Today began in an interesting way. I went to a small University near where I live and helped the staff grieve and cope with a co-workers suicide. I have been doing this sort of onsite support over the years. To sit with a group of people struggling and hurting and to bring some light to the conversation is a great gift for me. This group work closely together and none of them knew that he was going to kill himself on the weekend. He was loved by his co-workers and they all feel his lost deeply. The sharing in the group today was full of emotion and thoughtfulness. I assisted by encouraging them to speak and feel. It was clear to me that his loss will be felt for a long time and each one of these individuals has been enriched by his life and his death. His taking his life stirred up this group in ways that will encourage much introspection, awareness and compassion.
Times of loss often pulls people together. This group will always be closer because of this shared experience. Many reported feeling more then in a long time. It is very naturally to go through a roller coaster of emotions. One guy shared that so much emotions has come up that the yesterday he couldn’t stop crying. He spoke about knowing much of his inner turmoil is not only about loosing a friend but also about a lot of emotions baggage he has been carrying.
Several felt very critical of themselves for not helping more or for feeling weak with emotions. These ideas are simply not accurate and reflect more faulty beliefs then reality. The power of a group like this is they can clearly contradict these ideas about one self. This group was able to share so new and kinder perspectives with each other.
I left the group feeling like I had been of service to them. They all told me I had and I also could feel that was true. I feel blessed by the realness and rawness of what they shared. I was allowed into the very private space of the human hearts of all those there today.
When things like this happen you and I are forced to step back and take a look at ourselves and our lives. This stepping back is a really positive thing to do. It has great benefit. Like these co-workers, you and I have to evaluate what has happened, where we are headed, and what is most important to us? This self-evaluation forces us to change from full speed ahead and instead to stop and look around at our lives. As you well know, it is so easy to get caught up in the dramas of life and forget to actually pay attention to how you are doing? Are you taking time to check-in with yourself? Are you letting people in on how you feel? Are you reaching out for support when you need it? Also are you checking in with others, asking them how they feel and giving support to those in need? Compassion and caring for yourself and those around you is called for every day. The world is a better place when you tune inward with care and reach outward with compassion.
I hope you day goes well and that you have a moment here and there to feel grateful for the life you have.