Continuing my journey as I blog through Jerry Sitter’s “a grace disguised”. Chapter Three: Darkness Closes In
I used the phrase “To Live and Mourn Simultaneously” for the title of this post because I truly think Sitter could have labeled this chapter that way. As we go through this chapter you will see why as I believe it became very apparent there is a theme in this chapter that will bring light on this very delicate topic.
“Sudden and tragic loss leads to terrible darkness. It is an inescapable as nightmares during a high fever. The darkness comes, no matter how hard we try to hold it off. However threatening, we must face it, and we must face it alone.”
Sitters speaks of the darkness that came over his life after the tragic loss of his mother, wife and daughter during an automobile accident that left him, and three children to live on with this burden of grief. I have related to this book on so many levels because I believe the author writes and believes what I feel and what I know to be true about grief. It validates if you will my own struggles with how I grieved and where I grieved.
The darkness is a topic I’ve written about before and it’s primarily because it’s a place I resided for a long time after Brittany’s death. In fact, it’s a place I’ve resided for a very long time. Throughout my life of what I’ve coined as “unfortunate events” I have found myself to become a familiar resident in the darkness.
When I say darkness, I don’t mean black, I mean like murky water – sometimes unable to see my way through to the light. To find any good in what has happened to me. However as Sitter reveals – darkness is unavoidable and necessary to face one’s grief. Because you really have to face it. You cannot put it off nor can you dismiss it away to face another day – it will haunt you and it will keep haunting you until you face it squarely and walk through it. This is what I know to be true.
My walk through the darkness has had some good days and some not so good days. In the early weeks and months after my daughter’s death darkness was a scary place. I wanted to run away from it. I wanted it to go away because I didn’t like what I saw or couldn’t see but only felt. The pain was so gut-wrenching that I felt I couldn’t bear it another moment more. But I did. And I still do today. It’s just different.
Sitters believes, as I do, that we have a choice in how we grieve. How we look at our journey and how we can exist in the darkness and still see the light. The power remains within us to take the walk in the right direction. To face the pain and the sorrow right where you are in that moment can bring you to a place where light begins to crack through and the life you see before you can and will be joyful. Just different.
I have to say that facing your grief in the darkness can be exhausting. I continue to fight exhaustion to this very day. Why? Because the battle isn’t over. My struggle, anyone’s struggle with loss lasts a lifetime. It’s not over in a year, a couple of years or a decade. The loss changes you. It re-molds who you are right down to your very core. Life looks different, it feels different and some days it just doesn’t feel right. But you keep moving forward because it’s the only way to let the light shine through.
Sittser says “loss itself does not have to be the defining moment of our lives”. He goes on to say, “the defining moment can be our response to the loss.” I am in total agreement with the author here. I have written about this numerous times and I stand by it – we have a choice. The choice we make during these moments in life, whether it is personal tragedy or horrific loss – will define our future. It will mold you into who you are to become. Because, as I’ve said before, you are never the same after a loss. No matter how hard your friends and family wish that you are that same person, you are not. You can not.
“I absorbed the loss into my life, like soil receives decaying matter, until it became a part of who I am. Sorrow took up permanent residence in my soul and enlarged it.”
That quote from Sitter really spoke to me as I have lived that and breathed that for the past four years. I have grown from my loss(s). I am a new person, one that sees life from a different perspective. The world didn’t stop revolving when I lost Brittany, although many times I wanted it to. Life kept moving on and I had to move with it or remain stuck in it. It was a choice I made then and I continue to make now. To live and to mourn simultaneously.
Until next time,