Parenting as a team was easier. When one of the team was running low on energy then the other team member could take up the slack. This is how I believe Yolanda and I operated, we were a team focussing on the girls that we had brought into this world. We always said that it was our choice to bring them into the world and therefore we needed to give them every chance to succeed. We wanted for them, as I am sure any parent does, a better life than the one we had.
Now entering the third year without my team mate has led to me doing an enormous amount of reflection on the past two years. There are still large chunks that are a blur, I guess this is a consequence of having been in survival mode for a majority of the past two years. Parenting has been one area I have mulled over.
In one of my previous blogs I describe how my role as “Dad” has evolved into “Parent”, almost taking on a dual role but not quite. There have been a few full tank moments where the energy to tackle life’s challenges was more than enough. On the other hand there have been many more empty tank moments. This got me to thinking how did I get through these times. How is it possible that even though the tank was empty I never ended up stranded on the roadside of life.
The answer is rather simple, love, however the actions required to translate the emotion into tangible steps was somewhat harder. Love as a feeling is really easy, it is light and fluffy with unicorns jumping over rainbows. Love in action in no way reflects the emotion. It is a hard determined never giving up mindset.
So what action steps did I take? Firstly I realised early on that adopting a “cowboys don’t cry” attitude was a recipe for disaster. Not only is it disingenuous but it delays the healing process. I also loved my girls enough and knew that being honest with them would only deepen our relationship.
Secondly I acknowledged that I needed help, as a member of the male species this can so often be the biggest hurdle. Aren’t all males meant to be part of the Mr Fix It society, I will find a solution clan? So knowing that in order to help and guide my daughters along this journey the guide needed to be in the best possible position. I needed to take care of my mental wellness, I needed help in this regard. Initially I started to see a psychologist as I knew from previous experience with depression that this would be a good channel to pursue. For me personally it worked temporarily to get over the initial hurdles, it never felt like a long term solution.
This is where I found a Griefshare group. It just worked for me. I met other people who were experiencing a similar journey. Strangely enough I then felt that others were on this journey, I wasn’t alone. I felt inside that if they were able to walk this journey then so should I be able to. Through Griefshare I have met some wonderful people and more importantly people who understand.
Thirdly I needed to get back into an exercise routine. Now let me explain, exercise has always been a large part of my life. It is “me” time. It is the place where I can process the worlds problems and feel as if I have found solutions. For others it might be art, music, gardening etc etc. Also a part of needing this me time is that suddenly over a period of 12 months my weight had ballooned by an addition 15 kilograms. So far I have managed to arrest the weight gain but am still hoping through better nutrition to lose the added unwelcome kilograms.
Love is a powerful tool when put into action. In those moments when the tank is empty love steps in and rechargers the motor. I am grateful for having walked this journey and discovering the power of love.