By Paula Stephens
What does Batman, Spiderman, Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Americas Most Wanted (with John Walsh), and (soon to be) you, have in common?
Each of those people lost a loved one, and then they put their grief to work. They didn’t let it sit idly and hope that ‘someday’ time would heal the wound.
I know you’re hurting. That’s why I want to share something with you. Your wound has created a unique opportunity to act in a way and from a source of energy that holds infinite power. (I know it doesn’t feel that way. I’ve been there too.) When we are wounded at the most intimate level of how we identify ourselves in the world (as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters and friends), we have a choice— to let the heat of the fire burn us down and become ash or to intertwine ourselves in the energy that blazes from the fire and rise with it.
I choose to rise.
In 2010, my oldest son Brandon died unexpectedly while home on leave from the Army. He was twenty-one with soft, milk chocolate brown eyes and a smile that his drill sergeant described as “his kool-aid grin.” Nothing could have prepared me for the intensity or heat that burns from the fire of child loss.
It is a bonfire that consumes the most essential elements of life. Identity – I am the mother of how many kids? Self-Worth – What could I’ve done, as his Mom, to change this? Universal Truths – Why did this happen? I am not supposed to outlive my child. And so much more.
For the first year (and more) after Brandon died, I curled up next to my bonfire. I let it consume me, burn me, scorch me, and singe even the parts seemingly unrelated and distant to the loss of my son, as I waited for Time to heal me.
As you and I have both heard the adage… Time heals all wounds.
As I continued waiting on Time to make its move, I realized that there was no energy in the ashes that surrounded me, and I noticed that the energy and the transformation was happening above me as the heat and the vitality of the bonfire rose upward. The fire continued to burn regardless of whether I choose the ashes or the energy. Time silently marched on as the bonfire used its resources to create, produce, and generate something powerful. I don’t own time, but this unexpected fire was mine to do with as I pleased. So, I chose to rise.
You and I, we didn’t ask for these experiences of loss we’ve received, but it is still a gift and its yours – you can’t give it back, and you can’t re-gift it, but you can choose how you want to use it. It’s a gift with immense power that if you don’t harness it and put action to it, you will be on the other end of it becoming ash by its untamed omnipotence.
This is your superpower.
Taking action and being an active participant in your healing doesn’t have to mean becoming a web-slinging super hero or creating a nationwide movement against drunk driving (unless you want those things). It means, every day you take one small action towards healing. Maybe today it’s taking a deep breath and filling your lungs with fresh, oxygenated energy. Maybe tomorrow it’s a walk outside, and maybe the next day you invite a friend for coffee. You start from where you are with the pure and sole intention of becoming part of the rising of your fire, not smoldering in the ashes.
And a funny thing happens when we entice action on our side. The heat of the fire becomes more manageable. What at one time seemed so white hot that we dare not go near it for fear of becoming ruined by its command, begins to become malleable as we learn to harness our power and find what it needs to thrive. Then there becomes a shift in power where we decide how to let the fire burn, where we are no longer at the mercy of its strength, and we direct that energy into manifesting incredible changes in our lives and in those around us.
Action creates what time waits for.
Your loss is as unique to you, as mine is to me. As is what the world needs you to do with that experience. No, this isn’t what you asked for or signed up for, but what if, because of it you use your super powers to create something that never existed before and would never have existed had you not risen into the energy of your fire?
There are organizations, foundations, healing communities, random acts of kindness, donations, art created, hugs exchanged, and so much more that happens every day because people, just like you, choose to rise.
I can’t wait to see what you do, create, manifest, and bring into the world.
Paula is the creator and founder of Crazy Good Grief. Her online work supports families who’ve lost a loved one by offering live retreats and healing, vibrant online communities. Paula is a public speaker, yogi and wellness coach providing inspiration for those who want to live in the sunshine of their loved one’s life! Find her on Facebook.