How Nice to Still be Able to See You
 

The night I found out my sister and her husband took their lives, my daughter was four months old. My dad called my husband just as I had finished a night feed for her and I heard him say, "They took their lives.” I remember not wanting to cry because I would wake Sloan. I remember talking so quietly on the phone to my parents and brother thinking, "I have to go to my parents house, but I can't leave the baby.” Eventually my husband convinced me to go down to the living room so I wouldn't worry about waking her. She did wake again a few hours later, as babies do,  and I remember sitting in her room in the dark, holding her as she fell back asleep, paralyzed with grief thinking, “I can’t move. I can’t get out of this chair. How will I get her back into her crib? I literally can’t move." All I could do was tell myself I HAD to. I had to get up, I had to move, I had to carry her to her crib, put her down gently and hold it together.

In the coming days I didn't know how I would manage. How could I take care of this little one who depended on me so much when I was completely broken inside? My husband did everything he could to help, but he couldn't do it all. I found myself scared for bed time because it was dark, quiet and my mind would race thinking about everything. Eventually, I began to get confused about what was grief and what was hormones. Postpartum hormones are no joke, so I found myself questioning the genuineness of my thoughts and feelings. I would get lost in grief and then have to quickly pull myself out of it because I was needed. I would watch my husband with our daughter and my heart would break as I would picture my parents doing all the same things with my sister as a newborn. Having my little one was such a blessing, but made me grieve so deeply for my parents. I just couldn't imagine the heartbreak. I would look at her and my heart would swell and crumble all at once.

Everyone kept telling me what a blessing having a baby around for such a difficult time was, but all I could think was, "You aren't the ones up all night or not allowing yourself to feel what needs to be felt.” Part of me would think she was our angel sent to help us through it all, but then I would think how unfair it was to put that on her tiny shoulders. I would worry she was being robbed of a mom in her first year because I was so consumed by grief. I would panic that I was doing some type of damage to her that neither her or I could see.

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We just celebrated her first birthday and I can truly say she is the most amazing little girl. She is strong, happy, playful, and resilient. She loves her family and I know she feels loved. She has had more months of life with a family in the throes of grief than not, but she is still thriving. There are still times when I will be playing with her, or especially putting her to bed, where thoughts of my sister will stop me in my tracks. Where I feel paralyzed again, but she will give me a smile, or rest her hand on my chest, as if to tell me, "It's okay Momma, I'm here.” I take some deep breaths and we continue on, still taking our days minute by minute and second by second.

My sister is never far from my mind, and I make sure to tell Sloan about her whenever I can. I want her to grow up knowing it is okay if you are not always okay, but you are ALWAYS loved. I want her to know that even in the darkest places, she is never alone. I want her to know that even though her aunty and uncle are not here with us physically anymore, they are always with us in our hearts, and I hope she will carry them in hers as well. Sometimes when I look at my daughter I see my sister, and that can be hard, but then I think, "How nice to still be able to see you.”

-Megan Dereski

 
Callie KennedyComment
Trust the Timing of Your Life
 
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Trust the timing of your life.
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As I enter my 28th year of life, it’s all too easy to play the comparison game to those around me. Well let me tell you friends, comparison kills.
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Some people get married at 19, others in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties... you get the point. Some don’t get married at all. There is no magic number and we are all following our own life path.
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Some people figure out their life’s ambition fresh out of high school and for others it takes a lifetime. That’s okay.
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Some people have kids, others don’t.
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Some people travel the world, others have never left their home country.
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Some people own a house, others rent, and some still live in their parents basement. And it’s all okay.
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We are all exactly where we need to be at this very moment. We don’t need to share an identical timeline to our friends, family members or the people we follow on social media.
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So trust the timing of your life and that you are exactly where you need to be. You aren’t ahead of anyone, you aren’t behind, you are just right on time.

Love and light,

Callie

 
Callie KennedyComment
A New Year
 

As 2018 draws to a close and I look back on the year I experienced, I am grateful. It wasn’t one of my easiest years - I felt as though the universe was constantly testing me, throwing new challenges my way and seeing how I would react.

My intention for 2018 was growth, and grow I did. I saw the greatest growth this year in learning how to use my voice to speak my truth. It allowed me to set necessary boundaries, find balance in my job, and run a non-profit with my sisters on top of everything else. This is something I will carry into 2019 and hopefully continue to grow in.

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I have learned in 2018 that most importantly, for myself to live a fulfilling and happy life, I need to center my world around my passions. I wish I could go back to the warm August day and change the path of my life, but I know that I can’t. What I do know, is that I can put all my efforts into preventing other people from having similar wishes. My passion has always been to help people, to talk openly, to communicate, to exchange energy - and I’m grateful that I have finally found something that will fulfill me, while also preventing others from experiencing what I have in losing Brianne.

My word of intention for 2019 is 𝙥𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣. Find your passion, find your fire, and make it the center of your world. It will change you, but more importantly, it will change the world.

Love and light, 

Callie

 
Callie KennedyComment
The Power of Counselling
 

After Brianne passed away, I saw a counsellor very frequently and was able to discuss the traumatic event of losing Brianne as well as work through my grief. Each time I would see my counsellor I was able to openly share my experiences and emotions. I was able to cry, laugh or sometimes even just sleep. I am so grateful that I had a safe space to help me deal with the trauma I experienced. Growing up, I also watched Brianne go to counselling and this became a large part of why I chose to go to counselling, knowing that my older sister had. To have someone listen and to genuinely care after losing Brianne meant everything to me.

You might read the words “genuinely care” and be skeptical of how a complete stranger could care about you and what occurs in your life. I want you to know that our counsellors do care. It does not matter if you just stepped into their office and you are meeting them for the first time or if you have been seeing them for years. Our counsellors have huge hearts and they care deeply about our well-being. They want to see you overcome. They want to see you be vulnerable and walk through whatever it is you are going through. Maybe you won’t be standing tall, maybe you’ll fall, but at the end of it all you will have a counsellor who cares and who will help you get back up on your feet.

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Often in our times of need, it is that first step of reaching out that can be so very difficult. I want you to ask yourself what is holding you back from reaching out? Throughout the years, I have heard many people share their resistance to seeing a counsellor or talking with someone about what they are going through. I understand that everyone has a different way of coping, but before saying no, think about giving it a chance. When I have  spoke with a counsellor, I walk out of their office refreshed, ready to take on another day and with more understanding. When we are in crisis or dealing with a difficult time in our lives it can be very beneficial to have someone there to listen. They can help you understand why you might be feeling a certain way or how things connect in your life. Sometimes you just need to let things out, to say those words that have been swirling in your head for months, weeks or days. If you have been questioning whether or not you should reach out, then please do.

Being 28 now, moments of grief and the trauma I went through still resurfaces so I can’t imagine how this would be if I hadn’t reached out for help from a counsellor.

Thank you to all our counsellors who do such important work! You are making a difference in many lives including my own.

Xo

Jaclyn Kennedy

 
Callie KennedyComment