Getting Easier

A week ago we marked the eighteenth anniversary of Kelly’s death.  Quite a milestone really.  Almost the amount of time we had with her.

Eighteen years is a long time — long enough for an infant to grow into an adult.  Almost two decades — and that makes it sound really scary.

For the first ten years or so,  the anniversary was a very special occasion.  We gathered together as a family plus had  a few friends and made it a sort of celebration of Kelly’s life with us.  A big deal I guess.  We also had lots of calls from friends expressing their sadness and support.  For the first year or so we made a visit to the gravesite to mark the sombreness of the occasion.  Then that seemed a bit morbid so that stopped and we just had a few drinks, played songs that reminded us of her and raised a glass or two to Kell.

alcohol alcoholic beverage celebrate

Then gradually there were less of us and although it was still a special occasion, it was less of an event.  Over the years the messages of support dwindled away to the very few — and that’s okay too. I know that I forget about other lost loved ones over time, which is probably the way it’s meant to be.

That doesn’t mean that Kelly is forgotten.  Not at all, as she certainly will never be forgotten by her family.  I know too, that she will not be forgotten by her friends either, as there will be times when she pops into their minds.  Times when they reminisce over their school days and so on.

We do that too — often.  But as the time has passed, so too has the raw grief.  That initial highly emotional grief that goes with such a loss.   Now although the grief is still there it is much softer — easier I guess to deal with.  But for me it is always a part of my life — just like Kelly was.

The grief that accompanies the loss of a child is quite different from the grief of losing a parent.  Losing a parent is an expectation — an inevitability; whereas you don’t expect your child to die before you.

So yes it gets easier with time, but I recall talking to a friends mum who’d lost a child around forty years earlier and she told me that she’d never got over it.

So no, you never get over it — but it certainly gets easier.

tealight candle on human palms

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Playing Small

I recently had a slight setback health-wise, nothing major — in fact quite small really.  However the slightest deviation from what we perceive as normal in our bodies can make a major difference to how we approach our lives in general.

My elbow was injured.  It was sore — really sore and such a nuisance because it affected a lot of what I did.  I was constantly conscious of it as it hurt  every time I moved my arm, and it was especially painful when I was in bed, as I’d go to roll over and use my arm then whoa there — that hurts.

So I became rather focused on one part of my body, almost obsessed about it. It appeared to be my only focus at times to the detriment of other areas of my life.

I began thinking about my reaction to such a small inconvenience.  And thats all it was — an irrelevant inconvenience, but I had made it into something much bigger.  Poor me!

So then I asked myself if there was anytime else in my life that I was allowing to keep me small, that was stopping me from achieving greater things.

Last weekend I attended a workshop on public speaking, which I did because I knew the presenter and I had attended one other of her sessions and enjoyed it.  I enrolled because I thought that I might get something out of it that would benefit a business I run.

So a really early morning start on a Saturday morning, getting out of my comfort zone and grumbling to myself that it would be nicer to stay in bed and then have my usual leisurely weekend breakfast.

Five minutes into the first session I had an epiphany.

I realised that what I had come for wasn’t nearly as important as another area in my life. It occurred to me that I had been playing small, really small in the area of marketing my book.  My intentions when I wrote the book were to get the message out there that we all have a role to play in the prevention of suicide.  It was written because I didn’t want Kelly to be just another statistic on the register of deaths by suicide.  So I didn’t play small when I wrote the book, it just evolved.  I found so many reasons why I didn’t have the time to devote to it, and when I look at it like that I have been minimising the importance of the message I set out to deliver.

The breakthrough was being able to admit I’d been playing small and that there is only one person who can do anything about it — me.

Once I had come to that realisation, then it seems everything makes sense again.  I have a purpose, but more importantly a commitment to fulfil.  A commitment I made over a decade ago that I now know I will make.

In a few days time it will be the seventeenth anniversary of Kelly’s death.  So it seems only fitting that I begin the next year honouring Kelly.

Where are you playing small in your life??