We Hold Each Other

April 20, 2020

You — yes you — are keeping me alive, elevating my spirits, nourishing my soul. The little girl within in smiling with everything I have. What did I do to deserve such a blessed community, this unbelievable outpouring of love, an ongoing stream of support, prayers, best wishes, messages, videos, photos, emails, notes, voicenotes, comments, and more?! Human connection is all-powerful, and I only hope its force continues to heal my own mind, body and soul, as well as our circles, communities and collective society.

Now knowing what it feels like to be the one facing trauma, in the depths of pain, alarmingly confused, confronting fear, battling darkness, struggling physically, feeling helpless, navigating an unfathomably tumultuous journey — and to receive even the tiniest gesture, word or affirmation of care, of empathy, of recognition of my humanity from anyone at any time of day via any platform matters more than words could ever possibly express. It can quite literally be the difference between life and death. My recovery has fundamentally and forever changed how I show up and will continue to show up with increased presence and potency for loved ones in times of need, hardship, loss, agony, transition — and joy, blessings, new beginnings, achievement, celebration too. Knowing that people from every facet of my life — past, present, here, there, personal, professional, close, distant — are making the conscious choice to walk this path with me is a wonder. Such empathy, compassion, depth of understanding and limitless generosity of spirit can turn the crippling isolation that has washed over me too often into something of an illusion — and even that temporary shattering is an immeasurable gift.

You somehow knew when I desperately craved loving presence without expectation, despite what I may have articulated. You’re my bright lights, in times of trials and triumph, challenge and celebration, horror and hope, all of the back and forth, and endlessly complex gradient of gray in between. You are there for me when I haven’t been able to show up for myself, never failing to answer calls — even those I didn’t make, even necessities I'd yet to vocalize, even voids I hadn’t discovered. You’ve seen me at my weakest and embraced me tighter, more genuinely, with increased acceptance. Your faces, your words, your voices, your everything is felt, needed and deeply deeply appreciated at the cellular level.

I find myself in awe, truly humbled and increasingly grateful with each breath because of the unimaginable goodness that people I know and those I have never met continue to express and embody. I cannot say enough about the extraordinary loving kindness from my best friends, dear family, old classmates, professional colleagues, one time acquaintances, longtime supporters and total strangers alike, though sincerely hope that all of you beautiful souls can feel the profound gratitude overflowing from my heart for palpably lifting my dampened spirits and surely healing my battered self. I’ve tried to extend personal thank yous to capture the special place so many have come to hold in my core and mind over these past months — and evermore. If I have not yet replied to a message/note/comment/email/voicemail (at which I am notoriously terrible), please do send it again! Because every gesture is a gift.

All of your poignant words, frequent checkins, little messages, rambling voicenotes and personal recordings bring me light, bring me strength, bring me comfort — and occasionally, bring me to tears. I am floored by the thoughtful handwritten notes, wondrous video compilations, creative signs, playlists and audiobook and movie recommendations, and treasured care packages curated with things my dear ones know I love, need, and will not simply use, but incorporate meaningfully into my healing journey and daily life — and make me think of people I miss, passions we share and moments we cherish. And to my persistent friends who never stopped calling, knowing full well that I couldn’t speak and wouldn’t pick up, just to let me know you were thinking of me, I thank you. Your incoming energies and reminders have sustained me from afar. And I eventually answered! And I will again. One day, we will even smile and hug and make memories together once more.

We hold each other, we inspire each other, we show up for each other, we do for each other, we go forth with and for each other — even when apart, for whatever reason. Just because. That is the beauty of life, tribe, peoplehood and friendship. Love, community, sharing, connection, presence and communication have been everything to me throughout recovery, and remain paramount right now personally, as well as among humanity and across our world to a degree we’ve never envisioned or experienced. I know not what lies ahead in any realm, but feel seen, held, guided, supported and trusted — exactly as I am and will be. I thank you. I appreciate you. I love you. So very much.

Read more of my journey here

© 2020 Erin Schrode. About Erin. Contact.

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