“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”~ Eleanor Roosevelt
A New Day…
After my husband died, I kept on waiting for a new day. I wanted a way out of the seemingly never-ending battle with grief that left me weak and feeling small. Every morning I woke, it felt like the same day all over again. I didn’t let my grief overcome me— mostly because I was solely responsible for raising two small children—but most days I prayed it would, just to end the vicious cycle. If I failed though, it would be a failure not only on my part, but also for my husband. He had left those children in my hands. Not that it was his choice to die, but fate decided his time was up and he had to leave this world. I had stood by him throughout his illness, without ever considering abandoning him. When he died, I felt like I had made an unspoken promise that I would do the best by his children for both of our sakes. It was the only way to keep their father alive. And in many ways, myself as well.
For every morning that I awoke to another day, I sought the reason why the sun rose. Why was I given the task to play mother, provider, and guardian to other human beings when my life didn’t feel like a pinch of proverbial shit. I might have felt responsible to make sure his girls (mine too) were raised properly, but I certainly didn’t feel up to the task most days. It didn’t feel like a constant barrage of tears would create happy, well-rounded individuals. I wasn’t convinced that I was the best life raft for two human lives in my torrent of tears. But every day I woke up to the same reality, and at some point I realized that my children were turning out to be happy, well-rounded souls, despite my sorrows. However did I manage that?
An excellent question, that I probably don’t really have a great answer for. Was it because I always paid the bills? Did it have anything to do with the fact that I bought healthy groceries, made most meals from scratch and always ate those meals with my children? Maybe it was because we took in every festival that came through town and I always bought treats (distraction is a lifesaver some days). Or possibly it had something to do with the fact that I picked up my journal once again and poured my heart into its pages, trying to find answers to the turmoil I struggled with.
The Power of Words
All of these things probably helped, but I believe that the writing slowly eased the rawness of my soul. Releasing the words that screamed through my waking brain allowed the fears to ebb from me, albeit more slowly than I ever could have dreamed. There were a lot of thoughts shut off part way through my husband’s illness, which now refused to be silenced. I had a constant source of inspiration for the pages of those journals.
It wasn’t until one day as I was scribbling more thoughts into a dog-eared journal, that someone stopped me. He had seen me previously in the coffee shop I haunted. He didn’t know my story, but saw my dedication to the words. His opinion was that my dedication deserved a wider audience. His suggestion was a blog. And the day that I typed my first words onto a tentative page with a daunting, flashing cursor, I discovered there was a future. It was my key to a new day. Not the same day in, day out of incessant grieving, but pulling myself up out of the pit of grief I had thrown myself into and wallowed in. I was far from a socialite at that point, but with that first post published I prepared to enter the world of the living again. And somehow I just knew. The title of this new step that I took was so very obvious to me. I embraced a new path with new strengths. How could it be anything other than the start of “A New Day”?
And so A New Day (the blog) was born. It was there that I threw words into the wind and found people who listened. I wrote my grief through stories of my day, poetry and reflections. Slowly, I discovered that the words I wrote were more than just pieces of the breeze though. With practice, perseverance and patience I also discovered a new vocation and my way out of active grief. I allowed myself to become a writer and now flourish in this new path that I have chosen.
Why do I share this today? Coming across the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt helped. And they always say to write what you know. I do know a thing or two about grief and how it affects a life. As the years passed, I recognized that there are more than just me and my children on my life path. One life affects many, just as one person’s words have the potential to touch a myriad of others. Do you know who you touch? Better yet, do you know what tomorrow holds and the challenges that it may bring?
It is only in waking up to tomorrow that we accept the tools to reach its sunset.