‘If you know someone struggling, don’t tell them what they should or shouldn’t be doing; just listen, then validate.’: Woman shares reminder ‘there is no shame in not having it all together’

“When I went through a separation, I was scared of public opinion. I wasn’t heard by many, I was told what I should be doing. Not many people just wanted to know how I was or just listened before judging or having an opinion. But the people who did sure did save me.”

‘Don’t say anything. You don’t want to be taken from home, do you?’ We hid in our rooms, afraid of the people supposed to keep us safe.’: Child trauma survivor marries best friend, finds meaning of ‘real love’

“All I knew was I was scared of ‘love.’ I didn’t want it. In fact, I wanted to run from it like it was the plague. I wish I could go back and hold myself like I held my siblings. I wish I could tell little Jas that real love was coming. An angel on earth. The most adorable, bi-racial boy with the biggest dimples and largest afro I had ever seen.”

‘I sobbed, ‘What have we done?’ We unpacked the U-Haul, no friends in our new town.’: Daughter chases dreams with help from father’s last words before suicide

“I was leaving everything behind for a childhood fantasy, a job in a K-12 campus I’d never even seen, and a house I’d only looked at online. I cried on the road, wondering if I was making the biggest mistake of my life. Then I heard my dad’s voice echo in my mind from those 31 years ago: ‘You can be anything you want, anywhere in the world.’ And then I lost him. To suicide.”

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