This isn’t my first rodeo with a tragic death. And yet the feelings, emotions, and the utter physical depletion, that comes in the aftermath of losing a loved one, is feeling eerily familiar.
One of my greatest missions in life is to inspire people to ask themselves the question “Where do you want to go!?” and then encourage them to be one billion percent AUTHENTIC to the answer their soul delivers. I want to motivate people to serve their soul’s answer to “Where do you want to go?” versus molding themselves into what they think the world wants them to be.
“Where do you want to go!?”, was the last question my mother asked me moments before my parents lives tragically ended in a car accident. And now in the wake of losing one of my very best friends, I am even more driven to ignite people to follow through on WHERE THEY want to go in life, NOT WHERE the rest of the world is forcing them to go.
Even as my crew of friends mourn our beloved Cameron Donnell, I am being showered with sentiments, condolences, and advice about “ways to mourn” that do not sit well with my soul. Their sentiments and “advice” for how to mourn once again points to a world pushing its ways and views INSTEAD of letting us each mourn in our own individualistic styles. I have found the most comfort when someone gives me a hug and merely looks me in the eye and says “No words, Jenn, no words.” Anything else feels trite and inadequate for the magnitude of losing Cameron.
And the concept that mourning should look a certain way, last a certain time, and then be wrapped up in neat-tidy bow is absolutely ABSURD to me! The enormity of Cameron’s death is going to be felt for the rest of my life. I will regain energy, strength and be able to get back to my regular routine, however there is never going to be a NORMAL again. What the hell is even normal in a time like this!? When a person that has had asteroid-sized impact in your life is gone, there is going to be a colossal-sized hole that used to take up their presence.
Life is messy, chaotic and incredibly uncertain. You can’t slap a ribbon on death and then demand that people snap back to normal. You can’t shove the mourning process into a box so that is neat, tidy and clean.
Everyone one will find their own way to mourn, to remember the one we lost, and then to move towards healing, in their OWN WAY. There is no one RIGHT way. However what feels incredibly WRONG, to me, is when people shove their idea on how others should mourn.
After my parents fatal car accident I went into performing mode. I whipped myself into a frantic frenzy answering every in-bound communication and request from friends who wanted to console me. I felt obligated and that it was my DUTY to be the yes girl, even when all I wanted was sleep and time to be quietly reflective. The irony of me saying yes to all those that wanted to console me, is that I ended up being the one to comfort everyone.
People did not know what to make of two young girls who had just witnessed first hand their parents bleed to death. I could sense their immense shock and pain, and I went out of my way to convince them that I was okay and that there was a reason for all this. I now look back at that time period and I call BS on my 21 year old self. I wasn’t okay and the reason their accident happened was because Firestone tires cared more about the bottom line than people’s safety! My 21 year old self would spew some sappy everything happens for a reason crap that sounded like it came from a Hallmark card. And as I said those things I could FEEL the energy being sucked out of my body and soul, from my lack of authenticity.
This round of tragic death, I do NOT want to act like I did 17 years ago. I want to take time for self care. I want to only pick up the phone when I feel like it. And I want to do be around those that can keep Cameron’s memory alive through shared stories and jokes. I want to sit on the couch and watch 4 episodes of Scandal and not feel guilty. I want to draw strength and peace from my own inner spirit and not fill up on fake sentiments. I was sitting with the mother of one of Cameron’s best friends last night and she had a lot of incredibly profound and powerfully comforting things to say.
We talked about how everyone sitting around his sister’s dining table were here because Cameron had stupendous impact upon us. We were the “chosen ones” to have known Cameron and to have to now walk this path without him. And that through the bond we all share we will go on to create greatness for the world. Cameron was just that kind of guy, his dynamic charisma attracted, intrigued and pulled in A-list soul players.
I am not saying my way of mourning is right and other people’s way is wrong. It all goes back to authenticity and that the only rules I encourage are SOUL RULES. Listening to the small-still-voice inside, and following that, instead of whatever someone else is trying to get you to swallow.
My whole life I have struggled with being authentic because I put what people think of me ahead of my own truth. My worth has been tied up in whether people approve of me or not, and thus I perform to keep them happy.
Cameron is going to help me break free of that. He is going to help me finally cement authenticity into my life. He is going to give me the gift of choosing self care over acting like it is all okay when I am breaking on the inside. He is going to help me master the tattoo I have on my arm “itadakimasu: to humbly receive”. I got that tattoo because I love the Japanese concept of humbly receiving all that comes into our life and not hustling for our worth. I am going to be extremely appreciative of all the love that is bounding my way AND I am not going to feel obligated to instantly respond. I am just going to receive this all — the pain, the heartache, the love.
I am going to let go of the tit-for-tat mode of behavior I have been operating inside of, instantly giving back because I do not feel worthy of receiving in the first place. I am going to mourn exactly as my soul feels called to do and I am going to take all the time I need.
Cameron you were and are one of my greatest teachers. I love, adore and will forever remember our conversations, our fits of hysterical laughter and how much space you held for me. Right now there is way too much space in your passing. Come visit me through our all our incredible memories – I so drastically want just one more conversation with you.
Forever and always in my soul,
Your MFCEO 🙂