The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
When one of the people you love most dies, the world feels like a foreign country. You no longer speak the language. You don’t fit in. You don’t know where to go or what to say. You no longer feel at home.
The lens through which you see the world has shifted, cracked, split in two. What was once so clear is now fuzzy, unreadable, unclear, even dark. The light dims, colors fade, gray is everywhere.
In this new world, you can feel lost, alone, disconnected, broken and unseen. Much or all of what was once important no longer matters. What once brought you joy, excitement or happiness may elicit no response at all.
After a time, the beauty of the world will call to you and help you make a new home in the world. The colors painted in an evening sky. The turquoise blue of the sea. The purple wildflowers on a mountainside. The laughter of a child. The cold, wet nose of a beloved pet. The arms of someone you love wrapped tightly around you. The attention of a friend. An invitation to dance.
At first, the light and the beauty will make its way in through the cracks, coming in fits and starts, worming its way into the broken place in your body. To heal that broken place, you must let it crack open … to light, to beauty, to joy, to laughter. You must rage, sob, howl, laugh, scream. You must tell the story of how the light in your world was extinguished and the magnitude of all that was lost.
When you are ready and able, you need to find other grieving souls, whether friends or strangers, and connect with their broken places. Helping them heal will help you heal. Witnessing their pain. Finding connections. Realizing that you are not alone. Drawing on their strength. Offering yours in return. Understanding how they survived. Sharing what has allowed you to live on. Filling in the cracks. Growing strong in the broken places. Holding each other upright. Walking each other home.
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