A few years ago, my best friend and brother died tragically in an accident. I struggled to figure out how I was going to make it through such a terrible event in my life and I turned to writing as an outlet. Writing, art, music, all are healing and really helped me to leg go for a while and slip into my thoughts without them taking over my life. Grief is hard, it is awful. For some it is even physically painful. None of us grieve the same way. If you are here because you have lost someone or simply because grief lingers in your life, take your time and allow your spark to come to you.
Looking at Grief in Moments of 3 – one woman’s look at grief.
3 minutes – I couldn’t catch my breath. I felt my soul screaming. My husband was trying to comfort me, trying to wrap his arms around me and pull me close and all I wanted to do was run. But the air just felt like it was pouring out of me as I tried to wrap my head around the idea. I was lost somewhere between rage and horror. My best friend was dead.
3 hours- I felt sick. Exhausted from crying and even standing over the toilet thinking I would puke up my swallowed tears, I finally lie down on the couch. My daughter half asleep on the other side looked as if she too had been through a nightmare. I still waited for another call, there had been two already. Both equally insane. 3 calls tonight seemed to make more sense.
3 days- Now I just walk around numb, trying to help, trying to do something more than fall into this pit that seems to be getting bigger and the edges just at my toe tips. I have to do something. Sitting and thinking isn’t helping, when I slow down I cry. I know what he would have wanted, we talked every day. He would have told me to get up and keep going, one step at a time. Just move. Just do something more. I walk my dog who is unusually wonderful recently. Part of me keeps hoping that he is going to call, say it was some sort of joke or a mistake and not really him.
3 weeks- I didn’t go to the funeral. I couldn’t. I didn’t want the last memory I have of him to be dead. I want it to be the sound of his voice, his loud booming laughter, and his words… I love you. Funerals are for the living. They are the starting line and the firing shot that marks the beginning of your grieving process. I wanted to be surrounded by my comfort circle, safe in my own home, with routine setting the pace for my progress. I knew what I needed, familiarity.
3 months- Every time I hear his name said out loud, it feels like a punch to my heart. The sweetness of silence is often too loud, I cover it over with music. But I grow frustrated when the music just keeps playing songs that I know he liked, things targeted at my emotions. I know I’ve hit the angry place in my grief not just because the books and my grief therapist have told me so, but because I am so mad that I strike out in every direction. Now I just have to channel that into something constructive.
3 new friends – We were thrown into this club, not by choice, but by our love for him. 3 random strangers that I wouldn’t have ever known, if not for this connection. A strong independent single mother working her way through school and trying to raise her son, a strong gay black man whose life is so different from mine that it is fascinating, and a stunning model that has a heart that is even far more beautiful than her photos. And then there is me… middle-aged suburban housewife who writes a blog and makes monster baby bibs. From time to time this group of ours reaches out to the others members, catch up, tells stories, and help the healing.
3 years – Acceptance was hard. Fighting through wanting to blame everyone and everything for how I was feeling, wasn’t easy for anyone. Grieving is never over. You just move into a different phase that really doesn’t have a good label. It’s a place where you feel like you are almost over it, but then a song plays on the radio and tears flow. On the anniversary, you fight back memories and sit on patios drinking tea and thinking of all of the things you have gone through with and without the missing piece of your heart. You look ahead to 3 decades in the future and wonder if you will still be holding on as tightly, or will the loss of others have replaced it. I can still hear his voice just on the edge of my memories, guiding me on and pushing me to do more and work harder. Trinkets of him still face me in every direction. I know that it’s time to get up, get moving, and make every day important. That’s what he lived by and what I now embrace.