Have you ever had a conversation with someone that made you feel like you weren’t all alone and that what you were feeling was normal? This weekend a friend asked me to reach out to someone who’d also lost a loved one to cancer because he was having a really hard day. (In case you’re just joining me on my journey, I lost my husband, Andrew, to cancer in 2013.) I was pretty nervous to talk to this person since I’d never met him before and because I know everyone is different in how they process their loss and grief. If I talk to someone who went through this type of experience, I always strive to be sensitive to their particular personality. For this conversation, I planned on utilizing my coaching skills in order to lead with empathy, questions, an open mind, and aimed to listen more than I spoke.
My phone rang, I said a little prayer under my breath, and answered it. The call was nothing like the scenario I created in my mind. He talked about dating again after loss and how a recent dating situation triggered feelings of abandonment he’d felt because of his loss. It was a deep, heartfelt, and honest conversation, one I could really relate to. It made me feel normal and not so alone. It was refreshing to talk to someone who shared some of my day-to-day challenges.
At one point I asked him about his support system, which he told me was practically non-existent. I asked him if he’d tried going to any grief groups and he replied he’d been to one as a child where everyone sat in a circle and cried. He said he couldn’t bring himself to listen to or engage in that type of process. After we both agreed having a good support system is important, he decided to be more open-minded about grief groups and said he would look into one on Meetup.com. I’ve had the exact same thoughts and fears about grief groups, but after our discussion, I decided I should be more open-minded about them, too. He came up with the idea of starting our own grief group between the two of us and a friend of his who lost her husband. We are now on a group text so we can reach out for support on the days when we need to talk to someone who can understand what we’re going through. I had no idea that a favor to a friend would organically turn into a healing experience for me.
I’m grateful for the love and support of my family and my closest friends, as well as this recent phone conversation for opening my eyes to the benefits of having friendships with those who have experienced similar life challenges. I’m looking forward to expanding my support system.
I’d love to know: From where or whom do you draw YOUR support? On the flip side, what areas of your life need support and how can you create it?
Looking forward to reading your responses. I so appreciate you engaging with me today. You’re such a blessing! With Love and Gratitude.
PS – Want to motivate, inspire, and encourage a group, company, or church you are a part of? My message is about “transforming life’s greatest challenges into a purposeful life” and I’d love to come share it! Email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org to book me as your speaker.
PPS – If you’re looking for a meaningful gift to share with those you love, please check out my late husband, Andrew’s, book, The Ellie Project! This book is truly for all ages. His drawings are simple and children love them, but his words are powerful and wise enough to carry us all through this life, no matter what our age. Get your signed copy at www.ellieproject.com