There is no correct way to handle death. If there is, we aren’t aware of it yet. All we know is the Kübler-Ross’ model, the five stages of death. The first stage is numbing, denial.

This is where I’m currently feeling stuck.

Almost two years ago, I decided it was time to do some trauma work and begin healing. My psychiatrist gave me the contact number of a therapist at a local rehab focused on trauma.

That first phone call with my therapist was one he’d repeatedly say he’d never forget. It is one I’ll hold in my heart for good.

The past few years have been filled with laughter, tears, and most importantly, hope.

We had a very unique dynamic that he didn’t share with other clients. Our families became close, and our worlds became better.

On October 7, 2018, my therapist committed suicide.

My initial reaction was anger. How dare he leave me. How dare he be a hypocrite.

These feelings quickly passed as I recalled his life.

My therapist survived 9/11 and the Boston marathon, along with other traumatic events. He dedicated the rest of his life to helping others heal. He’d often remind me that all of us are just human, this included him.

Although he is no longer with us, I want the world to continue to learn from him and his death, because he will forever be one of the most brilliant humans to walk this earth.

  1. As stupid as it sounds and may seem, heal your damn inner child.

Pain to your inner child impacts your adult life in more ways that one may imagine, or meet the eye. My therapist would highly recommend The Inner Child Workbook and/or The Body Keeps the Score.

  1. Mindfulness meditations aren’t just for hippies. Whether it’s through an app, a class, or simply made up on your own, meditations can prevent anxiety attacks and enhance your overall well being.
  2. “Don’t blow smoke up my ass.” In other words, quit relying on previous reasons to stop you from making the necessary steps in moving forward with your life. If you no longer want to be a victim, don’t let the past define your present and future. Let it be a place to begin your growth.
  3. Take time for yourself. It is more and more difficult to do so as you grow older, but taking to enjoy your own hobbies and interests helps you be a better boss, parent, or worker.
  4. DO NOT BE STUBBORN, ASK FOR HELP! Everyone needs help, most of us just don’t want to admit it until things are completely out of control. Swallow your pride, and pick up the phone. Life doesn’t need to be more difficult than it already can be.
  5. The most important, remind yourself that you’re only human and enjoy life. Kick puddles, ride your bike in the rain, cry in a sad movie, and always say yes to ice-cream.

As I create a new normal, I ask readers to reach out to their loved ones. Don’t wait for them to contact you first. Just as importantly, treat strangers with the same compassion. If your gut is telling you the lady sitting next to you on the bus seems sad, spark a conversation. They may not want to, but you won’t lose anything if they don’t. If they do, both of your lives may change for the better.

I’m not mad at my therapist and still have every intention to continue with therapy. Life has taught me in the cruelest way that we are all just doing the best we can.