Clouds surrounded the lighthouse of Cape May Point State Park, a stone’s throw from our house. Symbols of hope, lighthouses point sailors away from danger and toward safety.
I was on a journey of grief when I discovered a type of lighthouse that rescued me from drowning in despair. By embracing my husband’s propensity for adventure and challenge, over time I was able to create momentum for a life that was nothing like what I’d hoped for when we were married, but was nevertheless fulfilling, meaningful and good. Eventually this led to finding happiness again- something I’d never believed was possible.
It took listening to a very small voice inside me that said ‘don’t be content or complacent in this boat’,while I was drifting in the darkness of grief and sadness. ‘Put your oar in the water,’ it said, ‘do the work of moving yourself toward a small goal.’
At first progress was slow. I cried as I rowed in the direction of a new life. Maybe you also find yourself alone in the boat. It’s okay to have a long hard cry for the person you lost, for your dreams that were stolen, and for all the pain you have, and will continue to endure. But in between times of tears, pick up your paddle, set your sight on whatever goal will pull you forward, and begin the work of rowing toward it. Once you achieve it, set another goal and so on. Goals, like buoys, mark the channel that eventually leads to the ocean which we might navigate to reach life giving shores we never imagined we’d reach.
I now know that fulfillment and happiness are possible after devastating grief. I definitely didn’t know this when the initial storm was swamping the bow of my teeny boat. If only I could have had a lighthouse of reassurance from someone else who had a similar voyage.
May I offer you a beacon of hope? Yes it’s possible. Yes you can find a way – one small goal at a time.