“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” -Thomas Campbell
Growing up I would hear my loved one say, “It’s unfair how much we can love one another and then how much we hurt when they are gone.” My response was always the same. I would say, “We live forever in the hearts and minds that truly loved us. Dying is only the departure of body, not soul.” It was my way of consoling someone I loved about someone she cherished, but it was also my own personal thoughts, a truth I held dear.
One of my closest friends lost her dad when we were young. I saw his serene face which would no longer bear his dazzling oversized grin, and I suddenly could not face reality. To me he always represented her stronger more loving parent, and I felt his passing was unfair. Don’t we all, though? When we see we’ve lost some of our best, most loving and caring people to an infinite thing. It’s in a word…unfair.
I knew so little of what losing a loved one meant that I hadn’t the slightest idea what was going on in her mind, or what would for the next decade and beyond. At the time, she and I weren’t best friends, but we would become that and more by way of a boy band, some intense writing habits, and a love of creating. Still, my concept of the level of despair thrust into someone’s world upon someone being taken from it was little known to me. I discovered from my mother and sisters what I wouldn’t find useful for a year or so. It was how to handle that void. How to live with a loss. It was something my friend had figured out in what seemed like an instant. She’d done it so quickly, so smoothly, and so quietly that it was me who had to let go. I had to shake the image of my friend not shedding a single tear, being strong for her daddy, only to come out on the other side with his charm, strength, and creativity – to the max.
To this day, speaking to her on it and all, I can’t guess how she handled it or what she truly did to live in a world without him physically, but I am a believer in the spiritual, and strongly feel he never truly left her. That he’s entirely aware of the amazing things she has done and continues to do. I watched her find her way through mistakes louder than her tiny feet can stomp, but her mistakes never became a downfall. She mustered strength from his strong spirit every single time, and dove right back in. She is a powerful and perfect indication that it is possible to overcome loss, even during your formative years. There are nights I’ve gone to my mother and cried to her about my friend’s loss. Feeling she was wronged because a great figure is gone, but…always coming back to the fact that she’s still profound and more than likely exactly what he wanted his daughter to become.
What she did exactly, I am not sure. To me she’s remained an amazing energy. She’s become someone who exudes it effortlessly and spreads light that stretches for miles. The reason I started with this blog as a feature is because 2 of my friends loss their grandmothers, and as I said in the Newsletter 22 E-mails…I want to centralize material to help you through your fears, even if I haven’t been through them on the same level. I just want you to have a starting point. The objective has always been the same with us and it is that you should never and will never feel alone.
Here are some things to consider and remember.
We are never prepared to let go, and the idea of it seems impossible, but my friend taught me that nothing is impossible. Whether we like to admit it or not, death is a part of life and everything has an end. Know this and trust this, the road to recovery does not have an estimated time frame or a one-size-fits-all approach. There are stages, yes, but what happens in those stages are unique to the people involved and the events surrounding it. Please never feel that you are being (and these are just some trigger words I have heard from friends around me) dramatic, silly, crazy, foolish, over-exaggerative, etc. etc. You are being exactly as you need to be in that moment and no one can fault you for hurting. No one can judge you for how you choose to (or not to) grieve. Grieving, acceptance, and letting go are personal milestones not made to match perfectly to the next person, my friend taught me that.
Here’s how it may go for you. You may feel a loss of control. This includes anger, depression, hopelessness, and so much more. Some may even feel self-destructive due to this vanishing sense of control. To realize we truly have no power over what happens around us is to realize reality. This is terrifying, albeit a part of the process. You will find that time is needed on more than one level. Time for you, time for emotions, time for utter and complete silence. You may find yourself needing to close out the world, and that is okay. You remember this, you don’t owe anyone your time when you simply need time. You know deep down what is best for you, don’t put yourself to the side to console someone else. You are as much a part of this as they may be.
If you are the type to seek out further understanding as to why things happen the way they do, as I am, you’ll look to words of wisdom. You’ll try to educate yourself as best you can because that keeps your mind preoccupied. That’s a beautiful idea. It can make you see that although it is sad, death in itself isn’t. Meaning for the departed, it isn’t meant to bring sadness, but in fact peace. In your studies you will find this.
While the sorrow seems unending knowing what will happen and what you can do can alleviate the stress placed on your mind, body, soul, and heart. The healing process may be weeks, months, years, and so on, but…the key word is healing. Healing indicates a prolonged period of time. However long your time in recovery is, know that you are not alone. They are there trying to keep you strong and help you through your every day until one miraculous day all you feel is love and strength again.