In August of 2009, Sue’s son was the victim of a murder-suicide. In the aftermath, all she had left was grieving, bereavement, guilt, hopelessness, tears, and doing all she could to put one foot in front of the other. She was cut to the quick, yet with great courage she carried-on. And then came an epiphany…
I originally posted this piece on March 25, 2014. Since that time, there has been a significant development, which I’ve shared at the end of the article. If you haven’t read this piece yet, you’ll have a nice flow. If you have, scroll on down to the end, if you’d like.
By the way, Sue asked if I would post an image of her smiling, so folks don’t think she’s an unpleasant whiner. No one thinks that, Sue, but image posted per your request ; )
Okay, on with the original piece…
Ah, but before we get to that epiphany, how ’bout just a bit more background?
Sue’s loss that fateful August day went well beyond her son being murdered. He had a two-year-old daughter, the three of them making a household. Within days of the murder, Sue’s other son, and wife, flew in from out of the country to take the little girl out of state to adopt. They were supposed to come back for good-byes; however, a decision was made to leave from a closer airport – and off they went for home. Since then, Sue’s living son has very little to do with her, and provides her with next-to-no news about her granddaughter.
Can you imagine the devastation?
Sue contacted me regarding counseling services some three years after the disastrous events. She worked so hard in gaining insight into what was going-on within, and she never opted-out of a session. And you can be sure many were extremely painful.
Two weeks ago I received an email with the following attached. Please know I have Sue’s permission to share…
Today is March 8, 2014
Nobody defines me. Today defines who I am. I’m either the person I want to be today or I’m the person I was last night. It’s my choice.
The only thing that is in my life at this point is me and whomever I choose to let in. Past hurts will keep hurting unless I choose each day.
Today I don’t have to be anyone’s child, sister, wife, mother, aunt or grandmother. If friends are important to me, then ok. If not, again, ok. They will live their lives without me, without my guidance, without my advice without my good wishes. They will choose to live their own lives.
I’ve got one more chance, but I have that chance again every single day. I can do exactly what I want to do, today. I can feel exactly what I want to feel, today. It’s my choice. I’m fortunate that I love the work I do because I can afford the life I’m accustomed to and I like the lifestyle I live.
I know who I am. My name suits me, or I change it. I have intelligence, compassion and a sense of humor. I am fortunate to have them. I have freedom and the means to go where I like. I can read anything, study anything, learn anything and do anything I choose; within my own boundaries.
I can present myself to the world as exactly who I am. I can opt to put the things I’ve done behind me and forgive myself for any hurts I caused. I can start over and try not to make those mistakes again. Or I can make them all over again.
But…I can choose again every day. I can make that choice again tomorrow. I can choose to wallow or I can choose to stand up and start a new day. I can live in the present. I can start to believe that the present is precious. I can choose not to hurt myself anymore.
Staying stuck in my son’s lives is staying stuck. I can choose not to live anyone’s life but my own.
That declaration wasn’t born of a homework assignment – I had absolutely no idea it was coming. No, the thoughts and feelings suddenly came to Sue on the date noted, and she took the time to so eloquently express them.
I know for a fact what you read is the culmination of months of hard and painful work. Along the journey, I tried to convince Sue progress was being made within, even if she couldn’t sense it. Understandably, she wasn’t buying. But then, the epiphany.
And that’s how it so often works in the world of self-examination and processing. Whether or not we realize it, those wheels of recovery, relief, and healing are turning all along. Goodness is evolving, with positive developments we can use and enjoy along the way – even if they’re teeny-tiny.
And, yes, so often comes an epiphany – the grand connecting-of-dots experience. Just like Sue’s.
Bereavement, grieving, mood disorders, anxiety situations, stress – all that come with them. Sure, awful circumstances; however, all is never-ever lost.
Just ask Sue…
Hey! Sue would like to lend a hand to those who may find themselves in the midst of similar circumstances. If you’d like to communicate with her, please drop me a line – I’ll get the ball rolling.
Early during the week of March 31, Sue informed me her living son and his wife decided her granddaughter was no long welcome in their home in Austria. He said he was flying her to Louisiana where she would become a ward of the state. Sue wasn’t having any of that, saying she’d meet her son anywhere and bring her granddaughter back herself. Her son made the travel arrangements.
On Friday evening the 4th of April, Sue flew from Houston to Istanbul. And is flying from Istanbul to Munich to rendezvous with her son and granddaughter as I write this update. After “refreshing” for two night in a hotel, Sue and her granddaughter will fly home to Houston – through Istanbul.
Sue texted me from the Istanbul airport this morning. While waiting for her flight to Munich she befriended a woman who was about to embark on a sailing trip. Sue shared she was jealous of her. The woman replied, “Sue, I’m merely having an adventure, you’re saving a life.”
I’m sure thinkin’ so.
Sue and her granddaughter have arrived home – safe and sound. Let’s see now, Houston to Istanbul to Munich to Istanbul to Houston in three days. Absolutely amazing!!!
Tons of mood and anxiety ickiness – and recovery – info at your very fingertips. Chipur titles just for you.
I am honored that Sue was willing to share her insight and wisdom. My heart is full just in recognizing how much strength has grown from such devastating circumstances. There is power and beauty in seeing the power of healing displayed so transparently. Thank you Sue for your open heart and willingness to help others as Bill does.
Sure has had a rough go, hasn’t she? And she hung so tough – and deserves the smoother sailing for which she worked so hard. Like all of my clients! Really pleased you found the piece meaningful, Patricia. Thank you for your visit, and please come back…
Oh Patricia, I am more than willing to share my journey with others, but I could never help others “as Bill does”. Bill has been my rock. My son was murdered in front of my house, then the man killed himself while I and my 2 year old granddaughter slept inside. My first therapist was a woman which was good and nurturing. The serious work came through Bill. He has absolutely saved my life and I quote him constantly.
Oh, Sue, you have already shared “as Bill does” because you share from your heart, just like he does and that is where the power of healing comes and is magnified ten-fold. Thank you for being so open about the wounds of the past. I know there is wisdom in your present that has been hard fought and that Bill has been a gift to you; I’m not diminishing that one bit. I wish you so much peace and comfort.
Pretty cool, Patricia. Thank you for being so supportive of Sue. I’ll tell ya’, this is a perfect example of my vision for Chipur – folks sharing with, and helping, folks. Sweet!
Wow, Sue, I’m so glad you chimed-in. Dang, I’m flattered and humbled by your kind remarks. Thank you. But let me remind you that you got where you are today because you worked your tail off – you wanted it! What a pleasure it’s been to work with you – your trust and confidence mean so much…
My grandmother shared this link with me and as I read, I couldn’t be more proud. This “epiphany” is beyond admirable. Anyone can read these words and comprehend what they mean, but to truly feel them and apply them to your own battles and hardships is a true accomplishment. My heart is so full knowing that she is gaining peace with each and every day. I can most certainly vouch that Bill has the greater hand in her journey to her good place, and she without a doubt quotes him CONSTANTLY. So many lunches I spent with her hearing about how Bill coached her to seek peace within herself and on her own. Obviously she has traveled further down that path than she ever imagined possible. She loved my dad terribly, and deserves the peace she has finally achieved with this “epiphany”.
Welcome to Chipur. Really glad you stopped-on-by and shared with us. Man, now we have a family thing goin’ here – pretty cool, I’d say. I’m heartened you’re so proud of your grandmother. And, yes, what she’s endured and accomplished is down-right admirable. She worked so hard, and continues to do so. And I’ll tell you something – your grandmother loves you like a rock, and, of course, loved your father likewise. I want you to know having you in her life has contributed so much to your grandmother’s recovery. You bet she deserves the peace she’s achieved!!!
Thank you so much for your contribution. Please come back…
My heart goes out to Sue. She has had unfair share of heartache. Her writing is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it as it will be an inspiration to others that are in a similar situation of any kind of loss, but the loss of a child and/or grandchild is especially difficult.
No doubt, Cathy, isn’t her writing eloquent? And, no doubt, she’s had her unfair share of ick. But you know what? She doesn’t indulge in self-pity – but I’m thinking possession of that positive character trait goes without saying. Appreciate your visit and participation, Cathy. Please come back, k?
Hi Bill and Sue,
I have tears in my eyes as I write this . . . Sue, your courage is beyond measure. Each word you wrote is a testament to the self-love that Bill has undoubtedly nurturee within you. My God, what a story of renewal and faith in the power of keepin’ on. I’m not sure there is anything worse than pain inflicted by family, and while 99.999999% would tuck their chins to chest in self-pitied defeat, you stayed strong and proved that resilience is alive and well in the human spirit. Thank you so very much for sharing your incredible story, and to you Bill, for once again serving as the vessel . . .
Ah, Beth – always glad when you stop-by and share with us. Definitely a tear-inducing story, right? Sue is absolutely something special, as witnessed by her story and recovery journey. And you know what? I believe the courage and resolve Sue possesses lies within all of us. God forbid we ever have to endure the circumstances that may call for them; however, I’m thinking we have greater resources within than we might imagine. I’m with you, Beth – “…resilience is alive and well in the human spirit.” Come back and see us…
Near tears too as I read and re-read this, “She worked so hard in gaining insight into what was going-on within, and she never opted-out of a session.” Something so liberating in reading Sue’s declaration…even my own internal bargaining, can I have that too? Yes, I can and I routinely forget as some of my old brain maps take hold. Do I want to live in that staying stuck and concretized sadness? No. Do I want to feel the sadness fully in order to let go and be liberated? Yes. How many times does it take? As many as it takes and then some…Here come those tears again…
A POWERFUL post, Woman and Mentor. You guys are Living. Thank you!
Really glad you checked-in and commented, Herby. Just means tons – ’cause I know not only of your great work, but of your past. And that’s because you’ve so openly shared. Chipur readers – please watch this video Herby produced. It’s so moving https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qg-hsv2XKbg
Speaking’ of tears…
of a woman:
get together with “no men present,” their conversations are nothing like men’s
conversations. “Women take out the
puzzle box and the 1,000 small puzzle pieces of life and then attempt to put them
it is a laughing time but more often than not, it is a troubling situation or
dilemma involving people in their lives, children, family, extended family
relationships, relatives, friends, enemies, drama etc. etc.
Sue is my
baby sister and together with her I have shared this long journey. Sue is an
intelligent, smart, industrious, loving, great sense of humor, a caring person
and a wonderful sister.
When I read
her epiphany, the 1,000 piece puzzle suddenly came together and it was the most
beautiful picture puzzle I could ever have imagined.
for the work you do and the care and concern you have for all of your clients.
Hi, Gig! And welcome.
How good of you to share with us, including the “mystery of a woman.” Must say I’ve found them mysterious for years ; ) A “big sister” writing in support of her “baby sister” is very cool. And I share your opinion regarding Sue’s character traits. I’ve so enjoyed working with her – and have learned a lot from her.
Thanks for stopping-by, Gig. Your contribution is meaningful. Come-on back for a visit anytime…
Sounds like Sue has developed some good autonomy. I was married for forty years and my husband divorced me five years ago and I am still not finding my own self. It does help to have mood disorder. Sue gives me hope. Many thanks. I have a great deal of work to do yet but this gives me hope that there is an unique individual person in me. Thanks again
Hey, Nancy! Glad you stopped-on-by and chimed-in.
Sue has developed some very good autonomy, paying a handsome price. Sorry for your loss – had to be very hard to accept and gather yourself to somehow continue to move forward. I’m sure Sue will check back in on this piece. And when she finds out her journey has given you hope, she’ll be thrilled. Sure, Nancy, you have your work cut-out for you in terms of finding that unique individual within; however, you can pull it off. In fact, I believe it’s an ongoing challenge for all of us.
Hoping you continue to visit and participate. Very valuable to all…
By the way I consider Sue’s writing to be “core”, that is coming from authentic experience. I know it also as universal truths. Many thanks.
I’m with you ; ) And you’re welcome…
Wow! Great job Sue! When we were able to visit after about 3 years I was so thrilled with your new self confidence and control! I am so proud of you and if it wasn’t for you sharing your thoughts and heartache so soon after he passed I dont think I would have been able to “go on” after my father’s untimely passing. When you left you said you didn’t want to leave me when I needed you but everything you shared with me about David helped me more than you will ever know! And thank you Bill she really enjoys your sessions
love you Sue!
Nice of you to stop-on-by and support Sue. To know she was able to be of assistance to you in the midst of your father’s passing I’m sure means a lot to her. I’m very touched by the outpouring of love and “got-your-back” Sue is receiving here from family and friends. Pretty doggone sweet.
You’re welcome here any time, Jami. Come back, k?
Tears came to my eyes and my mouth dropped open when I read Donna’s words. I call her Donna because our paths first crossed 25 years ago when she was beginning a new life and that’s how she introduced herself. We’ve weathered quite a few storms together. Years have gone by without us conversing, but when we reconnect, we pick up where we left off. She came back into my world a year ago and I noticed a change in her. She seemed somewhat calm and over this past year I’ve watched her take charge of her life. She is “choosing”. And Bill you played a huge part in getting her here. I’ve never seen her in such a good place.
What a simple but powerful concept this “choosing” is. It is so easy to forget we have this option when life sends us a blow. If I was contemplating getting a tattoo, I think I might put this on my forearm. “I can choose” so that I would constantly be reminded.
I am so happy to see that my dear friend has found some serenity. It’s been way too long. She is an incredible, amazing, funny, and strong woman and brings joy to so many people. Thank you Bill for your part in getting her to realize this.
Maybe I should make a concerted effort to call her Sue. She certainly isn’t the Donna I met way back when.
Man, Jannell, the outpouring from family and friends continues. Thank you for stopping-by and contributing. I’m lovin’ this.
And that’s what so often happens when we share what’s going-on in our lives. Folks that truly love and care about us come forth – to support and encourage. When it comes to the emotional/mental realm, we tend to lean toward trying to fly under the radar. We just don’t feel as though we matter – or that anyone cares. Wrong! Wrong! And the only way we can prove it is to have the courage to step-out. That’s what Sue did, and I’m so glad she did. (Thinking she is, as well.)
Again, thank you for your visit and comment, Jannell. Please come back…
Wow wow wow — Sue – what courage and thank you for sharing your story and what an epiphany!!!!. I, too, had a therapist who helped me as Bill has helped you – saved my life, really. Not in the sense I was suicidal but the potential to truly LIVE MY life and as you shared, realize that every day I have a choice. I wish you and your granddaughter all the best!!!
Hey, Lisa, thank you for bringing Sue your encouragement and support – and for sharing a piece of your story. Sue and her granddaughter are to leave Munich very soon for the looooong trip home. I’ll update…
That’s such exciting news!!! Can’t wait to hear as the journey unfolds!
I, too, met Sue as “Donna” during the era that Janell speaks of in her post. She basically saved my life back then. I have called her my best friend in the whole world since that time about 23 years ago.
I was there when Donna’s oldest son was taken and again when the rest of her family was taken from her life by her surviving son’s actions. I have wondered at times if I would have to resign as her friend simply because I couldn’t deal with the devastation in her life. Of course, I couldn’t bear to lose her. I’m not saying this very well. What I’m trying to say is that just being next to her pain and loss has been excruciating, and that I am awed by the fact that she has survived it all. But the fact that she is now here and reaching out to others by sharing her story does not surprise me at all. This woman is and always will be my hero. Bill, I am so happy that you are in her life!
Hey, thanks for stopping-by and commenting, Cindy. Definitely “hero” material, as are so many who endure emotional/mental trials. I’m so happy these stories are a part of all our lives…
Who in this world really knows how much their
friends love them? I sure didn’t. And with all that, now I’m
finding out that there are strangers out there that feel the same. Even
as I feel as though I’ve unloaded way too much of my pain on people, the support
is coming back by the tons. Now how do I thank all of you for your kind,
emotional and loving words? Maybe by telling you that I’m now able to
share with my 6 year old granddaughter just how wonderful her daddy was and how
much he loves her still. Every silly story I tell her of the two of them,
she then repeats to everyone she meets. All we hear is “My Daddy
David loves me so much.” And “I have a funny story to tell you
about my Daddy David when I was only 2 years old”. So much joy in
that little precious girl. I thank you all.
Well, we thank you, Sue, for sharing your story. None of this goodness happens if you don’t come forth. It’s always going to be about sharing, learning, and healing…
A little update for every one who wrote so lovingly two years ago. My little granddaughter is almost 9 years old now. My great niece and her husband adopted Phailin and live in Louisiana with her. She is a Brownie, takes piano lessons, horseback riding lessons and gymnastics. Also an A student (of course). From Houston, I visit them as often as I can. We sleep in the same bed and she tells me I “smell like oranges” which completely thrills me because my own grandmother smelled like bourbon & cigarettes.
David’s first daughter is engaged to be married. The wedding will take place at a plantation in Louisiana. She is so beautiful and so much like her daddy, it’s uncanny.
I seldom hear from my younger son except for occasional pictures he sends of his beautiful children in Austria, (whom I’ve never met).
Losing my older son so devastatingly, I now compare it to the phantom pain that amputees must feel. He’s always there beside me and I feel I could touch him if I tried. Phailin tells me “Bigmom, don’t be sad, Daddy David is right there by you and he has his arm around you.”
Raising two sons, I missed having girls but now I have two wonderful granddaughters to love, Life can still be sweet sometimes.
Love to everyone, Sue
Well, Hi, Sue!
Glad you stopped-by and provided the update. Thank you. Oh, and stay with that orange perfume…