By Bethanie Jones
I’ve been struggling with writing this piece, because I have not been sure where to begin. My sister passed away 2 weeks ago. She died from a drug overdose, and was found in her car days later, alone. The trauma of this is unlike anything I’ve ever known, and yet, still somehow quite familiar. In my short 32 years of life, this has become my uncomfortable comfort zone.
While I am not quite ready to go into the specifics just yet, there is one message I have been hearing loud and clear, and that is the message I would like to share with you now.
My heart is shattered.
A million pieces and fragments that I am almost certain I won’t ever be able to repair. I am ill with grief, guilt, anger, sadness, void, despair, but also unconditional, unwavering, innocent, childhood love. I have nightmares and visions of a blackened body with an angelic face I used to know. I cry, I vomit, I sleep, and I wail, but still, there is no relief valve for the agony inside of my soul.
This trauma, has triggered all of my past traumas, which then trigger the anxiety of what inevitably is still yet to come. Trepidation consumes me. As long as we live, despair and death will find us. “Fight or flight syndrome” is quite the understatement for those who experience this kind of pain. I can’t fight and I can’t fly. I can’t do anything. The two opposing forces swirl within me like tear gas and lighter fluid, smoldering and singeing my already tender insides.
As a spiritual person, all I can think to do is pray in absolute desperation. The pain I think, still clouds the subtleties and guidance I will need to fully tackle this but in time, I know that will cease.
For now, there has been but one message I repeatedly hear, that seems to always break through. “Don’t let this be in vain, Bethanie.”
As god as my witness, and now, all of you, I will transform this pain into something good. I will start with healing myself and know, for that as long as I am living, I will be the best possible version of myself I can be. Just as musicians transform their sorrows into song, I will somehow, with the help of others and the grace of god, turn this into something beautiful. My sister’s life will not be lost for nothing. While, she may not have been able to make the best decisions due to her own pain in this life, by god, let me try. I will embody all that was good about her, and share it with the world. She will live on through me. She will touch others and she will be all that she intended to be. She will be love, and she will be light in its purest form.
I carry my sister within me, in addition to all of the others I have lost, and I am stronger and better for it.
We are all blessed to have an army of angels inside of us. While the storm might have us violently swirling and spinning out of control, there is a soldiers light in each of us that refuses to be dimmed.
As the biblical poem says, “During the saddest and most troublesome times of our lives, there are but one set of footprints. It is not because they have left you, it is because they are carrying you.”