In Too Relieved To Grieve I tell you my story from September 2013 until the beginning of June 2017, which were without doubt the hardest years of my life.
To say Life had decided to give me lemons was something of an understatement. For reasons I wouldn't appreciate until years later, Life was rocket launching weaponised citrus grenades at my head, heart, knees, bank balance, career and, most unforgivably, my children. It was brutal to live and then brutal to write about, but you know what they say: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger", and it's true.
As a highly introverted person, I didn't think I could ever bear to reveal my heart and soul in such a transparent way as writing a book, but then the whole "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" thing backfired in my face and made me reconsider. A friend of a friend committed suicide, following a series of harrowing life events similar to my own, which shocked me to my core. I was saddened and horrified that this could ever happen, especially when I found out the lady concerned was a devoted mother of two as well. My mind started reeling, trying to fathom the depths she must have been plunged into, to take such desperate and lethal action. I literally could not bear trying to empathise with her or her children for long. The errant husband could go to hell obviously, but oh those poor children.
There was clearly nothing I could do about this, as I didn't personally know the lady or her children. I always ask my mentoring or life coaching clients if a problem or challenge falls within either their circle of control or influence, and if not, then they should move on to something that is. But this wasn't in my circle of control or influence, was it? Well it certainly wasn't within my circle of control, and whilst it wasn't directly within my circle of influence, could I possibly influence the chances of it ever happening again?
The thought of washing my dirty laundry in public made me shudder, but then I gave myself another big talking to, because it was only my ego stopping me from potentially (and hopefully) helping others. It was my intensely private and introverted ego wanting to keep my painful and shameful experiences to myself, because I just didn't want everyone to know what had happened to me and my family. But then another bolt of my own advice came hurtling towards me: "Your ego is your soul's worst enemy. Your ego is the single biggest obstruction to the achievement of anything". So if I truly wanted to help others navigate through the dark nights of their soul, I would have to neutralise my own ego first. I would have to get over myself, so I ordered myself a pair of big girl pants and got on with it.
I decided I would write my memoir, specifically as a kind of heartbreak handbook. I wanted to write something for the many amongst us who have our hearts and minds splattered and smashed by the selfish and ruthless actions of others; for those betrayed by someone who promised to love them forever. I wanted to write for those who had been befriended by covetous demons, and then been stabbed in the front with their children watching. I wanted to write for those who felt so completely lost and alone, who didn't know which end was up and didn't know which way to turn. I needed to tell these people that it's possible to make it through hell and not only survive, but to win - and then I needed to tell them how I had done it.
Within my story I recount the old, old story which served my children and I the greatest amount of inspiration imaginable. I told the tale of how, many years ago, a man's favourite donkey fell into a deep sinkhole. The man tried and tried in vain to rescue the donkey, but it just wasn't possible, so he decided to bury it alive - believing it to be the most humane of solutions available to him.
The man started to shovel heaps of earth onto the donkey, but the donkey just shook off each load and adjusted its footing. As more and more soil was thrown onto the donkey, it continued to shake off the dirt and step on the newly thrown in soil. With every shovelful of earth the donkey rose higher and higher in the hole, until eventually it could climb out altogether - and this is what you must do if you feel Life is trying to bury you.
The donkey could have just stood there, accepting her fate and the heaps of earth being piled on top of her, but she didn't. Instead, the donkey shook off every load thrown on top of her, but then intelligently used the adversity to lift her higher. The donkey was using the shovelful's of an intended death sentence as stepping stones out of harm's way. And this is where my chocolate cake credo comes in: "When Life gives you lemons make chocolate cake, and leave everyone wondering how you did it!"
You HAVE to shake it off. You HAVE to prevail, otherwise you fail and you can't allow that. I can't allow that. I've bared my soul so you don't have to fail, so please don't let my snot soaked book writing be in vain. The donkey didn't exercise any super heroic super powers, she simply took one step at a time and did the next right thing - which you can do, even if you are plumbing the depths of heartbreak. Don't quit. Don't give up. You will be okay. You will be changed, but you will be okay, if you just hold on.
We heartbroken souls are legion, and we are with you ♥