Ohhhh. After I posted about my upcoming birthday (today) last night, I found a private message on Facebook, from a friend, letting me know that another ex-Reddall student had died.
It was late and I debated letting others know that late, finally deciding to let them know. I have no sense of what year Justin graduated; I just remember him and his friends. Years roll on and merge into each other for this old teacher these days.
I’ve been working for weeks. School and my business. As well as trying to put some order into my life, and I’m exhausted. I’m also still reconciling Blake’s death. So, at first, I was just numb. You trace memories of conversations, of defining moments, over in your head. I am grateful for positive and loving memories. However, they make the person real, and their loss more painful.
It would appear Justin chose to die. There has been a huge outpouring of love for him online. He was a gorgeous person. I am sad that he didn’t find a way out or through his pain during life. I also believe there is purpose here somewhere.
In 2008, I had a massive breakdown. I was carrying shame, guilt, decades old pain, and really, just wanted it all to be over. My brain was so coddled that I was able to wear a mask outside and appear functioning, whilst at night I got my affairs in order, found care for my cat, and plotted how I would die.
I was not in a good place.
It was a trip to the Hunter Valley with one of my nearest and dearest that ultimately saved my life that year. That, and I couldn’t get passed the destruction I would be wreaking on the person who would find me. Luckily, a modicum of sanity prevailed.
When I realised I could not take my own life, I pledged to myself that I would live wholly. I would get off the rollercoaster I’d been on for so long and would set goals to work towards. If I was going to live, I was going to live.
And, I have. I stayed on the rollercoaster a while longer (a long while – infertility, miscarriage and IVF cycles are not the best way to stay balanced emotionally 😳 – and then there was wretched but blessed 2016), but as a result of staying on a journey, have moved my life to an almost perfect place.
I don’t tend to experience the extremes anymore. It has taken a hell of a lot of work, but I’m there. I feel blessed, more so every day, for the life I have sculpted and for the people I have collected. It truly has been a massive process, and I’ve slipped towards the precipice many times, but I’m on surer footing now. I’ve established the strategies that work for me when I first see the signs of falling,
If you feel lost, completely lost, reach for help (easier to say than do) or do something to force you to not give up hope. Man, if only it were this simple. I’m just trying to say, I hear you, I see you, I get it, but please stay. And then make the changes you need to make, whatever they are. We all deserve to find our happiness and our way. We all deserve that.
My birthday wisdom this year is that when we choose our lives, we choose our happiness. If we feel stuck, we aren’t choosing life, even if we are still breathing and physically here. Choices make the difference. I think.