Welcome back The Art of Onward! I am truly honored to have you here. As I share bits and pieces of my story of recovery, I hope rays of light enter your heart. It's true, grief and loneliness have the same address. No one can feel what you are feeling, and no one can hold your heart enough to make the pain disappear. This is your journey. And it can be extremely isolating.
Why do I continue then, to write here that you are not alone? When the loneliness can be bone crushingly deep during the waves of your recovery. I know. I've been there, and I still find myself there as I, too, am still healing.
I remember entire days, alone, feeling like the day would never end. I would wait all day for the passing of hours and the subsequent relief of bedtime. And yet, when night time finally arrived, I could not sleep. My mind was a tornado of cruel thoughts that repeatedly attacked my well being with efficient cruelty.
My mind works in puzzle pieces. I hunted for the information, and then tried to piece together the picture of what had happened in countless desperate attempts to find truth. To erase the illusions and lies I had been fed. Nothing fit and I became a prisoner of my thoughts, as I fought fiercely to make sense of it all. When I felt I had finally come to a certain conclusion, more information was brought forth, and the whole painful mess began again. Listening to my thoughts became a habit, and they were almost never kind.
And then it happened: The realization that I was not as alone as I felt. I was walking my dogs through a field, my peaceful place of contemplation, and conversation with God, when I received this awareness:
The air around us is filled with the life giving gift of oxygen. And with each breath I realized I was breathing in love. I was taking in life. I was being nurtured with each step. My breaths went deeper, as I hungrily filled my lungs, my heart, my mind, my entire body, with this love. I felt love surround me, hold me, nurture me, comfort me.
In this moment I realized I was surrounded by angels. The joy of it all! Exhilaration! All this time I'd been travelling through the darkness alone, or so I'd thought. And now, here in this field, I realized no matter where I am, or with whom, I am surrounded by angels, by love, by light.
Angels can come to us in the shape of other human beings, who offer help. Angels come to us in the form of life giving air that surrounds us at all times. We don't always know they're there, we can't always feel them, but that's okay, because they, and love, are there regardless of whether we know it or not.
When I was about three years old, we lived on a busy street on a side of a hill. I was playing outside with a ball. It rolled in to the street. I chased it, as any child would, my father screaming at me from across the street. You see, a large delivery truck was racing around the corner just as my ball rolled in to its path. The truck was so loud, I did not hear my dad's warning. I only saw my ball and knew if I didn't catch it, I would never see it again.
My dad told me later, a man appeared out of nowhere, and lifted me to safety, just as the truck raced past. I only recall seeing my ball get crushed by fast, large tires. The man disappeared the moment the danger passed.
At age 13, I needed to move from Canada to Germany in time for the new school year. My parents were still required in Canada for their work, and my brother and I travelled on our own to boarding school for international students where we could receive a North American education prior to repatriating after graduating.
My brother had spent a year at the school already, but it was my first. I was nervous and scared of the unknown awaiting me. He had gone ahead, and I caught a train by myself, with all my belongings. I had two large (and very heavy) suitcases, and a few smaller bags. I couldn't move the suitcases in to storage where the seats were, so I sat on my suitcases for the 3 hour train ride, doing my best to keep my fear at bay.
When I arrived in Basel, Switzerland (the only station near enough to the school in the Black Forest on the other side of the border), people swirled around me as they disembarked. I had to fight to drag one suitcase on to the platform and stood there, knowing I needed to leave it in order to get the other. People everywhere. Fortunately it was the last stop on this route, so I had a little extra time. With no other choice, I finally forced myself to leave my things, and got back on the train to drag my second suitcase to where my other things were piled.
The platform was mostly empty now. I stood there, with my things. Alone. Unable to carry everything. There were no wheels on these suitcases, and no carts in sight. I was stuck. Tears stinging my eyes, unsure of how to solve this problem, I felt that lonely wave of utter helplessness.
I'll never forget him. My Angel. He showed up a few minutes in to my growing despair, long grey wool coat, smiling gently at me, a glow behind his head. I was wrapped in immediate peace. He lifted my suitcases and took me to where the carts were stacked. I stumbled behind him with my smaller bags. He loaded everything, smiled at me, told me I was okay now. I thanked him and he said "follow me". I did.
The train station was empty now. I pushed my cart down the decline in to the tunnel, behind him. He turned a corner just seconds before I followed suit.
And he was gone.
I knew in that moment that I'd met my guardian angel. I felt comfort and courage course through me, as I found my way toward the exit. He was right. I was okay now.
When my trauma occurred, I felt no peace. No comfort whatsoever. Only shock as my entire adult life unraveled before me. I was out of my body, as my mind immediately took over. I spent weeks on my knees, just gasping for air.
As I look back on those early, and dark, days, I now know I was surrounded by love, my angel was there, in his most common, invisible form, and although I did not feel his presence in my shocked state, I was not alone. I felt alone, yes, desperately isolated in my grief as the months wore on, but as I contemplate those moments now, I also felt the warmth of love catching me as I tumbled in to grief.
Each breath we take is a gift of love from above, the air around us is filled with love and light. Let it hold you, let it hug you, feel its caress inside your heart.
Grief and Loneliness have the same address, yes.
Our angels tend to be invisible to us, yes.
And yet ...
Close your eyes for a moment, and feel the love surrounding you. Feel the angels around you. Let peace caress your heart, and light fill your mind. There is so much more than what we can see with our eyes. Give yourself permission to see with your heart and soul. There is truth there. And comfort.
Allow yourself to feel safe in this knowledge:
You Are Not Alone.
You Are Loved. Always. Continuously.
You Are Worthy.
Of Love. Of Recovery. Of Angels to surround you, to guide you to healing and back to the light.
*Angels have been such a huge comfort in my life, I wrote and recorded a song called "Angel". It is available on the home page for you to download.