by Vickie Menendez
As a spiritual coach and self-care expert, I found myself facing the darkest and most unimaginable depths of loss when all four of my children from my first marriage passed away separately, leaving an indescribable void in my heart.
1980 – Leslie.
In 1980, I experienced the pain of giving birth to a full-term stillborn, Leslie. I knew ahead of time that she would not be making that trip home with me. I was only 20 years old and had no idea how to get through it.
In 2016 I discovered my 33-year-old son, Wesley, dead from a drug overdose in a decomposed state. That image of him is something that I am still working on to this day. Wesley was an amazing artist and held such promise. I included a piece of art that he laminated because it meant that much to him. You see his whole life in this drawing. What he wanted in life and what his struggles were. When I found it, I realized this was his gift to me. He explained in this drawing things that he could not verbally express to me. It saddened me that he felt like he could not tell me what he was feeling and what he needed from me if anything. I cherish this final message that he gave me to this day. Be open to even hard conversations with your kids. Be accepting and empathetic to their struggles and hold no judgment. It is a cry out for help when they resort to escaping from reality.
2023 – Crystal.
In 2023, as if that were not enough, I lost my 41-year-old daughter Crystal after spending 48 days in the hospital watching her fight for her life. It was Christmas Eve 2022, and we were texting back and forth about how excited she was about Christmas. She sent me a photo of the puppy that she fell in love with. The runt of the litter. She was preparing for her children to have an amazing day. What I did not know was that she had been struggling to breathe all day. She went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and although they were able to get a heartbeat and intubate her, there was massive brain damage that she could not come back from although she fought so hard to survive. I was helpless to do anything that would change her situation and I tried. She passed away on February 10th of 2023.
12 Days Later – Jesse.
12 days later I lost my 37-year-old son, Jesse, in a drowning accident.
This shook me to my core. I had just seen him a few hours before it happened. He was happy and looking forward to the day ahead of him. I was in a meeting when I last saw him. He came into my office to grab headphones and he was off to swim laps in the pool. I did not know at the time that it would be the last time I would see him. After this experience, I realized that we never know when the conversation we have with a loved one will be our last. I now see the importance of living from the heart and approaching all conversations we have with loved ones to be that of acceptance, compassion, empathy, and love.
Grief Like Waves
Grief engulfed every aspect of my being.
Waves of sadness crashed over me relentlessly, and it felt as though I was drowning in a sea of sorrow. The weight of this loss was beyond comprehension, and I questioned how I would ever find the strength to carry on.
As someone who had dedicated my life to guiding others through their own challenges, I was confronted with the realization that I now needed to apply the very principles I had imparted to others. It was a humbling and profoundly vulnerable experience.
Where Grief Resides.
At the core of my own pain, I knew that I had to embark on a journey of self-healing and self-compassion. I needed to honor my grief and give myself permission to feel the immense sadness and heartache that consumed me. It was important to acknowledge that healing takes time and that there is no linear path to recovery.
I leaned on my spiritual practices and beliefs which gave me solace during this unimaginable time. I immersed myself in meditation, prayer, and connecting with the Divine, seeking guidance and strength from a higher power. It was in these moments of stillness that I found glimpses of peace amidst the storm.
Additionally, the support of my loved ones, friends, and community became a lifeline. They held space for me to express my pain, offering their empathy and understanding. Together, we created a cocoon of love and compassion where I could unravel my emotions without judgment or expectation.
What Grief Does to Your Body.
The things that happened to my body following these losses were not to be ignored. I had brain fog; my memory was challenged, and I experienced pain that moved all over my body and I knew that I had to listen to my body and care for it. I had to be there for myself before I was there for anyone else. So that I could be there for others that were hurting.
Through this excruciating journey, I began to realize that healing does not mean forgetting or moving on from the pain. Healing is about finding a way to integrate the loss into our lives, honor the memories of those we have lost, and find meaning and purpose in the face of tragedy.
I channeled my grief into my work, using my own experiences to deepen my empathy and understanding for others who were navigating their own paths of sorrow. Through sharing my story, I aimed to offer a glimmer of hope to those who felt lost in their own grief.
Will Grief Ever Go Away?
While the pain of losing my children will always be a part of me, I have learned to carry it with grace and resilience. I have discovered that even amid profound loss, there is an unbreakable spirit within us that can guide us toward healing and transformation.
From Grief to Grace.
As I continue my journey, I hold onto the love and cherished memories I shared with my children. Their spirits will forever remain in my heart, and I strive to honor their lives by embracing the beauty and fragility of each precious moment.
Though the road ahead may still be filled with challenges, I am committed to nurturing my own well-being and helping others find their own paths to healing. In the depths of loss, I have discovered a strength within me that I never knew existed—a strength born from the love and connection that transcends even the boundaries of life and death.
If this is something that is difficult to get through alone, ask for help and live from the heart while you are trying to heal. Holding anger or judgment toward yourself or others will only make it that much harder to heal. When you let go of all the lower frequency emotions like guilt, judgment, anger, or any other negative emotions it makes more room for the higher frequency emotions like LOVE, JOY, FORGIVENESS, and all the other higher vibrational states or emotions that exist.
The two books that helped me in my healing journey were The Magic – 28 Days of Gratitude, by Rhonda Byrne and Radical Forgiveness, by Colin Tipping. It changed my life and helped me to see the people who come along on my journey and all my experiences through a different lens.
The Mother of All Memoirs
My book, The Mother of all MEMOIRS will be a beacon of light to anyone that has had a loss no matter how long ago it was. If it is holding you back from living your best life, then you should give it a read. It will change the way you look at loss and the people that you love so dearly.
Allow me to introduce myself, I am Vickie Menendez. In my life, I have encountered remarkable experiences that have shaped me into who I am today. I believe that everything has unfolded in divine order, leading me to this very moment. Each challenge, triumph, and turning point has played a part in shaping my path and purpose. I embrace the belief that there is a higher plan at work, guiding me along the way. With gratitude, I acknowledge the interconnectedness of these experiences, as they have paved the way for my personal growth, resilience, and the opportunity to serve others. With trust, I eagerly anticipate what lies ahead on this extraordinary journey. Overcoming the hurdles of bullying and sexual trauma during my early years was not easy, but I managed to navigate through them and achieve significant success in my career as a spa owner, spa manager, and interior designer. Through these professional pursuits, as well as my personal struggles and losses, I discovered the incredible potential for self-care and spirituality to bring about positive transformation. What truly inspires me is the opportunity to assist others in achieving their own paths to healing and wholeness. As a spiritual coach and self-care expert , I draw from my own life experiences to offer guidance and support to those who may be going through challenging times. My belief is that everyone deserves inner peace and joy and I strive to help them attain it by sharing the lessons I have learned throughout my life. Currently, I am venturing into the world of writing as an inspired author. I am working on a narrative that explores my personal journey of healing following the untimely deaths of 4 children. Through this book, my goal is to inspire and instill hope in those who have faced similar challenges, showing them that healing, and growth are possible even in the face of unimaginable tragedy. When reflecting on my life’s path, I find myself humbled by the opportunities I have had to learn and grow. I am living proof that surrender, trust, and belief bring about profound change. When you cultivate a deep connection with yourself, you become attuned to your inner voice and intuition. This allows you to identify what you truly need to thrive and find inner peace. Through my work, I hope to continue making a difference, spreading the message of self-care and spirituality, and offering support to those in need.