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Rediscovering Your Happy Place


When my daughter went into isolation and began hardcore treatment for Very High Risk Acute B-cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia, I remember thinking...I can't do this. I need to be outside. I need to be in nature. I am not built for hospital life and my heart was not prepared to be surrounded by dying children. All I wanted to do was unplug my daughter and take her home. That was not an option. We were in crisis mode and I was her full time caregiver and advocate while she fought for her life. #childhoodleukemia


Everyone kept telling me I needed to take at least one hour a day to myself where I did not have to speak, answer questions, absorb extensive medical terminology, or make major medical decisions. They kept saying I needed take care of myself. Yet, overnight I had become a new cancer mom and a first responder.


In the beginning, it was hard granting myself permission to practice self care in the midst of our medical crisis, panic, and grief. It did not happen easily. I felt guilty leaving my daughter in that hospital bed, however, I needed to clear my head of the constant beeping sounds that were now torturing me all day, all night, every night. Despite needing to go, I stayed by her side and did not leave that hospital room for the first 30 days. I was paralyzed by grief and exhaustion. #grief #selfcare


My friends mobilized! They brought breakfast tacos and coffee, they organized meals, and brought supplies. They coordinated my communications to the outside world. They did our laundry, ran errands for me, they fostered my pets, they watered my plants, they personally donated and organized fundraisers, total strangers started to show support, my friend set up a website for my daughter, t-shirts were designed and printed, they donated blood, platelets, and even donated their bone marrow, they called and texted me everyday, people came together from all my social circles and they became friends with each other. They united on my behalf. Someone came by the hospital everyday and sat with me, sometimes we talked, sometimes we sat in silence, sometimes they held me while I cried, they started doing hospital happy hours for me, they blew up my Facebook page with love, prayers, and positive vibes. I have never felt so loved and supported in my entire life. As my daughter lie there dying, I was comforted in knowing so many people loved me. #supportivefriends #donateblood #bonemarrowdonors #gratitude


By our second lengthy hospital admission, I knew I had to carve out an hour a day to myself where I actually left the room. I started to embrace the concept of what I call "ride the self care train" everyday. It does not matter where you go. Just get on that train and ride. #ridetheselfcaretrain


That hour I allowed myself everyday ranged from putting on my running shoes and hitting the closest trail, to sitting alone in the healing garden, jetting across the street for a pedicure, trying to read for pleasure, meeting my incredibly supportive friends at the Irish Pub across the street from the hospital, and somedays it was touching up my roots in my daughter's hospital bathroom at 2:00 am, and sobbing while my rapidly increasing gray hair processed. #hospitalhappyhour #agingatwarpspeed


As the years have progressed, I have deepened my ability to meditate, center my emotions, and manage my anxiety around anticipatory grief. I have learned to rediscover my happy place by accepting that I cannot always be out in nature. However, I now know that I can still ride the self care train, and be in my happy place, no matter where I am....because happiness is my choice. #anticipatorygrief #inmyhappyplace #griefrecoverytexas


- Brenna Robinson


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