Navigating The Aftermath

This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been. Glennon Doyle

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are,
everything breaks, comes undone.
Sometimes, what matters most slips from your fingers
no matter how tight your grasp.

The world shatters, your life falls apart.
You are left to find your way alone with your heartbreak
and the voices of those around you
offering directions to a place they’ve never been.

You wander the forest of loss and cross the fields of longing.
Climb the mountains of despair and almost drown in the sea of loneliness.
Despite the pain, you forge on,
allowing no one to dictate your path or keep you from your journey.

Some days you flow like the river, swift and sure,
forgetting the loss that drove you to your knees.
Then crash on the rocks or get stuck in the mud,
unsure of whether you’ll find the will to go on.

There is no map in the afterloss,
and no one is coming to save you,
mend your life, repair the damage.
So you learn to bear up under the weight of what you’ve lost.

The little voice inside you whispers,
“There is still hope and grace and goodness.”
Reasons to trust your inner compass and listen to your inner knowing.
Reasons to go on.

You aren’t lost, just taking a different path
from the one the cartographers of grief recommended.
Turning right, as they call out “Left!”
Walking toward the pain, instead of pretending it’s no longer there.

As the days pass, you learn to pause and wait for the way to be shown,
for the path to emerge and the pain to ease.
You let the hard days be hard and hold fast to the power of ‘yet.’
Yet to come. Yet to find. Not yet healed.

Companions appear,
their presence a blessing instead of a burden,
their gentle voices drowning out the opinionated magpies,
crowing about how much better life is on the other path.

The way becomes clearer, and you realize that the rock has toeholds,
the river has stepping stones and the boat has oars.
You learn to stand back up after falling,
how build a home on the edge without feeling the urge to jump.

Isn’t life more precious
when you follow your own guide?
When you decide where to go,
instead of moving the same way as everyone else.

Even after staggering loss,
a thousand things will call you back into the world.
In the end, only you can save yourself,
find your way, walk yourself home.

This life is fragile and cruel and heart-stoppingly beautiful.
Step off the well-worn path. Throw open your arms.
Let whatever starlight has brought you this far
guide you to the love and joy that remain.

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