There comes a time…
The last goodbye is never easy. There’s a deep emptiness that no words can fill. You stand and stare and feel the aching loss. The finality of it all does not seem fair. In the numbness, you search for answers that lie out there, somewhere, beyond your reach. The rawest pain of all is when you lose someone close to you, someone you’ve come to know and love, someone whose presence has made your world all the more safe and secure. You wait for the fog to lift. You know you need to pick up the pieces, you’re just not sure how. You know there comes a time…
Grief brings us face to face with our fragile hold on life. We languish for a while on the edge of the precipice with nowhere to turn. The normal certainties are no more. We momentarily forget and expect to find him there where he always was. It’s just not the same anymore. Our tried and trusted compass points seem obsolete in shades of light we have not seen before. We owe it to those around us to brace the elements and make our way home. The road ahead seems strange but somehow the universe reminds us that we are not alone.
Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said.
A child or a book or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made.
Or a garden planted. Something your hand touches some way so your soul has
somewhere to go when you die and when people look at the tree or that flower
you planted, you’re there.
There comes a time… to allow your memories breathe again. What you lived and loved, you never lose. It becomes part of who you are. Narrow down the lens of time and retrieve the unscripted events that matter most. The funniest memories often reveal so much about the person. Relive the humour, the love, the magic of it all. It matters even more now. Remember the tough days too, the decisions that needed to be made, the courage, the passion, the unwavering faith ye had in each other. It is natural to want to hold on. There is meaning in the memory. We grieve for someone who didn’t tell us how to live. He lived and let us watch him do it. It’s the simplest of things that define our legacy. Their spirit lives on in what they leave behind.
There comes a time… to start living all over again. It is not easy. We lash a life force that supposedly cares and question how it could allow all this to happen in the first place. The answers we seek may never come. We wade through the torrent not quite sure if it’s even worth making it to the other side. Think of those who need you. They rely on you for strength in ways you may never know. You are their connection with the one you both love. They long to see your smile back. Take that one step into the unknown even if you’re not quite sure where it’s leading to. Day by day, you will find your way. What is of lasting value lies within. You will find a courage you never knew you had.
When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when
our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there
is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains
of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of nowhere and transform dark
yesterdays into bright tomorrows.
(Martin Luther King)
There comes a time… to open the blinds again and allow the light in. Our instinct can be to batten down the hatches and hide away for a while. The world outside will not have changed but your life has in ways you will feel with each passing day. So, go easy at first. Watch for the rays seeping out between the clouds, see the daisies and the buttercups return, observe the trees fill up again with leaves, listen to the laughter of a child and know that there is hope for us and for the world. There’s a life force at play in the universe that will not let us down. Be still on occasion and observe. As wave follows wave into shore, you sense the energy that makes each movement possible. Miniscule and all as each life may appear, we are one fragile note in a wider symphony that gives it meaning. The song is over but somehow the melody lingers on.
There comes a time… to choose the companions you want alongside you for the way ahead. Love is really the only thing we can possess, keep with us, and take with us. Family and friends will want to be there for you as you have been for them. Your true friends will find ways of reaching you. Don’t be afraid to let them in. Cook those dinners again, plan your day trips, take a stroll along the water’s edge. Never feel that you are alone. People understand more than you know. Some will have felt that same pain before. Where there is empathy, even in the most microscopic of exchanges that the world may never see, there is healing. Having the right people by your side is everything. It can see you through the storm.
And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how
you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is
really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t
be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.
The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will rise again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to. There is a light in each of us that we’ve got a hold of for an instant before we hand on to future generations. The spark lives on in the child that follows. Your light will shine again. Do your best. Let life do the rest.
In memory of Elaine’s Dad, George Harvey, who died on February 22nd, 2021.