You Will Never Be the Same, But You Will Be Ok
“I cannot believe something like that happened to you!”
“You always seem so happy and positive – I don’t know how you do it.”
“I do not know how you got through something like that – I just can’t imagine.”
These are all comments that I am all too familiar with when I share my story with someone. I think it is because my story is so full of grief and tragedy that sometimes, people do not know how to respond when I tell it, especially because I am so open about it. And that’s ok- because my story is sad, but it is still my story. The experiences of grief and tragedy that have encompassed my life have shaped me into the person that I am today. Yes, my story is filled with sadness, but it is also filled with hope in the midst of unthinkable grief. It is so very important to remember that the path that leads us to where we are meant to be in life may not always be the easiest, but it is the path that we were meant to take. Our journey in life will always take us through trials, and for some, those trials are more difficult than we could ever anticipate. However, those trials show us a strength inside of us that we never knew we had.
The power of positive thinking has always been a big influence in my life.
I pride myself on maintaining an upbeat and positive attitude (most of the time – I have my days just like everyone else), and trust that things that are meant to be, will always find a way. I tend to be extremely vocal when I am struggling or have a problem, which is not always well received by others, but that is just a part of who I am. Anytime I have something wrong, you can bet someone will know about it because I do not keep anything inside. I have to let it out. However, there is a reason for that part of me.
My mom was the most amazing woman I have ever known. I can honestly say with full
confidence that I will never in my entire life meet another human being as amazing as she was. Have you ever met one of those people that just lights up any room? You know those people that walk in and seem to just radiate a certain kindness and feeling of comfort – the type of person that you just want to walk right up too and get to know because they just seem to be that special? THAT was my mom.
She was beautiful, kind, and had this ever present sense of comfort and nurturing. She was a Special Education Teacher, and I cannot remember a single day of her complaining about her job or her students. She was loved by so many, and she loved them right back.
I remember my mom always being happy; a trait I have that I pride myself on maintaining. You may think that’s silly – no one can be happy ALL of the time – but she was. Even if she was sad or had a bad day, she did not reflect any of it on me. She was just that wonderful of a person. My mom was ALWAYS happy. Until all of a sudden, she wasn’t.
The summer before I entered sixth grade, my mom changed.
Her usually happy persona turned cold and dark. Her smile faded and was replaced by days and nights filled with tears and worry. Instead of us spending our days laughing and sharing stories, they were spent with her crying and me watching television helplessly wondering what I had done wrong. Then, on October 17, 2001, my mom lost her battle with depression and took her own life. That day changed me. I was forced to grow up in a matter of minutes. I went from being a normal eleven year old girl to having everything that I had ever known change in the blink of an eye. My mom was there one minute telling me how much she loved me, and gone the next. It was like a nightmare that I could not wake up from.
Mental illness is so misunderstood. No one truly understands the toll it can take on not only on a person, but on everyone in its path. It is like a dark cloud that unexpectedly creeps in, and gets rid of every ounce of sunshine in the sky. It sucks every ounce of good out of a person, and leaves only a glimpse of who they once were. It is truly devastating the toll it can take on the happiest of people.
I will never truly understand why my mom did what she did and trust me when I say I have spent countless hours and therapy sessions trying to find an answer to that very question. I know now that though that question still remains unanswered, I am comforted in believing that her soul is finally at peace. If I had chosen to spend my days asking myself why over and over, I would not even be close to where I am today.
My dad battled with addiction all of his life and most of the time, that addiction won over taking care of me. He would make empty promises that were never fulfilled and I was left many times wondering what I had done wrong that caused him to not pick me up for the weekend as I waited by the door holding my pink suitcase hoping that every vehicle that passed was his turning into the driveway. My mom was the one who was always there to pick up the pieces of his broken and empty promises which I am sure led to a big part of her struggle with mental illness. Shortly after my mom died, my dad’s addiction got worse. The sporadic phone calls, visits, and constant disappointments became normal to me as I learned to not expect much from the only parent that I had left. He became the shell of a person I once knew and eventually, we quit speaking all together. Despite all of this, I always held out hope that he would change and get himself the help he needed in order to be the dad and grandfather to my kids that I so desperately needed at the time. I know in my heart that he tried with everything he could but his addiction was too powerful. Then in June of 2022 came yet another senseless tragedy that would alter my life forever – my dad lost his battle with addiction.
And here I was once again left in the wake of another senseless tragedy.
I had lost both of my parents suddenly and tragically, left with no closure and never even getting to say goodbye. I know we aren’t supposed to question why things happen the way that they do but I could not help but ask what had I done so wrong in life to be given this burden to carry.
Losing one person or multiple people in your life that are close to you, whether it is a parent, friend, spouse, or anyone for that matter, changes you. And for some, it changes them into someone they don’t want to become.
Losing both of my parents so tragically has changed me – but those changes made me into who I am today and I have to say, I am pretty proud of that person.
I am a wife to an amazing man who deals with me and all of my anxieties and insecurities that stem from my past. He is patient, loving, and kind and is a constant reminder that no matter how many people I have lost in my life, he will always be there. I am a mom to two beautiful children who serve as a constant reminder that there is still good and innocence left in this world. And I am a teacher. I have the opportunity to work with children everyday who need me just as much as I need them. I have wonderful friends who love and accept me for who I am, burdens and all. And most of all, I am happy. Truly undeniably happy despite all of the tragedy in my past.
I miss my parents every single day. Not a single day has gone by that I have not thought about them and how different things would be if they were both still here. I think of how spoiled my children would be to them, and how many afternoons we would spend together sitting on my mom’s swing sipping coffee and having her listen to me ramble about my teaching stories or visiting with my dad and watching him feed my kids all the candy they want no matter how big of a sugar rush they would get.
If you get anything from reading this, please let it be this:
There are going to be bad things that happen in life and most of the time, they are going to
catch us by surprise. However, just because something bad happens to us or someone we love, does not mean that it is a bad life. We cannot go through life worrying about what bad thing(s) are going to happen to us next. We cannot predict every single moment of our life, nor can we prevent anything from happening, whether it be good or bad. However, we can live in the moment and trust that whatever happens to us, we will get through it!
Whatever struggles you are going through right now please remember- you are not alone and most importantly, YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS!
You will never be the same, and that is ok.
You will grow and you will change, but that is a part of life. No matter what you have faced, it is going to change you in some way but try your very best to make that change a good one.
I did not write this to make you sad. I did not write this to make you feel sorry for me. I wrote this so that somewhere someone is reading this and maybe for a brief second, they feel like everything is going to be ok. I wrote this so that I can give someone hope in the midst of their grief and to let them know that you are not alone. Grief is ever changing. Somedays a memory of your loved one will bring you comfort and joy and other days it will bring you tears and sorrow. You will never be the same, but you will be ok. You will find strength in your moments of weakness and peace in your times of sorrow.
Remember, if you are going through any type of struggle, someone is there to help you. Call a friend, visit a relative, or even write a letter. Whatever it takes to get your happiness back- do it. You are not defined by your struggles and you deserve to be happy.
You will get through this; you will never be the same, but you will be ok.
About the Author
Lacie Soileau is a Louisiana Native originally from Ville Platte. She went to UL Lafayette and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication. She then went on to earn her Teaching Certification at Louisiana College in Pineville as well as a Master’s Degree in Teaching. She also recently completed her Educational Leadership Certification. She has been in education for ten years and is currently a Third Grade Teacher at Milton Elementary School. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 12 years and together they have 2 children – Rylie who is 10 and Nathan who is 6. Lacie loves to read, write, shop and exercise! One of her favorite things about living in Lafayette is all of the delicious food! Her favorite things are coffee, any type of spicy food, and spending time with her husband and kids!