Fall is a special time for me. I’ve been taking a little extra time out of my day to sit out on my porch and just soak in all the colors of the leaves as they change a little each day. Certainly, I’m captivated by the bright and stunning colors, but I think what mesmerizes me the most is knowing that soon each of these vibrantly colored leaves will be gone.
Grief is a lonely drift between life and death, joy and pain, the beautiful and horrid, between heaven and hell. To be in grief is to capture a glimpse of each, as though one could see around the corner to something near but not yet. A place all must visit one day, but few will pause to observe, to let it change them, to stretch and twist them into the beyond. That is the difference between a life lived in whole and one lived in part.
When President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in 1988, he stated, “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.”
It seems like every parent is familiar with the term Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. No one wants their child to have the diagnosis; nonetheless it can often come as a relief to explain a child’s constant movement, hyperactivity, staring off into space, impulsivity, and what can appear to be disregard for social norms and other people.
Addiction is a disease that affects all races, religions, and socioeconomic levels. No one person, or family, for that matter, is immune to addiction. Governments, counselors, patients and citizens as a whole have grappled with various ways to address and curtail addictions. From the temperance movement of the 1920s to various drug related laws that have been enacted; our society, courts, and politicians are aware that various vices exist that detrimentally affect our society at large.
The Month of September is when most Latin Americans celebrate their Independence Day from “la tierra madre” or, “the motherland”. Because of this, September 15 – October 15 is also the month when Hispanic heritage is celebrated in the United States. As a US born Guatemalan, I love to celebrate our heritage, as well as celebrate and learn about all cultures. With this learning comes the understanding that there are certain aspects of all cultures that are to be examined and left behind for the history books rather than be kept in the stories of our ongoing lives.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s “National Suicide Prevention Week” theme for 2018 is the Power of Connection. As they state in their website (https://afsp.org/campaigns/national-suicide-prevention-week-2018/): “Although there is no single cause of suicide, one of the risks for suicide is social isolation, and there’s scientific evidence for reducing suicide risk by making sure we connect with one another.”
One key way to build connection is to both lessen the stigma of mental illness, as well as build
awareness of what it means to live with mental illness.