September 6, 2021.
In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago, and it other ways, it feels like yesterday.
One thing is certain, September 6, 2021 changed my life as I knew it. My son, Teagan died by suicide and my world came crashing in on me.
No one prepares us to be parents. You’re handed this tiny, wet, most often screaming little person and they are yours to love, feed, care for, raise, teach, etc. You are now a mother and with that comes an enormous amount of responsibility and expectation. With that comes love so profound, you didn’t even know it was possible. Exhaustion, so fierce you didn’t know one could survive it. And sometimes, pain so intense you’re shaken to your very core.
Losing Teagan created thoughts, emotions and obstacles in my life that I never fathomed having to face. From very early on, very early, I made a pact to not only figure out how to be ok and heal myself, but to create more awareness around mental health and advocate for suicide prevention. Those early months were pure torture and I was barely functioning. Helping anyone else when I could hardly help myself seemed like an impossibility. Yet, I still had this desire deep within my heart to do something. To do or create or find someway to help prevent more tragic deaths like Teagans. I just had no idea what it would be or how I could possibly carry anything out.
As time went on and I began to find a sliver of healing, I was able to focus more on this purpose that had been placed on my heart. I created a Suicide Awareness and Prevention Event in my local community with the help of many wonderful friends and family. It was something that I felt was helpful and beneficial and it will continue on for years to come. That event has also created more opportunities and I continue to pursue those as well.
In the midst of this, I never forgot the commitment I made early on after losing Teagan, that I would do whatever I needed to do for both myself and my children to be OK. To heal. To function and thrive again. To help create more joyful memories for our family. (By the way, after burying your child, this feels utterly impossible and hopeless, but I was determined to figure it out.)
This is where we insert Life Coaching. After therapy to work through the deep trauma I had experienced, hiring a Life Coach once again completely changed my life, only this time, in a positive way. Being coached through my grief, brought a level of healing and a capacity to look to the future with hope and optimism, that I didn’t think I would ever be able to feel again. Learning tools, skills and coping methods that make it possible for me to continue on in a way that felt completely unattainable for so long has been one of the greatest blessings I have received in my life.
In fact, such a blessing, that I decided to certify as a Life Coach myself. When early on after losing Teagan I vowed to raise awareness and be an advocate for mental health and suicide prevention I didn’t have any skills or education to do so. I was able to talk about suicide and mental health but I wasn’t armed with any solid skills, knowledge or tools to feel like I could really be of help to anyone. Well, this was the ticket. I am now equipped with life changing tools, skills, concepts and modalities to help transform lives. It’s THEE most amazing gift after losing Teagan.
I have been immersed in and found deep meaning, joy, hope and gratitude in creating a program for teens. A program to teach them to build mental and emotional strength and resilience. Having the ability to arm teenagers with so much power, wisdom and ability to navigate the ups and downs of their teenage years and into adulthood is such a beautiful gift. A gift for my clients, yes…but also such a beautiful gift for me. When I first felt the inspiration to help, uplift, inform…I also felt a bit defeated. I just didn’t know how I could possibly do that. As I’ve healed, grown, researched, certified, and implemented over the past year, I know this…I won’t stop. I won’t stop learning, implementing and sharing. This program is just the beginning. Breathing hope and light into these kids, fills me with light and hope. Showing them how their brains work and teaching them to make their brains work for them and not against them, breaths life into me as I see the changes they’re making for themselves. Teaching teens about their feelings and emotions and validating their human-ness while showing them that they hold all the power to create the results they desire in their lives is fulfilling and joyful for me. Watching kids thrive, succeed and most of all learn to love themselves through their successes AND their failures, is an absolute gift I’ve been able to give not only to clients, but to myself.
THIS IS SUICIDE PREVENTION.
Building mental and emotional strength is the best way to equip our youth for the world they live in and the ups and downs they are, and will continue to navigate through life.
I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, but I 100% believe we can find PURPOSE IN OUR PAIN. I wished, prayed and begged to be able to find that… and I have. And I know that this is only the beginning. There is so much more I want to do, to offer and to create.
I do this in memory and honor of my son, Teagan Gene Titensor. I read the following at his funeral and I intend to keep my promise…
“I feel a personal responsibility and that Teagan too, would want to spread awareness for the sake every struggling human, especially teenagers and young adults. You are loved. You have worth. You have potential beyond your wildest imagination. There is hope. There is help. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that isn’t figure-out-able. In Teagan’s name and on Teagan’s behalf, I will do my best to spread awareness, to love, to help and to lift and I invite all to do the same.”
This work that I have been led to, is in my opinion the ultimate in overall mental and emotional wellness. Not everyone is in mental health crisis, but everyone can benefit from building and strengthening their mental health and wellness. We can all use tools and skills to help us navigate the hard things life offers us. And to be able to learn about and talk openly about our feelings and emotions and the thoughts that are flowing through our heads, is maybe the most important and lacking skill we have in our society. I am so grateful for this work and that I was led to it.
I have found ‘purpose in my pain’. And I will continue to do so with each and every breath that I have left.
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