It’s a procedure on airplanes that attendants review each time passengers board the aircraft: In case of emergency, put your oxygen mask on first and then assist those around you. The idea is that if you take care of yourself first, you will be better able to help others.
When I became a widow, this concept was reiterated, but in a new way. I need to take care of myself in order to be the best person I can be for my sons and the others in my life that I love and care about. This means I need to allow myself time to go out with friends, take a trip or retreat, or sit in the quiet of my own company and do something I enjoy.
I've always been a giver, but giving to myself has been a very foreign and difficult concept for me. I garner a lot of self worth from doing for others. However, I am learning that to heal from this gaping wound of grief , I need to pacify my own needs more than just occasionally. I need to put my own oxygen mask on first.