When your world turns upside down and you’re facing unprecedented changes, owning your story can be a challenge.
Before we lost my husband to suicide, we were living the life of an ideal American family. We had not experienced tragedy. We were living in a really great neighborhood and had a lot of really great friends.
Literally overnight, we became a story for the people who know us, and it shifted our identity. All of a sudden, to our friends and family, we were no longer Carey, Laurel, and Cole. The tragedy changed how people saw us, how they dealt with us, and even how they felt about us.
The truth is that the harder the story is to accept or to own, the harder it is to tell it. So a lot of times you just stay mum on the subject entirely.
When Laurel returned to college after Ross passed away, she didn’t feel comfortable telling people what happened. And sometimes, she just didn’t.
Many people are so ashamed of their story, especially if it’s something embarrassing that happened in their life. For us, it was the tragedy and the difficulty of sharing this.
Making The Story Yours
Talking about losing a loved one to suicide is never easy. In fact, it’s really bad. There are days where I think about how I wish this wasn’t my story at all.
I don’t love sharing it.
I don’t love reliving it.
I don’t love being known for it.
But it is my story, and for whatever reason, we are to use it. And I am going to keep talking about my husband and my son
If you have a story, sharing it is courageous. It can help other people. I think the highest level of bravery is for us to be vulnerable, and not to be so strong all the time.
Your Unique Story
Own your story. It’s what separates you from everybody else and what makes you unique. Embrace it and work through it however you need to so that you can talk about it and impact other people. Because at the end of the day, that’s really what we’re all called to do.
Maybe you just start by telling one person something that you’ve been carrying around for a really long time. It may sound like a small step but I promise you, when you start talking about it, even if it’s not easy, it will help you be able to talk about it more.
How Far You’ll Come
Three years ago, right after we lost my son, I would not have been able to even get the words out.
But here I am, three years past and six years since losing my husband. Laurel and I wrote a book about it, I speak on stages on the topic, I’ve done podcast and TV interviews…
It’s not that it becomes easy, it’s that it becomes more purposeful and even more natural, because we’re owning it. It’s a part of us.
This is the topic in the second to last chapter of the book Laurel and I wrote called Keep Looking Up. Our mission is to help those who are grieving, along with their friends and family members who want to help them, have insights and a guide for turning grief into hope after a tragedy.
Keep Looking Up,