On June 2, 1999, at the age of 20, I lost my dad to suicide. I was devastated.
I didn’t understand how this man who had always been there for me, who would push me past my comfort zone, encourage me during times of self-doubt, and love me even when I felt unlovable could leave me in this way.
It’s now been nearly 19 years since I lost my dad, and this is what I’ve learned. It is possible to heal, but time alone doesn’t heal all wounds. For years I’ve said, “It’s what we do with that time that will determine the outcome of our journey.” I’ve recently realized that who we do it with is just as important.
Since my dad died, I’ve experienced many struggles and heartaches, but I’ve also been blessed with opportunities to heal. I attended a specialized eight-week process group, I’ve participated in survivor of suicide support groups across the country, I’ve worked with a variety of holistic healers, and I’ve been blessed to have people in my life who continuously challenge me, encourage me, and love me.
In the fall of 2017, I went through a very stressful experience with my older daughter. I was so distraught that none of my regular calming activities were working for me. My morning workout routine followed by devotional, prayer, and tai chi was a disaster. I couldn’t sit still or focus long enough to successfully do any of them. I was questioning all of my decisions and feeling uncertain about how to move forward.
So, what got me through this difficult time?
My friends … I had multiple friends reach out to me in their own love language to ensure that I was feeling supported. One friend wouldn’t take no for an answer when she insisted I attend our regular coffee group. Another friend sent me thoughtful messages checking in throughout the day and even left me a little gift at my front door. While another friend, who knew and understood that I was struggling to pray, shared a text message that went, “This morning our family prayed for yours. We named each one of you and asked God to give you strength and direction. The feeling I was left with after our prayer is that you are to stay the course. You chose this path for a reason – you should see it through. We love you.”
These friends were the light I needed to make it through a dark time when I was too unhealthy to make healthy choices.
Over the years I’ve been blessed to have the right people by my side as I’ve navigated my journey of healing. I’m eternally grateful for the various people who’ve come in and out of my life, who’ve introduced me to various methods of healing, and who’ve called me out and challenged me to be more than I thought I could be. I’m especially grateful for the people who’ve shown me kindness during moments when I needed it most.
While I know some of these people quite well, others were and still are strangers to me. Regardless, I experienced a connection with each one of them that's played a role not only in my own healing, but also in my ability to help others. These people, close friends and strangers, are my village ... and I can’t imagine where I’d be without them.
My inspiration for the Be The Village™ apparel line came from who my dad was to me, but I want to dedicate it to all of those who’ve been my village. Some of you I’ve know my whole life, while others of you I may never even know your name. In any case, my heart is full because of the impact you've made on who I am. Thank you!
At GOOD, we hope that these shirts and this message will be an inspiration and a reminder that we are all connected and that it takes a village to stay healthy.
We must surround ourselves with people who will push us beyond our comfort zone in a healthy way, encourage us during times of self-doubt, and love us even when we feel unlovable. And we must be willing to do the same for others.
Blessed │ Wife │ Mom │ Friend │ Founder of GOOD │ Author │ Public Speaker │ Golf Fanatic
It took me years to find my voice and even longer to learn how to use it so that I’m creating GOOD rather than just fighting the bad. Now I use my voice to heal myself and hopefully others along the way.
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Sending love to all those who struggle with mental health and/or have lost a loved one to suicide.
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