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. To follow, please leave your email address.

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dark World

After Evelyn’s sudden death, I often go to Yosemite. At night I walk into the meadow by myself and lose myself in the stars that seemed impossibly close. Constellations drift overhead. Everyone had turned in for the night, even the animals, except for a few who want a late night snack, and I try not to think about them. The meadow is so quiet that I can hear the hoot of an owl on the other side of the valley and the footsteps of what I think is a coyote trotting by.

I stand in the cool, still night as my heart breaks, thinking about tragedy, trying to feel my way through the chaos that death has left behind, trying to figure out what I need to do to next, but without the energy or desire to do anything.


Around the world, other people are by themselves in this darkness, feeling alone, waiting.

Someone stands in the shadows at a train station, watching the lights of trains go by, waiting for the one that will take him away from despair over his child’s death.

Someone lies in bed unable to sleep. She cannot touch the empty space beside her, the loss of his physical body, and she refuses to pretend that his love never was.

Someone in his backyard is watching for meteors, remembering when he used to watch with his wife, waiting for some sign to tell him it’s okay to let go and move on.

Someone is going home at midnight on the bus after the closing shift, watching streetlights flash by, and the dark houses where people are asleep with their families, wondering if she will ever be a mother, if she will ever risk trying to give birth again.

Someone can’t leave the loneliness of the beach after the sun goes down, a beach he used to walk with his father. The sounds of the restless ocean wash in and flow away, bringing the only presence he can feel, the only thing that calms his mind.

We are a community that lives in the dark world.

We begin to sense others who are grieving around us, even though we don’t know their names or where they live.

Some of you I will eventually meet, and we will wish that we had met earlier because it would have made grief’s journey less lonely. Many of you I will never know, only sense your presence as we pass by on the streets of a largely indifferent world. But we have learned to speak the same language.

This is why I write about grief, to let you know that you’re not alone, and to give you encouragement that there is a way through.

We don’t know how long this dark night will last for any of us, but we wait and hold on to what faith we have. We wait and think about the lives of good and loving people who have been ripped away. We wait and try to envision what might come next.

One day we will know what we want to do. One day the early morning light will come into the darkness and dispel the gray mist. It will touch our faces with warmth and flow into our hearts, and we will begin taking the steps to a new life.


Yet the blessings of this dark night will travel with us, reminding us that there are others who understand the devastation of a broken heart.

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