(Me and El looking through The Ellie Project in 2013 )
First off, I just want to thank you all so much for your support of The Ellie Project! If you bought a book through www.ellieproject.com by May 1st you will get a signed copy by me and El! I’ve been so blessed by your genuine love and support of the book and for our family. Thank you for sharing our story and The Ellie Project with your friends and family. It means so much to me and I know it would mean so much to Andrew! Next week, I leave for New York to share The Ellie Project, stationary, and other related products with retail stores across the country. I’m still a little in shock that this is all happening and so quickly. I’m so excited to be apart of the journey.
It’s crazy to think that July will be the two-year mark of Andrew’s passing. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday and other days it feels like another lifetime. While it’s been mountains and valleys, my biggest lessons have been in my own personal growth. After some life experience and reflection I want to share some tips and stories that have helped me to move forward after loss and toward creating this next chapter of my life.
- Grief therapy – After Andrew passed away and I moved back to Dallas, I made the choice to work through my grief with a trusted therapist. When I was a senior at Baylor, I was experiencing a quarter-life crisis and wanted to see a therapist. Luckily I found out Baylor had affordable therapists on campus, so I went and it was the best experience. After Andrew passed away, I reconnected with my therapist from Baylor, Dr. Rod Hetzel (if you are looking for a great therapist in Waco, I highly recommend him). I drove to Waco every couple of weeks for a year and a half to work through my grief. This was a time for me to express my emotions in a safe place and gain great coping mechanisms for how to work through the pain.
- Daily Motivation – One of the most significant things I’ve done toward giving me motivation every day is choosing to focus on the inspirational parts of my loss journey. By shifting my focus to the positive, I’ve been able to harness gratitude instead of bitterness. I’ve been able to take the parts of what happened that motivate and inspire me and use them as fuel to motivate and inspire others. For example, instead of focusing on how sad it was that Andrew had to go to M.D. Anderson all the time and how sick he was Monday through Friday, I’ve chosen to think about how he would stand up on a stage each weekend and share what God was doing in his life, how excited he was for the next adventure, and how he wanted to inspire other people with the time he had left on this earth.
- Finding My Big “Why” – One of my biggest “aha” moments occurred when I realized the power of intentional thinking. Because I had been dealing with my grief in a safe, healthy, and caring way, and because I was choosing to view what had happened to our family through an inspirational lens, I realized I was in the perfect place to start building the life of my dreams. I had found my big “Why”. After bearing witness to the way Andrew used his precious remaining time with us to impact others, I became determined to make his legacy known and felt it was my calling to help other women who had experienced loss reconnect with their true selves, and to guide them in allowing their own journeys through loss to be used as the blueprints for creating the next chapter of their lives.
- Ellie Grace – When I look at my sweet Ellie Grace, I see a little girl who has been through so much and I see a little girl who is being prepared for such great things to come. The compassion Ellie has for others— I have to believe is in part due to helping take care of her daddy when he was fragile and sick. I’m getting emotional writing about this because a big part of me hates that my sweet baby has already experienced so much pain in her short lifetime. However, knowing this has motivated me as a mom to create more joy in her life by being the best woman I can be and thus the best mom for Ellie. Last week she gave me an invite for a Mother’s Day tea at her school and told me that only mothers were allowed, not daddies because her daddy died. Moments like that cut me to the core and motivate me to live to my fullest potential because I want to set that example for my baby girl that no matter what your circumstances you can choose to focus on the good.
These are just a few things that have helped me make progress toward creating this next beautiful and exciting chapter of my life. If you’ve experienced any type of loss and want to take this conversation to a deeper level I would love to support you through one-on-one Next Chapter coaching sessions. Feel free to email me for more details at email@example.com
It is my passion and love to support women who want to create a better and more fulfilling life for themselves and for their families. If you’ve experienced any type of loss I would love to hear some tips that have helped you to make forward progress in your life. Please share your comments below so that we can all grow and learn together. Thank you for spending time with me today! I’m so blessed to have you in my life.