One year ago today, my family’s life was completely shattered. My sister-in-law and her 5-month-old baby boy were trapped in their house that was set on fire. She was brought to ICU in critical condition. My nephew died from smoke inhalation. Their 2 puppies were also killed in the fire. These are things we will never get over.
As this day has drawn nearer, I have found myself becoming more and more emotional. I think my history of depression and anxiety have made me more aware of the signs that a downward spiral is starting. So before I spiralled too far, I decided to look for help. I have been seeing a psychologist to work through the trauma and grief of this past year, and figure out how to get out of this dark place. Or at least into a place where I can see a little glimmer of light.
I came across this really great resource about how to help someone who is grieving. It made me cry because it is so true and I identified with it so much. I also realized how much I needed to do this for my own daughter.
I am so grateful that I have friends around me that have been present with me in my grief. They have understood that I can’t be cheered up, and don’t try to make me feel better. They just listen and acknowledge that it really, really sucks.
It’s amazing how much the realization that I needed help has allowed things to come together. That realization has allowed me to be ready to start facing things. Things that I have buried – maybe because I couldn’t deal with them, didn’t want to, or wasn’t capable of dealing with yet.
This poem was given to me separately by my psychologist and by a good friend and mentor – within a few days of each other. It’s like the universe was shouting at me to pay attention to it. Here it is.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jellaludin Rumi
I have been asking myself how I can possibly accomplish this. Welcoming, meeting at the door laughing, and inviting in – the tragedy, the trauma, the pain of loss, the torture of a never-resolved homicide case. It is difficult to find ways to be grateful for these things that have come. And yet I must. To understand, to overcome, to become stronger – to be human. I am certainly no existentialist, so I must believe that there is some good that can come from this, some meaning to the madness.
So here I am. Ready to received grief’s gifts. Ready to be enlightened by the guides from beyond. I know Hunter is watching.