Impact Statement


Lately, I have been cruising through numerous blogs to see how other people are dealing with grief, depression, or anxiety.  I wasn’t comparing my own story or pain to other people’s.  Instead, I was just looking for tips.  For something that just might work for me.  I managed to get myself onto the blog Grief Happens.  This blogger had written about something called an “impact statement.”  I was curious as to what this was, so I kept reading through the post.  After reading the entire post, I thought, HEY!  This might work for me!  So, I am going to create my own impact statement and answer the questions this blogger posted with this exercise.  For reference to the original article, please click on the “Grief Happens” link.  So, for my therapy purposes and your viewing eyes…here is my impact statement:

Write an Impact Statement — specifically discuss what impacted you and how it shaped your life-be as specific as possible.

My mother passed away when I was 15.  Her death was unexpected.  She was completely healthy.  Just went to bed one night and did not wake up the next morning.  The paramedics believe it to have been a heart attack that took her life.  My mother’s death was a tragedy for me.  She was my best friend and I loved her more than anything in the world.  I was a shattered 15-year-old who grew up instantly.  I put on a brave face and suppressed the feelings of my mother’s death.  I wouldn’t even admit to people that she was dead because it caused me that much pain.  I still get images of that morning.  That day, I became an automatic 20-year-old.  I didn’t progress through teen years like everyone else.  I didn’t have my rebellion years.  My father emotionally shut down after my mother died.  He didn’t know what to do without her.  Much less how to manage the family farm and a teenage daughter.  I didn’t want to hurt him more than he already hurt, so I grew up.  I did everything and figured out my life on my own.  I didn’t ask him for more than I needed.  I grew independent as I pushed the fact that my mother was dead further and further back in my mind.

Fast forward 10 years and my father passed away the same exact way my mother did (literally the same exact way).  Very unexpected as well.  This death pushed me into crisis mode.  I fell into a depression I am still dealing with as I realize that I have lost all the support and family I have in my life.  It was then that I was forced to actually deal with my mother’s death.  My therapist realized on the first session that my grief isn’t so much my father.  It’s my mother.  I have spent endless sessions talking about my mother.  How life was before her death, and after.  I even had to imagine that my dead mother was in the room with us and talk to her as the 26-year-old me.  That was the most painful thing I ever had to do.  

In the end, the trauma given to me by both of these deaths has shaped me into who I am.  It’s made me realize what love really is and shown me how to express my sadness and emotions.

What losses have you had that have created the biggest impact? The loss of both my parents and my closest friendships.

What methods have you used to deal with those losses? Honestly, nothing good.  I’ve used emotional eating, reading to distract myself from my thoughts and pain (I read 15 books in a course of two weeks), suicidal thoughts, thoughts of self-harm, loud music, blogging, therapy sessions, cleaning, staying in bed for days, not eating, sobbing for hours on end, sitting and staring into space, and crying myself to sleep.


One thought on “Impact Statement

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  1. I hope this helps you on your path towards healing. I still struggle with the grieving process. I lost my father when I was 20 & in the past 5 years, I lost my father-in-law and my grandmother and grandfather. I’ve had to look at my experiences as opportunities for growth, though that’s easier some days than others. Therapy has helped; yoga and meditation have helped; mindfulness and prayer, connections with others who’ve experienced loss, reading, writing, music, art, hiking & other exercise. I have awesome days, but I have rough days as well. I’ve come to a point where I understand that my emotions ebb and flow. On the really bad days, I try to find space and allow myself to feel the pain. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that good days will follow, and I will feel joy again. I hope this exercise was helpful. All the best to you.

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