Saturday, January 29, 2011


There are two things I'd like to keep in mind during 2011 ...

Finding a balance between living and grieving.

Finding a balance between home and work.

How am I going to manage this? Well, during January I took five minutes each week ... and stood still. Quietened my mind. Asked myself if there was balance in my life in these areas. Answered myself truthfully.

And then addressed it.

For example, one week I spent a considerable amount of time participating with others on a Facebook Group for widow/ers, channelling positive energy into a beta site for the widowed, working on a project for Widows' Rights International and keeping up with my blogroll ... only to realize that I'd been "counting" that time as grieving, when in fact I wasn't. It's healthy for me to spend time on this stuff, but I have to be mindful not to sub-consciously spend too much time participating in these activities as a means of escaping my own pain.

The crucial issue is this. Acknowledging the imbalance. Then adjusting in an attempt to level the scales.

So, I took a couple of evenings to just be. I read a book. This helps me immensely because reading ensures that I cannot give my attention to anything else. It is another form of escapism in a way, however, the objective of it is to relax, to have a break. The other evening I spent some more time on my memory books and allowed the tears to flow freely.

Just past the second anniversary, I still cry every day. But it's not enough. There is still a need to have a "big cry" each week or thereabouts. To acknowledge the pain and let it engulf me, simultaneously letting it out. If I suppress it, consciously or otherwise, it makes me feel "not right" (relatively speaking), out of balance (again, relatively speaking) and it doesn't help. Far from it, it hinders. Or worse.

If I work too long on my scrap-booking and memory books (part of my grief-work) thereby dedicating too much time into remembering what I have lost ... accompanied with the outpouring of grief, it wears me out and results in my days becoming devoid of colour ... so that I am left with only darkness. There is a tipping point ... and unfortunately I don't know where that tipping point is until I have passed it. At least I am aware of this now, and take steps to rectify it. I literally tell myself that I need to have a break and don't return to that activity until intuition leads me back there.

And the home/work balance? After leaving the office one evening at almost 21h00, I ensured that I left on time the rest of the week, even pushing back on a couple of requests (usually very hard for me to do) and took a lunch break on two days, as opposed to shovelling food in my mouth with one hand ... the other on the keyboard or mouse, which is my usual practice.

Hey, it's a start.

Only another 11 months to get the hang of this.

Which amounts to something like 260 minutes over the course of a year. It's not a lot to ask of myself.

But will I do it?

It is essential that I do ... because I can clearly see the pattern that emanated from not being aware of this last year. I didn't give any thought to balance whatsoever ... not that I'm berating myself - let's be honest, it was hard enough accepting he was dead and existing with that weighing heavy on my heart for the duration ... but I can see how I was running from it by working stupid hours, not addressing workload issues, culminating in my grief having its way. And when that happened, I lost grip on the little control left in my life. Grief translated itself into illness, leading to time off work which caused me more worry and stress, followed by blindly throwing myself into work, frantically catching up, attempting to make amends through taking on even more stuff. And so it went on. Round and round and round in circles. Weekends were mainly wasted because I had to rest and sleep or cry, because there was no energy left over to do anything else.

Just like water, grief finds a way ... its force is as powerful, if not more ... it is as heavy as molten lead, as heavy as an ocean full of water, as heavy as a desert full of sand. It is this that sits on one side of the scales ... I have to fill the other with work, light, laughter, friendships, home improvements, moving through this whilst channelling energy into positive activities.

It's a fine balancing act ... without my safety net.


  1. Great post, Boo. Balance is such a difficult thing to find and yet so important for our physical, emotional and mental health. Your last line speaks very true... Look after yourself!!!

  2. love the post. i was never very graceful though. balancing. ugh. i will have to try this, but only after Valentine's Day and those awful anniversaries of that week.

  3. What a timely post for me, Boo. I made a vow last weekend that I'd stop "cocooning" on my weekends ... but here I am again on a Sunday afternoon and I haven't been beyond the mailbox. Finding balance is important and I will keep trying, but like "womanNshadows" I think I need to wait a bit. My guy's birthday is next Sunday.

  4. A lovely post, Boo.
    Balance is a wonderful thing and one that is so easy to lose. I think your idea of taking stock every day is a great one. And I am glad you are using it to look after yourself.

  5. This is so spot on Boo. I'm going to try to dump as much stuff on the other side of your 'scales' as I can. Love you girl x