Whether it was expected or not.
Whether they were 7, 31 or 98 years old.
The circumstance has no business trying to justify what you’re feeling or not feeling.
Death sucks. It hurts and it rips and it scars you. Right now, I know it seems as if there are no words that can fix this. Nothing that’s going to magically make your heart feel like it doesn’t weigh fifty pounds.
And you’d be right.
But there are words that can give you hope. Words to remind you that there’s a light. Not necessarily a light at the end. This never ends. But at light, at least, maybe with a little advice mixed in.
Needless to say, everyone handles these situations differently. No two tragedies are the same. We all have unique ways of healing.
That said, you aren’t alone and if I had to guess, we likely have some common ground here.
You may feel as if no one understands what you’re going through. And that you’ve heard enough of the same phrases repeated to you from loved ones.
It’ll be okay. I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine what you’re going through. We’re here for anything you need.
They’re just filling the space with words because they don’t know what else to say. And this isn’t their fault.
Try not to get frustrated with the people who are desperate to help you. Accept the 30 casseroles that show up at your door and toss them out if you aren’t hungry.
Why do I say this? Because the best piece of advice I received after I lost someone went a little like this: People stop coming around. It’s not that they don’t care and it’s not that they forget. It just isn’t their life and it didn’t change their world the way it did for you.
I can tell you that a year or two down the road, this will be true. There are the few people who will stand by you relentlessly – cherish them. Thank them. Love them.
You may eventually realize that the presently overwhelming amount of generic kind words are actually keeping you afloat. You may end up longing for one of those “are you okay?” texts you’ve been receiving every single day.
I know you may not want it right now, but let these people help you. Accept any love they have to give. Love is what heals every single time. Try not to take these acts of kindness for granted.
Appreciate them now while remembering you have a future ahead of you.
Your life didn’t end, so you now need to figure out what you’re going to do next and how you’re going to do it.
I think the hardest thing was, and still is, trying to picture the rest of your life without them.
The immensity of that reality is still crippling. But, then I realize how far I’ve come. There’s all this time separating me from that horrifying day. I’ve been surviving and I’ve hardly even noticed the passing of time.
I felt so sure time would stop when she died. I couldn’t imagine that the world could keep turning. But, it did.
When I was where you are now, I was afraid of the future.
When I’d form relationships, I was fearful of the idea of falling in love with someone who didn’t know her.
I was afraid that if they didn’t know her, they’d never really know me.
Rest assured, my friends, that is not the case.
After years of mistakes and damaging behavior, I finally gave in to loving someone new to my world. Someone who didn’t know the old me, didn’t know my old life or where I came from.
I was hesitant, at first. I always had this fear of people not understanding how good things used to be. I felt like I had to explain that things haven’t always been so broken.
It doesn’t matter. It’s irrelevant.
Time let me learn that a new love is what I needed. Someone I could explain things to when I felt like it would help, but also someone who could just let me be me. He’s helped me feel normal. Like my world didn’t end.
This newfound bliss, though, has come with added confusion.
I often felt conflicted as my life seemed to fall into place. Maybe things were just a little too good. How can I be so happy when I’ve lost such an important piece of my life?
So, in swept the guilt.
I found that I needed to free myself from the shackles of my grief. This tragic event does not define my future.
Like all things in life, this loss has provided an opportunity to learn and grow. And you have to do just that.
Laugh easily and carelessly. Smile with confidence. Love deeply and fearlessly.
Never be afraid to enjoy a moment because you’re under the impression a cloud of sorrow should surround you at all times. You have already experienced a great loss – don’t lose yourself in the process.
Keep living. Keep moving forward. This life is yours. Don’t apologize for your happiness.
Remember, you are not alone. Things will get better. You are loved. You are strong. You are alive.