This is for everyone. We’ve all felt it: A phone call that begins with “I have bad news”. A 6th sense that wakes you from a deep sleep. Knowing something you love isn’t going to wake up. Feeling the  weighted loss. Uncontrollable tears. The indescribable emotion that follows will stay for months, maybe even years. It wells up with no warning, or shoots of with an unavoidable trigger. Everyone experiences this phenomenon at least once in their lives. Children are not immune. 40somethings will feel it. Retirees. Even young adults who feel so immortal — so untouchable — can feel it.


This emotion, and the depression that can go with it are so very rarely talked about, and even more rarely handled correctly. So most people experiencing this go through it alone. Nobody knows how to deal with it; most don’t even want to.


When life halts our hearts like a sudden splat of a windshield bug, we go through a grieving process that is sometimes indefinable. At first, everything can seem normal, the hurt isn’t real.

My sophomore year in college an acquaintance came to Union to visit for an event. Another acquaintance got up in front of my Developmental Psychology class to announce my friend never made it to Union and he never would. He had been in an accident and didn’t make it out. The feeling was so odd and otherworldly. Someone who I sat next to in a writing class the previous year, whom I had casted as an angel in my Desire of Ages-inspired play was all of a sudden no longer in existence. He would be asleep now until Jesus came back.

The switch in my mind didn’t make sense. While I wasn’t best friends with him, nor even claim to have known him very well at all, this was the first time in my comprehended life I came across this phenomenon. It tore me apart.

One minute life makes sense, the next it changes completely. In the cases like this I’ve come to experience, I’ve noticed my brain is so unable to comprehend, that it’s easier to convince myself nothing has changed. To say a diagnosis, situation, or circumstance is false. It’s so difficult to explain this feeling to anyone outside of your imagination because nothing make sense and no words seem to convey it correctly. So I don’t talk about it. I distract with other things, more conversation, and zero alone time because that is too dangerous.

Alone time helps you think. And thinking helps you start to understand what has really happened. And none of us want to face that. At this stage, we don’t even want to pray or ask God why or turn to him for help or strength because we haven’t even allowed ourselves to realize what is real.

Eventually, enough reality will hit. People will talk, absence will become plain, and pain will set in. We will see the situation for what it truly, ugly is. But before this, we have to seek a community. People who don’t force us to talk about it, who don’t blame us for not acknowledging reality. We need people who can stick around through the silence to be there when it all comes crashing down and we are ready to scream.

Find your community.


Stay tuned for part 2 in this series.