I am a member of a few message boards and online groups, and something about them all completely and utterly terrifies me. Women several years out from their loss post about how meaningless and empty their lives still are. They post about tears that won't sop flowing, hearts that won't stop breaking, and lives that can't move forward. They post about how terrible their pain is. How broken they are. Years from their loss. What am I supposed to do with this information? Does this not get any better? Does it hurt like this forever?
What if this never gets better? What if, in twenty years, my heart still gapes open like a gunshot wound? What if, after trying so hard to climb this cliff face, I discover there isn't anything at the top? Just a tiny plateau and another cliff to climb?
I might put on a good front - a brave face - but underneath it all, I am still sad and broken and scared. I have learned to live in this new life, but that doesn't mean I am accepting of it. Every day, I shake my fists in anger. Every day, I wipe away tears I can't keep in. I keep hoping that the sharp edges of my pain will dull. After all, I am working so hard to make that happen. But, it hasn't yet. And what if it never does?
The thought of that terrifies me more than anything I can imagine. A lifetime of this? Could you do it? Could you wake up every day with a part of you missing, knowing it will never be filled? Could you walk around with daggers in your heart, knowing they will only keep slicing you deeper and deeper? Maybe if you had a glimmer of hope. A speck of a promise that it won't always hurt so bad. It won't always be so hard.
I cling to hope. Hope that this pain will ease. Hope that I will regain my footing. Hope that my life will one day have color and light again. Hope that moving forward is possible, that finding joy is possible, that I won't be stuck in heartbreak forever. Hope is all I have. And I am terrified that hope is a lie. A soft, warm lie we tell ourselves so that we don't give up. So, we keep fighting.
But, what happens if there is no hope? What then?