I was fifty when Dominic died. I had lived long enough to experience first-hand, and through others, the impact of loss on life and love.
Studying for my psychology degree exposed me to the stages of grief and the typical, observed behavior and emotions that a person experiences when faced with the death of a loved one. So even in the midst of hearing the most terrible news of my life, I thought I knew a little about what to expect.
But there are secrets that no one tells you.
Feelings that lie in wait to ambush you. Overwhelming changes alter the way you see, hear, experience the world and think.
Grief turns the landscape of your life into a wilderness that is suddenly unfamiliar and often threatening. The landmarks you depended on for navigation from one day to the next are swept away in a flood and you stand, bewildered in the midst of this strange place wondering how you got here and what you must do to escape.
There is no escape.
I can’t take a shortcut through this altered world. I can’t close my eyes, click my heels and say, “There’s no place like home” to be transported back to BEFORE THE ACCIDENT.
It feels like I live in a place where many speak a foreign language of petty grievances, first world problems and longing for bigger, better things. I struggle to remain connected but find that I just can’t relate anymore.
Talking on the phone for more than ten minutes makes me feel trapped and anxious even when I wish I could listen to the voice on the other end forever.
I used to be able to make myself at home in any group and start conversations with strangers in a grocery line. Now I feel isolated and insulated and it is hard to reach out.
I take quiet delight in the moments when I see or hear my surviving children laugh, when there is a small shaft of light in the shadows that define our days.
I try to forge new paths in this scary place so that my feet won’t stumble and my heart won’t fail. I can only lean harder on the One Who made me and trust that following Him will lead me home.
“The Lord God is my strength: and he will make my feet like the feet of harts: and he the conqueror will lead me upon my high places singing psalms.”