Many have experienced the loss of a loved one and felt the overwhelming emotions of profound grief and fear that accompany the experience. It is too easy for some to be drawn into the depths of depression and reside there, while others make the conscious choice to move forward with their lives. Debbie Spears chose to move forward. It took her awhile to get to that point, but she chose to use her experience to help others who have also experienced loss.
In July 2011, Spears lost her husband, David, in a horrific car accident in which she and one of her sons were also involved. Immediately following the head-on collision, Spears realized her husband did not survive the crash. She said of that moment, “Simultaneously I felt extreme horror but also peace knowing that he was in heaven.”
Like others before her, Spears grieved at the loss of her spouse, partner in parenting, and best friend. There was also the overwhelming sadness of her boys losing their father at the ages of 13, 15, and 18. Six years out, the family continues to deal with the rippling effects of that day. But the good news through all of that was the tremendous support she received from others, including the doctor from whom she received counseling for 18 months. Amazingly, as Spears moved through the cycles of grief, she never really experienced true anger. Spears shared, “I’ve always had the philosophy that I’m no different from anyone else, that I will experience terrible things too.”
Two years after the loss of her husband, Spears experienced an overwhelming conviction to turn this horrendous experience into something positive. She asked herself, “How can I use real life strategies that worked for me to help others?” Spears generated a list of strategies that she says helped her, and in May 2013, Spears formed the group, Living After Losing. Her focus for the group is providing encouragement by making positive steps toward moving forward. The group meets at Freedom Baptist Church on the first Monday of each month at 6:30. Spears often arranges for guest speakers who’ve experienced loss in diverse ways. Spears says, “Sometimes the group fellowships through activities like social art, walking at Hitchcock Creek, bowling, dinner, breakfast, all to preserve the idea that a large part of moving forward is staying active and engaging in healthy, positive activities. The group is about “encouraging people to realize that despite their loss, they, as individuals, still have a purpose here, separate from who they were with that person they lost.”
“At the end of the day”, Spears says, “we have the choice of moving forward with purpose or giving up.” She chose to move forward and strives to help others do the same through Living After Losing.
For more information, visit: Debbie Spears on Facebook (send a private message) or Facebook page, Living After Losing. (Like the page)
Meetings restart in September.