The first fall/winter when I was widowed was rough for me.
The shock had worn off and I was miserable. I hadn’t really learned about grief yet and what that was all about. This was before I knew that grieving was a journey, not a destination, nor a time. Those first few months I would spend hours in my home starring at the walls like a zombie.
Then one day I stumbled upon a saying by the Canadian Singer/Poet, Leonard Cohen. “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” I was speechless, I could feel the meaning to my core and remember breaking down in tears. I must have cried for at least an hour. My sweet dog, Hannah came running to my side to comfort me.
The tears felt good. For the first time since being suddenly widowed I felt a deep understanding of grief, of life. In an instant I knew I was not alone. In an instant I knew that being broken was okay. How else could the light get in? I had cracks. I have cracks today. We all have cracks. That’s called LIFE.
Skip forward six years. Just yesterday I went to the movies with my 86-year-old mother. I’m here in Utah visiting her (I live in Southern California). There was a movie trailer for the upcoming Bruce Springsteen documentary. He reflects on his own life journey that’s gotten him to where he is today. He said something that struck me as deeply if not more than the Leonard Cohen phrase.
“So, you walk on through the dark because that’s where the next morning is.”
Immediately the tears started to flow. That phrase hit me hard, deep as if those words were my own soul speaking from the depths of my being. I had an immediate knowing that this is grief. The journey the bereaved take every day without their loved ones.
On March 28, 2013 when my dear sweet husband, took his last breath my journey began and as I left that hospital just after 2am, I started “walking on through the dark.” At the time I had no idea I would find the morning again. I had no idea that I would ever feel the sun on my face again, but I did, I have.
Artists, poets, musicians have been sharing the human condition with us all for millennia. If you look at the great paintings of all time, many are filled with sadness, loss and redemption. Poets share their inner depths with us as do musicians. I’ve run to the arts since being widowed. I find comfort in them. I knew that these creative minds are here as a gift to all of us to help us understand and accept the human condition.
Life is not perfect. It’s not supposed to be. “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”