Discussion: “The Day My Heart Stopped Beating!”
Jacqueline B. Miller “Lady J “
December 16, 2022
“We were created to love!” Those words will ring in my head until the day I die. My mother would drill that into us throughout our lives. Whether it’s our biological families, friends we grow up with or meet along our journey called life, or even the fur-babies, our pets. When we love, we love with our whole hearts and when life happens; unforeseen circumstances like accidents, sicknesses such as heart failure or cancer, and even suicide claim a soul, while those of us left behind feel the devastation that is unexplainable.
It’s Christmas, and every year this time, my heart stops beating and I forget to breathe. My mind plays tricks on me because I began to see them. Not like Scrooge saw the three ghosts of Christmas, past, present, and future. But those moments, when you lost someone close to you, and you began seeing signs. Quick glances in the grocery store, are where I see my mother the most because we used to shop together a lot. There are others I see also in my dreams. While driving.or one day while in the post office, I could have sworn I was looking at a church member whom I knew had passed.
Events and activities bring about encounters as well. When someone has taken me to a place is my feelings, that I feel like I want to lay down my religion and lay hands instead of praying; I can hear my Sister, Mentor, and forever First lady telling me to “Smile and Heap Hot coals of their heads” (read Romans 12:17-21). Or every time I see someone in need, I can’t help but think of the most giving person I’ve ever known.
I’m happy to say I have had lots of experiences with this kind of thing. We have lost quite a few people in our family, but I am constantly reminded of them by little things that seem to happen in life at strange times.
If you have ever experienced loss, I’m sure you know the feeling I am talking about.
Losing someone you love is the hardest thing in the world to deal with. It's a kind of pain that you physically feel all over your body. You feel numb, and like the title, your heart stops beating. I’ll never forget the crippling pain that filled my chest while tears overflowing from my eyes turned to black pools on my pillow. Those stains are still there; FYI- mascara doesn’t wash out well.
At that moment, all I wanted to do was lay there and feel like death, feel like I was dying. Because for a moment, I think I did. That was the day I felt my heart stop beating. It was a moment so dull, completely lifeless, worthless, gone.
It is suffering of the worst kind. To make things even worse, it seems like no one else understands how you’re feeling. In the first few weeks and months, people gather around, cry with you, listen to your stories. Bring over food, check in on you often and help with all those little things you can’t bring yourself to do or think about. But after about 3 months, the crowd thins out. People seem to go back to their normal lives and expect that you’ll do the same.
You get your first real taste of the void in your life. Over the first year, you gear yourself up and survive the first birthday, anniversary, vacation, and holidays since your loved one died. Then the real suffering begins. You realize that you have to keep doing it. Surviving the first anniversary of all those events was only the beginning and you somehow have to keep going.
That’s why NO ONE can tell you how to deal with your grief. Don’t let anyone tell you when it's time to get rid of your loved one’s things, or when it’s time to stop crying or visiting the cemetery. Figure it out for yourself when you’re ready to make changes. Your grief belongs to you. Every time you cry for your loved one, it's a way of honoring who they are in your life and what you have lost. It lets the world know someone really precious has left us and that they still matter.
It’s been nearly 19 years since my parents died, so I think I can safely say I’ve been through it all; the shock, the sadness, the anger, the guilt, and, eventually, the acceptance. There’s no universal manual to help you deal with the loss of a parent or anyone for that matter. So when it happens, a lot of feelings, occurrences, and interactions with other people can take you by surprise.
Keeping Your Heart Beating
Find people to talk to that don’t tell you how to feel. People that will let you feel sad, tell your stories, or just sit quietly if that’s what you need. If you get scared or really have difficulty making it through the day, reach out to a counselor at a help center and get some extra support. They can’t make the grief go away, but they can support you while you learn to walk through it.
Over the years I have learned, you grieve your past, present, and future with that person or pet you lost. Don’t feel weird about celebrating them. Birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, etc. Do it, enjoy it! Your healing journey will look different from someone else, so don’t feel you have to follow someone else’s path. Do what feels right for you as long as you’re not inflicting harm on yourself or others. As I said, I’m almost 19 years living through the biggest loss in my life, and my siblings and I still celebrate our mother. It helps!
Some More Tips for Coping with Grief at the Holidays
Set realistic expectations for yourself.
Set realistic expectations for yourself.
Surround yourself with people who love and support you.
Despite the temptation, try to avoid “canceling” the holiday.
Allow yourself to feel joy, sadness, anger–allow yourself to grieve.
Draw comfort from doing for others.
Take care of yourself.
Create a new tradition or ritual that accommodates your current situation.
Announce beforehand that someone different will carve the turkey.
“Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?” ~ Terry Pratchett
Thank you for joining me for Friday at Sundown. Remember… Just Breathe!
“ Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On”– YouTube
(Disclaimer: We do not own the rights to the music in this video)
About the Writer:
Jacqueline B. Miller “Lady J“ is a creative; energetic multi-facet Woman of God. As an ordained Minister of the Gospel, a Marriage Coach, Life Coach, Writer, Published Author and Virtual talk show host and personality you will find that she has a servant’s heart. Her life’s loves are found within her being a wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Though life has been traumatic at times she has endured and has learned to “Wait” on the Lord, who is her strength and to praise God in the midst of the storms.
CONTACT: Jacqueline B. ~Jackie “Lady J” Miller
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