This week, I pulled out my sweaters and my fuzzy socks. I wear a sweatshirt with my pajamas, and I still haven’t been able to get warm! Just a week ago, it was sunny and bright. Now, each night as I climb into bed, I put my head under my thick covers to warm my chilled sheets before I can fall asleep.
Also this week, my daughter moved out of the house, leaving me and my husband alone as empty-nesters again. Yes, I cried. We’ve done this before. So, why are we struggling to adjust?
It can be hard, even when it’s good.
When change comes as a result of a suicide, the effects are devastating. Our hearts are shattered and we struggle to pick up the pieces of our lives. Years after my mom’s suicide death, I began to peel back the layers of rocks and dirt and old yucky bandages wrapped around my heart. And all I saw was sadness. I had created an impenetrable wall – a fortress to try to prevent any more heartaches. Although on the inside I cried for connection, my firmly-placed mask kept others at a safe distance.
All I knew to this point was sadness, carefully disguised with a smile. Sadness that sometimes erupted as anger directed at others. But really, it was simply deep, never-ending sorrow. I had become stuck in sadness. My heart was buried in cold, dark earth.
“I feel like two people,” I told my therapist: the broken-hearted, and the hard-hearted. Yet, I was afraid of change. Who would I become if I unburied my heart? Despite my fear – and accompanied by God and by my angel mom – I began a journey. A journey of discovery. I set out to discover my mom – her life, and her death. And what I discovered was ME.
As I peeled back the layers of pain, I found my heart again – and watched as God healed it. He didn’t put all the pieces back as though my heart was never broken. Instead, he gave me a new heart, a changed heart. A heart that could now receive His love and His light. God changed me.
I am grateful for that change. And although sometimes I still bury my head under the blankets, I know that the sun will once again warm the earth. I know that darkness will flee and make space for the light.