Let me tell you about Danielle Athey. She is my best friend and someone I've become so close with that I call her my sister. She is beautiful, she is strong, and she is one of the most loving and down to earth people I know. She's not your average girl. She works on the pipeline, loves tattoos, hunting, fishing, and she's perfectly unique. But something tragic happened to her... to such an amazing person. Something that no one can ever imagine until it happens to them.
Can you begin to conceptualize the permanent loss of your step-mother and your little brother and sister all in one night? I know I can't, but my best friend Danielle did. After many sleepless nights and an endless amount of uncontrollable thoughts, I texted her. I finally built the courage and heart to talk to her about how she was feeling.
With that being said, I can only imagine what it took to write this.
I present to you a look inside Danielle's fierce mind.
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Have you ever lost someone close to you? A grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, or maybe your own child? Unfortunately, some people can say they have but if you haven't... close your eyes and imagine losing three of your intermediate family members. OK, now visualize losing them all in one night without a goodbye or even the slightest warning. Not only is it not fair, but it's not something most people can conceptualize.
You may not realize it but tragedies like this happen every day. You never think it will happen to you until it does. It happens to the most innocent people you can think of.
Coming from someone who has gone through this exact situation, it's not something I would wish upon my worst enemy. As wretched as my heart, mental state, and my soul is— going through this has taught me so much. My number one piece of advice is always thinking before you speak; you never know what someone is going through.
The slightest things may trigger them, like certain smells or words. It could make them feel like they want to burst out into tears, or maybe they will feel nothing more than rage. Scientists say there are five parts to grieving. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
The hardest part is the first week when all you do is wait for that phone call or text from them saying "I'm OK. I'll be home soon." As days go on you start to think, and you'll learn that your mind is your worst enemy. You think about them every day, whether it's been a week or two months since you lost someone. You don't know how to talk to other people about it because you don't want to burden them with your thoughts. You just tell everyone you are fine and then they will go on about their day. You cry when you are alone, considering you know you have to let out the hurt somehow. You are trying to keep yourself from hurting so you end up hurting the ones you love the most. You don't mean to... then you realize what you are doing so then it just hurts even more.
How does someone go through anything like this? How can someone go through anything like this and make it out alive and "normal?" I want all of the questions in my head to be answered. No one has the true answers but I can't let anything go knowing I didn't get to say goodbye.
Keep in mind that these are some of the things a person who is grieving is going through. Just listen to them when they try to speak to you or tell you how they feel. When they are opening up, remember that it sure takes a lot just to get to that point. I'm trying, I really am trying to hold myself in one piece. But, I will always be OK. If you are having trouble you need to know that someone is willing to listen.
— Danielle Athey
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There's not much more I can say. All you need to know is that someone is here to listen, people care about you, and you are loved. Last but not least, hug your loved ones extra tight and never forget to say "I love you." You never know when you will see them last.
Written in loving memory of Amy Beth Athey, Rocco Hosanna Whaff and Lydia Beth Athey.