Tag Archives: support group

Support System

Since Noah passed away, I continue to get advice on self-care.  One aspect of self-care is having and actually utilizing a support system.   Most people have support systems.  One isn’t required to be a member of the sad, unfortunate bereaved parents club to have one.  For me, though, since losing my son, I’ve become much more open to this concept and much more appreciative of having one.

I’m so grateful for my friends and family members far and near who are there for me.  I am grateful for their love, compassion and efforts to walk by my side on my journey.

I’m also fortunate to have a few bereaved parent support groups.  MLH and I had one while living on the east coast.  We were sad to leave this group.  We miss its members and think of their children often.  When we moved I searched for a local group and recently found one.  Additionally I have a virtual group that consists of parents who also have lost Heterotaxy children.  I am so grateful for having these groups in my life.  They’re an important part of my support system.

Within my support system I have “a triathlete section.”   Here I have my friends and family members who tolerate my training schedule, inquire about my progress and cheer me on.

Members of my tri clubs are also part of my support system.  The interesting thing about this group is they don’t even know it!  They don’t know that by showing up, focusing on the workout, talking about a race, discussing technique, and doing pretty much anything related to training they’re providing a tremendous amount of support.  Not asking if I have children but asking about PRs, favorite segments, bikes, races and training schedules is the best support I can get at that time.

What does your support system look like?  Are you utilizing it when you need to?  Are you part of somebody else’s support system?

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Thinking of Noah’s Fellow Angels for 7 Miles

On the weekends MLH and I usually workout first thing in the morning.  Yesterday morning when the alarm on my iPhone went off I grabbed the phone to turn it off.  Then without thinking I immediately  switched applications to check email and BAM!  Even before I got out of bed I encountered a trigger.  I came across a message that presented an in-your-face reminder that my son, my only child, is no longer alive.  What a crappy start to the day.  After getting through the initial reaction of being overcome with sadness and shedding some tears, MLH and I agreed that there’s really nothing else to do but go to the gym as planned.  I was scheduled to run seven miles yesterday, and man, I was so looking forward this.

As we drove to the gym and during my warmup I tried to get to the other side of this trigger by thinking about what I could focus on during my run.  I’ll think of Noah as I always do, and l’ll focus on my heart rate and breathing which is one of the ways I deepen my connection to Noah.  But this morning I also thought about dedicating the bulk of my run to other children who have passed away.  From my bereaved parent support group and learning about other parents who lost their Heterotaxy children, I know of quite a few children who left this world way too soon.

As I began to run I thought of beautiful Ava first.  Ava just might be familiar with my running because at one point during the 22 hours she lived, I went for a run and thought of her.  On that run I felt a great deal of love and hope for her and her family.  Like Noah, she passed away from Heterotaxy-related issues.  I’ve been blessed because about a month and a half after Ava passed away I connected with her mother who has become a wonderful friend.

Then I thought of another Heterotaxy Angel, Chloe.  I thought about how beautiful she is; I’ve had the opportunity to see a few pictures of her.  I’ve gotten to know Chloe’s mommy too.  Like Ava’s mommy, she’s a beautiful soul.  I thought of the love she has for her sweet Chloe.

There are other Heterotaxy children who have also passed away.  Although I don’t personally know about each of them, I did think about how there’s quite a few children who are now with Noah, Ava & Chloe.  I thought about how much their parents and families miss them.

Then I thought about the children of my bereaved parent support group.  They’re all significantly older than Noah.  I thought about each one by name, the lives they lived and how much love their parents have for them.  I feel this love every time MLH and I meet with our group.

I gently moved on to Ben Breedlove.  I thought about him meeting Noah in heaven.  I thought about how he was so kind to share his experiences of cheating death before he finally passed away.  I also thanked him again for the comfort he provided me.  I thought about his family and friends and how they too are trying to heal now.

And I can’t forget about those children in Norway.  Last July as the world learned of this horrendous act I cried for them and their parents.  I thought of them around mile 5.  Then I thought of all of the young military soldiers who died; and I thought of their parents, spouses and children.  Since Noah’s death I think of war very differently.  Before last year, I thought of war in more of an intellectual way.  Now I actually feel pain and love for the lives lost and the families they left behind.

As I continued my run I spent some time thinking about just Noah.  I prayed he’ll meet all of the angels who joined him over the past year.

Then my mind shifted to gratitude.  (A few friends last December helped me create intentions.  Gratitude was the first one I focused on.  I returned to it on this run.)  I thought about how grateful I am for Noah & MLH.  I’m grateful for those around me who provide comfort and support.  I’m also grateful that I’ve been able to meet other bereaved parents.

My last mile was pretty challenging.  Seven miles is the longest distance I’ve run in a while.  Like I’ve done in the past when I start to feel tired, some pain or even complacency, I thought about Noah and how much he went through while he was alive; how much his tiny, fragile body dealt with; all of the poking, prodding, discomfort and medications he had to put up with; and all of those cardiac arrests.  Once again I reminded myself that my discomfort is absolutely nothing compared to what Noah went through and he didn’t have a choice.  I chose to go on this run.  With Noah’s help once again, I ran my seven miles successfully.  Because of Noah, I felt strong right to the end.

I did come back to the trigger every now and then while I ran.  And I wasn’t completely over it after my run but at least for most of the seven miles, my mind and heart focused on something else.  Thank you, Noah, Ava, Chloe, the rest of the children who are with Noah and all of their parents for helping me on my run.

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