On March 6, 2014, my husband Zarko lost his battle with depression and took his own life. He had abandoned himself and all of us, and we were left to make sense of his fateful decision. Each day after Z died, I woke up with what felt like a knife through my heart. I knew I had more in my life to live, to give, despite my heavy burden. If I could work through my grief consciously and not let it bury me, then I could heal. I had to find hope to cope.
Hope isn't something you can necessarily store in your reserves—it needs to be authentically generated when facing a crisis. It is a kindling of a feeling you need to strike fire with; a promise you make to yourself in a state of strife; that faint distant light in a suffocating tunnel of oppressive darkness. In the early days after Z's death, hope was a tiny voice inside me being constantly muffled by waves of fear. My objective life circumstances could very easily stamp me as "broken." Yet, even when I felt my most shattered, I instinctively knew there was beauty among the shards that impaled me. There were lessons, insights, courage, and failings, all of which could be learned from and applied to my new go at life.
Key principles and simple practices held truth and strength for me while grieving— they became my life preservers, buoying me during a challenging time. They might be useful reminders to others struggling with grief, loss, or hopelessness, too.