Follow by Email

Friday, November 13, 2015

i'Mpossible guest post: Leslie W. Zeitler with Got Hope?

This is the forty-eighth edition of The i’Mpossible Project: A series where anyone can share a personal story of inspiration or an event in life where they overcame tremendous odds. Everyone has a powerful story to tell and something to teach the world. (See HERE for guidelines on how you can write for The i’Mpossible Project.) Here we have Leslie W. Zeitler with Got Hope?

* * *
Got Hope? (Hint: It looks a lot like weeding...)
Thanks to Josh Rivedal for the invitation to guest-post!  Today's post is about hope lost and eventually, hope regained.
When I was 15, I lost my mom to suicide. Despite the profound loss of my mother, the fallout with some family members afterwards, and the feeling that my world had completely upended, I still had ambitions. Even with the sense of betrayal and the long-gnawing fear of possibly ending up like my mom, I felt myself moving forward on a trajectory that whispered softly in my ear: “history is not destiny”. I stuck to my goals: I went to college, I traveled, I found a city in which to live that felt like home (3000 miles away), I went to grad school and became a professional social worker which I’d felt was my calling. I couldn’t have done any of those things without hope.
Then, my maternal aunt – my mother’s older sister - died by suicide 17 years after my mom’s suicide. My aunt, the one who acted as my second mom in early childhood and took care of me when my mom struggled with severe bouts of depression. My aunt, the woman who helped me get my prom dress made in my senior year of high school. My aunt, who came to my college and graduate school graduations. My aunt: another woman in my family who battled depression.
Yes, I’ve been in therapy to deal with the loss of my mom, the family fallout, the loss of my aunt, and more. Yes, I’ve attended support groups. Yes, I have dear friends who I’ve been able to talk with about these losses. Yes, yes and yes: I took and continue to take steps to attend to my own mental health and well-being. But even with all of these steps, something transpired inside of me and I lost more than just my aunt.  It took a long time to figure it out, and it took some digging...


* * *
Leslie W. Zeitler, L.C.S.W. is a survivor of two family suicides: Leslie was 15 years old when her mother died by suicide, and was 33 years old when her maternal aunt died by suicide. She has been looking into a variety of ways to support survivors of suicide.  She writes about the losses (https://suicidesurvivors.wordpress.com), speaks about trauma and loss, and has engaged in storytelling to bring more attention to the needs of survivors of loved ones' suicides.  As such, Leslie has had literary work accepted into mixed-media art exhibits hosted by the Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA).  Professionally, Leslie is a social worker whose career spans almost 20 years in the field of child welfare.

* * *
You can find more stories like Leslie's in The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You, now available for pre-order. 50 authors. 50 inspirational stories of overcoming tremendous obstacles. 
Read a few sample chapters HERE.
The first 200 people to pre-order will get a “thank you” in the front of the book, and a free copy of the book The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah.