I suffered a severe loss last year. Navigating the expansive, seemingly endless ocean that is the emptiness it left me with has proved to be–putting it quite mildly–a challenge.
Finding ways to cope is not the easiest thing to do. So many people have opinions on how you’re supposed to “get over” a loss, how long you should grieve, the methods you should employ in recovering, and so on. I haven’t done a great job of finding any methods. Honestly, I can say I’ve never wanted to die more than I have since September, 2015, but I know that wouldn’t help anything. In fact, it would just put other people through the horror and turmoil I’m currently experiencing. But that doesn’t help how lost I’ve felt. I’m like a tiny sail boat lost in the middle of the Atlantic. How could you possibly find your way back to shore in that situation?
A couple of things have managed to help me in getting closer to that invisible shore. Driving without a destination and photography are two. Another has been seeking comfort in my Faith. But since I was young, writing has always been my escape and emotional outlet. Admittedly, I’ve lost sight of writing several times over the years, but each time I’m faced with the wrestling match of life and its nature to be overwhelming, I find myself back in front of blank pages, spilling words onto their pristine surfaces. Almost immediately after the loss, I wrote a poem about the simultaneous absence and presence of my father in the city we were both so familiar with. I thought, “Great! At least I still have writing.”
That was all I wrote, though. For months, writing was almost as obviously absent from my life as my father was. I would try to write, try to get my anger and sadness out on the page and end up with nothing, or worse, something whose depth and honesty just wasn’t there and ended up feeling like a sheer mockery of my actual feelings. I knew the only way for me to describe the acute and ironic contrast of both the immense love and the crippling anger that I felt for my dad for leaving me was going to be through writing, yet I simply could not find the words. In fact, I couldn’t find any words.
Something finally gave way and I wrote another poem several months later. Since then, I’ve been using writing prompts to try to bring the medium back into my life. So here I am, trying to find a path of healing through the comfort of writing.
A quick explanation of the name of this blog, as well as its first post. Vertraue auf besser Tage means to have faith in brighter (better) days. It’s derived from the lyrics of one of my favorite songs from the band, Keane. They were kind enough to share with the world their song “You Are Young” and help me–though many more than me, I’m sure–find solace and comfort in its gentle reminder to “have faith in brighter days.” My post title is in German simply because that language is so much deeper than my native English. (Perhaps I just understand it better because of the way it was taught to me.) Either way, I’m staying afloat on this Grief Ocean many ways, but one of them is definitely by having faith in brighter days to come.
If you’ve lost someone close to you, lost your way, lost a part of yourself to depression, disease or addiction, or are struggling to cope with anything that seems like too much to bare, I hope you’ll join me on the road to recovery and the New Normal I aspire to find along the way. Remember to breathe, and have faith in brighter days. We’re stronger than we believe and each of us will get through this.