August 31, 2004 3:00 PM

// October 15th, 2010 // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

I thought I was going in for a nice relaxing massage today as I redeemed the gift certificate I received for my birthday. Instead it turned out to be a therapeutic massage addressing my grief.
When I was all settled onto the table the therapist asked if there was anything she should be aware of. I know she meant things like aches and pains, but I told her “I’m still struggling with unresolved grief since the death of my son more than a year ago.”
She pulled a stool to the head of the table and sat down. “We can work on this if you’re ready.”
“Of course I’m ready. I’m so tired of constantly feeling like I’m drowning.”
How can I not be ready to get through this?

As she found the most painful areas on my back with her strong hands the therapist gave me a phrase to repeat. She asked me to say it aloud a few times before I started repeating it silently in my mind.
“With confidence and grace I step boldly into my future for I am a woman of strength. I release the need to hold on to pain and grief for I trust God’s universal perfection. All is well in my world.”
The first few times, the words felt hollow as they fell from my lips. Tears began to seep from my closed eyes as I forced myself to repeat the phrase because I do not feel confident and I do not feel strong.
After three repetitions I took a deep breath and said it like I meant it, bringing a moment of clarity that took my breath away.
I have not yet stepped into my future. I have simply allowed the tide of time to carry me along as I cling to the past. I have been half-heartedly trying to move forward without actually taking that step into my future.
I don’t think I can take that step until I integrate my two selves, the grieving me and the work-a-day me. I have believed that we could live side by side but now I know that only one of us can step into MY future. In order to make that step we need to become one.
Only as one, complete person can I take that bold step into my future.

I came home feeling battered and drained but with a slightly altered view of my future…..

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