I would imagine that anyone who has suffered a tragedy at some point – in my case, the suicide of my brother nine months ago – hears comments to this effect: “Oh, but compared to what you’re going through, my problems are meaningless … I feel silly telling you.” I know these comments come from a place of kindness, but it can be incredibly frustrating.
After a tragedy, the hardest thing to reclaim is any sense of normalcy (hence, the name of this blog!). Whether you like it or not, you’re thinking about what happened each and every day. Knowing that life goes on around me, as unreal as it may seem, helps with the healing and makes it seem like it just might be possible to someday move past my grief.
So on behalf of all of the “survivors” out there, yes! We want to hear your problems, challenges, fears, heartbreaks. Your problems are not meaningless or petty – they are real, they are yours, and we want to know what’s going on in your life. Yes, we have gone through (and are going through) something terrible, but we do not own the world’s pain, nor have we set extreme benchmarks for what constitutes a “problem”.
I know that in some ways, I will always be known as “the girl who’s brother killed himself”. I cannot change this. But I will not let it be the only thing that defines me.
I have been shown amazing levels of kindness and friendship since my brother died – and I look forward to returning the kindness to my friends in need.