Lisa Mayne is a fitness and health coach who lives in Illinois. She is also a fellow member of my online Spouse and Partner Survivors of Suicide Loss group. She herself is an occasional Blogger. Her bravery and willingness to be vulnerable when writing is an inspiration to me.
Though we have never met in person, I consider Lisa to be a friend. And though we are connected through such heartbreaking loss, I am very grateful to have her kindness and support as a part of my life.
Lisa wrote the essay below to share some of her personal thoughts on how we can heal ourselves and how we can heal others, during this holiday season.
Today is Christmas Day, and I am happy to share the gift of her words with you now.
There is a saying that goes something along the lines of 'In giving we heal ourselves, but in receiving we heal others'. If nothing else, in the months since Keith’s passing, I’ve been given a master class in that quote.
Last year my girls and I received these sweet gifts from some secret elves. I still don’t know who they came from – though I have tried to guess at least a million times. This Christmas surprise wasn’t the first either. I recall a box of sunshine (full of fun yellow things) showing up when we returned from a much needed retreat to the north woods.
Someone also paid for my girls school registrations that summer. The FFA class made fleece blankets for the girls for Christmas too, and we were given some amazing play equipment by two great families when we moved among countless other little things that came along to brighten our days … and sometimes big things, like not even realizing that hog raffle being held by the local American Legions was intended for donation to the memorial fund for the girls. Wow! Overwhelmed to say the least.
I’m not sure I was always able to communicate our immense gratitude for it all, whether we knew where the gift came from or not. Nonetheless, gratitude for the people who have surrounded us still swells in our hearts. I’ve come to appreciate this side of loss more than ever. Those people and groups who stepped forward to help us, support us, and just plain love on us in our grief, especially in the days long after the funeral.
I’ve become especially fond of being a secret giver now, since having been the recipient of secret givers myself. There is such a blessing in giving and helping and doing. And though we all want to help we often don’t know how. Unfortunately those who need us don’t always know how to ask.
Asking for help is hard for almost everyone and it is not any easier for a widow or anyone else who is bereaved. Our pride gets in the way. We often want to be able to repay a favor but aren’t always capable of doing so. And asking for help actually takes a lot of emotional strength because it reveals where we are vulnerable. These things have opened my eyes to the beauty of anonymous giving.
Since it is the holiday season I know that we all want to find ways to give. So give however you can and give where you see a need. If you can give of yourself without announcing it, you should! It blesses both the giver and the receiver. And isn’t that Christmas Spirit? Best of all, giving in a way that removes all possibility of any form of repayment can open the door to paying it forward for others.
On her blog, Lisa Mayne describes herself as an unexpectedly widowed mom of two who has found herself running, writing, and making her way up through the grief journey, following the loss of her husband to suicide.
You can find her blog, Motherhood Miles and Makeup, at the link below.