In the late quiet of the night, the snowflakes gently descend from the deep and dark sky. The land still blanketed by the previous snow becomes buried deeper in that crisp silence that comes only with the winter.
Full moon, half moon or no moon, matters not, for the land is bright with the drifts on pristine frosted fields. But the beauty is difficult to enjoy when the heart is broken.
Somewhere, a chair is empty and a lamp unlit. Pretty dresses hang never to be worn again. Jewelry, shoes, a tube of lipstick — all are like pages from a scrapbook, evidence of a pretty girl. The hall echoes with the memory of her laugh. And her absence is filled with the grieving of those left behind.
No matter how many times it pays a visit, grief still arrives as a strange and different thing. We grieve for the life lost, especially when far too soon — before 30 candles could brighten a cake, before the sober dream could come to light and before the future could be told. We grieve for the beautiful smile no longer to be shared. And we are saddened by the thought of how hard she fought every day and for the joy she seemed to feel only intermittently.
And we grieve for the others who grieve. I watch my sweet husband, Gary, as he blankly stares out the living room window at the snowflakes dancing around the tree branches where a crimson cardinal has come to rest. Stunned by the news, his mind has gone somewhere I cannot travel to. And the realization hits me like an avalanche — the knowing that all the pain I feel pales compared to that of Gary and of his daughter’s siblings and other family members, some I am close to and some I have never really come to know due to my late arrival into Gary’s life.
But I am broken all the same.
While the ache seems impenetrable, I know that one day peace will find its way to the deep core of our hearts — a contentment wound tightly in the knowing that the fight is over and that Jamie can finally slumber in the warm comfort of the arms of our Higher Power.
Until that day when grief speaks with a softer voice, we will greet it in whichever manner it chooses to visit each hour, each day. We will greet a memory with a smile, a sad thought with a tear, and the moments of truth with a stunned silence. I pray for all those who Jamie left behind. And I pray for all those who, like Jamie did, battle addiction.
If you are suffering, please know that no one is ever truly alone. There is always someone to talk to — a family member, a friend, an acquaintance — even a stranger at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
You can call their 24-hour suicide prevention line at 1-800-273-8255 or their treatment help line at 1-800-662-4357, or visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-treatment.
Hope, unlike the beautiful wintry snow, is not a fleeting thing that melts with the warmth of the day’s sun. It is not like grief — a heartbreaking thing. But rather hope can be an everlasting thing and more than that, a saving grace.
This column is offered with special gratitude for Terri Clark and Dion Frazier for their generosity and thoughtfulness to honor the memory of Jamie.
Written and submitted by Amy Randall-McSorley for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.