My Personal Journey
“In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself in a dark wood where the straight way was lost.”
― Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
If you had asked me 4 years ago to tell you about my personal journey, it would have been quite a different telling...but, as this quote shows, sometimes, there comes an occurence in each person's life that dramatically changes her path...leaving her slightly lost and in a place where she has to look at where she has been, where does she want to go, and how to get out of the current dark woods she stands in.
As with all major life-changing events, I now tend to view my life as "before" and "after". My entrance into that dark wood was when my only and older sister, Sheryl, was murdered by her ex-husband. It is very hard to explain my connection to my sister, the degree of love and emotional investment...but, my sister, my love, was my soul, she was the me of me, and my life's witness, my true confidante. The loss was devastating. God is good though, he protected her child that day and delivered her safely into my husband's and my arms, and he put the cloak of shock around me to protect me through the initial loss.
Shock, I have come to find, is a beautiful survival technique that God has built into each one of us that provides us with the ability to be in a robot-mode and continue on with the diurnal reality until such time when we can begin to truly emotionally deal with what event triggered it. It was during that time of re-emergence, that I had to assess where I was, and it was indeed a dark wood. I felt a failure for not being able to protect my sister, no longer understood how to relate to my surviving family without the gentle filter that was my sister, guilt that my sadness had cast a cloak of pain on my marriage and that my husband had to deal with what was left of me.
During that time, I used Facebook as a cathartic tool, venting my sadness and frustration through posts and music...and it was during that time that a beautiful woman reached out to me and invited me to join a group of men and women that were survivors of domestic abuse. That woman was Ruth Bech, and the group was World Wide Women. I had been in denial that I, too, had been a victime of domestic abuse via loving my sister, but joining this group, sharing my pain and experience with women who truly understood, helped me in ways that I could not really express. The slow journey out of the dark wood began...step by step...the steps leading me back to my feminist roots from my college days....and realizing that I want my sister's child to be strong, Strong, STRONG! Much stronger than either her mother or her aunt, me.
And I am pleased to say that not only have I grown, but so has World Wide Women, growing from a support page, to a web page aimed at helping women around the world. And now, this journey has begun, with an assignment to be better administrators, to join World Pulse, sharpen our writing skills, put written words to our voices to strengthen the message that women matter, we count, our stories, our voices...each one's own journey, each one's experience and survival through her own dark wood.
Blessings sisters and brothers.