Thursday, October 17, 2013

Identity crisis...

You know those moments when you are sitting in church and the sermon literally is speaking to YOU... when you look around the church, wondering if anyone is staring at you, because clearly Pastor is talking about you directly!? It almost feels like a personal invasion at first, like you want to stand up and ask, "how did you know?" well I had that moment last night!  I shed tears on and off through out the sermon (yes, I am that girl who openly cries at church) and left with my mind racing and my heart pondering...

The question was/is "who am I?"  Not 'tell me about yourself... what are your likes and dislikes, where do you live' but "Who.... am... I?!"  Since losing Declan, I have struggled with this... I've been experiencing an identity crisis.  What is true is that I am different.  I have a "before" and "after" version of myself.  If someone had asked me who I was 2 years ago I would have confidently answered "I am an educator, a mother, a wife and a friend."   I would have answered that based on where I spent my time and my energy.   I knew who I was... I knew what I was good at and how to live in a manner that complemented that.  I held my head high and felt like I had life figured out.   I was loud, daring, adventurous and dare I say, even kind of funny.  I laughed easy, smiled frequently and thought I was indestructible.

When Declan died all that changed.  I have felt very much like my identity is wrapped up in his death.  For at least the first year, I had nothing else to say about me... I was a grieving mother.  What else was there for anyone to know?! Why would it matter what I did for a job?  Why would anyone need to know if I have other children?  And yes, I am married... but that DOESN'T CHANGE the fact that my child died.  Everything seemed second to that.... I could not see past his death.  I had no room to be anything else...  His death was who I was....

As I sat in church, thinking about how I would answer that question now, I came up blank.  I don't know who I am.  I don't know how to be me and a grieving mother.   I am a work in progress maybe... still trying to figure out how to move through his death without letting his death be me...  but I am treading in unfamiliar territory... not sure what steps I need to take.

But then Pastor said, "Who am I?" is the wrong question to be asking....we should be asking "whose I am?" What makes me special goes beyond WHO I AM... it's WHOSE I am that defines me.   Once I turn my identity to being a child of God, than the pressure to be the perfect grieving mother, the best mother to my living children, the greatest wife is taken away and I realize that I can be content with being 'a work in progress'. Who I am?? In a nutshell... I am a child of God and everything else is second to that.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine." Isaiah 43:1

* I must give Pastor Heiden credit for being the inspiration for this post.  Beyond my internal struggle in identifying who I am since Declan's death, he helped me put a perspective on this that I hadn't thought about. Thank you Pastor!  :) 


  1. So timely! Struggling with the same thing and have felt, for at least the past year, that I'm in the process of "re-inventing" myself after Matt's death, too. Love the photo quote at the end! Thanks for posting, Holle. ((hugs))

  2. its true! we should get our identity only if we live the life of ours. we are searching our identity if someone control us or lead us