Dear You, Don't Give Up

Oh hey you: husband, wife, friend.

Your wife's mom just died. Or your husband's dad. Or, your best friend's parent. Their world has been rocked, and suddenly what was once safe, for them, for you, isn't safe anymore at all.

Your person, they've changed, in an instant or a week or a month. Though, of course, you know this. Maybe they're angry, withdrawn - maybe they're silent. Maybe they aren't someone you recognize.

The truth is, it could be this way for a while.

This dark space, this re-entry into a world that goes on spinning. It guts them. The earth isn't stopping, it's moving and breathing and inside their head, is a thick, twisting, fog.

A strangling beast says, "WHY is the world spinning! WHY doesn't everyone see! WHY won't everything JUST STOP!"

That beast controls every aspect of their new normal, including their relationship with you. For a time, it feels impossible for them to change this. And perhaps you feel like it's impossible to understand. But, grief is too strong, she's too manipulative, she's just there, at every corner.

Grief ruins dinners, and bedtime stories. She destroys perfectly good makeup days. And, if you aren't careful, she will severely damage the best laid plans.

Husband-wife-bestfriend, listen to me when I say, your person? Yeah, they're hurting. They're devastated. They're walking on broken glass with broken feet and the path ahead shows little comfort.

But they're still your person.

Amidst the hardest days they're walking through, behind every angry word they spit, underneath the tear stained sheets - is that person you love. That person, the one you love so much? They're in this place, because of love.

Love is what makes saying goodbye so viciously hard. The love they had for the one they lost, it morphs and becomes something else entirely. It's because of love, that you have to hang on for this ride.

So, hold on, will you? Promise me? Hold on and do not, let, go.

Be their strength, but also know that, this thing they're trying to survive, they'll have to survive with their own will. They need you to walk beside them, but often times, they need to know they can do it.

They need to know that they can swim, among the raging seas. They need you to be their lighthouse, so shine for them, okay? Even if they're throwing rocks at your glass, even in the darkest of nights, keep your torch aflame.

A day will come, that they'll swim right out to you. They'll invite you into the waters with them, and together, you'll heal. You'll survive. Both of you.

Just, stay close by for the ride. Whatever twists and turns may come.

Because being in their shoes, struggling through their seas, were the worst days, for me. The darkest days. The days I almost lost my marriage. The days I spat poison from my lips. The days I'd rather drown, than to even attempt to swim.

And I had a person that didn't give up on me. So, please, don't give up on yours.


A Fellow Survivor