Bloggy Moms

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Grieving the Loss of My Dreams

"Let go and let God." That simple little phrase has meant a lot to me over the years. The first time I let go of something I was holding on to was when I was single. One day, at the age of 32,  I decided to give up the fight of ever finding a man who would love me. I told God that if he wanted me to remain celibate all of my life, I would do it. I had thought that I'd go serve Him on the mission field in some far off country. Two weeks later the charming man who is now my husband walked into my life.
I have had to let go of things that I had a tight grip on many occasions. I let go of my teaching career so that I could tend to my daughter's needs.  Most recently I gave up dreams that I had for my child.
This is not to say that I no longer dream for my child, but I don't dwell on these so much. They no longer consume my thoughts.
About a year ago our family therapist suggested that my husband and I grieve all of the hopes and dreams we'd had for our daughter. She gave us homework to write all of our dreams on slips of colored construction paper. We were to each write them out separately then we'd discussion them in session with her. When we got home, I started on mine right away and was done in the next day or two. My husband took a little longer, but he did get his done even if it was in the nick of time.
Some of my grievings were that Princess might not get to go to my alma mater because college is too stressful for her. I grieved that we may never get to go to Paris or even NYC. Another grieving was that her acting career that all of us thought she'd be good at was on hold indefinitely. I also listed that she was at risk of suicide due to her Bipolar Disorder diagnosis.
My husband listed that he could no longer go on father/daughter camping trips with Princess since they always ended in a disaster. Many of his other grievings were the same or similar to mine.
When we went to our therapy session the following week, we discussed our strips of paper at length. It took us about two sessions to really pour over them and give them the time that they deserved. It was really painful and gut wrenching. At first we considered burning these grievings as a sign of moving on, but our therapist came up with a better idea. She asked us to find a family photo and a phrase or verse that had a lot of meaning to us. Then we were to tear or cut the strips into little pieces and make a mosaic out of them around a piece of  photo matting. The finished product is pictured below. It hangs in our family room.
As painful as this process was, it really helped my husband and I move on past some unrealistic dreams we were holding on to.
About two weeks after we completed this process, Princess started on the wonder drug that you can read about here. I am happy to report we are starting to dream again. They're little dreams but dreams still. I've found that when I let go of the things I'm holding on to, God does some amazing things. Even if He didn't, the sense of freedom from giving over the reigns is pretty incredible.

This reads: For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."~ Jeremiah 29:11
This photo was taken at Yosemite National Park in 2011, our last family vacation.


  1. Let's see if the comments will let me be someone (myself) this time. (And in spite of threatening to make me anonymous last time, I noticed that they had my jesterqueen there. Google tricked me.) Anyway, I can identify so strongly with these emotions. I've never had specific dreams for my kids, though sometimes I'll see a spark and think "maybe that...". But that feeling of loss when I couldn't share an experience with them, now or ever... yeah, that strikes home with me. I remember preschool, my daughter was a little more than two. It was cold inside and warm out, and we were all cramming our kids into outerwear to reach the cars. The other parents were able to coax their kids through the process. "Help me with your arm here...puuuush that sleeve..." And I was having to slide my hands up the sleeves to find my daughter's. I remember watching them and thinking, "I'll never get to do this, to help my toddler dress herself." She could do pants at that point, but not much else. And she did get to the rest -- she's perfectly capable of dressing herself NOW ... after years of occupational therapy and having to learn intellectually what other kids grasped intuitively.

    1. LOL about Google posting as Jester Queen. I say whatever works , but I am sure it is frustrating for you.
      Thanks for sharing about your struggles with your daughter. My daughter was capable of dressing herself at a young age but often did not because of her sensory issues. We had a challenging time finding the right shoes for her. I was thrilled when she finally learned how to tie her own shoes because her father and I could never tie them tight enough to her liking.