“The Choice”

I have read so many books, both fiction and non-fiction, on the Holocaust. There is something so captivating and horrific about this time in world history. About a month ago, I was listening to a Brene’ Brown podcast. Her guest was Dr. Edith Eva Eger, an author, therapist, and Holocaust survivor. She just released her new book “The Gift” and was sharing a little bit about her personal story and the reason for writing her second book.

Her story is so raw and unfathomable, so traumatic, yet it is a story that all humanity needs to hear.

After listening to the podcast I found her website and started reading more and more about her. I decided to order her first book, “The Choice.” At this point I have about 40 pages left, yet I keep rereading the last three chapters because I am discovering something and it is in these pages.

My last blog piece was me releasing the angriest parts, the most vulnerable parts of who I am right now. And today I am still angry; however, I’ve realized who I’m most angry at… it’s me.

Since the day Nikolai died I have been consumed by guilt. And I am realizing now that even my work with On a Dragonfly’s Wings has been out of guilt. The blog was to capture my grief journey; however, the social media platform’s sole purpose was to educate about mental health and suicide, to prevent more deaths, to give aid to those who are struggling, to let people know they are not alone. I have lived and breathed these last many months telling myself that I couldn’t save my child, but I can save someone else’s by all this work. I was not enough for my child but I will be enough for someone else’s. I am consumed by guilt in not knowing more, not doing more, not being enough of a mom for my son to help him. I have allowed these thoughts to devour me whole.

But what if I didn’t? What if I CHOOSE freedom? What if instead of beating myself up, I choose to accept that I am human and imperfect? What if I CHOOSE to forgive myself and all my flaws?

Dr. Eger writes, “It was the inner work. Of learning to survive and thrive, of learning to forgive myself, of helping others to do the same. And when I do this work, then I am no longer the hostage or the prisoner of anything. I am free.”

This has profoundly changed me.  I have put myself in a mental prison and until I can fully accept forgiveness, I will never be free. I have much work to do here; however, it feels good to be onto something, LOL.

Perhaps by forgiving myself, setting myself free, I can find meaning and purpose from what hurts my heart most. I can’t change the past yet I can move forward with patience, love and compassion toward myself and others. I will be able to CHOOSE my work as a mental health advocate, rather than it be my redemption.