Jo’s Story (Grief and Grieving Seminar)

Our lives changed forever in that instant that Scott was killed. I thought if the world was going to end, that day was a good day. That’s how bad I felt.

The traumatic death of Scott and the events that followed tested our faith, our values, what we stood for and our family relationships.

I liken losing Scott to Alice in Wonderland’s experience when she fell down the rabbit hole into a strange world. But for us it was a one way trip – the door to return was firmly shut. There was no way back. In this strange new place we had come to, everything felt different. Life was different.

I felt disconnected to everything and everyone. “Where do I fit? How do I live?” It looked way too big. I had a choice. I couldn’t choose what happened to me, but I could choose how I reacted and what I did with my experience.

It is not an easy road. But I learned not to look ahead. If I did, I would sink. It was too overwhelming. I could not look back or I would sink, because I would yearn for the life we had before Scott’s death. Sometimes it was choosing each day to take one step at a time, one day at a time. It is very important to let love in when people care for us and choose to love. The only other choice is to be bitter, sad and angry. No one wins.

I am a fan of affirmations. I write them out and stick them on the bathroom mirror and read them out loud every day. It doesn’t have to be complicated. One of my early affirmations was;

“We are going to get through this no matter what. We have a great team of people around us to help us all the way. We are going to get through with our family intact and good is going to come out of it.”

If we say it out loud, we will believe it.

A friend gave me a pen and journal with the words written in the front, “May you find treasures in the darkness.” (I have!). I found it to be therapeutic and it turned into writing blogs of what I have learned along the way for my Make Lemonade website, and my two children books.

For a long time I couldn’t dream. I had always had vivid colourful dreams, but now everything was black. I have learned to look at what I have been given, not what has taken away. We have three living children and fourteen grandchildren. They all need a chance to live a good life.

Being thankful everyday changed my mindset. I started small, thankful for the sun which was shining, thankful that I could hear the birds singing, and gradually it become a long list of things that I am so thankful for. Look for the good every day. Today might not be a good day, but there is good in every day.

I have found an inner strength I didn’t know was there, a peace and a deeper faith in God in the quiet and in nature. No mean feat for an extrovert! I couldn’t cope being with people for any length of time.

So there is a way through our grief. We have to find it and not give up. We still have a lot of challenges ahead as a family because of the ripple effect of what happened when Scott was killed. But we know we can meet those challenges. We miss him terribly, I still wear a locket with Scott’s picture around my neck. I do have sad days, (Scott won’t see his boys grow up) but I don’t stay there. I know that despite everything, all will be well.

“You cannot change the wind but you can adjust your sails.”