I was listening to the Today Show, while getting ready to see my parents Christmas Day. Cardinal Timothy Dolan was giving his annual Christmas message, and for 2020, it was this: Light Conquers Darkness.
I believe light conquers darkness in both the physical and spiritual sense. Over the past four years, I dealt with job issues, fought cancer, and got divorced. During any one of these traumatic events, I could have easily descended into darkness. Instead, my faith, friends, family, therapist, and gratitude for just being alive shifted my energy in a positive way, so much so that friends began to take notice.
I started writing this post January 4. The next day, the man I spent half my life with passed away. It’s taken me 3 months to find the words to finish this post, and I would have left it unfinished, but feel I must share what’s on my heart. It was no secret that he suffered from depression all his adult life, nor that he refused help. He thought, being a man, he could handle it. As his friends said, there is no shame in asking for help.
It might appear in his case that light did not conquer the darkness. It did, just not in this world. He was a believer. And so am I. When grief threatens to overwhelm me, or my mind wanders toward darkness, I repeat the same thoughts – he’s at peace, and I will see him again.
My faith and these mental mantras help me get back on track, as have my friends, family and therapist, but I do not suffer from depression.
I can’t say I know what depression is like, thankfully, but I can tell you what untreated depression leaves in its wake. I could not fix him or save him, I could only pray for him and try to persuade him to get help. Eventually, I had to save myself. The divorce was final only four months before he passed. Is being a divorced widow a thing? It feels very much like my husband, not my former husband, is gone. We were together for 25 years. I loved him. I will always love him. I am heartbroken. So are his brother, sister, nephews, nieces, aunt, uncles, cousins, and friends. We were both fortunate and unfortunate to not have children. So many lose their spouse who is also a father or mother to their children, to this disease. He was only 58.
If you are reading this, and you are battling depression, I beg of you to ask for help. There is no shame in getting that help from a doctor or a therapist and taking needed, prescribed medication. It’s always a shame when someone leaves us too young and alters our lives in ways we never imagined. As his preacher said, he didn’t mean to. He didn’t mean to leave so much and so many behind.
Until we meet again, and while I miss you, I hope it is a long while, I will pick up your fight with the hope of helping others.