Who Am I Now?

Max's death was a year and a half ago.  I "found" FMO two weeks ago and the "community" here is unbelievable.  I realize that I will never be the same as I was before Max's death.  My question is "How do I find out who I am now?"  After 35 years of full time work, I've just retired and now have the time for this exploration.  I just have no idea of where to begin.  I know who I no longer am.  How can I find out who I am?  And what my purpose is now? 

Replies

Livingjuicy
Livingjuicy

I don\'t know who I am either? I believe with the support that is here, community and faith in something greater than ourselves that in time we will slowly discover who that woman is looking back at us in mirror. Your vulnerability and willingness to ask the questions is courageous. Just know that I\'m with you and on this journey as are all these other precious women on FMO. Prayers for light on our paths. Your friend, Joanie
biowoman
biowoman

That is part of the journey...figuring out who we are...it has been 2 1/2 years and I am closer to figuring out who I am again...but who knows. I think that you are so wise to look for a purpose. I wrote a journal about purpose (the one before my last one)...maybe you should read it...love to you...Karen
deleted_user
deleted_user

We, as mothers, have spent our maternal years nurturing and loving our children ...it defines us still. I believe we have lost ourselves in this plight of love and loss. I do believe the Lord gently guides us to a newer self. I hardly know what that is except that I will always say I am a wife and mother always. I truly believe that is my purpose and my job is not over yet....I don\'t think we ever really retire from motherhood..it is part of our make-up. When that part is seemingly over then we have to live each day as it comes...and who knows what tomorrow holds? I wish I knew the answers but I am still figuring out this part of a life I never knew would ever happen to me..God be with you as you find out what each day holds for you ...Love, Dale..Brandon\'s Mom
rcoco
rcoco

I wish I could help you answer that question, this loss, this tragedy, it spirals us into a very confusing and lonely place. I suppose I could write a book, but so much of my enthusiasm for life is on hold right now.
It truly is one day at a time, and every step we take is for our highest good. You are truly at the crossroads of your life, I am so sorry you have to go forward without your beautiful son. I can relate to and, am living your words.
Of course we welcome you and your heart, and are deeply sorry that you had to join this forum.
Peace and love, Rebecca
KimRW
KimRW

That is a good question. I am trying to think of ways to make a difference...to pay it forward........I think this will be my new purpose in life. Trying to help others. It is hard to go on without my son and I feel that if I could help someone else in some way....then it will help me to go on. I have started to read \"The Purpose Driven Life\".....but not through it yet. Maybe that will help. Just remember to be gentle on yourself and take each day at a time. Hugs, Kim
deleted_user
deleted_user

I cared for my son who suffered with mental illness for 17 years and the last 3 he was an addict.. so when he died I was lost.. who was Joanne, what did I like.. I am 14 months into this journey and I am slowly finding out what I like and more importantly what I do not. I have found my voice and my strength.. it will happen my love just give it time love to you..
deleted_user
deleted_user

This part of feeling as though we have lost ourselves is so difficult. Like others have said, motherhood defines who we are, even if we have a job or career. Amidst that part of ourselves, our \"work/career\" selves are dominated by being a mother. I think that all mothers experience an \"empty nest\" syndrome when the kids leave home....no longer need us in the same way, etc. It\'s just that type of \"loss of identity\" as a mom can\'t even begin to compare to the loss of identity when a child dies. Even though I had another child to be \"mom\" to (she was 20 when her brother died) and I now have 3 grand daughters (who by the way have filled that emptiness in my heart), I still felt then - and even a bit now (14 years later) that sense of \"who am I\"? What purpose is there in my life. That was so-o-o-o hard when my son died, and then was compounded when my husband died 4 years later. Although I had a career, I was foremost a mom and a wife....and then I felt like I had lost \"who I was\". I managed to continue to work for 2 more years after my husband died, because I needed the $$$ and the health insurance coverage....but it was no longer my career (I was a school counselor). It became just a \"job\"....and I felt inadequate....and plagued by the fact that I really didn\'t have my heart in my job. I faced the struggle of job and life \"burn out\", but was afraid to stop working because I thought I would just wither away as a \"nobody\". I also had no interest in finding some other kind of job, even though I needed to earn $$$ to continue to live a financially comfortable and adequate lifestyle. I was 49 when my son died and 53 when my husband died - and not in a great age bracket to start looking for a different job or career. I had my husband\'s insurance $$$ and his investments, but I could not draw on the investments without paying a penalty for 7 more years. Ultimately, I took an early retirement at age 55, because I was having sheer panic attacks about going to work, but at the same time couldn\'t stand being home alone. And then things just sort of happened.....I believe it was in God\'s design for me. I had a background as a music teacher, as well as counseling in alcohol and substance abuse. One day, just a few weeks before I retired, I got a call from the Dean of a local community college asking me if I would be interested in teaching one of their courses - Alcohol/Substance use and Abuse. It was a popular health elective and a required course for criminal justice majors, nursing majors, and human services majors. The superintendent of the school from which I was retiring was on the Board of Directors of the college and had given the dean my name. My son was killed by a drunk driver - and at that point, I had no compassion for people who drank and used drugs (as the man responsible for Greg\'s death had a long history of abusing both alcohol and drugs). The college needed someone for the start of the semester, which was in 2 weeks, and it would be only one class for only one semester to fill in for the person who had been teaching who had to take a sudden medical leave. At first I was petrified to do this, but after giving it some thought, I decided to do it - mostly because it seemed to be a way I could honor my son - and maybe prevent some young college student from following the path the man who had killed my son had gone down. The class was only 2 days a week for 1 1/2 hours. Well, 8 years later, I am still teaching this class, and it was the best first step I took in regaining my \"identity\" About a month later, my minister called me (I had also quit going to church, because I was angry at God, and struggling with my own spiritual self that I once thought was strong - I now felt like God had also deserted me). The church organist was very sick and dying from ovarian cancer, and could no longer play. They needed someone to \"fill in\" until they could find another church organist. Although I had never played the organ, I was a piano player, and in my past career as a music teacher, I played the piano a lot. I really didn\'t want to take on that - and called everyone I could think of who might be able/willing to take on that need for the church. There was no one willing or able to do it - either they were already musically involved with their own church or did not have the desire to have to be that committed to playing for the church and choir every Sunday. However, they all encouraged me to do it - thinking it would be \"good for me\". It finally occurred to me, that after all the time of praying in my darkest moments for God to \"show me the way\" to get through this grief and sorrow (even though I felt like he had betrayed me), that maybe these to \"callings\" were God\'s way of showing me a way to move on with my life. And, almost comically, it occurred to me that if I didn\'t take on this need the church had, that God would really be angry with me, and I felt like I had already suffered enough from \"the wrath of God\". So I said yes - I\'d give it a try, but I had no intention of playing the organ, but would play the piano - JUST until they found someone else. They also offered a small stipend, and again, $$$$ was an issue in my life, now that I had made the decision to retire. Well, 8 years later, I am still playing for the church, and have even come to the point of playing the organ. Slowly, my spiritual faith has returned and grown stronger. Don\'t get me wrong, I still have doubts here and there, but I now have regular \"conversations\" with God and have learned to \"listen\" for his ways of guiding me.

My heart aches for you for what you are experiencing. I would be the last person to \"preach\" to a grieving person about having faith, reading the scriptures etc., etc., because people told me that too, and I tuned away from my faith and trust in God. However, I now know in matters of death and life, that is the one thing that can help you regain you \"identity \' - who you are - what is your purpose here on earth - and a renewed hope of being able to see your son again in the next life. I also continue to try to help other folks who are experiencing traumatic events in their lives, especially events like the loss of a child. I guess that is why I feel this sight is a place where I can help others who are going down that terrible road, as I have also been there. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and there is a new life to be had - although one that always bears the scars of the sorrow and what was.