This is a story of hope.
The bad news: it never gets easy.
The good news: it does get bearable.
Four years ago today, I lost my mama. It didn't matter then and it doesn't matter now that it's the natural order of things, that it has happened to millions of people over thousands of years.
This loss happened to me, and it was the most profound loss of my life. I am still recovering and probably always will be.
By the world's standards, Mary Lou Dykes Creel was an ordinary mother of four, grandmother and great-grandmother, wife, sister, upstanding citizen of her small town community. By my standards, she was the very gravity of my world, the center around which all else revolved.
I didn't leave the house for a month after her funeral. I wasn't sure I would ever venture out again. The cave of my sorrow was dark, impenetrable. Then I met another woman who changed my life. Her name is Tillie and she was my grief counselor. I am not ashamed to say I needed professional help, and I got it.
Tillie told me in our first meeting something I did not believe. She told me there would eventually come a moment when I could think of Mama without every memory veiled in sadness. When that moment finally came, and it did come, I knew that my life would go on, that I would love and smile and feel again, even though the sorrow still finds me on a regular basis.
This column is not for me. It is for you if you are in your moment of deepest sorrow. I will not lie or oversimplify and tell you it will be all better soon. It won't. What I will tell you is that if I can do it, you can do it. Like the Phoenix forged in fire, it is possible to be reborn on the other side of our grief.
Tillie was right. I did smile again, and so will you.
Contact David at [email protected]