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The Pit of Despair

Written by Alicia Wingfield, LCSW
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Written just weeks after her husband’s death in 2018, Alicia Wingfield penned an honest reflection on the heartache of the holiday season and greiving during a time meant for celebration. This is for anyone who is feeling alone, anyone who is in pain, who is feeling loss while the rest of the world is singing carols and drinking hot chocolate. If you need a trusted counseling team to walk through this season with you, our PrimeCARE therapists can help!

“I’ve heard this phrase for as long as I can remember. While growing up, my Momma spent many hours reading the Bible to my siblings and I and encouraging (another word for forcing) us to memorize scripture. I am so thankful she did and firmly believe this is when this familiar phrase took root in my little heart.

To hear my older siblings tell it, I was the “drama” child. Meaning, everything was major. Ginger, my sister, still cringes when she talks about how much I cried…and we are not talking dainty, lady-like, get your hanky out of your sleeve to dab your eyes kind-of sniffling. We’re talking ALL in!

What good is crying if no one hears? More importantly, the ebb and flow of snorts and wails must inform the listener the degree to which the offended is, well, offended. They are lucky my mom skipped the verses regarding sackcloth and ashes…

I was really good at it…and sincere, seriously.

Yesterday, after returning home from visiting a friend, I decided I would begin wrapping a few gifts. As I went to sign the first gift tag, I was suddenly struck by, “How do I sign it? From: only Mom?” NO, NO, NO…this is not how it should be…and I broke.

I SCREAMED like I have never screamed, I wailed, I yelled and told God how unfair this is…and it did not help. Because it did nothing to bring my Love back to me.

In that moment, I felt the depths of despair swallow me whole and, more than ever since Barry’s death, realized the anguish, hopelessness, and utter loneliness left in all of the places my Barry belongs…He was my best friend, my person.  

I do not want to hang my stocking without Barry’s nestled next to mine, filled with all kinds of tomfoolery. I do not want to wake on Christmas morning without him alongside me to make our traditional big breakfast and watch with wonder as our beautiful children and grandbaby delight in the joy of each other and gifts carefully chosen.

I do not want to do life without him.

But I will.

I believe this is what Barry would ask of me, and, more importantly, for reasons I desperately want to understand, this is the path God has flung in front of me.

Yes, I meant to say flung…because nothing about this feels green, or still, or restorative to my soul…

But, thank God, my feelings are not my reality. His Truth is.

Psalms 40: 1-3 I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.

And so, I will wait as patiently as I possibly can for God to draw me up from this black hole I feel I’ve been shoved into.

I am trusting He will set my feet on ground that feels solid, give me the confidence I need to step up as a single mom, and renew the joy singing His praises once brought me.

There will most certainly be all manner of dramatic squalling, screaming, and fit-throwing in the meantime, but I will try my best to confine it to the privacy of our home.

You’re welcome in advance.”

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