5 things to help you find hope after tragedy

How do you get the worst news of your life and move forward? How do you weather a tragedy that alters your life so much you can’t see how you can survive? How do you find the strength to enjoy life after that? Will you ever laugh again?

At first, you are in shock, moving through a fog. It’s hard to put anything in order and you feel lost and in disbelief. But once you come out of the fog, you need to find your way and you have to fight for it. Because we only have one life and I want you to make it worth living.

I’ve listed just a few of the ways I’ve used to help me forge this path for myself after my son’s suicide.  Adapt these to your tragedy to help yourself.

1. Have faith you will find a way

You can get through this. Really. No matter how bad it is. Battles leave scars. And that’s OK because that’s how we grow. The truth your life will be different and it’s changed forever.

You have to decide that you are going to get through it and just know you will. The ‘how’ part comes later. I just want you to know you can. It’s sort of a “fake it till you make it strategy” and your attitude has everything to do with it. Bitterness is no way to go through life.

2. Find a support system

You cannot weather a crisis without a support system.

Some tragedies send friends running from you instead of to you. And sometimes family turns against you. Whatever your circumstances, find support somewhere. A group, a psychologist, a church, a meetup in your city. Make the effort to find what that is.

3. Appreciate your new wisdom

With every tragedy, you are privileged to have a new kind of wisdom that comes with having been through hell and back.

You see things entirely differently and sometimes it will surprise you that others can’t see what you see now. This is your gift for having weathered the most devastating event of your life. It may not be what you asked for or your preference but it’s what you have now and it’s very special. Use it to make the world a better place.

4. Plan things

Make plans to do things. Whether that’s a trip to Italy or a hike on a new trail in the woods. I make sure my calendar is not completely empty but I try not to make it so crazy busy I don’t have time to write or grieve. I want that time. But I don’t want that time day after day after day. I want distractions some days, to connect with other human beings. Don’t sit around and wait for someone to ask you. Be proactive.

5. Don’t let it defeat you

There are times you feel you can’t even get out of bed or have no reason to. But you do anyway. The key is not to let it defeat you. After a bad day, come back stronger and fight the urge to give up.

There are times you’ll feel defeated and just tell yourself you are not going to let it. Look for your purpose and be patient. Trust that it will come to you. Remember you have that wisdom to see solutions that others cannot see because of what you’ve been through. That is very valuable and you can be that change agent. When you are ready.

There will be days of despair. And there will be days you feel like you can do anything and nothing can stop you. You’ll find passion you never knew you had. Capitalize on that passion. Weather the hard days. But never, ever let it defeat you. Let it be a catalyst for a new purpose.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked mental health speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational mental health keynotes, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, anxiety, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

7 thoughts on “5 things to help you find hope after tragedy”

  1. Thank you Anne for continuing to push forward this URGENT message. As a mother that is grieving the loss of my first born son to suicide -it really upsets me that even the recovery experts are not discussing this. My son committed to recovery over and over and NOT ONE ever SHARED WITH ME addiction increases chances in suicide-but the experts took my money-donations, and still ask for donations.. I was focused on my sons recovery, suicide was NEVER on my radar. -WHY are we not discussing this, The message HAS TO BE SHARED! Thank you for your boldness and determination! From one mother to another. Hugs

    1. Yes it does. It made me so angry that no one was linking addiction and suicide and the fact that our children were SIX times more likely to die by suicide because of the dual diagnosis. I never had one therapist or psychiatrist even mention suicide. Thank you for commenting, Tracie.

  2. Hi
    I have been given annemoss site by a dear friend of my sons. I just lost my first born son to a heroin/ fentanyl laced injection. He has fought this his entire life but really had for 3 years been doing great. He slipped at work and broke his arm. He weakened and called for relief not knowing what he had been given. He died within 60 seconds. We have never left his side. Why now after all these years. I am so devastated and I do not know how to survive this.

    1. Oh Tonya I am so sorry. Those early grief days were so so hard. At first please just tell yourself you can make it through the next hour. Then tell yourself as bad as it is right now it will never be as bad as hearing the news. I just kept telling myself I would survive.

      The MOST important thing is for you to tell yourself those things and finally to find support. There are many good groups in Richmond. Do you live here? If so you can find thise groups here. That’s where you connect with others enduring this nightmare. Here is the link. Please reply. https://annemoss.com/resources-2/grief/

  3. Today the readings touched my heart.
    I have not lost a child physically but I feel I have lost one to drugs.
    When I read your post about all the things you remember when Charles was a child growing up I went through the whole thing in my head and imagining and remembering my daughter.
    Who is a heroin addict.
    I am no stranger to loss of life. I have lost many loved ones but never a child.
    Just reading what you write really touches my heart and also how you’re helping all of the other mothers of lost a child to suicide.
    My brother lost his daughter suicide and now he raises her two kids she struggled for so many years I could never get the help she needed.
    You just give me hope all of you that are posting are giving me hope.

  4. Excellent ideas. I am at almost 10 months & by practicing these things you have mentioned, I am finally finding some peace & beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.💜

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