Thursday January 30, 2014

It's been a week of connections for me.  So many people responding to the WCCO piece on Sunday and the nice Post Bulletin article about the scholarship night on Monday.  I've received messages from dear friends and from people I've never met.  It is a strange world in which I live now...

The support continues to amaze us.  Saturday night at the hockey rink, there were friends there just to support our cause, to support us.  I will be forever grateful for these connections ,and I can't imagine my life now without these people.

There was a great op-ed piece by David Brooks in the NY Times a couple weeks ago.  It's about how to be there to support people who have been through tragedy.  It's one writer's take on a blog written by a victim of tragedy.  Both the piece - and the blog - are worth a read.  Find them here: NYTimes - The Art of Presence

I connect with so many of the ideas in the article, but after this weekend, the concept of firefighters and builders really stuck with me.  The blogger, Catherine Woodwiss, distinguishes between two types of people who help you survive trauma:  firefighters and builders.  Firefighters are those people who can drop everything and jump into the fray with you immediately after trauma.  Builders are those people who will help you reconstruct your life, bit by bit, over the long haul.  You need both to survive.

As I watched those friends who came to support us on Saturday,  I realized we have a lot of builders in our lives now.

Another concept that Woodwiss shares is that healing is seasonal, not linear.  I've talked about this before, but she says it better:  "In the recovery wilderness, emotional healing looks less like a line and more like a wobbly figure-8.  It's perfectly common to get stuck in one stage for months, only to jump to another... only to find yourself back in the same old mud again next year."

I think that's why the giving of the scholarships last weekend felt so good, and yet left me with a pit in my stomach that I can't shake.  It's so good and so wrong at the same time.  I don't think I'll ever be able to completely reconcile that feeling.

This is not to take anything away from what we are trying to do in Shannon's memory.  We are absolutely sure that this is the best way to honor her while doing some good.  The WCCO piece was very well done and told our story in a touching way.  Our scholarship winners were happy and proud and honored.  This is all good stuff.  What more could we ask?  But... there's always a but...

Catherine Woodwiss sums it up: "In the end, the hope of life after trauma is simply that you have life after trauma.  The days, in their weird and varied richness, go on.  So will you."