Trigger warning: Self-harm, Suicide, and Grief are mentioned in this post.
This image came up today in my memories on my personal Facebook page, along with a very unique post I made about family. I will also share with you that it is important to share things of meaning and personal nature without giving too much of oneself away. I know this is a repost of some of the information I have shared in the past, but it was also an excellent chance to share a bit more.
Here is the post that goes with the photo:
Just a gentle reminder to myself how much joy they each brought to our lives Life is precious, and the next day with someone you love is never promised. grab onto it with both hands and love them while you can.
What can I say about those people I have lost, what can I say about what they have passed on through me…Well, let’s see…
From my Dad, to love with my whole heart no matter what.
From my Papa, that money is just that, money, no matter what happens in life or what comes our way, it is only money… you can make more.
From my Grandma, to treat the people around you in life with great kindness, even if those people have done you wrong.
From my Uncle Jack, the joy of life itself and the joy of music. Laugh whenever you can, smile often, and provide your life with an amazing soundtrack.
You may all be gone from my life but I carry each one of you with me every single day.
The message I am trying to convey is this, don’t be saddened by your memories; look for the good ones, tell their stories, and they will live on with you.
Sure, I miss each of them that have passed on, but I am also at peace now with their passing. I still have moments that hit me out of nowhere, ones that are painful and stop me in my tracks, but let’s face it, there is no way around that when you grieve a loss.
It is natural to have good and bad days in everything we do, especially with grief. I have found what works for me in these moments is to let the pain in, to feel it, and allow myself to cry or scream or both for that matter. Once I have allowed myself to feel the moment, it starts to fade a little bit, becoming more manageable for me to breathe. Grief is not easy. No, it is a battle we fight every day.
For instance, if I push that moment away, if I do not allow myself that moment to grieve, NO MATTER HOW LONG IT HAS BEEN, then the next time it occurs, it is more robust and with more insistence. Gnawing at me to release the emotions, begging me to cry, to feel with all the intensity I do. Thus it created this urge in me to just LET IT GO, to cry when needed, break things, and feel everything at that moment.
This was hard for me to learn, especially since I had often been told not to cry, to suck it up, to move on, and to not show my emotions in public… All these things from a very young age and into my adulthood. But you know what? Life is exceptionally messy; one that has been marred by grief is inherently going to be rough and maddening at times. Especially if the person who is feeling everything all at once, all the time, is an empath & Neurodivergent. If I kept everything all bottled up, all the time, I would be that preverbal ticking time bomb.
This became even more important once I had children; before that, there were no circumstances in which I felt my absence would be missed. Sure, there were family members who loved me, and I loved them, but I always felt disconnected, unwanted at times, and out of place. Sad truth, but when you are a child of a broken home and one who lost a parent early on in their lives, you lose a sense of your worth. You feel abandoned and lost with no real person to turn to.
You become this lost soul, trying to find its way through life, just going through the motions. It is as though you are on autopilot, learning to navigate your way through the seas and skies around you. As this lost child, I, too, struggled with ending things way before my time; I contemplated ending it all on numerous occasions. I attempted with medications a couple of times and even started cutting. I did not know how to cope, part of being Neurodivergent is it makes it hard to process the emotions that you are feeling.
Writing helped some, but not when it was destroyed or became something “sinful,” this quickly became an outlet I could no longer use as a child. Or if I did, it would be one I had to hide. The same went for art; it helped, but also I had to sensor it for fear of it too be taken from me or destroyed. There were so many pieces I created over the years that I quickly destroyed… after their creation, hiding my feelings, hiding my emotions… and for what? The answer is simple…It was so that I could allow others to be a peace. Because, to me, everyone else mattered more than I did. I was this sad, broken thing, that no one really wanted.
Did one ever stop to think that some of the creations that made you so uneasy were of a child who needed help, of a child who needed saving? Or even just for someone to LISTEN without judgment or fear of damnation? No, they never did. Conversations like this were forbidden or only ever skirted around so as not to cause problems or upset delicate sensibilities. We never discussed managing your feelings or the loss that created this gaping hole within my core. No, that simply was not done.
I had a moment of clarity when I was 14; I had found a best friend, whom I have now since lost. She passed away before her 37th birthday a few years ago. Within her, I found a kindred soul who would listen when I needed them. Someone who loved me for all my broken parts. Sure I had other friends who meant a lot to me, but this connection was more profound than the others. We were inseparable. She saved me from me, and I did the same for her many times; she knew how to pull me back from my darkness, and somehow I was the light in hers. I did not dare admit it when I was younger, and I am sure she would not have either, but I was hopelessly in love with her, and she was with me. Had we leaned into that and accepted that more, we might not have had some of the issues we did as adults. This is neither here nor there now. The whole point is that it only takes one person to listen. I mean, really listen. One person to say, YOU MATTER! Without judgments or harsh words, without condemning someone for their thoughts, feelings, or how they process things.
I look back at all this, and I look deeply into myself. It is a challenging bit of shadow work, lying there before me as I do this. It pulls at every bit of my ragged corners and lays it bare for the world to see. However, I am now able to process these things as I should. I can now talk about my complex emotions, work through them, and know what I need to improve. Something I never would have learned how to do without that dear friend by my side for so many years. I would have never known how to process certain circumstances that my ex-husband and I went through. But, as with all things, sometimes we have a change we do not expect. Friendships grow, and sometimes that means they grow apart. Not really ending; just drifting away as life changes the circumstances around us. This happened to that dear friend and me. It was neither my fault nor hers; life just decided it had other plans for us. It would meld us for the events that had yet to come. And in her absence, I would end a marriage, and save myself and my children. This was something I had to learn to do on my own. A journey that no one else could really guide me on but me.
A few years later, I would meet my husband, fall in love with him and build a relationship that would encompass that friendship and love. A relationship that would fill me with joy and happiness I had only ever felt at the birth of my children. This was my person, one that I would grow old with. The soul I was meant to connect with on that higher & deeper level of existence.
Now, that is not to say that we have not faced our share of tragic or stressful times because we most certainly have. But it is to say that with him, I can meet anything head-on. I have support and unconditional love, and so does he. Through our relationship, we have provided a safe place for all our children to grow, which is not always an easy thing. We have connected with repeatedly, telling them our stories, being open, honest, and above all loving in our acceptance of each of them.
It has always been my goal, and I hope to be that person for other people, especially for my children. To be the one that listens, which they can come to for anything. To create an environment where they feel safe expressing their thoughts and emotions. This is a challenging task! We strive to be decent parents, and sometimes we think we have faltered. It is not an experience for the weak raising children; it is our job to get them to adulthood and ensure they are decent humans once they get there.
Through parenting these amazingly fantastic individuals, I have also learned patience, understanding, and to be kinder to myself. As they watched me grieve, they, too, learned how to grieve our family members. How to process that pain and those emotions, not always with dignity, but that is okay.
Grief itself is not dignified in its presence in our lives. They learned that even though it comes in waves over time, allowing them to crash into you is okay. To enable them to knock you over and to feel every scrape it leaves behind in their wake. It is messy, complex, and painful. There is no absolute right or wrong way to process it, but there are ways you can make it easier on yourself.
Hold your loved ones in your thoughts, and try hard to focus on the positives in their memories. Tell their stories to keep them alive; the more you do, the easier those waves are to deal with as they come in with the ever-changing tides of life.
We, as a family, share stories, recipes, photos, songs, and lessons we have learned from our loved ones who have joined the ranks of our other ancestors before them. It is through these things they have built something eternal within our hearts.
I hope this resonates with you all today; I know it made me do some hard shadow work writing it. I felt it deeply as I began working through this process yet again. It is worth every tear that fell on my cheeks today.
If you wonder what exactly shadow work is and how it can work for you, please check out this post I wrote:
The post goes into a more in-depth breakdown of what Shadow Work is and how one can use it not only to work through grief but other traumatic instances that you may go through in life. With all things, you should sometimes reach out to a medical professional if you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, ideations, or thoughts of self-harm in any manner. This goes far beyond Neurodivergent intrusive thoughts that we push to the side. If you know, you know… These thoughts won’t go away, ones that can’t be silenced. While many of us can work on things as individuals, there are times you should seek out a professional, to help you work through something you are not otherwise capable of doing alone.
Also, remember that there are new ways of talking to these professionals. You do not even have to leave the house. You can often do an online or virtual conference with many doctors. Help for many is merely just a click or a phone call away. There is no shame in reaching out for medical help; the sooner we end this stigma, the better our futures will be.