Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Year of Reinvention

"They" say the 2nd year after losing a loved one, especially a child, is the hardest.  I simply can't imagine that.  The first year almost put me in the grave alongside my child.

I dreaded the 1st anniversary of her death.  Some said I should just stay in bed and cry. I chose to rise up and live and celebrate her life.  So on April 2nd, 2017, with the help of dear friends and family by my side, we planted flowers in her garden, cooked her favorite foods and toasted my girl with love and stories of her beautiful life.

April 3rd, I woke up and asked myself how in the world will I survive another year without the love of my life. The sense of lost self settled in even deeper and questions of what the hell am I supposed to do now continually swirled in my heart and head. Who am I?  I find myself questioning everything;  my passions, my job, my relationships and my goals on this journey of loss and grief.
I was drowning in my job and overwhelmed by life.

Fortunately, I am blessed with many dear friends that have given me the strength to keep going and finally launch my own business, Terri Boyd Designs, LLC.  What will I be doing you ask?  Well let's look back at what I've done and see where this new journey will take me.

I'm a painter, an art lover, and former banjo, mandolin, clarinet and flute player.   I've worked as a travel agent, secretary, bartender, waitress, dental assistant,  dental lab manager, hotelier, caterer, glass sand blaster, art director, color consultant, commercial paint manager, graphic designer, sales person, event planner, event designer, event venue manager, pilates instructor, home organizer, home stager and a mom.  I even wanted to try out for the Ice Capades at age 18. Jack of all trades, master of a few.  Where shall I go from here?

Perhaps I'll become a paintbrush slinging, dog portrait painting, tray swirling, traveling event planner, with a banjo and pilates matt strapped to my back, a sketchbook tucked under my arm, paint color swatches shoved in my pocket, a linen book and my MacBook tossed in my bag, while I stage your home and hotel rooms with the perfect colors, plan your party with the perfect details,  all while flashing you a smile with my brilliant, sparkling, pearly whites.

The possibilities are endless, the challenge is titillating, this new path has put a pep in my step and a renewed outlook on discovering happiness and Terri Boyd once again.  I am grateful for this opportunity.

The thought alone brings me joy and a smile.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

My new normal meets Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell. Songwriter, singer, painter, philosopher, and the artist that brought me back to who I was after my daughter Alex took her own life.  Lyrics so poignant that when planning the funeral, her song "The Circle Game" popped into my head out of no where and became the theme song for Alexandra's life video.

As a mom, your entire life and identity shifts as soon as they lay that baby in your arms.  All that you were, all that you thought so important, and so real to your young hippie soul has now been tossed into protecting, loving, and caring for this small creature that you are now responsible for.  Twenty seven years of living my new identity of mom gone in a flash. Now what?  Who am I without my child? My therapists and others keep telling me that I now live the 'new normal".  What the hell is that? Where did the free spirited, hopeful hippie chick, braless artist with a frizzy perm go?  

So, I reintroduced my "new normal" to Joni Mitchell.  She brings me home to me. Court and Spark, Joni's 7th recording was my staple of music in 1976.  I was attending art school and was for once seriously considering falling in love, having sex, doing drugs, and rockin and rollin. Wow - whole new world.  She was my hero and rock of courage to explore this new brave me.   Joining in my brave new world was Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, James Taylor, The Doors, Genesis, Al Stewart, Jefferson Airplane and all of Joni's other amazing recordings.  Listening to these tunes several months after losing Ally helped me to remember that I was once Terri, cool chick, braless chick (much to my mother's dismay) with goals, ambitions, passions and desires. All those traits that fade when you lose a child, let alone aging.  In search of me after this tragedy, I hungered for hearing these tunes, find my new passions, set my new goals and realize new normal.

It's hard to see anything past your nose when a death of someone close occurs, especially a only child. Nothing matters. Hobbies die. Passions die. Goals fade into darkness.  Energy is what you need to just get up, dress up and show up to your responsibilities that you still have because life goes on.  Truly the harshest reality of all when grieving. Joni said it best:

"Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game"
It's not that I want to revisit the past.  Most positive thinkers will say don't look back, look ahead and keep moving. That's all well and good, but looking back has helped me to remember who Terri Boyd is/was.....because all I have now is me, childless me.  The mom role no longer  is part of me, and believe me, it was THE most important part of me for 27 years.

With the help of Joni Mitchell, I have rediscovered a few passions that my young self embraced.  Ice skating is one of those passions. With great enthusiasm and verve, I recently purchased a fab pair of Riedel ice skates.  Visions of my old Terri twirling, jumping, spinning and feeling the breeze on my face as I swiftly skate perfect back crossovers made me smile.  Reality ---good Lord, where's the side wall. It took a while to get my skating legs and nerve back, but damn they did!  And then, whammy, I had shoulder surgery. Much to my dismay, my doctor, family and partner clearly told me NO ice skating. More setbacks on my journey to recapturing my youth and Terri Boyd spirit.

But damnit, I will skate again.  I will recapture that youthful spirit. I will go braless, wear holy jeans, frizz out my hair and totally freak out my perfectly dressed and dignified mother. She'll be happy to see me again.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

ISO Alexandra and Peace: The everyday truth about loss and healing from a grieving mom

My First Blog -On the road to achieving my new goal in my new normal -Writing

Easter is coming. When I walk thru the stores and see the shelves filled with smiling bunnies, chewy peeps, chocolate eggs and stuffed bunnies, my eyes well up with sadness.  Easter Sunday 2016,  I made my Alex her favorite dinner: honey baked ham, scalloped potatoes and green beans.  She wore her pretty pink dress because as she said, “I wanted to look pretty for you mom”.  I had a strange feeling that day and remember peeling the potatoes with love and care cause it was for my sweet girl and after all the heartache we both had been through, I wanted it to be special.  After dinner and a disturbing conversation, I put her in an uber to take her home.  I never saw my beautiful daughter alive again.  She committed suicide a week later.

For almost a year now, I’ve been wanting to write this blog about these feelings of complete despair, absence, searching, heartache, regrets, what if’s, shoulda, coulda, woulda’s.  With Easter just around the corner, and the warm weather coaxing the Spring flowers to bloom, I decided now would be a good time to start.

I took a walk this morning in this glorious sunshine. Exercise is critical right now to get the blood flowing in my recently repaired right shoulder, as well as boosting my mood.  I’m just sad everyday and I have to sometimes remind myself why I’m sad.  After the initial shock and grief of losing a loved one, there’s always a nagging hole in one’s heart and mind when you attempt to do any “normal” activities that make you happy.  This hole just invades your soul and ability to truly enjoy the moments. Normal - that word demands several blogs to comprehend.  Happy is another one of those vague realities.

Normal activities that make me feel better are painting, pilates, exercise, cooking, gardening and redecorating my house.  But since my right arm is out of commission, I can’t do any of these things, and this adds to my fight to stay positive and hopeful that life can be good again.  I have been fortunate to have loyal and loving friends and family. But one must be able to boost their sense of accomplishments and contributions on one’s own.

I am generally a happy, very positive, strong minded character.  When there’s a will, indeed there is a way. Got that from my dear mom.  So, in my fight to stay positive, I decided to try to paint with my left hand. Hell, I already achieved opening a wine bottle, fluffing my now very short hair, and sautéing food, with my left hand.  I also have learned to do pilates with no shoulder strain!  Progress indeed.  My first left handed subject today:  Alex of course.  Tried to paint..but couldn’t unscrew the easel shelf to remove the old canvas.  Set backs. So I pulled out the sketch pad and pastels and started this way. Crazy.  Who knows, maybe it’ll end up at the Louvre.  A good attempt, a good start, another step to staying positive.