Make yourself a cup of tea. Better yet, pour yourself a glass of wine. Curl up and come along with me through this next step of my grief journey.

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

I was unexpectedly forced into the most horrific scenario – something that the mind can’t even imagine on its own. And then my mom died.

And I thought I was fine. I actually remember thinking, “Wow, I am dealing with this way better than I should be.” But that wasn’t quite true…

Fast forward 4 1/2 years. Life had been challenging since my mom died, and even though I felt I was making the right decisions to better myself, I couldn’t quite get out of the negativity. Relationships, work, life – I lost friendships and relatives I cherished, I struggled with being happy with my career and life just was hard. And then a few weeks ago I had an epiphany.

I had just ended a friendship that was not healthy for me. And even though I knew it was for the best, I was deeply saddened. And I started focusing on the negatives in my life. I know that’s not what one should do, but it’s what I needed to get to this point of enlightenment. I thought, “Why do all these bad things happen to me, when I really am trying to do good?” And it made me think of the philosophy that if you focus on negative, you attract negative, and when you focus on positive, you attract positive. So I deduced that I since my mom died, I had a veil of negativity over me. And then ta da! I realized what I needed to do. I needed to somehow release this negativity I was holding onto. Whenever I had spoken with my psychotherapist about my grief, it was a grey area. I didn’t actually know what I needed to be working on. Immediately I texted my dear friend Trisha, as she is my guide through this journey. I asked her if she felt I was surrounded by this veil. And here was her answer:

“Yes. My sense? Ok. Deeeep breath. Sometimes too much of your energy, unwillingly, is on your dead mom. And I say dead, because that’s the energy that’s getting sucked out of you. I don’t know anything about mourning or death, so I’m very cautious when I say this. Kirsten, I genuinely worry about you when you say things like “I’m going to spend time with my mom” or I see you in her sweater. I know there are times for that. Oh I know. But, sometimes it feels like you won’t let her die. No, never ever let her memories fade. Or traditions. You never will and that’s great. But, I see this fog of sorrow that you fight every step of the way, but you continue to get smothered because you are forcing it on yourself. Being comforted by the poisonous sorrow. Maybe it’s because it appears she is the centre of your existence. But, she’s not here. So it’s like the centre of your existence is death. I don’t know what’s normal and what’s not. I feel like her death has defined you, but not in the way it should at times. This comes like a whisper. Gentle and concerned. No judgement or condemnation. I really really hope you’re not angered or offended. You ARE healing. You ARE growing. It just sucks. Growing pains.”

And that’s when my epiphany was confirmed. And extended. I have defined myself by my mom’s death. In a later conversation Trisha asked me to be conscious of how quickly I tell people I meet for the first time that my mom died. And she was so right. Before I felt I needed to let people know about her dying because that was who I thought I was – a daughter whose mom died. And I felt the urgency to tell people about her because it was honouring her and keeping her memory alive. It was, “Hi. I’m Kirsten. My mom died.” When really, it should have been, “Hi. I’m Kirsten.”

That night after initial realization when I went to bed, I was all tucked in and said out loud, “Mom. I am letting your death go. But I am not letting you go.” And the next morning I woke up and thought to myself, “I am happy. For no reason.” And I couldn’t remember ever feeling that no-strings-attached-happiness since she had died. Before I was happy because of something. I had an event to go to, Arrine made me smile, a friend called me, I bought a new pair of shoes. I craved happiness from things and people. Not just finding happiness from within.

I still have so much work to do, and I just realized I need a break from writing this all out. I actually thought that tonight I would write a super long post, with all the examples of my growth and explanations of my thought processes and paths. But I am exhausted.

I had a really good chat with my head doc. And he identified areas that we can work on together. Redefining myself and becoming self-sufficient.

So this blog will now become a place to journal Kirsten Redefined. It’s still my journey through the grief of losing my mom, but takes a different approach now. One of rebirth and hope and enlightenment. Of redefining myself and becoming self-sufficient.

But for now, I will say good-night and watch Downton Abbey and paint my nails. Not because it’s what my mom would have wanted to do. Because it’s what I want to do, because I am my mother’s daughter and she passed on her loves to me. I am keeping her memories and traditions and loves alive by just being me.

“Hi. I’m Kirsten.”