“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”
– Brené Brown
My friend lost her sister to cancer four months ago. She talks about it—the pain and disbelief, the pressure to move on, the things that help and the things that don’t. She talks about the good days and the indescribably bad days.
I listen to everything she offers. I tuck it away for safekeeping. With her help, I’ll know a better thing to say when someone hurts. With her help, I have some perspective on inconsequential problems when they’re getting more attention than they deserve.
Each time my friend shares, I am struck by admiration and awe. I think to myself, she never wanted to be the messenger; she never wanted to be an expert on grief; she never wanted to know what words, what actions bring a moment of solace to an aching soul.
But she is. And she does.
This is now my friend’s story and as much as she’d like to deny it, she’s chosen to own it—quite bravely and brilliantly, I might add.
I thought of my friend and her unchosen expertise when I had a CT scan in June. It was the first time I laid beneath a big scary machine and held my breath for dear life. When the machine began to inch forward slowly, I thought of my friend and her story. I wasn’t sure how my story was going to play out, but I decided I would own it. Tell my close friends what I was going through. Say, “I’m scared,” when I felt scared. Ask for help when I was in pain. Above all, I knew it was important to pay attention. So I vowed to take it all in—the good and bad—and perhaps discover something worth sharing in the process.
Four weeks after the CT scan that saved my left kidney and possibly my life, I was home from the hospital. I was swollen and sore. I was groggy on pain meds. I was having trouble thinking of words. I was kind of a mess. But I had something I felt must be said. I pulled my laptop computer gingerly onto my lap and typed some words to my friends and family on social media. I remember worrying for a brief moment if there were incomplete sentences, misspelled words, and extra periods. Words were blurry through my grateful, teary eyes, but I pushed publish anyway. Here is an excerpt:
“I am home from the hospital recovering from kidney surgery and feeling incredibly thankful to be here. It’s been many months of infection and uncertainty, but I finally have peace. I am on my way to more years, more love, more life. My little public service announcement in the midst of this overwhelming gratitude is this: If you feel like something is not right in your body or mind, please don’t dismiss that feeling. Make an appointment today. If you are not satisfied with the answers you get or things do not improve, keep searching. Keep asking. Keep listening. Keep going until you get answers. You are the only one who can truly look after YOU. And your people need you to be HERE.”
An interesting thing happened. Two of my neighbors contacted me over the next few weeks to tell me those words prompted them to action. One of them made an appointment regarding a persistent pain she’d neglected to look into. Another friend said she’d been worried about her spouse’s health and my words were the perfect words to offer him.
Though I felt like a mess, I provided a vital message.
In that moment, I felt better than I had in months. The uncertainty and pain I’d endured weren't all for naught. For the first time, I saw my story not a curse, but as a blessing. It was a blessing to be the messenger.
When all this transpired, you came to mind countless times. I have come to cherish every member of The Hands Free Revolution community like family. Through this painful experience, I thought I could offer something that might help you see your life’s mess in a new way. This is what came out in a tiny notebook during my first walk outside after having two surgeries in one month:
You never wanted to know how to survive divorce.
You never wanted to know the joys and heartaches of autism.
You never wanted to know the signs of addiction.
But you do.
You never wanted to know loss so devastating that your mind has trouble believing it’s true.
You never wanted to know how to leave an abusive relationship.
You never wanted to know it was possible to bounce back after a financial crisis.
But you do.
You never wanted to know the pain of caring for a parent who doesn’t remember you.
You never wanted to be the strong one.
You never wanted to know the car could be a safe place to cry.
But you do.
You never wanted to know a family could break.
You never wanted to know how to put the pieces back together in a new way.
You never wanted to know a new normal.
But you do.
You never wanted to know the perfect response when someone stares at your child.
You never wanted to know the courage it takes to ask for help.
You never wanted to know how to find joy after having lost it for so long.
But you do.
You never wanted to know when it’s time to sever the ties in order to have inner peace.
You never wanted to know how hard it is to say to yourself, “Enough is enough. My loved ones deserve better. Change starts today.”
You never wanted to know the weight that can be lifted when you say to yourself, “It wasn’t my fault.”
But you do.
And perhaps as time has passed you’ve discovered that to deny your story hurts more than the story itself.
So you’ve chosen to own it.
To speak out, even when your voice shakes.
To tell the truth, even when it’s not pretty.
To encourage someone else, even when you can barely encourage yourself.
To get up and face the world, even when you can barely look at yourself in the mirror.
You didn’t ask for this story, but it’s yours, and you’re owning it.
And I thank you for that. I thank you.
The tears that streak your face at the most inopportune times of the day, at the most inappropriate moments, are the lines of your story. And when you own it, someone else is not alone in his or hers.
Though you feel like a mess, you are providing a vital message.
Perhaps you sit here in a mess that you haven’t shared yet. Maybe you thought it had to be all figured out before you told someone. Maybe you thought it had to have a happy ending before it could all be revealed. Maybe you thought you had to have perfect punctuation and periods in all the right places for it to be seen.
I hope and pray you see it differently now.
Even if you are smack dab in the midst of your trial … even if have no idea how it’s going to play out … even if it feels like you are failing miserably, your story can still resonate … it can still comfort … it can still enlighten … it can still inspire action.
Your jumbled mess, whether whispered as a prayer to one or shouted in desperation to thousands, could be the message someone needs right now.
And perhaps by sharing, your pain will ease … your hope will grow … your tomorrow will look a little bit brighter.
You there in your mess: Thank you for being. Your life is a message. And through your story, there is power to save.
Friends of The Hands Free Revolution, you may have noticed that the comment section of the Facebook page have become a safe haven where people freely share their stories—both the struggles and triumphs of their messy lives. It is quite beautiful the way members of this community encourage people they have never met. Last week a member of this community bravely asked for help with her struggle to respond to her children in a more positive and peaceful way and shared that her children were picking up her harmful behaviors. She was initially met with a non-supportive response. Then a flood of encouragers followed, commending her for asking for help and offering their support and insight. She and I corresponded privately when I provided her with resources and strategies to create a more loving home environment. She told me she didn’t know if she would ever ask for help again given the response she initially received. I promised her that by her openly asking for help, she spoke for someone else. Sure enough, I heard from another member of our community who was struggling with the same issues. Now there are two families getting the help they need because one of them shared their story. Through her life's mess, she provides a vital message. I hope and pray she keeps asking and sharing so bravely. I'll be there to support her when she does and I know many of you will be too.
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Terri Jackson says
Dear Rachel, as always, your words touch me deeply. I never wanted to know what it was like to bury a child. But I do. The tears do streak at inopportune times, do they not. But I am slowly finding my purpose. It is indeed a mess. My bracelets arrived on Friday, they are beyond beautiful and help me remember, my purpose is to love. Wishing you swift healing and a very peace filled day. Gratefully, Terri
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you for sharing your story, Terri. It is a heartbreaking one. What INCREDIBLE hope you have offered by saying, “But I am slowly finding my purpose.” Today someone is reading that and realizing this is not the end. I am honored to know you are wearing one of the HANDS FREE bracelets. I am honored to walk beside you and learn from you on this journey.
You always manage to inspire me without “guilting” me. Thank you for this blog. I am a better mommy and wife because of it.
Your comment is so right. She inspires without guilting or judging. Thank you Rachel, for all you do.
Rachel, I’m so grateful for your wisdom, even in the midst of life, the mess of it. Your poem spoke to me – no, we didn’t choose the knowledge of pain, whatever flavor it is, but we have it, and we can use it to help others. Thank you my friend, for the reminders online and in your beautiful books.
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you, Dana. Your encouragement throughout my publishing journey and as you read an early copy of HANDS FREE LIFE have helped me in ways I cannot explain. Just knowing you are getting something meaningful from every page of my book is calming my anxiousness as the release date nears. It is helping me sleep better at night. I have been inspired by the way you share your parenting struggles with others and see by the comments that you bring a heavy sigh of relief to others when you do. I am so grateful for you.
Julie Jo Severson says
Just wow. This is beautiful. A messenger of words and actions that bring moments of solace to aching souls. I mean, what greater of a purpose can there be? Thank you for sharing.
Wow, I am in tears. Thank you for this. I never wanted to know divorce or what it was like to move 3 times in 22 months or how hard it would be financially as a single mom of three. And I also had my first CT scan back in May of this year after I was diagnosed with a “cantaloupe size” cyst on my ovary. I know the emotions you were feeling, the fear of the unknown was incredible. I was nervous having my first surgery but so grateful that it was benign. And so grateful for the amazing family and friends in my life that have helped me along the way. Life throws so many unexpected things at us and it’s hard to keep going sometimes.
My ex is an alcoholic, our divorce was hard. I used to be embarrassed of my situation but came to realize that by sharing my story I was not only helping others but they were also helping me. My 18 yo daughter got a tattoo that says “We all have a story to tell” after her father left. She too shares her story and it has helped with her pain and healing.
“Always be kind because everyone you meet is fighting a battle we know nothing about” ~ So true.
And through my curtain of tears, distracted by my nephew and a dog wanting attention from me, I take my time to place this comment. You have got an awesome way of writing miss. I read someone commented that you know how to inspire without making one feel “guilty” and that is so true.
But you inspire this little feeling of hope in me.. To not give up and that is priceless. Thank you very much for that. I am so extremely tired after two years of searching what exactly is wrong with me. But I haven’t given up yet and I won’t just yet. These last 8 months my health took a detour down on lame lane and my body is seriously letting me down.. I got my husband who is taking care of me every day. Because I simply can not do it myself. It is so embarrassing at times to not be able to wash my own hair, dry off my own body, need to explain in spoons how much or how less energy I still got left. But I still am. And thanks to you, I remember that I am with a purpose still. Again, thank you so very very much for that. ?
“Your jumbled mess, whether whispered as a prayer to one or shouted in desperation to thousands, could be the message someone needs right now.
And perhaps by sharing, your pain will ease … your hope will grow … your tomorrow will look a little bit brighter.”
Thank you for such a wisdom. And I am glad you are recovering.
This is astounding in it’s truth. Thanks for saying it out loud. I hope it reaches the people who need it most. We are all experts in something, and sometimes it’s not at all what we were hoping for.
This is amazing and just what I needed. I feel that I have broken so many times and each time I put myself back together I know I’ll never go back the same.
Yes. Always, yes.
There is SO much behind this thank you, but I don’t have time to write it now as I hide in the bathroom so my boys don’t see my tears from your beautiful words. A million times thank you!
Oh Rachel, this was so beautiful and timely. My mess is so monumentally messy that I can’t even talk about it publicly. I never wanted to know what despair and pain so acute you can’t breathe felt like, but I do. Fortunatelly it helped me realize that I am so much stronger than I thought and that is a good thing.
Thank you for your words. Remember that I am always happy to share my photography with you for your posts.
Gald you are recuperating nicely. All the best.
Thank you for sharing this with us. I happened across this post on Facebook and it was like a sign from the universe to be brave. I’m working through my own story with my therapist right now and it’s incredibly painful to even think about. However, your story has given me courage to start writing my lived experience down. I loved the poem at the end of this post and it’s given me an idea of how to creatively share my story with my counselor. Thank you.
Hi Rachel, you never fail to pen words that resonate deeply with me and encourage me to be more present (still a work in progress) & find a deeper appreciation in life. We are in the midst of what has been the most stressful, difficult periods of our family life…as well as one of the most beautiful, thank-filled and precious. Our 4th and final little one was born 9 weeks early, came home at nearly 13 weeks old and is fully tube fed with no clear idea of when or if she’ll be able to bottle feed. I’ve often caught myself thinking “I never wanted this!” To see our precious little one struggle, to have to learn how (and actually do it) to clear her airways when she changes colour, to see our older three cope bravely for months with having me come and go and be caught between who is in authority, and all the tension this time has brought. In my frustration it’s like a tantrum that this was not the type of story I signed up for. But on the other hand I can see how it has helped others to share it with us and it has brought some challenging but ultimately beautiful lessons. Thank you for sharing this post and for gently challenging me, through your own story, to own mine and use it for good xx
Thank you for this – I am the primary caregiver for my 94 year old mom who is having more than a few memory problems and my dad just passed away two weeks ago from dementia-related complications. Add that to regular life which includes an 11 year old and let’s just say that I need all of the encouragement that I can get. I am thankful for my husband and our daughter, for an employer who is caring and for a circle of friends who are caring and supportive
My little mother passed away two years ago after a long and healthy life. She too had dementia for quite some time before her passing. Such a stressful thing to care for a parent who is confused and scared but we still managed to find so many things to laugh about. Take some time to remember the past with her since the present and future are so confusing and uncertain. We talked about so many old times and even simple memories like the tree in our backyard, Halloween costumes that she made for us, the time our neighbor fell off the fence and broke her arm and even my father’s alcoholism and recovery. These are memories, both good and bad, that made us smile and laugh and validate what a messy, full, and wonderful life she had. They filled the time that we spent together with rich images of a real life with all of the trappings. I also work and have a family and was working on my master’s degree while my mom was sick so time was precious. I had to reach deep down to find my patience for her in her most needy times. She would tell me “you are so patient with me,” after I had just rolled my eyes at her behind her back for the thousandth time. Every time I thought to myself, “I cannot wait until this ends,” I was immediately overwhelmed by the next thought of how much I didn’t want her to leave us. Such inner-turmoil. I am glad she only saw my patience as I miss her so much but I am so happy for the time we spent remembering silly little things like broken arms and Halloween and the tree in our backyard.
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you for sharing, Kelly. This was very moving. I am so sorry for your loss.
I loved this post! And yes, it made me share! I just shared ‘less than perfect parenting’ on my professional parenting FB page! Not something I usually do and yet your article made me realise it is EXACTLY what I should be doing! Sharing the messy stuff and not just the straight forward how-to stuff! Thank you so much. I feel hooked every time I read one of your posts and like your words are little angels building a bridge between my heart and mind with each read – THANK YOU special lady, we are blessed by you xxx
Wow, how spooky that you posted this tonight, of all times
My husband, we’ve been together 32 years, has just left tonight, leaving me and our four year old triplets
I’ve learned over the past to stay quiet over how I’m feeling, as I’ve felt that my problems, and my talking about them, have driven people away. We lost our 16yr old son ten years ago, and then after 13 ivfs got pregnant with twins. Tragically they died too. I think that sometimes people don’t know what to say, and I worry that they feel that I’m dragging them down, so all I have left are a handful of very old friends (and some new ones) but I try to be brave and not discuss my hurt with them
Maybe it’s time to change?
Thank you as ever, Rachel, and everyone else for sharing
Rachel Stafford says
Nikki, I am grateful for your strength that just truly resonates from the words you have written. I hope this is the start of sharing your struggles and triumphs. You should not go through this alone. Please know I am holding your hand from afar and celebrating the fact that you are there loving your babies when it is hard to get up. You are a symbol of hope for many today.
Thanks Rachel, I’ve just sneaked into my children’s bedrooms and kissed them whilst sleeping and told them I’ll make their lives as good as I can, and I’ll be as positive as I can
Your words are such an encouragement to so many, and I know we here are all so happy to read that you’re on the mend!
I’m struggling with a broken heart! It’s been 2 yrs nearly & I can not get me back on track! I’ve lost me & I feel so angry with everything.
Jennifer Harris says
I hope you are healing and resting.
My experience as a mom of a child adopted at age at and our struggles to bond is a story I would write as suggested above. My fear is that I write the truth–that sometimes I regret the day we decided to adopt–my daughter will read it. So I don’t write, although others could benefit from my struggle.
Linda Lochridge says
Rachel, I read this post because your mom posted it. I have read your shared book and love it. You said something that resonated with me. You said not to wait to share a story until there is a happy ending. In October of last year, I was diagnosed with a recurring brain tumor on my brain stem. I had just put the finishing touches on a memoir of my life that OPENED with waking up from my first brain surgery eight years prior. I had gotten my masters degree to fulfill a dream. I became a psychotherapist and built a thriving private practice. I thought I was right in the middle of God’s will for me, using a story of neglect, juvenile hall, teen marriage and motherhood, gang rape after leaving a state mental hospital, life on the streets, a decade of drug abuse, terrible relationships and divorce, and serious mental illness, the suicide of my brother and then my father, a broken neck, and then the brain tumor. Then….the brain tumor came back. I’m not sure how the story will end. I got another brain surgery and am recovering but life is hard and I am not working as a psychotherapist. But you have encouraged me to write more about the struggles…because in all honestly, I have never felt His presence more sweetly! He has not left me here in this place. Thank you Rachel. Congratulations on little Corabelle and I’m so glad they fixed your kidney…you have lots of years left to enjoy that family of yours!
Laurie Stone says
So true. We never know the strength we’ll need in life…till we do. I believe the tough times are what teach us the most, as difficult as they are. We can never truly know ourselves till we’ve been through adversity.
Thank you for this. I shared it with a friend who is approaching her one-year anniversary of leaving an abusive relationship. She told me it was beautiful.
I had to share your poem, to have it near for myself but also for friends that are going through tough times. Thank you for your words that resonates in my soul.
Maggie Macaulay says
Your light is bright, Rachel Stafford! You invite hearts to open, and you are a mirror for the amazing strength and courage of your loving readers. There is a beautiful return to the innocence of who we are in reading your words. Thank you!
Rachel Stafford says
Wow. This is so beautiful and affirming to me. I am honored and blessed by your words, Maggie. Thank you, friend.
Rachel, I am a lover of the written word and I do not think I have ever read anything more beautiful than what I just read. I felt your heart and that is what people need in this world today. I want you to know that you are being used to make a difference in people’s lives. Thank you for caring and for obviously living love. May God bless you as you bless others.
Rachel Stafford says
I am in tears. Thank you for gifting me with the most beautiful affirmation. It will be used as fuel to keep writing and sharing. I am touched beyond words by your support. Thank you for the blessings. They mean everything to me.
This is beautiful, Rachel. I read all of your posts and don’t comment often, but tonight I just wanted to thank you for your inspiring words. I’m also so glad you are recovering well. You are a wonderful mama to your children and your words impact so many people, including me.
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you for taking the time to offer such loving words to my heart and soul. They lift me up.
Thank you for your story. I’ve always been told that a “grief shared is a grief diminished” but you have put even more to it than that. I recently have had some changes in my life that I’ve shared with people. And as time goes on I wasn’t sure I wanted to share anymore of the struggles of those changes. But now I think I will continue to do so. Thank you for the reminder that we are all connected and to continue to share.
April Whitlock says
I am approaching the 1 year anniversary of losing my mom on August 28th. My life is a mess. It looks neat and clean and put together on the outside, but I am a mess. Thank you for this.
Rachel Stafford says
What an important point you make, April. It causes me to be aware of the battles and pains many are experiencing on the inside that we cannot see. It reminds me to be kind, always. I am so sorry for your incredible loss, dear one.
Donna Leavitt says
Tomorrow is my daughter’s 30th birthday. She was born with hydrocephalus and is unable to walk, talk, feed herself or understand directions. She still wears diapers. Some days are really hard for me. I get deptressed thinking about caring for her for many more years. I hate myself for being so ungrateful at times. I enjoy reading your articles. You express things so well. Thank you.
Rachel Stafford says
Oh Donna, on this momentous day of your daughter’s birth, let us take a moment to celebrate YOU. Your faithfulness. Your steadfast love. Your presence in her life. Your patience. Your sacrifices. My prayer for you today is that you see ALL OF THE GOODNESS you have bestowed in her life and the example you have set for many. I hope and pray that guilt is a stranger in your heart and mind today. Give yourself a day, dear one. You deserve a day … this one is for you:
You Deserve A Day
You deserve a day to feel beautiful in your own skin,
A day where certain body parts are neither too fat nor too thin.
You deserve a day to see your valued presence on this earth,
A day where age, weight, and IQ don’t determine your worth.
You deserve a day when you can speak your mind with ease,
A day where every dream you ever had is yours to seize.
You deserve a day where breathing is steady, slow, and deep,
A day with easy laughter and peaceful sleep.
You deserve a day to feel good in the place you are,
A day to embrace your imperfections and heal your hidden scars.
You deserve a day to feel proud of the life you’ve made,
A day where regrets and past mistakes suddenly fade.
You deserve a day to be loved without restraint,
A day free from being judged as a sinner or a saint.
You belong on a lazy hammock with an icy cold drink in hand,
You belong in a field of yellow sunflowers fragrant and grand.
You belong on an island with coconut breezes in your hair,
You belong in a peaceful sanctuary far from worry and care.
You belong in place of forgiveness and grace,
You belong with rays of hope shining on your face.
You deserve a day, if not one thousand more,
To be celebrated, appreciated, and lovingly adored.
© Rachel Macy Stafford 2011
Donna remember this: When your daughter’s adoring eyes look at you, they don’t see flaws and failings—they see love. Pure and simple.
Thank you for sharing your story, Donna. You have made a difference.
Donna Leavitt says
Thank you Rachel. I had a great day on Natalie’s birthday! Your words made me cry.
I have two beautiful children – but before that blessing was pain. We had a miscarriage. Miscarriages are often this secret burden women (and men) carry with them. It’s shameful. We feel responsible and we think if we share it, we will be judged.
But I shared with one or two people. And suddenly people who I didn’t know all that well found me in their own time of pain. I’ve held the hand of many a woman who just found out that her child isn’t going to make it.
I never asked to be here. Never wanted to be here. But I own it. I’m a lot more willing to speak out now and share about my experiences. Time has dulled the pain (though you might not know it – I’ll still cry when I speak of it). But I speak up to let others know.
Cheryl Z says
CT scan in June? Kidney infection that won’t go away? Wow – I’m still living it! June 28 I left church for the ER. I had a kidney stone. Thought it was going to be a blip on my calendar for that week. Two days later I started 3 days of chills and fever trying to get anyone to tell me I had an infection so I could get antibiotics. I’ll skip all the middle, but last week I started another round of antibiotics because the infection was never gone, though I felt better. I had another CT to see if the other two tiny stones that were in my kidney were gone because I was in pain again (they are). Today I see my regular dr. to see what the other things “wrong” with the CT scan are, and tomorrow I see the urologist again to find out results from all the blood and urine tests and ask how I’m going to KNOW the infection is REALLY gone this time? The possibility of surgery hasn’t left my mind. At 48 years old, I’ve never had surgery. I’ve had 8 children, but never surgery, and I’d really like to keep it that way.
Thank you for your story. Like everyone I have a story, too, and share when it’s appropriate. It’s scary sometimes, but it amazes me that most of the time people appreciate hearing it. I don’t know why it’s amazing because I appreciate hearing other people’s stories. We all learn from each other.
I’ll be praying for your continued healing. Thank you for your writing – it always inspires me.
Reena Lewis says
I love this. It reminds me of two things (two important things that are good to know on a daily basis)
1. we are not alone – and when we share our experiences with others, it just brings us closer together. Instead of keeping our feelings and our emotions bottled up, we can connect and support each other
2. we need to take care of ourselves – others depend on us, so we need to take care of ourselves for them, too. But more importanttly, for us!
A very personal experience, but thank you for sharing it. You never know just how impactful your words can be and how your experiences can help someone else find hope during their tough times.
Julie Mann says
As I’ve shared with you Rachel, I lost my husband to an aggressive and rare cancer almost two years ago. He was 43, our daughter was 9, I was 43. I never expected to be a single mom, a widow, in this position. And now, almost two years later, I will be attending an orientation at the Gilda’s Club here in NYC to become a volunteer. Several close friends of mine told me that in sharing my story, how I have handled my husband’s cancer, home hospice, his death, etc. that I gave them comfort. That should they be in a similar situation or when they just have to face the inevitable loss that is part of life, they see that there is a way to handle it.
Your post today reminds me of my recent choice to use this experience as a way to help others.
Thank you for all you always do, for your regular nourishing words, for your magical way.
Rachel Stafford says
Oh Julie, this brings happy tears to my eyes. I remember the first time you commented, and I felt blessed each time you commented thereafter because I saw you thriving. I am overjoyed that you will be sharing your story and offering HOPE to those who feel hopeless. This is the beginning of something miraculous. I can just feel it. Please, please continue to comment, inspire, and shine. I will be waiting to hear.
This story is amazing, I can relate completely. Thank you for sharing.
So true…my sister died 11 years ago and I do realize that from experiencing that I help others but I wish I could help them without going through it.
I adore this post, it speaks so deeply straight from your heart – thank you so much for writing and for sharing, and for reminding me, once again, why it is that I do what I do.
It is painful to delve into my childhood and recount those stories I could from my childhood with selective mutism, but I do it because I know that people needed to hear my words – and they also needed to hear the way I view it all today. The many lessons learned, and the connection to what really matters as we bumble around trying to extract meaning from every moment. Sometimes I still wonder if I am doing it for the right reasons … my impulses run deep, but where will the money come from? When I hear of the way my words have impacted another, I know that I need to continue on this path, sharing my truth so that others may discover theirs. Thank you for your beautiful reminder xxx
Dear Sweet Rachael, I am rarely at a loss of words. When I read what you write there is so much I would like to say but it is hard to … explain.
I cried when I read this. You hit so close to home sometimes – often. You write from your heart. Thank you.
The past few years have been hard … so hard. In particular the past month. I can’t go into the details. During this time I couldn’t reach out. I didn’t know how. I pretended all was well. It wasn’t but there was and still is very much to be thankful for. I was at such a low point and had to tell people this long held secret. People who love me. But it was scary. The outpouring of love, help and so much more has been a tremendous blessing. I guess what I am trying to say is that I shared a secret so scary and so many came to my side. To love me through it. They are still loving me through it.
Another odd thing happened, for me. I have the gift of gab. But recently the words wouldn’t come. They just weren’t there. I didn’t know how. But I’m getting my words back. I’m starting to eat better again. I’ve lost a lot of weight this past month. I wish I could explain but can’t. I just want to say a big heartfelt thank you.
Rachel Stafford says
No words necessary, Lea. I am grateful you have shared what you can. There is so much UNSPOKEN in your words that brings HOPE and HEALING. I am BLESSED to have you walking beside me. I am so blessed to know my words bring you comfort and solace. I cannot think of a greater gift. Keep moving forward, my friend. You have some so, so far.
These words were the most important I’ve read in a long time
Rachel Stafford says
Wow. I am so touched. Thank you for saying that.
I read everything you write but never comment. Today I felt compelled to. Your words are always so true and always beautifully said. Thank you for sharing them, and your resources, with us (me!).
Sometimes, even though I feel terrible about it, but sometimes it’s nice to know you are not alone in horrible struggles, in my case, mental and physical.Its easy to think everything can turn on you at once like it’s some great curse, I’ve had to break ties with family, going through a separation of over twenty years, see it devastate my kids, have friends turn all while dealing with the physical and mental problems of cancer, and now needing to suck it, try to become stronger do I can work because SSI isn’t enough money, if I do get an official divorce I will lose free insurance, and as much meds/appts I have, even medicare will be expensive.All of this is happening at once, putting on a brave front is hard, but I’m sure many of you know that.The only thing that has helped me us to try to focus on only what’s in front of me, and deal with the fall out as it happens, maybe not the best plan, but in desperation, it is the only thing that works.Someday I will try to train it all out maybe.Thanks for sharing your story. M.
Kim Laird says
Because you mentioned memory loss (transient) after the surgery, I wanted to let you know that anesthesia does do that to people. In some, it persists after surgery. Some suggestions for treating include vitamin B supplements, milk thistle (to support liver function which eliminates anesthetics), turmeric & cinnamon (spices, probably in your food), and avoiding meat & dairy for a while. The article I read also recommended eating garlic, onion, and egg yolks. Just wanted to mention this in case it helps, not to alarm you! You sound fine in your articles! Just something I wanted to mention, because it helps to get some of this information out there. You never know who it may help.
Very wise words as always Rachel. The very first line of your poem resonated a chord inside me. After going through my own divorce experience, I have surprisingly been able to help a few other friends/colleagues in similar situations and even friends of friends to the extent where a few have joked you have become the divorce expert! Wishing you and everyone else reading gentle healing and lots of love xo
This is good shit. Thanks for posting.
Joe Arnold says
I can’t say anything other than thank you. Pushing forward.
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[…] in documenting our week (August 17th-23rd) right up until the very last minute. And then I read this article by Rachel Stafford and it gave me goose bumps. I felt like it was meant for me at that very […]