Two thousand twenty-three started off with a surprise text message that read: “This is a random text. My name is Courtney. I attended a class at Mt. Ida with your son Nick.” My heart jumped. Nick had died by suicide ten years earlier. Courtney went on to say how sorry she was to hear of Nick’s death and that the reason she was reaching out to me was because she lost her brother to suicide about four months earlier. Her mother was having a very difficult time. She was wondering if I could share some resources, reading material or activities that could be of help to her. I responded that I would send a document by the next day. I felt so blessed to have been asked to help another mother who lost her son to suicide. I had been working on a book about my son and suicide, so hearing from Courtney pleased me as the purpose of the book is to help others in their stages of grief. This communication also contributed to ideas I’ve had for my writing.
Some may think that being reminded of my son’s death would be unwelcomed, but hearing from someone who knew Nick was exciting to me. I want to learn as much as I can about my adult son (who didn’t share a whole lot).
I asked Courtney what made her think to contact me. She told me about her relationship with Nick, how much she enjoyed spending time with him before class each week. I found her stories to be humorous. She reminded me of Nick, personality-wise. She was not a big conversationalist, and neither was Nick, so their conversations were brief and somewhat awkward. The best part of it was they used to laugh at each other’s responses.
Courtney’s surprise text turned into a lunch meeting with Courtney and her mom. You would think we had known each other for years. Our conversation was so natural and heartfelt. We were on common ground. We wanted to share our sons and our grief experiences.
I did some business planning for 2023 but have come to the realization that I love to plan but I do not love following a plan. One of the goals on my list was to keep my desk clean and work on one task at a time. That plan finally came to fruition this month. See what I mean?
In the book I’ve been working on, I talk about Nick’s life and my life after Nick. When it is published, my hope is that it will help put a stop to the stigma of suicide as well as help those who are going through grief themselves.
My writing started the month we lost our son eleven years ago. For ten years prior to that, I was an independent distributor for a nutritional supplement company. It has now been twenty-one years sharing the benefits of these products with people of all ages and professions. I have helped people with everything from seasonal health issues to much more serious issues – issues that are becoming more and more prevalent these days. I now call myself a Healthy Aging Agent – for any age. Without your health what have you got?
During a discussion with business coach in early 2023, she asked me, “how do you know if you’re doing a good job servicing your customers?” Good question. She went on to suggest that I ask some of my best clients to describe my services using one word. Here are some of their responses.
“Comfortable sharing, openness, trust, curiosity, communication, and humor.” These comments helped me to rethink what I wanted in 2023 and that was to do the best job possible. Additional comments that were offered helped me to plan. My favorite comment was “humor.” I love working with people who love life. Some of my clients have been very ill, so finding common ground is important. Sometimes that common ground turns out to be laughter, one of nature’s best medicines.
After looking back at 2023, I realize there have been a few hurtles that I don’t want to share here, but I would like to share what I have learned from those hurtles. Be patient. Not everything has to be done yesterday or even today. Take a breath and think and rethink about what you are about to do and how it will affect your life and others’ lives. Find your happy place – somewhere you can go and just be quiet. Mine is a bookstore or sitting by the edge of a pond. And finally – BE KIND. We need more kindness in this world.
So, what’s in store for 2024?