I had the opportunity to go see the play Dear Evan Hansen last week with a friend. She has season tickets to our city theater and I had given her our season tickets for a football game, so it worked out well.
The experience was a great trade for many reasons. I never go to the theater, and it turns out, I really enjoyed it. And her kids had a great time at the game.
I knew nothing of the story, but I read a brief description that was posted on the theater website, along with a very long list of awards and nominations.
What I didn’t expect was how many themes in the story related to my own life.
In case any of you still plan to see it, I’ll try to omit any spoilers, but I cried multiple times throughout the play. The actors were incredible, the music entertaining, and the story, well, relatable.
The story touched on many of life’s challenges from several different perspectives, but the two that most resonated with me were grief and loneliness.
Grief is pretty obvious. As the mother of a child in Heaven, I know how grief feels, how all encompassing and debilitating it can be, and how much it can take over thoughts, emotions, and feelings.
The loneliness, however, was depicted so eloquently with each character that it forced me to analyze my own loneliness.
Outside of my life’s greatest tragedy of losing my son, typically I have not led a lonely life. I have incredibly loving, available, and often suffocating (in the best possible way) parents.
I have a sister who reminds me as often as she can that she is number one on my team of supporters. My husband is the only one who truly knows what it means to have lost our son, and we always find ways, as difficult as it can be, to be each other’s safe place.
And I have a group of extended family and friends who constantly catch me when I fall, believe in me when I don’t, and ensure me that I will never, no matter what, be alone.
I am so blessed to have all of these amazing people, but still, I am lonely.
My loneliness is a darkness so deep inside my soul that I often pretend it isn’t there. It’s like a tiny addiction that I’ve fought for years, but haven’t been able to completely break. It creeps up when I don’t expect it and it rises so quickly to the surface that I choke and cease breathing temporarily.
And sometimes I have to let it win. Sometimes that loneliness, it envelops me and turns my thoughts dark. And that darkness is terrifying. Because it holds the power to paralyze me. A paralysis I’ve been fighting so hard to overcome.
I know that the loneliness, the darkness, the hurt that overcomes me, is only temporary. My angel is never more than a whisper or a dream away. And because of him, I am never truly alone.