I work in a small town in rural Montana — population 93 if you count dogs, cats, gofers, chickens, and the occasional goat. There’s a little tiny grocery store (about like a convenience store) where I buy lunch most days. Yesterday I mentioned to the clerk, whom I’ve known for a couple years although not well – really just by name — that we went to the high school graduation over the weekend. She asked if I had a kid graduating and I told her that my son, who we’d lost, would have graduated. She said “so sorry” and I never thought much more about it.
So today I go to get lunch and she asked “can I ask how your son died” so I told her Tandi had taken his life on the first day of his freshman year. And then the surprise for me — she lost her first husband to suicide many years ago. A nice long chat ensued. Turns out her niece also lost a boyfriend to suicide within the past few months (so I told her about the Alliance of Hope 😊).
My point with all this is I’ve always seen Lisa as just another person living and working in a small rural town — just as normal as normal can be. I never would have guessed she’s one of us! My perspective was completely changed. What I see now in Lisa is a pillar of healing and hope, a glimpse of what I aspire to be many years from now.
I can say with confidence that for every member here, someone in your circle sees YOU as a pillar too. You don’t see it — you’re too close to yourself — but someone does.
The son of some friends of ours fell while rock climbing late last summer. He is now at the Craig hospital in Denver rehabilitating from severe head trauma and multiple breaks in his neck/back. I follow his progress. The Craig Hospital specializes in recovery and rehabilitation for those with severe, life-threatening injuries. Many of their patients will never walk again, most will require a caregiver for the rest of their lives.
Late last week his mom posted an update that said, in part: “There is both joy and awe in watching those who are broken find the courage to pick up the pieces of their lives and find a way to start anew.” While she was referring to those in the hospital who are broken physically when I read that I thought of all of us here. Every one of us here was broken; most of us are still broken. Some see no path to healing while others are a shining example of healing and hope. Most of us are devastated and through our devastation, we can’t see our own healing that is obvious to others. Speaking for myself, I came here looking for an anonymous outlet for the pain and found hope and healing from my fellow travelers.
Every single one of you has been broken, and yet … you have the courage to trudge on. You have the courage to seek support and share your stories. Somehow, you find the courage to pick up the shattered pieces of your life and find a way to start anew. I see you finding those little pieces and I see you fitting them back together.
Seeing that develop in you brings joy to my heart. I AM IN AWE OF EVERY ONE OF US!! If you’re reading this, I refer to you. I am in awe of you. You give me hope and I thank you.