The Day After the Worst Day of My Life

Hope is a funny thing. It’s not rational. Swimming in the sea of pain feels good sometimes, fuels our reptilian brains. How do you find the granules of strength inside yourself when the world comes crashing down? How do you seek the light when you’re drowning?

Finding hope seemed impossible the day after the worst day of my life. I woke with swollen eyes and a tattered heart. The day before seemed like a dream from which I couldn’t wake. The longest day of my entire existence.

It was over.

It was really over.

My dreams were crushed. My body was battered. My vacation ruined. I was in a million unrecognizable pieces, unsure how to reassemble myself to look anything like I used to.

Grief conquered me in waves, fresh and raw. I remember staring at the place where it all happened. Where in ended. The beautiful mountain cabin was a hideous jail around me. I wanted to go home. I wanted to die.

I distinctly remember when hope came down to reach me. Brilliant sunlight streamed through the skylight and warmed my face. The sky was an endless blue, not a cloud in sight, clashing with the storm inside me. Within a ray of sunshine was a clear message:

It’s going to be okay.

I didn’t believe it then. There are days when I still don’t. I didn’t know how to carry on. It was scary and gut wrenching and terrible. But I did it.

I survived.

I didn’t navigate the black waters of my grief alone. There were others who walked, crawled, and cried through this journey with me. Here’s to you.

To the friends who ordered us pizza and had it delivered so we didn’t have to worry about dinner.

To the woman whose Facebook post reached me and gave me a confidant.

To the friend who let me pour out after a bottle of wine and didn’t judge my ugly cry face.

To my heroic cousin who made me leave my cave and took a digital walk with me from a timezone away.

To my brother and sister in law, who read my face as I was on the verge of a public meltdown and were there to hold me together.

To my mom, who endured every screaming phone call and late night text.

To the woman who didn’t let me fight off my pain alone at Christmas.

And to my husband, who walked every step with me, who peeled my broken body off the bathroom floor and told me he loved my soul.

You are everything.

You give me hope.

It’s been a year since the day after the worst day of my life. I’m stronger because of it. I’m wiser because of it. And you know what?

It’s gonna be okay.

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