The difficulties of the world these days are numerous and overwhelming to think of them all. There are huge problems on the world stage, there are also many difficult problems we face locally. It is the more personal, individual challenges that occupy my thoughts this week.
I shared with you losing my beloved Grandson, Spencer, a year ago this week. He had a brain aneurysm that cut his life short. I feel as much shock and pain a year later, as my family and I still try to come to grips with our loss.
Spencer was 22 years young, like a shooting star in the sky who shone bright, but not long. I am not alone in my grief. My whole family has been affected and misses him dearly. There’s a sadness we each carry. Not a week goes by during which my husband or I don’t see someone that reminds us of him. I’m sure we all have those reminders of loved ones lost.
Grief is universal, yet very personal. It brings a kind of pain that there is no right way to carry or deal with. Some people look for a way to find something called “closure.” I have truly never understood what that means, as there is no door you can shut, magic wand to wave, or way I have found to put grief “behind me.”
I find grief is something we each walk with. We do it every day, some days the walk takes you forward, some days it’s a few steps back.
I also lost my brother this week, many years ago. I’ve never found closure for Eric’s death either. He was the first shooting star in my life. A piece of me that is gone. But the beautiful memories I have still shine bright.
These past two years for many people have been traumatic, in so many different ways. Death, overdose, mental illness, addiction, anxiety, financial stress, all of them and more are deeply distressing.
It has made the issue of mental health come to the front of many conversations and thoughts. We are all learning what mental health means, dealing in as many ways as there are individuals affected by the challenges of mental health.
I am glad we are looking at mental health and what exactly that means. There are more people willing to speak about their traumas, their losses and of ways to cope. There is more funding for people to get help. We have a long way to go, but we are starting to shed the stigma of not talking about these tough issues.
There is a film I saw last spring that resonated with me about trauma, loss and mental health. It is called the Wisdom of Trauma, featuring Dr. Gabor Maté. I found it profound, and the film will be shown again toward the end of October.
The filmmakers describe the film this way:
“Trauma is the invisible force that shapes our lives. It shapes the way we live, the way we love and the way we make sense of the world. It is the root of our deepest wounds. Dr. Maté gives us a new vision: a trauma-informed society in which parents, teachers, physicians, policy-makers and legal personnel are not concerned with fixing behaviors, making diagnoses, suppressing symptoms and judging, but seek instead to understand the sources from which troubling behaviors and diseases spring in the wounded human soul.”
It is a thought-provoking documentary worth watching, and anyone can attend.
As you go about your week, be kind to yourself. And be kind to others, because you never know what pain might hide behind someone else’s smile.