Eudaimonia Tip # 10 – Listen to your emotions, they are telling you what you need
Sometimes life sends us a lingering feeling or a fleeting thought, but either duration leaves us with an uneasiness if you don’t take action. It’s similar to pulling yourself out of bed and going to church to hear the best sermon of your life or going for that run in the dropping temps that helps you stay on course. In my case, I knew that if I didn’t find support after I finished school, I would be in big trouble.
First, finishing my degree took up a big chunk of my time so without the distraction I knew my mind would jump right to Sam. Second, Sam and I loved fall and doing all the cliche type fall-winter activities, which memories of said events were about to rush into my brain, not to mention the facebook memories feature that I haven’t quite figured how to turn off.
With determination and some apprehension, I joined the suicide support group at Cornerstone of Hope which conveniently started the end of August and was scheduled to last ten weeks (with one-week intentionally skipped). To say that the group was a godsend is not exaggerating. Individually we all showed up not knowing what to expect, but knowing we each needed emotional help.
The first day we got acquainted with each other as well as our facilitators, who did a fantastic job at letting us be our group. The outline of the next ten weeks was discussed along with the weeks we would be sharing the loss of our loved ones. I’ll never forget the end of the first day, as we all stood in a circle and passed a ball of yarn around while holding onto a point in the string. As we each stood holding our portion, it was easy to see the visual before us. Laura, one of our facilitators, explained that this is a safe place, and the yarn we are all holding represents a safety net. Then we each went around and expressed what we hoped we would get out of the group at the end of ten weeks. Most in the group wanted to find understanding in their loss; others wanted to find peace. I was in a different place; I understood why he did it, and with that knowledge brought with it a sense of anger that if not checked would have consumed me. When it came to my turn, I merely said: “I hope that this group can help me let go of my anger towards Sam.”
And you know what, they did.
We all suffered the same loss in name only, but our stories were all so vastly different. Two dedicated mothers, a devoted husband, a loving wife, a committed daughter, and a compassionate aunt each brought their shattered hearts looking for someone or someway to help start to put the pieces back together.
Looking back to that first meeting on August 30th it seemed like ten weeks was going to take forever. Fast forward to our last group meeting on Nov 8th, and it seemed surreal at how fast the time went by. Somewhere in the middle of these cluster of weeks we each shared our stories throughout two sessions leaving us with great heaviness of what suicide does to those left in the aftermath. The pain is impossible to express, but when there is even the slightest bit of healing, it is a tremendous feat to acknowledge.
The whole point of a support group is to find those that are going through the same thing you are. The empathy given and found when sharing in another’s pain is so important to the healing process.
I can’t quite remember where I heard this from, but time does not heal grief, it only helps us deal with it better. Each of us suffered a tremendous loss, and our journey now is to find a way to deal with our grief daily. Some days may swell and overtake us, while other days will be calm. No matter the day that lays ahead, I am grateful for those that sat with me over the ten weeks to share their burden of pain and listen to my own. If it wasn’t for these eight people that God brought into my life, I do not know if I could have let go of my anger. Knowing that I can remember the good memories and not only focus on the bad is a gift that I will treasure forever.