It's been one year since our house sold and we picked up and moved to Eastern Canada. It's been a year of change, new people and places, challenges, and disappointments.
It's also been a year where key individuals stepped in to fill in the gaps, especially when my husband, the survivor, was too ill to be there for me. I suspect many of these individuals don't even know the meaningful role they played in helping me keep going. And if they do, they might not know how much I still value their support.
These people offered me a bridge between one place and another and one situation and the next.
I call these people bridge people.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary:
Bridge: a structure carrying a pathway or roadway over a depression or obstacle (such as a river); a time, place, or means of connection or transition.
Why Partners Need Bridge People
I believe that all partners of survivors need bridge people. One person's trauma impacts the entire family unit, often leaving partners with extra and unexpected responsibilities and roles. (To learn more: The High Risk of Secondary Traumatic Stress for the Families of Adult Survivors.)
Because of this, partners need people who can help out in practical and relational ways. We need people who go the extra mile when perhaps, our survivor-partner cannot. We need people to be a bridge for us.
Bridge people do not have to be trauma folks. In fact, most are just regular people who lend an extra hand when needed. Bridge people might offer extra time, a service at no cost, meals, a place to stay when traveling, or encouraging words. Bridge people just help out.
Today, I'm sharing my list of bridge people. I'm probably missing a few, but these are the ones who came to mind as I wrote. I hope my list will prompt you to think about yours.
Two real estate agents. One who sold our home and the other who helped me with the purchase of our existing home. Both agents were professionally sensitive to our situation.
My Winnipeg friend who helped me pack up our house, gave us a place to stay before we moved, and sent us on our way with lunches and snacks.
Jane Clapp. Jane is a trauma-informed movement and resiliency coach. She has been amazing at helping me learn nervous system regulation skills, essential for regaining and maintaining calm.
Anne Kinsey. Anne is a trauma recovery coach, a recovered survivor of human trafficking and an amazing friend and colleague.
Cowork Niagara. I recently joined this wonderful workspace in our new city. This group of diverse freelancers provides a welcome environment where I can talk non-trauma.
Those of you who regularly share my resources and reach out to comment and to say thanks. These interactions keep me going.
Please, if you know a partner to a survivor, would you be a bridge person to them? And if you are a partner or a family member to a survivor, who are your bridge people? Drop me a note and let me know.
Photo by Jake Melara on Unsplash