by Elaine Alpert, M.Ed
It was on our younger son’s ninth birthday. You likely know exactly what I mean when I say, “It was the worst day of my life … followed by many more worst days of my life.” Add to that the sleepless nights full of flashbacks … finding Rand with barely a pulse in our backyard, the police accusing us of foul play, and our hospital vigil, praying, begging for him to survive, only to be told it was too late, there was nothing they could do to save our boy.
We’ve all heard the opposite scenario, the miraculous story when someone’s life was somehow spared, despite all the odds. How they were ‘pulled from the car’ just in time by an unseen force, or mysteriously pushed to the water’s surface on their last breath. So … I demanded to know, where was Rand’s guardian angel, when we needed one most? Why didn’t anything or anyone intervene? Why did this happen to our family?
The piercing self-accusations followed
Why didn’t I see how Rand was really doing? And ultimately: Where did I fail as a mother? My husband Tom and I were filled with dozens of questions. Our son’s suicide completely blindsided us.
The totally ironic thing was that for years before Rand died, I was a national workshop leader, helping people deal with the biggest dilemmas of their lives. And now here I was, in full-blown catastrophe. I certainly had the tools—but I wasn’t ready for them. I was in utter breakdown and shock.
In due course, something shifted internally, and I realized the price I was paying was way too high–the guilt and regret, anxiety and anger were not leaving me alone, only making me more miserable. My ‘stuff’ was affecting my relationship with my younger son who really needed me to be mom. Tom and I were grieving differently, and though we were in marriage counseling, I needed something just for me. I knew that my need to keep re-telling my story was reaching an end and the drag on my energy needed to stop. It was time to end the spiral of nagging thoughts and turn my life around … I needed a deeper dive.
I looked everywhere for a place to be with other women like me, where I didn’t have to explain what I was going through
Where I could address these issues in a context of connection, authenticity, and spirituality without dogma–but I couldn’t find it. So, by piecing together my own healing path and going back to graduate school to study trauma healing, I saw that I was creating a brave new way to deal with such a big, confounding loss.
Eventually, I invited amazing women from all over, moms who’d lost children to suicide and overdose, and other women dealing with losses of various kinds, into online programs and retreats. I founded a nonprofit to support this work, and the loving mentor since my loss, Iris Bolton–a leader in suicide prevention and aftercare for decades–joined the nonprofit board.
Fast forward to today, it is just 2 weeks before Rand’s 17th anniversary date, and I am launching my new book in his honor: Beyond the Why of Loss: A Brave New Way to Move Forward. It is my labor of love for women everywhere who are looking for a different way to live within your loss, rather than “moving on” as some say you should. Yes, there is a way to fully honor your loved one while reclaiming your own precious life. This is my sacred wish for you.
As a gift to the Emotionally Naked blog readers, you can DOWNLOAD my book for free, for a limited time.
To get your free copy of Elaine Alpert’s book go to this page.
As a dynamic group facilitator and speaker for over 25 years, Elaine leads online programs, workshops, and retreats. She also works with private clients. Elaine holds a graduate degree with specializations in Transformative Learning and Integrative Health. She wrote her thesis, ‘Fostering Resilience: Conscious Engagement with Life As It Is’ as academic groundwork for The MindPeace Method®, a proprietary program for healing after traumatic loss.