August 3, 2017

August 3, 2017

August 3, 2017

August 3, 2017

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Dear February 23rd

August 3, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

As a good friend of mine has taught me recently….pain is universal. The most important thing we can do is share our experiences and knowledge so others know they are not alone in their own journeys. 💞 #WeAreInThisTogether #KeepGoing #IChooseToLive 


Dear February 23rd, 

Oh, how you have become the measure of time. My life before and after. 
I’ve spent these last two years piecing my life back together, embers still smoking from burning down to ashes. Now, a mosaic-like phoenix masterpiece filled with light bursting through the cracks. This has been my rise.

 

It’s easy to live the word “compartmentalize.” If I thought too much of the horrific details which we lived through….I would succumb to your relentless grief. There are moments 
when you cross my mind, where I rewind back. Sometimes I close my eyes, quiet my surroundings and let my presence slip away from the ordinary moments into the memories.  
Remembering the touch of you underneath my fingertips, or when my body leaned into yours and found the little crook in your neck that was my safe haven to nestle into…Remembering how for that short period of time… it always felt like home.

I find myself continuously seeking that feeling again. It’s in those quiet corners of life I can breathe; I can be.  


Prior to knowing you…I spent years feeling like I was on the outside of life looking in. I never felt like I was good enough and to this day…I can still hear the whispers of that insecurity. It felt as if somehow I had been skipped over and the picturesque life many dreamt of…would forever and always evade me. 
There is much to be said when seemingly all you have ever wanted comes together and then in a blink of an eye is catastrophically taken from you.  


There is nothing beautiful about the wreckage of a human being. I soon discovered I became afraid of telling people just how bad it had been, or the depths of despair I had to bring myself down to in order to meet you. Voicing it outloud almost seemed to invalidate all the goodness we once shared. I had to give up every inch I had of self respect and self value in order to be your savior. Enduring your demons destroyed me. I gave everything I had and more. Many could not have withstood the storm…but I refused to waver. Looking back now….I see where I began to form true strength. For if I could use such strength to hold our life together….I would be able to use the same strength to rise again. I was unaware of that very real super power I always possessed; strength. 


And then the unforgiving, cold nature of February 23rd. The feeling was instant. Two years later I can still feel every fiber, every detail of that day. There really is no preparation for the acceptance of sudden and preventable death. Your body and mind feel at war. Those emotions and feelings frantically trying to rationalize how it cannot be. 


I became instantaneously shackled by our memories. I had no choice but to put you away into a compartmentalized box. I’ve always felt saddened by the notion that a relationship could be summarized into one simple box. And yet…this wasn’t just an ordinary relationship…it was a life. 
Not too long ago I opened that box. I pulled out the envelope. My heart felt heavy just holding it. Thoughts lost in what it was like as you held that pen to paper.  


As the tears engulfed me, the words flamed the fires of my anger just as it had the first time I incoherently read it. Except this time….this time something was different. 

“I choose you. I’d always choose you.” 

 

Its like I hadn’t remembered it being there before. And maybe I had gone over the letter so many times by memory…that it resonated.

 

Choose. 

It was as if you had planted the seeds…and the memory of you is what watered it to grow. 

I had to choose me. I had to choose to live again. 

I always find it hard to explain the depths of grief after suicide loss. It is a grief like no other. It was the hardest lesson to grasp on the concept of life and death. Endless nights drowning on tears, sobbing aloud, choking on thoughts and words in a dark, quiet room….

“Grief is a nasty game of feeling the weakest you have ever felt, and morphing into the strongest person you will have to become. ” Windgate Lane 

At first I built walls so high to protect what was left within but as time went on my shackles of armor felt stripped away….completely bare and directed into real vulnerability; in my own skin. I was left to gaze upon what was left of me.  
The shattered fragments of my life became
the rigid pains of self discovery. 

 

The Choice: To Live. 

Instead of constantly seeking solitude I began testing boundaries to feel alive again. I had to.  
I pushed every limit and fear that I thought had contained me.  
As I did these things, I came to acknowledge this truth:
That no matter what insurmountable event you walk through….you are only one decision away from a completely different life.  


With everything I lost so rapidly…it was what I gained that proved to be the most astonishing.  
Your painful self sacrifice propelled me into the unknown lives of others. Not only did I truly discover myself…but I learned to guide by my example; To be a lighthouse rather than a lifeboat.  
That little spark of life lit paths into connections and friendships that I cannot even fathom where I would stand today without them.  
These key figures in my life have not only shown me love, acceptance and friendship..but situations that led me into rejection and redirection. Some that I needed to go through more than once to gain real personal growth. They have all served as lessons I needed to learn in order to develop into the woman I have become.  


My mother once told me that I would meet someone who would inspire me to be a better person and that notion has been absolutely true. I have found it in not just one person or one thing. It is in my children who’ve always been my driving force, it is in the obstacles I chase, the hundred thousand people who believe in me and my journey, it is in a new friend whose companionship has become a lifeline, It is in finding another likeminded individual who is constantly there to remind me to aspire into my own greatness…and it is the ones who have been close to my heart all long and were always there, like the weight and security of a warm blanket on a cold and lonely night.  
I finally feel like my heart has a beat again. It’s bleeds compassion, acceptance, devotion, courage, integrity and infinite love. There is no room for darkness here. 

 
You will not have died in vain. I will remain steadfast in my ability to share this enlightenment with others. I will candidly and honestly share my experiences, my joys, my struggles…my journey. This life. 

 

And I’m choosing to live it. 

 

Forever grateful for your evermore, 

Justine

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