I recently collaborated with a fellow speaker, coach and most of all friend, to present an Empowerment Shop (most call them workshops) on how to Take Your Life Back After a Loss. Through this event we, along with some of the participants, shared stories of our lives being overcome with major obstacles and how we were able to rebound from our circumstances and move forward.
My friend and speaking partner’s story was one of great loss, heartbreak and major suffering. At the age of 39, she lost her husband, mother and two children to a horrific accident. They were hit head on during a road trip and she was supposed to accompany them. She had became ill the morning of the planned adventure and was unable to go along.
It was not only the pain of losing her family that consumed her, but also guilt for coaxing them to take the journey without her. Her husband and mother had wanted to delay the trip; however, she insisted that they go and not disappoint the children.
For months, she remained in a deep state of depression and I was at a loss to do or say anything to help her. I prayed to God for the words, an act, something I could do to uplift her, encourage her and to help her deal with the pain.
As a speaker and trainer, I traveled most weekends and always felt bad leaving her in that condition. One weekend, on a trip to Louisiana, I insisted that she accompany me. She was hesitant but eventually I was able to convince her to go. I was speaking to and training a group of aspiring young professionals and was somewhat concerned about the pain it might bring because of the loss of her two children. But what I knew was that she needed to get out and start the process of true healing. I prayed this would somehow help.
As we gathered for the event, I noticed an elderly lady approaching me with a younger lady in tow. As they came closer I noticed what appeared to be a burn on the young lady’s face, but as they stood before me I realized that it was a tattoo. My heart dropped and I because nauseous just trying to imagine what could have possibly led her to make such a choice.
The grandmother told me the story of how a young man had convinced her granddaughter to tattoo his name along with a broken heart and an arrow on her face. She was fifteen at the time…”thought she was in love and that he loved her.” The day after HE gave her the tattoo, he ended their “relationship” and started dating her best friend.
I was totally out of kilter after hearing the story and found it very hard to focus on the empowerment shop…the reason I had made the journey.
At that moment, my friend became my coach. She reminded me that although the situation was tragic and perhaps I could do something to address it later, I now had to focus on the other 149 aspiring young professionals that were in the room. She spoke with authority and encouraged me to stay on track. It was at that moment that it hit me. This just might be a way for her to start her healing journey…to speak her truth…to tell her personal story to help others…to coach others to bounce back.
She was not willing to tell the story of her tragic loss at that time, but did give me permission to do so. As I was speaking I witnessed her showing so many emotions. She laughed, cried, looked to the floor in sadness, raised her head upward in praise. After the story was told, she got up to hug me like she had never hugged me before. I felt a breakthrough in that embrace and knew within my heart that this was truly the day of her new beginning.
After the program I was able to sit with the young lady with the tattoo and hear more of her story. I promised her and her grandmother I would do everything I could to help. I became her virtual mentor and found someone in her area that could work with her face-to-face. I watched as she came to grips with her reality and the realization that she had made a decision that would visibly scar her for life, but she could recover from it. Currently she has weathered that storm, is attending college and has aspirations of traveling the world as a Spiritual Coach and Evangelist.
As for my grieving friend, you can refer back to the beginning of this story to see where her journey has landed her. That event in Louisiana was a turning point in her life. She witnessed how the participants were drawn to her story and the power that she felt just hearing it being told. She knew that her testimony was a powerful one and it was time to take her life back so that she could travel the world sharing it with others.
Perhaps you have something that has taken over your life and you feel left with no hope, but allow me to be a witness to you. There is always hope!
One of the things you MUST do is confront your emotions, accept them and make a decision to move on. Then reassume your position in the driver’s seat and get back on the road. You can take the slow lane or the fast lane, but you must get going. Make up your mind that you’re taking your life back and in the driver’s seat, controlling your destiny is where you belong.
Teresa L. Holmes