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For Belle

Our most difficult and trying times leave us not knowing how to move forward, or if we even can. During those times, the times that threaten to break us, what will get us through?

I know the story I want to tell, no—need to tell. But difficult subjects sometimes make this writer pause. Not because they make me nervous, but because I want to do the story justice.

This blog has an inspirational slant, but one thing it is not--is a fluff site. There are times when we have to go THERE. We must go to those places, those times in our lives we don’t know how we went through, let alone came out on the other side from.

You know the times I’m talking about. The times that almost broke us. Or the times that may be threatening us now. The ones you either pay a therapist a lot of money to unpack, or the ones you tuck into the deepest, darkest pit of your mind and hope to never come across again.

Those times.

We doubt ourselves in those times. And we succumb to the hopelessness, the void. We question the purpose in continuing on. Our thoughts swirl in a tempest. What day is it again? Does it even matter? I’m not strong enough for this.

But you are.

The South swims in stories of untold tragedy. Simple people, modest people, their life stories never make it to a newspaper or local news station. The only reason these stories live on is because they are imbedded in the minds and memories of the people who knew them. They are never told all at once, but rather one piece at a time. A quilt of many twists and turns.

That day started out like any other, I’d imagine. I couldn’t say for sure, as that particular day was before I had even been born.

They were a typical family unit—husband, wife, two young kids. And like we all have been known to do, they got into the family car. For this trip, the husband’s mother also joined.

And so the five of them drove as they usually did, along the roads they had driven year after year after year. There was nothing in the air, no sign that this day would be unlike any other.

It was normal. Until it wasn’t.

A driver was coming from the other direction, only this driver was different from all others who passed by. Impaired, the car crossed the center line.

One second that shattered everything.

Four of the five family members in the car passed away that instant. The one surviving member was in a coma.

The person in the coma was the wife.

When she awakened from the coma in the hospital days later, eventually she had to be told. They waited as long as they could before telling her. I cannot comprehend the strength of the person who had to tell her. Tell her that her world as she knew it had ended. Not only had her mother-in-law, husband, and two young children passed away, but they had also already been buried.

The anguish. The grief. The deepest pit of darkest black.

Her world was a nightmare from which she could not awaken from or escape. It was all-consuming, everything a reminder of what used to be. She returned to a home empty of giggles and playful banter. Laying in an empty bed without arms to hold her.


The darkness took over, reigned even. Threatened her will to live.

But love showed up. Family pulled her from the brink. Stayed with her, held her. Sat in silence next to her. Loved her.

It was not quick nor was it easy. Instead of one day at a time, it was one second at a time.

Time does not heal all wounds. Instead, it leaves scars that allow us to move forward in a foreign kind of life. They staunch the bleeding while we are forever changed.

If you were to have known her, likely your first impression would have been that of a fragile older woman. Slender, soft-spoken, a kind smile. But you would have been wrong. She was anything but fragile. She had come through the other side of a trauma and grief so deep, most of us would not have survived.

She lived another 28 years after that day.

She never remarried nor had more children, but she gave her time to many causes. When she was called home and it was her time to leave this earth, she went peacefully. And for those of us who were blessed to have known her, we knew her passing was filled with joy.

She would get to see her babies and husband again.

Inspirational blogs tend to be the lighthearted, ‘you can do anything you put your mind to’ sort. But life does not always work that way. During the times that almost break us, there is no ladder to climb, no words that take away the unrelenting agony. Sometimes it takes a very, very long time. And even then, jagged scars cross our very soul.

But the one thing that will always get us through? Even when we cannot put one foot in front of the other?


Give it freely and give it often.

Give it in the silence and in the void.

Give it when you have no words to say.

Give it when your heart breaks and all you can do is hold one another.

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