Friday, April 4, 2008

Reconnecting With Self

What follows are two letters that my sister Joann DeHoyos wrote to herself recently. She asked me to post them because there might be others who feel as she did when she wrote these letters.

"Hello, Jo Ann,
How are you doing? Fine I hope. As for me, I'm not doing very well. Physically, yes but mentally, no. I am going through a lot of hard times since I lost my son. Nothing seems to go right anymore regardless of how hard I try. The harder I try, the worse it gets. I don't know what to do anymore.

I am almost at the end of my rope. What do I do when I reach the end? Keep on fighting or let go? I don't know how far down the bottom is if I let go. How far do I fall? Is there a bottom? Who knows? I don't. Do you?
Love always,

When I read the above letter, I asked Joann to write a second letter to Me from Joann to see what she could add to the first letter. Here is what she wrote:

"Dear Me,
I am so sorry to hear that you are going through hard times. I have been there and done that. I also have been at the end of my rope. Believe me, it is no fun. The next step is suicide and we don't want that.

Since then I have met a friend named Ruth. She pulled me back up and has not let me fall anymore. I don't know what I would have done without her. So please, if you ever start falling again, write me and I will be there to pull you back up. I promise I won't let you fall.

My sister has also played a major role in helping me. Without her and Ruth, I would be in the same place as you. I am so lucky to have someone to love me. Bye for now.
Jo Ann"

None of you know my sister or the courage that it took for her to write either of these letters to herself. I am proud of her. Jo Ann, none of your growth would have happened until you made the decision to allow it. Now that you are beginning to open up, keep going. As I have been telling you, it is time to learn to love yourself. People always treat you the way that you believe that you deserve to be treated. Love yourself and people will treat you with love and respect. Nothing that Ruth or I either one can do will affect the way you see yourself. I love you. Now love yourself.


Corinne Edwards said...

Dear Jo Ann -

I lost a son in a drowning accident when he was 21.

One of the older men in my office came over to see me soon afterward. His son had been killed by a drunk driver while he was changing a tire.

He gave me the best advice I ever got.

He said, "You will never get over this. Don't try."

If you realize that it will be the most important step you have taken.

Because, if you know you will never get over it, you will stop trying.

Nobody knows what you are going through except a person who has been there.

You can get over losing a mother, a husband - anyone. Never a child.

It is an amputation. And a private club you never wanted to belong to.

And it is lonely. Somehow people - close friends - will talk to you about losing anyone. But when it comes to a child they are without words to help.

It has been years now and there are still mornings when I wake up and it seems like it happened yesterday.

Stop trying to adjust. You can't.

Your life will go on and there will be happy moments.

But you are changed forever.

I send my love and great understanding to you with this message.

Patricia Singleton said...

Corinne, thank you so much for your kind words of wisdom. I will pass them on to JoAnn.

Evan said...

Thanks JoAnn. It must have been very difficult to write these letters.

I have never lost a child or even a member of my immediate family. (Both my parents are still alive at 83.)

I think, from seeing those I know who have come through this, that the idea that you can get over it is just stupid. You find a different way to live.

In the meantime be as kind as you can to yourself. If you had a friend going through what you are then I'm sure you would support them and do as many nice things for them as you could. Try to do this for yourself. This has helped people I know have the strength to deal with the pain.

Patricia Singleton said...

Evan, thank you for taking the time to reach out to JoAnn with your words.