Yes! That’s it! My friend understood me, and she got it! Let me wind the tape back for a minute to put it in context. Mathew and I have been devoting much time to The Maya Gold Foundation. This has not been the work of Mathew and me alone; that’s for sure! It is really quite remarkable to witness all that the Foundation has accomplished in just over two years.
Frequently, when talking about the work of the Maya Gold Foundation, kind and generous people respond, “it’s amazing how you have turned your grief into something so meaningful.” We hear, “wow, look at all the good that has come from your tragedy.”
I know in my heart of hearts that people really, truly mean well. But they don’t get it. How could they? How could they possibly understand? I get it. I understand that from the outside, our work with teens both locally and in Nepal, seems to be a positive way to transform our grief. That makes perfect sense.
When presented with this discussion (which happens frequently), I have wrestled with putting my feelings into words. “No!” I feel like saying, “that’s not it!” I don’t turn my grief into anything. My grief is my grief. I grieve fully. Though the expression of grief will shift, I will carry it always. I can grieve and I can do good in the world. I can do good in the world in Maya’s name. That does not change my grief. In writing these words, I sound angry. I am not angry. I just feel misunderstood.
When I was trying to explain this to one friend last weekend, who lovingly shared her wonder in using our grief to do something good, Susan was glad to hear my words. She urged me to share my sentiments with others. “Elise, we don’t know! I have worked in a prison for years, yet I don’t know what it is like to be imprisoned.” I appreciated her encouragement. So here I am sharing. This is my truth. Another mom whose fifteen-year-old daughter took her life may have another truth.
This evening, I had a conversation with a friend from childhood. I let her know that we will soon be heading to Nepal. We will bring 15 teens. It had been Maya’s vision to reduce trafficking in Nepal, and yes, we are going in her name. Thank you, Fran! I felt as if you really understood me in your response, “this is where your love is going.”
Photo from a “Heart of Gold Adventures” preparation meeting. Youth Ambassadors and their parents where present and all of the teens are getting ready for the trip next week.