How my mom’s suicide prepared me for living with uncertainty

I will admit it. My anxiety has not been bad for the last three weeks and I have not understood it at all. Here is a world-wide crisis and my anxiety has been in check. Honestly, I have felt guilty about feeling this way. The lady with high levels of anxiety should not be okay right now… yet each day, I feel good about where I am emotionally. If I cry, it is about seeing the goodness of humanity, not from fear.

It wasn’t until today while chatting with one of my dearest friends that I came to a realization. She sent me an article: Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure. In the article, it mentions the need to live with uncertainty and the acceptance that life will never be like it was. As I read the article I had a thought come to me. Did my mom’s suicide prepare me for this time of uncertainty? And the answer was a resounding yes.

When my mom killed herself almost 22 years ago, my world was turned upside down and I was not certain about anything. Everything I had once known changed suddenly and I had no clue where I was going. I felt lost and often times completely helpless. I even had an existential crisis from her death. It took years of processing, therapy, learning coping strategies before I finally found my new normal… more like realizing there is no normal and I must be grounded in myself. I also had to learn no matter what happened in life, I could trust myself to get me through it.

It seems like this is where we are all finding ourselves at this moment… our world has been turned upside down and we aren’t certain about anything. Everything we once knew as certain has changed… and we are lost, scared and we don’t know what to do. If my mom’s death taught me anything, it is that we can make it through this. It might not be what we want, but each of us has the strength and the power within to weather this storm. It is ok to grieve the life we had and the life we thought we would have. It is okay to be scared and not know what is next. It is okay to just be… because the one thing grief needs is time.

But one thing I learned when my mom killed herself, is you have to keep moving. Even if it is baby steps, it helps to keep going. I also learned the sun will rise again. Even if you think it will never come up again it will… and one day, maybe not now, you will find goodness again… and it will be hard to reconcile that goodness came from a crisis, from the worst part of life… but it does… and you somehow learn that is the mystery of life. And the most important lesson is even in the midst of pain, suffering, anxiety, and grief, there is goodness to be found, if we but look. It might not be the big things we want but is it is the small, mundane things we have taken for granted for too long. These small things become our big things and we are grateful.

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