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Why I'm Thankful, Grateful, Blessed and a Mess as a Suicide Loss Survivor

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

These words all perfectly describe how my Thanksgivings are. This year is the fifth one without my Brittany here. I know it’s the “new normal,” but there is nothing normal about it.

Starting with thankful, I am thankful for the time I have with the people I surround myself with now. My youngest daughter, my family, my friends… you know my people. The ones who show up, the ones who love and support me. I am also thankful for those I have chosen to not surround myself with anymore; they have taught me a lesson. I am thankful I have a big voice, so I can continue the fight for those who can’t. I often say I am not talking this much to change people’s minds, I am talking so others know they are not alone.

Moving onto grateful: being grateful is a beautiful thing, though not always an easy thing walking through these thorns. Being grateful means you also notice the roses on the branches of the thorns as they cut through your skin. The gratefulness I have is for the time I did have with Brittany and for the time I have with Bri. The time I have when the wind blows just right and the smell of the sweet roses engulfs me. When the love that surrounds me from my family and friends reminds me just how powerful the greatness of the world can be. Grateful the world again has color, even if it isn’t quite as bright. I am also grateful to also start to heal myself and care on a new level for myself, the way I care for others.

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Touching on blessed because I know I can never truly explain it all, feeling blessed even after living in the worst nightmare anyone will ever live seems impossible. Choosing to count my blessings is a way I can continue to shine Brittany’s light in this world. I am blessed to have a heart that still holds compassion and empathy. My tears may have formed a type of armor on me for a battle, but that battle is helping to make changes for others. Being blessed is so much more than I can explain here; my heart could explode 10 times over with the blessings I have, which is why I can only touch on it now.

A mess…this I can ramble on and on about for hours. I fall apart at the store still when I turn around because I swear, I hear or see Brittany. Thanksgiving is no different, I still expect her to fill her mouth with as many marshmallows as she can fit, or swing around the boys, tell us some crazy jokes, ask us about the 365 time on the oven and make us all laugh until our bellies hurt. I still pick up her favorite foods at the store, I still think about what I will get her for her birthday or Christmas, and I hope this never stops. I am good with being a mess sometimes for moments, sometimes for hours and quite frankly sometimes for days.

This year I am learning better than others to give myself the care and the grace to be a thankful, grateful, blessed mess because no matter what holiday it is or what day it is, I deserve it all and being another day into this life sentence without one of my girls here on earth is punishment enough.

Image via contributor

Originally published: November 26, 2020
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