What Saves You

September 5, 2016

HP booksI 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.

  • Emily Long

    Emily Long is the mama of two daughters gone too soon, a Life Archaeologist, coffee shop writer, consumer of bagels and hot cocoa, endless reader, lover of travel, and occasional hermit. Emily is committed to supporting families who experience the death of a child and writes frequently on the topic of pregnancy and infant loss. She speaks nationally advocating for the voice of grieving parents and families. Emily provides local and distance counseling services for grief and loss, trauma, anxiety, and other painful life stuff. In her downtime, you can usually find her in her hermit house re-reading Harry Potter (again).


    • Joy

      September 5, 2016 at 8:30 am

      You are SO not alone in this one! Harry Potter saved me after the shooting at my school. Doctor Who saved me after my baby died. And now I’m circling back to HP. Because there is something in these fictional worlds that touches on the horror of our realities and in finally coming alive again that is so beautiful and relatable.

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