Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sitting on Dark Mountains

Grief is the coming of darkness. In the beginning, it’s a void of everything we’ve known and loved.

When my beloved died, I went to Yosemite and sat in the darkness on the top of a mountain and stared at the night sky. The world I had known had ended. It was as if I had been thrown deep into the cosmos where there were no sounds and every constellation around me was unfamiliar.

I was alone, surrounded by darkness, and knew that I had to find a new world where I could live, or continue to drift in deep, empty meaningless space.
Yet it was in the darkness that I found I was able to deal with my despair, confront the loneliness, and undo most of the trauma of Evelyn’s death.  
It was here, away from all distractions, that I began to unravel the devastation of what had happened, and came to understand what I needed to do. This is where I was and this is where I had to begin. 

It is not easy to dwell in darkness, but it’s better to dwell here than settle for easy answers from well-meaning friends that wear out after a few days.

The darkness forces us to search for the shiver of light that survives in the rubble of our hearts.

I do not fear the darkness of grief, the despair that the darkness of the winter months can bring, the darkness of the night sky that seems cold and indifferent, or the darkness of the mountains where bears and mountain lions live. I watch the bright stars moving overhead in a progression of constellations through the night sky, and see the glowing lights of Curry Village far below in the valley.

I know that after the long winter of grief, the sun will return in spring and fill the mountains with warm light. Plants will rise from seeds hidden in the darkness of earth where they have been waiting patiently for the right time. They will bloom and grow into meadows of bright colors, and I will marvel at their intricate beauty.

But I cannot stay here. I want to face my fears of the unknown, step into the dark forest, and find my way through.

Darkness is where life begins after death.

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