Life came back

And then, when it seems we will never smile again, life comes back. ~ Mark M Baldwin

Ten years ago today my mother died - followed three months later by my father. The vividness of my memories, and the lasting residue of pain and emptiness, mean that at times it is hard to believe that a whole decade has indeed passed. At other times it is entirely believable, and I can look back and see how far I have travelled on my journey of bereavement and healing.

It has been a long, slow, often imperceptible process of healing and recovery: an in and out, up and down, totally non-linear, uncharted journey, with unexpected markers and an unimagined, completely unimaginable destination. Unimaginable because, in the depths of raw pain and dull deadness, whilst my head knew that healing and growth could exist somewhere beyond the horizon, my heart could not imagine it. But they were there, as were the companions and supports God sent, often quietly, unexpectedly, to help and sometimes carry me on my way. And somehow, having once felt as if I would never smile again, I began to smile, and life came back...

... Not in a mighty rush, or quickly or suddenly... less a sudden, dazzling sunburst, more the gradual lightening of the sky at daybreak, a seeping pearly-pinkness slowly, imperceptibly infusing what had earlier been darkness. A pearliness with pale gold in its train, casting away the night.

And not the same life as before, because life has been irretrievably changed; but a life transformed by pain and grief, which have themselves been imperceptibly transformed. A life which contains its own new beauty and potential for more healing and growth; a life which can better understand and reflect the mystery of life from death, healing from woundedness.

Life came back... or rather, life began anew...