During my early on days of loss we were surrounded by so much love and wisdom. I also had the privilege of going through about 4 months of grief-focused counseling that my college offered for free. That was the best decision ever. I was a tad apprehensive about it but instantly became a fan. I didn’t become a believer in it because it was easy and comfortable. It was actually hard, ugly, and uncomfortable BUT relieving and helped me let go of burdens I had been carrying. Each session was like letting go of a brick. Some of the best advice I received was from other females who had walked the same path as I. Some were many years into the healing journey and some were fresher. ALL of it was helpful because they had been in my shoes. I was them on day one of loss. Day one of re-entering my surroundings and feeling uncomfortable in my own circle. Besides their insightful words they passed on to me, what was most helpful was their presence. They existed. They stayed alive. They kept going. It spoke volumes to me, to see them living, thriving, and smiling. Loss has an unspoken club that doesn’t need a mascot or a secret handshake to recognize each other, but simply a glance.
When I meet someone or hear of someone that is just starting out their healing journey and their pain is tender, I want to reach out and tell them so many things! When I was a hospital chaplain there were many times where I would be with a family as they just lost a loved one. Being on the outside I could see a ways down their path, the possibilities, tough days, and healing that lies ahead. I could see their light at the end of the tunnel because I’ve walked a similar path. “I know it seems impossible right now, and take your time, but you will smile again.” What would you pass on to your Day 1 self? The self that just went through a life changing event, that is at a crossroads, or that is about to start an adventure.