusions of control--- but we never really had any to begin with.
As my plane touches down on the runway, I look forward to the vacation days ahead of me. I'm thankful to finally be at this peaceful place in my lifelong grief journey. The uncertainty of the future is no longer paralyzing. My Logan would be proud that his mama has eventually -- over much time and grief work-- gained enough courage to continue and strive to live. This makes me smile.