This Is What Happens When Someone You Love Dies Unexpectedly

God & Man

You get a phone call. Or you get a knock on your door. And the look on their face, the sound of their voice, already tells you that something is wrong. Your mind flips through the possibilities — listing out people who are old and sick. People who might have had a seizure or a heart attack due to their old age.

And then you hear that it’s someone else. Someone young. Someone you never would have expected.

For weeks after you find out, there are only two moods you switch between. There are times when you’re crying your eyes out. And times when you’re kind of okay — but only because it doesn’t feel real, because it hasn’t sunk in, because you refuse to believe it’s the truth.

Every morning, your body realizes it before your brain does. You wake up and you already feel sick — not physically, but mentally. It’s a heaviness in your heart. A lightness in your stomach.

It takes a minute for you to process what’s wrong. There’s a split second when your mind is still fuzzy and sleep is still clung to you where you wonder why you feel that way.

And then you remember what happened. And the feeling in your chest confuses you in a whole new way. A second ago you thought it was too much. Now you know it’s not enough. It will never be enough. This sickness in you will never match the amount you loved them.

You finally realize what people mean when they say they’re sleepwalking while awake. You watch TV and think you’re paying attention to what’s happening, and then the episode ends and you realize you didn’t take in a word of it. Your mind was elsewhere. Nowhere.

You can eat, but not much. Your body isn’t working the way it usually does, so you don’t realize that all you’ve had that day is a bite of a doughnut and half a bowl of cereal until someone else points it out. Even then, you don’t feel hungry. Food doesn’t hold the same taste, doesn’t give you the same relief.

People can tell something is wrong even if you’re fighting to look normal, because you keep making typos. Repeating things you just said a second ago. Walking around in a daze. When you lose someone, you lose control of your brain.

And you lose control of your emotions. You can start out talking, thinking you’re okay because you’re strong and your voice is steady. And then somewhere in the middle of a sentence you thought you could say, your voice cracks. You break down. It becomes all too much.

When you lose someone, unexpected things get you emotional. Like when you’re walking through the store and see a red bandana — because they always wore one draped across their forehead. Or when you tell a story about them that used to make you mad, but now makes you miss them like mad.

When you lose someone, you get pissed off at stupid things that shouldn’t matter, like the newspaper article that explained their death. The article written by some faceless reporter who didn’t know shit about them but wrote like they were informed. They’re a stranger who typed out details about your loved one’s death for a paycheck, not caring about the fact someone with a family is now gone, and you hate them for it.

When you lose someone unexpectedly, you think you heard wrong. You think that it’s all some sort of mistake.

And when you realize that it isn’t, you lose a little piece of yourself that never comes back. TC mark

Holly Riordan is the author of Lifeless Souls, available here.

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  • http://amykasim.wordpress.com Naema

    I know exactly how this feels… it’s been two years, 6 months and 11 days.

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