I remember parts of the day like it was yesterday, and it has been 18 ½ years.
I remember what I was wearing.
I remember that it was an early summer day with beautiful weather.
I remember trying to hold it together. Again. I was not going to break down!
I WAS. NOT.
We were supposed to attend the retirement party of a very good friend. I wanted to go, but I didn’t see how I could stop crying.
“Everything is OK.” I kept repeating this to myself over and over. “It will be fine.”
But it wasn’t. And it wasn’t going to be.
At least not without some help.
It had been two years since we had buried her. Two years since dear friends carried her tiny casket out of the chapel. Two years since I sat at her grave on a sunny June day, with friends gathered around, and felt like my life was over.
I had to get through this…I HAD to.
I had been reading passages on grief. I was clinging to 1Peter 5:7 and Matthew 11:28. I had been trying to pray. I had been asking the Lord to help me with my grief. I was functioning, but only on the outside. I went through the motions every day.
And on that day, 18 ½ years ago, I collapsed in my kitchen. I slid to the floor in a crying, sobbing, withering mess.
I couldn’t do this. I could not continue pretending that I was fine. That I was OK. I couldn’t function. I couldn’t even stand. This was NOT working. I felt like I was at the bottom of a deep hole. A VERY deep hole and I had NO IDEA how to get out.
My husband called a doctor friend who suggested some ways to get through the rest of the weekend and gave him the name of a doctor he thought could help us and told us we should call him on Monday.
I made an appointment with one of the doctors and it was like I had been given a gift.
The doctor assured me that my grieving cycle was normal. He told me I was not alone. Many people get depressed.
He encouraged me to write a letter to my daughter. He encouraged me to talk about my feelings. He listened to me and he listened to my husband and me together. He gave me steps to help me climb out of the dark hole. And he helped me to learn the signs of depression and what some of my triggers were. He equipped me to recognize when I might be slipping into that hole again.
Slowly I began to feel better. Slowly I began to reclaim my life. I was climbing out of the hole and I felt like I could begin to see the sunshine.
I was going to be OK.
I have shared about Amy on my blog. But I have only shared portions of the story. I have not shared this dark part. You might ask why I am choosing to share this part of my story here on Must Love God. Our theme for February is heart health. After much prayer about what to write and what direction to take my post, it became clear that the Lord wanted me to share this part of my story.
I was depressed because my heart was broken. I needed to learn how to deal with my broken heart so that I could move forward with my life. I had a wonderful husband and a young son…my life wasn’t over!
Yes, I had endured heart ache and pain, but I had much to live for.
A broken heart – no matter what the cause – is not a reason to crawl in a hole and give up. It is a reason to seek professional help when necessary and learn that there is life on the other side of the darkness.