“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”
Hey there everyone! It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over a year since my 50th birthday blog and despite my intentions to put ‘pen to paper’ or rather ‘finger to keyboard’ and write regularly, life ‘happened’ and I was well and truly derailed in pretty much every single area of my life – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I have never ever in my entire life felt as challenged as I have felt over the last year. I was functioning (still going to work, still looking after mom) and looked very well, so many people would not have recognised or realised what I was going through but I had unravelled on the inside and it was affecting some areas of my life on the outside.
To put some context to what I’m saying, let me explain a little.
Following on from the mention I made in my blog last year regarding my father’s ill health, his health declined pretty rapidly in the subsequent months and sadly he passed away in Oct 2018. Caring for dad in the last six months of his life was extremely challenging not only physically but more so mentally and emotionally. It took its toll on us all. Sidenote: Although it is a privilege to look after one’s parents, it is not without its own challenges. But that’s for another blog!
Anyway, given all that I had already experienced in the previous five years (since 2013), my father’s death was like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Up until that point I had been holding my life together and I had ‘coped’ with so many different levels of loss and/or life challenges… but this one hit hard. I had to be signed off work for four weeks (that’s a biggie for me as I’m never off sick!).
Summary of ‘life blows’ from 2013-2018
- Told by ex husband that he wanted a divorce
- Ex husband left the marital home
- Death of ex father in law following an accident
- Unexpected death of ex brother in law following an illness
- My mother’s health declined (signs of a TIA)
- My mother suffers a massive stroke (Subarachnoid haemorrhage) and spends 15 weeks in hospital
- Mom returns home disabled requiring 24/7 care
- Mom had a 2nd stroke in March 2017
- Death of ex mother in law, ironically following a stroke
- Divorce finalised
- Dad’s health began to decline (multiple hospital admissions, significant loss of independence)
- My dad passed away
In addition to the effect of those things on me, they also directly affected my children, in ways that one would never have expected (but that’s for another blog). They also had their individual challenges. One of my sons experienced a relationship break up (engagement broken off) and the other son was unfairly dismissed from work and had two car accidents. My heartbeat (my daughter) shared that she was struggling with depression including suicidal thoughts.
I’m sharing all of this with you, not for you to feel sorry for me but to just get a flavour of the ‘life blows’ that I was experiencing. I know that I’m not the only one and I know that there are people experiencing far worse.
I have always considered myself to be a strong, resilient individual who copes well under pressure… However even I had a breaking point and around August 2018 I began to crumble and unravel on the inside. I stopped walking (my favourite exercise), I comfort ate and put on (more) weight, I was struggling with my workload at work after I returned from my time off. Even worse, was that I was hardly attending church so I felt even more disconnected and spiritually depleted. Looking back on that 8 month period of darkness I realise that I was ‘a mess’.
It’s ironic, yet apt, that I’m sharing this at the tail-end of Mental Health Awareness month because every single one of us has a breaking point or a point at which we begin to ‘not cope’… no one is exempt… and everyone’s reactions to that ‘point’ is different. Please check on your ‘strong’ friend… he/she may not really be okay.
Thankfully for me there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel and I can see it… I’m walking towards it and I will share that experience with you in my next blog post.
Firstly, when’s the next blog?😩. Thanks Dawn for sharing your story, something tells me the light at the other end isn’t an oncoming train.
Stay blessed my friend
Thank you kind sir! I hope to post part two out next week.
As I began to read your blog I felt my heart ache, no it’s not a novel or someone else who I’ve never met. It was a friend, someone I’ve known for years we may not be close or phone each other, but we still have a history of 30 plus years.
I felt tears well up in my eyes as I read the ‘Summary of life’s blows’….I am so glad you are coming out and being transparent in that hope that it will help someone else.
Thank you for sharing and helping many of us to hold onto hope whilst going through the storms of life or life’s blows.
May God continue to strengthen and keep you sis.
Love you Dawnie xx
Thank you. What encouragement!!! I am humbled.
Dawn thank you for being so brave and transparent. Yes we all struggle even though the outward appearance may look very well put together. I ca so identify with aspects and content of what you have written, and only because of the love, mercy and grace of God that one stand and choose to stand due to the confidence ok knowing who God is. Stand Dawn, God has got you and He will NEVER put more on you than you can bear. You’re gonna come out stronger, braver and wiser❤️🙏🏾
Thank you Audrey
Dawn thank you so much for sharing your story. There so many situations on your journey to which I can relate as strong black women we often suffer in silence and continue to be the rock for everyone else. We smile and continue to be beautiful.. but no one knows or would ever understand our pain our heartache our fears our tears. We continue to hold onto the strength of the expectations of others.
As we continue to go through valleys let us still climb our mountains and gain strength while doing so let us hold onto our love for US. let us not see our strength as a barrier to not accepting our vulnerability. God bless you my dearest. And thankyou again. Your transparency and braveness which is truly admired and uplifting for me. 💕xx
Thank you for your encouragement Susan. I knew that I needed to share. I am glad that it is helping people.
Bless you Dawn for the courage to share your story. It will definitely help someone else through their tunnel. I had a sense that you were going through and I continue to pray for you and your siblings. God bless you and remember I am here for you.
Thank you for this. Which Paulette is this? 🙈
Thanks for your transparency, which is so contrary to church/Jamaican culture. This is so instructive to many of us. We all go through our valleys, some more extended than others, but who has the candor to publicly bare their soul? You do! My hat is off to you my sister! Let us all be there for each other!
Thank Sis Ellis. I had no idea that the response would be as it has been… I’m humbled as I am only being myself in sharing my truth. Too many times we say we’re ‘okay’ and we really are not… that pressure to internalise by itself can send one ‘crazy’. I intend to continue to share my truth as a journey through this season.
My darling cousin Dawn, I applaud your courage for sharing your journey. This will help so many people to reach out to you and others to give and receive help. I can’t wait to give you lots of hugs and to take walks with you when I see you this summer.
Cousin thank you for your transparency….. for your honesty. Wow as you know I’m going through a slight storm at moment. After reading your blog it makes me realize that I’m not alone. There are others who are suffering emotionally , physically, socially, and mentally. I want to give you the biggest hug right now, for us to remind each other that we are not alone and things will get better.
I have to admit it’s a little scary how I have Rea ages to many of my life blows the way you have. At the same time it gives me hope that there is light at the end of my tunnel as well.
I love you so much cousin!!
Love Vin ❤️
There IS definitely a light at the end of the tunnel but more importantly, you’re not alone in ‘the dark’. Love you too cuz ❤
I’m so sorry to hear what’s you have been through I understand I’m going through similar things but coming through slowly keep your head up cuz. I’m here when ever you want a talk. Endie xx
All I can say to you Dawn after reading your Summary of Life’s Blows is “BUT GOD”
Love you Dawn! Thanks for sharing. Thank God for his spirit that never goes out and can whisper or think regular words in our darkest hours like, ” don’t quite”, “press”, “beleive” or “I love you”. The spirit of the Lord follows us to these places and walks with us till we get out. Sometimes the words from people just don’t have the same affect even though you know they mean well.
Wow Dawn I never knew all of this you were going through you are so brave, kind and an amazing teacher I looked to you for so much help at work and I was so sad when you left. I can’t believe you have gone through so much keep going theirs alway an end to the tunnel and keep your faith. I don’t practice any set religion but I do believe in god. I don’t pray all the time but I do whenever I need real help and he always answers. I must say I thought you were very beautiful very together and very happy when I worked with you and have always drank hot water with lemon in it since you told me it helps with my migraines and it has other health benefits as well. I am so sorry that all these things have happened to you but I know you will come out of the other side a happier person keep going and doing a bit of what you like love Lee xx