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For Those Who Know Grief

One of the most sobering experiences I have had on social media has been finding people who connect with thoughts that are typically not safe to speak of. I have seen many share stories of extensive pain and be comforted by others who not only respect the bravery in what they have read but relate to it.

If you have been with us in this space for a while, you have seen me repost comments from the Instagram stories q & a box (sometimes questions looking for feedback) and have others reply to offer support.

Once there was a mom who talked about how overwhelmed she felt by her body changing after four kids. She felt frustrated and ashamed. I posted her comment, and within minutes, everything she needed to hear was relayed back to her. Post after post of affirming, educated, in-tune responses to someone who was reaching out for help.

Another one I remember is the mom whose words broke me. “My 15-year-old daughter has just disclosed an assault from her long-term boyfriend, and I don’t know what to say.”  An army of people pouring, absolutely flooding this mother and daughter with words, resources, and real support. The kind of support that says, “Here is what I am going to do while you rest.”  The mom seemed to disappear that day and the next. I was concerned it was too much. She sent me a message later that said “I have printed off every note and my daughter and I sat and read them together. It was a beautiful moment.”

Rarely, do I know the backstory of the comments people leave on a post. I pin comments of those who need support or have shared input that I believe is valuable to others. Recently, I saw a comment that had a punch to it and the way it hit me, told me there was a story there. I pinned the comment:

“I said the words to someone intent on misunderstanding me: Repeating myself and getting more frustrated as I try to explain is a trauma response and I’m not doing this with you anymore. And, I stopped, took back my power and walked away.”

The power in those words compelled me to pin the comment. It was clear this person had been on a journey of finding their worth and that something clicked–they had enough.

A couple of days later I get a message from someone wanting to send me a donation in AUS dollars to sponsor people for the course. I recognized the name as the same person who I had pinned the comment from a couple days prior: Rhyl Pritchard.  I thanked her for being willing to sponsor.  I also recognized her name and asked had she mailed me cookies from AUS about a year earlier, and she had! And a cookie monster shirt. (If you want to show appreciation for this space, I accept all types of chocolate chip cookies.)

Rhyl’s story really got me.

She was inundated in protecting her teenage daughters and their father, Grant. Grant was nearing the end of his life. He had been in a painful battle against cancer and as much as he wanted to be here, his body had been taken through years of unfavorable results.

I had many questions, and a deep ache from knowing this was somehow related to the comment she made a couple days ago on my post. I felt it best to listen and allow her to share what was pertinent for her to feel safe, held and heard.

Rhyl and Grant ended their relationship years prior, but remained fully committed to being a family.  They continued to operate as a family of four and support one another in every chapter.

With Grant’s diagnosis, they all lived under the same roof while Rhyl carried on as his primary caretaker (while also holding her girls as they processed this new normal).

Rhyl spoke lovingly of Grant. It did not matter why their relationship shifted. It mattered that as his life was coming to an end, she was doing what was necessary each day to provide comfort to him, his body and to their girls.

She reminded me of some of her story that she had shared with me prior in a letter attached to the package she sent. She had faced so much trauma. She had survived significant pain. Her role at this point was to live her life while holding her own story and protecting Grant and her girls from anything that would cause further harm.

Rhyl’s pinned comment was about her being in the middle of two of Grant’s family members (who he had long been estranged from) demanding to see Grant, and Rhyl attempting to carry out Grant’s wishes. His wish was to be left alone, and this is where Rhyl had the difficult task to hold the boundary of what Grant had asked for, but physically could not maintain.

She was his closest friend.

She was his caregiver.

She was the mother of his children and will be the one who helps them grieve and heal and remember the way he held them.

She was feeling her own prior pain, while grieving who had been a rock for her.

She was healing while hurting because she had no choice but to let go.

This came to me on a Friday night while I was still in Denver, listening to soft music and packing up my home. It came to me on a night that I was frustrated over how little movement there was in many parts of my life. It came to me at a time, where I could only read it and wonder how it was possible that such a love story could have landed in my inbox.

I have been hiking all over Central and South America, and think about the Prichard family, and how life must be a roller coaster with emotions. They know a day is coming, but there is no preparation for current emotions with that loss, right? They are adapting and honoring that the physical pain he endured will end, and with that end begins their grieving journey.

I wanted you to know this story because I know so many of us do not have a safe space to be honest about how much we are hurting and how little we have felt understood.

I wanted you to read these words and know that in the world, right now, there is a mom who is holding close her two teenage girls and mothering the young girl in herself who knows much loss.

I wanted you to know this story because the way people talk about trauma gets sugar coated, and twisted and the person who bore the pain, is often treated as the problem.

I wanted you to know this story, so you could somehow feel safer knowing we are all among the bravest of those looking for peace.In memory of Grant Williams-Pritchard: July 23rd, 1976 – July 17th, 2022

One of the most sobering experiences I have had on social media has been finding people who connect with thoughts that are typically not safe to speak of. I have seen many share stories of extensive pain and be comforted by others who not only respect the bravery in what they have read but relate to it.

If you have been with us in this space for a while, you have seen me repost comments from the Instagram stories q & a box (sometimes questions looking for feedback) and have others reply to offer support.

Once there was a mom who talked about how overwhelmed she felt by her body changing after four kids. She felt frustrated and ashamed. I posted her comment, and within minutes, everything she needed to hear was relayed back to her. Post after post of affirming, educated, in-tune responses to someone who was reaching out for help.

Another one I remember is the mom whose words broke me. “My 15-year-old daughter has just disclosed an assault from her long-term boyfriend, and I don’t know what to say.”  An army of people pouring, absolutely flooding this mother and daughter with words, resources, and real support. The kind of support that says, “Here is what I am going to do while you rest.”  The mom seemed to disappear that day and the next. I was concerned it was too much. She sent me a message later that said “I have printed off every note and my daughter and I sat and read them together. It was a beautiful moment.”

Rarely, do I know the backstory of the comments people leave on a post. I pin comments of those who need support or have shared input that I believe is valuable to others. Recently, I saw a comment that had a punch to it and the way it hit me, told me there was a story there. I pinned the comment:

“I said the words to someone intent on misunderstanding me: Repeating myself and getting more frustrated as I try to explain is a trauma response and I’m not doing this with you anymore. And, I stopped, took back my power and walked away.”

The power in those words compelled me to pin the comment. It was clear this person had been on a journey of finding their worth and that something clicked–they had enough.

A couple of days later I get a message from someone wanting to send me a donation in AUS dollars to sponsor people for the course. I recognized the name as the same person who I had pinned the comment from a couple days prior: Rhyl Pritchard.  I thanked her for being willing to sponsor.  I also recognized her name and asked had she mailed me cookies from AUS about a year earlier, and she had! And a cookie monster shirt. (If you want to show appreciation for this space, I accept all types of chocolate chip cookies.)

Rhyl’s story really got me.

She and her teenage daughters were nearing the end of the journey with their father (Rhyl’s ex-husband, and closest friend). He had been in a painful battle against cancer and as much as he wanted to be here, his body had been taken through years of unfavorable results.

I had many questions, and a deep ache from knowing this was somehow related to the comment she made a couple days ago on my post. I felt it best to listen and allow her to share what was pertinent for her to feel safe, held and heard.

Rhyl and Grant had divorced 13 years ago, but always remained the closest of friends.  So much so, that they continued to operate as a family of four and support one another in every chapter.

With Grant’s diagnosis, they all lived under the same roof while Rhyl carried on as his primary caretaker (while also holding her girls as they processed this new normal).

Rhyl spoke lovingly of Grant. It did not matter why they divorced. It mattered that as his life was coming to an end, she was doing what was necessary each day to provide comfort to him, his body and to their girls.

She reminded me of some of her story that she had shared with me prior in a letter attached to the package she sent. She had faced so much trauma. She had survived significant pain. Her role at this point was to live her life while holding her own story and protecting Grant and her girls from anything that would cause further harm.

Rhyl’s pinned comment was about her being in the middle of two of Grant’s family members (who he had long been estranged from) demanding to see Grant, and Rhyl attempting to carry out Grant’s wishes. His wish was to be left alone, and this is where Rhyl had the difficult task to hold the boundary of what Grant had asked for, but physically could not maintain.

She was his closest friend.

She was his caregiver.

She was the mother of his children and will be the one who helps them grieve and heal and remember the way he held them.

She was feeling her own prior pain, while grieving who had been a rock for her.

She was healing while hurting because she had no choice but to let go.

This came to me on a Friday night while I was still in Denver, listening to soft music and packing up my home. It came to me on a night that I was frustrated over how little movement there was in many parts of my life. It came to me at a time, where I could only read it and wonder how it was possible that such a love story could have landed in my inbox.

I have been hiking all over Central and South America, and think about the Prichard family, and how life must be a roller coaster with emotions. They know a day is coming, but there is no preparation for current emotions with that loss, right? They are adapting and honoring that the physical pain he endured will end, and with that end begins their grieving journey.

I wanted you to know this story because I know so many of us do not have a safe space to be honest about how much we are hurting and how little we have felt understood.

I wanted you to read these words and know that in the world, right now, there is a mom who is holding close to her two teenage girls and mothering the young girl in herself who knows much loss.

I wanted you to know this story because the way people talk about trauma gets sugar coated, and twisted and the person who bore the pain, is often treated as the problem.

I wanted you to know this story, so you could somehow feel safer knowing we are all among many brave souls looking for peace.

In memory of Grant Williams-Pritchard: July 23rd, 1976 – July 18th, 2022

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