Back in August, I wrote 90% of this but didn't send it out to my newsletter because I thought it was silly. However, I promised myself, I would always show up for my tribe in full transparency wherever + however I am. And as I re-read it today, I realize that maybe its message is something that you may need today. I hope it comforts you in some way reading about my process with grief, courage, procrastination and feeling all the feels.
Here's what I wrote long ago and sent to my newsletter months later:
TRUTH: I applied a lot of make up this past week to do accounting and paperwork. I put so much make up, you'd think I was going to a wedding. Why did I put on a full face of make up to do paperwork, you ask? Good question. Pull up a seat. Lemme share my story.
My dad passed away 12 years ago and as oldest, I took on the responsibility of taking care of all the businesses, cars, and assets he left behind. To say it's been a long and hard process is an understatement. I've waited for his estate to be divided and done from day one. (It's still not over as of today.)
So as everything is wrapping up. I get some bad news: Oh by the way, you need to submit an final accounting of every penny that has gone in and out of this estate, its businesses and accounts.
HOLD UP. SAY WHAT?????? JAW DROP. My shocked look says it all.
My lawyer looking at me says: You knew this right? The first lawyer didn't tell you this?--she says
Me: Ummmm No. He was debarred for something he did with another client and not allowed to practice law anymore.
Oh Sorry.--she says
sorry????? I wasn't sure what to do with sorry at this point. My professional demeanor hid everything going on inside. Internally, I was screaming, crying and kicking. #adulttantrum
So here I was. Stuck and needing to do this. I geared up. I put it on my daily schedule over and over. Sent kids to grandmas. Got friends to hold me accountable. Got coaching around it. And.....didn't do it.
I'd try again and sabotage my own efforts. Like the grocery store trip that took me 8 hours for 7 items. Yes 8 hours.
I was doing everything to hide. I didn't want to do it. I'm the girl who hates tax season. I hate the feelings that come up with adding pennies and dimes. So imagine having to figure out the accounting for an estate that had several businesses, assets and a corporation among other things for 12 years and a flood had damaged some of the paperwork along the years. Definition of Nightmare.
I felt all the emotions:
ANGER. BLAME. HOPEFUL. LOST. CONFUSED. TERRIFIED. ENCOURAGED. and SAD. (I missed my daddy)
I sat with all of them. Felt all the feels. As I let myself feel these emotions and the time passed, I realized hiding from this was doing me more harm than good. I put my big girl pants on and started to reflect and ask myself some deep questions.
Ok Fatima: (me talking to myself) What is it that you need to do this paperwork? How can you make this a fun experience? Something inside of me laughed at the word fun. I ignored that laughing part and I persisted. How can you make this fun for myself?
Don't ask me why, but make up came to mind. Remember that 8 hour shopping trip? New lipstick may or may not have been purchased that day. So one morning, I sent my kids to the babysitter's and applied a full face make up like my life depended on it. I did more paperwork that day than I had done all my life. It felt great. And I also cried because I really missed my daddy. I did the same the next day. And the next day.
With all transparency, the accounting is still not done. This isn't a Cinderella story. I have tons more to go. Life will happen. I will set it aside and then go back to work on it when I have some time. However, I've learned to sit with the feelings, then ask myself "What is it that I need right now to do this?"
In the beginning, it was for this experience to be fun.
Then as the process evolved, it was that "I need to connect to my daddy doing this." So when I'd sit at my desk, I'd be intentional about noticing things that reminded me of him. Things that were all around my home/office but never stopped to give them much thought. The wooden boat that I bought reminded me of a similar boat he built. The wrought iron lamps that were salvaged from the house he was building. It sounds silly but this was a part of my grieving process. People don't expect grief to happen 12 years later, but it can happen any time. You decide what you want to feel and how you want to use it.
Another example is as the process evolved, the answer was that I needed more info so I'd set up a meeting with the lawyer or some other business specialist, depending on what the question was.
This week, it was "I need more support with my kids." So I asked my mom to come stay with me for a week.
The answer will be different. Life is not about cookie cutter solutions. But if I'm willing to listen and show up, the answers are there.
MORAL of the story. If you know you're hiding (like for example, not working out, decluttering that your house, writing that book --or insert anything else you want to do here), let yourself hide for a while. Let yourself feel all the emotions that rise. Then ask: "What is it that I really need to do this?" and then listen. Even if it's applying more make up than you ever had in your whole life :)
And the other MORAL of the story: If you come over for tea suddenly, don't be surprised to see me all dazzled up. I'm just doing paperwork.
P.S: please keep me in your prayers while I'm working to trying to finish up this accounting.
P.P.S: the question process I used on myself is outlined alone here in this post if you'd like to read more about it.