At last my book is ready to edit. Before I send it to my lovely editor, I wanted to share the preface and Theo Gard’s painting which I found inspiring. Hopefully the book will be out in the New Year.
We are all ‘fabulous’. The dictionary definitions vary but all use the word extraordinary – ‘so great we can barely believe it’. I have written on mywebsite that It’s never too late to find your ‘fabulous’. Even better if we can acknowledge that we have already found it, because we are already extraordinary beings. I have never met anyone who is not extraordinary, but sadly, I have also met many of us who cannot see the‘fabulous’ within ourselves. I have certainly been in that position and it is now my passion to assist people to uncover, or rediscover that extraordinary being lurking within all of us. We all face challenges in our lives that threaten to undermine us and force us to claw our way back. Each time we do this this we become so much stronger and even more ‘fabulous’, again… and again… and again!
Grief is no stranger to most people. To some degree we each experience its dark tentacles reaching into our soul and each of us handles it differently. It is a common saying that each of us grieves in our own way and at our own pace. There are also many circumstances and experiences that cause our grief. I felt moved to write a book that encourages people to know that even in the depths of despair we can rise again.
How fortunate I have been to have had the opportunity to understand what has been going on for me following my experience of profound grief. I have learnt so much about opening my heart and embracing my feelings. It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, had I died at the age my mother did, I would have missed out on learning it at all.
When I wrote my last book, Sizzling at Seventy, Victim to Victorious, I was transparent about my struggle to find my true self. Some criticised that transparency as airing my dirty linen, but many identified with my journey and were grateful. At the end of the book I was certainly feeling that I had found my ‘fabulous’ and made a rather arrogant statement that I felt that now I couldcope with anything that life threw at me. I will never again make such a statement because life did throw me the biggest curve ball of all and I struggled again to once more gain that confidence. I had come so far and had spoken about the strategies that had helped me, yet here I was stripped bare again. Thankfully this time I had more strategies and eventually climbed out of my hole. As I shared my early journey, I feel moved to share the sequel which has been a profound experience for me and one that has brought a great deal of learning.
Experiencing deep grief gave me the opportunity to understand the mood that comes with griefand some accompanying emotions such as denial, shock, guilt, anger. I also found that we tend to look at what we could have done better. My concerns were many. Did I show enough love when he was suffering? Did I give him the best of me at a time when there was tension in the air? I can now honour the process of grieving and all the learning that comes with it. I learnt that there is no quick fix, no band aid to put over the gaping wound that is the loss we have experienced. I now understand that the sadness we feel over a loss may never go away and can creep up unawares when a particular song is played, or a thought may be triggered by an event. The notion that time heals I see as erroneous.
The biggest learning for me has been about how to be with others who are in their experience of grief. I valued those who didn’t shy away from my grief and were able to talk to me openly about what I was going through. I certainly learnt that there are many who find this difficult and I hope those who do may find some encouragement from what I have written in this book. It is hard to be told that you must just get over it and move on and I recognise that even people close to me found it hard to cope with my grief. I think what matters most is that you feel you are understood.
Most of all I have learnt to move past my initial stages of grief and look for a higher purpose, when often I just longed to join my love. I have learnt that between the spaces of heart ache there can be incredibly vivid moments of joy. I have learnt that I can open my heart now in a way I never had before and sincerely encourage others to become their most fabulous selves.
So rather than this book being all about grief in all its various forms, I wanted to embrace the possibility that in spite of experiencing grief, in spite of anything we have done that we are not proud of, we can still reach deep down into our souls and find that beautiful something that will ignite the best in us so we can truly find our ‘fabulous’.
“The measure of our greatness is in how we stand up after we fall.”