Grief journeys take many twists and turns, uphill, downhill, and every which way. There are times when I am totally fine. I mean, almost as if nothing changed. Living my life with forward momentum and sunny skies. But, around the next bend, the sun disappears, and suddenly, I’m in a dark gray funk. Dark days are always triggered by something. Might be as simple as a melody or scent bringing up a memory that buries me in emotions. At the present time, though, it’s a mighty big trigger. It’s almost her birthday, and I am overwhelmed.
How can a mother forget the day of her child’s birth? The day she came into the world. The day we first laid eyes on her beautiful, dear face. I am so blessed by her coming. How empty and barren our lives would have been without her sweet presence! Though absent now, the blessing of her presence in our lives remains. I celebrate her birthday, so grateful she was here, if but for a while.
And yet, as the day of her birth approaches, I miss her more than ever. Those sunny days when things feel almost normal evaporate, and the grayness that settles over me is completely involuntary. I can’t stop it. I can’t prevent it. It just is.
And, yet, I’ve noticed something vitally important about grief journeys. The path may take me into dark tunnels sometimes, but the tunnel is not a dead end. The path always comes out on the other side, back into the sun, back to the light of day. I remind myself of that. Tunnels come. Some shorter and some longer than others. Some darker and some colder. But always, they lead back to daylight if I just keep walking.
Another discovery is that I’m never alone in the dark. Never. Darkness may prevent me from seeing my hand in front of my face, at times, but not seeing doesn’t mean there’s no one there. God. Friends. Family. No, I’m not alone. And, so, I keep walking, confident, hope-full. Just up ahead, there’s daylight.