01/23/2013 12:48 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Life in Motion Blog: Pathways to Sadness

Pathways to Sadness...

I learned at a young age that if you don't let your sadness out, it turns into anger. Suppressing my emotions led to melt downs and sullen moods.

My sister, Susie Louise, died at age 2 ½ of meningitis. I was almost 4 years old, my big brother was 6. Even now that I'm 50, I still remember the anger when she went away and didn't come back... And during my 40's, I felt the survivor guilt of knowing that I lived and she didn't.

With support of friends, family and faith, we stayed together as a family. We even grew by one when my second sister was born the next year. Facing the loss of a child overwhelms me and breaks my heart for those facing such tragic events. I'll touch a photograph telling a sad story in the news and say a prayer. It has become an intuitive way for me to release the emotions in that moment.


Susie Louise & My Dad

I choose to let my tears fall. I choose to keep my heart empathetic.
I call it pathways to sadness.

My heart and brain remember all the emotions. I no longer fight it. I express it, share it with people close to me and then choose to live. I hope you do the same.

During my lifetime, I have been blessed to know many loving, extraordinary people. I also have faced the death of my parents, mentors, friends, uncles and my sister, Susie Louise. Their departure left a void that will never be filled, and I now allow it to drive me forward.

In 2012, I attended a funeral for my dear friend, Kim. She died in her early 40's from metastatic breast cancer. Facing the loss of Kim, I cried for an entire weekend. But, now, when I pick up a camera, I remember her and say "thank you." As I write this, I have friends attending a funeral for their friend, Tiffanie, a mother of young children and a light to those who knew her... Tiffanie's departure from our community leaves a hole that will not be filled. I feel it.


Kim Kyler, 1964-2012

Such early departures remind me to make a difference while I am still on this earth. To intentionally create love, joy and to smile. I have chosen to see life as a glass half full, yet I am not afraid of sadness.

Speaking of life and death can be uncomfortable, but also can be beautiful. A charity in the San Francisco that supports families of children who face a life-limiting illness is the George Mark Children's House. I am drawn to volunteer there in memory of my sister. If you long for a worthwhile connection, you'll find GMCH and uplifting messages on Facebook or the website.

The holiday season has pressures all onto itself, especially when we are missing traditions of a past time with loved ones who are no longer here. My hope is that you'll allow yourself time to be sad amongst the hustle and bustle and joy. Cry. There is love found in tears, then remember to choose to live.

I have more stories to share and more stories to hear... I call it Life in Motion. I hope this article is encouraging to you and that we will be in touch.

Hugs, Jenn