“It is far more radical and dangerous to have hope than to live hemmed in by fear.” — Suleika Jaouad
I had every intention of writing something completely different today, before I went down a rabbit hole listening to TED Talks about suicide, surviving cancer, and living again.
The “distraction” was worth it.
So today, I’d like to share with you the three talks I got lost in. I urge you to listen to at least one.
It’s worth 15 minutes of your time to consider someone else’s take on the hardest things they’ve been through.
As we both know, we will all have our worst life moments, moments that stay with us, moments we don’t move on from but move forward with.
And, friend, let me tell you this: the time we spend listening to understand reinforces our humanity. The 15 minutes you set aside to more wholly understand a topic like suicide or a fatal diagnosis and the effects such traumas have on one’s life is a sacred thing.
Your attention, shone on matters many people avoid because they’re uncomfortable, is a gift.
Thank you for showing up and being someone who pays attention. Thank you for understanding that life has sorrow and joy and loss and love — that life is everything, and nothing less. Thank you for honoring the in-between places we all find ourselves in.
I am proud to be in this community with you.
3 TED Talks: On Suicide, Processing Grief, and Life After Cancer
1. The bridge between suicide and life
Sergeant Kevin Briggs speaks about his time serving as a California Highway Control Officer, much of which he spent answering suicide calls at the Golden Gate Bridge. In his talk, he urges us to reach out to those who may be suffering, and listen.
Now retired, he spends his time raising awareness about mental health, crisis management, and suicide prevention.
2. We don't "move on" from grief. We move forward with it
Nora McInerny's work takes a candid approach to something most people try to avoid ever talking about: death. She doesn't hide what hurts: she shines a light right on it, and somehow makes you laugh and cry in the same breath.
As she puts it, “Grief doesn't happen in this vacuum, it happens alongside of and mixed in with all of these other emotions.”
3. What almost dying taught me about living
Suleika Jaouad is a journalist and activist who talks about what it means to thrive in the wake of illness (she was diagnosed with leukemia at 22) and life's unexpected interruptions.
As she puts it, she reports from the "in-between places" where there's room enough for loss and new life, and decides what it means to actually be well: "alive, in the messiest, richest, most whole sense."
. . .
Which of these talks did you listen to and what did you take away from it?
Tell me in the comments. Everything you share here is a service to those who've had their own worst times.
P.S. I've been updating my Resources page with helpful links to organizations, talks, people, anything at all to help support those going through their own "stuff." Take a look or pass it along to anyone you want to support.