It has been four years since I have written any real posts on my blog – four full years since my nephew’s suicide and other large life changes! My last post, Darkness – Cannot Snuff Out That Light, was a poem inspired for my nephew, and even more so for those people mourning such a terrible event when Darkness itself sometimes creeps into our lives and takes what is good and precious away from us on this earth. Here’s my journey after his suicide into purpose…
Back then, I had just completed the last series, 31 Days to Bless Your Family, well almost complete (I was just adding some video content and social posts for each), and a new 31 Day series for Freedom, was about to begin. I just couldn’t bring myself to immediately jump back in to writing, or my other plans, when there was immediate family that I wanted to support, to live and walk with, and to encourage after such a life blow as losing someone you cherish – especially so unexpectedly. I could write about Faith, Family, and Freedom… about how to Bless Your Family… but now I had to own it and authentically live it. My whole family was shaken and suffering, questioning, processing, grieving – and I wanted to be able to share hope with them.
My main focus was on my own son who was very close to his cousin. They were the same age, born just nine days apart, and my son was just finishing his Junior year of high school and heading into the all-important Senior year. This was a very important and pivotal time in his life and I wanted to be there at any and every opportunity to support him, and of course I was completely unsure how the death of his cousin would really affect him. It’s hard enough to parent teenagers in normal circumstances.
When any event occurs, no matter how life-changing or how routine, it is wise advice to allow for enough time to process what we are experiencing, and then discipline ourselves to eventually return to the actions best and healthiest to move forward in the direction we choose for ourselves.-edj
I thought I might be able to get back in the swing of writing and my other personal goals within 30-90 days, but that obviously was not the case! Within just a couple of months of my nephew’s passing I also learned that a company I had invested in for three years to pursue a new career was restructuring the division I worked in. The role I was seeking would be permanently distanced from my plans locally, and alter the long-term course I had set for myself previously. I had to assess and navigate this new change quickly, to weather calmly and rationally the shifting landscape, and to stay the larger course and goals I had for myself and my family. Once again, my priorities required allocating all my attention and reserves to the most important areas of my life.
Maybe you can relate to the guilt or burden I felt by not expanding and growing in new areas or goals that were ”on the list”, or even already started? Maybe you can relate to questioning yourself, why can’t I, or aren’t I “strong” enough to do it all and get it done anyway?
The only answer I can provide is singularity… having a single purpose that guides you.-edj
If my singularity were writing I would have kept doing so, and even finished a book or two perhaps. But if my purpose is truly Faith, Family and Freedom then I have to be content and confident in making the day to day choices that invest in those areas – not theoretically written in this blog, but lived and sacrificed daily side by side with my wife and son, and our extended family and friends as best I could. It meant for me staying focused on moving “the bigger blocks” forward and taking care of the future of my family, and growing in my own faith. For me, these are some of the biggest values I personally have, and I have peace about my choice to move from the devastation of suicide into purpose for my life and those around me that I can encourage and add value to them.
Success might be defined by what we choose to be fulfilled by (happiness), our singularity or purpose in life, and the pursuit of our greatest desires (not necessarily the destination, but the journey).-edj
My son is now a senior in college and has been growing into his own talents and passions. He is a wonderful young man with so many blessings ahead of him. My wife and I are just as close as ever, if not more so, and we have experienced more peace and oneness together over the last four years. Lastly, I’ve grown quite a bit personally, hopefully with new wisdom to share with you – the book I had started four years ago has been refined and I am excited with the new content being preparing for you! I will be working on writing the Freedom series, and recently launched a Facebook group and Clubhouse group titled “Faith Family Freedom” or #FFF. Leaning into my passions for people development I launched “PeopleChamps” – Champions of People, Leadership, and Culture Development on LinkedIn as a Newsletter, and Clubhouse.
If your family has been affected by someone’s suicide or attempt, or if you are struggling personally, please ask someone you trust for help, encouragement, and hope. Check out the follow up to these posts from the “No More Darkness” poem written for my nephew where I list several support resources for you or those you care about. It does not matter how long it takes you or a loved one to process through what you need to in order to emerge on the other side with more hope, more purpose, and a realization that you are worthy and matter so much to the world around you. Your story will make a positive difference to somebody! Perhaps my poem and a little encouragement to focus on living into your purpose will help to take the next best steps ‘forward and upward’.
Everything is people. People matter most. Let’s all be #PeopleChamps!