I'm just a mom who does stuff she has to do...
"You're so strong and brave."
"How do you do it?"
"Why do you do it?"
"You didn't grieve very long before you started doing it."
These questions come up a lot, especially during podcast interviews. I'll give you my standard response.
Let's start with what "it" is. I've written two books, started a blog, volunteered for TIP, spoken in front of groups and appeared on podcasts (someday I'll add them all on the podcast tab on this site.) These are things I never would have considered when my life was all about saving Kev.
I started writing Keven's Choice just 3 months after he died. Why? Because a nagging voice in my head would not let me rest until I did. Was it Keven's voice? My own voice? I don't know but it compelled me to write the book (with the help of an awesome writing group who I credit with encouraging me and never letting me give up).
It's the same with the second book. I had to get it out there, it bugged me to write it. Talk to Me I'm Grieving was written to help people support each other in grief and give an insider's look at what grief feels like, not just my own but several others who share their stories within its pages. We need to understand this to help others and ourselves with grief.
My life was Keven and now he's gone.
For years and years, I tried to save him, but I couldn't. After his death, I forgave myself because I knew if I didn't, my life would be wasted sinking deeper and deeper into despair, self-hatred, and remorse.
In the time I have left, I want to help others have more compassion and empathy for all the Kevens and Anthonys in the world, and their loved ones who also get judged and looked down upon. No one who hasn't walked this path understands how painful and lonely it is.
We're all different. Everyone deals with grief and tragedy differently. For me, this is my way. There's nothing special or strong about me. I've always loved to express myself with words and now I can focus on that rather than trying to save my son. Unlike most of my friends who've lost loved ones, I don't have other children, a spouse, or even a job! It frees up my time to write.
From a selfish perspective, I get so much more than I give. I met some of my closest friends through Solace for Hope after losing my precious boys. I never would have met the diverse, crazily wonderful, talented and supportive people in my writing group. The satisfaction I get from a TIP call wouldn't be there. My life has also been enriched by some incredible podcast hosts who let me share my message.
I would go back to the life I had with Keven in a heartbeat, but ONLY if he lived without suffering as he did when he was here. Watching the last few years of his life was emotional torture. I understand why he made his choice. My belief is that he's still with me. I can't see him but choose to believe he's right here helping me get by.
Since I can't go back, this is my life now. Grief is always present, even when I'm smiling. But I can keep going mostly thanks to all the special people in my life, thanks to each of you (Chester and Evo included!)