Dear Family, Friends and Supporters,
A little over a year ago I shared the word growth after about four years of feeling stuck – in my grief, personally…in every way one can be stuck. Finally, around about year four in this journey when I shared that word, I felt as though I was beginning to find that growth – to feel it blossoming in my life. I was finally experiencing growth in my healing heart, a feeling that I imagine to be like the blooming of a Lotus flower from the mud.
The loss of Brian - although always present - was beginning to soften. There was slow yet positive movement as I took more confident steps forward in my life and in the Brian Dagle Foundation. Life was finding its rhythm of a new normal. The foundation was and continues to gain respect for its work in grief support and in suicide prevention.
Now here we are in March of 2017. The winds of change are wildly blowing outside and the word change is facing me head on. Although the changes are mostly positive, there is one in particular that is testing my growth and reminding me of how simple it would be to resist the change.
We’re moving from the house in which my children grew up. The house with the revolving door of boys who transformed into men. This is the house where Brian lived. The fear of change sends me stepping backwards wanting to scream, wanting everything back the way it was way back when. It’s safer that way.
I try to play all the motivational phrases in my head, "When one door closes another opens." Or "change can be good." But no matter how many inspirations words or motivational turns of phrase, I’m fighting, consciously and subconsciously, all of the good reasons to accept this change. In my head, but mostly in my heart, change strikes fear.
I am not without understanding as to where this comes from; for the past five years I've spent each breath trying to live to the next, trying to survive a life changing loss that forced me into a sudden and unwanted new life. And so change – the only certainty in this life – is linked to fear.
The success of the foundation has led me to another change. After 18 years in the personal training business, I’m retiring to continue earning a Certification in Grief and Death Studies. With this training, I facilitate support groups and offer individual support to the bereaved. This was never in MY plan. But life had other plans. My new career as a Grief and Loss specialist allows me the honor of meeting people in their darkest moments, people who are just trying to live through the raw emotion of grief.
It is in these moments of connecting with people at their worst, I realized that change – and the profound ripple effect it has – has been my catalyst for growth. What I fear has become what I need to continue.
So maybe it’s time for change to bring not fear, but hope.
I can’t help but remember the story of Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg as she discussed lessons she learned from her husband’s unexpected death last year during an intimate speech to the University of California, Berkeley’s 2016 graduating class. She shared how she was forced into widowhood, life as a single parent and learning to find her new normal. A good friend told her, “When Option A doesn't work out, kick the S**T out of Option B.”
So instead of listening to all the reasons why I should fear the changes in 2017, I’m working hard at kicking the blank out of Option B.