January 27, 2020

When Ian first died, it felt like my entire world was falling apart. The range of emotions that surfaced combined with the fear and anxiety of starting a “new normal” without him left me feeling paralyzed — left me feeling stuck. 

Fast-forward to now — almost 10 months since his death. I’ve taken time to process his loss, feel my feelings, explore my core values, and redefine my self-identity and purpose in life. I’ve started a new business, dipped my toes into the dating world, and feel more and more confident as a single-parent in my family of three. I’m turning a corner in my grief journey and moving forward in so many exciting ways, but am now stuck in an entirely new way.

Right now, I’m stuck between past and present.

Between honoring my tragic history that has brought me to this point, and giving myself permission to get excited about this new chapter. This state of limbo that I’m stuck in affects so many aspects of my life.

Relationships with friends and family that Ian fostered in the past, are different without him. I’m navigating how I preserve the bonds that Ian created between the significant people in his life, and figuring out I fit in without him moving forward.

Relationships in terms of dating are far more complex than I imagined. I feel like there is room in my heart for both old and new love, but potential partners don’t necessarily understand that. How do I honor the love in my heart for Ian, without scaring away potential new love?

Redefining myself — transitioning from stay-at-home mom, caretaker to sick husband, to becoming a widow, head-of-household, single mom and entrepreneur — is an exciting, second-chance to make an impact and bring something into the world that I care so much about. But when I think about how I got here, it’s by tragedy. By losing Ian. How do I not feel a sense of guilt about the new story that is unfolding for me?

I’ve written about how tragedies like loss are defining moments. Do we stay stuck in tragedy and let the defining moment define us? Or do we move forward and keep living?

Right now I’m stuck right in the middle of remembering my tragedy and moving forward with my new life ahead. It’s a process and I’m sure I’ll get unstuck and stuck again. For now, I’m exploring what this space feels like and learning how to moveTHRU the stuck.

The feeling of being stuck is a universal theme. Whether we have experienced a loss or not, there are moments in life where we simply feel powerless. We know the necessary steps to achieve our goals — to lose 10 lbs I need to eat healthier, workout more and cut down on alcohol. Yet, despite having all the tools and steps necessary to achieve our aspirations and telling ourselves that we can do it, sometimes we just don’t. And, when we don’t, we beat ourselves up for it.

When we focus on our failures and the associated shame, then we do in fact get stuck. We get stuck in a negative thought cycle that continuously loops, sending the message that we are incapable of making productive change in our life. Powerless. Paralyzed. Stuck.

So how do we break this cycle? We move!

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