This I Believe

Erica - Faribault, Minnesota
Entered on January 9, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: community, death

There is a hole in my heart, and so many losses in my life right now. But in every loss there are those things that sustain us, that remind us of why this life is so valuable. It is in moments like the phone call that I received on August 7, 2007 at 6am that life is stripped down to the very core. At that moment that I had to fight simply to breathe. My whole world came crashing down in a moment that seemed suspended in time. Grief literally brought me to my knees and nothing mattered but going to be with the people who love me, and whom I love. To see the line of people at the wake of my younger brother with heavy hearts, sad eyes, and open arms was indescribable. To know that there was such support, such love, such compassion… and that other people have struggled in that place of such pain and we weren’t alone. It was overwhelming to know that when we grieve others come to join us in that place.

Overwhelming grief, loss and pain, coupled with overwhelming beauty, vulnerability, kindness and compassion.

Trauma asks us to decide: Will I let what has happened crush me, distance me from people, from life… or will I let what has happened soften me, allow me to empathize more quickly, to choose love more easily?… Trauma doesn’t ask us if we want this to happen, but it does leave us with a choice of where we go from here. I choose to allow myself the time to feel angry, sad, grief stricken, disappointed, all of those other emotions that we like to avoid, but I am also choosing not to dwell there, to honor the gifts that they bring, but I will choose to live my life out of love and to allow this to soften me, to connect me to the heart of others, to change me.

None of us, of life, will be the same.

The naked heart wracked with grief is not pretty, but there is so much beauty in the love that is shared, the eyes that glisten with tears of pain, and tears of love, there is so much beauty in the community that is created.

And like the seasons I know spring will come again, the sun will shine down and warm me once more. I know that what has been frozen will thaw, and what has been dormant will sprout. I will rely on the patience of Mother Nature when I run short on my own, I will hold fast to the prayers and thoughts that have been sent my way to help guide me through the dark nights ahead.

And so this year I begin with grief having carved its initials in my heart, and yet a deeper peace that passes all understanding holding me close. I will finish the work that grief and loss require of me, and move forward having lived life more deeply and fully and continuing to choose love, continue to live life fully. I believe in the power of healing, the power of community and the presence of angels to lift us when we are broken.