You may have noticed that things have been a little sparse on the blog and social media front for the last week or so. That’s because I’ve been up in Ohio following the passing of my Mother. In fact, I spent my birthday yesterday flying home, on planes, in airports, and then on the road, etc. Not exactly the way anyone really draws up their 4th of July, let alone their birthday celebration.
Then again, in a year where we’ve already lost both of my in-laws, including my Mother-in-Law just days after my wife’s birthday, this is becoming all too common. (It can stop now, m’kay?)
On the other hand, as much as that would not have been how I chose to spend my birthday, I am glad to have been able to spend time in Ohio with family and friends, and I am glad to have had so many people reach out to offer first condolences, and then birthday wishes, in the last few days. In a year where we have dealt with so much loss, we have also been reminded over and over again of how much we have. How many nieces and nephews who are growing up to be awesome people, and brothers, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. we still have who make up the larger families that we both belong to. How many friends who might as well be family, and just how many people near and far who love us, have gone out of their way to support us, and whom we love as well.
Whether it’s been making the trip or sending flowers for one of the services, showing up with food, making sure we can be away from work with no worries, reaching out with a card, a text, or on social media, checking in on us throughout the last few months, or just spending time visiting and laughing with us, they have been amazing. When I created a birthday fundraiser for AFSP a few weeks back, I had every intention of doing a lot to promote it just before my birthday, and on the day, but just didn’t have the time, my friends and family still managed to give more than my goal. (And yes, there is still time to get over there in the next 2 days and contribute).
Now that I am back home, and hoping for the ability to get back into some kind of normal routine again, eventually, I know that this is not over. My wife and I will both be dealing with our losses for awhile, and there will be times where it hits harder than others. During those times though, I plan on also remembering that we aren’t alone. We are part of the tribe that we have built up over time, and various locations, and that our tribe is with us. When I feel like depression might be trying to come back into my life, and when I’m struggling with feeling anxious, or negative, I will know that I am not alone. I will know that I can ask for help, I will know that there are people who will support me in that. The same people who have sat with us in the pain of our losses, will sit with us through that too, and they will sit with us when we are celebrating good things too.
That connection is so important. If you know someone in pain, struggling, in despair, depressed, anxious, grieving, etc. The best thing you can do is simply be there with them. Remind them that they are not alone in it. You’ll be doing so much more than you know.