Happy New Year! A Mind-FULL Promise and Hope for ALL

 

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Eve was much harder than I had anticipated.

2017 was not a good year here at our house. I felt like I was leaving behind someone I did not want to leave behind, and by moving onto 2018, I felt I was doing just that. I left our friend’s house at 11:50 New Year’s Eve leaving my family and the ones that care for me most to celebrate without me. I just couldn’t bring in the New Year with Joy. It escaped me in those moments… for a few short minutes I forgot the plan of HOPE,  the year of heartache caught up with me in those last few minutes of 2017. I had a good old-fashioned grief cry in my driveway as the clock struck 12 and then went inside falling asleep with Ethan’s teddy bear in my arms. It was the absolution I needed to say farewell to the old year.

God is impressive on this journey and woke me up on day one of 2018 with a reminder of all there is.

A calendar reminder chimed and flashed on my phone next to my bed  “Have Courage & Forgive.” I had added that to my calendar weeks ago. It is set as a reminder every day for me.

I need the courage to move forward with the Hope of tomorrow. I need to forgive myself for my regrets and mistakes of my past. Sometimes, I still need a reminder of the goal I am working on. I need this to be a good mama, wife, a servant of Christ and human others want to know.

After Ethan died, I was lost….Everyone was reaching out asking WHY and WHAT can we do. At that time I was aware enough in my grief to know I wanted to do something but unsure of how God would move me forward.

Many of you know that writing was very healing to me…so was sharing. I felt the strongest pull to be open and transparent with our situation to help others out there who may be struggling with the very same issues our family was.

Raising kids, parenting without all of the answers, depression, anxiety, and self-medicating. 

I began to write Ethan’s story. I started by going back to my old journals and re-reading. Oh so painful and bittersweet. Some days I cannot read them, some days I cannot write as the emotions of heartache and sweet memories fading gush over into my day. I remembered the early years when he was a baby and so very healthy and growing just right. I remembered the days when he was 18 months and started to fall apart.

I remembered the way we fixed him up just right.

In the early months after Ethan’s death, my sister Wendy and I began to research depression and anxiety. Our family contains some genetic imperfections. Depression, cancer, thyroid disease, heart disease, brain tumors, dementia, ADHD and so the list goes on. Both Wendy and I became increasingly interested in prevention.

We asked ourselves what we could do to protect and provide our living children, husbands and our own bodies to live the most optimal life of wellness that we could.

We yearned to be free of the diseases holding our hearts hostage as we processed how unhealthy our family background was. Hours and hours of studying doctors seminars, videos and reading every book we could get our hands on filled our spring, summer, and fall.

What we discovered broke my heart further. Guilt lay on me like never before.

 

A change had to happen after we uncovered the devastating truth about the choices we were making in our own lives and families. So we did, we changed. It was hard….it was frustrating, and it is still a work in progress.

We are healing our mind, body and spirit and that of our children and husband one day at a time.

As I uncovered these truths for our family, I once again was driven to share what we had learned. I felt like screaming from the top of my lungs “Don’t do what I did! There is another way!!” The truth is I am introverted, so yelling was not going to work for me.

I needed a small group platform to share our story and provide an opportunity for immediate change that could begin instantly. That is something else I discovered when Ethan died. Everyone wanted to fix the issue immediately because let’s be real, that is the way the world rolls these days. Unfortunately, the lessons I learned will not change depression and anxiety overnight, they will not make perfect teenagers, and I still don’t have the answer to every parenting situation that comes up.

There was one thing that DID give me instant mind and body support, and that was my essential oils.

I had been using essential oils for years without recognizing the true power of them.  When Ethan died, my friend, Angie brought over a few oils I did not have and a diffuser necklace. Once I began wearing the necklace and the oils on me every day and night, I began to relax; my mind opened up to HOPE. I saw more than death; I saw life after death. For Ethan in heaven eternally and earthly life here for us. I can only say that those oils supported my emotional wellbeing so much that I am tearful with gratitude as I write this. That is how important they became in our healing journey. Mind, Body, and Spirit. Those oils eased me out of bed on the worst days, lifted my spirits when memories would flash in my head. Paralyzed by grief before, I was now able to smile back, and the hurt no longer brought me to my knees. The pain of losing a child does not leave.  I promise you that, however, it no longer paralyzed my heart and thoughts.

 

As I searched for a way to share our story and offer up what I learned, I realized after much prayer that I could host Wellness Classes through Young Living.

I do not know why I never thought of this option before. They go hand in hand. My love for the healing oils and my deepest desire to share what I have gleaned these past eight months after Ethan’s death about mental, physical and spiritual  Wellness or……the lack of.

I also took my writing and turned it in the direction of sharing the same lessons of HOPE. I have created a WELLNESS blog A MIND-FULL PROMISE that will launch in the coming weeks. You can click here to get to the new blog. This blog Stepfamily Blended will remain, but my focus will be on moving forward away from the grief of our story.

2018 does not seem so bleak without our boy when we can put our focus into HOPE, and a well-lived LIFE for ALL.

 

After Ethan died, hundreds of people reached out to us. We are filled with gratitude at the LOVE and SUPPORT we received. Humbled truly by the school system, community, friends and our family as well as the many strangers that reached out. So many told us they were in similar situations or knew of ones that were.

So many of you even asked, “what can we do?”

 You can fill my calendar with the opportunity to share our story and educate you on our story of mind, body and spirit  WELLNESS. It can be over coffee at a local spot, in your living room with a group of friends, or with a small group at the winery in town. Whatever feels comfortable to you.

 

This Wellness class includes:

The Art of Mindfulness, Using Essential Oils to banish A Toxic Lifestyle and Why SAD needs to go away.

I am happy to create a FB event, print out invites or help create an invite script to share with family and friends by text or messenger. I am willing to travel on the weekends to share our story of HOPE.

In addition please be on the lookout for our Blog,  A MIND-FULL PROMISE launching soon.

Full Disclosure –  both the class, through selling oils for wellness and advertising on my blog are income producing venues. As much as I would love for our story to be a mission I am still responsible for providing for my family. My goal is to work from home, spending my time completing Ethan’s story A S.A.D and Toxic Way to Die in writing to share with the world. I believe his story is truly one that MUST be told so those living can truly live a life well lived. By creating an income and sharing, I am fulfilling my responsibility to my family and to all who do not understand the importance of what Wendy and I have uncovered after months of researching the likely cause of my beautiful boy’s death. I share only what I truly believe will benefit all.  This class is not just for those who cross the destruction of depression and anxiety but those who find conflict passing through life.

 

It has not been easy, not even close to easy to forgive myself. That has come through much prayer and self-discovery. Some will say what do you have to forgive but when your child dies by suicide that is a natural feeling. I sometimes still need that calendar reminder to put me back into place.

Mindfulness has taught me to focus on now. The moment we are in. To be present, aware and filled with gratitude for the very place in life we are living.

Today, Looks bright with a year ahead to make a difference. A year to talk, share the tools we have learned and create relationships.

A year FULL OF a MIND-FULL PROMISE I have made to my son and ALL who struggle with what we have.

So if you are still on board with that long ago offer of “What can we do?” Invite me over with a few of your friends and let me open up your hearts and minds to a year of change.

Happy New Year Friends – Cheers to a New Year with every Possibility of a Life WELL lived and the Hope of Change one Body at a time. 

 

With Love and Hope,

Stephanie