Walking in the Darkness

photo by Casey Keal

People handle grief in all kinds of different ways.  Not only that, but there are cycles to it and a process of healing that you go through that is intense and just plain hurts.

When you lose someone you were close too, a hole is ripped in your heart.  There’s a vacancy that just can’t be filled.  When you lose more than one person in a short time, the world becomes a very dark place very quickly.  You will, without any choice in the matter, experience all the gifts grief brings with it including: regrets, second guessing, confusion, forgetfulness, feeling lost, anger, and that urge to call that person that just won’t go away.  There hasn’t been a day since mom and dad have been gone that I haven’t wanted to pick up the phone and call them to check on them or share some news with them. 

 I went through the wondering what would have happened if….stage.  That one was probably the hardest for me. The “what if’s” and “why” questions tormented me for days, especially at night.  Even two days ago I remembered something else that I used to do for mom, that I know she had forgotten to keep doing.  Would it have made a difference?  There’s no real useful purpose in even letting the mind wander along those lines.  What’s done is done and God doesn’t make mistakes, it was their time to go and that’s that. 

 I have over the years walked dark paths with my friends as they lost loved one’s, friends, parents, family members, but going through it yourself is quite different.  I had been trying to function as normal after my dad passed away in September.  I still went through the pains of grief, but kept going and forcing myself to put one foot in front of the other and made a point of calling mom several times a day to check on her and hear her voice. 

When mom passed away in December, all the order, organized thoughts, daily routines and even habits that were a normal part of my life went right out of the door.  I felt so completely thrown off kilter that there are some days, while I know I got things done, I don’t really remember doing them or even the days.  There were plenty of times when I felt a giant darkness invade my soul, knock me to the floor – sometimes literally – and threaten to drag me down into a depression that I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull out of. 

 Since my life has read much like a horror novel for many years along the way, darkness and I are old friends.  I embraced feeling everything, even the vast empty dark, but didn’t allow myself to set up residence there.   I knew then as I know now that brighter days will come again.  Even now the pain is nowhere near as intense as it once was.  I still miss both of them and there are days when I still cry all of a sudden because of some memory or thought that hits me out of the blue.  I allow myself to cry, because I am human.  I am thankful for several very close friends who took the time to come over and just be there.  I can’t claim that I was entertaining or good company at all, but they just came and didn’t necessarily talk a lot, sometimes we didn’t talk at all, but they were just there.  Thank you!!

 I recently saw this in an email a co-worker sent me:

A four-year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman had recently lost his wife.  Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. After awhile he hugged the man and went back home to his mom.  When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said,

Nothing, I just helped him cry.”

 When I read that, I thought, EXACTLY!!  Sometimes, we don’t need platitudes, no one really knows what to say anyway and we all know that.  You don’t really want to hear someone tell you “they are in a better place,”  mainly because the place you wish they were, is here with you, no matter how selfish that may be.  Sometimes, we just need someone to be there and help us cry.  Never under-estimate the good you do when you take the time to “just be there.” 

 Cherry Coley ©

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