|Artwork by Gillian Chapman|
I'm also sad that Tom Petty died, which seems kind of silly and small in the scope of yesterday's tragedy. Still, Tom Petty has always been one of my go-to favorite music artists. I logged countless hours of running with his music as my only companion. After my sister died I kept the CD's of playlists that she'd created of her favorite music. When I'm especially missing her I listen to them. One in particular has several Tom Petty songs on it. I often fast forward to his songs. There's something about singing along to his music and remembering our shared love for many of his songs that makes me feel connected to her. Julie's gone, and now he's gone, and that's just incredibly sad to me. I'm also sad that I didn't throw caution to the wind this past May and pay the exorbitant ticket price to see him in concert at Red Rocks with my sister Amy.
I've cried several times over the last 24 hours. This afternoon I cried again while listening to an old interview with Tom Petty when the interviewer played the song "Sea of Heartbreak" by Johnny Cash with lyrics by Tom Petty and his band The Heartbreakers playing backup. Everything felt like too much in that moment - the song, my sadness, my memories, my 7-year old grief that was suddenly right back on the surface of my emotions - the call I took today at work to advise a father on where to take his suicidal 14-year old daughter. It all came coalescing together right then in a giant wave of sadness.
The American Psychological Association has this list of simple things we can all do after traumatic events to take care of our selves: Self-care tips. Over the years I've found several of them very useful. Here are some of my favorites.
- Strive for balance: I remind myself of things that I'm grateful for and that make me happy. This Friday is my daughter's 19th birthday. That alone is a huge bright spot for me to focus on. I also am making sure to look around outside and enjoy the golden light that I love this time of year along with the gorgeous fall leaves.
- Turn it off and take a break: I'm very intentionally limiting my news intake this week.
- Honor my feelings: I'm letting myself feel sad, recognizing and sitting with my sadness and examining the reasons behind it. The simple of act of acknowledging why I'm sad and allowing myself "all the feels" makes it easier for me to move beyond my sadness.
- Take care of myself: I'm taking time for me. I know that nesting at home, reading, taking hot baths, and writing make me feel better. I'm also focusing on making sure I eat well and get some exercise in this week.
Today on the radio a woman was talking about taking the time to look at photos and learn a little about the people killed in the shooting. Yes, it's painful and sad. Yet, the sadness is a good reminder that we're alive, and able to feel the entire spectrum of human emotions. It reminded me of a favorite quote.
"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."
~ Kahil Gibran