Finding Authenticity Through Grief

Seven years ago, I embarked on a journey that would redefine the very essence of who I was. Becoming a solo mom after a lifetime spent with my late husband was a sudden and profound change. It left me standing at a crossroads, with a burning desire to discover my purpose, set meaningful goals, and define clear intentions for my life.

Nonetheless, this journey was far from simple and frequently accompanied by profound solitude. I discovered that navigating the grieving process can be arduous and emotionally taxing. However, I also came to understand that it possesses the potential to serve as a potent catalyst for self-discovery, fortitude, and individual growth.

Furthermore, my loss ingrained the idea in me that a good life is not defined by material possessions. Instead, it was replaced with the belief that life should be a canvas painted with experiences and colored by constant reflections. The idea was to infuse meaning into every moment, something that many couldn’t quite grasp.

Grief Propel Growth

Life had thrown its fair share of challenges my way. It often felt like I was on a path that didn’t belong to me. However, I began to realize that these personal struggles were the very forces propelling me toward becoming the person I aspired to be.

The question that haunted me was, “Who am I, and what is the path I should take?” The uncertainty of the future loomed large. What would become of me and my daughter? For too long, I had tried to shrink myself, to become less visible, less opinionated, and less needy, all in an attempt not to burden those around me.

With time, I learned a crucial lesson: I had to consciously choose to cultivate my own happiness. I discovered that people would judge me regardless of my choices, so I might as well follow my heart. Only my soul truly understood its needs and desires, and I had to honor that uniqueness.

Embrace the Search for Authenticity

So, here’s the final lesson: Embrace the journey of self-discovery and authenticity that accompanies the process of mourning what was lost and adapting to what lies ahead. In a world that might attempt to conform you to societal expectations, especially in the context of widowhood, stand tall, and be true to yourself. The road less traveled may be challenging, but it leads to a life
infused with purpose, depth, and meaning. Remember that your soul knows what it needs, and it’s up to you to listen and follow its call.

Be the guiding light that illuminates the possibility of living a life in harmony with your soul’s deepest desires. At the same time, acknowledge the lessons, experiences, and important individuals from your past.

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Read more from Dr. Mankes: Positive Attitude and Faith in Grief – Open to Hope

Dr. Carol Leibovich Mankes

My name is Dr. Carol Leibovich - Mankes, DrOT, OTR/L, PLCC, GC-C. I was born in Israel to Argentinian parents. I immigrated to the USA, adapting to a new culture and learning a new language. I am fluent in English, Spanish, and Hebrew. I married my high school sweetheart and celebrated 25 years together in 2016. My husband passed away from Cancer a few months later. I have been a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and Parent Coach for the past 20-plus years. My expertise is learning and handwriting difficulties in children aged 3 - 18. I also provide parent coaching through 1:1 sessions and courses to empower parents of "out of the box" kids to advocate and be more effective parents. I am a Widow and a Solo Mom who has gone through many losses and transitions in her life. I’ve unfortunately become an expert on grief and loss through personal experiences of five years of infertility, having a child diagnosed with a disability, and the demise of my spouse and Mom simultaneously. I’ve learned that grief is an individualized journey that sometimes resembles a rollercoaster. Fortunately, I have rebuilt myself with the help of faith and personal determination. I believe healing is possible when one accepts, works, and adapts a healthy mindset. My experiences and professional expertise as an Occupational Therapist, a Certified Life/Parent Coach, and Grief Counselor helped me in my journey. Since then, I’ve been able to support others experiencing similar circumstances. My mission is to empower and bring awareness to grief and loss. Ensure society understands that grief is a process that can arise from any significant loss, including death, loss of control, loss of the "perfect" child envisioned, secondary losses, and more. I am here to inspire & enable others to move from loss and pain into a hopeful and fulfilling future. My mission is to empower others to laugh and live again despite the pain. Turn feelings of despair into hope and a fulfilling life.

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