The Clouds Lifted April 10, 2013Posted by johnbohlinger in Uncategorized.
A few months after my son left this world, I was at work, imitating a normal person, trying to summon all my power to keep doggedly going on with life but not sure why; (I guess out of a sense of obligation or the inertia that makes us continue our slow march toward death). A guy I didn’t know approached me during a break and said, “Hey, John, I know what you’ve been through. I lost my child years ago. I’m telling you, life does get better.” I immediately wanted to beat the shit out this guy. How dare he feed me this nonsense. He didn’t know my incredible son; if he did he would have understood that the world would never be right with out August in it. I stared at him for an uncomfortably long 20 seconds then grumbled some platitude like “thank you, I appreciate your concern” and walked away. This guy was trying to help but I was so blinded by grief I could not imagine being happy in a world without my son. Time may heal all wounds, but I did not think I could tough it out long enough for time to work its magic. Now I know this guy was right and I’m so glad I did not attack the messenger; it does get better.
I’m six years into this life without my son and at this point I’ve been:
I quit writing this grief blog about a year ago because I felt dishonest, like a faith healer with gout and a bad wig. I couldn’t encourage others to rebuild their shattered life while I simultaneously plotted and/or prayed for my own demise. Depression was debilitating.
People often misuse the term depression; they think of it as sadness with and exclamation point after it. “I have to work late tonight, I’m so depressed.” “They canceled 30 Rock, how depressing.” Life is full of minor set back, trivial inconveniences, frustration and sad moments, but that’s a long way from full on depression. Comparing sadness to depression is like comparing a bad cold to cancer.
I know I’ve written this before, but damn-it, I mean it: work toward happiness and eventually it will get better. It might take years of medication, meditation, daily prayer, regular exercise, a healthy diet, getting more sleep, many walks in the woods, travel, philanthropy, yoga, countless hours of comedy, listening to great music, eating ice cream, sex, going to work, skipping work, petting your dog, getting lost in a great book, seeing old friends, making new friends, being alone, being with the people you love…all that stuff that makes life beautiful.
Although depression came on all at once, it’s a slow, gradual trip back to normal. After years of faking it, I feared that I may always be depressed. Now I can honestly say that after some subtle and major breakthroughs, the clouds have for the most part lifted. I still get sad, fight depression at times and have to force myself to look for the beautiful in life while trying not to torture my self with regret. But, I can now see my way out. Before everything had a dark cloud over it. Now the clouds come and go, but I’m still here and finally glad for it. It does get better.