Living life without your child is like falling, quite by accident, into a deep, dark well in the wee hours of the morning. At first your entire body is underwater. You can’t breathe. But that’s okay, because if you don’t breathe, you will die. You’re not sure you want to live anyway! After all, dying means that you will be with your child. Then, without willing it, your body’s natural buoyancy brings your head above the water. It’s your body’s survival mode kicking in. You’re able to breathe, but treading water is hard work. The water is bone-chilling cold, and you think you it just might be easier to give up and drown. Even that is a scary proposition. Living isn’t easy, and it’s just too hard to die!
Outside the well, the sun begins to rise, and you catch a glimmer of light. Hope! Hours pass, and now the sun is high in the sky. With the added light, you notice a ladder for which to climb. The only problem is that it is slick with slime. You attempt to scale the ladder multiple times in search of the bright sunshine. Sometimes you make it a few steps and fall. There have been times when you successfully climb nearly to the top, only to make one false move and to plummet into the frigid water once again. Climbing the ladder, like your grief journey, is a long and arduous process. Sometimes it’s one step forward and then two backwards. But eventually, you miraculously find your way out of that deep, dark place. Still the memory of falling into the well will forever haunt you.
I wish I could tell you that you will never find yourself in that well again. But sadly, fellow traveler, I can tell you that it does happen. An unexpected event, memory or comment takes you back to the early days of your grief where you miss your child to the depths of your soul. But there is good news. Those days grow less and less. The sun begins to shine more often. When you do fall into that deep well, you have become more adept at crawling out. You are stronger and braver. You find more joy than sorrow in your life, and for that, you are grateful!