Written by J. Lewis III (John L. Clark III.)
To people dealing with grief, it seems like the world is constantly against them. Honestly, it is not personal; life is an equal-opportunity screw-off. Anyone can get it, but although that is the case, navigating through all the minutia that seems to be in your way is challenging. Life is easy, but living it is hard. It is one reason why the world’s suicide rate is so high. Over 800,000 people fall victim annually. It is not that some people were just too scared to live; when you keep trying, and it does not work out, defeat sets in, and that becomes depressing. It makes you want to go to sleep and forget the world.
The problem is that you are always one step from your victory, but you do not know when it will happen for you. The frustrations and defeats appear to mount up when you fight, making your fight even more difficult. It reminds me of a story I read. It is another reason I continue to fight and encourage others to do the same.
The story involved a man that teetered on the brink, and one too many things caused him to break. Unfortunately, he broke just 24 hours before his miracle arrived. Allow me to set this picture in your mind. I probably do not have to elaborate deeply because it is a feeling shared by many people in grief. Devastating occurrences rocked the man that kept him depressed for several days. One day he received a notice that he was about to go into foreclosure on his home. Soon, they repossessed his car, and his ailing wife took a turn for the worse. It was a series of unfortunate events, and one too many, that caused him not to cherish life further. The weight of the seemingly massive defeats pushed him to take his own life. Before he committed the ultimate act, he opened his front door, took a big whiff of the morning air, and decided to meet his end. The following morning there was a knock at his half-opened door.
The people at the door were shocked to see the man dead by his own hands. They were bearing balloons and a big banner stating, “You are the grand prize winner.” He was discovered by representatives of the sweepstakes that he had entered a few months prior. Come to find, they came to surprise him and give him a check for one million dollars. Imagine how his spirit felt upon that discovery. We are always one day away from a totally different existence.
I listen to a video podcast by Eddie Pinero called “Your World Within,” One of his quotes states what I just mentioned, “you are always one day away from a totally different life.” Many understand this concept but holding on until that day arrives is the challenge. I struggle with it often and must constantly fight to keep viewing my big picture. I realize that the alternative is not beneficial. Even though giving up is a temporary reprieve, it becomes a long-term disaster. When I get these feelings, I do the following:
- Take 15-20 minutes to myself. I choose to meditate, but whatever brings me calm. Some listen to music, and others take long walks. It is an attempt to take back a piece of what grief has stolen from you.
- Realize that you are not alone in the struggle and that others share your feelings.
- Know that you are stronger than you feel; the proof is that you are questioning yourself instead of seeking alternatives. (Not medical ones, you know, I am referring to).
- Believe that the grief you feel is a gift for you to use in the future as a “been there, done that.” It gives you another nugget of strength.
- Stay grateful even under your present circumstances. That one is hard but essential.
Do not take the knocks of life personally. It is easier said than done, but your metamorphosis is wrapped up in your struggle. Nothing grows without being disrupted by the throws of life. Each day you continue to fight is another day that will lead to a better version of you. There are gifts hidden in our grief.
Pinero, E. (ND). You are always one day away from a totally different life. [YouTube] Motivational speech. Your World Within. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahA4GKZX1TE
Hannah Ritchie, Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina (2015) - "Suicide.” Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: 'https://ourworldindata.org/suicide' [Online Resource]
Bloom C. and Bloom, L. (Jan 25, 2018). The Gift of Grief. The Power of Vulnerability. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stronger-the-broken-places/201801/the-gift-grief
Headspace. (ND), Meditation for Grief. Headspace. https://www.headspace.com/meditation/grief
Schultz, M.E. (Feb 26, 2021). Gratitude and Grief. Grief Stories. https://www.griefstories.org/gratitude-and-grief/
Biography of writer
J. Lewis IlI is a certified Life Coach, grief consultant, and motivational speaker who helps people overcome the challenges and traumatic experiences many faces, particularly those like himself, Generation Xers. Lewis has overcome several mental and physical challenges in his own life. One such challenge was the illness and eventual passing of his wife of 18 years. He learned by dealing with this trauma how to use negative energy to one's advantage. He uses this knowledge to inform others about discovering their own power and finding a better version of themselves through the challenges they face during difficult times. Lewis focuses on the power of transformation and turning negativity into positive energy to empower people to move forward after adversity.
Lewis believes the process is simple, but the desire to embrace the process can be challenging. His beliefs are simple, "We must agree to leave our familiar to find our better." Lewis does not take this approach from a clinical standpoint, he builds from his experience to prove how positivity can transform one.
Through education, certification, affiliations, and real-world experience, Lewis combines humor and storytelling with practical knowledge. His approach combines his abilities and impacts his audiences by incentivizing them to discover their "newness." This discovery can lead them to a better version of themselves.