Family gatherings can be so much fun. They grant us opportunities to catch up with family members and friends we haven't seen in a while. These past few weekends my family and I have celebrated graduations and First Communions, or have just gotten together, to be together. It can be so much fun, relaxing and rewarding to just be around people who love and understand you.
This weekend was also Memorial Day Weekend, a time to remember all those who gave their lives so that we can have our freedom. It is also a time of remembering deceased loved ones, and what they represent to us. Like so many of you, I have had my share of losses, my grandparents, my dad, aunts and uncles, and of course, Rachel. All people who played a very important role in my life, who because of their sacrifices, their love, I became who I am. Each of these individuals played a role in forming me as a person, even my daughter, who through her love of life, compassion to and for others, and her nature of acceptance, taught me so much in her brief time with us. Yet there is still so much to learn, still people to meet, and just a world waiting to be explored.
Recently someone asked me why I decided to write a blog, what had moved me to put my thoughts, feelings and emotions in writing. My quick answer was that I knew I had something to share, that I wanted others to know that they are not alone. Shortly after Rachel's death, I began searching for support groups, blogs, websites, books, etc., anything that would help me understand what I was going through and continue to go through. My hope was that I could find someone who understood my pain, could let me know that I was not 'crazy,' and that my reactions, thoughts and feelings were normal (to some extent). During my search, I realized that even though I did find others, I did find resources, they were limited, or so it seemed, in regard to what I was experiencing. So I believed I could help, some how, in some small way, by sharing my own experience, as well as the experiences of others I have met along the way.
But as I gave it more thought, I realized that I also needed a place where I could freely express myself without the fear of reprisal, without someone handing me a tissue so I could stop crying; a venue where I could be free to share Rachel without hearing a gasp at the sound of her name. My purpose was both altruistic and selfish, a giving and a taking, a pouring out and a refilling of a void. It was a means to help others, but more importantly a way of finding self-help. It also opened my eyes to the various types of loss and how it impacts our lives. I have found myself more open to the pain, confusion and suffering of others, becoming more capable of realizing that people hurt, and that it is not always clearly defined, accepted or even recognized.
One of the most beautiful aspects of blogging, has been the responses I get from others. The comments not only reinforce my desire to help, but they allow me to see from different perspectives, from varying angles. These comments reaffirm that Rachel, even in her death, is reaching out to others through my sharing. She is traveling (something she loved to do) around the globe, meeting so many wonderful people, and giving so many of you a glimmer of hope or a way to help a friend in need. Yet, when I receive some sort of feedback, I find hope, I feel compassion, and even though there is not a full understanding of what I am going through, I can sense a genuine desire to help ease my burden. I thank you for your comments, for sharing yourselves with me and so many others who read not only my post, but your comments as well. It is so very true, 'there is strength in numbers,' and together we can help each other along the way. Our journey need not be a solitary one, we can count on each other, and when necessary, we can reach out to a stranger.
It is in the sharing of our stories, our sorrows and triumphs, that we can often make sense if it all. The insights of others often helps us to 'get it' when we seem to not be able to draw from our own inner knowledge and experience, when nothing seems to come to us, or when nothing is making sense. So what began as a way to reach out to you and others, has become a healing balm for me, a vehicle which allows me the luxury of easing my travels through this world called 'grief.' Thanks for coming along for the ride, and I pray you continue to do so and that together we can find our way.
Blessings! and until we meet again.