Look ahead to the bright light
Use your hopes to unfold each night
Rejoice in the struggle, stay sane
There’s always sunshine after rain
~Soulla Christodoulou, Sunshine after Rain: A Collection of Poetry
A Wandering Widow Post
Sometimes, when I’m least expecting it, the universe throws a grief recovery metaphor in my face. That’s what happened while I was in Oregon visiting my perfect granddaughter. (Have I mentioned how perfect she is?) One afternoon, while baby and mama were catching up on some much-needed rest, I took the opportunity to go exploring this part of Oregon.
I hopped in the car and went for a drive, no destination in mind, just a shut up and drive kind of adventure. Taking aimless drives are totally out of character for me. Or, rather, the me that used to be. That was always Dan’s thing. I was too busy to ever get in the car without a destination. I used to think those trips were a waste of time. Now I know I squandered the little moments to just hang out with him and enjoy the scenery; now it’s one of the best investments of time I can think of. Hindsight is 20/20.
The Dark Lows
So on that cold, cloudy afternoon, I headed out of town, figuring I’d eventually find a place to turn around before ending up in another state. I found myself well on my way up Mt. Hood. I could hear Dan laughing and cheering me on.
As I watched the world go by, I couldn’t help but notice the metaphor for grief recovery. I started out in the Mt. Hood Forest, and it was cold, foggy and dark. No sun in sight. It was so sunless, I kept an eye out for any sightings of the Cullens or those hottie werewolves (Team Jacob, forever). But I digress.
I continued to drive. It felt like the darkness and fog would last forever. I laughed when I crossed Zig Zag River (zig zags are a running joke a friend uses to describe my life path AD). But I kept driving forward. And then I slowly started to climb in elevation. The trees thinned. I started to see patches of blue sky. And then I was in the sun, just in time to revel in the full glory that is Mt. Hood glittering in the sunshine.
I pulled over at a lookout spot and took in the vista of the forest below, and the mountain above. I was reminded of the stories I’ve heard about my dear friend’s late husband.
David was a wild land firefighter before he lost his battle with cancer. When he was out on fires, he’d climb mountains to call home. And he didn’t just hike up a hill, he’d literally hike hours to get clear of the trees to find a cell signal to make a ten-minute call to his family. (Damn. I wish I’d had the chance to know him.)
The Sun Is Waiting
The thing about Grief is that when you’re in the worst of the lows, it seems there is no end to the darkness that envelopes you. But, if we keep moving, eventually we break out of the dark forest to feel the sunlight on our faces again. Eventually, we reach the point where we can find that clear signal to help us connect with life again.
For those of you who’ve been following along, you know this journey has been a roller coaster. I’ve endured the darkest of lows, basked in the brightest of highs, and then back again. Since wandering my way home, I’ve been struggling with some major life decisions. Decisions that I used to have a partner help me make. It’s dark forest scary when you’re solely responsible for the choice and the outcome. All I can do is remind myself to keep climbing, and the answers will eventually break through. And no matter what happens, I know the sun will be there waiting, once I get beyond the trees.
For all my W sisters still in the forest, keep climbing.
The Wandering Widow
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce.
Special thanks to Dave’s family for allowing me to share his photo and this beautiful memory.
Trying to get home
My road been a little rocky on my way home
Trying to get home
Trying to get home
Trying to get home…