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The valley

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Steve Smart is the project coordinator for Care for the Family’s Widowed Young Support. Here he shares how it is possible to find beauty even in the midst of the grief valley.

A valley is a low area of land between hills or mountains, typically with a river or stream flowing through it. This may conjure up a beautiful place in your mind’s eye.

It is also a place where darkness or death are metaphorical valleys that we will at some time walk through as part of our human experience.

Years ago I watched a TV documentary about Death Valley, in the U.S.A.  Death Valley is an area of breath-taking beauty yet dangerous extremes.

One mountain in Death Valley, Telescope Peak is 11,049 foot (3,368m) above sea level. I can imagine this peak piercing the sky!

However, Death Valley can be dangerously cold during the winter months and have extremely high temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius in the summer, which have caused some deaths. Storms in the mountains can produce flash floods in the valley with devastating consequences.

It would be wrong to think though that this valley is just a desolate place. In Death Valley there is a lot of beauty with colourful rock formations, beautiful wildflowers and many different species of birds, animals and reptiles. There are beautiful sunsets where the sun changes colour as it sets. A valley can have beauty in it.

These are twenty of the most beautiful valleys in the world with stunning images on this weblink

One example I particularly like is The Valley of Flowers, a National Park in India known for its amazing wildflowers and diverse wildlife that includes brown and black bear, musk deer, red fox, snow leopards, and other mammals and birds.

This year there have been all types of loss for many people in this ‘Covid-19 Valley’. For those widowed young, this has compounded the very sad, traumatic, challenging and painful experience of the untimely death of a partner; being isolated, lonely and maybe alone too in your own personal ‘grief valley’

As you walk through your unique ‘grief valley’, at the moment it may seem dark. The mountain tops and sun may be hidden from view by dark clouds. They are still there though; a fact I often remind myself of. One day you may glimpse the sun via the kindness of a stranger or the thoughtfulness of a friend or family member as they support you. The clouds may evaporate as you connect with somebody who really understands your loss and who ‘gets it’.

A well-trodden path, is important to navigate through a valley and so is a guide. How wonderful to be guided safely to a wonderful vantage point overlooking a valley, with an amazing view of the different aspects of the valley, seeing beauty down there you can sometimes only see from above.

That is where we at Care for the Family can help. All of us involved in WYS have been in our own valley too. We have experienced the darkness and desolation there, but have also seen beauty there too – in people we have met and those we have also been guided by, who have travelled the well-trodden path before us.

Let us in WYS and Care for the Family be your guide to help you find the beauty that does exist in your valley, even though you may not see it at the moment.

Help us support families today

At Care for the Family we support couples, parents and those who have been bereaved. If you would be able to make a one-off donation to support our work, we would be very grateful. Thank you.