I Am Not What Happened To Me. I Am What I Choose To Become.
The eighth month Anniversary of Zuka's death was two days ago. People have said to me many times since he passed that I am very strong, along with the fact that they could not survive something like losing a child in such a horrific way. First, let me say I greatly appreciate the support and the reminder that I am strong. What I need you to understand is that YOU are just as strong (quite possibly stronger.)
I spent several hours alone in my car yesterday, Easter Sunday, bawling in an empty parking lot.
I didn't choose to lose a child, I didn't choose to be strong, I had no other choice. You have no idea how strong you are until you are put in the position to have to be.
We will all go through hard times, some of us may go through things that will completely break us. There are things in life you cannot prepare for, and as much as you imagine how devastating they might be, you WILL make it through. You will come out stronger, though as the saying goes "it's hell in the hallway."
Pain must be felt. Relying on things like drugs, alcohol or other addictions may delay the feeling of pain but once you stop that addictive behavior those feelings are going to come rushing back. Strength is the courage to feel that pain. You might fall apart, I have completely fallen apart. You will break down, you will cry a hell of a lot, you will feel like you can't make it. YOU CAN! You will. You are far stronger than you realize!
If you are struggling right now....Breathe. Ask for help if you need it. Cry when you need to. Don't give up.
Put your emotional needs first. I mean that. You know when you are flying and they give you that safety speech before you take off. They tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else. When I first heard that I was thinking, "Wow, so you aren't going to take care of a child or an elderly person before securing your own mask? How selfish is that?" The reason they tell you that is so you are ALIVE to help that other person. Sometimes you need to take care of yourself so that you are there for your loved ones. If that means your child needs to stay with a trusted loved one for a couple of days while you break down, that's not a failure, that's taking care of yourself so you can be a better parent for them.
I know I have gone a little bit of everywhere he but my point is this. You are really strong. You may get knocked off course, you may need help getting back onto your path but that doesn't make you any less strong!
When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways - either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.