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REFLECTIONS OF A SURVIVORIt’s “A God Thing”
When my son, Paul, took his own life in June, 1993, I suddenly found myself on a very dark road with no light and no roadmap. Having no frame of reference in my life for surviving a suicide death, I faced a complicated and difficult healing process. When some time had passed, the initial anesthetizing patch of fog lifted and my brain began to function again. I realized that God was not only providing light, love, and guidance for my journey, but that he had also lovingly equipped me to walk that treacherous road.
Five years before my son’s death I experienced a divorce – after 26 years of marriage, and God graciously provided me with an extensive divorce recovery education. Among other things, I learned to gradually let go of a relationship and to accept the loss of future dreams. I learned how to grieve and to experience and express all of my God-given emotions in an adult, moderate way. I learned to practice forgiveness – for others and for myself. I learned to take responsibility and ownership of my life. I learned that I had no control over the choices of others and no responsibility for the consequences of their behavior. I learned to connect with safe people in healthy relationships and how to ask for their help without shame or guilt. And, most importantly, I learned to fully experience God’s presence and to hold on tight to my inherent value as His beloved child – in the midst of rejection and abandonment. With God’s help, a lot of hard work, two support groups, and a host of encouraging friends and family members – I survived that divorce and did a great deal of growing up in the process.
All of those lessons have provided me with just the right tools to survive and overcome an even more incomprehensible loss – and also to share that experience with others in order to shed the light of God’s love on their dark path. That’s what I call “A GOD THING” – because I certainly could not have done any of it in my own strength!
Linda L. Flatt ~ October 1998