When Andy first died, I didn’t want anything good to come from his death. I selfishly wanted everything about it to be 100% horrible. I didn’t want there to be a silver lining. Perhaps that is why it annoyed me so much when people tried to cheer me up in some way, telling me that he was in a better place or that it was all part of God’s plan. ‘Well, God’s plan stinks,” I would reply (either in my head or even out loud if the person was a close enough friend).
After time though, I began to realize that I did want something good to come from this whole experience. Andy deserves that – he deserves to have something amazing and beautiful come from the ugliness. For me, the desire to make something beautiful with Andy became the Always Andy’s Mom podcast. For others, it may be founding an organization like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. For the majority of people, however, it is doing something much smaller, perhaps something just for you, your family or even something that helps just one other person in pain.
Today, Gwen and I talk about meaning making or post traumatic growth, the way we can actually grow and become ‘better’ people after experiencing devastating loss. We are certainly not the same people that we were before the death loss occurred. I know it felt to me like I did not just lose Andy – I lost a huge part of myself as well. I had to take a long hard look at myself and ask this question, “What do I do with what’s left?” I am not the same person, but what can I do moving forward? What are my strengths and how can I use them in a positive way?
The answers to these questions are different for every person, but know that as broken as we feel, we all do have strengths and turning to them is what will lead to healing. So for all of my listeners who are a bit further out on their grief journey, I have questions for you as well. What have you felt called to do in your grief? How have you grown? What things have you been able to do that you would have never thought possible?
*If you want to share the answers to these questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment or message through Facebook or Instagram. Gwen and plan to do a follow-up episode in July sharing some of those answers.