Off the beaten path...Vol.1
Updated: Apr 30, 2018
Your story. Your impact.
In December 1995, at the age of 30, my husband took his life after a three year battle with congestive heart failure. A short time after his death, I attended a young widow and widower’s support group at a small Long Island, New York hospice. Unbeknownst to me, that first group meeting would change the life course for not only myself, but a young lady in the group whose husband had suddenly died from a fatal asthma attack.
It was a group of about ten. We took turns telling the stories of our significant others’ death, and shared how our “new normal” was impacting our lives. The young woman whose husband suffered the asthma attack went several persons before me. She was what we all were – distraught, confused and scared for a future without the one she loved. Soon after her story was told, I shared mine. I have no recollection of what I revealed to the group. There were just so many tears, and words that were incomprehensible to me. I cried for what seemed like an incredibly long time, not understanding how I had gotten to this place.
Eight months later, I was thankful for the weeks spent in the group. My time there helped me to gain strength and sort out what I needed to do to move forward. The group’s facilitator called to check in. I informed her that I would be moving to Virginia. She was alarmed and told me that it may not be wise to make major changes in my life before the one year anniversary of my husband’s passing. I respectfully disagreed and told her I planned on following my heart. It was what was best for me and my three sons.
The facilitator let me know two things that I carry with me to this day – the eloquence with which I shared my thoughts on death and dying, caused her to believe that I would be a phenomenal bereavement counselor. Secondly, the young lady widowed due to asthma, planned to commit suicide the evening of our first group meeting. It was my story, my tears, my unimaginable pain that halted this intention. At that moment, I knew what I wanted to do – use my life experiences to transform people and make them whole.
Your story is meant to be shared. This world is hard to maneuver. Don't deprive others of your voice. Someone is waiting to grow because of you. Jane