Everyone grieves differently. Some people cry and some people do not. Some people need to distract themselves and some people need to face things head on. Some people take a long time to process and some people can resume normal activity shortly afterward.
So when one of my sorority sisters passed away this past weekend, these various grieving processes were present throughout all 50+ girls in my pledge class.
Dealing with the death of such an amazing young woman is extremely difficult for her family, close friends, and even people who just knew her in passing. Especially when it is sudden, many people experience shock and denial. It is hard to ignore the stigma that surrounds the grieving process which is that there is a "right" way to grieve when there isn't.
It's okay to cry if you did not know her, and it's acceptable not to cry if you were related to her in any way. I can confidently say that what helped me the most during this difficult time was the sisterhood embedded between my friends and me.
I have best friends from high school, and I have a sister, but nothing is quite like having a group of best friends who are also your sisters to support you whenever you need it most.
I spent this past weekend crying, laughing, eating, and crying some more with my sisters.
They slept in my twin bed with me when I didn't want to sleep alone. They stayed up all night waiting for me to wake up so I didn't have to discover the death of our pledge sister alone. They went on walks with me when I needed fresh air. They picked up the phone when I needed to talk...every time. Even though we have known each other for less than a year, I can count on them like I've never counted on anyone before.
It is wild to think that a society we pledged ourselves to in February can become the foundation for our relationships in college and in life. This weekend I learned that being part of a sorority is MUCH more than chapter meetings and cool clothes and date parties and even more than philanthropy events. It's about the bond between women who hold each other up when it feels like everything is crashing down on you. It's about people who motivate each other to be their best selves each and every day.
Without the people, without the women in this organization, there would be no organization. Entering the sorority is entering the sisterhood and the legacy of strong women who came before us.
As I sit here writing this (which is also a helpful coping mechanism) I know that my two sisters sitting with me, one my age and one not, would be there for me right now if I felt like I was going to faint or if I just needed help with homework. That is the power of sisterhood.