Acceptance Beyond Trauma: Working Through Multiple Family Crises.



By Janie Smith, Founder HOPE Beyond Trauma

There have been many crises in my family over the last year and early this year that have made me stop and take notice.

My favorite aunt passed away who was like a second mother to me. I had the honor of being present along with many family members comforting her as she was getting ready to transition. She had Alzheimer’s for a number of years and had been in a nursing home. I couldn’t get over how alert she was, laughing at our jokes, even though her body was rapidly declining. Surprisingly and gratefully, we were glad she knew who we were until the end.

My only sister had three strokes since August after getting a stint put in her carotid artery. She lost her ability to speak fluently and her right side was greatly affected. Through all this turmoil my daughter became more anxious and her temper flared uncontrollably. Her anger and thought processes were greatly affected until she admitted herself to the hospital for suicidal thoughts. Intertwined within these events, I had two personal health concerns that needed attention. There were several hospitalizations for my brother and a nephew. So it was a hectic and emotionally trying year as each event unfolded.

These traumatic incidences were felt by each family member in different ways. For me, there were many lessons on acceptance. Accepting what was happening, even though I didn’t like it, and remaining calm in the midst of chaos. I had to remind myself that the only person I could control was me and how I responded to each event. I needed my heart and mind to remain open, loving and staying present.

I needed to take time to allow and feel my many states of emotions, acknowledging each one and releasing them. I remembered from my failures in the past, that I had to listen to my husband when he told me it was time to take care of myself to renew my energy. I knew I would be of no value or comfort to anyone if I didn’t get the rest I needed for the next day.

I didn’t know how any of these traumatic events would play out. I was walking into the unknown once again… yet in many ways somewhat familiar territory. By accepting that I could only control my responses; by listening to the advice of my family to lovingly take care of myself, I was able to play a valuable role in helping my family through these crises and sustain my own health and well being at the highest level.


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