Just a heads up, coaches are human and need help too! In the words of Mr. Shakespeare, “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?”
On Tuesday my eldest son and his girlfriend packed their lives into 2 rucksacks and boarded a plane to New Zealand. They will be gone for anything up to a year, which naturally I think is great. They are working their way around the country, but this will be our first Christmas apart, ever! The door to my heart is wide open and a cold wind has blown in. My face crumples and I can’t catch my breath, it feels like the air has been sucked out of my lungs.
In September my youngest son moved to another country to take up a teaching apprenticeship. The emotional undertow of pride and joy at his adventure was countered by loss and grief. I understand as a parent that I must let them fly the nest but no one told me how much it would hurt. The price you pay for loving someone can be so painful.
So the time has come to practice what I preach, use the tools I share with my clients, notice what is happening to me internally, pause, reset and respond. I am on it. Well nearly, I was hit by another wave of emotion, had another cry and cuddled the dog, much to her surprise!
Pausing made me aware of the ache in my heart, the sense of loss, married with the excitement of this chapter and all their experiences to come. Navigating this sea of emotions, I look around for a suitable life raft to cling to. I breathe in and hold for a count of 3, then slowly exhale for a count of 5 and repeat. The dog is looking at me expectantly her anticipation is growing at the possible chance it may involve food! Being a cocker spaniel, everything involves food, doesn’t it?
Resetting my self and getting a handle on these intense emotions I take a virtual seat in the life raft. I tumble through a myriad of thoughts. What if the flights delayed? What if they don’t have the right visa? How will they spend Christmas? I hope they aren’t sad and a thousand other pointless thoughts pass through my brain. This is so unlike me. I feel as though I am on the outside and then realise just how vulnerable I am feeling. In my minds eye I reach for the virtual first aid box and undo the clasps. I remove the green glass bottle marked ‘Positive Action.’ Written underneath this are the words ‘to be taken daily.’ The bottle turns gently in my hand and then I know what I need to do.
Responding immediately to the medication, I grab my car keys, purse, and the bemused dog who still anticipates some sort of reward for her patience, I leave locking the front door behind me. Arriving at the garden centre I know exactly what to purchase, some spring bulbs. Picking up brightly coloured tulips and tall elegant, purple sensation alliums I begin to feel my body relax. These simple plants will be interwoven with an assortment of white narcissi, imitating the foam on top of the emotional waves that appear to be subsiding.
Flicking the kettle on when I gat home, making myself a cup of tea and finally giving into the dog. She receives a treat and yet another hug, post more tears from me. I lay out the bulbs in the flower beds, scatter the narcissi so they give a naturalised affect and get on with the planting up. I feel a smile cross my lips. I am starting to look forward to hearing from the travellers and seeing the colours pop through the soil in the months to come.
My confession is I am human and taking positive action works for me. That is not to say I haven’t been thrown about in an emotional sea for most of the week! I have gone with it, my friends have been a tremendous support too.
So I am taking one day at a time, it really seems to be the only way.