Episode #10 starts With Chapter 1

Welcome to Mother’s Backyard Buzz and #empathyforgrief podcast episode #10, where we “break the silent struggle” around grief by unpacking my book: My Backyard Garden – A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief.  Each week, I invite you to join me, Debra Hester, as the author and your host as I share additional insights into a journey we all will take called grief. This episode, I’d like to discuss an exciting time of each day called early mornings. The title of Chapter 1 in my book is called: “A Change of Planes.”  Reflecting back now, I don’t believe that it was by chance that my memoir started in the early morning hours, either.  You know I could have gotten that phone call at any time of the day or night. Still, it was in the early morning when I received the call that my mother’s condition was life-threatening and that my mother was in the hospital.

A Night Person’s Perspective

Getting back to the topic: Early Mornings. I’ve got to ask you this question:  Did you yarn when I said the word; “early mornings”?  Because I’m really a night person, the thought occurred to me to yarn, but I didn’t because of course, I’m recording. But over the years, I’ve learned that early mornings are a distinct time of the day. I wonder if people who are naturally morning people realize what a unique gift they have. Morning people have the gift to wake before the sun with ease and delight. And with an energy level as if it’s 10 am or the middle of the day. It’s an incredible ability to me!

When I was in college, I didn’t even want any morning classes so I’d schedule the latest morning classes possible. Even after college, my first full-time job was working a 4 pm to midnight shift and I loved it?  Now I could stay up all night until the early morning; but that doesn’t count here. When you stay up all night until the early morning, you’re tired and exhausted. It’s what I like to cal “spent”. Everything that you could contribute to any situation is worthless…you’ve spent all your energy.

More on Being “Spent”

At times grief makes me feel spent too. It’s hard to sleep through the night, even thought you’re sad and tired during the day. Grief can be exhausting all by itself. Plus, it’s exhausting trying to hide how you really feel so you can function through work, school, or family gatherings. Along with feeling exhausted, I’d also feel anxious, frustrated, and lonely. I spent a lot of time reflecting on how I felt sad until I had to start looking for ways to feel better emotionally and physically.

There was this song that I learned in the youth choir call, “I Come To the Garden Along”.  The lyrics start like this: “I come to the garden alone when the dew is still on the roses.” In my mind, it meant early in the day.  This song had helped me long before my mother died, and I enjoyed it before my book title or my social platform on grief support.  However, the reference to morning in this song helped me embrace the power of early mornings.

An Awakening

Like I said earlier, I had to develop my appreciation for early mornings. How did it start? Well, it started when I first started developing my personal relationship with the Creator, I would study and read spiritual information before I’d go to bed.  As time passed, and I also developed a better prayer life. When I say better prayer life, maybe I should call it a deeper prayer life. My prayers had moved from the repetitious prayers you say before you go to sleep as a child; to adding a real conversation. My praters included things I was grateful for, wanted for others, for the world I lived in, as well as myself.  I was blessed with spiritual mentors, who also helped me with deepening my intercessory prayer life.

So what does prayer have to do with early mornings you may be thinking.  You may also be thinking, Debra’s going to ask me to get up and pray early in the morning.  I could ask you that because it’s relatively traditional. Do you remember prayer breakfast and sunrise service?  Yes, I do too and for the longest, those gathering didn’t interest me.  Remember, I was not a morning person.  I was not going to get up that early.  Not even for some of the best pancakes in the world.  So I’m not going to ask you to get up in the early mornings to pray. Now you can if you’d like; but I believe you should pray when you feel you should pray.  Prayer doesn’t have a specific time when it should be done.

Becoming A Morning Person

So what I’m going to do is share with you what happened to me, and you can decide what you need to do. Remember the deeper prayer, spiritual reading and studying at night before I went to bed habit I developed? Well, after a while, I would wake up at 4 am in the morning.  Me, the “not” a morning person, not even for pancakes and bacon, would wake up at 4 am..was wide awake!  I wasn’t sleep, I didn’t want to go back to sleep.

Of course, I panicked because I had a reasonably challenging career and didn’t have time to miss a beat during the working day. I was glad that it wasn’t every morning, but it did occur 2-3 times a week.  After trying to figure out what was going on, it just came to me that maybe I should spend this time in prayer and meditation.

So I started meditating so that I’d have enough energy to get through the workday.  Meditation gives me longer-term energy even thought I started drinking coffee in my later years too.  Then I realized that time didn’t seem to pass as fast during these early mornings. It seemed like a slower time of the day, sipping my coffee and enjoying the this simple pleasure.

I learned to appreciate the calm, the quiet. When I traveled, even the busiest cities were pleasantly peaceful early in the mornings. I had time to observe how the world and the skies changed as the daylight would overcome the night. It was a very awesome experience! And I thought I’ve been missing this for all these year to sleep in!

Mornings Heal

My appreciation for early mornings did happen before my mother died, and before business travel required it. Bu after she passed, I have realized that early mornings are still a great time to gather and collect peace during the grief journey. So I encourage you, loved ones, to add an early morning or two experience to your week.

It may take some planning and change of schedule the night before but give early mornings a try.  I look forward to unwinding early the night before and rising before the sun.  In the early mornings, think of your garden place and your good memories of your life with your loved ones.  Think a bit about your favorite creative project, read or write down a few thoughts.  I take photos with my phone of how the sky changes colors in the morning.

Yes, I know you may cry during that time. I have.  And I hope you caught, smile and also find some peace. If you’re not an early morning person like me…imagine what your loved ones will think.  But tell them, you’re O.K., you’re changing and this is something new your wanted to try as you move forward on your journey.

Ways to Engage

I want to thank you loved ones for listening to #empathyforgrief podcast episode #10 about “Early Mornings”. My podcasts are created based on my book, My Backyard Garden – A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief.  If you’re joining the weekly podcast, to follow along with the text, you’re not behind. My book is a quick read. It’s meant to inspire reflections and conversation for those of us who are on this grief journey.  As I continue to reflect and share through my podcasts, I hope that we continue to move and heal.

This is Debra Hester, your host, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief.  Remember: move forward from the pain of your loss with love and more empathy, less sympathy.  If you found the podcast helpful, it’s available anytime on iHeart, iTunes or from your favorite podcast provider.  #empathyforgrief podcast is now on the radio with Force 3 FM Radio Network and also streaming online at www.force3radio.com at 2pm CST during their all gospel music Sundays.

I invite you to find out more about my mission at www.mothersbackyard.org.  Join me next week when we continue with Chapter 1, “Change of Planes” in my book, My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief.  And the buzz will be about “That Moment.”

Peace and Blessings.