This I Believe

David - Seaford, Delaware
Entered on June 7, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: courage, setbacks

This I believe, that life is all about learning and growing. I believe the good things that happen in life as well as the bad things that happen in life, are but lessons to be learned. I believe that how we choose to deal with both good and bad happenings, is what determines the course of our lives. I found that I may not be able to control the things that happen to me, but I can control how I process and respond to what happens to me.

When I was forty years old, my first wife, Janet died after an eight-year battle with cancer. I was devastated. I became very angry that this had happened to the person I loved most in the whole world. When the anger began to wane, I became extremely depressed. When I was at the lowest point in my life, a neighbor called me. Her husband was dying of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrigs Disease. She felt that she needed someone to talk to that could understand the feelings she was having about watching someone that she loved die slowly, without being able to change the course of the disease. I was the first person she thought of. She knew that I had been taking care of Janet while she got worse and worse and then finally died. We talked a long time. I mostly listened while she talked about her pain, pain I could truly relate to. When I hung up the phone, I realized that if I had not been through the pain of losing Janet, I wouldn’t have been able to be there for my neighbor.

At that moment I realized that I needed to find away to process Janet’s death differently. I joined a grief group where I could express the pain I felt over my loss, and soon I became a member of the team. I went back to college and received a degree in social work. Now as a social worker, I reach out to persons dealing with grief on a daily basis. The more I reach out to other people, the more I heal myself. The anger and depression are gone now, and what is more, even though I have lost a brother and a granddaughter in the last few years, I deal with grief a lot differently. I run one support group, and I am a member of two others. Also, I am about to start another grief group. One of the groups that I am a member of is Compassionate friends, which is for the loss of a child or grandchild. I would never have been able to do these things if I had not learned to deal with Janet’s death.

Truly there has always been a silver lining behind the dark clouds in my life. This I believe.