Life Before and After

Maybe you’ve been living an ordinary life.  Maybe it wasn’t everything you dreamed or wished for, but it’s okay, a good life.  For some people life is divided into two distinct halves, before it happened and after.  “It” could be an accident, a stroke, a suicide, a diagnosis, a sudden and unexpected death.  Regardless of the cause of this devastating change in life, the good life that seemed rather dull or lacking before is now extraordinary, something to which you want desperately to return.  Life after the event is hard, harder than you ever dreamed it could be, each day a new set of obstacles to overcome, hard questions to answer, a myriad of unpleasant tasks to do, suffering to endure, a stark and vivid contrast to what things were like just a short time ago. 

What can be done to overcome this trial?  What are the five easy steps to reduce and yes, please, remove this devastation?  To give a pat answer or a cheery platitude would be insulting and insensitive to those who are standing in the center of the wreckage.  The well meaning people who do this enrage and alienate, much like the friends of Job who gave their opinions on the reasons for his loss and suffering. Frankly, there is no quick and easy solution, no magic cure to make it all better, no time machine to take you back to the day before it happened.

Time, however, makes the wound less prominent, though the scar remains indefinitely. One day you awaken and ‘it’ is not the first thing you think about, it’s the second or maybe the third and you realize that one day at a time you’ve started living a new normal, one you wouldn’t have chosen, but the one you’ve been given.  No, it’s not the good and ordinary life you had before, the one you now perhaps realize you didn’t appreciate as much as you should have, but you’ve somehow figured out a way to navigate through it.

My nearly three year old granddaughter had spent considerable time creating a Duplo® creation.  While she was walking across the family room to put it on a shelf and out of the reach of her younger sister, she stumbled and it fell and broke in several pieces.  Her frustration and sadness poured out in tears and screaming.  Her Dad sat down next to her and put the blocks back into place and let her know he was fixing it, but her cries didn’t subside.  Her Mom, Dad, me, and her siblings tried to offer encouragement, but her anger and anguish could not be comforted. 

Before the fall

After a few moments, she got up off the floor and ran into the waiting arms of her Mom and she asked her to play one of her favorite songs on her phone.  Tears streamed down my face as I listened because I realized that in the midst of broken things and insurmountable grief it’s possible to find comfort in the arms of those who love us and listen to songs that ease the pain, if only temporarily.

If you are in this hard place right now, I pray that you will lament all that you’ve lost, that you will vent your rage and cry out and grieve.  It may seem like you’re all alone, but I encourage you to reach out to others who have a similar story.  There are a multitude of resources available online and locally.  A few links are listed below, but a quick Internet search for your ‘it’ will point you in the right direction. Lastly, here’s a link to the song that brought comfort to my granddaughter.  May it bring hope and peace to you as well.

Suicide

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Stroke

Cancer

Heart Attack