Looking back, I believe I lived through those challenges in order to get through the biggest, most difficult and most painful of them all –my son Logan taking his life at the tender age of 19.

After I received the news about Logan, I had so many conflicting emotions, thoughts and actions flow through me, that it’s difficult to even explain, much less understand. When you lose someone who you’re so deeply connected to like I did, it becomes the most devastating, heartbreaking experience to live through. And it took everything I had, deep within me, to just go on.

In the months after his death, I questioned my own existence. “What did I have left to live for?” I often wondered. I was also left in a daze and with such a feeling of heaviness inside my chest and throughout my body, that I wondered how I could possibly carry it around –day in and day out.

At first I couldn’t sleep, but then I slept too much. I couldn’t eat, but then I ate too much. I couldn’t think, but then I would think too much. At times I cared, but then other times I couldn’t.

And I was so wracked with strong, negative emotions like guilt, blame and shame. Not to mention, I couldn’t escape the nagging, and unanswerable question…“Why did this happen?”

It didn’t seem to make sense in my mind. When you experience a traumatic event like the loss of a child or spouse, you begin to question everything and what used to make sense about life, suddenly doesn’t.

I questioned everything from what my existence was about, to why I had to experience all this pain, to was there some message in this that I was supposed to receive.

I searched, and searched for answers, for something that would make sense.

Until one day I realized that if this tragic event happened to me then I’m supposed to get something positive from it.

But how?

It was then that I realized that we all have a choice in life. We can live our lives cloaked with darkness, or we can use the challenges we’re faced with to help us heal and live. Like truly live!

Losing someone is tremendously painful, but working through that pain can bring peace and love into your life. If in fact you work through that pain, you can and will experience something so graceful that words do it no justice.

It reminds you that life is full of challenges and with them many rewards. The loss of my son taught me that I needed to love my life today — every minute of every day. If we make choices that come from within and not worry about other people’s opinion, then we will live our lives to their fullest. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get to that place, but I knew wanted to.

Yes, the moment I heard that my son took his life was the moment that my life changed forever. Sure, it could have driven me to despair and sadness, but I didn’t let it. Instead Logan’s death became the catalyst that led me to get PTSD treatment, spiritual healing, intuitive messaging, and professional counseling.

It was because of my dear boy that I sought the help that was – and remains today – crucial to my healing, both from the events in my early life, and from the death of my son.

And it’s because of all of this that I can now act as an inspiration to others who have experienced a traumatic event.

By talking about my own experiences, I want to help others learn how to talk about suicide, to change the national discussion around mental health illness, and to encourage others to seek help and treatment for trauma.

And it’s my mission to help people learn to believe that in the end, there is more to their lives than remaining trapped in their grief.

So, if you’re in a place of despair and you don’t think you can make it another day, know that you can!

Know that you can get through anything that is presented to you if you really want to work on it.

You can succeed and success is whatever you think it is. It doesn’t have to be making millions or having a mansion on the hill. It can be as simple as succeeding in accomplishing whatever you put your mind to that day. Your success isn’t measured by other people; your success is measured by what feels right to you.

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