At first I couldn’t find the door. For a long time, I was locked inside that dark room of grief, consumed with my loss and thinking of little else. It was a darkness that could be felt (Ex. 10:21). I lost track of time, and to this day almost four and a half years since my daughter, Jamie, left this world for heaven, I can’t give you an exact timeline of significant moments and realizations along the way. I’m sure it’s different for everyone who has lost someone they love to death. All I can give you is a description of my journey through the door.
I am reminded of Job who experienced much darkness as he walked through extreme loss. As a matter of fact, dark and darkness are referred to at least thirty-five times in the book of Job, more than any other book in the Bible. He knew.
One day I saw it—narrow slivers of light piercing the outline of a door. I squinted. It seemed miles away, but I began to walk sluggishly toward the light—hands extended. It seemed to take forever. I finally touched the door, then the doorknob, slowly turning it, gently applying pressure. More light dispelled my darkness. Was it true? I felt hopeful, and suddenly I knew I was not destined to this dark room for the rest of my life. I’m glad I got up and started walking toward the light.
“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned (Matt. 4:16).
I’m no longer a prisoner of the darkness. “You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light” (2 Sam. 22:29). I now live outside that dark room. I made the choice back then, and I still make the same choice every day. Jamie would not want it any other way. I’m thankful I opened the grief door.
However, that dark room is still nearby. Sometimes the wind comes out of nowhere and blows the door open and I glance inside, but now I have a choice. At times I stand in the doorway. Other times, I choose to step inside and remember. I always leave the grief door open when I’m inside, and I don’t go far. I can also walk away from the door. It’s easier now to come and go. That dark room no longer wields its controlling gravitational tug on me. I know that as time continues to roll, more distance will form between me and that door, but it will never completely fade from view. It just gets easier to stay on this side of the door.
Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, has stripped darkness of its power and unrelenting pull. “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46).