There's nothing like running a business while trying to manage grief. It is so draining trying to get back to normal, but in reality, nothing is normal after losing a child.
Before the death of my son my business was thriving, I was fully energetic daily, ready to meet and service my clients. I must admit, my organization and business skills are spectacular. Although I am the only person who does everything, no one on the outside would ever know I do everything in my business myself. It is operated like a big business instead of a small single owner business. Every client who comes in contact with me loves me and my personality. I classify myself as an introvert, but you will never know when you meet me in my business setting. I love what I do and have a strong passion for it.
When my son passed away, my world stopped. I sunk into this dark place. My mental and physical well-being was under attack. My doctor diagnosed me with Dysarthria due to grief. I am currently still on medication and without medication my speech is slurred as if I had a stroke. Before the death of my son, I wasn't on any medication, no aches or pains. It's been eight months since his death, and a lot within me has changed.
In my business, I sell lace wigs and I also install them. I've been operating since 2008 busy, busy with a waiting list of clients trying to get booked. I have a lot of regular clients who have been coming to me for years, some since I started my business. The long term clients are what makes running my business while grieving complicated. They have always relied on me and depended on me.
During these times, it is very hard for me to get back into the groove. There are some days I have absolutely no motivation, although I know how valuable time is, there are times I sit doing nothing. In the past, I strongly felt like free time was a time to get ahead, and that time was too precious to be wasted. Now, my mindset is quite different not because I want it to be but because I'm still grieving the loss of my son.
Simple requests that used to be so easy aren't easy as they used to be. My hours of operation was 9am—7pm selling and installing lace wigs with an open booking app for anyone to book. I was very flexible, if a client needed to reschedule for a different day or a later time, I was always willing and able to accommodate them with almost any request. No matter what was going on in my personal life, taking care of my clients was very important.
Fast-forward to today, I am not that person and because I'm not that person I feel like I'm wrong because I'm not as accommodating to my clients like I used to be. When clients ask me if they could alter their time or day, it's hard telling them that me just showing up is a struggle and that I'm in the thick of my grief journey. Changes and processing questions is a real challenge. Requests that once were so simple are more complicated nowadays. Currently, the days and hours I have allotted to install lace wigs is all I can do at the moment. There are other parts of my business that must be maintained too. At the end of my work day, I am mentally and physically exhausted, but there's always cleaning lace wigs and administrated stuff that needs to be done. Installing lace wigs is just half of what my business entails. Grief strips all the energy out of you that makes it hard to keep up. Unmonitored grief can quickly take a toll on your health.
Keeping my grief to myself and not sharing with my clients is easier for me because I don't want them to take on my pain. I'm not here to make my clients sad or uncomfortable, I'm here to give them the service they are paying me for. No matter how my morning starts out, I will push myself to complete the few appointments I have scheduled for that day. Any appointment adjustments become a real mental challenge, I'm just trying to make it through what I have going on right now.
The reason it's hard to talk to clients about how grief has taken control of the best of me because everybody will try to give me advice to make it go away quicker. I wish it was that easy. I hear all the time for me to give it to God, pray about it, go to counseling, keep yourself busy etc. When losing a child, no matter what, grief is still a long process. Trying to fix grief quickly will only break you. So when I say “no” or “I can't” to a request, I am really saying, “I am on a grief journey right now. I am doing as much as I can, I'm not mentally capable to operate like I use to.” It's difficult telling my clients that because deep down I know they care and understand, but in reality they want me to hurry up and get back to the person I use to be. My reality is, I don't know if or when that will happen. Nobody knows the true feeling unless grief hits home with them. Only someone who has lost a child will understand, it can't be explained or understood. It's a daily struggle.