Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Posts tagged ‘suicide’

Empaths as Outcasts: Why Misery Loves Company

New Inspiration from an Old Source

You can find the Facebook Live Video which goes with this post here

Today’s blog topic didn’t come, as has been common, from my morning pages, but from my meditation. As I snuggled on the couch with my two furry girls who love the meditative energy, my mind was processing a discussion about the latest suicide of a famous figure.

As my overly active brain processed, connected, and analyzed, it landed on my relationships, or lack thereof with my family over the last couple of decades. From comments and questions I’ve fielded recently, it occurred to me my sister hasn’t been the outcast I’ve been allowed (or perhaps allowed myself) to become. Of course, this raised questions in my mind, despite the fact I’d come to the realization quite some time ago that the distance was for the best on all our parts.

Not only did it allow me to heal without interference and accept my parents’ final acts without condemnation, blame, or lifelong guilt, it let me find peace. Knowing my sister still blames my mom for more than I even know, or want to, and knowing she’s ill and angry, I’m starting to understand why the family dynamics are what they are.

Finding Yet Another Commonality With My Mom

Mom was the family outcast and was often criticized and I suspect, ridiculed behind her back. I’ve certainly had my share of missteps and actions which failed to meet with everyone’s approval. The difference between us is that I don’t really care. Mom needed the family’s approval and love. If I had it, I would be grateful, but I have never really needed it. And I am not going to be part of the blame and rehashing of mom’s failings. She was no more or less human than anyone else and as such, was prone to mistakes, both from her own viewpoint and that of others. That she likely beat herself up over them was part of her personality and more, her desperation.

Taking after my dad has been a double-edged sword. Yes, I tend to isolate myself too much, but as an Empath, sometimes isolation is the lesser of two evils. Yes, I find it hard to ask for help, much to my daughter’s annoyance. But as time goes on, I’m learning to be better about letting others do something for me instead of letting assistance be a one-way street. The best lesson I learned from dad, though, was to accept responsibility for my own actions. From that, I’ve learned to also be more understanding of the actions of others.

Don’t Blame Those Who Need to Blame

I may not agree with, nor buy into the idea of blaming mom for decades old perceived misdeeds. I may not agree with continuing to blame her when she’s not here to defend herself. But I accept the fact that my sister and whoever else she talks to has the right to make their own choices. They’re no longer hurting mom with words or deeds anyway. As I’ve learned in my own healing journey, forgiveness truly only helps the forgiver. The forgiven couldn’t care less whether we forgive them or not.

It does explain a lot about why nobody reached out to me after mom took her life, or why the last of the contacts I shared with my parents disappeared from my life after dad took his. I brought nothing to the conversation they wanted to have.

At least now, things have evolved so there are a few tentative attempts to connect. Yet, the commonalities we had 20 years ago, the roads we had traveled together have been covered over by the dust of time. We’ve raised our families, lost loved ones on all sides, seen children marry and start families of their own, and all the things that happen during a lifetime.

Lifetimes Within Lifetimes

I’ve learned that when it comes to families and connections, 20 years is a lifetime. The elderly aunts I remember have all passed on along with a few from their daughters’ generation. We’ve even lost one from my generation during the years of disconnection, and are likely to lose a couple more in the next few years. Frankly, I’m not expecting to be a part of their grieving process any more than they have been part of mine. It is what it is.

I have been an outcast from my own family for most of my adult life and the truth is, more often than not, I’m relieved. A Jewish family who escaped the persecution in Russia and Poland to emigrate to the United States and Canada carries a lot of angst. In many members of my family, that angst is embedded in their very souls and passed on from generation to generation. The fact that I’ve learned to release much of my share essentially severed my connection. Without intending to, I’ve torn myself loose from the fabric which weaves the family into a single piece of cloth. By necessity, they rewove that fabric to hide the hole I’d left, perhaps using my sister as the thread which would most efficiently cover the gap.

Empaths Create Their Own Rules

I believe the story has unfolded for a reason. I was given the sometimes dubious gift of Empathy for a reason. Despite being born into a family with a long history of trauma and upheaval, I had to learn how to manage my gift or go quietly insane. I chose the former and am learning how to use it to help others. My personal traumas have been the best teachers.

I savor the connections which have been tentatively re-established, but know I will always be one of the family outcasts. That is the role I came here to assume. Sometimes, breaking free is the first step in healing a wound that stretches back many generations. I may not have chosen the easiest path. I may have even chosen the loneliest one. But I believe the path I chose is the most rewarding one of all.

With Love and Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful to my family for giving me the space I needed to find my own way.
  2. I am grateful that I’ve learned to let go of blame, anger, bitterness, and resentment to love and accept the people who gave me life, no matter what direction their lives or actions might have taken them.
  3. I am grateful for the challenges I’ve faced which allow me to be an advocate not only for those who’ve lost someone to suicide, but for those who chose suicide as their exit plan.
  4. I am grateful for the love and support I receive from the family I’ve attracted around me. Though most are not blood, they love and accept me as my blood family aren’t able to because I’m just too different.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; inspiration, love, motivation, support, guidance, allowing, creativity, energy, peace, harmony, health, happiness, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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Universe-driven Inspiration: Introducing Life Coach Carolyn Maul

As the New Year Slips By

For the last couple of months I’ve been floundering. No, floundering would infer that I’ve actually been trying to accomplish something. The truth is, I’ve been treading water…barely.

I’ve made a few feeble attempts to drum up business, but the Universe in its infinite wisdom seems to direct my attempts into that black hole wherein lives my despair. I followed up on an interesting lead and even shared the email I wrote with someone I trust implicitly (and despite her own challenges, is one kick-ass salesperson!) who told me it was a good pitch. That was over a week ago and the silence is deafening.

When my daughter opined today that it was already March, my frustration wanted to reach through the phone and choke the words back down her throat. “It’s not March yet!” I insisted.

But it may as well be. Forgotten Victims is no further along than it was in January, aside from finally having transcribed my handwritten outline of the first 13 chapters (now that’s ominous, isn’t it? I’ve only written 13 chapters. I can hear the clanging of the dungeon door as I write those words).

Despite all of the doom and gloom there are always those guiding lights; those sparks of inspiration; those words of encouragement which keep me going on this path I set for myself over 3 years ago. I still visualize myself as a successful writer with my memoir and several novels gracing the shelves of Barnes and Noble; the web pages of Amazon.com.

The Spark I Didn’t See Coming

Every once in awhile, you encounter someone who commands the attention of men and women alike, not by their actions, but by their presence.

Such was the case for me this weekend when I started a conversation with a woman I’d noticed at the club where I dance. She typically hangs out across the dance floor from my usual spot, but I could not help noticing her; the way she holds herself, the sheer confidence in her manner. I admit it. She has qualities I aspire to but am still learning how to achieve. To say she is striking is to understate it by a thousand degrees or more, but words escape me. Yes, I know that’s unbelievable for one who regularly says what she has to say in 10,000 words or more. The lack of words alone should be enough to demonstrate the quiet, serene power of a woman whose presence is palpable, even across a crowded dance floor.

Recognizing Inspiration, Whatever Form it Takes

We talked about what we do and I gave her my card. She reached out to me today, and offered me a chance to take a closer look at what is behind her amazing presence.  Carolyn Maul is a Life Coach, but like none I’ve ever seen. She completely embodies the words she speaks and the advice she gives.

After reading just a couple of her blog posts, I felt a renewal of that spark which started me writing Forgotten Victims what now seems like eons ago. As difficult as it has been to resume work on it and to embark on the long road to pitching a non-fiction project to publishers, I feel better about getting out of my own way and allowing the words to flow again. I can finally admit that the words are dammed up because I’ve built the dam. The only way to take that dam down is brick by brick. The bricks are my words and thoughts on a painful and difficult part of my life, but one which I know needs to be shared to a wider audience.

I can’t do that unless I truly commit to finishing it, some of which is going to involve reaching out to fellow writers to learn some of the things they do to finish their own projects and set achievable deadlines. I am truly my own worst enemy, and relegate my own work to the bottom of the pile. I’d never treat a client the way I treat myself. It’s time I listened to the advice I’ve been so freely given and treat myself like the best client on my roster.

A Life Coach for Type A’s

So thank you, Universe, for putting Carolyn in front of me, and forcing me to pay attention. And if you are a Type A personality (which I, admittedly am not) who could use a little help achieving your goals, do yourself a favor. Take a few minutes to watch her introductory video and browse her blog. Maybe even take her quiz. You might, like me, find the inspiration or the motivation to push past the blocks which stand between you and your dreams.

Always so Much to be Grateful For

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the down times as they give me time to build up the energy for the long stretches of intense effort.
  2. I am grateful for opportunities to meet new people and get out of my comfort zone which frankly, has become pretty boring lately.
  3. I am grateful for the pain in my life which can and will be faced. Which by so doing could just help someone else who’s lived a similar trauma.
  4. I am grateful for loss as it makes me appreciate the good times and the little things all the more.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, inspiration, Universal head slaps, friendship, dancing, learning, challenges, peace, harmony, letting go and holding on, joy, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Photo courtesy of Arseni Mourzenko via Flikr

May 28, 2015 Birthday Musings

Beginnings or Endings?

Several posts ago, I talked about the fact that the day we celebrate as our birthday is really the end of the year being celebrated rather than the beginning. On this eve of my 60th birthday as I prepare to celebrate the end of my first 60 years in this human form, I have been looking back over the last year, and more specifically, the last few months, with a little help from Elizabeth Peru’s Global Tip-off

Her discussions about planetary influences have been particularly helpful in the last couple of days, especially when I look at how the Pluto retrograde deals with peeling back the layers and releasing old hurts and issues. Elizabeth also mentions May 4th in relation to the Mercury retrograde as a date to look back upon for information about what we should be working on. In my case, I looked at the blog posts for May 3rd and 4th to find that I had been sitting outside watching the full moon, while asking for help in identifying and releasing those things which no longer serve my best interests.

But what does that have to do with birthdays, beginnings and endings? I’ve been having interesting dreams lately which bring up events from my past but with entirely different outcomes. Some of them are so ridiculous and unlikely that I wake up thinking Where in the heck did that come from? But that heightened awareness also allows me to see the situation in a much clearer light and to find and acknowledge the lesson which came out of the experience. Once I recognize the lesson, any lingering pain or emotional attachment to the event automatically releases and is no longer a part of my energy. And as my 60th year winds to a close, I am finally out from under the veil which I realize was merely a manifestation of my own imagination, but still, all too real to me. That self-imposed veil is the one which reminds me that my mother never completed her 60th year. And now, I have.

I know that I am my own woman but the specter of suicide tends to twist the thoughts into convoluted patterns and only the milestones which are largely imaginary can untwist those thoughts for good. This is one of those milestones, perhaps the last one I convinced myself I’d have to face before truly accepting that I am not my mother’s child in the ways which are most important to me now. My dreams are telling me that I am finally ready to release a whole slew of sadness, anger and angst which attached themselves to a single event by virtue of their proximity in time and space.

By reaching this milestone I feel I’m finally ready to let go of all of those poor choices I made during my mother’s last couple of years of life: choices which led to my divorce, to the men I dated in the years that followed, to the job hopping and the poor parenting. My reactions to other peoples’ actions. It’s all in there and now that I’ve somehow proven to myself that I am not inclined to make the same choices as my mother, I can forgive myself for those choices I made which didn’t turn out so well but were, in fact, lessons I needed to learn.

As I turn the page on the calendar, I also turn the page on the self-recriminations over the mistakes I’ve made because I can finally believe the words I’ve told myself over and over. What I thought were mistakes or poor choices were simply lessons the Universe sent me so I could learn the things I needed to know in order to become the woman I am now. I’m still a work in progress, but I no longer see that as a liability. I have value and I have purpose…and all is right with my world.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to have reached the milestone ending my 60th year in this human form.
2. I am grateful to be spending this very special day with the most important person in my life: my daughter, Heather. It’s been an eventful couple of weeks, but we’re both still here, and ready to handle whatever life throws us. We’ve got this!
3. I am grateful for all of the lessons I’ve been given up to know, and look forward to the new ones I know will come my way as I master the ones I’ve had.
4. I am grateful for a body which, though a bit achy in places, carried me from hither to yon and over the dance floor tonight with amazing flexibility and fortitude.
5. I am grateful for abundance: lessons learned, challenges unfolding, epiphanies, friends, family, love, joy, purpose, intensity, health, harmony, peace, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting. If you get a minute, please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

January 17, 2015 Steppin’ out in the right direction

New people, new places, new things. Keeping it moving, one step at a time.

I had been searching for a local, friendly, helpful writer’s group for awhile. I’d tried a couple but felt no real connection. For awhile, I put the idea aside and focused on the important things like writing, organizing and decluttering. But this week, another group came to my attention and today I attended their first meeting. I do believe The Inklings, as our organizer dubbed us, is going to be just what I needed. Equal parts giving and getting the moral support we insecure, overly self-critical writers need. Although one fellow left after only a few minutes, it was clear that his intent was to promote his book. The rest of us were more inclined to be encouraging to everyone. This is a dynamic I can live with and more, I can thrive with. Had I found a group like this when I was as young as some of our members, might I have followed a different path?

How often do we speculate about the road not taken? Though the discussion is moot, we can’t keep ourselves from wondering. The human psyche seems to get a strange sort of satisfaction out of running “what if” scenarios on our own lives. I am happy to say that I no longer feel the need to dedicate much time to such pursuits. I know that the experiences I’ve had and the lessons I’ve learned were necessary before I could be brave enough to follow a dream which began not long after I’d virtually inhaled hundreds of books. Reading and writing are as important to me as breathing, but writing and sharing what I write has taken many years of trial and error, another few years of learning that other people aren’t trying to tear me down personally. They’re simply using their own experiences and lessons to try to help me, in the end, produce something which won’t bore readers senseless.

The last year has been more of a gift than I ever imagined.

As I listened to the stories other people shared of the paths which led them to this group and to their writing, I realized that though I am only slightly closer to publishing my first book, this last year has allowed me to explore writing from many different angles. It has added books to my library, both paper and e-book, and taught me the importance of exposure through blogging and personal websites. It has forced me to think in terms of a website which will interest people outside of my personal circle of friends, and to lose some of the shyness I have when meeting strangers.

Sure, the website is still in the concept stage, but at least I finally have a topic. My blog has gotten a face lift and a new venue. Slowly but surely, people are learning about my little space on the web. And it is good. From this, I’ve learned that I need to encourage others to put a piece of themselves out there for the world to see. They may not always be kind, but really, isn’t it just words on a screen? Those words can be taken at face value, internalized or simply erased. Any of these choices are valid, and none of them are wrong. They are simply choices.

And speaking of choices (yes, my friends, ADHD must have its moment) while chatting with my fellow writers today, it came to me that instead of writing a memoir/self-help book about my parents’ suicides, I could fictionalize it. The opening act has been running through my mind all day, and goes something like this:

The blood drained from her face and her fingers were a matching shade of ghost white from holding the cordless phone in a death grip while listening to a voice on the other end imparting news no one ever wants to hear. The voice of a man who had been steady as a rock her whole life cracked and faded, tears taking the place of words from someone she’d only seen cry once before. The words “your mother is dead” echoed in her head seeking a place to rest but finding none as they simply made no sense. How could that woman, that constant, nagging voice which pressed every one of her buttons simply be silenced?
Vaguely, she registered the words “There’s more” as her father’s voice shattered into a million irretrievable pieces. Still clutching the phone, she slid down the wall against which she’d been leaning, barely registering the point where her butt hit the floor with a loud “Thump!” She’d surely feel the pain later, but for now she was numb. “Sh-she” her father struggled for words. What could possibly be worse than finding the lifeless body of his wife of forty years when he returned home from work? As he found his voice again, she wished she hadn’t asked.
“She took her own life.”
The phone clattered to the floor between her knees and she curled herself into the fetal position in some vague way hoping it would mean the whole conversation was nothing more than a bad dream. But that dream was being invaded by a low keening wail. She looked at the phone lying prone near her feet, but the sound was coming from somewhere above the floor. It was only when she heard her daughter ask “Mommy, why are you crying?” that she understood she was the source of the mournful sound.

Yes, you saw it here first. The opening paragraphs of book number three, before number two has even reached its major crisis. I guess I’m doomed to write as I read; four books at a time! (number four is the one my daughter would love to see published, a children’s story I wrote for her and her sister when they were about 5).

I write, therefore, I am.

This, then, is the fate towards which I’ve been heading ever since my mother put that first book in my hands; ever since I read “Charlotte’s Web” aloud to her when I was four. My office walls groan under the research material which has brought me to this day. Everything from Heinlein and Vonnegut to Roberts and Lackey. Not to mention, the inimitable Dr. Seuss. My literary tastes are eclectic, to say the least and so, it seems, is my writing. The trick will be to harness my imagination and force it to complete at least one of my many projects. But which will it be? One I’ve already started, one yet to begin or my website? Stay tuned as the answer could very well be a twisted one.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the serendipity that led me to The Inklings.
2. I am grateful to Seth and Gina for taking time out of their busy lives to bring us all together.
3. I am grateful for the opportunity to share some of what I’ve learned over the last year or so.
4. I am grateful for new inspiration for an old idea.
5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, inspiration, imagination, support, flexibility, consistency, health, harmony and prosperity.

Blessed Be.

August 12, 2014 A Phoenix rises from the ashes.

Inspiration from unexpected–and tragic places.

About six years ago, I sat down to document my journey towards acceptance. Not the usual sort of acceptance like the life I had or the diversity of my friends; no, I had been, for some years, on a journey to understand and accept the choice both of my parents made to take their own lives, not at the same time, but nearly ten years apart. Eventually, I felt that it was starting to come out as more of a document full of whining and ill-concealed blame, so I put it aside and started my blog, hoping that I’d return to my original purpose which was to help others who had lost a parent or parents to suicide.

Ironically, the last time I accessed the file was on the tenth anniversary of my father’s death, September 11, 2013. But in the last couple of days, something inside of me has changed.

Both the pain and the triumphs of others may now be my muse

As I read some of the many tributes for Robin Williams and even more, the stories people are telling about their own battles with depression, as well as those close to them, I think I’ve found the direction my book needs to take.

What’s behind the mask?

We all wear a mask from time to time, keeping our cards close to the vest, if you will. But some of us, many of us, I believe, only put one mask down to pick up another. Robin Williams, as well as many other comedic greats (or so I’ve been reading) hid behind a mask of comedy. Yet I always felt that there was an element of truth, of his own suffering in performances such as Mrs. Doubtfire. It was so incredibly believable that I could well have attributed it to his acting abilities (and a lot of it may well have been), but something inside told me that he’d really suffered the loss of his kids at one point. My mother hid a lifetime of being pushed to the back of the bus, so to speak. Her mother cast her out when her sister was born and the rest of the family received the message loud and clear: she was of no value to anyone. She was always looking for love in all the wrong places, and she had the biggest collection of masks I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t until many years after her death that I came to the realization that I never really knew the woman I called “Mom”. I have to wonder if anyone did.

At the moment, I’m putting the finishing touches on my first fantasy novel (slowly but surely), which I started last year when I just couldn’t go back to my book about family suicides. Suddenly, I feel compelled to get the novel finished so I can give my attention to the book that really got me writing again. I may end up trashing everything I have and starting clean, or I may take the part before I felt I was sinking into a quagmire of negativity, anger and blame. Either way, what I’m learning from others in the last couple of days is inspiring me to finish it and get it out there for the sake, not only of others who have felt the unimaginable pain of a parent taking their own life, but for those who have people in their lives who are crying out for help and love, and still have a chance to climb out of their own, personal abyss, if only the people who care will push aside the facades and see the sad, lonely person inside.

Out of tragedy, a greater good.

Yes, Mr. Williams death was tragic, and has impacted a lot of people who have loved his work for many, many years. But something beautiful is coming out of it. Those of us who have lost a family member to suicide were, in the past, made to feel shame and even responsibility for failing to prevent the suicide. Suddenly, people are opening up about the mental health issues which cause a person, no matter how successful on the outside, to remain a sad, lonely, unworthy person on the inside. Suddenly, what I’ve been saying for years, that suicide is a choice made when they’ve gone as far as they can go, is not being tossed aside as New Age drivel. There is a new awareness. Yes, many are saying that it will be gone in a few days, but I say, only if people like me, people who have lost a parent, a child, a cherished uncle, a good friend; speak out and credit the victims with facing their dark, twisty side for as long as they were able. Also, too, if those who fight depression or mental anguish of any kind on a regular basis continue to speak out honestly about their condition and give people a chance to move closer and help chase away the dark clouds.

It all boils down to this: As long as mental health issues and suicide are treated like anathema in which both victim and remaining family members are made to feel soiled and unworthy, the trend will continue and even, as one writer suggested, escalate. But if we truly open our hearts and our minds and see that there’s no blame, but instead, a need for more compassion, perhaps we can bring the numbers down until, ultimately, the only real reason people choose suicide is because they are terminally ill and their quality of life is gone forever.  Above all, I beg you to remember that we are all part of the same whole, part of Source.  How can we, in good conscience allow part of ourselves to atrophy and die, simply for lack of the nourishment of love and attention we have it in ourselves to give?

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for the compassion I’m reading about.
2. I am grateful for the opening up of the mental health/depression, Pandora’s box of an issue.
3. I am grateful for reminders that my mom took her life at my age as it reminds me to look at all I have in my life which is beautiful, loving and compassionate.
4. I am grateful for the return of my inspiration and motivation to write the book I need to write.
5. I am grateful for abundance; love, health, happiness, harmony, joy, compassion and prosperity.

Namaste

August 11, 2014 Not my usual blog post

R.I.P. to a man who brought more than his share of laughter to the world! We are poorer for his decision to leave.

Ordinarily, I avoid current events for blog topics, mostly because I avoid watching the news and the media’s tendency to make a huge deal out of bad news. But today, nothing is quite normal, and the news of the world’s loss of actor, Robin Williams, hits way too close to home.

Losing someone to suicide is a very personal kind of hell.

Only when you’ve lost someone to suicide can you truly understand the emotions experienced by a death which you could no more have prevented than if it had been a slow decline from cancer, an auto accident or any other method of passing. Only suicide leaves the family with tons of questions, and mere seeds of answers. And only suicide seems to bring out the worst in people who ask insensitive, sometimes cruel questions of the survivors. Suddenly, all responsibility for the deceased’s life and choices is assumed to belong to their family.

When my mother committed suicide over twenty years ago, I was appalled by relatives who had the unmitigated gall to ask my father why he didn’t recognize that Mom had a problem and force her to get help. As if it was his choice to make! It didn’t even occur to them that you can’t force someone to seek help. They have to want to fix themselves first! Would you say that to someone whose spouse died of liver disease due to alcoholism? I really doubt it!

I sincerely hope that his status as a public figure for so many wonderful decades doesn’t give people reason to believe that they can flood the internet with their ignorance and insensitivity, but instead, gives them an opportunity to express their gratitude for all of the laughter he brought to us, while hiding his own pain. His family needs time to process their feelings without interference from well-meaning masses.

Robin Williams will be missed by many, yet nobody but the family and friends who truly loved the man behind the mask will understand the depth of that loss.

Suicide was the 12th largest cause of death in the U.S. in 2010 with over 38,000 successful suicides. This doesn’t even take into account those who failed to achieve their goal…death and release from pain. People around us are living with depression every day, but many disguise it so well, nobody ever guesses. Some, like my mother, are so good at disguising it that their death comes as a complete surprise to everyone concerned. My sister and I used to joke about my mother’s many faces when we were younger. Sadly, it wasn’t a joke. Like Robin Williams who hid behind his humor, my mother seemingly had a face for every situation. It was only when I began writing about both hers and my father’s suicides that I realized how little I knew the woman who gave me life. I find myself wondering if much of the crazy, eccentric behavior Mr. Williams performed for audiences, both on stage and film, wasn’t really one of his faces, and his way of acting out on the pain within, fooling us into believing it was just an act?

It’s all about Choices

Despite it all, I continue to contend that it’s all about choices. My parents made the choices they did because they felt they had finished what they’d come here to do. I believe no less of Mr. Williams. He’d done what he needed to do, learned the lessons he needed to learn, experienced the joy and suffering he chose for this lifetime, then, very quietly and without fanfare, exited, stage right.

May he be lovingly remembered, and in doing so, may his family and friends be left to grieve…and cope…in peace.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for things which, through sadness, make me remember to be compassionate.
2. I am grateful for the experiences I’ve had which (I hope) have made me a better person.
3. I am grateful for my family and friends who understand without an excess of words.
4. I am grateful for those who respect the privacy of people going through a family tragedy.
5. I am grateful that I am not my mother’s child, but a strong, compassionate, happy, self-sufficient woman with every reason to continue living, learning lessons, and experiencing every emotion I can, but from a place many miles from Depression.

Namaste

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