Wednesday Wisdom: This Is My Story.
In a recent coaching call, I was encouraged to share my story.
I have been hitting resistance around this since that call. And you know what that is? Because my mind wants me to remain comfortable.
Here we gooooooo…
About 10 years ago, I was living what I thought was my best life. Day in and day out, crushing goals, doing all of the things. By all outward appearances, life was good.
Lurking around an unsuspecting corner that summer, I began down a path of intense loss, tremendous heartache, and gut-wrenching grief.
It started with the unexpected death of my Mom. And the subsequent voicemail from a stranger telling me of her passing.
Three months later, my great-grandmother and matriarch of our family passed away.
A few months later, a close friend’s husband lost his battle with cancer.
The following month, one of my best friends from high school lost her battle with MS.
This continued for 2 years and a total of 28 deaths of family, friends, and acquaintances.
I found myself experiencing what I would later describe in the book about my journey as experiencing compounding grief. That was to say that while in the midst of grieving one loss, I received news of someone’s death, and that new grief compounded the existing grief.
My heart was heavy.
I was not sleeping well.
When I did sleep, I woke up in the middle of the night to reach out and touch my husband to make sure he was still breathing.
I was afraid to answer the phone because I was pretty sure it would bring more bad news.
Almost immediately after my Mom died, I chose to start a journal. Just for my grief. Just for my thoughts around the struggle of losing my Mom. And to grieve the challenging relationship we had.
Some days, I felt like I wrote in circles.
On other days, thoughts freely flowed out.
I just went with it.
Over the course of all of the losses I endured, I managed to document everything in a published book called “Rising Above the Ashes: Reigniting Your Joy After Any Loss.”
What I hoped was that my story could be of support to at least one other person… if it could help just one other person, that would be wonderful.
What changed for me?
I went on my first multi-day backpacking trip in 2016 (I didn’t count the trip to the Grand Canyon in 2004 at this point!). At the onset of that adventure, I set an intention to receive whatever I was meant to receive from the experience.
When I came home from that trip, I felt a profound sense of peace and deep love in my heart for all that happened during that 2-year period of grief and loss.
The peace and joy that I found in nature was something I couldn’t articulate into exact words… and yet, it had sweeping effects that others noticed, too.
I make it a priority to be in nature… to make myself a priority and take time for self-care and self-love… because I know that I can be of service and support to those around me when my own cup is full.
Over the most recent two years, life and loss during the pandemic, I have to say that I feel that my own journey of loss and grief was a tool to prepare me to be of support to those around me when they lost someone… to be a safe space for others to talk to and to share their feelings and experiences.
As I sit now, typing this, my heart is full. My soul is happy. I crave time in nature with my husband, for the gifts that only the healing power of nature can provide.
And I’m so very deeply grateful for every single experience that has led me to where I am today.