Blog, Choices, Depression, Fear, Help, hope, public speaker, Relationships, southern fried asian, Strength, Suicide, suicide prevention, susie reece, Susie Reynolds, susie reynolds reece

A Chapter’s End

Today I closed the door on a huge part of the past three years of my life and I now find myself starting a new journey. As of this evening, I am no longer employed with CHI St. Vincent. 

Some of you know me because of the work I’ve been doing, some of you may be aware, some of you may not know me at all. Over the past few years, I’ve found myself doing my best to explain what I do to others and getting puzzled looks. I think the best way to say it was what wasn’t I doing? 

My heart has been in suicide prevention for as long as I can remember. It started as something quite personal and grew beyond me. I felt something deeply that I didn’t necessarily understand and I began a journey to learn more. That journey allowed me to witness opportunities to help and through relationships, support, and people believing in me, I was able to build on those opportunities. 

If you get to know me, I’ll tell you honestly that a great deal of my effort was based in selfishness because I gained so much from it. I loved what I was doing and it drove me to be a better person in so many ways. I never once dreaded a Monday of work. Not that I didn’t hesitate at the thought of early mornings or late nights, it’s just that I gained something immeasurable on an almost daily basis. 

Don’t get me wrong, some days were definitely hard work. Work to find the energy to push forward. Work to figure out ways to address seemingly impossible problems. Work to build relationships beyond the superficial. But in the end, I can honestly say that when you are passionate about something, it will never be work.

It would be easy to sit here and find this a failure. It would be so simple to see these past several years coming to a close and find myself bitter and resentful or fearful of the future, but I simply can’t. Not because I am an optimist, because I am most definitely not that. But because I have been blessed in innumerable ways. I have met many of you because of this opportunity. I have heard stories of hope and compassion. I have learned a great deal about who I am becoming and who I will never be. And I have found great joy in the work of suicide prevention. 

I write this to all of you now to let you know that although my employment has changed, my heart has not. These past few months and really year, has been quite difficult. Even now, I hold a lot of uncertainty in what my future will hold. But what I can tell you is that I will continue to serve those who ask for my help. I will continue to volunteer and work to better the communities I come into contact with. This may look different over the coming months. For me this will mean finding new ways to support myself, my family, and my future. If you find opportunities that I might be a good fit for, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I am still and will continue to act as the Executive Director of Suicide Prevention Allies. It is currently and has been a non paid position, although that may change in the future. 

Before I officially close this chapter of my life, I would like to ask that if you’ve met me, saw me speak, or gleaned anything from the work I’ve done over the past few years, please share it with me. I would love to be able to see the impact of the work I’ve done, it would mean so much to me to know that I did something of worth. 

Thank you all for allowing me the opportunity to serve as I have. I pray that I will continue to be able to share the knowledge and skills I have with as many as possible. 

A few lessons I’ve learned along the way:

*Consistency is how trust is built and maintained. What we consistently do becomes our habits. 

*Take the time to build properly. Impatience may help you get things done quickly, but it won’t help you do them in the best way possible. 

*Nothing, absolutely nothing can replace the bond that comes from working alongside someone toward a common goal. 

*Life is terribly short. You have every right to decide who can join you on your journey. Choose your travel mates wisely or you’ll waste unnecessary time struggling with unnecessary stress. 

*Oftentimes there are more sides to a story than can be counted. 

*Not everyone will share your passion, and that’s more than okay. But be deadly cautious of those who are jealous of it.

*Even now in 2019, your word is your bond. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you’re unsure, just say so. People will respect that more than a broken promise. 

*Be careful what you tell people and when. 

*Timing is everything.

*Base your judgement of a person on your personal knowledge of them and not what others say. Everyone has their own perspective, motivation, and stories. And some people simply don’t want them to be liked.

*People want to feel heard. They will reach out to someone who will not dismiss them and sadly, that someone is often a stranger. Love those around you. They need to know it often.

*The people who care about you will show you. It may not be obvious at all times, but they will. Never forget those who check in on you in their own way. They do it because they care.

*Asking for help is harder than it should be and this small incapability is taking our lives at a devastating rate. 

*If you know something is ending, don’t wait. You’ll find yourself stuck in the most terrible way. If the relationship, job, current situation is bad or coming to a close, let it go. It won’t be simple but holding on won’t make your life any easier. 

*Don’t forget to look for the beauty. We learn invaluable lessons by looking for them when times are tough. That is how we grow strength and resilience. We must examine our lives, take note of our missteps, and move forward with knowledge we didn’t have before in the hopes of finding a better way. 

*And last but not least, no one, let me repeat that NO ONE has all their shit together. Don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise. 

Although I don’t believe I save lives, for those who’ve asked, my superhero name is Seoul Survivor. 

Name and Photo Courtesy of Jeff Fuller-Freeman

-Susie Reynolds Reece 

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About Me, Blog, Choices, Fear, Relationships, Thoughts, Writing

Forgiveness and Moving Forward

There is some part of me that repeats moments. Throughout my life there have been moments that involved other people and that seem incomplete to me. My mind is watching a movie without ever getting to the end of it. I see these people in my memories and they never evolve in life to me. Some part of my heart needs closure. Some part of me craves it but how do you find peace with someone who you no longer know? How do you forgive people that are no longer around? What if they don’t even remember those moments where they hurt You?

I have caused others pain. We have all done it. We have all been ignorant, mean, or just plain oblivious and because of that we have caused pain in the lives of others. I have also sought forgiveness at times. I have found my apologies had no effect or affect. I have spoken or written sorries to people who didn’t respond whatsoever. Some part of that hurt. Some part of me wanted some sort of response. An acceptance, anger, anything, but a refusal to acknowledge me meant that my earnestness was in some way meaningless.

I have wondered about these moments. I have questioned why they would simply stare at me with blank eyes and look past everything. I have apologized when I knew it wasn’t solely my fault and yet I have gotten nothing. Do we all want to hear it and not be required to say it? Is it pride? Is it something more hate filled that keeps people from owning their faults?

There are times that I have been approached and I have given my forgiveness when they were earnestly apologizing. Some people will throw an apology at you without even knowing what they are saying. I don’t mean these types of apologies. I mean the real ones. The ones that are heartfelt. The ones that people have thought about and known inside and out. People have done things that caused me immense pain. I forgave them. Wholeheartedly forgave them. There are a few that wanted to move back into my life and I couldn’t allow that though. My forgiveness allowed me to move past the pain of what had been, but my mind would not allow me to open up that “what if” again. I understand that sometimes people don’t have room in their lives for others. I understand that we all move forward and some times our paths should no longer intertwine, but does that mean that we should not overcome ourselves and allow others the closure they seek?

Some parts of my life will never have closure. I know that. I know that there are people who I will never hear an apology from. I know that there are people who will never believe that they had faulted me. I know that. Even though I know that my heart will never be at ease because it still longs to know that it was justified in its pain. My heart longs to forgive, but will never be given the opportunity to do so.

What does that mean?

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A Mother’s Fear

There is nothing as beautiful as being a mother. There is also nothing as paralyzing as being a good Mother. We are full of power and life but with that wonderful strength comes a very harsh and debilitating fear. There is a constant worry that hums in our hearts over the safety of our children. It starts during pregnancy and it never relents after that. I can recall the point in my first pregnancy when I felt utter adoration for that sweet girl. I had never seen her. I had never touched her soft skin. I had never looked into her eyes, but I felt a love like none I had ever dreamed of before. It was an encompassing love. One that did not need to be reciprocated. It was selfless, pure, and the simplest thing that could ever be. No relationship before had ever prepared me for the intensity of this future relationship. No man could ever come close to giving me the absolute that this little girl was already promising me. I was hooked on her before I ever even knew her.

I was unquestionably in love with her and there was nothing that could be done to stop the fear that was growing within my stomach. We have all had our hearts broken at some point. There is always a risk in loving someone. The risk in loving children is different though. I don’t worry that my children will reject my love. I know that they need it. They need the knowledge that it gives them. It is a security for them. It lets them know their worth. It fills their hearts with joy and peace. It shows them that they are wanted and that they are mine. It is a vital part of their childhoods. Their lives would be empty without love. Children more than need love to be happy they need it to survive. Babies can die from a lack of physical contact or essentially from a lack of affection. Children need to know in their hearts that they are important and that is what love does for a person. It shows us that we are vital to someone else. It gives us meaning in so many ways.

My chances of being heart-broken don’t come from having my love rejected by my children, they come from the reality of life. Our world is filled with terrors. There are people out there who would relish the chance to hurt my babies. There are diseases that could destroy the children I know. Nature could take us while we sleep. Society has a hold on parents and the rights a parent has as well. There are more bad things in this world than a mother’s heart can handle and I fear them all. I worry about strangers talking to my babies. I worry when I let my daughter go to school. I pray that no one will hurt her feelings. I worry about them if they sleep later than normal. Some part of me still fears SIDS even though I know that an 8 year old will be just fine. I worry when they get a virus. I worry if they visit anyone without me. If I leave them for a short while I worry that it will be the last time I will ever see them. My heart is constantly restrained by fear.

Fear doesn’t allow reason to exist. Fear will take over and make everything possible. Those worst nightmares can come true because that is what fear does. My children are everything. They are my world. I have made my decisions based around them. I wanted to be a better mother than what I was born into. I wanted them to never question my loyalty to them so I chose to be with them as often as possible. I have chosen for them. I have chosen because of them. I have made decisions so that their lives could be better. Parenting is a fearful thing. You will always question and worry. There will never be a day where you don’t doubt yourself. I fear them maturing into people who do not have morals or respect. I do my best to teach them these things, but what if I am not doing a good enough job? What if I am not the mother they deserve? What if they need more than what I am capable of?

My fear will never die. I will have it every day and every night from now until forever but love tempers those feelings. The joy that they bring me fills me over and over and over again. Love is the miracle feeling. It can be a drug, it can be a cure, it can be absolutely fulfilling. Love can calm the fear and let me see past it. A smile from one of my children is all that it takes to let me see the moment. That is what fear doesn’t allow. It doesn’t allow you to be in the moment. It pushes you into a future that may never come. Let love bring you back to now. This moment is perfect with them. Cherish their faces. Hold their hearts by hugging their souls. Love them and allow that love to wash away the worry.

To all of you parents out there who understand the fear I ask you to look for the love. The love will save you. You are not alone.

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