Early on people asked, “Why share your story so openly?” The response was always the same. It was cathartic to write it. There is a lot of healing power in sharing. It didn’t take long before I recognized the healing power wasn’t just for me, but for many other moms out there just like me.
When you get hit by the train of grief and loss, the trauma is lonely. You feel like the only person in the world that has suffered a loss. Life as you know it is gone. Everything is turned upside down and all you can do is stand in the middle of the chaos and scream. No one else seems to be able to hear you until you meet someone just like you.
I felt lucky to know others that have walked this path of loss. Lucky is a poor choice of words, but it is true. There were women around me that could share their experience. Some of these women I have known my entire life. Can you believe I never really knew their stories until we had child loss in common?! No one talked about it. On the rare occasion something would be said, but it was always in a hushed tone then glazed over as if the conversation never took place.
Standing in the middle of my grief I was in shock! How could we let this happen? What was everyone so afraid of? Why had we never let these women share their story? I say “let” because it is our fault. We as a society project this stigma on grief and loss. An unspoken pressure exists to move on, stop talking about it, and pretend we have healed.
My loss has taught me how important it is to share your story. Every bereaved mother that emails me, finds me through social media, and reads my blog posts is a new connection. I have learned that everyone is hungry to tell their story. To connect with someone else just like them. We are healing together.
You change the world by opening yourself up to share your story.
This was the topic of a brilliant TED Talk I watched recently. Rebecca Peyton tells the story of how her sister’s murder over 10 years ago has shaped her life. In her story she talks profoundly about our natural reaction of avoiding the trauma of others. The fear that we will say the wrong thing or upset them. Mostly the fear of the unknown. This separates our worlds. One side being those that have lost. The other side being those that have not. When the two sides collide it can bring incredible discomfort.
She talks about the door we pass through when something terrible happens in our lives, like a death. We are thrust into our new reality, losing our self in the transition. I love how she describes it as a set of train tracks. You are stuck on a new set of tracks. They run parallel to the tracks of your old life, at least for a while. You can see your old life through the glass that separates the tracks. Then after a while your old life starts to move away. You can see it. You want it. However, there is absolutely nothing you can do to get it back.
This new person that exists now must learn how to live again, this time in a world she doesn’t recognize or even like. She can’t share her story because people actively avoid her now. Rebecca’s challenge is to “be staggeringly inappropriate”. Remove the power fear holds by calling it out. Share your story! Listen to other’s share their story. Be kind. Approach it with child like questions and curiosity. You can change the world by doing this.
I have an idea. A vision to share your story.
I want to create a platform for bereaved mothers to share their story. As I write, I am creating a blog series that will feature guest posts from people just like us. Together we will show the world what it is like to lose a child. We will teach them about grief, life after loss, and how we are learning to live again. I want to be “staggeringly inappropriate” and remove the power fear holds over those around us. Sharing is part of our healing.
As I finalize what this blog series will be, I will share the details with you. You can sign up below to receive updates as they are available. I am excited by the possibilities, and I hope you will join me.