It was the 4th anniversary of our son’s death, and I was having a difficult time. My husband was working out of town, and this meant for the first time we would be apart on this date.
I turned to the woods, a place I find myself often when I seek peace. As I started the trail, I noticed a tree that was bent and twisted. Despite the fact that the base of the trunk was nothing but a shell, the tree continued to live and strive to reach the sun.
I felt a kinship with that tree. At times, I felt like a shell of my old self, yet a part of my soul was wanting to find my sunshine again.
Isn’t it wonderful that the universe remains constant? Even if our world feels like it has collapsed, the universe remains the same. In my early grief, I was angry that the rest of the world continued after Clint’s death. Now I find comfort in that consistency. The sun is in its place even if I don’t see it.
Further along on the trek, my eyes embraced nature at work around me, and my heart began to understand that I could learn things from this adventure. Take the river, for example. I saw sections of raging currents of turbulent water followed soon by calm peaceful pools. Some parts of the same river appeared impossible to cross, yet just around the bend of the trail, I found large boulders that created easy crossings. My grief journey is like the river; at times, it is calm and other times, it is raging.
When I feel that my grief is impossible to cross, I need only to be patient and take it one step at a time.
This article was originally published in April 2010 on www.opentohope.com, a website whose mission is to help those who have suffered a loss to cope with their pain and invest in the future.