Loneliness is a dangerous thing. For years I was surrounded by people but felt so lonely that at times I thought my head would explode as I was processing emotions and information by myself.
Since Shea came out 5 years ago, my husband and I kept it very private…actually secret. He and I barely even discussed it with each other, though Gary was very supportive of Shea from the beginning. I have a lot of super close friends, both from work (I work for a large church) and also from my youngest child’s social network (sports, Girl Scouts, school, etc). My girlfriends from work were with me through the ugliness of the beginning but then it seemed like they didn’t know what to say so we didn’t talk much about it after the initial shock.
Even though I had those girls, the years of silence on the subject made me feel extremely lonely. I think there was fear of talking about it. All of us were at different places in our beliefs on the subject so it wasn’t exactly light, lunchtime conversation. Even through the loneliness, I was never upset with them for the silence. I loved them for still loving me and my family.
But these past couple months, I feel like I’ve been brought back to life. Through some wonderful connections with Linda Robertson and her Just Because They Breath group I have become part of a virtual community of other moms who Get It! Some are where I was 5 years ago, some are in a similar place I currently am, and some are way ahead of me. They are loving advocates for their children…our children. I have yet to meet any of these ladies in person, but we encourage one another, pray for each other, and turn to one another in times of need and celebration. We are community!
Since becoming a part of this amazing group, I have found strength and encouragement in finding my voice. I have started this blog, I have met with our pastors, and I am reaching out to help others. But one of the most exciting things is being able to talk openly with my friends, not just the “work girls” but others close to us including some of the volunteers who serve in ministry with me. The openness and vulnerability has enabled us to process together. I have found that once they hear our story, people are more open to conversations, researching scriptures for themselves, and some are reading books and blogs I have recommended. They have encouraged me to be more open and it feels so incredible. I am blessed to have the friends I have both physically close to me and those I know virtually through some private FB groups. They are walking along side me through the tears, sadness, happiness, and celebrating progress within the church and culture. This journey is like none other and we are not designed to go through life alone.