Anne Morrow Lindberg’s quote, “I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.” along with the idea of surviving extreme trauma reminded me of my son’s suicide at age twenty-four.Someone suggested a support group called Compassionate Friends which is a non denominational group for people who have lost children. After a while, people don’t know what to say to the parent who has lost a child but these monthly meetings provided an outlet to speak openly about our memories, regrets, and never ending pain. They had a monthly newsletter that listed our child’s birthday and death day as they occurred. We could write letters to them and I wrote several poems. Everything was published.
The stories were often tragic. One mother’s son was working on an ocean freighter and he was washed overboard; his body was never recovered. One mother’s daughter was Kidnapped and murdered as she was refilling vending machines and the next year her other daughter committed suicide. One time a couple came to the meeting who had lost all four children of their children. One to a rare childhood cancer and six months later, two more died in a car crash with a drunk driver, Their one other child grew to adulthood but died in a car accident. This couple made the choice to live and share their story with as many groups as possible; as an example of turning such horrific tragedy into a personal testament of survival rather than retreating into anger and bitterness.
As I reach this age, I have witnessed too many people defeated by death, loss, pain and suffering. The loss of a child is unimaginable and destroys people and marriages. We can overcome this devastation by reaching out and joining support groups so that we don’t feel so alone.
-- ** Susan Larson, Ajijic, Jalisco, MX, explorer of the edges
Been There Voices is about us, our lives, our successes and failures, our joys and sorrows, our lessons and our gradual, hard-won wisdom. We have survived and thrived throughout whatever has come our way.
The reasons are arbitrary and not intended to dismiss half of our population, however, this project focuses on the stories of women, and begins with fourteen women, well-polished grains of sand on the beach of life, tumbled by the waves of time until their light shines through, offering their stories, joys and sorrows, to the ocean of wisdom.