“When I was little, I used to believe that if you let darkness into a well-lit room, it would become dark, just as it becomes light in the morning when you let in the light”
I read these words recently in a novel and they really struck me. Such wonderful child’s logic – to believe that you can let in darkness as well as light – why not? Of course we know it is not true.
But the sudden traumatic loss of someone you love, be it parent, partner, friend or child brings darkness crashing in; the blackest, darkest dark we can imagine.
I am reminded of the dark days of early grief now we are living the short days of winter, when we go to work in the dark, or just as it is getting light, and return home when it is already dark. In the early days after James died, I was often awake in the deepest dark of the night and in some respects the night’s embrace was a comforting cocoon. I did not have to face anyone else, and I could give vent to my grief privately, which has always been my preferred way.
I am not great at public weeping. It always irritates me that I can’t talk and cry at the same time!
How I envy those people who can weep elegantly with unchanged features, not like me, ending up with with red puffy eyes and a bunged up nose! – anyway, I digress.
In these winter months, my drive to work begins just as the monochrome sky gives way to winter’s soft palette and I see the beauty of the late autumn trees lining the road. There is a point where I turn the car at a roundabout on top of a hill and the Surrey fields stretch away below, with mist layering the ground as the lemon sun tries to break through. This produces an image of peace and tranquillity that I try to hold for the day and my photographer’s eye longs to capture it. I see the freshness of the emerging colours and shades of another new day and count my blessings.
Whether you analogise your grief as a pit, hole, cave, void, chasm – whatever it is, you can rest assured that the light can and will return. Do not despair that the darkness of grief will overcome you. You have to work through the darkness to get into in the light, and it will happen, just as surely as day follows night.