The Abyss and Back

~Kim Libertini

I felt like it needed a name. For years I have called it “The Abyss.” Appropriately, the abyss is defined as a bottomless pit. In times when my heart has been shattered and my mind and body are overwhelmed with pain I find myself there. It’s the place I go to when the bottom drops out and I am overcome by the tidal wave of emotions associated with grief. I have been to the abyss multiple times.

“What is it like in the depths of the abyss”, you ask. I am not sure if dark, dingy, overwhelming emptiness and air so thin that it is suffocating adequately describe it. Maybe there are no words to describe the abyss unless you have been there yourself. 

When my mom died, I recall driving home feeling as if the walls were closing in around me and I was descending into complete darkness. I couldn’t breathe. My dad had already been gone five years and I had just assumed the title of sole survivor. I had never felt more alone in my life.

Until Adam.  

People ask if death is easier when it is sudden or when it is caused by a chronic illness.  The truth is both are excruciatingly painful and hard. 

Losing Adam sent me to a darkness like no other. My thoughts were in a vicious cycle that triggered the gamut of emotions. There were moments when I thought I might never escape “The Abyss.”

But I am here to tell you that I have been to the abyss and back multiple times.  

Today, I am more than ok. I am thriving.

Those trips with my shattered heart and overwhelming grief have shaped my new perspective toward life. Make no mistake, the climb back from the abyss is difficult and the time it takes may vary from person- to-person. So if you are in the abyss right now…….I want you to know that you are not alone in the depths of darkness.

Hold on to hope and know that one day, you will make it back to the warmth of sunlight. Smiles and laughter and a heart that isn’t completely shattered are each in your future. You will carry the pain of loss differently. You will breathe again. Don’t be afraid to lean on people like me that have made the journey back from the Abyss.

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