Grief and Loss
Today is the 7th anniversary of the suicide of my beloved Mike. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him in some way even after all these years. The truth about grief and loss is your heart never stops hurting, things are never the same, you just learn to live life differently.
I remember just a few short months after he passed, I thought I was doing a pretty good job at handling everything and getting through each day. Every day, every moment was a struggle, to keep it together. Life goes on around you no matter what, and all I wanted was for time to be still so I could just sit in grief.
It was busy. Busy with handling everyone’s grief, being there for those that needed it, and trying to plan the future without him. I had to go back to work, sit in my office trying to resolve everyone’s problems and keep things afloat. I remember having an angry parent of one of the students in the school I managed, in my office. I couldn’t tell you what she was angry about or what the conversation was. All I remember was holding back my tears and in my head thinking, “really? I promise you, whatever is happening is not important right now. Do you even care about me?” Of course, she had no idea (nor did I want anyone to know) what had happened and what I was going through.
As the days went on, new struggles presented themselves. I had to finally sit in my grief, feel the pain … all of it, and release it. I made a decision that Mike wouldn’t want me to feel this way all the time and that I would be no good to myself or anyone in this state. I knew the best thing I could do was to find the gifts in the situation, the lessons. I didn’t want his children, or his family to live in this dark and sad place forever. I knew if I set the example that it was okay to be happy, that in fact … that was what Mike would have wanted then hopefully they would see it was okay to be happy too.
Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t think about him or cry when memories hit. When the tears come, I honor them and let them flow. It just means that I CHOOSE to live my life in the happiest place I can, and I CHOOSE to lead with kindness because I’ve learned first-hand, you never know the internal struggle that someone might be facing.
Everyday we are faced with choices, and those choices lead to consequences (good or bad). That day Mike made a choice, and some would say he doesn’t have to see the consequences, but I know he sees it and feels it. I believe he is doing so much more for all of us in angel form, that he is comforting, watching over, protecting, and guiding us.
Here’s a little poem from my dear friend, Sunny Dawn Johnston.
I have a responsibility to those I love...
to be loving, patient, considerate, and kind;
to be loyal, respectful, and honest;
to be appreciative, encouraging, and comforting;
to share myself and care for myself
To be the best possible "ME".
I am not responsible for them...
not for their achievements, successes, or triumphs;
not for their joy, gratification, or fulfillment;
not for their defeats, failures, or disappointments;
not for their thoughts, choices, or mistakes.
And NOT for their death.
For had I been responsible this death would not have occurred.
Mike Howard, thank you for being a part of my life in physical and spirit form.
Sending everyone effected by the loss of Mike so much love. Please be kind to one another, always.