Healing After Loss: Birthdays, Vulnerability and Blessed Connections

This past weekend I had the good fortune to attend the 50th birthday party of a dear friend. She is a rare gem, one of those unique humans who naturally finds the good in people and nurtures friendships with attentive love and care. I had fallen out of orbit the last few years, so it was incredibly healing to reel myself back in and be swathed in a blanket of laughter, friends and good memories.

I attended college and pledged a sorority with these gals, spent four years going through the ups and downs of shifting from a high school graduate to an almost grown up. We followed similar paths, marrying the same year and birthing children who are now similar ages, give or take a few years.

Although growing older has its downsides, with regard to friendship, the effect is akin to the sifting pans that the miners used in the gold rush days. In our youth, we scoop up as many people as possible, rarely cognizant of their value in our lives, even clinging to people who don’t bring out the best in us. Over time, as life and age shake us up, the ones worth their weight remain ever present, like shimmering gold in the pan.

I cherish all my friends, but these older friendships steeped in longevity provide a reflective glance into the past and offer a reminder of how far I have come. Long past shallow comparisons and keeping up, we are now into the beautiful stretches of acceptance, belonging and compassion for the blows life has dealt us. At 50, we each have our share of scrapes and bruises.

I hadn’t actually had conversations with some of them regarding the upheaval in my life, and one commented, “Well, when we got the x-mas card with just you and the kids in the picture, we figured something happened and assumed divorce.”

As she says this, memories flood my mind of that first Christmas as a radically altered family.

It was a painful time, yet even amidst the chaos, there was a tremendous desire to send out the card. This had always been a cherished holiday ritual: taking the photo, choosing or making the card, addressing the endless envelopes. I felt compelled to get that card in the mail, and I did. Perhaps it was my way of saying, “I am here and I am still standing.”

What it didn’t say was why the photo was only of me and the kids. That was a space I left blank, and open for speculation, now that I look back on it. People assumed divorce, but this was unintentional on my part. I didn’t want to make the holiday card the harbinger of bad news.

This part of suicide is difficult because it isn’t a Hallmark moment like many of life’s passages. Although I talk about it quite openly now, it was a subject that brought me to my knees in the beginning. Coupled with the betrayal, I felt humiliated and made the choice to let the news find its own way organically out into the cosmos.

After that x-mas card, I became quite a recluse, placing myself into a kind of self-imposed exile. I wouldn’t say it was deliberate, but it was very necessary for my soul to heal and find a sense of wholeness again.

The universe always seems to be sending messages and when I received the invitation for this party, it was the first time in a long while that I felt a positive response, a true yes, in my heart. I interpreted it as a nudge that it was time to relinquish my solitude. Seeing these friends was a lovely reminder about the importance of connection and leaning into the raw vulnerable spots.

It is so easy to become isolated in the face of devastation, but there isn’t a human among us who hasn’t been touched by the pain of loss. Like the oceans and rivers that span the globe, it connects us in much deeper ways than we can imagine.

Does your loss have you living in self-imposed isolation or have you allowed it to lead you to deeper connections?

May you be connected, vulnerable and truly loved.


Who is Dianna Bonny?

Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.

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