Living In The Moment

Living In The Moment

As I sit here, across from my daughter while she plays with her toys, I can’t help but smile. Seeing her so happy and content with what she is doing puts my heart at ease. Seeing her make up an elaborate story and watching her navigate through her problems independently is a fun experience to witness. I don’t know what it is about how children play, but when you just sit and watch them it can be so entertaining.


Lately I have been making a point of being more present, present while I am with my daughter, present when around friends, present when someone is talking. I have been working on really hearing the other person, soaking up the environment around me, focusing on what is happening right in front of me. It’s not always easy for me to do though, I fight with my wandering thoughts or the fly that is buzzing around me. I get distracted by noises in the background or what I have to do later on. Being present isn’t an easy thing to do, but it is something I am working on.


When Wes first passed away, I struggled to be present. I struggled to live in the moment and enjoy the things around me. I was so lost in my thoughts, my feelings, that I couldn’t focus on the present moment longer than a few minutes. So many things would be a reminder and take me away into my own world. I would be a part of the conversation one minute, but so quickly I would be gone missing half of what was said. At first, I didn’t realize I was doing it, I’d have moments where I would catch myself but I didn’t realize how often it was happening. I would be a part of an event, but I would miss half of what went on. When I think back to parties, holidays, events that I attended after Wes’s death, I have what I call “block parts”, parts of the event where I can’t recall what happened. 


I didn’t realize how bad it was until one night Aubrey and I had come home from a party. After she went to bed, I was talking to my mom about how the party was. I had the hardest time recalling what happened, almost like I wasn’t even there. I played it off to my mom like I wasn’t struggling to remember what happened only 2 hours prior. After I got off the phone with my mom, I was trying so hard to remember that party, but I kept having blanks. How was I not able to remember such a simple event that was only a few hours ago. I then started trying to recall other events that I attended, there was no way I was having this much block over and over. Quickly I realized I was, I was struggling to remember other events. Even regular days that followed a similar routine, I was struggling to recall the details like what I ate or what I watched on the T.V. My whole life I had an amazing memory and now I couldn’t remember chunks of time.


At first, I thought something was wrong, I went into panic mode thinking I was suffering some type of brain issue. So of course, I went straight to my trusted medical source, google, to put my mind at ease. I typed in all my symptoms and pressed search. Then the list of horrible disease and issues pooped up. I knew it, my biggest fears staring me right in the face. A list large on my phone produced things like brain tumor, aneurism, stroke, inflammation of the brain. I was 30 minutes down the rabbit hole, putting together this elaborate story as to why I was missing so much of my memory when I decided to add grief to my search. I was still convinced I had a horrible disease, but I thought maybe the grief was making it worse. As I typed in symptoms of grief and traumatic events, a bunch of articles came up. They talked about grief and the aftermath that it has on the brain. Things like memory loss, headaches, exhaustion and distraction were just a few of the symptoms. The more I read the more I realized I wasn’t suffering from anything more than grief and trauma.


At first, I wasn’t sold on the idea that the grief I was going through, the trauma I had experienced was the reason for my symptoms. I’ve had other family members die, I’ve experienced other traumatic events and never lost parts of my memory. But, over those next few days as I did more research, more investigating I realized my grief was showing up in these ways.


No one tells you what to expect or the possible side effects grief can have on your body. No one prepares you for the laundry list of symptoms you may experience. I was thrown into this and expected to figure it out on my own. Sure, everyone experiences grief differently, but many of the symptoms are the same. The google search was both a relief and also frustrating. I was experiencing these symptoms, not because I was sick but because I had experienced a life changing event. Like I didn’t already go through enough, now my body wasn’t working the way it should. 


As I became more aware of the symptoms I was experiencing, I started noticing when they were happening and how often. Very quickly I realized I was having these moments often throughout the day. Forgetting where I put my phone after I just had it, leaving the fridge wide open after grabbing something inside, leaving the laundry in the washer for a full day without switching to the dryer. These are just a few examples, but the list is long. These were things I never did before, and now they were happening like it was the normal thing to do. Once I started becoming aware of them, I knew I needed to fix them. I knew I needed to heal this part of me so I could go back to a more normal life. 


That’s where my journey started with healing the trauma and becoming present in the now. It probably sounds funny to you, being present in the now. I bet some of you might think you are present in the now all the time, I thought I was until I actually stopped and started practicing it


Once I started understanding how my grief and trauma played a role in my thoughts and memory, I started working on healing that. I started mediating, going to therapy regularly, researching and understanding my grief. Then I found a book called The Power of Now, immediately I had a whole new perspective on my life and healing my grief. As I read through page after page, I started understanding how being present is so important. As I slowly started implementing being more present in my day-to-day life, I was starting to remember bigger blocks of time; I was seeing things I had missed over and over again. I went from forgetting chunks of my day, to only forgetting small moments. That was huge for me, I was starting to get my old self back. Since opening that book, I realized I needed to heal my grief. I have really focused on meditation, embracing my feelings when they happen instead of pushing them down and slowing down when I can. The old saying time heals all wounds is true, but you also have to do work to get results.


This journey is something I will always be walking, but the small changes I have been making, being more present throughout my day has been life changing.


So, I challenge you to see if you are truly present in the now. While you are playing with your kids, having coffee with a friend, talking on the phone. Stop yourself from thinking about the past, or the future, the laundry that needs to be folded or the groceries that need to be picked up. Really sit in the moment you are in. Hear the noises around you, really listen to what the other person I saying. You’ll be surprised how much you are missing when you aren’t fully living in the now.



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