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Speaking from the Heart

I never know where article ideas will come from. Today I was looking at my personal Facebook news feed and saw a post from my friend, Julie, which caught my eye. Julie’s son died by suicide 4 years ago and she wrote a heartfelt post which she prefaced with a disclaimer that is was “raw.”

Her topic was one that most of us grieving the death of a child, grandchild or sibling can relate to, the difference was her unique take on this topic. Julie wrote about the difficulty she was having watching a movie that she was very interested in seeing with the man in her life who she met since the death of her son.  While he loves movies, she struggles because of what she describes as OMG moments when there is a scene involving violence, especially gun violence.

Julie boldly stated that she doesn’t want to avoid movies and that she is no longer going to feel ashamed when movies cause triggers or OMG moments. While she is ready to stare the monster of what triggers her and OMG moments down, she also wondered if this would ever end. While she was doing her best to soldier on, the thought that she might never again be able to enjoy movies with her man was troubling her.

This was my response to her post:  “Hi Julie, triggers and OMG moments lie in wait for people like us. Answers? Advice? Not sure anyone has them. I believe that recognizing that our “new” life will always include OMG moments can help us manage them. You gave yourself good advice, we can choose to live life the way we wish without shame of the OMG moments. I would add we can also give ourselves permission to live without guilt for the times we laugh and enjoy ourselves.”

Do the OMG moments ease in frequency and intensity for most of us as we move further down the road? Yes, but they are still part of the journey. To those who don’t understand the loss of a child, you are a seasoned griever. To those of us 16 years down the road like myself, four years is still young in grief. Your post is very validating to those who think there is something wrong with them because they get blindsided by OMG moments.”

The Compassionate Friends is filled with those, like Julie, who share their deepest thoughts and feelings openly and honestly. While Julie was venting, others were benefiting from her story as they could relate to her same struggle. What I love most about what we do as an organization is that we bring people together from different backgrounds who share common feelings. None of us needs to walk alone; scared of our own insecurities in grief or our thoughts that we are somehow damaged beyond repair. Together we create a safe community where we can face our fears…or not. We can challenge our triggers, or ride them out. We can talk about this new life we encounter walking the grief road without shame or guilt.

Thanks, Julie, for sharing your heart; thanks to all of you who read this column for choosing to wake up every day and for trying to figure out life in spite of your pain.

It is an honor to serve as the Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends,

Alan

Alan Pedersen

Alan Pedersen
alan@compassionatefriends.org
877-969-0010 ext. 308

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