I wrote this a week ago and have sat on it since then, unsure if I should share it with the world. But, here I go…vulnerability and all.
I have had a rough couple weeks. And, thankfully, yesterday has been the worst of it.
Through empathy, I have experienced the loss of four people in ten days. Four people I never met when they were alive and thriving. Four people that I don’t know the life stories of and, quite frankly, wouldn’t recognize if I walked by them on the street. Yet, somehow, their deaths these past two weeks hit me like a ton of bricks.
You would think a job that involves the possibility of encountering death would prepare me for these experiences. You’d be wrong. I was taught how to deal with the deaths on a professional level. I was taught how to be compassionate to those that have experienced the losses. But, and I’ve learned this is an important detail, no one taught me how to deal with the emotional result of having empathy for those going through the loss.
I’ve pondered these lives, why their losses have affected me in this way, and whether I have what it takes to continue in my chosen profession. I’ve doubted myself in a way that I don’t remember having done before. And, I cried. I have cried so many tears that ugly-cry doesn’t even begin to describe it. All of this for people I don’t even know.
My dad told me God is working in my life right now in ways I am yet to understand. My dad is my biggest hero and, probably, my biggest fan…so I tend to believe him, even if my heart doesn’t feel the same way just yet.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today has been a much better day. How? Why? These are questions I’ve asked myself. My only guess is that I finally allowed myself to grieve. Through crocodile tears and even bigger hugs from my friends, I was able to deal with these losses. I was told, last night, I didn’t have to be my job. I could just be me. And, as I was held in strong arms that oozed safety, I knew he was right. I am fortunate to have friends that understand my job and, more importantly, friends that insist I do not go through the tough patches alone.
All of this has reminded me…
It takes a village.
It takes a village to raise a child.
And it takes a village to survive this one messy and beautiful life.
I am beyond thankful for mine.