Thought Catalog
April 6, 2017

What Really Happens After You Lose Your Best Friend To Cancer

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Twenty20 / @meganmeza

When someone you love dies, you will have rage blackouts.

Different circumstances will trigger these. In the beginning, the majority of the rage will stem from self-serving, delusional novels acquaintances write on your late best friend’s Facebook page. You’ll know deep down that this is how they’re coping with her death and that social media tributes have now become “normal”, but you will not be ready for empathy.

You will not be a big enough person when you read these, and you will get angry. You’ll scream at the computer. You’ll curse and cry and throw things. You’ll scare your husband. He will say he’s never seen you like this. You’ll chug a glass of wine. Then you’ll pour another and chug that too.

The rage will seep into your belief system, and you will get livid with God. You’ll think to yourself, “Of all the people in the world, you had to take her away? WHY?” You’ll threaten him. You’ll curse at him. You’ll aim your middle finger to the sky and tell him that you’re done. You’ll say he doesn’t exist because a God that you believe in wouldn’t let this happen. You will not talk to Him. You will not acknowledge Him. You will skip church just to stick it to him.

As the months go on, you will miss Him. You will make peace with Him. You will thank Him for allowing you to rage on him instead of others. He will say, “No thank yous necessary.” You will simmer.

When someone you love dies, you’ll finally go see a therapist.

It’s been months since you got the name of that therapist from your friend, and you will finally make an appointment. On the drive to your first session, you will promise yourself that you will keep your composure. You will sit in the therapist’s office and explain what finally brought you there.

You’ll ramble off a list of every reason why you need to talk to an unbiased third party about your life, but you will not mention your best friend. You don’t want to cry. As the session continues, you will feel heavier and heavier. With each omission of truth, the weight will pile on.

When the mass is too big and you’re filled to the brim with grief, you will blurt out, “I’M REALLY HERE BECAUSE MY BEST FRIEND JUST DIED OF CANCER.” You will reach for the tissue box. You will use every one.

When someone you love dies, you will cry.

You will cry at church when her favorite worship song is played. You will cry in the car. You will cry in the bathroom. You will cry in bed. You will cry while you write. You will cry while you cook. You will cry at the deli, ordering a quarter pound of turkey. You will cry at Target as you aimlessly wander every aisle, filling your cart with things you don’t need.

You will cry, consistently and randomly. You will cry for her parents and their broken hearts. You will cry for her brothers, her family, her friends. You will cry for her true love. You will cry for yourself. You will cry for the millions of people in the world who will forever be less because they did not get to meet her. You will fill an ocean with your tears. You will never run out.

When someone you love dies, you will remember.

You will hear, “Tears Dry On Their Own” in a store, and you’ll remember the exact moment when you and she made up a dance to that song. You will remember performing the dance at parties for anyone who would watch. You will remember her face. You will remember her laugh.

You will remember her smell. You will remember how her body frame felt when you hugged her. You will remember her voice. You will remember her spirit. You will remember her singing.

You will remember the way she drove. You will remember the first time you met. You will remember her long flowy skirt and how she taught you how to curl your hair. You will remember her nicknames for you. You will remember her handwriting. You will save every letter she wrote you. You will read them regularly. You will remember that she loved you and that her heart was the biggest of them all. You will promise yourself never to forget to remember these things.

When someone you love dies, you will change.

You will feel confused and lost and hazy. You will challenge life. You will ask more questions. You will search for answers.

When someone you loves dies, your body will literally ache from missing them so much. Your muscles will be sore from the heartache. Your head will be heavy from the grief.

When someone you love dies, you will lose a piece of your soul because they took it with them when they left. When someone you love dies, you will unequivocally believe in Heaven. There is no where else you could possibly picture your best friend being for eternity. You will picture her– happy, healthy, alive.

You will feel a little less afraid of dying because you know there is someone who loves you up there to show you around.

When someone you love dies, you will love everyone else around you a little bit more. You will pay no mind to the trivial. You will gain perspective. You will grow. You will travel. You will kiss and laugh and play. You will make time for people. You will not settle for average. You will hold hugs for just a second longer. You will practice self-care. You will be gentler to yourself. You will breathe deeper.

When someone you love dies, you will learn how to finally be alive. TC mark