After a loss, there are many transitions. During this process, it helps me to limit my focus rather than trying to face my whole future at one time. Thinking about all the years ahead could easily overwhelm me. Besides, no one can “arrange” a future, survivor, or not. Life is far too capricious for that. In return for that precarious existence, however, we all receive moments of grace, periods of time for resting and gathering strength as well as brief miracles that show us over and over that – yes – we are still alive, and we can survive even after the most devastating experiences of our lives.
I’ve been a survivor for over six years now. The struggle to reintegrate into some kind of “normal” life has settled into a peaceful routine most of the time. Still, I’m learning that major decisions and the minor flux and flow of life demand a lot from me.
Yet I’m recognizing more and more the moments and miracles waiting for me “out there” in the world of the living. I still claim the right to withdraw into myself when I need to – back to that “limbo” world, a healing place separate from the outer world – but the happiness I’m finding in just living is a message to myself that life will find a way to help me through.
Where is your healing place? Sometimes mine is just a momentary break I take inside myself while the world rushes around me. Sometimes it is the community forum at the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors. Sometimes it is taking time to listen to soft music or sit down in a beautiful place to just “be.”
It can be scary “out here.” The world does not stop for me, nor does it always treat me kindly just because I have experienced a loss. I’m still tender in places, but I can see my growing strengths better, too. I’ve looked for healing moments from the very beginning of this journey, and I have no plans for stopping that sweet habit.
There are unexpected starts and stops in my life still, but the “quilt” of my life is taking shape – block by block, stitch by stitch – and a pattern is emerging. Most noticeable now are the transitory moments of grace I receive now and then, the special gifts friends and strangers or just the universe, in general, bestow on me.
Kristin Hannah, in her novel Night Road writes “…in the sea of grief, there were islands of grace, moments in time when one could remember what was left rather than all that had been lost.”
A shared word or two, a virtual hug, encouragement, and other wonders arrive on my doorstep just when I need them. These moments and miracles come from fellow survivors, strangers I don’t know, friends, and family.
Have you carried a moment of grace somewhere today? Have you received one? I hope so. A day without grace is a dark day indeed, but unlike sunshine and rain, we don’t have to wait for them. Reaching out to others is as simple as sending an email, making a phone call, or paying a visit. The rewards are tremendous.
And they run two ways.