We use the word connection frequently but have you ever paused to really think about what this word means to you? In a world where technology is a part of our daily lives, the word connection may have gotten a little lost in translation and we have forgotten what it means to truly connect with another person. Connecting with people around me has become more significant as it is truly what helped me begin my healing journey.
To me, connecting means opening ourselves up to others by sharing our deeper truths and vulnerabilities and creating an opportunity to feel a sense of kinship. The ability to share our deeper truths, fears and vulnerabilities with others takes a lot of courage as when we do so, we place our deepest trust in them to not pass judgement. By sharing our deepest truths and vulnerabilities, we offer a glimpse into the parts of our lives’ we are generally reluctant to share.
After losing my father, it literally felt like a part of my heart was missing and I would never be myself again. It was like a part of who I was had disappeared along with him and I had lost my sense of identity. The numbness that followed made it impossible to let people in, it felt like they couldn’t possibly understand what I was feeling and nothing anyone said or did could remove the intense pressure living in my chest.
Looking back at this time, it’s easier to see that people wanted to be there and show their support, but if you have never lost a loved one it’s extremely difficult to know what to say or do to help the person grieving. People tend to tread very lightly around you as they are scared of how fragile you are and don’t want to trigger a fresh round of tears. In all honesty, a lot of people prefer to stay away as they simply don’t know how to be around you and seem to run out of things to say.
After losing a loved one, letting people in is one of the most difficult things in the world! I was so consumed by my grief that I found it easier to deal with it alone rather than allow people to help me through it. This was in part due to the fact that my mother left when I was 2 and later told me my father had wanted to abort me (I was 12 at the time). This made it hard to believe that anyone (especially people not related to me) could really care about me when my own mother, the person who was biologically destined to love me unconditionally, was unable to love me and be there when I needed her the most.
By not letting people in and sharing my deepest fears, truths and vulnerabilities, I became limited by my grief and let it dictate my life. Not knowing how to deal with it, I turned to drugs and alcohol feeling this was the only way to block out the intense pain and sadness I felt all the time. It’s only when friends began to reach out, forcing me to talk about my feelings and asking how I was really doing was I able to finally voice all the fears I had. The fears about the depression that seemed to be settling in that made me feel nothing but numbness. My fears about how I seemed incapable of connecting with people and caring about life in general. The need to be drunk or high to block out all the feelings of insecurity and pain of no longer having someone looking out for you and genuinely caring about your wellbeing. Of no longer having a person to turn to in your times of need who is willing to drop everything to help you find a solution. Of no longer having the unconditional love that only a parent can give.
People who have never lost a parent cannot imagine what fears and insecurities take over. T
hey cannot begin to understand the emotions that take over your life. However, once you express them out loud and share them with others, you give them an opportunity to understand you better and you give them a chance to help you overcome these fears.
Simply knowing there were people out there who genuinely loved and cared for me helped me to let go of my grief and see that life is worth living. Connecting with people is what helped me to understand that family is not only the family you are born into but also the one you create with the people with whom you share the deepest connection, and who you know will always be there for you no matter what fears and insecurities live in your heart and mind.