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Ed Owens: choosing to break free after tragedy

Ed Owens

Ed Owens

Editor’s Note:  This month’s blog is by Ed Owens, a trainer for the Bend, Oregon-based Grief Recovery Institute. In coming months we will feature writing from other grads who are taking what they learned in Wings into the world. We hope you will “like,” comment, share, and join in the conversation!

Wings teaches that we are always at choice, even when faced with unimaginably painful experiences. In 2010, my 3-year-old son Eddie Ryan died tragically; that night forever changed my life. So many of my hopes, dreams, and expectations for the future were shattered. There are no words to describe the pain, loneliness, and isolation I felt in the unimaginably dark box I found myself in following his death. My heart was broken; I could only feel the grief and pain.

In 2013, I was resistant to attending PES and the Wings experience. My resistance fueled my own fears that persisted. I was afraid to let go of past regrets and felt fearful of the future. I will forever remember that night, in PES, when Kris King asked me “So, how much of your life do you want back?” What I wanted back, my son, wasn’t possible. I was so mad I nearly left that night. I found myself at choice. I chose to stay and face my fears, to show up fully, and be vulnerable. I chose to break free from the emotional prison I had constructed; breaking free from that dark box was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It was also, in that moment of choice, that I felt joy and love for the first time since Ryan died, feelings I thought I’d never experience again. I felt alive once more.

Since PES, I’ve continued my journey in life, attending several Wings seminars: CrossOver, LifeWorks, Integrate, and Listening Heart and volunteering on assist teams. I’m still learning, yet through my experiences with Wings my growing edge continues to be honed. It was during Integrate that I embraced those parts of me that I had been denying myself. I felt whole and realized that my experiences in life, especially the painful ones, are treasured gifts to help me learn and grow. Ryan’s death has been my greatest gift in life; Wings taught me to see this. I’ve learned more about life and living from Ryan than I could have ever taught him myself.

I have so much love and gratitude in my heart for Wings and everyone in my Wings family. Wings changed my life. My experiences through Wings and those I’ve met, who are among my closest friends, have guided and lovingly supported my path in life. If not for Wings, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m grateful to be living life in service to others as the operations manager for the Grief Recovery Institute, an international organization dedicated to helping people recover from loss. I’m honored to travel throughout the US and internationally as one of the institute’s trainers, training and certifying Grief Recovery Method specialists who then help grieving people in their communities heal their broken hearts. I chose to live my life outside the box. I am the change in the world I wish to see.

With Love and Gratitude, From My Heart to Yours ~ Ed

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