How I Found My Joy After Losing Almost Everything

purple flowers in a field with black text
Cheri Moore

Written by Cheri Moore

March 1, 2024

How I found my joy after losing almost everything to mold may provide insights to improve your emotional health: Joy, Peace, Forgiveness, Self-Acceptance, and Love. Writing this blog made me think about the grief children endure who constantly experience the struggles of undiagnosed and untreated hearing difficulties with or without vision that appears to blur or even double. That is a blog for another time. However, the stages of grief are the same regardless of the type of loss.

After losing almost everything, I struggled for two years to regain my physical and emotional health. However, a blessing began to emerge. I am starting a part of my journey I never thought possible.

Loss is Traumatic

Throughout our lifetime, we all experience traumatic events shaping our lives:

  • Separation from loved ones
  • Isolation due to death, divorce, fear, or war
  • Loss of possessions due to an act of nature: fire, flood, earthquake, or mold
  • Emotional or physical injury
  • A medical challenge
  • Hearing difficulties or loss
  • Vision that appears to blur, double, or lost of fixed depth perception

Fear or numbness stops us from living, from feeling joy in all areas of life. When you purposely respond, your story can make you a hero in the eyes of another. Then, your story becomes a saga. I hope that my saga shows you a path towards healing. Or reveals a need for some healing within.

Is the Past, Your Lost, Still Affecting Your Joy?

Perhaps, like me, you thought the past was in the past. During difficulties times, I focus on the silver lining. I knew of no other way. Discussing feelings just did not happen in our family. One day, I read a word of encouragement that greatly helped me continue this life of trials and made me chuckle. Basically, difficulties and trials are simply evidence you are alive. Being alive is good. Another was

Expect Perfection, Accept Humanity

Charles Swindoll, Growing Strong In the Seasons of Life

What does humanity mean to you? For me, it meant that others who love us are going to upset us, react based on their own life experiences. Losing everything taught me that I needed to forgive someone from my past. How do I know? Because thinking about that person always created feelings of anger, judgment, and numbness. I avoided that person.

Exactly what caused me to emotionally deal with my past?

Losing My Family’s Portraits Felt Like Everything

Losing my only infant picture and all three of my children’s newborn and one-year-old portraits along with numerous photo albums caused me to unexpectedly feel numb. Why did lost of my family’s portraits cause me to feel like I lost everything? I kept telling myself that family members had these portraits in smaller sizes. But, that was of little comfort. Why?

Childhood photo from before losing almost everything

I knew the numbness I was experiencing meant I needed to look deeper inside of myself.

What Losing Almost Everything Taught Me

Thus, I asked myself a question, “Why was I so affected by the loss of my one and only infant picture?” A picture in nobody’s possession. Thank goodness I took a photo shot with my phone before throwing it away. My training in counseling told me that numbness meant that I needed to focus and follow my thoughts:

The mold that saturated the air conditioner and crawl space could have been avoided if only the owners of the rental home had taken care of the home. The severe neglect of the home triggered what I experienced as a preschooler.

The photos were put in storage. I thought my most precious photos were safe. Then, I reflected on that word, ‘Safe’. Were there times in my past when I felt unsafe? Yes, long ago when I was a preschooler. Oh, oh! Those memories I avoided all these years were not lost. They were attached to a person who needed forgiveness.

Stop Avoiding Memories, Lost

I have stayed so busy the past few months that I lacked the energy I needed to deal with my emotions. At first, there was no choice. We tried to save so much only to lose them. In my blog, Why Penicillin Mold is Worse Than a Fire, I share how crazy busy we were and resources to help if you are battling mold.

image of furniture and mattresses on the curb in front of a house with text over top

In December, I thought that buying a home that required complete renovation was the answer. Upon reflection, I was still avoiding my feelings by staying too busy to feel. At some point, you need to deal with what you are feeling.

Turn Your Story of Lost into a Victory

How do you turn your story into a victory? One step at a time. There is no deadline.

After losing almost everything: give yourself permission to feel.

Realize that when you are talking about your trauma, your lost, you are processing what happened to you. It may be a physical lost of a possession, an emotional lost of a relationship, or a lost of a belief. Talking is healthy. Because, talking eventually helps you express how you feel. You may need to talk about your experiences for a long time. Did you know that as you grow older, your perspective shifts and changes?

Do you find yourself revisiting an old, unwelcome memory?

However, when talking or thinking about what you lost makes you feel physically ill, you need professional help. Yes, physically ill. A thought can cause your heart to race, your breathing to become more shallow, and your chest to tighten. In contrast, thoughts you enjoy brings a smile to your face, relaxes your shoulders and neck muscles, and even helps you breath more deeply.

Accept your emotions.

I encourage you to take time to think about how your lost makes you feel. Whatever you feel, acknowledge those feelings. Do not run away or push them down. Name them: fear, resentment, anxiousness, anger, dread, sorrow, loss, longing, etc. When I admitted that my emotions were affecting my physical and emotional health, I sought help from a counselor.

Take Action to Regain Joy

Knowing the power of prayer,I prayed for insights and direction. Determined to get my joy back, I started baking again. Friends enjoyed my gluten and dairy free recipes so much, they are now available for everyone with and without gluten intolerance, celiac. Then, I started the Baking with Prayer class resulting in gut healthy blogs.

During this time, I recognized that what I was feeling went much deeper than my most recent life challenge. I needed professional help.

Seek Help from a Professional

A clue I needed to talk to a professional counselor was that I kept talking about everything I lost with anyone who would listen. Self-blame started to take root. Those were very unhelpful thoughts. I also recognized behaviors associated with depression.

  • My emotions were flat and numb
  • I avoided talking about my feelings associated with the event
  • I needed too much sleep and fought to get out of bed
  • Eating was a chore
  • Life was missing that upbeat, purpose-filled joy
  • I needed to exhaust myself physically before going to bed

During my very first session, the counselor’s questionnaire helped me reflect on my past, my saga. Amazed, I learned that loss is a major theme dominating my life. As I reflected, I realized that losing almost everything triggered memories of traumatic loss that occurred during my preschool years. Just thinking about the memory left me with feelings of anger, judgment, and numbness. So, what did I do? I took a trip to learn more about the feelings behind that memory. What was their story, their saga?

Listen to their story, their saga

In just a few sessions, I realized the importance of listening to the person who left me with feelings of anger, judgment, and numbness. I decided to listen, not talk about myself. I worked to ask open-ended questions, avoided interrupting, and listened without judgment. Life is messy! What was their story? Their saga? What I learned was life-changing bringing a sense of peace and sadness. Even when you forgive, you still experience a feeling like sadness. Sadness helps you heal moving you through the stages of grief.

Listening Turned My Loss into a Victory

As I listened, I heard about this person’s childhood filled with challenges, lost, and feelings of rejection. I began to understand why certain actions were perceived as normal. To admit otherwise meant they would indirectly admit the wrongness of their actions. When we are no longer able to justify our actions, feelings of guilt can bury us unless we forgive ourselves. Equally challenging is to ask forgiveness from others. I no longer needed to hear, I am sorry. I accepted what happened and recognized we live in a very imperfect world.

Even when not asked, simply saying I forgive you helps everyone.

Intergenerational Trauma Affects Joy

Intergenerational trauma affects more than one family. Think of the stories passed down from one generation to another. Most of us have heard a story of lost. Intergenerational trauma affects your friends, community, and even your country. Each one of us can work to stop the transfer of intergenerational trauma upon others. This topic needs a blog all by itself.

The Blessings of Reflection Brings Joy

Unknowingly, I stopped the transfer of intergenerational trauma onto my own children and found joy. How? I reflected upon my behaviors and owned them. Then, I worked to change my behaviors that negatively affected my friends and family. Realizing that everyone has an opinion, I stopped listening to others and started listening to God. It is amazing how many times I found answers in the Bible right after pouring out my thoughts to God. And, there were times He spoke as I sang what was on my heart to Him.

Education Helps

What I learned in college through special education instruction and teaching preschoolers provided me with a huge head start. What a gift! When I disliked my knee-jerk response regarding my children’s behaviors, I read and attended a parenting support class. I recognized my lost and intellectualized my lost. What a gift to now recognize my feelings.

Look ahead and not in the rearview mirror. We all need to look ahead as you move forward in life.

view from the backseat of a car of someone driving on the highway into the mountains on an overcast day with fog over the hills ahead

The Gift From Losing Almost Everything

After 50 years, I finally moved out of the stage of grief called anger over what I lost during my childhood. I am no longer stuck, just a little sad. I am healing emotionally and my joy is returning.

Benefits of Untye Listening Program

The Untye listening program was created to improve emotional health. Have you ever thought about the emotional stress caused by hearing loss with sound intolerance?

When hearing and visual processing difficulties continue, I have found that counseling fails to fully improve emotional health. Why? Because that person is still experiencing the constant stress of sound intolerance, distorted listening, communication difficulties, and remembering what was heard.

Medical-induced anxiety from sound intolerance, hearing loss, and visual processing difficulties are real. Take the next step in improving your emotional wellness by scheduling a twenty-minute free phone consultation.

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