the past 35 days have been the absolute worst thirty-five days of my life. some have been devastating, others, empty and lackluster. some have been quite lovely and yet, I can't seem to find any joy in the hours that consume them. some days fly by with a numbness attached, while others are full of emotions - the kind you never want or hope to feel. the past 35 days have been the absolute worst thirty-five days of my life. my eyes have never been more sore or swollen from tears. my stomach has never been more disinterested or in such turmoil. my sleep has never been less satisfying. and the only answer anyone has for me is, grief. it's a small word, but it's quite possibly the most vile and unwelcome word I've ever experienced.
I'm told that grief looks different for every person, and so, this is only just my story. I can't speak for you, or for anyone else involved in the cautionary tale that is now my life. I'm not telling you this so that you can better understand me, I don't need you to. and I'm not telling you this so you can look upon me with sympathy or sadness. I need that even less. I'm telling you this because maybe, just maybe (although I hope and pray it's untrue), one day you will find yourself grieving for one reason or another and you will remember that you are not alone. despite everything you may be feeling, or not feeling, you are not alone.
exactly thirty-five days ago, on my twenty-sixth birthday, my 23 year old brother died from a heroin overdose. it was the best day until it was the absolute worst day. people say that life goes on, and yet, for me, I'm still stuck on the end of a horrific phone call I received just thirty-five days ago.
18 things I wish someone had told me about grief:
1. grief doesn't come in stages. it's not sculpted into 5 neat little steps. grief happens when and how it wants to without a single regard for your self preservation or emotional existence.
2. time doesn't heal all wounds. some wounds - deep, graphic, and terrifying in nature - are never meant to heal. I think we simply absorb the pain and they carve us into different people.
3. grief ebbs and flows. grief can sometimes be calm. and it can sometimes be overwhelming. and despite just how good of a swimmer you are, some days you just may get swallowed up.
4. you'll never know what hurts worse - the shock of what happened, or the sadness for things that never will.
5. grief is a lonely road. despite just how marvellous and brilliantly supportive the people around you are - being there, listening - you will be forced to walk down your own path, at your own pace with your raw rounds and your gaping heart, your bitterness, anger, denial and fear. but you'll find your own peace…hopefully. in your own time.
6. you can't control it. there are days when the last thing you want to do is acknowledge another tear, or withstand another painful rationalisation, but all you can do is let yourself feel it when it comes, and let it go when you can.
7. sometimes it's okay if the only thing you did was breathe today.
8. friends will want to console. family will want to regret and rehash. and you'll want to do nothing but sleep. for hours, for days, for months. and when that happens, say *#%$ it all and just sleep.
9. the world doesn't stop for your grief. "life goes on", they say. but for you, it doesn't. you'll pretend it does, because it has to. bills need to be paid, so you'll go to work. errands need to be run, so you'll go through the motions. people need to be acknowledged, so you'll paste on a smile and nod. but don't for one second think, that life will ever just go on the way that it was before.
10. people will ask you if you're okay. over and over and over again. there's no socially acceptable answer to this question. trust me, I've tried.
11. hold tight to the people who know to say, "no your not" when you claim you're okay. those people are a healing balm to your soul and the only comfort you'll find in this messy dark hole.
12. grief is like a heavy fog. and sometimes that fog will cloud everything else. and all we can do is be patient.
13. remind yourself that, "I will be okay. maybe just not today." often.
14. grief has physical symptoms. constant nausea, heartburn that was never there before, headaches, pains, etc.. I've read that when you stopped feeling so worked up, your body will too. but, I haven't yet been able to see if that's true.
15. grief extends beyond the today. you will grieve for the past, the present and the future. the things that will never happen again and for the things that will just never happen.
16. there will always be regrets. no matter how much, or how little time you had, you will always want more.
17. grief can make you question your faith. your life. your purpose. and your goals. and that's not always a bad thing.
18. grief can look however the hell you need it to. this is your hurt, your pain and your loss. and no one else can tell you how that should look. grieve as you need to, when you need to, and however you need to.
how lucky I am to have loved something so much that makes saying goodbye so hard.
eat well. live well. be well.