Grieving as a business owner

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2019 is shaping up to be 2017’s rival in terms of just how crazy things have been, but one thing I was absolutely not prepared for was the level of grief I’ve endured. I’ve lost three family members in the month of June alone aside from other family members and friends throughout the year, and it has been tough to say the least.

Grief affects everyone in different ways, and it can manifest itself into a series of emotions as it runs it’s course. While I have been very vocal to my family and friends about my pain, I have been more than reluctant to share my personal pain on my social media platforms.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m trying to paint a perfect picture or tell this awe-inspiring personal brand story while conveniently skipping over the rough parts (which seems to be the industry standard). Its not that I’m being selective in my story-telling or “not being authentic” as a brand owner or any of those cookie-cutter meme-esque branding tips.

Its not any of those things. And I’m not ashamed of what it is.

The truth behind it all is that I’m trying to wrap my head around everything that is going on, and that all of me is not everyone’s business. Things aren’t perfect. Nothing feels awe inspiring, and I’m choosing to sort things out privately. Shoot me.

As business owners we are so quick to resolve and share the lesson behind our life events that we often don’t allow ourselves to process things beforehand. You can’t share a lesson fully if you are still being processed through it. If the pain is fresh, the purpose has yet to be fully revealed.

You run the risk of missing your healing by rejecting any deeper knowledge that might come after your prematurely conclude the lesson behind your pain. Don’t risk prolonged brokenness trying to position yourself as an expert in something you’re still working through. Chill boo.

So for the past few weeks I’ve been been doing just that - chilling. Sitting back and letting my family come first. Not feeling pressured to post or perform or persevere even- because pretending to be okay is a job in and of itself. Instead I’ve allowed myself to unplug, love on my loved ones and hear from God.

And you know what, I’m proud of myself- because it hasn’t always been this way. In 2013 I suddenly and tragically lost a member of my immediate family. I was living in Miami at the time and I will never forget receiving that phone call from my mom. The screams and tears coming from the other end of my phone are still audible whenever I think about them, and I remember going numb as the news sank in while I was getting a pedicure.

Within the next few days I was joined with my family in Atlanta where I shared their grief, tears and pain. We traveled together to Tennessee for the homegoing and in a few short days I was back in Miami. Back to reality and left to process it all alone (with no family in Miami). All I knew to do was work, so work I did. With each day I chose to work, I suppressed my emotions even further- never really dealing with what happened.

It took years to reverse “pushing through.” It took a process to overcome emotional suppression in the name of being “strong” and I had to go through a lot of emotional healing that wouldn’t have occurred had I taken the time to process when things were happening.

So as I recount the lives of those I’ve lost recently, I’m allowing myself the space and time I need to come out of grief still whole, because no amount of responsibility is greater than self care.

The popular opinion is to keep going! Feel everything and do everything anyway. As someone that has been on that side of the fence and have crossed over, I urge you to allow yourself time. Be gentle to yourself. Prioritize your healing and self care. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and it takes even longer to pour if the cup is broken. ❤️

I’d like to dedicate this post to Willie Benford, Danielle (Ledbetter) Boyd, Beatrice London, and Mary Shelby. Rest in Heaven until we meet again.

I’d like to dedicate this post to Willie Benford, Danielle (Ledbetter) Boyd, Beatrice London, and Mary Shelby. Rest in Heaven until we meet again.