From Darkness to Light

Posted on April 02, 2018

By: The Rev. Maureen Doherty, Continuous Care Coordinator

When the clocks are turned back in November the groans from those grieving can be heard across the lands! As we gather at the support group table, almost every person comments on the long darkness of winter ahead. Since each person already feels that they are walking in darkness, the journey ahead seems daunting; the darkness often makes it seem that one walks alone. But the clocks have now sprung forward…there is hope! Have faith, deep in the ground there is life waiting to come into the light.

Grief is a journey unique to each person who is walking it. The darkness of grief seems to be a high price to pay for loving, for caring so much for someone. For each person it can be hard to believe that there is a “new normal” deep within, there is new life waiting to come into the light.

There are times when some wonder how they might move forward? Parents worry about the reality that in our fast-paced world their children seemingly have no way or time to grieve. Children worry that parents are hiding their grief so that children will not worry. Friends quit saying anything not wanting to upset anyone! How will the walk into the light continue?

Linda, grieving the loss of her Mother, wrote the following:

“So my idea centers around making time and taking the opportunity to honor our loved ones through thought and deed. What I see is that so often we do the things that are comfortable to us; we go to a special church service, but we would go anyway; we plant a favorite flower, but we would be planting flowers anyway. I think about things to honor their memories that maybe aren’t quite so comfortable for us to do.

¨ Mom loved to watch the migrating geese. My usual mode is to glance at them and make a note of whether they are flying north or south. Now, I am trying to pull over and count the birds in flight, watch them fly to the horizon the way she did and imagine the enjoyment she had doing that.

¨ Mom was a 12-year breast cancer survivor. My nature is to be quiet around delicate subjects, but in her honor now I share her survivor’s story and encourage women to have their mammograms. I know Mom would be doing this if she was here.

¨ In our family we are trying to care for each other in ways she would have. She was always thoughtful and generous with her time and company. It is too easy to be busy all the time. Now I try to honor her by stopping and wondering what would Mom do? Now I make time to make a phone call or to stop by a friend’s house for an unexpected visit. That connecting matters!

¨ I try to see new things as she might see them! How would Mom feel about self-driving cars? How would she feel if the Pittsburgh Steelers lose the next game? Would she like the new song on the radio? Imagining helps me remember how much alive she still is in my heart.

Sometimes it is hard to remember; it feels like I am wearing a horsehair shirt. But I am trying to “move into the new light for me” by honoring her until it feels natural and loving. The day someone tells me that I remind them of my Mom will be the day I know I succeeded.”

Thank you for allowing me to share this!


How might you do something a little different to put something in place that is a good memory today? Moving into the light is not as simple as changing the clock! Moving is about believing that in the depths of the earth, in the depths of your being, life is waiting to pop through the frozen soil and it will!

Sometimes things will “pop up” that you didn’t anticipate; sometimes there will be weeds; sometimes it will be the tulips that were planted each year; sometimes the things you are just glad to see again blossom. Believe and let it happen. If you seem stuck, maybe it is time to look for something a little different to plant! Then let the sun shine on the soil!

Over the last months, many in the group have enjoyed dinner monthly, have gone for coffee or to lunch after group meetings. Now that the evenings are lighter longer, some have planned to meet at different venues in town, when you arrive there will be familiar faces. These are good ways to just keep moving forward toward “your unique new normal.” Believe that there is light!

Is there a right or a wrong way to grieve; well, yes and no. Moving toward the light is good even if it is little steps. If you know that you are stuck in a place that “seems always to be dark” and you can’t get out; it is time to ask for someone to walk with you until you see some light. In the Continuous Care Group each person who sits at the table knows within the first hour that they are supported no matter where they are. If this might be a place where you will find new light or perhaps be light for another, please come and join us. Welcome to spring and summer!  


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