Share your story Part I
Two days in a row I had two experiences back to back where sharing stories helped heal and possible save someone’s life. In the weeks after my daughter’s death, my youngest daughter started experiencing excruciating back pain. I called my massage therapist that I knew would cover the treatment with our insurance. I told her that my 19-year-old daughter had passed away and that my that my 15-year-old daughter was having terrible back pain. She asked if she could call me. I thought that was a bit strange for scheduling an appointment, but I sent a message that she could indeed call me.
Over the phone she gave me healing and clear-cut bible verses that I needed to hear. She knew my religious beliefs. This was definitely something she had not done before. They were the verses I really needed to hear such as Matthew 18:12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?” She also quoted Isaiah 43:1 “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine”.
She went on to tell me her daughter had died the same way as my daughter, almost exactly the same way, three years earlier. She didn’t share this with clients, she didn’t want to burden them with her story. Through the next few weeks it was actually me that went to see her weekly. She would talk to me about the burdens of grief, the difficulty of taking care of children while walking through your darkest hours. She would pray over me and talk to me about her experiences as I asked her about them. I realized how blessed I was to have such a supportive community. I was brought meals, I had a memorial service, I buried my daughter in a beautiful setting led by my supportive church and family community, someone came and cleaned my house before family came, I was given a massage gift card, plants for a memorial garden, a gift basket with lotions, hundreds of cards and also donations towards the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention where I have vowed to help others with severe depression so my daughter’s legacy could live on. She had none of that. She bought herself flowers, she went back to work only a week later, took her daughter’s child and help place her with her father and without a shred of anything to memorialize except a t-shirt from her daughter’s dyer she found and bravely marched on.
I encouraged her to go see her grand-daughter even if she wasn’t invited. I gave her the idea to buy a jewelry set that she would have given her daughter to give to her grand-daughter because she was extremely sad that she had nothing to pass on that belonged to her mother. I had been given the idea by my mother-in-law that gave me a beautiful birthstone set that she was saving for my daughter, but never had the chance to give it to her. I started thinking about how I had quite a bit of my daughter’s jewelry and I asked her what her daughter’s birthday was since my daughter’s birthstone was green or emerald for her birthday May 25th, 1998.
I was laying face down, and in my birthday suit so to speak, with a sheet and blanket over me. As she was rubbing the intense knots out of my spine and neck she said, “my daughter’s birthday was May 25th, 1988.” I sat up straight off the table, exposing all that God gave me, with tears in my eyes, “That is my daughter’s birthday!”
Out of 365 days of the year, after seeing her for over three years, we shared camaraderie in our grief. As she was healing me with her hands and prayers I was healing her with the ability to be able to share her story finally with someone who understand the deep heartache of loosing a daughter and just so that we wouldn’t think this was all a coincidence, they also shared a birthday. All I can say is, when given the opportunity, share your story.