I lost someone very dear to me; a very unexpected loss, and the grief pulled me down into a very deep hole. I got to the point where I could not get past my sadness and pain. The grief would rise up inside me and take over, making me unable to function. Sometimes it would happen when I was driving, and I would have to pull over and let the wave of utter hopelessness flow until it finally, thankfully, ebbed, and left me a washed out sack of emptiness.
It felt to me like surviving grief was unattainable. I was stuck in a terrible phase of anguish and despair. I would have sobbing episodes where, out of the blue, I would begin to wail and shriek. I would suddenly be overcome with fearful thoughts about other loved ones dying. I would imagine myself dying. I found myself having no hope, questioning the meaning of life. I questioned God. It was a very low point. I literally felt like I was in a dark hole.
I'm thankful that I had my family around me to cry on their shoulders, but their love alone could not pull me out of that hole. Not without my help. Part of me just wanted someone to pick me up and magically take the pain away. But I finally realized that there had to be a thread of hope coming from inside of ME. I had to be willing to participate in my own healing, even if just a little bit at first.
One of those days after crying out my insides again, I sat as the emptied out shell that I was and realized that there was a small, soothing voice in the back of my thoughts, telling me "hold on." I listened for it again. And there it was… "Hold on. LIVE." My inner spirit felt this hopeful voice as if it was a shining thread being thrown down the dark hole to me, and I grasped on. I closed my eyes and saw myself grasping an illuminated thread, and I felt love and hope filling me for the first time. With baby steps at first, I slowly climbed up and out of my deep depression. Slowly I began feeling less anguished. I began feeling comforted from the inside.
I discovered some tools and techniques to help me, and I began to grow strong. My goal went from merely surviving grief to living my dream life. It has been an adventure, a quest even, to be on the constant lookout for thoughts and things that nurture the good in my life. With every step I gain more momentum. I once again see the positive more than the negative, and I believe in and even expect miracles.
Deep in my heart I still have that place of grief over the loss of my dear one. I still have the sadness over not having her physically here with me. But I'm no longer overwhelmed by the sadness. Yes, the aching pain of missing her is still there, but there is now room for the laughter and joy shared with her in life that will forever live in that special place in my heart. I do believe that her spirit lives on. I feel her loving presence many times, and I know she is glad that I chose to hold on and live.
I don't want to trivialize the grieving process and suggest that these tools alone can heal profound grief. But I can say that the tools and techniques listed here helped me stay strong at times when I felt like I could easily collapse, and they helped me build my emotional strength and will to live joyfully back up again. That is certainly worth a lot to someone who feels buried in sorrow.
So in that spirit, here are some of the things that helped me climb out of my dark hole and back into life: