Two weeks ago I wrote a letter to my friends in Salem, Illinois.
Before I wrote that letter in blog form… I reached out to one of my favorite organizations…
To Write Love on her Arms.
Today… I received an email from them.
As I read it… I thought… this e-mail is addressed to me… but it’s not JUST for me…
it’s for the community.
I want to share it with you… it’s filled with hope… love… and encouragement.
Please read it… please share it… but more than anything… DO IT.
Here is what they wrote me….
Thank you for your message. We’re so glad you enjoyed If You Feel Too Much!!
(A book by founderJamie Tworkowski) We apologize for the delay in our response; we receive many messages and it can be difficult to answer all of them in a timely manner. We hope you understand this and know that despite this, you and your message are still very important to us.
Our hearts are so heavy to hear about the recent suicides and other deaths in your community. We won’t pretend to know the entirety of the situation — but we understand how gaping of a hole suicides and deaths can leave in a community, and how devastated it must be. Our hearts and thoughts truly go out to you and everyone else in Marion County. Now, more than ever Adam, cling to your community and ask for them to cling back. Make yourself available to those grieving around you and ask others to do the same so that no one may feel alone in their grief. It’s important to acknowledge the pain that exists within your county, and that people may not be okay. It’s okay if they aren’t. But now is the time to bring as much hope and love into your community as possible. One of our friends, Cat Tinker, wrote a blog earlier this year called Hope in the Face of Grief. We know the situation she writes about isn’t exactly the same, but she talks about the need for community in times of sadness and grief, and how it’s okay to not be okay, and that people need other people.
Has your community come together in any way since these events? It can be so important to give a community an opportunity to do so and to share, grieve, and love together. We’d also encourage you and the rest of your community to try and make the local mental health resources as widely known as possible — so as to help those who may need them find them as easily as possible. Here is a list of resources we’ve found for Southern Illinois, that we hope may help. You are more than welcome to utilize any other good resources you know of in the area, as you are familiar with it. Our FIND HELP page has resources for Chicago, in Illinois, but also has resources in many other states — you may utilize and share them wherever you may find yourself. We also encourage you to look into our Get Involved page. There you can find ways to start conversations about mental health, bring TWLOHA to your community, and participate in fundraisers, campaigns, and benefits. We hope you’ll be able to find some ways to help your community here.
Thank you again for your message, Adam. We are so grateful for your kind words about our organization, and we hope that our words have been able to help you or encourage you in any way. This is a difficult time, but we have hope for you and for Marion County. We have hope, and we believe that better days are ahead. Our hearts go out to you and your community, and it is our wish that everyone may find peace in suffering, love in grief, and a light in the darkness. Know that you are not alone; let others know they aren’t alone. Life, with its joy, and with its sadness, was meant to be done together.
Please don’t hesitate to keep us updated on how you and your community are doing, Adam!!
My favorite part of this email was this…. “Our hearts go out to you and your community, and it is our wish that everyone may find peace in suffering, love in grief, and a light in the darkness. Know that you are not alone; let others know they aren’t alone. Life, with its joy, and with its sadness, was meant to be done together.”
Let’s not procrastinate doing life together.