There is a common phrase out there that family doesn’t always have to be your blood – and I believe that in a lot of ways. There are people in my life who I am not related to by blood or marriage and yet I consider them family. This last week I had an eye-opening experience with that.
There is no question I’ve been struggling lately, and by lately I mean all damn year. My thoughts have gone to the worst place they can go on many occasions and while I have hinted at that here and there, outside of sharing with one or two people I kept the depths of that to myself, mainly because I don’t feel anyone else needs to worry themselves about it. It is my darkness.. they are my demons.. and I’ll own them.
But something odd happened this week. In a cigar group I belong to on Facebook someone shared a post about their week – how they had huge ups in being offered a new job, and huge downs when they found out a friend took his own life. Even though this is someone I’ve never spoken to, certainly never met, and likely never even crossed paths with even online, I was horribly affected by his words. As I mentioned in my own post on that site, I have heard 5 or 6 of these similar stories in the last few weeks, but this one hit me hard..
One thing that those outside the cigar community should know is how tight some of these groups can be. Some of my closest friends in the world I met through cigar groups in one way or another. I have met so many genuinely nice people that it blows my mind. When people ask why I smoke so much and I say that it is every bit as much for the commerfoderie and friendships I’ve built as it is for the cigars, they don’t understand.. and I don’t blame them. I suppose this is similar in other shared-interest groups, but the cigar groups I’m a part of are fantastically open and caring.
So, as completely out of character as it is, I made a post to that group. I poured my heart out in a lot of ways and shared how that initial post had me pushed to the point I needed to fight back tears. And then I shared my own demons, and the thoughts that have consumed me for the last number of months. How close I felt to breaking. My point was simply to get those words off my chest and feel some release, which I did.. but I never expected what would happen next.
People came out of the woodwork to offer support. People I’ve never met and have maybe not even spoken to before threw out their support. So many people who offered kind words and, even more amazingly, unsolicitedly offered their phone numbers for me to call should I find myself in one of those dark places.
I was, and continued to be, absolutely floored. It was a large, resounding message that even when you feel like you’re alone and the world is completely against you, there are people out there that have your back that you may not even know. I get emotional just thinking back on it.
Clearly I have a much larger family than I thought I did.
And it gives me strength as I face the unknown future..