A story based on an account from a loss survivor.
“Weak from the loss event and the painful months that followed, I was completely lost.
I had extinguished all social contact; I hid in my house and would peek out the window at noises that came a little too close to my driveway; I knew that I was overwhelmed with my loss feelings however I refused all help that was offered and dreaded seeing a doctor.
I had no energy to restrict further fear into my mind and so I drank whatever alcohol was available to try and wipe out the memories or I just drank to the thought of giving up any hope of a better outlook.
It was incredible how quickly I had let myself diminish into a deep depression of self pity, blame of others and hatred towards those people that were happy in their lives.
One day, when there was no food in the house and I needed to go to the shops to buy more, I passed the local church on my way and it was full with people; I wondered if it was a special mass. I was born into a family of faith and as a child, I was made to attend church, but as an adult, I had let that personal commitment go. I quickly dismissed the memory and hurried towards the shops.
On my way back, the church was still full and I stared in at the people; I wondered what ‘God’ they believed in because the ‘God’ I believed in left me when I needed him the most; and now I feel my loneliest and have no-one in my life.
Then, I suddenly felt the urge to challenge this ‘God’. I entered the church and sat with the parishioners.
It was Pentecost Sunday – a special occasion in the church calendar when the holy spirit came to each disciple and asked them to spread the word of the Lord in many different languages. (well that’s how I remember the story!)
Someone in authority was handing out little mementoes of the mass and asking each parishioner to ask ‘God’ for something.
I accepted the little flame shaped card from the person and held it firmly in my hand. I looked at it and thought about all the wrong in my life – what had been done to me and also, what I had done to others. I felt sad. I kept looking at the little card and the word ‘courage’ came from my lips. I was asking ‘God’ for courage to face my fears and better myself.
The person in authority, after handing out the cards, then asked everyone to turn their card over. I did so and saw the word ‘courage’ printed on the other side.
I smiled at the irony and wondered if all the cards had the same word on it. Then I realised that they didn’t – it was only mine.
Maybe ‘God’ did listen to me, or maybe it was an unexplainable co-incidence, but it was enough for me to change my outlook immediately and again believe in something that I had let go.
This faith in ‘courage’, gave me strength to believe in myself and change my ways. The first thing I did was to go home and clean up – myself and then the house. I threw out the alcohol and cooked a proper meal.
Things did change quickly for me as soon as I took that first action to start again. I saw my doctor and talked a lot over; I joined a support group and shared my loss stories; I was starting to feel included again.
The transformation was incredible from my deep depression to a new energy for a new life. It was all my own doing but I also believe that I was encouraged by a higher force!!”