"People have said 'don't cry' to other people for years and years and all it has ever meant is, 'I'm too uncomfortable when you show your feelings.' I'd rather have them say 'Go ahead and cry. I'm here to be with you.'" - Fred Rodgers
Grief is a common connection all humans will share at some point in their life, but at the same time it is so hard for others to know what to do when someone they care about is grieving. It’s equally as hard for someone grieving to take care of themselves through their process.
My story is not just about grief but also of another unfortunate situation we are faced with compounded by loss. I recently experienced the loss of my younger brother. He unexpectedly left me at 29 years old. It stopped my world. My brother died of a drug overdose. Even typing it still feels unreal. I am part of this insane statistic that in the state of PA overdoes have increased by 23% from 2014 to 2015. We are going to surpass that before the end of 2016.
We have an obligation to acknowledge without fear or judgment of this epidemic. Wherever you look, you may find someone left behind by addiction. And drugs affect those, like me, though we are not the addictsWe are left behind in a path of destruction. We are those that love the addicts. We see the comments on Facebook that profess, "drug addicts need to just quit" or that "they deserve it." We feel the judgment.
I started sharing my experience on a small scale and the connection to others’ experience was scary and eye opening. I hope that my involvement at the Fearless Warrior Conference and sharing “Going Through the Motions: Why I Quit Yoga,” will help individuals gain knowledge about helping others affected by this epidemic through kindness, love, and community. I will always grieve my brother and I hope to be a voice for others because telling my story is my fearless.
Melissa is a Vice President with Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania, a yoga teacher and owner of Fun and Fearless Yoga, and a presenter at the 2016 Fearless Warrior Yoga Conference. Catch her during Session B.