I still connect with my friend who was there for me just a few days after Drey died. On a few occasions she has wondered out loud, “why are you able to support others in the way you do but I am not?” My friend lost her loved one ten years ago.
I had a suicide loss survivor recently tell me, “it’s still feels like it happened yesterday.” She lost her loved one three years ago.
One of the FC LOSS volunteers recently attended a Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper training with the expectation on herself that she, too, would be able to train others. Instead she found herself revisiting the, “what did a miss” question. After some prayer and consideration she realized at least for now she needed to pause on this. She lost her loved one three years ago.
I sat at a restaurant last Fall with a suicide loss survivor and listened to her explain how she still goes into her closet daily, closes the door, and sobs. She lost her loved one four years ago.
Based on what I’ve learned from others and in my relatively brief five+ years experience, we continue healing for many years. But if we don’t take the time to reflect on where we were two, five, or however many years ago we may miss it. We may miss the slow but steady movement from surviving to thriving. We may forget two years ago we couldn’t look at those pictures. We may miss out on being grateful to God for His steady, consistent, love.
I’m not proposing we should walk around 24/7 vulnerable and exposed; always ruminating on heavy emotions, intrusive images, and the why, why, why questions. I am saying occasional reflection on our grief journey may leave us feeling more aware, grateful, and mindful of others and their journey.
This is not as good as it gets for me. I believe as long as we lean into our grief – whatever that looks like – we will all continue experiencing “healing” in our own way. In 2018 I will laugh, write, dance, and pause to re-read past blogs. I will take note of mile markers and where I was three years ago. I carry Drey with me always. I will never be the same. I may never get out those precious Christmas ornaments. I may avoid Worthington for the rest of my life. But still, I continue to heal.