"I'll always grieve, but I'll somehow learn to live again," Will said.
Will's son Adam had a complicated childhood. His mom left when he was three. He didn't remember her, but he never got over it.
Though Will did a marvelous job as a single parent, Adam struggled. His angst and depression led him to drugs. Eventually, Adam took his own life. He was 17.
"The pain was terrible. People got me through it - great friends, a support group, a counselor, and a doctor," Will shared. "I began to breathe again. Adam has become more a part of me than ever. I love him. I always will."
Finding hope again
Finding hope is crucial. With some losses, it can seem to disappear. Our hearts are so wounded that we can't even imagine it. Healing in any shape, form, or fashion seems impossible.
As we move through our grief, things begin to change over time. Our hearts begin to beat again. Our souls slowly wake, as if from a coma. Color gradually returns to the dull, gray world we’ve been living in.
And one day we sense something we haven't felt for a long time. Hope.
The truth is that hope didn't take a hiatus. It's always been there, but our shattered hearts couldn't see it, much less take it in. As we process our grief in responsible and healthy ways, more space opens up in our pain-riddled hearts. We sense hope’s presence again.
Our loved one has become more a part of us. They have settled into their always-place in our hearts, though they are no longer physically present in our daily lives. Hope, like a gentle breeze on a stagnant day, begins to blow through our souls again.
And suddenly we realize an important fact: we're going to make it. We're going to survive this. We will live on, honoring our loved one along the way.
Granted, at any given moment we may not feel hopeful at all. Many of us are still in the heat of the emotional battle, bouncing from sadness to anger to fear to anxiety to depression and back again. We may feel forlorn and empty. Exhaustion might be the current state of our existence. But it will not always be so.
Grief is a long and winding road. It meanders over many hills and through multiple valleys. As we travel, the landscape is forever changing, as do the people around us and our circumstances. We trudge on, one small step at a time, leaning forward as best we can. It is a journey through uncharted territory.
Eventually, calmer terrain greets us. The sun shines a bit more. The air grows lighter, fresher. Even some flowers begin to appear along the side of the road.
We carry our loved one with us, inside us, to greet the next portion of the journey. Which way the road will turn, we don't know. But we do know we love them, and that we will live to honor them any way we can. We will walk on, telling their story, for it is our story too.
Love endures. It always has. It always will.
"Hope will return. I believe this. I love you. I always will."
Adapted from the new bestseller, Shattered: Surviving the Loss of a Child.