I said “What the hell?!” as I stood in the doorway of Zoi’s bedroom one morning a few months after she died. I was angry and it hit me. She’s not here anymore, and she’s not coming back. What am I supposed to do now? What’s next? What am I going to do with all of her things? What the hell Zoi?! I broke down crying on the floor.
I found the strength to pull myself together and leave the house for my workday. On my commute, I thought about this further. I understood that suicide is not an isolated incident. There are thousands of families, right now, thinking to themselves: Why? What the fuck? Why did this need to happen?! We all know that if we could bring that person back, they most likely would not choose suicide again. When I got home that day, I sat out back on my deck and started writing down all of the questions I had.
Anyone involved with a loss to suicide knows that we will never have the full answer for why someone did what they did. It always hurts. Look, any death we may experience deals us a massive hit, and it can leave us feeling devastated. The more I pondered it, the more I realized the “why” has nothing to do with your loved one that died. And, asking yourself why every single day isn’t going to help you move beyond the tragedy.
Hear me out. We all want the answer to that question of “why”. I’m here to tell you, you’re not going to get it. Instead, use the devastating angst, sorrow, hurt, and confusion, and channel it into a different question to ask yourself: What is my greater purpose? What is my Why?
Do you have a Why? Hell YES you do!
I went to a leadership event in Tampa, Florida in 2016 hosted by former Green Beret, Ret. Lieutenant Col. Scott Mann. The main purpose of the event was to introduce us to our why. Here is what I discovered:
- My main purpose was to be Zoi’s dad for others.
- I’m not done yet.
- Zoi’s purpose continues to live on past her.
You see, It’s not about why you have lost; it’s about why you are here. What legacy are you building right now? What will you be remembered for?
That’s why I wrote A Sherpa Named Zoi. My name is Eric Hodgdon, and I am just a regular man dealing with the loss of a beautiful, 15-year-old daughter to suicide. I decided years ago I wasn’t going to let this tragedy stop me. In fact, I am still here for a reason. I am now a speaker, advocate, and author, and I help other grieving people to see that there is still a beautiful path for their future. I’m not done yet.
It might not feel like it right now, but there is a lot left for you to do too. You can live beyond loss. I have, and I know that you can, too. You have a greater purpose. It’s time to go figure out what that is.
Overcome adversity and build the resilience leader in you.
Struggle is inevitable. And, inside of any struggle we face lies the opportunity to navigate our way through it and thrive because of it. We ask questions that must be answered in order for us to move forward to the other side of that struggle. We cannot look outside of ourselves for the answers. We have to look inside.
When we are empowered to answer these questions, we build the toolset that helps us not just survive the struggle, but to thrive when we are in it. By a process I call MAPS, you too can address struggle in all aspects of your life including the workplace and at home. This is the process I use daily, and it has helped me navigate some of the most difficult struggles I've faced in life.