Wild-eyed, I stared at the reflection in the mirror.  I no longer recognised myself.  My eyes were haunted by the pain and suffering not only of my brother’s death but of all the other losses I’d experienced throughout my life.

My once long red hair was gone, hacked off in a fit of fury as I tried to rid myself of the wild emotions coursing throughout my very being.  All that remained was a bald scalp.

My vision blurred, a result of the all the tablets and alcohol I’d thrown down my throat in an attempt to appease the pain.  I didn’t want to die.  I wanted to live but I didn’t know how to.  I had been destroyed at the moment my brother’s car crashed head-on into a lamp post.

I felt so tired.  All I wanted was peace.  Yet instead of peace, I was destroying myself and destroying those around me.  I knew I couldn’t continue on in this manner.  Something had to change.

Later, as I lay on the bed, something came over me.  I experienced a most profound moment of peace and clarity.  I realised that I had a choice.  I could continue self-destructing.

Or I could choose to do something different.  I could choose to make my brother’s death the greatest thing that ever happened to me.  Use it as a source of inspiration and motivation to transform both myself and my life.

There was no choice for me, not really.  By disrespecting myself, I was disrespecting my brother.  By becoming the best I could be I would be honouring his life and living enough for both of us.

I could see a world where I let go of pain and transformed it into peace and joy.  I saw a world where my hidden dream of helping others could be real.

I saw how I could live a life full of passion and purpose.

That was the moment I started creating a new normal for me.  Over the years, I learned that transforming grief is about making that same choice over and over again.

Now nine years later, I look back and marvel at just how far I’ve come.

Moreover, I look back and realise that I now live in that world I saw all those years ago.  I have found peace and joy.  I do help others.  I do live a life full of passion and purpose.

What are your choices after your loss?  Which one will you follow?

Tabitha Jayne 2011

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Tabitha Jayne

Tabitha Jayne is a leading expert in the field of grief and growth coaching, having first developed an interest in the topic following the sudden death of her younger brother. The founder of “Transform Grief. Live Fully. Thrive Loss” coaching and workshops, Tabitha is also the creator of “Tree of Transformation”, a five-step process that helps individuals fully let go of grief and transform loss into a lasting legacy that positively impacts both themselves and the world. Her latest book is Thriving Loss: Move beyond grief to a place of peace, passion and purpose. She is also a contributing author in Open to Hope: Inspirational stories of healing after loss and has presented on The Transformative Power of Nature in Grief and Loss at the International Conference on Grief and Bereavement in Contemporary Society and the ADEC Annual Conference. She is also the Head Coach of Grief & Growth Coaching at the International Coach Academy. She says, “The death of my brother was the most profound experience and loss in my life. It made me realise that life is too short and challenged me to transform my own life into something that I was proud of. Despite all the pain and anguish, all the tears and hurt, my brother dying is one of the best things that happened to me. Peter motived me to learn to live life fully both as tribute to him and to gain meaning from tragedy.” Tabitha is a Certified Professional Coach from the International Coach Academy and an Associate Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation. Her academic background is in Psychology with a BSc (Hons) from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh where she conducted research into “Attachment and the Type of Loss Experienced by the Bereaved in Continuing Bonds”. She is currently completing a M.S. in Applied Ecopsychology and Coaching in Grief and Growth with Project NatureConnect, The Institute of Global Education. Prior to founding ‘Transform Grief. Live Fully. Thrive Loss’ and working with clients worldwide helping them to live more and grieve less, Tabitha was the co-founder and director of Pedro Project, a non-profit organization which ran for 6 years providing information, advice and support to help bereaved young people. During this time she was a finalist in the Everywoman 2004 awards as well as Cosmopolitan´s Fun, Fearless Female 2006 Awards. She was also featured in The Sun, The Sunday Post Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Edinburgh Evening News and on local and regional radio as well as in the Channel 4 documentary for young adults entitled “Losing You” Get your free audio of the Introduction and Chapter One of Thriving Loss: Move beyond grief to a place of peace, passion and purpose at www.tabithajayne.com

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