“This doesn’t mean that we act like the pain doesn’t exist. That’s called being numb. But in the light, like a flower opens in the sun’s warmth and nourishment, the light can make a broken heart come alive, shedding the frost, shedding the numb from the winter’s cold, and blossoming, even if it hurts sometimes, and even if it’s hard, it’s also beautiful.”
Fragile, that’s how I would describe those first few days. Dark, that word works, too. It was as though I was stumbling through, trying as I could not to shatter, blinded by pain, reaching out for any hand that might hold on to me. I laid back on the tan carpet that first night after the rest of the house went to sleep, the tears streaming down my face, the questions, the angry and hopeless laments flowing out of me.
How could this happen?
How could this happen?
How could this happen?
I did not like the darkness. I never did. The darkness was uncomfortable, it was stretching in a way that I never wanted to be stretched. It was debilitating and fierce and frightening. I did not want to stay there, but I could not find my way through alone.
I can quickly recall a handful of the most gut-wrenching moments in my life. Words like hopeless, isolated, desolate rush into my mind, but by far, the most overwhelming was the feeling that somehow, this was the end of all things. Like my life was now damaged, forever ruined. Like I could never come back from this. Like I could never pick myself off the ground and stand again. Intense, earth-shattering moments of complete and utter brokenness. The pieces of my life and heart shattered far too many times into far too minuscule of pieces, that it would be impossible to repair.
If you feel this way, know that you are not alone, and hear this: this is not the end.
The months after my son died were by far the most isolating months of my life. I was suffering, intensely, and no one could understand. That’s what I told myself, walking through each day, distancing myself from all said people, all the ones who would never understand and could never understand. I arose and planted my feet on the ground each morning with grit and survival and duty and a whole lot of grace, but nothing within me desired to stand.
If you find yourself here, that’s okay, but know it doesn’t always have to be this way.
It was then, in those first fragile days, in those days that followed, in the months that came and went, that I was held by others, that my simple utterance, my plea, my wish, my prayer to leave the darkness was heard, and hand after hand reached out, holding on to me, and pulled me to the light.
Beginning with the moment that he died, the dear ones who placed their arms around me as I held him, who kissed his little face, whose tears fell gently, mourning him with me. The ones who sat with me, in silence, who rushed to my side, who were only one phone call away. The ones who held my hand, even from miles away. The grieving mothers who also are fumbling through the darkness beside me, yet still reach out their hand, and we find the light together.
No one likes the darkness. The darkness adds no merit and no depth to the amount of love that we have. Grief doesn’t have to exist only in the darkness. Grief will last as long as love does, but grief can be felt in the light. Grief can coexist with joy. Grief can be a slow, lifelong mending. Grief doesn’t have to be always associated with anger and constant pain. Grief can sometimes feel more like a constant melody, sometimes loud, and sometimes, the soothing tune of love that follows you through your days.
There is something to be said about sitting together in the darkness, but if you ask me, I don’t want to stay there; I don’t like the darkness that much. I would rather pull each other to the light, hand-in-hand, even in the face of brokenness, even in the face of fear, even in the face of apathy and depression, because even when our hearts are laid waste, the light is where we belong, we sometimes just need a little help finding our way. That’s why we have each other.
We need to pull each other to the light.
This doesn’t mean that we act like the pain doesn’t exist. That’s called being numb. But in the light, like a flower opens in the sun’s warmth and nourishment, the light can make a broken heart come alive, shedding the frost, shedding the numb from the winter’s cold, and blossoming, even if it hurts sometimes, and even if it’s hard, it’s also beautiful.
Pull each other to the light.
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