Grief & Loss – Finding the Road

By Nicolle Cantiero

I’ll never forget feeling like my life was over; I had no foundation and nothing to look forward to.  Everything seemed to be falling apart.  My health, my marriage, my family, and my job all seemed to be deteriorating.

For three years, I couldn’t sleep through the night-awful sinus problems kept me awake. I had surgery.  But I was still tired, and it got worse over the next 5 years. I would then find out that I still had sleep apnea, and needed more surgery. But in the meantime, I lost my peace and sense of well-being. All the while, I was also suffering from anxiety.  I can’t begin to describe what that was like. Just doing my work everyday became a struggle.  I couldn’t do much else.  On top of that, the sleep apnea caused my cycles to skip so I couldn’t get pregnant for all those years either.  Eventually I became so overwhelmed with trying to get through the day, that I never noticed my husband and me growing apart. My mom worried about me and gave me much reassurance and a sense of security.

Nicolle's Mom

Then my worst nightmare came true.  Mom had stage-4 breast cancer. That’s when I lost my sense of security in myself, the future, and in God.  I didn’t understand how God could let this happen.  Hadn’t my life been enough of a disaster?  And how would I survive without the one who made sense of things for me and reassured me everyday?

I couldn’t function, and isolated myself from everyone.  Guilt and regret kept me from reaching out to family and friends.  Many of them misunderstood some of my behavior during and after my mother’s passing.  I didn’t feel I could expect support as it was and now I was afraid of what they thought.

  I learned how to let go of my grief.  After two years, I realized that I had a choice, honor her by living well, or discount all the love and nurturing that she bestowed on me by wallowing in my sadness.  I chose to live with joy.    I had to decide:  grief or life.  God makes all things work for our good.  Now I know it’s true.  That’s my foundation.

I thought losing my mother would be my lowest point and most significant loss. But that loss brought serious problems to light, and hastened the inevitable. Things I thought would surely destroy me only made me stronger, and surer of my true identity. Never would I have imagined being so strong, and overcoming so much. Never would I have imagined so much good could come out of my worst nightmare. It’s all part of the plan.

Nicolle Cantiero

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