Through the months and months I was trudging through the heaviest grief life had offered me yet, one question I would ask anyone who seemed like they could give me an answer… “how looooong will I feel like this?”
Oh it was awful. I couldn’t stand the darkness that was looming as I woke up, the one that was even heavy to sleep through. The darkness of pain that had robbed me of every single enjoyment in life. A pain and emptiness that swallowed me whole, from the inside out. It stripped me of myself, and though I was the same person, living the same life, it was as if everything had changed. It had.
This question I was asking of course, was an impossible question to answer. Everyone grieves in their own way and time. I didn’t know this before, but I’ve had to learn to accept this in this past year. At first, I was trying to grieve along side my family members.. hoping we could all carry one another to the finish line of hell. But that’s not how it works. At least, that’s not how it has looked for me.
When my sister died, something inside me died too. Something inside me broke, my foundation shifted, my perspective forever changed. I didn’t like it. I didn’t want things to change. I liked my life how it was.
My therapist said one time during our session, “I think perhaps something was going to break you, and this was just it. And I think putting things back together, you may be even stronger than before.” He could have told me I would be changing the sky from blue to pink, and it would have made as much sense. I had just had the life knocked out of me. How on earth could I even recover, much less stronger than before.
In time, time that continues to take way long in my opinion. Through days that were more dark than I ever knew life could be. Through emotional upsets of aftershocks of my sister’s death… I realized something.
The only way I was going to feel better, was if I decided to feel better.
I could clearly see now that my holding on to things I can’t control was never going to help. I had been holding these things for YEARS, long even before my sister passed. But through my grief, a light illuminated the shades of grey. I could let go, now. I could let go of something I never had a hold of anyway. I could let go, and live.
As simple as this may sound, it took me 9 months of hiking through hell, and really 29 years before that, of clinging to things that weren’t meant for me to cling to. Control, expectations, hopes, longing, relationships that were broken… all of it. It wasn’t mine. It was God’s all along, and I wasn’t ever supposed to be white knuckling those things in my life. That was keeping me from living the life I am supposed to live.
For me, it took my whole world shattering, for me to hand the pieces to God. But once I did… Once I handed over my life-as-I-once-knew-and-loved-it, I began living again.
I’m walking in a different direction now, after going in circles for years. What was is gone, but what awaits is so much more than we can see.