KEEP BREATHING

Ten years ago today, my world came crashing down in a way that left me gasping for air.

Until that day, I (naively) thought my divorce would be the most painful thing I’d have to walk through. But by the end of the day on March 3, 2010, I didn’t actually know if I could survive the truth I’d just been handed.

When I woke up that morning, I had a man in my life I loved. Our lives and children were intertwined, and our futures seemed to be as well.

By 10 pm that night, I learned that none of what I’d thought was real was real. Nothing at all for the past 11 months. And I mean it wasn’t real to a degree of at least five times worse than what you’re imagining. Not quite Dateline level, thank God, but almost. 

My heart shattered. My brain imploded. Everything stopped.

And for the next three years, I slowly, slowly, ever so slowly began to put myself back together. Piece by piece.

I learned so many things as I clawed my way out of this experience, but the most raw and immediate and relentless lesson was grief. Starting that day, I came to understand what grief is on an entirely new level.

I learned about complex grief, the kind of confusion-laced pain where you can’t just grieve the loss of someone you love, you also have to reckon with the carnage they’ve caused.

I learned how physical grief is.

I learned how much care, and time, and friendship, and air a person needs in the midst of grief.

I cried and cried and cried.

And cried.

I clung to the impossible belief that, somehow, someday, I would feel better again—that healing, and relief, would come.

I waited for that day to arrive.

And, eventually,

mercifully,

it did.

I survived.

I survived!

I survived what I thought I could not, and I came out both stronger and… softer. Every wave of grief had moved me closer to healing. The pain I’d thought would kill me, didn’t. And, even before the grief had subsided, my capacity for life and love had grown.

One week after all hell broke loose for me, I wrote these words below. I was so fragile that day, and yet these words—and the words that repeat again and again in this song—may have been the most important thing I did throughout the whole journey.

Here’s to survivors and surviving, friends. Here’s to what grief has to teach us. Here’s to the hope of better days ahead. And, most of all, here’s to breathing.

xo


ALL I CAN DO

March 10, 2010

Today I took care of myself. Three doctor appointments. All hard. All to help me be in, and move through, the current chaos that has found me. I’m so thankful for professionals in my life who tell me things like eat lots of asparagus, and give your body lots of warmth, and extend yourself lots and lots and lots of grace. Feel what you are feeling. Things are going to be sloppy for a while.

It’s the “for a while” part that gives me hope. I will not be here forever, but it’s pointless to try to be somewhere else right now.

And so, this song has been on repeat all afternoon. It’s the one thing I know I can do, for now.

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1 Comment

  • marianne henrikson

    I know nothing..nothing about this kind of grief….but I am experiencing enough in my physical to be blessed by your example…to just breathe….and He is helping me! love, mom

     

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