Hope After Grief by Ganel-lyn Condie
My name is Ganel-lyn Condie, I’m a speaker and writer. My 40-year-old sister took her life, died by suicide, 6 years ago March. My dad got the phone call and he came in from the garage, and I knew. He literally didn’t need to say anything, I could feel like the air got sucked out of the room. And I, I was screaming and hyperventilating and I knew.
My life isn’t better. With all the books and all the tv, radio, youtube, podcasts, speaking all over the world- my life’s not better without her. Suicide is a really unique form of grief because it creates kind of a “what-if” trap for those left behind. I really wrestled with some key parts of my soul after Meg died, one of which was “what was hope”.
For the first time in my life I thought “Oh, I see why people kind of want to go to bed and not get up.” And not that I haven’t dealt with depression and anxiety in my life but all the sudden the grief was so heavy that what I would normally have just done to create support or strength, I had to really think through.
I remember going to Walmart about a week or so after her funeral and I just wanted to grab the microphone and get on the loud speaker and yell “Does everyone realize someone doesn’t walk the planet anymore? And does everyone realize how hard she fought?”
Hope isn’t a feeling. You can’t think your way out of bed.
Sometimes when grief is super heavy, you have to know that it’s just a choice, it’s a plan B. So you’re not waiting for the feeling. I think often times when we talk about hope, we think it’s a feeling, like that you wake up feeling this way- but your hope needs to be based on: “this today didn’t work, and here’s my plan B”. Sometimes I’m on plan F and I’m on plan X, and if you already kind of give yourself permission to be– that’s how we maintain hope. We choose into trying the next thing.
Sometimes, you’re just choosing to stay. And you’re tired, and you’re worn out, like my sister. She had 40 years of trying all these Plan Bs and for a number of reasons, that week that she ended her life, she didn’t see another Plan B. I’m here to say there’s always another Plan B! Always. And that we need you. We need you to stay in your body.
Hope is about trying again. Hope is choosing the next step. Even if you don’t feel it.