Thursday, January 23, 2014

#Un-Word 2014

Someday there will be a link-up where I am not the last person to add my submission. 

But not today. 

Fieldstone Hill Design / Nesting Place / Life in Grace / The Painted House

See, because it is actually Thursday and the link-up began on Tuesday? I knew that was when it would start. I even knew my un-word. Since it has nothing to do with procrastination, though, I will leave off on this tangent. Maybe "waiting until the absolute last minute, or beyond..." will be a goal for another year?

I knew that I wanted to write about my un-word as soon as I read about the concept. Because this year I have resolved to Let It Go. But also, to Do Hard Things and to Remember Who I Am. Very much my own Happiness Project, which is to be expected because I am literally a super-fan of Gretchen Rubin's. This blog even evolved from the idea that novelty and challenge bring happiness. But what am I "letting go?" What "hard things" can I do? And WHO am I?

Before I begin--and this is important! VERY important!!--if you need me to represent a certain ideal, stop reading here. If you will see me outside school or elsewhere in the world, and knowing this part of my heart will make it hard for you to look me in the eye, stop reading now. If you think you might read about someone else's deepest pain (mine) and be so uncomfortable that you say or think hateful, hurtful things, go away. For real. Just close your browser and move on.

But, if you think there might be something in my story that will inspire you, please continue on to the end.

It's hard to write this. Hard to acknowledge it to myself. Hard to put it out there. Hard to know how it will affect others.  

My un-word is grief.

I grieve that my children are not with me everyday. I grieve that I tried and tried (and tried), but still failed. I grieve knowing that I don't know what my kids had for dinner last night. I grieve because another woman claims them as her own. I grieve because I want to pick them up from school every day and tuck them in every night, but I can't. I grieve that I have lost a family. I grieve that this might be my only experience of motherhood. I grieve the time I have lost. 

And then I feel shame for even feeling grief. After all, there are parents whose children are never coming back. Lots of people get divorced. Why should this be so hard for me? Don't I deserve what I get?

The signs that I need to let go of my grief have been everywhere. The first episode of Downton Abbey, the magazine we get from our church with the headline "My Deepest Grief," and a little voice that I've come to know is God's that said I need to stop being such a mope. 

Because when the kids are gone (which is nearly half the time: every Wednesday and Thursday night and every other Friday and Saturday night during the school year; every other week during the summer), it is very very hard for me to do anything. It takes a supreme amount of effort to get up, to get moving, to feel joy. Some friends have suggested that it might be depression. But I don't think that's quite it. I think it's grief. It comes and goes, just as they do. 

When you can't change your situation, the only thing left to change is your perspective. 

And that's what I am trying to do. Routine helps a lot. Doing the same thing everyday, regardless of who is there. Building my support system. Not just to increase the number of people who love me, but to be able to give something of myself to others. Speaking my truth, even if it feels like I'm standing naked on a stage. Because shame only exists in the dark.

Besides what I have resolved, I have 15 actionable items. These are little reminders that work like mini-goals to keep me on track. Smile, connect, read, do projects. That sort of thing.

By working through the process of letting go of my grief, I hope to be more myself this year. Novelty and challenge still create happiness so I'll likely continue to share my story here. To live with beauty is uplifting, and I'll continue to post about how I interpret it for our home.

Do you have an un-word for this year? Please leave a link if you are part of this link-up so I can be sure to visit your blog. I haven't read any yet so as not to get scared off about hitting the publish button. This is Doing Hard Things.

I honor the light within all of you.


  1. Carrie, Thank you for sharing your personal story of grief. I can relate, having lost in a bitter custody battle after 7 years having sole custody. You and I are much the same in that we truly love family, our children and our ideas of what a family meant. Then, all of that is gone and our worlds were shaken up; and in my case, it was so ruthlessly done. Grieving, as you know, takes lots of time and is different for each person. My heart aches, literally for the same reasons you mention above. By sharing you have helped me and I am sure many other women who've also experienced this shattering of a family dream. Hugs, Dana

    1. Hugs to you, Dana! Thank you for your kind words and good luck with your healing. It means a lot to me that you commented.

  2. Bless you, Carrie. I'll be praying for you. Thank you for sharing.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love to read what you have to say. ~Carrie


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