“I guess I’m just wondering what you want to get out of coming here. You don’t seem to really need counseling. You might be better off finding a grief support group.”
I sat in the counselor’s office feeling foolish like I had to justify my being there. Was I overreacting? Inside I was trembling, gasping for air, trying to hear over my own inward wailing. I knew that the lady I had been referred to only saw the shiny mask I wore. It was only our first session and I didn’t yet feel comfortable enough to let her see the real me. The fact that she didn’t seem to think I needed to be there only served to tighten my “Strong Christian Widow” mask.
I left that office with a few cliches “he’s always with you”, “now you have someone in heaven to ask God for favors” <insert gagging sounds here>, and the feeling that I was supposed to be strong enough to be able to figure a way out of the darkness by myself.
The truth is, I needed help. I was lost, swimming against waves of pain and numbness in a dark ocean with nothing to hold onto, no comfort, and no peace to be found. On the outside, I put on a good show. Everyone commented on how “strong” I was and how “well” I was doing. But inside was chaos and turmoil. My internal isolation was torture and I was screaming for help I did not know how to ask for.
Even if I asked, I don’t know that there was anything anyone could do. What could my family and friends do to help me survive my soul being ripped apart? I had to go through the process of letting who I was die. Then learn how to breathe again as I stepped into a new identity. That process wasn’t and isn’t linear. Don’t be fooled by my Strong Christian Widow Mask, I still go back and forth between dying, breathing, and living.
Let me take off that mask for a moment. I’m still hurting. I’m still healing. Like a broken bone that was never set, there are places in me that, because I did not pursue professional or spiritual help, have healed crooked. I’ve built up coping and defense mechanisms that helped me survive the trauma of last year but will hinder me in my desire to thrive in the future.
That’s why I have to go.
There are people who are questioning my decision to uproot my life and start over states away from my friends and family, away from the life I’ve built, away from the safety of my comfort zone. Believe me, I know their reasons. I’ve thought of every reason they could come up with and probably some more. It doesn’t make logical sense to move from a place where I could, in my own strength set up a safe life. I know that draining my savings for this move doesn’t make sense to people.
What they don’t understand is I want more, I NEED more than the life I could have here. But most of all I need help. That’s why I am going to attend the second year of the ministry school I attended in 2012. I need help healing the deep wounds that I still have within me. I need help finding a path for my future. I need help discovering who I am without Jon.
If I have to spend all my money and sell all that I own to find a life where I can become the absolute best version of myself I can be… so be it. I don’t need everyone to support me or believe in me. I don’t need everyone to understand. It’s not their life. It’s mine. I’m going to pursue healing, I’m going to pursue greatness, I’m going to pursue adventure. I am going to make the most of every moment, every chance I get in this painfully short life I am given.
I know it’s kinda cheesy but the words of this song have haunted me ever since the first time I heard them. I don’t mean to offend anyone who lives and loves their life here in Vero Beach.. but I have to go.
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Genesis 12:1 Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.