Today is the anniversary of my blog. I started March 31, 2012.
I’ve never fought for followers or looked at my stats very much at all. The blog I wrote after my great- nephew committed suicide is my most read, I believe. I was grieving, and wanted to explain to people what an important life this world had lost. How great he was as a kid and how amazing he would have been as an adult. The loss we feel every day on this earth without him. It was important to share him and to remind myself all he is to me.
One of the other most read blogs was a thank you to the emergency medical people who helped save the life of the then 30-year old son of one of my best friends. His heart just stopped, as he ate lunch with his very pregnant wife. It was a compelling story of providence and heroics and the way a whole lot of emergency personnel worked together to save his life.
I don’t think much about the impact of what I write in my little blog as I write. Sometimes afterward I am shocked. The story of my nephew’s life touched many who have dealt with suicide and stunned me by the response. I believe the most important point in that is that love is not enough to prevent suicide. Kaelan was loved far and wide, and I know he knew it. That’s something our family has never doubted.
The response to the story about the EMS stunned me. One of the guys wrote me an incredible note that said they were sharing it a lot because they seldom receive thanks for what they do. That floored me. All of the times they impact lives and afterward they often don’t even get to hear the end of the story.
I’ve had strangers meet me and say “I read your blog” and then share something to prove it. I don’t have many that subscribe to my blog and most of those I know who read are other bloggers (who share their own thoughts and lives with me) and my Facebook friends, if I post a link. Sometimes, though, a friend will share what I have written and it travels to people with whom I have never had any contact. We never know where our words end up.
This is a historic time in our world and one which I believe we need to record. I wrote about that on Medium.com this morning and am attaching the link to read free here. The Medium community of writers have also changed me, encouraged me, and awed me. There are some beautiful writers there, many who happen to be terrific humans, too. They make the world seem smaller and yet stretch my brain with huge concepts.
No matter whether you write or not – your words are important. They can tear down or build up. We need to use them to do both at times. There are walls and prejudice and injustice that need to be brought down. There are people struggling, acts of kindness, and great triumphs that need to be held up and built up.
As many of us are living isolated, we need great communication. As I said in my Medium article we need to write our history. Beyond that, though, we need to take care of ourselves and each other.
I was proud today when a woman of courage I know spoke words to someone else that stated exactly how she was feeling about a situation that had been difficult for her. She did not sugarcoat, but was kind. She openly shared how she felt and was able to communicate some things in a way that did not pass over the hard stuff but also did not place blame. It reminded me that we need to use our words as doorways instead of walls.
A wise man once told me “You can’t expect others to know your needs if you don’t tell them what they are.”
So speak up, and speak out. Love your people well, and love yourself well, too. Connect in this time when a lot of people are isolated and lonely and when a lot of people are driving each other crazy as they are spending more time together than is their norm.
This is another time when I am talking to myself. Being someone who doesn’t mind isolation, I can get very insular. But I need to keep my eyes open to the world, even from my cave. I am certainly fallible – those who need me need to tell me if I forget to ask. Communication is a two-way street and sometimes we see different views. My view is often blocked.
My life has changed dramatically in these eight years. While on occasion I will go back and read something I have written that makes me cringe, I’m still glad I made an effort to record my thoughts. I recommend it.
If you can’t write or blog, speak into an MP3 player (free ones are available at the different app stores), paint a picture, tell your stories to those around you, take lots of photographs, make a conscious effort to listen to your people, and reflect on how you are leaving a mark in the world. Keep a trail of your history. You are here. Don’t let this time leave without leaving your mark.
Stay safe and smart and well.
“If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.” —Eleanor Roosevelt