Behind the smiles
What a lovely family photo this is and something that l will treasure. It was taken at a family wedding just before Christmas and it was a very happy occasion. The weather was beautiful and the location of the Melbourne Royal Botanical Gardens was very relaxing and serene. I look at this picture of myself and think l look very well and happy. I have worked hard over the last year to have life balance and improved health through a very strict nutritional and supplement program.
What this picture doesn’t show though is the pain behind the smiles. A family member was very ill and passed away just over a week after this wedding. I had been spending four hours every day driving in to the hospital to visit her plus many more supporting her husband, my family members and acting in the role of her Power of Attorney. This was in addition to my normal life which was very full and busy at that time. We had to leave the wedding as soon as the ceremony was finished to go to the hospital which was close by and it was very distressing to see my loved one losing her battle. I am reflecting now on this photo as l think about why l look so happy and relaxed in it and how a smile can be hiding so much.
I had decided to enjoy this wedding and put on a brave face while l was there and it was actually a really enjoyable occasion in what was a challenging time for me. I am amazed at my resilience throughout this time, mentally, emotionally and physically. The journey to wellness that l have experienced over the past year prepared me well for this unexpected event and l found that l had to show great strength for other family members who needed so much support at this time. Following the death of my loved one there was the most difficult of times attending the open coffin and funeral which has been followed by several months of emotional strain dealing with her estate in the role of executor. I am so proud of myself and for the person l have become, with a strength of character that has helped me through a really challenging time.
There are only a few people in my life who know of the great emotional burden that this death has had on me and of the gap that is now in my life. Those close to me are often not aware of the depth of my grief because of my smile and that l keep my feelings to myself unless asked about them. I have found the grieving process a very personal and challenging time and the transition into a new life without this person an emotional roller coaster with many unexpected twists and turns. I take great comfort in the memories that l have of my loved one, and drew on my strong faith when the grief was at its most intense. Now l am focussing on the future, my family and making the most of every day with the memories of my special person by my side.
If you have enjoyed this post please share with a friend. I am also on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks Carolyn