I used to think I was crazy for feeling grateful for my ex-husband. What he did to me for over a decade are things I wish upon no one.
It’s a funny thing, that journey of healing. The trajectory that begins with enlightenment and hate, after the ashes have settled, suddenly takes you to an abundance of gratitude to God for this person who struck the match. I am grateful for my ex-husband and for what I went through. Every single day I thank God for the struggles and the lessons: past, present, and future.
I know what it is to feel empty inside. To exist without really living. One in four survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault will attempt suicide. I am the one in four. More than once. Even with the absence of real life violence my mind transcends time and space and there I am again, helpless and confused. It has taken more strength than I ever thought I had to pick myself up, again and again and again. I have realized though, that with each rise I am stronger and my capacity to forgive opens a bit more.
While I will never fully understand anyone else’s pain the way they do, I do understand the suspension of clarity that happens in the darkest hours of grief. Our world has lost so many who have succumbed to the darkness, and who simply could not endure the pain any longer. My heart breaks for them, and I pray with all that I am that they are each, at last, at peace. I know it may be difficult for some to understand why anyone would consider or carry out suicide. Which is precisely why we need to speak up and with each other.
This world needs compassion and trust and the awareness that we are all human, more than ever it seems. We all bleed. We all suffer. Pain is relative but it is pain. I decided over a year ago that I would fight for what I believed and work hard for as long as I could. To raise awareness for domestic violence, which, I have learned personally and through research that there are so many devastating interconnections - such as child abuse and suicide.
My heart is especially heavy with the recent amount of loss both locally and at large, but my resolve and strength remain unwavering. Please consider joining or starting a conversation; reach out to those who you think may be suffering, even if it means risking a relationship; and please familiarize yourself with local and national resources.
Together we can make a difference. Together we can shine the light.
Meg Kuck, Founder + Director, Shine the Light Foundation