I always thought that if I worked hard enough and had a solid plan in life, everything would work out. Life was something to be managed and arranged. I believe that if I wanted something badly enough, I could make it happen.
Life didn’t work out that way.
I couldn’t save my fiancé and my daughter.
I couldn’t manage life or plan enough or work hard enough to prevent their deaths.
Life didn’t go as planned.
And I sure as hell couldn’t manage the grief.
Life happened and grief took over.
Nothing has ever made me feel so out of control and lost as grief. I couldn’t save them and I wasn’t sure I wanted to save myself.
I did all the traditional things to deal with the pain, the loss, the desolating grief – counseling, reading books on grief, burying myself in work, writing.
I believe those things helped. But they weren’t what saved me.
Harry Potter saved me.
It’s almost embarrassing to admit, especially as a counselor who does believe in the value of grief counseling.
It is, however, the truth.
Whenever I wanted to give up, to give in to the horrible longing to be with my family, I would escape into the world of Harry Potter.
In that world, I could breathe. In that world, even if only for brief moments, I could forget the pain.
When I thought about joining my family, I could take that pain and lose myself in Harry Potter.
I read those books and watched those movies countless times in the early years of grief. I lost myself over and over again. They were my lifeline.
Until, slowly, I started to find myself again.
In the stories, the characters, that mythical world where love and devotion lived beyond death, I found my belief in the beauty of living again.
In the most unlikely of places. In a place no book or counselor or logical thought would have ever suggested.
Life rarely goes as planned. Yet I still believe in the beauty of it, even in the darkest of times.
Harry Potter taught me that.
We never know what will save us.
*Previously published on Still Standing Mag.