Maybe we don’t talk about the dark days enough. Maybe we don’t write about them enough. That early grief, that raw mourning. Maybe once we begin to move forward through our grief journey and time passes, we simply just don’t mention the dark as much. Maybe we slowly begin to realize that our life and thoughts and posts are full of silver linings and hope and even joy.
Which I think is amazing!
We often sit in the midst of our early grief, the dark days, and think, “I will never get through this,” or “Things will never change,” or even “This is going to kill me.” Yet, time slowly passes, and one year later or five years later or even ten years later, we find out that the dark days actually don’t kill us. Things do change. We do get through it. We are survivors.
However, maybe once we reach that point, when the days are lighter, maybe we naturally don’t mention the dark days as much because most of the days are no longer so intense. In all honesty, the dark days are a little embarrassing, shameful, scary. I totally understand why someone wouldn’t want to talk about them. They are full of bad decisions, hurtful remarks, missed opportunities, crippling grief, hopeless loneliness, and so much pain.
My dark days consisted of a lot of failed parenting. Well-meaning friends I pushed away. Billions of tears cried. Yelling. Wasted gas driving with no destination. Thoughts of “What if I just don’t push on the breaks?” A constant heaviness in my chest. Outbursts of anger. Flashbacks of my husband’s lifeless face. Sleepless nights and nightmares. The inability to recognize myself in the mirror. And so much pain.
Aren’t we all just trying to leave those days behind, trying to survive?
Because I know I never want to go back there.
I never want to step back into the darkness that held me so captive that I was sure I was going to die there. I was sure I was going to die there in the dark, in the loneliness, in the pain. I was sure I was going to die as that young girl wailing alone in the shower the night her husband died, scrubbing away at her own skin until it turned a bright red. I was sure I was forever going to be the girl whose sorrow would reveal itself as outbursts of anger, forever holding back tears until it was all too much. I was sure I was forever going to be the person whose heart would never relax because the anxiety never left her alone, the worries never ceased flowing through her mind, the pain.never.stopped.
I never want to go back there.
Thankfully, I don’t live in those dark days anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still have hard days when it’s difficult to get out of bed or talk to people. I still cry at certain memories. I still miss my husband every day. But my days are no longer overwhelmed with darkness, and when the darkness does come around, I am now surrounded by the light, instead of struggling to reach it. And I think God every day that I did not die there in the dark.
However, I think there is still value in talking about those days, regardless of how embarrassing or difficult it may be.
Well besides the simple fact that I am a lover of stories and journeys, I am also a believer in meaning and reason. And God forbid- I have not lived this life without there being a reason, without a meaning. Those dark days are part of my story. They are a part of my grief journey. They are a part of who I am today, the woman I have become. They are the reason I am able to see so much light in my life today. They are a part of me. There will be good that comes out of my story. There will be light that shines from my life. There will be value in my journey. There will be meaning for the tragic death of my beloved husband.
Even if it is to simply sit here, right now, writing this to you, my fellow widow friend, and make you feel a little less alone today, and assure you that you will not be in the dark forever.
You will make it.
You are a survivor.
Do not be afraid of the dark.
And when your days finally become lighter, I hope you will share your story with a fellow widow friend who needs to hear it, too.