3 Ways to Support Someone Who is Hurting

3 Ways to Support Someone Who is Hurting

I promised myself that when I got to the other side of grief I’d come alongside those just beginning with real support. I would offer helpful advice cultivated from my experience of healing, despite the lack of support I’d received from a confused and unprepared culture. Even more importantly, I didn’t want anyone to feel as lonely as I felt if I could help it.

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Fumbling My Way Through Birth and Death

Fumbling My Way Through Birth and Death

I’m an “old” mom. My son arrived just ahead of my 35th birthday and before that year my husband and I weren’t sure we wanted to be parents. However, after my father-in-law died unexpectedly, the conversations about having a family of our own became more frequent. We faced the grim reality that if we didn’t stop riding the proverbial fence we may have a child whose grandparents never knew him. So when my mom was diagnosed with stage three anal cancer in April 2015, her positive biopsy swiftly led to my positive pregnancy test four short months later. I was not at all prepared for what was to come.

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My Mom Was a Runner

My Mom Was a Runner

My mom was a runner. I don’t know when or why she decided to run, but once she began it became a very important part of her day. Up at dawn, she put on a tattered baseball cap, equally worn t-shirt and shorts, and Nike Air shoes. She carried a stick and a pocket full of dog treats. A dirt path around a quiet, desert golf course was her domain as the sun began to rise. She didn’t have an easy life. There was little peace in her life apart from running. This was the one thing she did for herself. An introvert, she rarely socialized outside of family. Life had ups and downs and she had concerns about various family matters, finances, and other things. But for an hour each morning, these were put aside as she allowed herself to feel the emotional freedom that comes from the movement and breathing that accompany running.

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You Can Do Hard Things

You Can Do Hard Things

I come from a tight-knit family. We love each other deeply and keep in touch, whether via text or in person, often. So, when one member is hurting or celebrating, the rest of us feel it right there with them. Last fall, three huge events happened in our family’s life that were met with a strange mix of joy, grief, and fear: I gave birth to my first child, my oldest nephew passed away two weeks later, and my mom – our rock – was diagnosed with a serious case of bladder cancer two months after that. To say my emotions were in overdrive is an understatement.

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The Dinner Table

The Dinner Table

Every Sunday my family gathers together for family dinner. We pile all the food onto the table and check in with each other. On a warm summer night, the windows will be open and our neighbors will be wondering what we're laughing about. In the winter, the woodburning stove is lit and crackling. The ambiance changes with the seasons but a constant is that, whether in joy or stress, my family week after week comes to the table to spend time together.

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Cancer at 23: How it Changed Me for the Better

Cancer at 23: How it Changed Me for the Better

The moment I found out I had cancer, I was sitting in my cubicle at the first job I had gotten after graduating from college. My biggest worry that day was finishing my Christmas shopping, as the holidays were just a few weeks from then. That was going to be my first Christmas together with my family since moving back from college in Minnesota, and I was so excited to spend time with those I loved. With one phone call from my doctor that afternoon, after a set of yearly routine tests, my entire life was flipped upside down.

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Growing Up Among the Trees

Growing Up Among the Trees

There is something about sitting among the trees and just watching and listening that is so beautiful and cleansing. It causes you to pause and think about what it took for the forest to grow. The trees that have managed to survive the longest have undoubtedly been through so much. But the trees that had short lives and ended up on the forest floor, only to become kindling later, still served a purpose.

It is the same with us as humans. We often stop to compare ourselves to others, wondering what we are lacking, wondering why someone else is growing stronger or faster or living longer. We don’t stop to look at the beauty that we hold within and recognize our purpose.

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The Other Side of Suicide

The Other Side of Suicide

On October 8, 2016, my life abruptly changed. The man I’d loved for more than 15 years took his own life. I was shocked, devastated, and lost in a sea of emotions while simultaneously trying to collect myself enough to face my two small boys, who were nine months and three years old. It was a moment that induced a fog that I had never experienced before. I have heard it described as “widow brain” but it was much more than that. It was the detachment and numbness that happened while trying to process my new reality, but it was also all the sadness, confusion, anger, and hurt that came with it.

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At Home with My Siblings

At Home with My Siblings

I think all of us have felt unsettled lately, like a general un-anchoring is taking place in each of our lives. The past year or so has been full of change, decisions, and uncertain direction for all of us. Deciding on a college major. Moving. Job searching. Changing a college major. New jobs. New babies. Dissatisfaction with jobs. A major medical diagnosis.

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