I found myself in an interesting place today.

I do some volunteer work with a suicide prevention organization. One of the services the organization provides is to outreach to people and families who have recently lost a loved one to suicide. The volunteers have all lost someone themselves and are able to provide support and connection with people often without even opening their mouths. There is an unspoken understanding among us, we are affected in ways that no one else can begin to comprehend unless they have gone through it too.

Today, I went on an outreach visit to a woman who had just lost her son. As I was sitting with her in her immense pain, I had one of those moments where I felt really overwhelmed. I felt overwhelmed by how much I could identify with her pain and confusion. I felt overwhelmed by how much I still miss my friend Steve who died by suicide almost six years ago. I felt overwhelmed by how much time had passed since Steve died. I felt overwhelmed that even though it has been six years, it feels like no time has passed at all.

I felt overwhelmed by how my life has turned out, by how much I’ve grown, by how much I’ve loved and how much I’ve lost. The woman looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked me, “life goes on, right? life still moves?” I looked at her long and hard and nodded. I knew exactly what she was asking me. That the life that she knew was gone forever. That everyday that she woke up, she’d have to adjust, she’d have to remind herself that her son was gone. That for the foreseeable future, life would be a really hard struggle. But yes, life continues. It does. Even when it seems impossible.

I watched an episode of True Blood last night that totally applies to how I’m feeling. The main character is hugging her friend who is sobbing and she says to her, “Look at me. You are one of the strongest people I know. I don’t know why you’ve been tested the way you have, but you always get through. And I’m gonna be there to make sure that you do.”

That’s what we need when life beats the shit out of us. People to be by our side. People to pick us up when we are down. People to remind us of who we are, when we are in too deep and lose sight of it.

Today I am grateful for:
Moments of connection with complete strangers.
Moments that help to put things in perspective.
Moments that leave me feeling contemplative.
Reminders to be gentle and kind to myself.