Saturday, October 4, 2014

My Little Seedling of Hope

The weather is warming up here in sunny Queensland, Australia, with Spring in full swing and Summer just around the corner.  Last weekend I popped over to visit my sister and her family, who live a few streets away, and they'd just enjoyed their very first swim in their brand new backyard pool.

The sun was getting ready to set, casting its golden glow over the sky.  My brother-in-law was cooking a BBQ, with a beer in hand and the football on in the background while my three nephews were running around to dry off from their swim.  My sister and I sat amongst it all enjoying a glass of wine. And I felt happy.

Of course I wished Dan was there, the ache for him is ever-present, but in that moment, surrounded by people I love and looking up at a bright blue sky I was content and my heart was at peace.

I said to my sister, "I can't wait for Summer, we are going to have so many fun weekend like this" and she said, "me too... can you believe we're actually looking forward to Summer?  I can't even remember a single thing about last Summer, let alone enjoying any of it.  I am so happy to hear you say that you're looking forward to something, this is really big."

I hadn't even realised until she pointed it out but it WAS really big.  I couldn't believe I was actually feeling genuine excitement about something so minor as the weather.  This time last year, Dan had only been gone for two months and life was still a numb blur.  I have a vague recollection that Summer occurred but no tangible memories of actually doing anything - let alone enjoying anything.  One year ago, I didn't think it would be possible to ever feel 'joy' again.

After dinner I went back home to my quiet, empty house, climbed in to my big, cold bed and had my routine chat with Dan about my day.  I cried for him and yearned for him - as usual. But I felt a sense that there was more to come for me.  I felt hope.  Even though my heart is broken because he isn't here, I was somehow still looking forward to wearing out my welcome in my sister and brother-in-law's new swimming pool this Summer.

It's so hard to describe how my grief can co-exist with this growing sense of remembering what it feels like to be genuinely happy.  Not complete, but happy. Maybe, in the way I felt before he was part of my world.  I will ALWAYS wish Dan was here.  Every happy moment, every sunny day, every celebration and every achievement will ALWAYS be less sweet because of his absence.   My heart will always ache for him, even when it's singing. Oh, how it yearns for him.  It's magnetic, this pull, to be close to him.  This impossible pull - to hold him, hear his laugh, kiss his lips, rest my head on his chest and breathe him in.  Missing him is such agony.  I have accepted that this will be a life-long pain and I still have those days where the grief is so intense that even leaving the house is just not an option. But a very small seedling of hope has sprouted somewhere inside me.

I think it was planted there during my time at Camp Widow West in July, and somehow, since then, enough light has seeped through the tears to give it life.  I'm doing my best to protect and nurture it - it's still very fragile and nowhere near sturdy enough to withstand strong winds or stormy rains.  But maybe a nice, quiet Queensland Summer will be the perfect conditions for letting my little seedling of hope grow stronger.


  1. When my husband took his life, my world was shattered. I tried to pick up as many pieces as I could and had to rebuild a whole new life with what little was left. I like how you compared this to a seedling and a plant. That's exactly how I felt. Someday you will bloom and you will be strong enough to stay in bloom throughout all the seasons and no matter the weather. And when the sun starts to stay out longer and longer and there are less rainstorms, that's okay. That's great actually, and nothing at all to feel guilty about. Our loved ones will always be a part of our lives and a part of our hearts no matter who or what comes into our lives.
    I understand too what you meant about opposite feelings co-existing. That is something for me that hasn't faded over time. It's only gotten slightly easier because I had to accept (and am still working on it) the fact that is the new norm. I've tried to eliminate seeing gray and instead an intricate weaving of black and white. If that makes any sense at all... but for me, that has helped greatly.
    I hope you have lots of summer time fun and sunshine!

  2. Thanks for gives me hope. Maybe fleeting hope, because it's all so fresh for me, but hope in this exact moment none-the -less. Bless you!

  3. dear Rebecca,

    your post, so eloquently written, speaks volumes on the truth of what even a seedling of hope can provide. and I loved that you wrote about the juxtaposition of feeling happy alongside the never-ending yearning for your Dan. that pain, the part that never goes away? I wonder sometimes if it is the design of grief to gradually temper our ability to feel both happy and yet, still mindful of our loss, so that we can attain some semblance of hope and acceptance, and know that the sad won't always cancel out the ability to see hope grow and to feel happy. it's hard sometimes to articulate the questions, let alone dig deep to find answers. seems like both grieving and growing our own sources of hope is such hard work! but you have done a beautiful job with this post, and I feel fortunate to get to read your uplifting and hopeful thoughts. thank you so much!

    much love,

    Karen xoxo

  4. Hello, read yr posts.. I understand. Starting over..?? What is that? Plant new? I just wanted my harvest of 34 years.. Our planss all gone. Dreams are over.. Lifetime of planning, now what? Can't go back, ? Stuck in forward?? Just idle for a while.. ?