Climbing Out of the Darkness


 After a traumatic event, it is easy to sink into darkness. Anxiety and depression can take over and control your every thought and emotion. Something as simple as smiling or thinking good thoughts  can seem daunting and impossible. It is easy to feel like you are drowning in quicksand, with no way out.

Then one day….you notice the sun is shining. One day you notice the flowers are blooming and you suddenly realize that there is life surrounding you. The darkness that consumed you for months is lifting a bit and the anxiety/depression that strangled you is starting to loosen its grip.

Time really does heal wounds. I did not believe it when people told me that time would heal. After Darin’s death, I never thought that I would be able to think about life, think about happiness or think about a future. I felt life my heart was ripped in two and I never thought I would feel anything besides grief, anger and loneliness.

 With the help of a therapist, a loving family and dear friends, I can tell you that life does go on. For the first time in 7.5 months, I feel like I can start thinking a bit clearer. I feel like I can start thinking about tomorrow. I feel like I can start thinking about a future. A month ago, these thoughts were not possible.

I credit a lot of my recovery to gratitude and thinking positive thoughts. I know this sounds wishy washy to some people, but this thought process really helped me. It is so easy to think negative thoughts, believe me I know. For months, I felt sorry for myself and was angry at the world. Darin was such a good man, loving husband and wonderful father, why did this have to happen! Why did he have to die so young? Why am I robbed of the future Darin and I dreamed about? Why are my kids growing up without their father? What am I going to do without him? How am I going to cope?

My therapist and I spent a lot of time talking about life and death. Yes, a part of my life ended when Darin died but a part of my life also started. I can’t face my new reality being negative, angry, bitter and consumed by anxiety. I need to start changing my thinking. I need to start appreciating the good things in life. My therapist suggested keeping a diary and writing down DAILY the things that made me happy that day. At first I resisted. I did not want to think about happy things. How could I think about anything happy when I was a grieving widow. I felt guilty thinking happy thoughts when my husband was dead. What kind of widow was I to think happy thoughts?

My therapist assured me it was normal to feel that way. She told me many widows feel guilty in the same situation. People who have suffered a loss feel guilty when they experience a joyful moment. and feel they should not be happy. I reluntantly decided to follow her advice. Instead of writing in a diary, I decided to start a blog. A Reason to Smile Today was created as my diary to recognize the little things that make me happy/smile.

I am pleased to say the therapist was right! I started A Reason to Smile Today on March 31st. I can honestly say that it has changed my life. I know this may seem weird to some people but believe me….when I compare where I was (mentally) a month ago to now, it is incredible. I now look forward to seeing what is going to make me smile everyday. I am thinking positive thoughts and looking forward to writing about them. I smile everyday and realize how blessed we are. The kids and I have suffered a tremendous loss, but we are surrounded by so much love that we will get through this. I finally feel like I am on solid ground and no longer being strangled by quicksand. I finally see the sun and rainbows. I finally see a future that does not involve dark clouds, anxiety and depression. I finally see myself healing.

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8 Responses to Climbing Out of the Darkness

  1. Rachel says:

    Totally understand the guilt. It is so hard to think of anything positive when facing loss, but all you need to do is find one small positive thing each day to keep you going. It really does help! Happy to see you are starting to look forward again, all while keeping Darin’s memory close *hugs*

  2. Paula says:

    I just finished reading all of your posts here and on your Reason To Smile site. I don’t know you and I never knew your husband. Having started this blog six weeks after his death, was I think, a form of therapy for you, a way to express the grief? I’m so glad that you continued to write week after week. You are showing others that as paralyzing as the grief can be and is, there is a way through it. Seven and a half months later, you have come further than you probably ever thought you would since your husband’s death and you should be very proud of all that you have done. I look forward to following you as you continue sharing your journey and hopefully, being able to provide you with encouragement and support along the way.

  3. Emma says:

    I started following you on twitter months and months ago. Little did I realize that I would be reading your blog now for advice and support. Not because I lost my husband, but because I lost my brother 6 weeks and 2 days ago. He died suddenly at the age of 36 and leaves behind his wife of 5 years and 2 children (youngest turned 1 yesterday and oldest is 2 and 1/2). At the moment I’m just riding the waves of emotion…sadness, anger, guilt and again sadness. I know it’s going to take time.
    I’m hoping to direct my sister in law to your blog.
    I know it will help her
    Thank you!

  4. Sandy Webb says:

    Yay! Yay! Yay!

    I used to get so angry when people would tell me that time heals and with time it will get better. But, of course, they were right.

    I am glad to hear you are in a better place. I know what a battle it is to get there. You still have battles to fight, but in the long run you will win the war.

  5. Cindy Adams says:

    I’m so happy to see that you’re pulling through this and finally seeing a tinge of joy back in your life. Writing my journals after my husband died helped so much! I’m now ready to publish them 17 years later! Check out my blog when you feel up to it. My blogs lately that I’ve been writing have been around the 6 month marker. I think it’s a milestone in widowhood. It all has to run its course but keep the faith. It gets better.

  6. Kate says:

    I love you. You have so much to share and such powerful words. Thank you for sharing yourself and your words with us.

  7. Bonnie-Ann says:

    Hello Ann, just wanted to let you know that I am happy to see that you are doing well. I think of you and the kids often and wish you well on your grieving process. It sounds like you are taking some positive steps forward. I do try to live my life to the fullest because I often think of your situation. Take the time to enjoy the little things.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share your life