My husband attended a particularly dreary doctor’s appointment with me in November, and afterwards he took me to the Asheville Arboretum for a mental reprieve. These pictures were taken from that fall afternoon.
Looking at the last rays of sunlight filtering through the trees, I didn’t focus on how beautiful nature’s shadow was. I thought of grief. And how it never quite leaves you. These pictures inspired this blog…
They say time heals all wounds. But what they see and what we feel is quite different.
The day we lose a loved one– a SHADOW is cast.
It starts as a deep wound, bleeding from the initial stabbing of grief, then mutates into a purulent oozing sore. The infection seeps into every cell and crevice, ensuring the pain and depression is systemic. Our body becomes a host to the virus of grief, making mundane tasks and happy thoughts arduous.
As time slowly moves on, a light deep within our body, our soul, tries to shine. It’s insignificant at first, but its strength grows. The light, the positive force, begins to kill off the virus bit-by-bit. Our body’s resilience swells, leaving little room for depression to thrive. Until we can look down and see the wound has mended from the inside out. Though the skin, like the person, is never the same again.
A scar is left behind to remind the person of the day their life changed forever. It is a patchwork of cherished memories entwined together that brings the final healing.
In an effort to move on and make others around us less uncomfortable, we cover up that scar and pretend it doesn’t exist. But we are forever followed by the shadow of grief.
It’s not always visible. It’s not always present. It waxes and wanes like the cycles of the moon, giving us periods of normalcy. But it is always there—waiting. Waiting for a moment of weakness: a stressful day, an anniversary, a holiday or even happy memories. Any of these can cause the shadow to cloak us in the grief we had hoped to be rid of.
As our resilience builds and our light grows stronger, we cast it onward. Moving forward. We make new plans, create new traditions, and carry our precious memories–our most priceless possessions, with us wherever our new path takes us.
But we can always turn around and see the shadow of grief following us. Never leaving. It thrives when our light fades, reminding us—
I’m still here.
AS I post more open and honest testimonies to grief, I’ve been meeting more and more people affected by loss. It has been so great to meet each one of you and be a part of your healing journey. Reaching out makes us feel less alone. Thank you all for your support as well!