All of this had to happen to me for a reason. I lost Bryan and became a single parent at age 24 for a reason. I had to go through this terrible grieving process and emotional pain for a reason. I started blogging and expressing my emotions for the world to read for a reason. Everything has happened to me FOR A REASON...
I want to know what that reason is! I want to know why?
I have spent a year and nearly four months racking my brain trying to figure out WHY ME?
and WHAT NOW?
I know that I do not want to sit behind a desk and do meaningless work for the rest of my life. I know that I do not want to fade into oblivion and sit silent while the world passes me by. I know that I want to make Owen and Bryan proud of me. I know that I want to turn this terrible situation into something positive. I know that I want to give back.
Now is the time for me to follow my gut and do what I think is right for me... for my son. Now is the time to not be scared... to not question... to just do!
When I lost Bryan, I did not have anyone to turn to or anywhere to escape... I felt lost and alone. Sure, I had a great family and group of friends... but none of them had lost a spouse/life partner at age 24. Everyone was grieving the loss of Bryan, but I was grieving him in a different way. Not only was I grieving the loss of his life, but I was grieving the loss of mine. My plans... my future... everything was gone.
When I read "widow" books I felt even more alone. Instead of a story that I could relate too, I felt like my grieving was being put on a time line. I felt like I was being told what to do and what to expect when I just wanted to know that someone my age had been through a similar situation. I wanted to know that I was not alone... that I would be okay. But everywhere I looked I could not find a story that I could relate to... I could not find that "escape" or the comfort that I was looking for.
I originally started my blog in 2009 for Owen. I wanted him to be able to read about this time while all of the emotions were still raw and heart wrenching. I wanted him to be able to see these pieces of Bryan and feel my emotions before they started to fade away. But, since then, my blog has turned into something much more than just a virtual diary for Owen to read when he is an adult. It has turned into my outlet and my escape. It has become my therapy... my release.
Through my blog, I have realized that I want to help people. I want to reach out to people, that like me, have lost a spouse at a young age. I want them to be able to read my words and feel like they have someone out there that can understand where they are coming from. I want them to know that they are not alone. That they will make it through...
I am not quite sure how I am going to do it... but I have decided that I would like to write a book. I want to use pieces from my blog and personal stories from my life to make something that will help and inspire people. I feel like my one gift in life is my gift with words... and maybe just maybe my words can be there for someone when they feel like no words can explain how they feel or what they are going through.
Not only have I decided to take on the daunting task of writing a book... but I have also decided to try to go back to school. Before Bryan's death I was never a believer in therapy and I never would have considered going to see one. But through my grief therapy I have become a stronger Ashley. I have found my voice. Although I am not sure how it will all work out... seeing as I am a Journalism and English major... I would like to pay it forward and look into becoming a grief therapist. I want to help people. I want to inspire people. I want to be there for people when they have lost everything. Help them feel comfort when they feel all alone and lost.
I might be way off... maybe I am shooting for the stars. But, I know that I have to follow my heart. I have to believe that maybe all of this pain and all of this grieving has happened for a reason... to lead me towards grief therapy and writing a book. I know that Bryan would want me to follow my gut and be the best possible version of "me".
While talking to one of Bryan's good friends the other night he said something to me that I will never forget. I told Matt that I just wanted to find my purpose in life and do something to keep Bryan's name and spirit alive... and Matt said that "a sacrifice of that magnitude is beyond anything I could do. I hope that when I move to the next life, Bryan and I will see that we made an impact and changed peoples lives." That is all I want and I feel like through my words... I might just be able to accomplish that.