What it means to be a survivor in my humble opinion. All felt by me, lived by me, and hopefully survived by me.  I write this to only make you aware….and maybe validate some of what you are feeling today.  You are loved very much in this world, you need to survive.
1.  You walk the earth looking for hope and purpose in your life after a traumatic event has occurred.
2.  You look at things differently.  The rose-colored glasses have broken and you see things much clearer in some situations while in other instances your vision has become cloudy.
3.  Your emotions are at the surface most of the time.  You may not show them but they are there.  You are more aware of feelings inside yourself.
4.  You want to explain how precious life is to others.  Your survival may come from a loss or a horrific event that did not involve death.  Either way, you are surviving something that you will never forget.  You want to verbalize to others for them to stop and take notice of the small things, appreciate the details, and talk to their family.
5.  Your life has changed forever.
6.  You may be stuck in a deep depression.
7.  You are quick to discount people right now, early in your survival.  You think that they just do not understand and can in no way help you or comfort you.  People annoy you and anger you.  This is completely normal.
8.  You want to blame someone or something, but then in your survival you will come to peace, at some point, that blame and guilt are destructive to you.
9.  You are numb at times.
10. You look for ways to ease the pain. Sometimes falling down a hole yourself, sometimes being destructive, but continuing as a survivor.  You pull yourself back up and start over.  You start over many times, sometimes multiple times in one day.
11. You possess skills, experience, depth and breadth that can inspire and touch others.  You are the wise one, an elder of sorts.  Survivors are not broken, we are whole.  We are a full package, complete, with bonus gifts included to guide the world.
12. Where you may have once been the type to sit and listen to overpowering fool, you now pick and choose who will be a part of your life.  Or where you once would not let anyone in, maybe now you are open to showing your heart.
13. You are a survivor of a life changing event. You are an example, a success story, a bright shimmery trophy on the mantle of life.
14. You have a story.  You have a message.
I am a survivor of many things, most recently the suicide of my 24-year-old son.  I put myself through the wringer at times, thinking I should be further along in my grief or thinking that I should shut my mouth – that no one wants to hear the pain.  I don’t think this is going anywhere anytime soon, I will grieve for my son till the moment I die.  And, I will continue to be vocal about suicide and life.
If you are reading this and are a survivor of anything….you absolutely know what I mean.
My post about being a survivor does not include EVERYTHING it could possibly mean to be one but it does touch on some high points I think are important.  Bottomline, you matter.  You are important.  You need to survive and you will survive.