All I Have To Give.


She sent me a message saying her best friend had just died suddenly and she didn't know how she would make it through. I felt her words in my body. I was sitting in my car just about to walk my puppy and was overcome by the gravity of her message. Sometimes that's all it takes. Someone else's pain triggering my own. Right back to the girl I was only a short time ago when I heard my fiance had died suddenly. I let that moment have some space. I let myself fall into the agony; her’s and my own. She wrote me with a desperation I know all too well. Through her words I felt her begging me for something that would lessen her pain. I could easily read between the line; I’ve been her. I am her. I am also not her. I knew there was absolutely nothing I could say or do to soften her pain, to ease the immense terror that was coursing through her veins. I felt helpless. I wanted to give her something, but unlike all those that had fed me silver linings and bullshit cliches trying to make it better, I knew I had to sit with how helpless I felt. All I have to give is my truth. I trust there is a value in the truth, not a quick fix but a depth that maybe she can hang on to until she finds hope for herself.

He left our house in the morning with a big I love you and I never saw him alive again. When I think about it I am sucked right back to that moment. My left hand shakes uncontrollably, my mind spins, my heart throbs, my guts churn, and I want to physically hurt myself. But here is the thing, I don’t spend my days in that place anymore. Her words brought me back to that place, highlighting how far I have come. So I know she wanted a way to make it better, she was hoping I’d have an insight that would clear her confusion, only I don’t. All I have is my story. From someone who not all that long ago sat right where she is maybe where you are; the truth.

It's going to hurt so bad. It's going to hurt more than you ever thought something could hurt you. If you are like me, you will want to hurt yourself, you will yearn for a physical wound, some sort of outlet. The intangibility and severity of the hurt will cause confusion. I wanted to make the agony physical. Putting myself in questionable situations with such little concern for getting hurt. I wanted it. I wanted to feel physical pain, the abstract nature of this sorrow will feel unbearable.

It's going to hurt in a way you have no words for, you can't understand, or express. It will probably make you wonder about ending things. You might actually consider it. Only deep down you know you'd be passing this burden on to the ones that love you, and maybe that's what gets you through, day-by-day. You will bear it. You bear the pain while feeling like you will never be whole again. The shattering of your sense of reality will make you crazy. You will question everything you held as truths, even your own sanity. I wondered if I was becoming enlightened or insane. You're going to feel so raw, wounded and exposed. You're going to feel like no one gets it, gets you. You're going to push some people away, and be needy with others. You will cry and sob and be overcome by emotions at the most inopportune moments. You might have to put your grocery basket down and leave the store because you can't face the lady at checkout. You might end up with scabs around your eyes from tears. Maybe there will be a few nights of too many sleeping pills or wine. There might be one night stands, impulsive choices, and bad decisions. Let it fall into the category, ‘for a minute it took the edge off and got me through’. It all got me to here and I regret none of it. Trust me when I tell you that one day you will care again. Do what you need but mitigate the damage you cause yourself. You will care again, you will love yourself again, and you may even love another.

You are going to suffer and we can not relieve you of that. No one can. Some will try only making you more frustrated, take it as it is intended; with love. They will say the wrong things, all the wrong things. The thing is that no matter what they say it will feel wrong, so love them for trying. You will need them. You need them.

No one can make it better because for this moment you must ache. There are no short cuts and I’ve come to believe the suffering is necessary. No one will tell you this, but it is true. You must hurt, you must suffer, you must feel the despair. You are going to have to feel the eminence void of your loss. It is what will one day be your way out, having hit the bottom. So suffer, let it have you. Let it gut you, let it be what clears you out. Surrendering to the suffering will one day lead you out of suffering. You will resist it because it hurts so fucking bad. Try to lean into it when you can, let yourself hurt.

You're going to have days where you can do nothing but sleep. And nights where you can't even close your eyes. There will be binge eating junk food and times where you can't stomach a thing.

You might lose days, weeks, months, fuck maybe years. It's going to be hard. You’ll get harder. You're going to have to shift, you will never be ‘the same’. But really what a waste that would be, having gone through all this to remain the same. Let it shape you. In time you will find yourself again. A person that has felt the depths of their own pain in a way most won't be called to. When you get to the pit of it, the transformation will be complete and the road out of Hell will be sweeter than the spiral down was.

If I can offer any hope it is this; I have been there and I am not anymore. I thought anyone who seemed happy again after a loss like this was lying. I would look at their facebook pictures and think they must be faking it. I would read their emails telling of a new life and was so sure they were putting on a show. I couldn't imagine a time where I’d feel stable again, never mind happy. I don’t blame you if you are not ready to believe me, but you know I would never lie to you.

It's been 23 months and I can tell you I'm not that girl anymore. I made it through, and you can too. It's going to take more from you than you think you have. It's going to be brutal and I am sorry you are living it. I look back and feel sorry for the girl that lived that, somehow she isn't me. I can truthfully tell you I’m not her anymore. In my day-to-day I have found peace. There is still turbulence but it isn’t like it was. For the most part I'm OK. Maybe better than Ok, maybe more alive than most will ever be. Maybe liberated in a way most can’t be.

Your work right now is to allow yourself to suffer. To allow it to have you fully while you are in that phase. You must surrender to it. God, it's really so bad isn't it? It's gruesome, and I am not sure how we survive it. But we do. I did. You are.

Now I have great days. The pain does change. Hold on tight. Make the best choices you can in the thick of it and forgive yourself often. Forgive others even more often. You can do this. You will do this. You are doing this.

You will survive, and I know you may not even be able to to hear this right now, but you might even thrive.

The suffering will give way. It really will, probably not when you want, not at the pace you beg for, not in the way you think it should, but when it has completed its work on you it will break. It will not break you. You will make it through.

With all my love and strength, you are never alone. I’m with you.