It wouldn’t have stopped cancer.
Changed our path…or would it have?
I have been running a bereavement group, or as I call it a comfort group for adults who have lost a loved one. Why did I start this group? The pains of grief are too difficult to navigate alone so I want to help others in the same situation. I am fueled by this one never-ending thought, create a group with my moms needs after my dad died in mind. When I lost my dad, her husband we felt hopeless and trapped inside the dark and blurred walls of grief. Not only dealing with grief but also being broke and depressed we didn’t know help was out there and we didn’t know where to look. We thought our grief was unique only for us, which made the pain difficult to experience and talk about around others.
The group I run is free for all members, funded by through my 501(c)(3) the Too Much Too Soon Foundation, because money shouldn’t stop people from grieving. I know if I heard about a group like the one I run now when my dad passed I would have made my mom join, not that I think she would have fought me. It was not healthy for her to sit and dwell on grief 24/7 with no outlet and no one to share her experience with. With a group to talk with she could have said what was on her mind, what scared her, or just sit, be silent listening and relating to other members. I know the group wouldn’t have prevented her cancer but it would have given her different quality of life until she passed.
Losing both my parents I have learned many lessons about life, if I sat and talked about all the lessons it would take days to explain. The biggest lesson learned which only took nine years is I now understand the true meaning of life, well my meaning of life. Life is for giving back, being your own hero and a hero for someone else. I fly by the seat of my pants, bite off more than I can chew and ‘wing it’ when it comes to life. But that is only because I understand that when you take on more life than you expect, you learn about your breaking points. The single greatest lesson I learned in life is that pushing what you think possible builds confidence and self-understanding. When you play it safe inside your walls of what you think possible you don’t allow any ‘WOW’ moments in. Those moments first viewed as errors or missteps that you think you should probably have never done. ‘WOW moments define you, make you sit back and think ‘holy moly, I did this?!’ These moments are addicting, mostly because you push the boundaries of what you expect from yourself and want to keep pushing.
The meaning of life is about pushing your life’s limitations and not playing it safe but playing life risky to your advantage. I learned this lesson not by choice but by need to survive my grief. It was down right depressing not knowing what or how to help those you love that need assistance, myself included. I sat on the sidelines a long time just wondering what I could do to help but never actually doing anything out of fear or insecurities that I couldn’t help. I lived inside a barrier I created that blocked me from living life only because I was scared of life. I was being bullied by my perception of what I thought my role was in the world. There inside the barrier I lived comfortably, perpetually worried and unsatisfied with the way things went but to scared to make any real choice inside the bubble of grief I thought I deserved to be in. I was so wrong and didn’t realize that I had full control over my life until I pushed life, flew by the seat of my pants and I understood I can do no wrong, only right.
In my group I have one member who can’t afford to bury her deceased son. I currently am working on her behalf to bring her son home to her for free from another sate. I didn’t know how to go about this matter or know anyone who could help before saying ‘yes, I will help you’ all I thought of was my mom before I threw myself in fully. I thought of how we could have used the help when I first lost my dad and how nice it would have been to hear a person say ‘yes’ or ‘let me help you’ rather than an ‘um, maybe’ or ‘no.’
I was a kid who failed out of college twice, crawled my way back and ended up on the dean’s list. All the moments in my past I was embarrassed about were nothing to be ashamed of but signs of my super powers I just didn’t know how to control. My powers I used were being stubborn, aggressive, noisy yet humble and persistent to the point of annoying because it was what got me the attention I needed for help. All the interactions I had in my day-to-day life including battles with bill collectors or conversations that played in my mind over and over again that had already happened, just dreaming of what I should have said made me. Those are the moments that shaped me and made me able to call up another state and ask for help to bring a woman her son.
Another feather in my cap I wasn’t scared to tackle, I am currently teaming with a large cancer organization in NYC to create a mutual cancer support community on a large college campus in NYC. It may appear that I bite off more than I could chew, but I bite perfectly because I know my breaking points and take calculated risks for giant rewards.
I created these groups to be a hero to others and my past self and family. I can’t change the past and wouldn’t want to, I am using the worries and concerns of my past for fuel to shape my future.
-Life, what is it? Whatever you want, seriously!