The Ammo Box contains tales from my past that influenced my life in both big and small ways. These stories come from my parents, my siblings and the people who have come into my life at one time or another. I have described the ammo box as the place I put things. The container for the bad things that happened as I grew and didn’t have a place to share or a way to express the accumulated emotions. Now, I come to realize that holding all that grief and all that pain did not serve me and so I open the ammo box before it can explode.
Revealing the things we believe to others, especially about grief, can bring us right back to that “moment when”…(fill-in your description here).
For me, it was the death of my daughter, Leah that brought me to my ‘Moment When.’ I like to consider these posts of mine as conversations, the kind done sitting down across the table from you and not shouting across a bar. Someplace safe where I tell you something in confidence about myself in the hope that by being vulnerable I can let go of being strong, grieving alone and simply tell you my story.
Leah was 17 when she lost control of the car she was driving to school. We don’t know why it happened. We saw the skid marks but the ‘why’ will always escape our knowledge. We were not prepared for what came next but after 5 days, all brain activity had ceased and she was removed from life support. Thus began our grief journey.
Maybe that moment for you, wasn’t a critical life trauma. I am talking about the moments that revealed something that changed your thinking. Suddenly, you understand things differently than you did. It could be an “A-HA” moment or just a glimpse of a possibility of change on the horizon. The distance to be covered from where you were to where you are headed.
Our thinking changed after she was gone and our world turned upside down. Nothing was normal and there was no going back to the way things were before. It challenged us and made us consider things differently. And things in our life that seems foundational shifted.
What has to change?
The glimpse across to the shore of broken dreams indicates that change is headed non-stop toward you. The moment when you are faced with yourself and your beliefs. For some, it is a place that makes us cower and we retreat without a direction or purpose. There are those who make up their mind to take a different direction. What will it take to make the change from stuck to moving in a different direction? Those are the people we are reaching out to.
As a kid, I liked hanging out with my parents and grandparents as they played cards on Sunday afternoons. After the dishes were washed and everything was put away, the cards came out and the adults arranged themselves as partners at the table. Ready to relax a bit, perhaps have a beverage and a palaver.
Palaver is a real word that means idyl chatting like you do when your playing cards.
If you are the adrenaline fueled poker player then our Sunday afternoons were not for you. It was about catching up on the local news while spending idle time. The adults didn’t mind or didn’t notice that we sat under the table playing and listening to their chit-chat. Not that we understood much but we were part of the family scene. When it was discussed that my aunt had seen a doctor, it wasn’t anything unusual. I didn’t know what cancer was or how it might create change in our family.
This was one of the first places that I learned about what it meant to be family, and how our story was to be shaped. There were lessons to be gotten from these Sunday afternoon times. Lessons that didn’t register and as the tale unfolded, the lessons had important missing elements. Those elements involving what to do with and how to react as our feelings surfaced. How would our family be impacted once our family was reduced by one. So like many, my education suffered because the tools I needed to understand and address grief are not presented in neat time release capsules. It was messy and I witnessed sadness, anger, fear and a host of other emotions as we attempted to navigate the roller coaster that is life.
So when Nancy and I open up “The Conversations around Grief” as a webinar series, these are the things we talk about. The everyday events that all families go through. Some families navigate grief better than others. Some families never make it. Our hope is that by sharing the things we observed and how we came through our daughters death together that can be shared by us for you. It is our hope that you will pick up some nuggets that help you in your journey. We want everyone to be successful at facing the uncomfortable moments and be able to move in a direction that creates meaning and purpose. I hope that you will consider joining us.