Lately, I’ve been saying that not everything about grief and tragedy is ugly and awful. There are moments, lessons, connections that come that are truly beautiful and lifesaving. There are moments when, even if I don’t feel happy, I feel grateful. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “I am humbled” by the love or generosity or kindness of strangers. I’ve been so thankful for a lesson I’ve learned that has helped me grow that I have wept.
To admit that there are moments like this is difficult sometimes. If you do, people often jump on it and say, “see! You’re better!” No. No, I am not better. I am still grieving deeply for the man I loved. I am, however, trying like hell to find things that give me hope…things that make me want to live. I am trying to find a way to be happy again someday.
I spoke at a rally to end veteran suicide on Saturday. I used my pain and tragedy to try to save lives. I used it to find the strength to stand up in front of strangers and tell my story. I watched as hardened combat vets cried at my words. I watched as their partners did, too. I had many of them come hug me afterward and tell me “thank you”, “I love you” and “I’m so sorry”.
There are a lot of moments, even in the darkest of times, where the light can get in. Ive found that I had to be willing to look for them. I had to be willing to acknowledge them. I had to be willing to honor them.
At first, I didn’t want to allow anything to help my pain. I needed to feel nothing but the agony of my loss. Now, I appreciate the little moments where, if even for the briefest blink, I find some relief.
My wounds are still fresh and deep and freely bleeding. I still cry nearly every day. The pain inside me could still be described as searing agony most days. But, I’m now reaching for the things that I know will someday bring me joy. I still allow myself to laugh and enjoy myself, even if I still can’t quite feel happy.