March 6, 1992.
My daughter Grace lived for 32 minutes one night 21 years ago. In fact, tomorrow would have been her 21st birthday. But, there will be no celebration of woman-making in the traditional sense.
Instead, there is just a mother’s story of hard-won wisdom, triumph, and hope.
At the time, I couldn’t see any way (or reason) to be happy and hopeful again. But, pretty soon after that, it occurred to me that I wanted to be the best possible mother I could be for Grace.
And healthy mothers heal. Healthy people move on. Healthy people find a way (and a reason) to RISE.
And that’s what this piece is about.
Today, we’re going to talk about legacy, because no matter what has or has not happened to you, I PROMISE you that you can find a way to transform your suffering-disappointment-sorrow-loss-injustice-sadness-tragedy into something that serves other people.
Here’s why you want to do that: When you use your sorrows to mitigate the suffering of others, you make your story useful. Every time you make your suffering useful, you mitigate your own pain.
Okay, that’s “why.” Here’s “how.”
Let’s talk for a minute about the strategies of people who triumph.
- They DECIDE to get better.
- They look for the LEARNING in what has happened.
- They acknowledge that pain is part of life. MISERY, however, is optional.
- What that means is that they don’t allow themselves to get stuck in their story.
- They allow their suffering to dig a deep well that can then fill with COMPASSION.
- They actively seek opportunities to share their compassion with those who still suffer.
- They make a point to grown in WISDOM from their losses. This means they become a STUDENT of life.
- They actively seek to SHARE their wisdom with others.
- They learn to LAUGH again. They recognize that they serve no one by wearing the “I’m so tragic” ribbon.
- They allow their suffering to crystallize and clarify what MATTERS MOST in life, and they consciously choose to live accordingly. That means they live more deliciously than they would have otherwise.
If life has knocked you down, please take a deep breath and then CHOOSE to rise. I can promise you that there is someone close to you RIGHT THIS MINUTE who needs the wisdom and strength only you can provide.
When you help them, you help yourself.
When Grace died, I remember sharing my despair with a friend that no one would ever know her. After all, she lived only 32 minutes – you probably took longer than that to shower and fix your hair this morning.
But this very wise man said to me, “Jennifer, don’t you understand? Grace’s eternity is that YOU are changed forever. And from this moment forward, everyone you meet and every life you touch will be different because your life was touched by Grace. Grace LIVES ON, Jennifer, through you.”
And so it is.
Life After Tampons was created as the next logical extension of the past 21 years of “intentional triumph.” If you have benefitted from what you have found here, it is because my heart was touched by Grace and I allowed that wisdom to gather in my heart and move out with love and service to Beautiful You.
On this afternoon, the eve of my daughter’s 21st birthday, I invite you to share your own story of adversity and triumph. Please take a moment to do that now in the Comments section below.
My hope is that this post will spread around the world, and that everyone who suffers will take hope and inspiration from our collective wisdom. (So, after you share your own wisdom, please share the post with your own corner of the Universe. There are share buttons to the left of this piece.)
Love Always, Grace’s Mom
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photo: flickr, mathewajay