The importance of sharing our stories

The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.

– Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

 

I often say how fortunate I feel to love my job as much as I do and to be lucky enough to get to meet some really amazing people in the process. Some of these people have been battered and tossed around by the suffocating tendrils of loss, abuse, pain, and heartbreak and have grown through the process. 

I have had my head in my story, the death of my husband, for many months now. Telling myself that no one else’s pain is quite like mine or quite as painful as mine. Of course, this is simply untrue. 

The human experience is not an experience at all unless saddled with some difficulty. Experience is, by virtue of its very meaning, the ‘process of getting knowledge or skill from doing, feeling or seeing things.’ It is the process by which we observe the world and make value judgments.

Within the depths of pain, it can feel as if that experience will be the status quo by which you exist indefinitely. But…then you hear a story, then someone shares their soul with you, and you realize that grief, discomfort, and pain are all part of this incredible experience for all of us. 

The extent to which I feel gratitude for those who have shared their challenges with me is unbound. I remember a story a particular patient shared about the loss of her child. Often grief leaves you a shadow of who you were, this mother lived in that shadow for a decade. It was only through time and love from those close to her that she began to live again. 

Having stories like this shared with me bound me to the truth of human experience. Suffering is not optional. Horrible things happen in life. Often they are not our fault. However, it is our responsibility to determine how we respond and our willingness to embrace post-traumatic growth.