At the beginning of the year, I received a message from Lexi Behrnt, a fellow loss mum, asking me to join a new project, she was putting together on her website Scribbles & Crumbs. I had been aware of Lexi’s spirit, her way of crafting with words, her fierceness in healing from the loss of her son Charlie. Her message to me and what I had been seeing from Lexi made it very clear to me that our longing for people to embrace healing after loss was a mutual feeling. I didn’t need to know any more.
I had no idea where she was going with this but felt honoured to be asked to join, given my fierce prayer towards healthy grieving ultimately leading to healthy healing. I say ‘I had no idea’ because I didn’t ask who else she had asked, or how many, or anything else. In fact, I’m currently too busy dealing with recovery from burnout that I had no mental space left to be my usual interested self.
What I hear through people’s stories on ‘On Coming Alive’ is what is most important to my heart: Finding aliveness again after tragedy, loss and life’s challenges. Absolutely go and check them out here, if you haven’t read them yet.
When I look at what I wrote, I’ve noticed I’ve totally left out the fact that my mother died from suicide just 4.5 months after the loss of our daughter (I wrongly assumed ‘On Coming Alive’ was all about child loss.)
This is what I wrote today:
One thing my mother said after her first suicide attempt and my angry plead (“How do you think I would have been feeling while being pregnant with my girls and grieving the loss of my mother?”) … she said: “I know it (the grief) would be hard at the beginning but I also know it will become easier.” Nine months later she was gone… Oh, I was angry… really angry. Many ‘why’s’, many ‘what if’s’, circulating in my head and making me go nuts… and yet now, four years later I can say, she was right.
Where did she know that this was her truth about grief? One miscarriage, the loss of both of her parents and later her sister, that’s plenty of experience to draw wisdom from…
The choice of death does not define a person.
I have come to believe we all, consciously or subconsciously choose our death, one way or another…
Whatever the challenges are that you are facing, know that…
- You’re not alone. Even though it feels like it, chances are, someone else is going through very similar circumstances
- You can make it. Even if you don’t believe me now, you CAN make it through this. Even my mother COULD have made it, sadly she wasn’t in a state of mind to believe that and so she choose not to want to continue with the pain. If you’re in that spot, get help.
- You are resilient, beyond your wildest dreams. I knew a lot about resilience and when I was in the throws of fresh grief, I didn’t believe I had any resilience in me. Looking back, I did. Even if I felt terribly sad, angry and at a loss of what to do with myself.
- You are surrounded with support. You might not let them in, you might not have looked for your community but they are out there. Even when you’re not totally ready, at least dip your toe into looking for the support that fits you. And if one door doesn’t fit, open another.
- Find out for yourself. Don’t let others dictate how you should feel, what you should do, whether you should heal or ‘grieve forever’. Find out what fits for you.
Check out Nathalie Himmelrich’s contribution to On Coming Alive: Shaped, not defined