It’s been a great weekend! I’m thankful that I was able to spend time with my family and be here for my grandpa’s 90th birthday. I head back to North Carolina tonight, and I know I’ll be a little sad when I leave. I wish we lived closer to each other. However, in many ways, I am lucky to have two places to call home. Even though I don’t like leaving my parents, brother, and grandparents, I get to go home to my new family with Derek. Though it means I leave a little bit of my heart in another state, I’m blessed to have so much love in my life.
“Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
I believe that social media, blogging included, often displays an edited version of reality. In the case of Brown is the New Pink, this is partially on purpose. I want to create a positive space to separate myself from work. However, I think it’s also important to acknowledge some of my personal struggles so that it doesn’t seem like my life is all sunshine and rainbows. (Newsflash: it’s not.) 🙂
Saying goodbye to Derek today was tough. I miss him terribly, and this weekend went by way too quickly. I honestly don’t know how military spouses do it. We’re 4 of 6 weeks into his rotation, and it’s starting to wear on me. I know that the remainder will go by fast, and I’ll be fine, but today is a rough day. Reading the A.A. Milne quote below made me smile and put my feelings in perspective. It is, of course, perfectly normal and OK for me to miss Derek, but I’ll also try to remember that I am blessed to love and be loved deeply.
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
For last week’s quote I wrote about tears as a sign of grief and love. While I certainly see people experience loss, I am also privileged to see people respond to suffering in extraordinary ways. The Ben Okri quote below encapsulates why I believe that people are capable of doing great things despite their disease, addiction, loss, grief, or circumstances.
“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love, and to be greater than our suffering.” – Ben Okri
I try not to talk about work too much on Brown is the New Pink for a couple of reasons. First, I want to respect the privacy of the veterans and families with whom I work. Obviously I legally cannot talk about certain details due to HIPAA regulations, but I prefer to be even more cautious than my legal restraints. Second, the blog is a creative outlet for me to step away from work. Social work can be an emotionally exhausting field, and Brown is the New Pink helps me leave work at work. It’s impossible to leave everything behind, but blogging helps me. However, there are some lessons that I learn through my work that are worth sharing and discussing.
As a medical social worker, discharge planning a substantial part of my job, but my most important role is to look out for the psychosocial needs of patients and families. I routinely work with people during some of the most stressful and difficult days of their lives. I work alongside families through amputations, devastating stokes, and the always difficult decision to start hospice care. Because I address what happens in the future after the patient leaves the hospital, I think losses become more salient to patients and families. I also try to create a space in which family members and caregivers can take a breath and evaluate how they are feeling. When people stop to think about the future or when the reality of the situation sets in, people often cry. And more often than not, people apologize for crying. I know it may fall on deaf ears, but I always tell them that it is okay to cry. I reassure them that it is completely normal — that tears are an expression of grief and love.
Every time I find myself in this role, I think of the beautiful quote below. I also need to think of this quote for myself, and I hope you will think of it for yourself. Tears are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of love.
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and of unspeakable love.” – Washington Irving
It’s Monday, which means it’s time for a quote! Technically this week’s “quote” is scripture. Though the verse is from the Bible, I think it can be appreciated by people of other faiths or belief systems. The notion of putting love into action motivates me and inspired me to become a social worker.
“Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)
Tomorrow Derek takes the biggest test of his life. To say that I am proud of him is an understatement. I feel blessed to be with someone who handles such a stressful time with the grace he has exhibited. In honor of my husband, I want to share one of my favorite quotes about love.
“Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.” -Bruce Lee