Guilt, Self Doubt, Helplessness, Hopelessness..... Fear. A whirlwind of emotions. They are infiltrating, assaulting as they consume the deepest darkest parts of the mind.
Battling a loss that undoubtedly breaks your heart is one of the most difficult, lengthy and timeless endeavors that you will ever take on. It's easy to get caught in the doldrums of grief, the place of broken dreams, hopes and expectations. The thought of moving on from there can keep us paralyzed in the fear that if we move forward, somehow we are neglecting the memory of our loved one. How can we ever feel happy again? Why should I feel joy? It's like we unknowingly signed up for a life of misery and didn't have a clue that we had done so. The thought of trying to leave that place can seem overwhelming, frightening.
Here's the deal. We all suffer losses throughout our lifetime. It is inevitable. Some leave an endless black hole right in the center of our hearts. I hear that, I hear your pain. I know the physical toll that the death can create in a person. As someone who buried her 11 month old daughter, I am here to tell you that learning to be happy again DOES NOT DIMINISH THE MEMORY OF YOUR LOVED ONE. Did you hear me when I said that because it's that important. Let me say again, being happy DOES NOT DIMINISH THE MEMORY OF YOUR LOVED ONE. It's ok to feel joy again, it's ok to smile, it's ok to enjoy an evening out, it's all ok. I know you wont' give yourself permission to these things so I give you permission! Doing these things does not mean your person never existed. It also doesn't mean that you are never sad. 16 years later and I still have those moments when I reflect back and my heart hurts but I also know that because her life ended and mine didn't does not mean that I have to act like it did. You have a choice and when you're ready you too can choose to be happy again. Your future health, mental state, job, family and friends all depend on your actions now. I know these words can be hard to hear. I probably would have wanted to throat punch someone if they had said them in my darkest moments but I also know that my thoughts were not clear. They were veiled with lament and pain. Looking back is always a bit clearer and I wish I knew then what I know now and that is your heart can hold both joy AND that special place for your loved at the same time.
You can choose to stay in the doldrums, to do nothing, or to get your fight back! We all get the choice. Your reality now is probably not the way you saw your life going, but it did. Don't you ever forget that there is a fighter in each and every one of us. You've been battling things your entire life and each and every time you have gotten back up and kept going. Find your fighter! As you look depression in the face I need you to tape your knuckles. When alcohol is the way you are covering up your pain, I need you to put on your boxing gloves. When it's too hard to get out of bed, I need you to stand tall and get in a fighters stance. When the world (even with their good intentions) says things that break your heart a little more, I need you to BLOCK! When you hit an anniversary and the pain consumes you, JAB! When the world moves on and you're not ready, JAB! And when the day comes and you realize that maybe just maybe you can find your new normal and learn to how to hold both grief and joy in your heart at the same time, this is you dropping a bomb of a RIGHT HOOK!!!
This world will knock us to our knees if we let it. Grief will hold you down and ruin every part of your life if you let it rule. It will kick you when you're down and kick you again. It cannot be fulfilled. This is your life, this is your future and as we move forward with the vision of the time to come and our loved one in our hearts lets make the choice everyday to take one step toward healing. Do the self care thing. You can't pour from an empty cup. Surround yourself with those people that lift you up. Only pour positive things into your mind. Go to a support group. See the counselor. Get right with God. Do whatever you need to do and put on your damn fighting gloves!