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It was actually right after my son was born that I came to the realization that I could do better, I could be better. Having a child that you are responsible for raising, I didn't want to fail him by not being the best I could be and I knew something was wrong and that things could be better. I loved him so much, since before he was born, I wanted only the best for him. My mother had passed approximately a year before my son was born (and had taken years to have, btw. I'd almost given up - but that's another story for another time.)

That was when my real journey began. I began seeing a therapist, a counselor and exploring who I was and how I'd gotten to where I was. It was one of the biggest steps forward I'd ever taken and I have not one ounce of regret. My focus wandered from organized religion to things that resonated with me: spirituality. I have a brother who was then shifting from health care management to life coaching and leadership training. I paid attention and enjoyed what I was learning. Things started to make sense to me. I was learning what I could control or manage - me and only me - and started feeling better. I had a much better sense of what I could do.

I came to some important personal realizations during this time. I sorted through my childhood looking for clues as what had made me who I was compared to who I wanted to be. I tried to be as honest as I could. It wasn't easy coming to terms with some things and I experienced a lot of pain. And when I did, I allowed myself to grieve, and to heal. I faced realities I'd never wanted to and tried to get real. I remember it as a terribly painful but worthwhile investment that I knew would take time, a lot of time. But I was liking myself more, and I found whenever I suffered through something, I continued coming out the other end better. I was facing myself, really for the first time. I started to feel younger instead of feeling like I was dying most of the time. I was figuring things out.

Susan Erickson Catucci

August 17, 2022

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