Tell Them – Thanks for Pulling Me Through

As many of you know, my brother passed away this past August from a brief battle with cancer. I’ve said a few times on my blog how surprised I was that his passing hit me so hard. What I didn’t tell you is that for a few months, I believe I was quite depressed.

I’ve suffered postpartum depression before, but in the months following my brothers passing I experienced a range of emotions I had never felt so deeply in my life. I was in a fog, crying on a whim, blowing up at situations that normally wouldn’t bother me, isolating people around me, not responding to deadlines, ignoring important emails, letting bills pile up, not answering the phone and pretty much expecting my kids to fend for themselves on mornings before school. At one point I was alone in my car after an extremely tough day and the temptation to just drive and keep driving away from everything hit me so hard, I had to pull over and get a grip.

Outwardly, I tried to put on a happy face… talking myself into believing I was alright, that I could put on a front and people wouldn’t know anything was wrong. I hid behind a facade of contentment… or at least I thought I did.

So many of you sent me cards, emails, tweets, facebook messages, phone calls, etc during that time. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated each and every hand of kindness that was extended to me. There was one card though, sent to me exactly two months after my brother died, that woke me up and essentially pulled me through what was a very dark time in my life.

The card was from a reader named Dana. Among other things, Dana wrote:

“I am writing to you because in many of your recent posts I can hear the pain and grief that you are going through right now. I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that I am praying for you. Your blog really inspired me during a rough patch that I went through and I have always wanted to thank you for that.”

In addition, there was a quote:

Dana’s card, thoughtfully sent to me with words that truly hit home, is one of the things that helped me get through a dark time in my life. The timing of it arriving in my mailbox was such a gift… it was exactly what I needed to hear at the exact time I needed to hear it.

I sat down this weekend to finally write Dana back and to tell her how much her kindness, her words and her thoughts impacted my life. Because of her, I soon realized I wasn’t fooling anyone and was then able to come to terms with my thoughts and emotions head on instead of trying to suffer behind them.

I’m happy to say I’m fine now… there are times every day where my heart hurts and tears sting my eyes, but I can say that I am honestly able to see the light now instead of the darkness.

If there is someone on your mind…someone you have been thinking about and meaning to reach out to, I urge you to do so. Tell them what is on your mind through a card. You never know how life changing it can be.

I’m honored to be partnering with Hallmark in 2012 as part of their “Life Is a Special Occasion” campaign. As always, all opinions are my own.

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  1. says

    That’s really sweet and kind of her – I can only hope (as can we all) that when I’m in a bad way, there will be a “Dana” to come along with the right words at the right time.

    I know I don’t tell people often enough that they’re important to me, or that they’re just fantastic people in various regards. This is a reminder to start.

  2. says

    I always love your raw honesty and what a gift Dana and her note was for you.

    Again, just one more unexpected pleasure of blogging………strangers lifting strangers!!

    HUGS to you my sweet friend! xoxoxo

  3. says

    I’m so proud of you for speaking out about this. So many people don’t. I’m also happy you’re doing better. God bless your brother. Let him know if he ever wants some great sugar cookies he needs to visit my grandma, except, pick out the raisins. 😉

  4. says

    Phew. That’s tough to write a post like that. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been suffering. I always think of you as such a strong and inspiring woman who has it all. I guess you never realize what’s going on behind the scenes. I’m so glad to hear that you’re on the mend. It’s not easy to lose people we love. Thank God for supportive friends (and readers!) XO

  5. says

    Kristen, I’m so sorry to hear about your difficult time… the good news is, you have the support of the world to get you through it. Count on the people that mean most to you – – including each any everyone that you have met though blogging.

    You ARE an inspiration to us all, keep in mind each of your good times xox

  6. Whitney Schmale says

    The most wonderful card I got after my brother Ian passed away, was from David’s parents’ best friends. They had met Ian exactly one time, at our wedding. Darlene wrote an entire card of her memories of Ian that wonderfully fun night, how fun he was to watch dance, how he swept every single girl on to the dance floor, how much fun it was to watch him with his family. I saved that card. It meant and still means so much to me that someone who barely knew him saw all the things I loved in him in one evening.

  7. says

    I have yet to understand why it’s not okay to just admit when we’re really sad or overwhelmed. I think we have all felt overwhelmed and depressed at some point in out lives and yet we so often feel like we have to tough it out on our own. We are all so much stronger when we have each other.

  8. says

    Very well said, and so true. What a sweet card from Dana. I lost my brother 8 years ago in a car accident, and I’m so thankful for all those around me that lifted me up when I couldn’t lift myself up. Where would we be without the love of others? I will pray for you, as I remember how hard the first few years are!

  9. says

    I love your posts. I always leave feeling inspired. Thank you for always sharing. I know you’ve had a few bumps in the road, but you always come out on top. I look up to you-you are truly amazing. I am off to write a few thank you cards now.

  10. says

    The hardest part is wanting to pick up the phone to tell your brother something and realizing he is not here cos it always feels like they are just somewhere else or around the corner for so long after they are gone. I am a letter or card writer, they mean so much more than an sms or email. Thanks for what you do to inspire.

  11. GelliAnnh says

    I lvoe your post …But I am sorry to hear about your brother…Thanks for sharing your post to us here…Great job!

  12. Pat Wogan says

    Kristen, what wonderful friends you have! I am reading the responses to your post with tears in my eyes..what a wonderful community the blogging world is! I have gained strength just from reading these. I know you have, too.

  13. says

    You’re a strong woman, but sometimes we do need encouragement from others. I’ve been so encouraged at times and often forget to pass it on to others. Thanks for sharing, as always! xoxoxo

  14. Daria says

    It was pleasure to discover this blog. Maybe you’d like to place a banner on my blogroll? How can I contact you on private?


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