Video is 8 minutes long.
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Last week, after talking about what it means to survive, I said I wanted to talk about what it means to thrive. But I realized I’m skipping something that comes after surviving. It’s being alive.
What does that even mean?
After my ex-husband died, I lived in a weird place of guilt for being alive. I never expected to live past a certain age and I definitely anticipated dying by his hands. So for him to die, for me to see him dead, while I was alive, that was a bit…jarring.
I went through the motions of the funeral and I even went right back to work the weekend after he died — three kids, remember. I put a smile on my face and went on. I was shocked to be alive. I was in shock in general.
I was dealing with survivor’s guilt – a psychological occurrence where one feels guilty for living when another died.
I was dealing with guilt that I couldn’t save him — that over the years I couldn’t love him enough to save him from his decisions.
I was dealing with shoulda-coulda-wouldas. If only I had done this or that. If only I had run away before. If only I hadn’t gone back to him after finding out I was pregnant. I shouldered the responsibility for his death.
I was also dealing with shame because a great many people did not believe he was trying to kill me, that he’d NEVER do that. These people couldn’t believe he had ever hurt me, even with so many facts staring them in the face. I was ashamed that it came to this, his death. I was ashamed that a piece of my story was front page news. I was ashamed that I just screwed up.
So, being alive became that place between survival and thriving, a place where I went through the motions of life, slowly healing. Very slowly. But the in-between of being alive is valuable — as long as we don’t remain stagnant.
Please join me every Friday for a new video series, Alive to Thrive! This video explains more.