Yesterday I was asked why I didn’t sink into a depression and stay there, like many who have lost a loved one.
I didn’t have a great answer. I said that I couldn’t – that with a baby to take care of I didn’t have that luxury. That was partly true, but I think that if I had stayed and bed and slept all day no one would have blamed me, and there were plenty of people who would have stepped in and taken care of the baby while I checked out for a while.
So why didn’t I?
The better and truer answer is that it was a choice I made every day. I got up. I participated to the best of my (impaired) ability. Most of the time I didn’t want to but I did it anyway.
I didn’t hide from the pain, grief, anger, fear. I recognized, however dimly, that the only way out was through; so step by painful step I walked through the fire. Slowly. This was a walk not to be rushed, much time was spent waiting, not knowing where to go or what to do next. Looking back, I can see my footprints in the ashes.
On the other side there isn’t much left and it’s not pretty, but what I do have is strong and true and lasting. A clean slate upon which to build a new life. I can see that new life ahead of me now. It shimmers in the distance like an oasis. I can’t tell what it looks like but finally I see the light ahead. I walk toward it with my eyes closed and hands outstretched, feeling my way. I don’t know what lies ahead, but I trust that with each step the ground will be there to meet my feet.