1. No pain will ever compare to it.
It is not only the loss of a person, but a part of yourself. The half that makes you whole is now gone, with no warning. The person who knew you better than yourself has suddenly disappeared without a trace, and you are left lost.
Your head will pound from the crying, your muscles will ache from the weight of the grief spilling over you. You will also feel as though there is an empty space now within you that you didn’t notice before. Your soul will feel as though it has been stomped on and dragged behind a car, and you will question everything you knew up to this point.
It will feel like you are drowning in an ocean of grief and you have suddenly forgotten how to swim — the waves will encompass you, making it hard to catch your breath.
2. There isn’t a manual on how to process death.
There is no time limit or right way to deal with grief. There isn’t a script on what to say to worried family members or curious Facebook friends when they ask what happened. There is no warning label for when you see her mom for the first time afterwards.
There isn’t a notification for every song, picture, or moment that will remind you of what you have lost, nor is there always rhyme or reason to what will bring you back to that first initial punch in the heart. Other waves can be seen coming — birthdays, holidays, anniversaries — but some will surprise you and knock you off your feet.
You won’t necessarily follow the “stages of grief” that everyone talks about. You might find the experience more similar to a rollercoaster ride that never seems to end than a staircase to feeling whole again.
3. People won’t know what to say to you.
They will walk on eggshells around you, not knowing what will make what you are going through better or worse. Some will tell you they know how it feels, but it will feel as though they cannot even begin to understand what you are going through.
Others will admit that they can’t imagine how you feel, and that won’t feel right to you either. You will want people to treat you as though nothing happened – and even though you would like to pretend nothing happened, something huge did and that can’t be ignored. Some will say nothing at all, and will just let you speak and hug you when you are finished.
4. You will be so, so angry.
You will be mad at a lot of people for seemingly small things. You will be upset when someone laughs, because how can they be laughing when you are so unbelievably sad? You will be angry with those grieving who were also friends with her, because how dare they grieve over your best friend? You will be angry at the people who check in on you, because you just want to be left alone.
But you will also be upset with distance, because don’t they know what you are going through? You will be angry at people that are upset about menial things, because you just lost your best friend. You will snap at people you care about, and they will understand. You will be angry with yourself every time you laugh or are happy, because she doesn’t get to laugh anymore. You might even be upset with her, because how dare she leave you alone in this world?
5. The world will inevitably go on.
It is a sad, hard truth that you have to come to terms with. The world will still turn, the days will still come and go. People will process and accept and move on, and you might not just yet.
One month will pass, and then two, then six, and suddenly a year has gone. Even though you feel frozen in time, confused as to where to go from here, you will also have to go on. You will still have to go to work, you will still have to celebrate holidays, you will still have to try and smile. No one is saying you have to forget – but you do have to let life continue.
6. You do not have to be alone in your grief.
You absolutely do not have to handle this alone. Let people care about you, let them take care of you. Even though you will want time alone, you will get to a point where you can’t be by yourself anymore. It will be harder to get through if you try and do it on your own.
Surround yourself with people who love you, because they will help you on this journey through your grief. Hang onto those who are also grieving, as they know what you are feeling. If you need to, talk to someone who doesn’t know you – grief counseling can make a world of difference, even if you think you are processing okay on your own. Do what feels right for you, but do not isolate yourself. Your best friend would want you to be happy, remember that.
7. You won’t be the same person, and that is okay.
People say time heals all wounds, but this isn’t necessarily true with death. Your heart will be badly broken, so broken that it will never quite be what it was. The scar that is left is a testament to your love for her, and if the scar is deep then so is the love. Grief, after all, is merely love with no place to go.
The world will look differently to you, and the things that are important to you might change as well. Everything will seemingly change, including you. You will make other friends, and they will never replace her, but will help to fill the void that this loss leaves behind.
You will get married, you will start a family, and you will grow old. Nothing will ever change how much you miss her, but eventually you will think of her and smile instead of cry – and those are the days to look forward to.