Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Feeling Pain to Heal the Pain; Living For My Sister

Today I welcome the down to earth, gorgeous, inspirational Brooke to my blog. A friend of mine recommended liking Brookes Facebook page when I was complaining about needing a kick up the bum to motivate me to exercise. She said Brooke was just the woman to give me that extra boost that I needed. So while I padded by bum, I went on to like her page and was blown away by her story and reasons for turning her life around and focusing her energy on exercise to help heal the pain of a big event in her life.
Thanks Brooke for aspiring to inspire!

I was asked about a month ago to be a guest blogger for Kirsty's wonderful site after she had seen a video clip that I had made for a Women's Wellness night in Port Lincoln during Mental Health Week.

I was completely honoured and couldn't wait to sit down and start writing.

Turns out I can't write; I was never good at anything really in school. I was terrible at English, I hated reading, and I couldn't write a poem to save myself. I started writing this blog  about 5 different times. I would write a full page, and then the next day I would find myself deleting it. I remember one night I woke up about midnight with a lead and started typing it up on my Iphone. I was so excited about being on a roll. Once again, I woke in the morning and scraped the lot. It seemed I had nothing to write about; I was blank.

Turns out, I need to feel damaged, hurt, or heartbroken to be able to put pen to paper. When my heart is cut, raw and open, I am surprisingly slightly gifted; I am capable of anything.

The funny thing about this crazy world is that when you are put into a difficult situation that destroys who you are, where you have come from, and your future is left in the unknown, you act in a way that you never expected you would.

Do you sometimes find yourself sitting back being judgmental towards others with how they are dealing with a situation? A marriage breakdown, parenting skills, losing loved ones?

I know I have.

I have sat there and said to myself “if that was me I would have done this” or things like “I can't believe how strong they are, if that was me I would be like..."

One of the easiest things us humans seem to do, is put ourselves so easily into other peoples shoes and believe we would do things better off, differently, completely opposite.

One thing I had to learn, was when I was put into a life changing situation, no amount of planning, or figuring out “if that was me” beforehand, was to ever prepare me for what was to happen. I would say, that in times of devastation, everyone deals with it differently to what they ever thought they would.

On the 5th of August 2013, was that moment for me; the moment my little sister left this world to fly high in the sky, after 26 wonderful years on this harsh planet called Earth.

It's something no one can explain, the way one feels when they lose someone so close to them. Even other people who have lost sisters would feel differently to me, as we are all different, we all feel and hurt differently, we deal with things and cope differently. 

I did used to pray to god (I don't even know if I believe in god) that someone could feel my pain, so they could understand.

My dear husband lost his brother a few years earlier and not even he could feel my pain.

Nothing anyone did, or said made the pain go away. In this moment, I found myself surrounded by so many friends and family, yet I had never felt so alone in my life.

It didn't take long before my body went into shock and I found myself in (what I realise now) ‘Fight or Flight’ mode. The term ‘fight or flight’ describes a mechanism in the body that enables humans and animals to mobilize a lot of energy rapidly in order to cope with threats to survival.

I was staying here to fight! 

I kept thinking of everything my sister would be telling me. I started doing all the things she would want to do if she was here, and I started doing it for her; I started fighting for my happiness.

I loved exercising, and I was very much into it before she left but it was at this point that I started to become addicted.

“We all get addicted to something that takes away the pain.”

I would go off on my run. The first few minutes were not that hard, but once I was away from the world, having 3 children constantly in my presence, was when I felt free. While at home I was holding a brave face, waking up living life as if everything was fine, washing, cleaning, cooking, and entertaining the kids, I didn't get time to myself.

Running was my escape; I felt the closest to my sister. It was a time I could put all my time and energy into thinking about her, which would turn into crying for her, screaming to the world but no one could hear.

My runs would turn into a walk, then a shuffle, fighting to breathe as the pain would pour out of my body and soul; the tears that I had held in to hide from the children. With my shuffling feet I would find a way to a rock or beach or patch of dirt to sit on, and then when the tears were all gone, my thoughts were empty and I had finally reached the point of being an empty soul staring into space, numb, and lifeless with nothing left to give, I knew it was time to go home and face the world again.

I would eventually regain my life, my thoughts, and legs, and I would run all the way home. This was my routine for awhile. But over time, what I was discovering is that my running was taking away my pain.

I would come home after the most exhausting run, mentally and emotionally, but I was happy, I looked forward to seeing my kids, I could smile for them, I felt so alive, and energized. Releasing everything I had held in to a point of having nothing left, was setting me free.

Over time I found these runs slowly getting less and less painful.

I am a true believer that emotions should not be held in; they should be let out, set yourself free, talk to someone. When people struggle with terrible, hard or difficult times, they seem to be embarrassed by it; ashamed that people will think they aren't strong enough.

One thing I never did was hide my emotions because why should I be ashamed that I cry for my sister? She's my sister, who I love and miss, and there is no shame in sharing the love and pain you feel for missing someone.

One thing I did notice, was a lot of people don't know how to deal with someone who is struggling. I would say it's better to be there for them, then to run and hide; someone else's tears on your shoulder never hurt anyone, but it can heal many lonely souls.

I found that in my most rawest moments, I could discover talents that I never knew that I had.  I remember once drawing a picture of my sister. I had this thought in the middle of the night, I got up, and straight away did the drawing in a few hours. I have not been able to get back into that head space of focusing to do another one since. 

 I wrote so many poems when I was at my worst, so many I can't count. They just came to me when I wasn't even thinking of writing a poem. My mind was ticking 100 miles an hour for months non stop.

At this very moment, 15 months after she left, I can't think of one single poem to write.
And even know I'm struggling with knowing what to write. I have tried so hard to come up with something. I have listened to all my sisters songs, I watched all her videos, trying to get myself focused, to feel the raw pain in my heart, but I couldn't get there.

This leads me to safely believe I have finally come out of the “fight” mode; I am slowly recovering from the rawness I found myself in.

My life changed forever the day she left.

I can never go back to the old me. How could I? The old me had never experienced such heartbreak, devastation, and I had never lived without my sister.

The pain is forever there in my soul, but as time goes by, I am learning to deal with it. I have become an amazingly strong and powerful women. The things that used to bother me, no longer do. I have learnt that life is too short to waste doing things you don't enjoy or spending time with people who bring you down.

Life is a special gift, taken away from us without warning for some, no time to think, to do the things you wished you had done, it can just disappear.

 Every day that I wake up I am truly thankful to be given another day, another chance to do what I love to do, to change what I don't like, and to become the best person I can possibly be. For we all have the chance to be amazing.

There will always be hard times, you will get knocked down but know that you always have the choice to stand back up and fight again.

My fight in life now is for true happiness; to make myself proud, to love who I am, and to reach for my full potential.

When we focus on our own true happiness, everything and everyone around us falls into place. So always remember to take care of yourself, and never give up the fight for true happiness.

I find happiness is in the little things, when you least expect them.

Tonight when I sat down on the couch, I was on Facebook and came across Angus and Julia Stone's page. On the blog it has Julia's favourite songs. As I was listening to a few of them, it was this simple song by Agnes Obel called Falling, Catching that hit home.

It was just the piano playing, and it took my breathe away. I had a flash back of my childhood, living on Eltham Ave in Port Lincoln, with my older sister playing the Piano. She was amazing. And all I could see was my little sister at a very young age. This was the moment that hit me, opened my heart, and the tears flowed. And I put the song on repeat, and now I have just finished my piece; turns out I can write, once again, at my rawest moment.

Never be scared to feel the pain; I haven't cried for my sister in a long time -it is nice to let go, and be with her.

As I say to my Stay Fitness & Wellbeing team.... If you are reading this, that means you are alive, and what a special gift that is.

Love Brooke x

Ps Brooke I think you're a pretty amazing writer! 

Pss do you get the feeling Brooke's sister is the one kicking her but now? Haha

The amazing picture that Brooke draw of her sister; Simone! Isn't amazing what one can achieve when they are grieving?

If you are looking for someone to kick your butt into gear with super helpful, practical and easy peasy exercises and recipes then I highly recommend liking Brooke's facebook page; 

STAY Fitness and Wellbeing

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