Self-care and grey flowers

What do you do as self-care? Do you create, exercise, listen to music, read? Do you even take time to put yourself first occasionally?

At the beginning of this week someone I know/knew (not sure what the right tense to use is) passed away from their cancer following a sudden and rapid deterioration of their health. They were still working and still had plans for living, and yet they are now gone. It’s hit a particular nerve for my family because they died only a few days after the anniversary of the death of one of our own family members, in circumstances not that different.

I’ve had to force myself to stop this week, to admit to myself that I wasn’t alright and needed to stop and take care of myself. While I tried to retain some sense of normalcy, keeping meetings and still going to classes, I’ve had to ask for an extension on an assignment and said no to going out at night, so that I can instead look after me.

This is what self-care has looked like for me this week. Letting myself stop and see that the flowers look grey. I’ve let tears escape, and walked out of class to kick a tree stump.

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It’s looked like me spending hours with a texta in my hands, and giving myself time to acknowledge and accept that life sometimes sucks. It’s led me to a place of being able to say yes, the flowers are grey, but look at the colour around them. We don’t need to give up hope because there is still good. But we also don’t need to forget or ignore the grey, there is beauty that can still be found there. The grey makes the colour around it look brighter. The grey reminds us of what we have to be thankful for. The grey is there to be seen.

This week I’ve found myself reliving memories from just after my family member’s death 4 years ago. Memories that are shrouded in pain and anger and grief, memories that are shrouded in grey. But the images that play in my mind aren’t in grey, they play in colour, they are full of the colour of other memories when the people were still here, or full of the colour of laughter, or full of the colour of love. Yes, it may sometimes look and feel grey, but there is still colour there.

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