Whenever I feel compassion for another survivor or whenever I reach out to try and comfort someone else, it is simply an extension of the love my husband and I shared. The years spent watching him interact with the world with patience, calmness, and strength filled my heart to overflowing, so much so that there's still plenty of his influence to share with others. Caring for people and even animals came naturally to him. There were so many moments that expressed the depths of his heart in just a blink of time.
We raised our children in an oasis of peace in the country that he created to keep us safe. He loved walking among the trees and working in the garden. In the evenings, we would sit on the porch and sing or talk together until the stars came out. One day, we found several new pups our dog had hidden under the barn, their eyes and ears still sealed. Carefully, he reached into a hollowed out space beneath the corner beam, lifted them up, one at a time, and held their tiny bodies close. Before gently returning each to the watchful mother, he placed it close to his ear in a moment of communion. When the last one was safely tucked away, he turned and looked up at me, smiled, and said, "They each say something different."
The memories I have of him, thousands upon thousands of them, bring me joy. He helped a lot of people during his life, most of all me. He always wanted me to be happy, and I was. That kind of love is worth the pain of loss. That kind of love never dies. Because his influence is still strong in my life, I am not alone. In building a new life based on compassion and respect for a pain-filled world, I honor his memory in everything I do and make him a part of my days.
In the same way, you can find purpose. It might not come easy or soon. But as you begin to heal and remember again the one you lost, think about these questions. How is your life different because that one lived? What effect did he or she have on you? Who will you become as you find ways to carry that person's fire?
Maybe you won't write for other survivors. Maybe you won't start a foundation in your loved one's name. Maybe you won't do very much differently in your daily life than you are doing right now. But the call will come. Love outlasts pain, even the pain of death. And purpose comes in small steps that, one day, will make a big difference. To you. Your family. Others.
When you hear that call, you will know it. And you will answer.
Way for Hope
Losing someone you love is difficult, but it can mean a lot to hear from others traveling similar paths.
Follow on Instagram!
Links of Value:
Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Word of God
"My Story" Big Daddy Weave
"Hope in Front of Me"
The Joy FM
Traumatic loss or preexisting conditions can worsen mental health. Use this info graphic to find help.
"Take Charge of Your Mental Health" - a free download from www.nami.org: