A piece of my heart just walked out the door. With a smile and a hug, my grown man/child just said "See you, Mom" as he leaves for his job as camp counselor in the beautiful North Carolina mountains. I hide the tears..tears of pride, joy and yes sorrow ...because my boy needs me differently now. As the song says "I have watched you grow in order to let you go"..WAIT...the song lied! As a mother, do we ever let our child go? How do we do that when they are such a part of us at a cellular level, our heart, our primal love that does not begin to understand rational.

Despite trying everything I can to hide the tear in my eye, my grown man/child asks "What will you do, Mom, when I leave for college next month"? As any of us might answer facing the empty nest syndrome, the simple words "Survive and Thrive" say it all. We fall down on our knees out of gratitude for the gift of the moments. I ask over and over "Can I come every once in awhile to have lunch with you at college"? "I promise to not get in your grill"...My grown/man child smiles "Sure Mom..and out the door he goes..again.

Now, I understand those tears that I saw in my own father's eyes as I left for college at age 17 years old in a completely different state 500 miles away from home. I understand the meaning of loss and growth at another level now.

Yes, we let our children grow and go..and when they are smiling and walking out the door with their head held is because our job has been done well.

That is another meaning of freedom and a word of encouragement to all of us who are facing our kids "walking out the door with a smile and head held high".

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When I was in grad school obtaining my Masters In Social Work, one of the recommended reading books was "Necessary Losses" by Judith Viorst. As I devoured the information on each page, it was evident that from the time we enter into the world 'losses" are inevitable and necessary. Our discomfort and pain is part of the process of both the healing and strengthening. Grief is another physiological process and we feel the "consequences of survival" in our body and altered existence. Yet, let's remember that all of us as humans have the instinctual drive to survive. In the current state of our COVID pandemic world ,we are seeing first hand how uncertainty grips us as human beings. We want answers, comfort and "our share of what we believe is deserved". Human beings have endured "necessary losses" since the beginning of time and have survived. Research shows that 75 percent of people exposed to chronic traumatic stress will recover well with support. A much smaller portion 25 percent will have longer term problems and those usually had prior mental health conditions or risk factors and didn't get the support required. Yes, our current world is requiring daily adapting and is changing rapidly. "Fear" based thinking results in stagnation and paralysis of our mind, heart and nervous system. "Strength " based thinking enables us to remember what and who really matters, find healing in our pain and grow from every obstacle. The path of choice is the sole responsibility of each one of us.

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Updated: May 24, 2020

Currently, our global world is in a state of constant flux and unprecedented uncertainty due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Businesses and schools are closed, families are separated, loved ones are dying alone and this international crisis has caused all of us to rethink our way of life to both adapt and survive. In times of uncertainty, our normal reaction is one of fear. We fervently ask "What is going on" "When will this end" "Why is this happening" "Whose to blame" and there are a multitude of answers for each of those questions. Post Traumatic Growth requires us to look at these challenges from another angle such as "How do I find gratitude in the midst of adapting to what cant be controlled" "What have I done in tough situations before" "What am I doing each moment to benefit myself, my family and take care of others" and "Can I tap into what is already there to manage the uncertainty' This recent WLTX interview shares sound tips of dealing with anxiety and stress. I am a firm believer in our human abilities and gifts and know that this trying times are taking all of us "back home" in many ways...

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