This week is a hard one in my world. Next week marks the one year anniversary of the mass shooting that took place at my hometown's 4th of July parade.
I spent my childhood participating in the event, waving to parade-goers from a patriotically appointed float with my sister by my side. When I made the decision to move back to Highland Park, I knew my children would one day partake in the same tradition.
But we were not there last year.
As Audrey Grunst, LCSW, described in this week's podcast, my absence from the event did not shield me from the wave of emotions in its aftermath.
I felt guilty for not being there and ashamed for struggling.
I felt helpless, scared, shattered, and so sad. Sad for my community. Sad for my children. Sad for my friends who were forever changed by what they experienced that day.
In the wake of the parade, I did what I do. I tried to make sense of it and fix it. As a coach, I am always looking for a solution or a new perspective that can open doors to possibility and perhaps ease the pain.
But in the face of tragedy, the only way around the emotion is through.
I went to counseling, which was offered free to every community member - regardless of whether they had been to the parade.
I cried with friends and family.
I led a group where women could come and just be - in whatever state they were in.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the parade, I am reminded that healing isn't linear. That talking about our experiences without judgment is a gift for the soul. That feeling sad, mad, angry, or scared is always ok.
If you are a human living on planet Earth, chances are you've experienced a traumatic event. Perhaps you are still feeling, dealing, or healing from it. If so, this week's episode is for you.
Audrey Grunst is a therapist and the founder of Simply Bee. In the hours following the parade, Audrey looked for ways to help, which days later had her leading more than 700 therapists to offer free mental health support to our community.
In this week's episode, Audrey talks about what trauma is, how we can cultivate a resilient mind in a chaotic world, signs that we should consider professional help, and more.
This episode is not the ray of sunshine that I aim to offer every other week with this show, but it is a critical topic to tackle.
Tune in or, if this is one you need to skip, please take the 45 minutes you so generously give me each week and give them to yourself in whatever form you need. And know I am cheering you on as you do.