In the beginning you believe the worst possible thing that has just happened to you and your family is the absolute worst possible thing ever. That no family, no person can possibly be grieving as deeply as you are. And time passes and your focus shifts slightly beyond your own searing pain and you see that someone else is hurting too. That others have experienced similar events.
That it’s not all about you.
And that’s the first baby step to healing. That realization that you are not alone, that others have similar stories, similar, though not exact, pain.
I’ve started reading Cheryl Strayed’s “Brave Enough.” I’m not very far into it — barely started in fact — and already this quote of hers makes me stop and reread. And nod in agreement. And read it again. And want to share it with all of you.
“”When you recognize that you will thrive not in spite of your losses and sorrows, but because of them, that you would not have chosen the things that happened in your life, but you are grateful for them, that you will hold the empty bowls eternally in your hands, but you also have the capacity to fill them? The word for that is healing.”
And now, not an hour later, I’m reading a blog written by a woman who has been through trials most of us couldn’t imagine, including the sudden death of her husband a year ago. A line down near the bottom of the post stops me again. And makes me want to share it (and her) with you.
“Emotions don’t get better. We get better at holding them. They don’t get less heavy, we get stronger.”
Both women are right. Out of trials and loss and grief and pain we get stronger. And often we grow in directions we might never have moved without the experiences that left indelible scars on our souls.
I never wanted nor dreamed of the losses that changed our family. But given that’s the way it is, I’m pleased to continue the growth, spawned but not defined, by life events.
Wherever you are in the cycle of life, I hope you can see the light and hope and growth shining ahead of you. If you need a hand up, there are plenty of people willing to take hold. And if you’ve moved into a good place yourself, glance around once in awhile. Someone might be there, just in the shadow, ready to move, but needing a little nudge.
I’ll get off the soapbox now.