When times are difficult it’s hard to see past what is so prevalent in our lives. When we wake up thinking about what is troubling us, and when it doesn’t leave our thoughts so much so that we even dream about it, it can feel as if we are drowning in whatever is happening. During these times we can’t seem to see a way out of it.
Spending time with family for the holidays made me think about where I was a year ago with my life and what the past year has brought me. I thought a lot about my sister-in-law who has endured one of the most trying times of her life.
With her permission I’m sharing some of her story. I feel it shows how when we are drowning in a difficult time, we can pull ourselves out of whatever we’re stuck in, without even realizing that is what we are doing.
My brother Darwin was killed in a motorcycle accident in October of 2014. My brother and his wife, Becky had been married just shy of three years. The love between Darwin and Becky was not anything I had seen before. They both had difficult pasts and when they came together they made each other stronger.
After Darwin died, Becky was inconsolable and would call my mother or myself uncontrollably crying. It was a difficult time for all of us, but I was most worried about Becky. The life they had planned was forever changed and Becky didn’t know how to go on living without Darwin.
Christmas 2014 was especially difficult because it was the first Christmas without him and it was just a few months after the accident. I remember being at Becky’s house and seeing the multitude of photos of Darwin and Becky. Darwin with my parents, a few photos of Darwin and myself. It was tough. Becky looked exhausted and always talked about him and how much she missed him.
Over the last year I’ve seen Becky’s Facebook posts change. They went from sorrow and not being able to pull herself off the floor crying, to finding pleasure and joy in life. She started volunteering at a women’s shelter for women who have experienced tragedy, homelessness, addiction and abuse.
Becky found as she started to help other women, she found a purpose. She found she was able to escape her sorrow by helping others. She still misses Darwin immensely and always will. But seeing her go from such grief to helping others has been amazing to witness.
Another thing Becky did was she joined a grief group at her church, which I thought was a great idea. She went for about six months, and the next time we talked about it, she said she didn’t want to go anymore because it just made her sad. She felt she got what she needed from it and decided to move on. I told her it was great that she went and had that experience, but that she didn’t need to bring up the grief when she has grown past it.
I believe this is such a great example how we can feel as though we are drowning in something. For Becky it was grief. She took a chance and volunteered not knowing what it would bring her, if anything, and she found a purpose outside of herself. She found she had a lot to give to others and that people needed her.
Becky will always love and miss Darwin. I’m so happy for her that she has found a way to make a difference in others when just one year ago, she felt she didn’t have a purpose for herself.
Is there a way that you can make a difference? Do you feel you are stuck in something and can’t see a way out? Try to find a purpose outside of yourself and see if there can be a shift in your life. I know it’s possible because I’ve seen it happen.