We all go through really bad stuff in life.
Whatever you’re facing, I know from personal experience how much you want to get through it, grow from it, heal and get your life working well again.
You’re longing to find peace of mind, calmness, emotional balance and maybe even a little joy and happiness again, right?
Well, here’s my story. Since we’re not sitting together over a cup of tea, I can’t hear your story just yet. So I’ll go first and tell you what happened to me so you know where I’m coming from when I offer you my compassion, support and best ideas for your own healing. Someday, I hope you’ll tell me about your life, too, and how you overcame the dark days you are enduring right now.
I had two darling, beloved children with my former husband: Jeremy Winston and Amelia Louise. They were the focus of our life. They gave us something to do together. In 1989, I started a literary agency from home, helping writers sell their book manuscripts to publishers. Turns out, I’m pretty good at it. I even sold my own first book. By 1991, I wanted to attend the London Book Fair, a big publishing industry conference. My husband and I decided to make it into a family vacation.
Less than 2 days after we arrived in the UK, we were driving down a little country road. My husband had stayed up all night with Amelia so I could sleep. He had jet lag. He forgot to look both ways at the intersection. The other car hit ours at 65 kph. Amelia died instantly. Jeremy was taken off life support 3 days later. After a long operation, I emerged in critical condition. Every bone on my left side was broken from my shoulder to my knee. The doctors talked about the possibility of amputating my shattered leg because of the heinous nerve damage. I had nothing left to live for – no hope, no children, no identity as a mom, no marriage I cared about, no reason to think that I’d ever be happy again.
I was 26 years old.
I wanted to die, but it’s hard to find ways to commit suicide when you can’t even walk or sit up.
In time, I was airlifted back to the USA. We buried our precious children on the most anguished day of my life, as you can imagine. I figured out a few weeks later that my live-in nurse was providing an unacceptable extra level of comfort to my husband while I was sleeping in a hospital bed in my own living room.
I was handicapped and heart-broken; grief-filled and beaten down. I could see no future worth living for. I had been given more than anyone could ever bear.
Jeremy and Amelia
Fast forward: with an amazing amount of physical therapy, blinding grit and increased pain tolerance, I finally got into a wheelchair, then a walker. When I was in the walker, I agreed with my husband’s firm proposition – that we needed another baby as soon as possible, a son to “replace” Jeremy. The doctors warned us that my body wasn’t ready, but we conceived. I endured an exceptionally painful pregnancy, some of it on a walker, some on crutches. Our precious little girl Sophia was born. She gave me a reason to live again, and a commitment to finding a way to thrive despite everything. It occurred to me I might be happy again one day, somehow.
I started an intense study into how people throughout history handled the bad things that happened to them. I started to see commonalities and patterns. I tested these strategies in my own life and things started to get better. I bought books and listened to wise teachers. I got stronger, happier and healthier — emotionally and mentally. My company grew. Two years later, I had corrective surgery on my leg and finally became free of physical pain. Since my husband’s behaviors didn’t change, it wasn’t hard to decide to divorce him shortly after Sophia’s second birthday. When people lose children, they often grieve in very different ways – ways that split them apart. We both made a lot of mistakes, but the day the police escorted him off our property, I felt joyful! I knew my life was going to be OK from now on.
Wendy Keller writes and speaks about healing, inner strength and surviving. Check out Wendy’s newest book : When “I Do” Becomes “I Don’t”: How to Heal from Divorce