I spent a lot of time alone this summer. I came to terms with the fact that it was time to give up on those who had given up on me; those who feel they know more about me and my healing process than I do. In early June, I was suddenly and without warning fired from my job as a bridal consultant. The reasoning for my termination was extremely vague and leading up to that point I had never been given any warnings or citations. I asked for an explanation and could not be given one. I want to share the words my former employer left me with the day she fired me. As she quickly gathered herself to leave me sitting alone in a coffee shop, she said,
“I think it’s best that you take this time and begin to heal.”
It has been a year and a half since the sudden death of my boyfriend and I’ll admit that coming back to the bridal world was not easy at first but I quickly realized that being surrounded by the energy of happy brides and their families who knew nothing about me and my circumstances was freeing. I was really good at my job as a bridal consultant, I sold a lot of dresses — but it was always more than selling dresses for me. It was about having the passion and patience for creating a human connection with someone new. Meeting a bride, learning her story, meeting her bridesmaids and helping her create the vision she had for her wedding day attire became a healthy escape for me. Any bride I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with will tell you our appointments were meaningful and that my enthusiasm for their happiness was genuine. I became friends with so many beautiful, empowered, smart women who unknowingly gave me hope for the future, that one day, maybe I would be given another chance at happiness and love would find me again.
Grief has no deadline and at the end of the day we are all grieving the loss of something or someone, whether it be a lover, a job, a sibling, a friendship, etc. I will spend the rest of my life attempting to sit with the weight of this loss. Between losing my boyfriend and losing my job this has been the hardest year of my life. I consider myself lucky to have been able to work through what I have without seeking support in the traditional sense; there has been no life coach sessions or therapy appointments because I don’t feel it’s what would serve me best at this time. I completed a yoga teacher training program, constantly meditated, trained for a few races, spent time in nature, and wrote a lot — this is what I choose to help me cope. I am so thankful I’ve been capable of embracing myself and who I’ve become without having my boyfriend by my side. I’ve been an active and engaged witness as my feelings has shifted and changed as my life unfolded in ways I never thought it would. It hasn’t been easy but I’m still here, trying to make him proud. That’s all I want to do, I just want to make him proud. The grief I’ve experienced everyday since he left me has been in praise of his life and the love we found in each other. Even though he’s gone, the love we shared still finds ways to nourish me; especially when I’m in pain.
I had never been fired from a job before and the amount of sadness, anger and confusion I was hit with was overwhelming. At first, I let losing my job define me; I was devastated, embarrassed and viewed it as a personal setback. I started to second guess myself and my healing process — what had I been doing these past eighteen months if not “healing”. I was so hurt by the way my former employer went about firing me — asking me to meet her in a public space where strangers who were sitting close by, overheard and witnessed my dismissal. Her not being able to tell me why I was being fired followed by her handing me a business card for a life coach that she was personally seeing at the time, and declaring that *now* it was time to “heal” just made it all seem like some kind of cliche joke. If anything, *now* was the time to update my resume and references to find a new job. I had given her place of business years of hard work and dedication and yet I was wiped out with little to no explanation in under ten minutes. Although it was really hard for me to see the situation for what it truly was in the moment, I’ve come to a point of clarity and acceptance after some thought.
Recognize that not everyone is capable of comprehending loss – yours or their own. They may be fearful of being near raw emotion and they’re instinct is to push you away. Let them. Move on with grace.
If there are people in your life making assumptions in reference to how you should be grieving, what you should be feeling and what you should and shouldn’t be doing in order to “heal”, it’s time to move on with grace.
If there are people in your life who decide to view your grief as a weakness, know that it’s impossible to convince them otherwise. Move on with grace.
There’s never a time to “heal” for we are always in a state of perpetual healing.
I’ll never stop grieving his loss, I’ll never stop praising his life.
I will keep my head up and my heart open.
I’ll continue to move on with grace.
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out The Day I Realized Entrepreneurship Was For Me