I'll be honest, some weeks are hard. I'm not even sure what triggers them. It could be that it's the holiday season, and I don't even want to fathom what that looks like without my mom. It could also be that finding the silver-lining gets exhausting. This week, I was exhausted and unable to get out of my apartment for my usual optimistic-spin-on-grief activity. Yet even in the midst of a bad missing-my-mom week, I did notice some lights shining through the darkness.
Some might call these "little things", but I feel like we've learned that those are the very things that can make all the difference. So, today's post is a shout-out to all the little things that brought me joy during a difficult week.
Childhood Friend Turned Confidant
Sometimes it's hard to talk about grief. I often don't in my everyday life, this blog being the exception. It's even harder when the person you're talking to wants to be there for you, but just doesn't get it. It's no fault of their own, but sometimes you just need someone who understands what you're going through, or has been in your shoes. I have a friend who lost her mother 3 years ago.
When she heard about my mother's death, she gave me time to process it all, knowing that's what I would need, then started to check up on me every so often. This week, we planned a video call, and I had no clue how much I needed this. First we caught up as friends, seeking out what was new in our cool, adult lives. (She's been my friend since middle school, so it's always wild when we remember how old we are now! lol) Then, naturally, we started to discuss our own journeys through grief and losing our mothers. I listened to what it was like to grieve 3 years after loss, while she listened to my fresh wounds of only 3 months. I hadn't really talked like that with anyone and doing so felt like a much needed release, especially since we both actually knew each other's mothers. I told her that day, and will reiterate it now, how special it is to have a friend like her, from middle school to adulthood, from simpler times to coping with grief.
A Taste of Home
Despite my dire need to flee the South, I'm a Southern girl through and through! I was born in Arkansas and raised in Southern Florida and Texas, though Fort Lauderdale felt more like the Caribbean than the South. I write all this to say, if there's one thing I miss, after moving to California, it's Southern comfort food. LA can try, but nothing beats soul food and barbecue from the South. So, when I heard my old college friend Ciara, who also moved to LA, was making authentic Louisiana-style gumbo, I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to buy some! I'm not sure what style of gumbo my aunt used to make, (I guess Arkansas-style since that's where she's from?) but I knew I loved gumbo, and I figured since Louisiana is known for it, Ciara's HAD to be good! (And it's her Momo's recipe? IV it to my bloodstream, please!)
Oooh chiiiile, let me tell you! I legit got teary-eyed while eating it! I haven't had gumbo in YEARS, and although my sense of home hasn't always been the clearest, especially now with losing my mom, eating that gumbo gave me the comfort I desperately needed. Food might seem little to others, but I LOVE food, so having some gumbo during a rough week was just what I needed.
Grief Tip: Comfort is comfort, so some good comfort food could be just what you need to get out of a funk!
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(I'm realizing a lot of these are food-related lol)
This one's short and sweet! My neighbor from across the hall has become a friend/unofficial roommate after we bumped into each other while both being on our balconies at the same time. We shared wine and talked until the sun set the first time we met and have been cool ever since! I'm not sure if she heard me crying through the walls, if she was saying thank you for watching out for her packages (sigh, a package thief lives in our building!), or if she just wanted to be kind, but she left a bag of gourmet cookies on my door one day! I love sweets, and that particular day was a rough grief day, so this small gesture meant the world to me! Plus, it was a Friday, and every Friday, when I don't have plans, I have a movie night. This Friday I hadn't quite figured out what I wanted my sweet treat to be yet, and boom! Her cookie present was just what I needed!
Signs & Wonders
Have you ever felt “seen” in an unusual way? Maybe someone you were missing called you right when you were thinking about them. Maybe while you were scrolling online you found an article or video that hits so close to home you questioned how deep these algorithms go. I love moments like these because it makes me feel less alone. Depending on your beliefs, it’s a way to feel connected to the universe or nature or a higher power that’s looking out for you.
I had a recent encounter like this that made me feel seen and like God has been looking out for me. I was at a recording studio doing some voiceover work with an amazingly warm cast and crew (which is a blessing in itself!) It was their last day of recording after working on this project for over a year. It was my first and last day on the project, but that didn't stop them from including me in the "wrap day" festivities. One of the lead actor's brought crystals/stones for people to blindly pick, then explained what each one meant. She claimed the stone you need will find you. People were moved by how accurate their readings were. I am not a big crystal enthusiast myself, but I respect what other people are into, and I do believe God works in mysterious ways. She offered me the last stone. I’m not gonna lie, in the back of my mind I was thinking, "Well I technically didn't even pick this one since it was the last one, but let's see what she says."
I got the Ruby Zoisite, a pretty green stone mixed with touches of black and red. She explained that ruby is a stone of igniting passion and courage and zoisite promotes growth and abundance. Together the ruby zoisite allows your heart to be set free of past wounds and allows you to expand beyond what you thought was possible. She said the stone was perfect for manifesting your dreams and having the courage to see them through.
Honestly, it was pretty accurate! This whole year I’ve been struggling with believing in my dreams and my ability to achieve the goals I set for myself, especially when a strike shot down my film industry goals for the year. And don’t get me started on wounds! In general, it’s been a tough year and losing my mom was the final blow. It was also interesting hearing her say these things, because the day before I watched a Bishop T.D Jakes message that pretty much said the same thing. It was about trusting God again and letting go of old pains and disappointments to believe in your purpose again. It was about healing to manifest the life God wants for you. The message was two years old, and I don’t know why I decided to watch it then, but now it was starting to feel like both these occurrences were meant for me. I decided to do a little research of my own for this ruby zoisite and the first thing I saw when I googled it was,
“Helpful for those who have experienced heartbreak, trauma, or loss. It is a particularly helpful stone for anyone who is grieving the death of a loved one."
Okayyyy, that was it. That got me! Say what you want about spirituality and signs, it’s definitely a complex topic, but this little stone that supposedly found me made me feel seen and less alone. That's an amazing feeling when you’ve been having a particularly bad grief week. Both the stone and sermon made me feel like this scripture was true,
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." ~ Psalms 34:18
The little things in life are important, especially during a season of grief. I gladly welcome any reason to smile, but I know this can be hard for others. So, I'll end this post with a general list of "little things" to look out for in your own life: little blessings, little joys, reasons to smile.
A video chat with a close friend
Enjoying a delicious meal
A random act of kindness
A reminder you're not alone
Finding something you wanted on sale
Watching a good movie
Enjoying some fresh air and sunlight
A night out with your friends
A warm hug
Cuddles with your pet
Accomplishing a task on your to-do list
Having free-time for a hobby or nap
Making memories with loved ones
Feeling cute in an outfit
Treating yourself to a sweet treat
Enjoying a good book
Releasing a much needed cry
Enjoying a long shower
Getting out of bed
Surviving another day