Lessons From the Grave

The title of this article is intended to get your attention. I pray it did so. I would have preferred to title it Wisdom That Makes Life Easier and Business Better- It’s Found In All Places and Can Be Applied in The Same. Obviously that would have been too long and the odds are high you wouldn’t have taken the time to read it. My points in these few weeks articles will be those which I am convinced are not only key to the success I’ve known in my life, but also will be 100% key to you moving the next level in your life.

Whether that goal is a healthier, happier, more fulfilled personal life or it’s a more productive, profitable business— these points will absolutely bring that about. The question is, “Will you let them soak in and actually apply them?” You see, in order to be happy, you must be able to lead you, in a happy and healthy way. In order to succeed in business you must be

Photo Credit, Kevin Walsh.

Photo Credit, Kevin Walsh.

able to lead others, also in a happy and healthy way. One of the key questions to ask your self then is, “Am I happy?” No wait— let’s do that again for those of you who simply skim these articles. It said, “AM I HAPPY?” I am convinced more than ever that that question is super mount to your success. One more time, “AM I A TRULY HAPPY AND THEREFORE HOPEFILLED PERSON?” If the answer comes back as a no… and if you’re honest it will for some of you… this article will help, for it holds some of the keys to happiness. If your answer was a yes, this article is the kind of the thing you read and draw from all the time. For truly happy, peace-filled people have realized that feeding happiness is crucial- it requires nurturing.

On to why I titled this article the way that I did. I have my husband’s permission to share with you the darkness he and I have spent over 15 days dealing with. He believes in the ability and even the obligation God’s given me to find lessons in and teach from my life experience and wants to show those around us how light can come out of darkness. Together he and I have decided to share with you how light has already begun to come out of this darkness. You see on Sat. night, April 22nd, my husband’s brother Tommy lost his life.

We were in Florida for a few days, on the beach actually. We had just returned from about an hour walk along the water, sat down with a sandwich and John’s cell phone rang. By the look on his face when he said the word, “WHAT?” one knew the caller was saying something like, “I have awful news.” Hs next words were, “Oh my God!!!” He hung up and I immediately began saying, “What, what is it, what happened?” The words he would reply with still leave me shocked. “My brother committed suicide.”

We ran to his side. I began saying, “Let’s go, we’ll just go. We’ll go to California right now. We’ll leave from here.” That’s where his brother and most of John’s family are from. He wanted to compose himself, get his bearings, make phone calls and more than anything wanted to get back to Ohio and then leave for the west coast. I thought that was crazy, but also knew I was going to support my husband’s decision in this tragedy. I knew I was to be his back-up person, the pillar he could lean on, his support. That’s Life Wisdom Lesson No. 1 in all of this, and one that will make your life easier and business better.

1. WHEN SOMEONE YOU CARE ABOUT NEEDS YOU- BE THERE FOR THEM. This might mean simply asking, “What’s wrong?” It might mean holding a hand or giving a long, soul-embracing hug. It could also mean listening, just listening to what they need as they go through their difficult time. Even in this horrific event what my husband really needed was what he needed as he and I went through 4 cancers together and what I needed as I went through the pain of losing someone I loved very much. He needed me to listen, to respond with gentleness and love and wisdom. He needed me to not react. He needed me to show him I would be there for him so he wouldn’t have to go through it alone. This points out the next key life wisdom lesson.

2. WHEN SOMEONE IS SUPPORTING YOU- LET THEM. John is a pretty rationale guy. He’s quite composed, even in a catastrophe he’s going through. I, on the other hand, tend to get angry if I’m really scared or hurting a lot, when dealing with my personal catastrophe. I support others pretty well, but I don’t always take it very well. Not the best quality, perhaps even a flaw, but mine none-the-less. Hence, I don’t always accept help graciously. This is a sign of pride and is NOT wisdom! For life to be easier and business to be better we need to get over ourselves and remember when someone offers us help to realize they’re actually giving us a piece of themselves. John does this. It takes a lot for some folks to say, “I was wrong,” or “I’m here for you,” or “I care about you.” When that’s done for you, accept it and let that support help you become the person you were created to become in whatever you’re dealing with.

3. LIFE AND DEATH LIE IN THE POWER OF THE TOUNGE. Needless to say every single person affected by this death was dealing with it in their own way. Some were angry, some shocked, some heartbroken, others confused or resentful, some just sad. Some experienced a continual roller coaster of all these emotions. In the rush of these emotions some things were said that will never be able to be taken back. These words literally changed the course of the way this death could have been handled. When John and I arrived in California we knew we would be headed into hostile territory. See, Tommy was going through a very bitter and complicated divorce. What we encountered when we arrived was 100 times worse than what we’d planned for. We thought we were to get off the plane and go to the funeral home to plan a service. We were told when we landed that Tom’s wife had decided we would not be included in anything. We were told that had been taken away. We knew we were there to bring the family together- a family in war over the painful knowledge that the divorce perhaps was the cause of the suicide. We were told there would now be no family event, no service where everyone could attend, nothing. See, words had been spoken in haste toward Tom’s wife that reflected anger, bitterness and control. Those words then brought about fear and surmount reluctance in her. Her response was exclusion of everyone. As if Tommy’s death had not been enough, these words had now created death on the possibility of his family coming together to lay him to rest. However, not just death, but life also can be found in words. It’s simply crucial to realize this each time we open our mouths. By the grace of God I was able to bear my heart and Lisa (Tom’s wife) saw fit to include us.

4. HEARTFELT TRANSPARENCY IS THE KEY TO REAL RELATIONSHIPS. We decided to go to the funeral home at the designated time anyway. We would just show up. I’ve told a few friends, “I just barged in. Imagine that, Donna Krech just barging in!” If you know me at all you can hear the sarcasm there. Yes, John and I did barge into the funeral planning room, and the look on Lisa’s face was one of pure terror. However, the sarcastic way I’ve presented this hasn’t included the entirely of what took place. As we drove in silence to the funeral home I prayed. I had no idea how I’d handle myself once we got there. As I walked into the room and met eyes with Lisa I began to weep. I dropped to my knees beside her chair and revealed every piece of myself I could reveal. On my knees beside her chair I begged her, “Lisa please allow my husband to bury his brother.” As I talked more I sobbed more. I kept talking and am not completely sure of all I said, but one thing I do know was this. “We just need to be included in this, please, please let us be included. Is this ok Lisa?” My body was literally shaking as I knelt there. I then hugged her tightly for a very long time. She permitted us to be included. I sat and held her hand through part of the meeting, resting my hand on John’s leg as well. My husband on one side of me, her on the other side. It felt surreal, the whole thing. Everyone was blaming her for Tommy’s death and we were sitting there comforting her. Tom’s only brother was comforting the woman some said was responsible for his death. We were told she had been cold as stone up to this point. When I hugged her she cried. And even though his own pain caused him to need to leave the room a few times, as we left the meeting John held her tightly. And she finally sobbed deep groans of sobbing there on his shoulder. She needed to see he didn’t feel hatred toward her. Even when— especially when— you want to think of yourself, think of the other person. Think of their pain and let them see the real you doing so, let them know what you’re going through, and things will come together.

Thank you for allowing me to share my heart in this VERY LONG article. Typing it has been difficult. I hesitate even now to publish it. Over the next 3 weeks I plan to share with you more life wisdom lessons that have come from this tragedy. From John and I, know that you are appreciated. You’ve chosen to be a part of our company, and that will never be taken for granted. God bless you…. abundantly, now and always.

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