Death sucks ass. So does grief. It kicks us in the teeth and then just leaves us there bleeding and cleaning up the chaos and aftermath. There isn’t a nice way to put it, it just is, and no one is going to dispute this. I can’t sugar coat it, because it just plain ol’ bites the big one, no pun intended.
I’ve contemplated writing this story for many years, this is the ‘Coles Note’ version and truthfully the long version will come to fruition one day. But it’s time to tell parts of this story in hopes that it will help someone else heal, survive or just reach out. Sometimes … that’s all that people need … an ear … an open heart … compassion and just basic understanding. Too many people in this world feel like they are an island, and that they are alone in their experiences in this life. So let me begin by telling you, I’m here, I’m listening and I care.
There are some other things that you should know before I begin:
I believe in the kindness, love and generosity of most of society.
I do not judge society as a whole based on the terrible acts of others.
I believe that intrinsically people are good.
I believe that time does heal all wounds.
I believe that in times of great grief, hurt and chaos, a helping hand, a loving heart and a listening ear can change someone’s world.
I believe in that all things happen for a reason.
I believe that we are not handed anything that we can’t handle.
I believe that we all have lessons to learn in this life, good and bad.
I believe that our challenge in life is how we deal with those lessons.
I believe I am who I am today because of the tragedy that changed my life.
I believe in Karma.
Most of all, I do believe in love. Of all sorts.
That’s one thing I believe about blogging and about being a life coach, you have to be real. You can’t be afraid to talk about the hard issues, and you can’t be afraid to get people to stop and think about what is happening in their lives. I notice even in my posts, anything that touches people way down deep in places that they don’t want to visit… don’t get as much traffic. Don’t be afraid to be real, own your issues, own your feelings and for the sake of yourself and others, do not be afraid to share. For your sake, start being authentic. Start dusting out your closets and deal with your skeletons and please just put them to rest. If anything else I can pass along, I hope it’s the ability to finally set you free.
Today is the anniversary of the tragic death of my brother Scott. He was an amazing kid. He was definitely part of my soul family, he was talented, creative, outgoing, intelligent and most of all loving. And ... I loved him dearly.
1991…seems like forever ago, but then again, on the other hand, it seems like yesterday. There are so many stories attached to this tragedy but those will come over time. It is a very sad day for our family, it always will be, it’s never easy to lose someone you love to death, because we are left here to try and find some meaning to it all. I don’t just mean to the death itself, but we sit there questioning everything about life, who we are, what we are doing here, and most of all why these awful things happen.
Some of the comments that I wrote at the beginning of this article I can’t believe that I wrote down, not because I don’t believe them to my core but because the people that offered condolences during that time, had suffered loss previously, they said those same things to me when he passed. Truthfully, I wanted to scream at them, basically tell them to just shut up, I didn’t want to hear it. In my grief, I couldn’t imagine that time would ever heal the million pieces of my heart that was shattered on the ground along with that of my family and what was left of our lives. I remember thinking, how could they say that? Well… now after all this time has passed, I can tell you it’s because it was true.
The “everything happens for a reason” line; Yes, well in my experience, that one is true too. People come and go in our lives for a purpose, to teach us, to help us learn, to wake us up. There were many things that happened as a result of his death, lots of really good things, yes good things, the life lessons that were learned, I could never have learned without that experience. Without his death, I wouldn’t be writing this, and I wouldn’t be as compelled as I am to help others. Scott’s death forever changed my life, and everyone else’s. I cannot speak for my other family members; this rendition of this story is my own rendition of the metamorphosis in my life. I CHOSE to find in good in something really terrible.
At the time, I was twenty-six years old; I had been married for 4 years and had just had my second child. I was still nursing him at the time, because he was so little. I lost my milk instantly, the instantaneous grief just obliterated everything. I remember it all just being a blur. My daughter was two at the time, and let me tell you, bless those little ones, I think having to stay grounded and somewhat present for the babies might have kept us sane. Well, it was my saviour to be sure. Our children really are the anchors in our lives, I back up, they are and have always been the anchors in mine.
Scott’s death was the end of many things:
Our family life as we knew it.
My parents happiness for a very long time.
For a time…. my faith in humanity.
For a time…my faith in anything.
However, it was the birth of many other things that forever changed who I was:
1. For myself: I learned that you have not experienced a broken heart until you have experienced tragedy such as this. I learned that there ARE worse things that can happen in your life and that I KNEW I COULD SURVIVE ANYTHING after this experience. In losing my marriage, it was hard, but it didn’t compare, I did feel like nothing compared to the broken heart brought on by death. It made it easier to make choices in my life knowing this. I have measured everything since then to this, and knew I would be okay.
2. I decided right then and there that I would do anything to ensure that my children were happy and healthy and that whatever was going on in my life didn’t adversely affect them.
3. I was going to live life to its fullest, there were no guarantees on tomorrow.
4. I was not going to waste any time being unhappy …. EVER… life is too short.
5. I was not going to let his death adversely affect my life in a way that made me hate the world.
6. I had to be strong…always.
7. I had to count on myself to get back up, dust myself off and keep on trudging.
8. I was going to try find whatever silver linings I could out of something so awful; it was the only way I could survive. I still do this every single day ... find the silver linings that is … and they are there.
9. I was not going to be a victim.
10. I was not going to let those that bullied Scott and ruin his life, ruin mine too, because that meant they were still winning.
11. I was going to stand up for what is right and good.
12. I was going to enjoy EVERY breath.
13. I was going to take every opportunity to make my own life and that of others better in any way that I can.
14. I can and will survive.
15. It gave me perspective by which to measure all else.
Grief is a funny thing, (not in a haha way). I think you believe that others will help you through these really hard times; I realized I had to help myself. It was a hard lesson to learn. I noted also that as grief is one of the MOST UNCOMFORTABLE conditions for people to deal with, they end up shying away from those that are grieving, because they don’t know what to do or say. Anyone that has survived grief will back me up on this. It is a very odd experience indeed, it helped me realize I controlled the grief, I controlled its effect on my life and truthfully I wasn’t going to let it define me. To all of you, don't be afraid to reach out to those that are grieving, it helps if you are just there, trust me when I say, you don't have to say anything at all.
I am here today to tell you why I stand for the things that I do, there are many people out there that are stuck and are afraid to ask for help. There are many people out there that keep everything inside because they don’t want to burden those around them.
Scott wasn't and isn't the only one being bullied. There are people out there getting bullied EVERY SINGLE DAY. I bet each of you can name at least five. There are children and adults alike being bullied, it is ripping their lives apart, and in this instance it continues to rip the lives of those left behind apart as well. To all of you out there that are bullies, that is a heavy burden to bear, and you will bear it for the rest of your life. Be strong enough to end the cycle or to heal the hurts that you yourself have encountered. Be cognizant that you are literally killing people.
To the bullies that had a hand in my brothers' death, I have forgiven you ... a long time ago. Why? Because ... you have to forgive yourselves.
Some of us are stronger than others; we can handle the barrage of unpleasantness that comes from bullies, some of aren’t. To those of us that stand around and watch it happen, stand up and help those that have a hard time standing up for themselves. I can say I have, many times…I would rather suffer the consequences than stand by and do nothing. Speak up.
I am here to speak for those that are bullied, for suicide prevention, for surviving death and grief. I am here as a speak for the people in your life that think you are not present and invested in your life right now. BE PRESENT! Today … right now, tell the people that you love… that you love them, hug them tight and make time for them in your life. At the end of your life, the people that you worked with will not remember you and the fact you poured your life into your job, the people that mean the most are the ones that we spend the least amount of time with, our families and our friends. Forgive. Forget. Life is too damn short to be fighting, it’s not worth it. When you are asking yourself about your actions, remember that you get exactly what you put out. You can choose your life, you can choose what you alone make of it, you can choose to really live, or to merely exist. Don't have any regrets for the things you didn't do or say. As Nike says "Just Do It" ... as Charis says "Just Say It".
What is the purpose of sharing this with you today? Many reasons; I want you to read my words and make a conscious decision to change even one thing in your life. Make your life everything that you want it to be … tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Make choices that improve your life and the happiness of yourself and those around you. When I post things like … appreciate those in your life … and for your own sake … tell them what them mean to you … every single day. Stop being a victim, pull up your socks, be accountable for the life choices that you have made and move on. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving. Enjoy your family, enjoy your friends… just enjoy life. Take a walk, sing (even if it’s awful), dance (even if it’s in the kitchen), smile (all day long), BE GRATEFUL (you are alive, appreciate it). Life isn’t always what we planned, mine sure hasn’t been, but I do refuse to let any of the challenging parts define who I am.
Scott’s death cannot be in vain … if this helps just one person to make a change in some way, shape or form, then it’s us good guys that are winning.
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Let me not be judged by what I have and have not accomplished but by the remarkable children I have raised. Mother, Business Consultant, Entrepreneur, Designer, Artist.
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