When your child died, you were thrown into the dark night of the soul. You can hide in fear and despair or you can make friends with the darkness. Begin on a clear, starry night. Preferably, not when it is 30 below zero!
If you live in the country, you are in the right place. If you live in the city, get out of town! Get away from the lights and sounds of the city. Go find “the middle of nowhere” and step into the darkness with no distractions. Close your eyes and listen. Hear the howling of the coyotes in the coulees, the wind caressing the prairie and the beat of your own heart. Even the eerie whir of electricity as the energy surges the length of the high lines.
Now open your eyes and look at the ground around you. Then let your eyes move upward and outward. Are there trees nearby creating shadows in the moonlight? Do you see a yard light or two from country homes? Do you see the glow of a distant town on the horizon?
From the horizon, let your eyes scan upward to nature’s nightlights. There is no more majestic sight than the night sky as it stretches over the prairie in all its glory. The stars are endless and fascinating. The ever-changing moon glows in gentle radiance. And if you are lucky, the aurora borealis blesses you with an appearance. Remember, even in darkness there is light.
Feel and see the immensity of it all. Know the darkness. Feel the darkness. Wrap yourself in it and release your fears. Exchange them for familiarity with and knowledge of the night. Absorb the solitude and peace of the world around you. Just as your physical senses can make peace with the darkness in this world, so can your spiritual senses make peace with the darkness in your soul. There are tears and anguish there, but there are also lessons to be learned and there is rest to be found.
Do not rush to leave the darkness. Be calm there. Feel it, absorb it. Let the darkness be a place where you learn to be patient with yourself and gain the wisdom and strength to go on. Let people you love and those who love and care about you provide the starshine and moonlight.
Remember, even in darkness there is light. Know this, most of all: that the darkness in your soul is part of the cycle of life. You will again walk in the light of day where you will carry the remembrance of your child and live the lessons you learned in your soul’s deepest night.
JoAnne Rademacher ~TCF/Minot, ND
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