Last year my counselor recommended that after my divorce, it is wise not to jump into another relationship for at least a year. She said I needed to grieve the death of my marriage, what was lost, future memories, dreams that would never come to pass, etc. She said I needed to have funerals for every loss and go through grieving. At first, I said I had already grieved the death of my marriage years ago. However gracious my counselor is, she assured me I had more grieving to do, and she was right. I had no idea the capacity of my losses. My counselor also informed me that I needed to know myself; I had lost sight of myself. I was used to complying with the needs of others and what made them happy, or worst, what kept them calm because of fear of rage; this goes back to my childhood experiences with ACES/CPTSD.
Reflecting on my recovery, I learned we don’t get divorced and move on as quickly as I would like. My counselor said every relationship loss must have a funeral and burial. It could be a marriage, friendship, pet, or parent-child relationship—the loss of dreams, opportunities, home, or job. We must grieve so healing can come.
I imagined a haunted house and a graveyard as the landscape in the front yard. But, instead of writing the names of people on the stones, I imagined writing what I lost.
For example, ‘Here lays Time Lost,” ” Education,” Opportunities.” Growth,” “True Love,” “New Friendships,” “Reconnection with old friends,” and Prom; I had never experienced Prom night.
Like a sudden and unexpected death, the sudden death of a relationship can be devasting. In Dr. H. Norman Wright’s book, Making Peace with Your Past, Wright says, we cannot move forward until we grieve our past and loss of anything significant.
I now understand that the pain lies beneath the rubble of years of unresolved issues and wails to be set free. I wish I could get over it, as some would say, but the truth is, our bodies keep score; it won’t let us get over anything. God wants us to heal so we can live the life He intended, but we cannot do this alone; We need to excavate with outside forces.
So most importantly, we must feel our emotions or bury them alive. Like a haunted house, things unresolved will haunt us until we deal with them; these matters of the heart will speak in an outburst of anger, cause depression and leave us feeling stuck. Jesus says out of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Natural disasters occur without warning, and people need people when tragedies happen. Nature has a way of revealing our need for others. For instance, when someone is trapped beneath something, they need outside help to bring them out and into safety. The victim needs immediate attention, addressing, tended to, and time for recovery from the injuries they sustained physically. She needs physical therapy to help her learn how to walk again and counsel to recover from the trauma of the event. Healing can’t come without help, time, and attention.
Instead, some want to rush recovery, enter another relationship, or distract themselves with other things, so they don’t have to deal with losses; I use distractions to keep me from dealing with my son’s death. We must begin digging through the ruins to find the person we buried alive. I felt like I had walked into another dimension when I left home like a prisoner who walked out of his prison after years of incarceration. I also saw myself as someone institutionalized, always going back because it was familiar. Familiarity keeps many stuck and in despair, yet, we fear the unknown, so we either stay or go back.
My recovery isn’t easy, and I would never say otherwise; it is hellish, exhausting, ugly crying, and sometimes too painful for friends and family to be around me. I had to learn how to walk again. I had to learn how to make decisions without feedback from my ex-husband. I had to learn to trust Yahweh at a deeper level; He never failed me. But, as I continued digging through the rubble, these were just a few treasures I found.
I found the woman who loved to dance, the photographer, the explorer, the girl who loved to laugh out loud, a woman of God, a talented, intelligent, and gifted woman, a mother, a gardener, an author, a beautiful woman looking at me in the mirror, and the girl I left behind beneath the rubble and said thank you for finding me. I found myself buried alive and Redeemed.