Four years ago today, my mom’s life changed forever. It was mid-afternoon, and she was feeling incredibly accomplished after having submitted several job applications. (She had been laid off from a gig at the local newspaper two weeks prior). She confidently clicked the “submit” button, smiling because she knew someone that knew someone there who would certainly give her a positive recommendation. Then it happened.
The phone rang, she answered it, and so began the blur of sudden death and it’s aftermath. It is one of those days that everyone involved remembers to the moment where they were and what they were doing at various times throughout the day. Passing through their lives as death waited with baited breath to knock so unkindly at their door.
But all have emerged, and as a general observer of people I’d have to say they have all become stronger because of it. I may only be a dog, but my heart tells me there is no timeframe for grief. Everyone takes different paths along their own emotional journey to recovery, and it is not a race. There is no right way to grieve either. It’s one of those situations you never wish to be in, but once it happens you somehow work through it blindly until you see the light of hope at the end of the tunnel.
I am proud to report my observation of that light shining surprisingly brightly today. Mom surprised me by getting home a little earlier than usual, and with her was my grandma. They didn’t look sad or pensive. Quite the opposite, in fact. They were laughing about something or another. The real kind of laugh where you could see right through their tearing eyes to the joy in their hearts. It was a sight that made my heart smile.
I didn’t know my mom four years ago, but I can picture that day vividly in my mind. I can see her enthusiasm working away on the computer. I can feel the shock that followed that phone call. I didn’t know her then, but I know her now and I would say that she (and grandma for that matter) are on a healthy path to recovery. It hasn’t been perfect and I don’t expect perfection to start now, but there is something to say for reaching the end of those stages of grief everyone talks about. Shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining and depression round out the first parts of the process. Then follows the upward turn, reconstruction, and acceptance. Hope. Like grief, experience has led me to believe hope is a living, breathing thing that is fueled by our thoughts and emotions.
Today I turn all my extra emotional energy, all of my positive thoughts, toward hope. For my mom and dad. For my grandma and my aunt. And for the bright light at the end of the grief tunnel.
Related article: Let Me Be A Lantern of Love – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/01/05/let-me-be-a-lantern-of-love/