Thanksgiving weekend marked six months since Ava's death. Far from feeling grateful, I felt overcome. For weeks I'd sensed I was slowly slipping toward despair.
dreamed...I was frantically running west, trying desperately to catch
[the setting sun] but I was loosing the race...I glanced over my
shoulder to the east. I saw a vast darkness closing in on me".*
Round moons, and all the tulips in Holland couldn't change the fact that this life of pain and sorrow was threatening to swallow me. From where I sat, in the throws of depression, the truths I'd believed, rehearsed, written and proclaimed couldn't gain traction.
In desperation, I sent a text.
"...I think it's about time..."
A friend responded with the number for her grief counselor, and I sat in a puddle of tears. I made an appointment, and called my doctor.
This life we have lived over the past seven and a half years has been so filled with emergencies and coping and necessary compartmentalizing that I have simply been unable to thoroughly grieve all the losses and disappointments and sorrows. And now I don't have a choice. My body is telling me that my heart needs some attention. Some space to grieve, to be angry, disappointed and undone...and to let God meet me there.
"...the quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise."*
I am choosing to walk into the darkness of grief and to open myself to the sorrow. The medication I'm taking is helping my brain to feel safe to process and has lifted the veil of despair enough for me to remember what I want, and what I know is true. I am spending time with a grief counselor regularly and am grateful for this sacred place.
It's time to take care of myself. For Ava, for my family, and for me.
*Jerry Sittser, A Grace Disguised