Go get your coffee cup and settle in. We need to talk. Or actually I need to talk. I’ve been thinking about how to start this conversation with you for a while, but my head has been in a fog, trying to figure out, “What now?”
Maybe you can listen. Maybe it will help me.
My husband committed suicide almost two years ago; my heart is broken and sometimes it feels as if all of my words are stuck in my throat. My fingers on most days just hover over the keyboard; not sure what to write–an added injury to a writer. The few pages I have written in my journal look like Rorschach tests from all the tears swirled in with ink. I know the importance of staying emotionally up-to-date with myself and with others. I know to talk out the pain and be real with people about how I’m doing. I’m so grateful for the people who sit and listen without trying to prompt me to see the silver lining (and I’m a person who perpetually, and obnoxiously, so I’ve been told, looks for the silver lining). I’m grateful for people who refrain from telling me that my husband is no longer suffering from debilitating depression and that he is in a better place. His place was here. With us. With me. We were his place.
One thing we can be sure of in life is that if you haven’t experienced circumstances that knock you off balance, hold on, it’s only a matter of time.
My husband’s death changed my family’s life as quickly as flipping a light switch. On many days since, I’ve wanted to bury my head under the covers and never come out. But I learned something through counseling and my graduate work that has piqued my interest in people’s approaches to stress and crisis. How a family or individual perceives a stressor can have an effect on the impact of the stress. Continue reading
Anyone can find the dirt in someone. Be the one that finds the gold. — Proverbs 11:27
I found it pretty natural while raising my kids to look for and encourage their strengths, whether it was our daughter’s talents in art and music or our son’s track abilities and love of history. Sometimes the challenge was to help them to see something about themselves that they couldn’t see on their own.
I remember when the kids would occasionally talk negatively about themselves, it hurt my heart to hear it. “Don’t talk about my kid like that,” I’d say in a stern voice, which was usually enough to garner a smile and redirect the negative self-talk into something more positive. When I told my therapist this recently, she asked why I didn’t say that to myself when my own inner critic started in on me.