Loss has changed the light in my world. Before Dorothy’s death, there were days of dark and light. Even if the darkness settled in for a stay, the light that followed was clear and bright. The world would sparkle before my eyes with dazzling color. This is no longer what I see. I still have light days, but loss has cast its shadow over those days leaving the light feeble and dim. The shadow of loss hangs over my dark days too. Those days are now my darkest days.
On my darkest days, I stumble. It’s as if I have no direction; no light to guide my way. These are the days when I often find myself standing in the middle of the room, weighed down by my anxiety and grief. I do not know where to go or what to do next. Any light that might finds it way in is blurred by the constant stream of tears. These days are void of any light.
The terror on my darkest days is real. I am terrified of something happening to hurt those I love. That I will lose them. The person I am most terrified of losing is Frances. On these darkest days I can’t stop myself from thinking about what it would be like if she weren’t here. It destroys me. Even though I can see her and I know that she is healthy, I am waiting for that to change. Just the way it changed for Dorothy.
There is a heaviness on these dark days. It’s almost as if the blackness is trying to suffocate me. I feel it in my chest and my limbs. My head throbs. My leaden heart thuds against my chest. It’s all a reminder that my my world is a missing a different kind of lightness; there are no carefree days after losing your baby.
The dark days last longer than they used to. The darkness shifts, but the shadows they reveal offer little relief when your eyes are straining for the light. I feel like the light used to appear on its own. Sometimes it would creep in gradually and sometimes it would almost explode with its suddenness. Now, I have to find the light. I have to muster the strength to examine every inch of my world; searching for the tiniest sliver of glowing respite.
There is always a moment of sadness when I finally find the light. The sadness is because I know that even when the light shines bright in my post-Dorothy world, the light has changed. It is dimmer. It never quite reaches to the edges, leaving gloomy corners that lurk on the periphery.
These days, when the light returns, it stays for longer than it used to. Right after Dorothy died, the light would be fleeting. Now, those moments of light have become days and sometimes, weeks. The light may shine differently, but it has also highlighted things I didn’t see clearly before Dorothy. This light may not dazzle, but it illuminates what is most important in my world. My heart is adapting to this new light.