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  • Writer's pictureKelly Neff

Eleven Years...

Tommy, you are missed and loved more than you will ever know. I love you, Mom💗

Another year has passed, eleven in all, since time began to be designated by “before” and “after.” If you have ever been touched by tragedy you understand exactly what I’m talking about.

Every moment of that hellish evening eleven years ago is forever seared into my memory. As the hands on the clock inch nearer to the evening hours on this date, a heaviness that is dark and oppressive weighs down on me in such a way that I physically feel like I'm being crushed into the ground. My stomach begins to churn, and I feel hollow inside. At times I feel the urge to vomit as I feel my heartbeat beginning to quicken and my body growing weak with dread. My breathing becomes shallow as I feel my chest begin to tighten. When I realize that I'm feeling lightheaded I have to remind myself to breathe.

Inhale slowly. Hold it. Exhale slowly. Repeat.

Reliving that day feels so incredibly real. Every. Single. Year. I wrestle with my mind to stay in the present. The nightmare is so dark and so powerful it threatens to suck me right back into its vortex like a hurricane on a path to obliterate me into a million splintered pieces.

Inhale slowly. Hold it. Exhale slowly. Repeat.

Another year, another reminder that the nightmare is my reality. The heartache is real. The pain doesn't go away.

Inhale slowly. Hold it. Exhale slowly. Repeat. REFOCUS.

The pain does not go away with time, but with time it is possible to learn how to coexist with it by finding ways to stretch, bend, and adjust. You must intentionally and persistently look for the lessons in the pain that will grow you and mold you into a stronger and healthier you.

It is much like doing physical therapy to help heal an injured body part. By consistently practicing targeted exercises and stretches, and occasionally utilizing braces, regaining full use of the injured body part is probable, but the pain may last a lifetime. Strengthening the muscles in and around the injury, and adding support, when necessary, is vital to the healing and recovery process. Without physical therapy, the wound may heal, but it may never function to the same capacity it did before the injury. Injuries to the heart are no different.

Breathe. Hold it. Release. Repeat. STAY FOCUSED.

My friend, look for the lessons in your nightmare that will stretch you. It will be excruciating at first and will take every ounce of determination that you can muster, but in time you'll find that you can do more than you think, and you can go farther than you could have ever imagined.

It won't be easy. You'll need to fight for EVERY SINGLE STEP and focus on every single breath, but you will indeed become a better, stronger, and healthier you. I believe in you!💗


*If you are struggling and your pain is more than you feel you can handle please tell someone right now. Don't wait another second. YOU MATTER and YOU ARE LOVED!💗

Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

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