About a hundred years ago, when we lived on Carrington Street, I decided I wanted a rose bed. I’d done my homework and knew what I needed, the first step being the actual bed. So I talked with Dave Hayes who headed our grave crew at the time and asked if he might, on a not much going on at the home kind of day, bring the backhoe to the house and dig out the space for the bed. That seemed like a logical and fairly efficient approach. Then I could fill the hole with top soil and peat moss and all kinds of goodness so my roses would be happy. Kindly keep in mind there weren’t a lot of landscaping services back then and there certainly weren’t Knock-Out Roses that are basically foolproof. Nope. I was going for the spray them with chemicals, watch out for aphids, comes in a plethora of varieties and colors roses—the kind that require about as much attention as a small child.
Dave arrived on the scene, bobcat in tow, and I showed him where I wanted the bed. We discussed the size—length, width, and depth—and he set to work while I went back inside. A bit later he let me know he was through and headed back to the funeral home so I stepped out to view the beginnings of my dream to reality project. Length-wise and width-wise he was right on the money, but that hole was deep enough that all the bags of dirt in Savannah wouldn’t have filled it. If I had jumped into it, I couldn’t have climbed back out. I finally decided he went on autopilot and dug an oversized grave in my side yard.
Every morning I stood at the kitchen window, washing the breakfast dishes and wondering what I was going to do with that hole. Every night I pulled into the driveway from work and looked at that hole as I drove passed, wondering how I was going to fill it. I would walk to the edge and look down. I would contemplate how much dirt and peat moss would be required. Then one day, while standing at the kitchen sink, I noticed all the cats gathered round that hole, contemplating it much as I had done. So I walked outside and joined them, only to find the neighbor’s dog staring up at me.
I had to get a ladder so I could get back out of the hole after I climbed in to rescue him.
At that point I knew, despite how pleased he was with the original effort, I would have to ask Dave to come back and fill in at least half to two thirds of the hole. And he did. And then I bought all the dirt and all the peat moss and all the everything else I needed and put it all together and mixed it up and ended up with the loveliest place to plant roses that one could possibly imagine—except for the fact that our grass was from Bermuda and this wasn’t a raised bed.
Over the months that followed the dirt would settle and I’d add more. The grass would creep across the invisible boundary and I’d reach into the soil to find the roots and rip it out. There was spraying and removing of the dead blooms and winterizing and watering when necessary, and my efforts were rewarded with some beautiful roses. But although Dave and I filled that hole back up, it was never quite the same as it was before he took the bucket to the undisturbed earth.
Today when I scroll through Facebook I see those who have lost someone they loved deeply literally crying out for help because the pain is more than they can bear. They walk into our office and the tears flow uncontrollably. They have these giant holes in their lives, holes dug by loss and grief, and they’re standing there looking at them and not knowing what to do. They just know they need to—they have to—do something to make the pain bearable. When we mention our grief counselor, when we hand them his business card or a SUNRISE brochure, they thank us with the assurance they’ll be all right.
But they just keep staring at the hole.
There is absolutely no shame or weakness in admitting you need help. If anything, it is a sign of strength to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, you can’t conquer the world by yourself. Please, please, please, if you are struggling with loss, call our grief counselor, David Coy, at the number on our website. Or call us and we’ll give you David’s number, or we’ll call David and ask him to call you. If you know someone who is staggering under the weight of grief, share this information with them. There is no charge for his services and no time limit as to how long or how often you can utilize them. Slowly but surely, he can help fill that hole in ways you cannot accomplish on your own. Will life ever be the same again? No. I never claimed he was a miracle worker. But like my hole turned rose bed, he can help you change the character of the loss so that one day, when you contemplate what was once a vast, empty space, you’ll see hope instead of heartache.