Darkness. Loss. Sorrow. Grief.
All of us have an understanding of each of these words. These emotions.
The cause, the depth, and the duration may be different but we all know these. They come from our own experience and are seldom the same as what others may have felt in similar circumstances. They are as unique as we are.
Since Barb’s passing, I’ve read many articles and books about how I will feel and when I will feel it. All well intended and provide appreciated insight into dealing with the death of a loved one.
But what I have come to know is that these emotions, especially grief, are not on any common time schedule. They come when they come and stay as long as they stay.
Loss creeps in at night when I’m lying in bed alone.
Sorrow visits sometimes when I see my granddaughter and think how she will not know her Grandma Barb in this life.
And grief. Grief lays hold of me frequently. It hits me some days at work, some days while just driving, and some days when I’m reminded of Barb by a scent or sound or the sight of something we had shared.
One book on grieving I have read contained the following quote from a man who had suffered multiple losses, “When you lose a parent you lose your past; when you lose a spouse you lose your present; when you lose a child you lose your future”. Our relationship to our loved one influences how we grieve.
The key I’ve found for me is to accept these emotions when they come. Not to deny or hide from them. To allow myself to experience each one in My own way and for as long as I need to. Some stay longer than others but they all must and will leave again at some point.
In a way these emotions are kind of like a thunder storm. They’re dark and scary and seem to come out of nowhere. Who knows how long the storm will last or how bad it may get. We may feel trapped or paralyzed. We have no control over it.
But storms do pass. Some take longer and may be darker than others but they will pass. And so will these emotions. We just need to find the strength and courage to ride them out.
For me that strength and courage has come from my friends, my family, and my faith. I’m lucky to have these three pillars in my life as I know many folks may not. It is my prayer that some day everyone will and that for some I may help that happen.
Will the storms, the darkness of loss, sorrow, and grief return? Most likely yes. But each time they do and we make it through, we are made stronger.
Lean upon your pillars of strength. Grab and hold on to the hands of courage reaching out to you. And do the same for others.
For as dark the night and storms may be, there is a brighter day we soon will see.
You can make it. We will make it.