Grief · Loss · Opinion

How We Cope

erik-lundqvist-221875Last week a 6-year-old Alabama boy is murdered in the backseat of his Mother’s stolen car. Yesterday a home-made bomb maims and kills over twenty people. From the cozy interior of my Utah home life hasn’t changed.

But it has. It does.

The weight of life’s seemingly endless cruelty and senselessness can be together all too much. Even with tragedies in my own personal experiences I still feel utterly unprepared to cope with the reality of our world.

Bad things happen. Bad things have always happened. Bad things are going to continue happening.

The weight of this conclusion can catapult my mind-set from warrior mentality to broken-victim. I want to hide under my covers, turn off the news and incessant updates and hold my children tightly. I want to create a magical peaceful space for them. I want, desperately, to protect them from what is and what may be.

And yet: I know full well that I cannot do this. I cannot hold them tight to my chest and create an illusion in place of reality. Doing so would leave them ill-equiped for this world. They’re little yet and while I do not show them all of my grief I do feel the urgent need to talk to them. To speak truth and not fairy tales.

We travel. Our loved ones live from coast-to-coast, some in major metropolitan areas. In just about every episode of 24 or every doom and gloom apocalyptic film one of these two areas are the first to go. Sometimes it feels like the writing is on the wall.

And yet: We choose life. Scary dangerous amazingly beautiful fill-you-up and break-you-down life. Even when it hurts, and it does absolutely hurt.

Somedays so much so that I lay awake with tears burning down my cheeks. It hurts. To live is to hurt. To love is to hurt.

But how do we keep living in all the hurt?

When I was a teenager my aunt sent me a card. The inscription of the front read: “You had a talk that fought back the darkness.”

A talk that fights darkness.

When I think about healing and coping, and just having the courage and strength to come back from pain, grief, brokenness, loss… it always starts with “talk”.

After my Dad and Brother died it was talking with friends, sharing my story that ultimately made life life again. After my Uncle’s loss to cancer it was talking and weeping with my therapist. When something across the world rips my heart out it’s calling my sisters or sending long-winded texts to my brother-in-law. It’s praying out loud and laying it all down, but it’s never ever silence.

The pain and darkness win in long-kept silences.

We need each other. I always come back to this. In my own faith community I need people to weep with and trusted friends to hold space as I lament. I need to see goodness and love and kindness to breathe. This holding space becomes creating breath, life, air.

This is how we cope. This is how we heal.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Erik Lundqvist/Unsplash 

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