Tag Archives: death

Podcast 24/ Brandy Lidbeck – The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide

This is such an important conversation.  I’m so grateful to Brandy for her willingness to share her story and to help others in their healing. Brandy is a marriage and family therapist.  She is also a two time survivor of suicide loss.  She is the author of “The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide”.

“After a suicide, loved ones painfully struggle to make sense of the unexplainable tragedy. The Gift of Second comes alongside loss survivors and helps navigate the common pitfalls for those left behind. This book offers hope and encouragement to guide survivors through this desperate time.”

Brandy is also the founder of the website, thegiftofsecond.com – a community for survivors of suicide loss. Whether you have lost a loved one to suicide or you know someone who has, you will be blessed by Brandy and her story.  Please share with others who may benefit from this conversation, the website and/or her book.  Brandy wants to help others experience healing in spite of the sorrow.

Brandy’s website is thegiftofsecond.com

You can order Brandy’s book on Amazon here:   The Gift of Second Book

Pounding Fists and Dancing Feet

So, my birthday came and went. I turned 45. Just throwing the number out there…not because it means anything but so you have a point of reference.  I have never really cared about age.  Ever since I was 28, I just kind of stayed 28 in my mind.  To help this perpetual 28 year old-ness, I try not to look in the mirror too much.  I’m just saying, it can be shocking to your 28 year old insides to see your 45 year old outsides.

I felt a little sad this year.  I’m not going to lie. I felt a little, shall we say, melancholy.  I looked up melancholy in the dictionary because I’ve always loved that word.  It says:  soberly thoughtful; pensive and it also says sad and mournful and depressed which is not what I was feeling.  I’ve always appreciated the word because to me, it described the feeling we sometimes have of being  a mixture of happy and sad. I was feeling that mixture of happy and sad.  Like when I used to swing on my swing in the backyard and I would lay on my stomach to feel that feeling you get when you are excited but yet feel like crying.  I would do this on purpose.  I’ve always sort of enjoyed the melancholy.

I guess the thing that really got to me this year is that it was a year of transformation for me.  A year of freedom and joy and renewed passion and purpose.

And what this says to me is that GOD CAN DO ANYTHING AT ANY TIME NO MATTER HOW OLD YOU ARE.

Amen?

On Good Friday, I taught a Holy Yoga class.  It was my regular Holy Yoga class time but it was Good Friday so that changes everything.  I woke up and I felt God calling me to PREACH IT.  I felt this overwhelming need to get on my knees and thank Him for His sacrifice.  I couldn’t even stand it people.  I was bawling reading scripture that morning.  I was newly taken with the story I have known forever.  I was nearer and closer to Jesus because I LET HIM IN this year.

He didn’t change.  But He changed me.

So, little beknownst to me (is that a word?) my awesome friend and owner of the home where I teach Holy Yoga, Eileen,  planned a surprise for me by making sure a lot of people could make it to class and stay for coffee afterwards to celebrate my birthday and my one year Holy Yoga anniversary.  I mean. Oh my gosh. Each person that came into the room just blew me away.  There was this keen awareness of how blessedly important every person in my life is.  How each one of these lovely women has ministered to me, has fed my soul, has nourished me and supported me and given me strength.  I mean, it was almost too much.  My spidey senses were up and I already told you I felt like preaching and tears were flowing freely so you know what happened next.  What happened next had nothing to do with me…it was like we rolled out our mats and created space and let God do His thing and…

Holy yoga was HOLY.

I was pounding the floor talking about IT IS FINISHED.  We were LAYING IT DOWN AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS.

You know, I don’t really give a hoot about denomination.  I think God weeps at the way we separate ourselves along man made lines and judge each other.  I think it’s nuts.  But I have to bring it up in this regard.  It’s funny because every single person in the room – I’d say there were about 16 or 17 people- every one of us was raised Catholic.  Now I only mention this because there are a few things the Catholics do like nobody else in my opinion.

One: Funerals.  Two: Good Friday.

I mean, we can mourn and weep and feel loss and regret like nobody’s business.

We can SUFFER.

Now usually, I like to focus on the happy and the positive and the hopeful.  My mom, who was not raised Catholic used to ask not so subtly, “Why all of this emphasis on the crucifixion? It’s all about the Resurrection.” And I get that, I do.  I’m a resurrection girl for sure. But we can’t have Sunday without Friday.  Amen?

I have no idea what I said during that Holy Yoga class but I know it was from my heart and my heart was feeling the Holy Spirit that day.  It was the end of the birthday week, the melancholy, the pensiveness. I was laying it down.

When I think about it, it makes perfect sense.  I had an AHA moment.  His Death and Resurrection reminded me of my own.  Of my many.

This is a holy practice, right?  To not rush to Easter Sunday.  To sit on Friday in the pain and pound our fists and weep and mourn and remember.  And then to sit on Saturday and wait.  To have nothing happen.  To be bored and wander around not knowing what’s coming.  To wonder.

Our need to rush to Sunday kind of stunts us.  It denies us the feeling we need to feel…that death and birth are painful.  They are transformational…but we have to let ourselves experience them in their entirety without sugar coating or rushing it along.

I don’t have to make it “all good” all the time.  Not for me, not for my friends, not for my kids.  It is what it is.  Happy and sad.  New and old.  28 and 45.  Death and Resurrection.  Sorrow and Joy. Pounding fists and dancing feet.  There is love in both and all and every.

 

HY celebration photo

©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

Stories

14-16“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16 The Message (MSG)

I heard a woman speak the other day.  She and her family have started an organization designed to keep kids of drugs.  She talked about the organization and gave facts and figures but I could tell she was leading up to the real story.  The story of how she lost her son to drugs.  I knew that she was going to tell her story and I got scared.  Scared for her to tell it and scared for me to hear it.  Drugs frighten me and losing a child is the thing I fear most of all.  I sat in fearful anticipation waiting for the story to be told – waiting for the air to be filled with the heartbreaking story of another son lost and another mother broken.

She told her story and she was brave.  She was succinct and purposeful and included details about the how’s and the why’s.  She told the tale as a cautionary tale – she was warning us and our kids.  She was strong.  Her voice only cracked a couple times.  Her tears only bubbled up two or three times.

I pictured her practicing this speech in the mirror.  I pictured her practicing on loved ones. I imagined her writing and rewriting and changing words and hoping and praying she would get it right, hoping and praying that her words would honor her son’s struggle and his life, and that she could convey her love, her grief, her sorrow, her brokenness.  I imagine the rewrites and the agony spent at the keyboard reliving the story.  I imagined the first few times she may have cried the whole way through.  How could you not?

She had to tell the who’s, what’s, why’s and the what to do’s but really her story is about the boy she loved.  Her story is about the baby and the toddler and the grade schooler.  Her story is about the hugs and the laughs and the vacations and the friends.  Her story is about moments together – about tucking him in and kissing him good night. Her story is about holidays and cozy nights by the fire, about board games and puzzles and Legos and sports.  Her story is about family and dreams and safety and all the things she worked to give her son.  Her story is about love.  Her story is my story and that is what scares me so much.  How can her story start out just like my story but end in my worst nightmare?

But now I realize her story did not end there.  In her strength and her wisdom, she has walked through hell and found grace.  It’s amazing to see.  Can our lowest, scariest, most unthinkable moments be the windows for grace in our lives?

I remember reading the book Beautiful Boy by David Sheff and being entranced by it.  I read the follow up book, Tweak, by his son, Nic Sheff and watched the father and son on Oprah with my book club.  I was invested in the story and hoping and praying for Nic’s recovery to be real and lasting.

Her speech reminded me of this book when she mentioned her son had been in rehab 13 times before he died.  That took my breath away.  I imagined the phone calls and the drop off’s and the hope and the waiting and the counseling and the disappointment and the fear and the hope again and the disappointment again.  It was almost too much to bear.

I am honored that she shared her story with us.  I believe she knows something very important.  She knows we need her story.  She knows we need her.

I was at funeral of a friend of mine the other day.  It was so sad to have to say good bye to such a good man.  I sat there thinking, “Why would God take such a young man, such a good father, such a loving husband?”  It doesn’t make sense.  He was amazing and he will be greatly missed.  The priest at the funeral told us that we all have a “holy task” before us.  He said our task is to tell our stories about our friend that passed away- share the stories of him living and loving and laughing and being kind.  This is how he will live on.  This is how we will honor him.  The priest didn’t just say it’s our “task” he said it is our “HOLY task”.

I believe it is our holy task to share our stories…to witness to each other…to share our moments of pain and our moments of grace.  All of our stories are holy…every single one of them.  Especially the ones we are scared to tell and the ones we are scared to hear.

What’s your holy story?

To learn more about one mother’s mission to honor her son’s memory and to help keep kids off of drugs, visit www.saveastar.org
©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved