Make Your Greatest Challenge Your Biggest Reason to Keep Going.

Make Your Greatest Challenge Your Biggest Reason to Keep Going.

Two monks take a 72-hour train trip and being monks, they travel economy class. Dressed in long robes, they are packed like sardines into full carriages of the poorest people who mostly can’t even afford to buy a ticket. It is very hot, noisy, and extremely uncomfortable.

The younger monk decides to incorporate a fast for the three-day trip. He has seen the state of the toilets and knows he cannot bring himself to use them, so fasting seems like a good idea.

He further tells the older monk that there are too many distractions and too much noise on the train and he will do his meditation at the stops. He plans to get off the train for 20 minutes each time, meditate and then get back on again.

The older monk asks him, ‘Do you think life is made up of all comfort, stillness, and peace? or also moments of pain, noise, and distractions? If you cannot learn to meditate on the train, how will you ever learn to navigate the chaos of everyday life?’

I have learned a lot over the last four + years. I have learned how to navigate my own grief journey (I’m still learning), and I have witnessed and been privileged to help many young people and adults on their journey as well.

Sometimes people say things, with the best of intentions, but in my experience, these are often not received in the way they were intended.

The following are examples of ‘well meant’ comments that can add a layer of guilt to someone who is trying to get through the nightmare.

  • I don’t know how you get through each day.
  • I wouldn’t be able to live if I lost my child.
  • You are so strong!
  • I would have probably stayed in bed for the rest of my life.
  • I wouldn’t be able to keep going like you have.
  • There’s no way I could do what you do.
  • I’m so glad you are happy again!

Before you say any of these to someone who is grieving, take a moment to consider how you might feel if someone said that to you.

One of the first times someone told me they wouldn’t be able to live if they lost their child, I immediately and silently turned the spotlight on myself.

Am I a horrible person because I haven’t even considered the option of not living?
Am I a terrible mother because I feel I need to keep going and build a life of fulfillment and purpose?

It took me a while to not feel ‘less than’ or the stab of guilt that I wanted to live and make it count.

Losing Ben could easily have been my greatest reason to give up,
but he became my biggest reason to
keep going!

I have never missed anyone like I miss Ben, and I will miss him every day for the rest of my life. But I am still here! And I can keep his memory alive by making what I do count.  

It’s taken a while for me to acknowledge the fact that I don’t need to keep justifying my coping (I am still learning this one).  

Not long after Ben passed, I sought legal advice. After sharing my story, one of the lawyers I spoke with said there was nothing she could do for me. I should just keep doing what I was doing. Any legal action would likely result in being thrown out as the perception would be that I was ‘coping too well’. Wow!

After Ben, I didn’t know there was any other option other than for me to keep going! Not only was I still here but there were young people who were also struggling, and I wanted to support them. I was their living example of how someone might cope with a loss like this.

I missed the memo that told me I could opt out from the rest of my life.

And even if I had received it, it’s NOT what Ben would have wanted anyway.

If the situation was reversed, I would want him to keep going, and to make a difference in the world – to make it count! I would want him to find joy and purpose in his life.

When you lose a child, it can take a long time to regain a sense of identity.

If my child is no longer here, then am I no longer a mother?
And if I’m not a mother then what am I?

What I know today is that I will always be Ben’s mum 😊 and we will always have a special relationship.
No one and nothing can change that.

But being Ben’s mum does not define me. I am also a partner, a sister, a daughter, a niece, a friend, an aunt, a cousin, a consumer, a copywriter, and a speaker. These are all just different hats I wear. Who I am is SO MUCH MORE than these.

Who you are is SO MUCH MORE than your circumstances.

We enter the world with free choice. I imagine a conversation similar to this:

Creator: Okay so you’re sure you want to go back to earth?

Me: Absolutely.

Creator: And you’ve picked your parents and looked at what your life might look like, the heartaches and the moments of joy that will take your breath away?

Me: Oh yes!

Creator: Okay, well going back to earth has one string attached. You will go back with free choice. In every single circumstance, you will be required to use your free choice. Deciding not to choose will also count as a choice.

Every single decision you make will contribute to the total sum of the life you lead.
You will be remembered for what you stand for, your values, your beliefs, and your actions.

Most importantly, you will be remembered for how you made people feel and the legacy you leave behind.

So the question is, will you allow your greatest challenges to slowly destroy you or will you make them the reasons to keep going and do amazing things despite them?

Much love

Dalya xx 💙

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