Finding Light for a Dark Path

This was a tough week.

It started with my therapy session on Monday night. It had been a while since I’d seen my therapist so there was a lot to tell. He listened to me recount the sadness that had been predominant. It seemed that two recent losses had unloosed an avalanche of emotion within me: the deaths of my ninety-nine-year-old friend, Pauline and of my cousin’s son who was forty-four. Their deaths were one week apart and for different reasons they both brought out the pain of going through the loss of my marriage.

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My therapist listened to my account and then responded that I was facing head-on the reality of my situation, experiencing the pain without avoiding it. He didn’t say I was in the worst of it; how could he since you don’t know what’s ahead. I can’t say that I felt ‘lighter’ after the session– only that it felt like raw honesty that is very real, but not what you want.

The problem with an evening therapy session, is you don’t have time to work through all the emotions that were churned up before bedtime. It was the early hours of Tuesday morning before I dozed off. I’d told my therapist that I’d only been getting good sleep about a third of the time. He was empathetic, but also let me know that was what he’d expect.

There is no way out, no easier path to take. The only way is through, down this path that at times seems to have barely enough light to see the way.

By the end of the week, the focus was on Halloween and I tried to get my tired self into a festive Trick-or-Treat mood. I was excited that my grandson, Baker is more aware of things now that he’s eighteen-months-old. All of our family, except my husband, went to a Halloween potluck at my niece’s house. It was fun, and a distraction from my low mood, to be with my family and to have lots of costumed children around.

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Uncle Ross carrying Baker

But seeing the other families who were there, the married couples who I’d known for years, who knew me and David, felt like more facing reality head-on. None of them mentioned our separation and I was grateful. But part of me thought I should have gone in a costume as an elephant to represent the elephant in the room.

The best antidote I’ve found for my sadness is joy; that’s what I experienced watching Baker catch on to Trick-or-Treating. He was dressed as one of his heroes, Marshall of the Paw Patrol. We walked with his cousins down the street and while they eagerly went up to the houses, he held back and needed his dad and mom to urge him forward, holding his hand. After a couple of houses of watching the person at the door put candy in his bag, he became excited and was running his toddle-run to their doors.  How it lifted my mood that night to see him in his ‘blinking’ shoes, the lights making him easy to spot in the darkness.

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Grammy and Baker

By Friday, it was time to prepare for a weekend author event, but my energy continued to sag. I had a hard time focusing on what to read from my memoir. My older sister, Harriet had helped to plan the Local Authors Afternoon at the YMCA to support me and other Durham writers. I wanted to do my best but felt blocked.

This morning when I was finally getting together my portions to read, my younger sister, Peggy sent me a text. She’d taken pictures from a book that we both have, Ruth Chou Simons’ gracelaced. Along with the photos of text from the chapter on Light, she said, “Was reading this and thought it might bring you what you need today.” She didn’t know I’d been struggling to prepare for the YMCA reading.

In the section of Simons’ work, “Just Enough Light” she says,

Just tell me how to avoid all pain and experience all the best, my heart cries if I’m honest. But as it turns out, we might ask for an unmistakably clear path only to receive light for just the next step.”

I could identify with that statement. I wanted God to light up the entire path, help me to move on down this road and get all of this change that’s causing pain, behind me. Instead, what I’d found this week was just enough light to get to the next step.

I’ve made it through this tough week. I’ve made it through a third of a year since our separation in June. I only have to have enough light to take one step at the time.

For now, that has to be enough.

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23 thoughts on “Finding Light for a Dark Path

    • Thanks, Mary. I’ll have to go back and read those last two paragraphs! I wrote it late last night and didn’t give myself at least a day of letting it sit– what I try to do to catch my errors.
      Thanks for reading and for your encouraging words.
      Best to you,
      Connie

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    • Thanks so much, Betty.
      I didn’t know what I was going to write this week. Exhausted, as I mentioned in the post, I prayed and just started writing hoping for something that would help me and help others.
      I’m glad it was clear because I wrote it late last night and didn’t let it sit–coming back later to edit–which is my usual pattern.
      Thanks for reading and for your ongoing support.
      Love you,
      Connie

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  1. Dearest Connie,
    My heart goes out to you. You already have a functioning support system and you yourself are your own resource in your time of great need. May all the tools you need to weather the worst of this crisis be present within and around you. And if they aren’t, take a risk, try something new and outside your box. Slow growth, like waiting for an orchid to flower again. Bless your family and network of friends for being there for you. I’m thinking of you too.
    Always,
    Mary Barnard

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    • Hey Mary,
      Thanks so much for your kind and supportive words. I like your suggestion, “take a risk, try something new and outside your box.” I will carry that suggestion and look for an opportunity to use it. Thanks for the image of a slow growing orchid– how beautiful, how poetic.
      Blessings to you, Mary,
      Connie

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    • Thanks so much, Marie. It is all I can do right now. If sharing my pain, which gets it off my chest and provides something for me to craft into a post, helps others, I’m glad. We all have times of loss and need enough light to take that next step.
      Best to you,
      Connie

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  2. Pingback: Weekly Round-Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

    • Thanks so much, Marie. I’m wishing everyone in our community light for the path in front of you. Sometimes it’s just enough for the next step, but one step leads to another and eventually you’re there–wherever there is for you.
      Blessings,
      Connie

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    • Hey Darleen,
      Thanks so much for reading and for sharing your strategy. You’re right that the only time we really have is the present– and that is where we need to be grounded. Looking too far ahead causes anxiety–especially when our world has shifted.
      Thanks for keeping me in your prayers. I’ve felt this support from you and others.
      Blessings to you in your journey,
      Connie

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  3. beautiful, heartfelt & raw. I’ve been there, and it’s not an easy walk to do. You do indeed have enough light for one step at a time. Hang in there & maybe get an mid-afternoon session next time 😉 MJ

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    • Hey MJ,
      Thanks for reading and your supportive words. It helps to hear from people who’ve gone through this.
      Yeah, I wish I could get an earlier session, but unfortunately the only time my therapist has available is in the evening. Because he is a veteran therapist, with lots of experience with marriage and families–and divorce, I have chosen to stick with him. I’ll just have to deal with things afterwards.
      Best to you and thanks again,
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

      • something that helped me through that time was what you’re doing =- leaning in, feeling it, speaking about it, and also seeking what’s beautiful/working/lovely right now. I drew a Capital T then on one side wrote the hard/sad/losses and on the other wrote the positives-freedom, growth, lessons, walks in nature, etc. and eventually the positives outweighed the sad realities of the other side. Didn’t negate them but helped me keep perspective. I’m glad you have a good therapist who is helpful – I didn’t have that in my journey and it probably would have been most helpful! Bests, MJ

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  4. Hi Connie. I just wanted to tell you what a good picture that is of you, and of course your grandson. I only wish for you, that you felt as well as you look in it. Although I enjoy reading your stories, my heart hurts for you & the struggles you are going through. You are still in my prayers and I really look forward to the good times to come back around again for you and all.

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    • Hey Mike,
      What a sweet and caring message! Thanks for the complement on my picture. It’s hard for me to see it as you do. All pics of my grandson are wonderful!
      I know that I will get through this season of my life and arrive at a better place. It’s happen through hard times before and it will again. We all have seasons that are more difficult.
      I appreciate your prayers. There are days when I feel more calm than I would expect and I know it’s because other people are praying and sending their good wishes toward me.
      Wishing the best for you and your family, Mike. Thanks so much for your support.
      Connie

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  5. Connie, you are surrounded by a support system that has a dramatic effect on your life. Not many people have what you have to assist you through those trying times. I, myself, take all that happens, put it all in a jar to take each out as they appear, and deal with them. You are in my thoughts daily. This is a nice post for the week. Keep up the great work. John

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    • Hey John,
      Thanks so much for your reassuring words. I am blessed by caring family, friends, and readers–who are also friends. You’ve been supportive of me since you started following my blog– and I appreciate it.
      I wish you the best in your life– whatever season you’re in.
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You’ve found that the only way to go through horrible times is day-by-day, step-by-step, and sometimes breath-by-breath. I hope you continue to be blessed by small flashes of light to lead the way…and that the light may still bring you joy like little feet in blinking sneakers. Miss you and continue to think of you during your difficult journey.

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    • Hey Karen,
      Thanks so much. Yes, God is helping me through each step. Friends like you are a big support. I hope you’re doing well and look forward to seeing you at my MMS reading and homecoming (Ha!) soon.
      Best to you,
      Connie

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  7. Oh dear Friend – I have missed seeing you! My heart aches for you in this season of loss. Forgive me for not responding sooner. Thank you for the raw honesty, the boldness, and your generosity in sharing your most intimate thoughts. It ministers to me and I am sure so many who don’t want to admit dark thoughts when we consider the death of loved ones or relationships. Yesterday at worship, I was caught off guard -the title of the Sermon was “Growing from Mourning: Mastering Lament. GOD knew I needed that just like I needed your message. I I love God‘s supernatural synchronicities. Wish I could just hug your neck! You are wrapped in my prayers – May the LORD bring healing to your heart and restore the sparkle to your eyes.
    Love and friendship- Barbara
    P.S. Here is the link if you are interested: http://www.gracelife.com/recentmessages

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    • Hey Barbara,
      Thanks so much for your kind words and generous support. I miss you too! I’m glad that my words ministered to you. We all have losses that need to be faced head on, grief that we will grow through.
      Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out!
      Best to you, Barbara,
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

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