Recently I shared lunch with a very special friend of mine and he asked me for updates of the business I am creating and news of my life. As I talked, I noted how intensely he was listening, nodding every so often and never taking his eyes from my face. Then he startled me with a question. “Do you remember where you were when I met you?” I hesitated a moment before answering him. “I was a bit of a disaster, wasn’t I!!” Since Colin was at that time my Grief and Bereavement Counsellor following the loss of my teenage son, it was not hard to respond to his question. But Colin wasn’t done with me yet. In fact, very carefully and succinctly he spelled it out. “ALEX, YOU HAD GIVEN UP!!!!”
And there it was. I could not deny it. I had indeed given up any aspirations of making it through this life time! I began to reflect on Colin’s words for days and also his further comments about how far I have come and what accomplishments have transpired since that time. This moment of realisation that I had actually survived a time of deepest and darkest despair and then turned it around completely began an entire new direction in my thinking. So how did I actually do that? What subconscious lead did I have into survival mode??
I have repeatedly heard from amongst family, friends and clients that they “no longer want to be here”. My heart aches every time that sentence comes my way. Some of my loved ones follow through on this sad thought leaving me shattered and rebuilding yet again. I know the Darkness well. It sits next to me and peers at me in my weaker moments. Yet it is not my enemy. I am my enemy. I have the ability to hold the hand of Darkness or not. I must choose.
I can easily become my own enemy of darkness. Or I can choose to fight back and live a life in the Light. By Light I mean build hope, faith and a positive belief in something that creates meaning to my journey. My own darkness involved my inability to mother all of my children the way I wanted to since dimensions divided them. It mattered not what side of life or death my kids were, I couldn’t be on both sides to parent them all and it left me rendered quite inadequate, worthless and guilt filled. So where to from this place of hopelessness?
The answer arrived in a simple thought. – I will not allow my son to leave this earth without meaning to his life. My saving Grace was in developing a point of reference or a belief system that was greater than myself. To create or resurrect a set of values that provides hope when life has challenged you into the ground and despair is all you know, is the basis of having a point of reference as I call it. To survive I had to believe in something. So I chose to believe that there was a purpose to handing over my son to the Creator of life before his 18th birthday! And with decision made, I gradually returned to life. I learnt how to fight back against life’s adversities. Even more important, I discovered that my son was around me and sending encouragement with love. So I followed the prompts and learnt what the “fight” really is.
On a walk with a best friend not long ago, I found a native Flannel Flower which is an uncommon find and not easy to grow. This flower struggles into life through hard, dry soil, around rocks, and through weeds that are hardy and survival trained. To those of you who would give up and talk yourselves into going “home”, perhaps you might choose to follow the inspiration of the Flannel Flower and fight back. Yes, FIGHT!!! That’s what I said! Fight against injustice with self-love, fight against life challenge with courage and faith in something bigger than you. Take your simple thought and develop it into a reason for creating something important. My simple thought has taken me to healing, wisdom, gratitude and giving to others. It has been a hard but worthwhile journey.
Additionally, I have discovered the peace of gratitude. Every life challenge brings a gift with it. Dig deep and seek the gifts within each and every moment. They are there and sometimes we need to fight to find them. The battle will be a worthy one as we each grow and begin to understand the bigger picture. Our traumas are both our greatest fights but also our greatest gifts. I feel my son smiling at me at each wondrous and damn hard earned discovery and I find myself smiling in return!
And to Colin for his wisdom and encouragement? A giant smile. You are the best!