An Open Letter To The Grieving Family Member

An Open Letter To The Grieving Family Member

You will conquer this battle, I believe in you.

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It is okay to not be okay.

You are going through one of the worst experiences in your life, and you have to recover at your own pace. Below, I attached my testimony in hopes that any shred of my experience can help you through your loss.

Everything is going phenomenal. You have good grades, spectacular friends, and are living life to the fullest. Then it happens, the worst day of your life. For me this day was getting the call at midnight that my sister had passed away in a horrific car wreck. In the hours to come you see and experience so many things that you have never imagined you would.

Both your parents crying, at the same time: This is one of the worst parts about the whole experience, knowing your family is hurting and knowing that there is nothing you can do about it. As someone who comes from a decently reserved family when it comes to emotions, it was incredibly difficult to watch the life that my entire family knew to fall apart. While the emotion is uncomfortable and may cause tension, I can not stress to you how important it is to work through your emotions as they arise. If you bottle up your feelings towards the issue it only gets worse, trust me, I know.

Guilt, a pang of undeniable guilt, about something that you have absolutely no control over: For me, this was the worst part of the whole experience. I had an unmistakable feeling that no matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, nothing would bring my loved sister back. While grief counseling can help some, the only way that I found to get through it was simply praying and looking to my friends and loved ones for help.

People coming together despite their differences: While death is something that is difficult to deal with, and it can be hard to find any clarity in the situation, I try to find positives in every situation. For me, the one positive outcome of my loss is the fact that everyone in my family, extended family, and community were willing to set aside differences in order to maintain the grieving process.

So what now? A week or two has passed by and the tears keep coming. Everything seems lost and your life is at a standstill because you do not know how to move on. For everyone, the outcome of a situation such as death looks different. As for me, I found solitude in my passions. I did a tremendous amount of exercising, spending time with friends, and going to school events. For months people will apologize for your loss and every time they do it will bring back memories.

It is okay to ask for help. In my situation, I had tried and tried to fight my battle with grief silently for months, but nothing was improving. I was lucky enough to have a close friend and educator of mine who had gone through a similar situation a few years prior. I can not even count the number of times I ended up in that teacher's room at 6:30 in the morning before practice, crying. Find your people. Reach out to someone, because you do not have to face this alone.

Just remember that as meek and grim as the situation looks, tomorrow will always be a better day. You will find a new sense of normal at your own pace, and that is okay.

Sincerely,

A friend that has gone through a similar situation

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To That One Friend Who Deserves The World

Since I can't give you the world, I hope giving you this article is enough.
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My wonderful friend,

You deserve love.

You deserve to marry your best friend.

You deserve appreciation.

You deserve that no matter who comes in and out of your life, every selfless thing you do for someone is acknowledged.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You deserve kindness.

You deserve to have the nicest people in the world surround you all of the time.

You deserve support.

You deserve to have someone there for you at the beginning of every good day and at the end of every bad one, to have someone who wants to fix all of your problems.

You deserve hope.

You deserve to always be optimistic.

You deserve laughter.

You deserve to never stop smiling and actually mean it every time you do.

You deserve forgiveness.

You deserve to be able to be given second chances because without a doubt you are worth it.

You deserve friendship.

You deserve to have a friend who can be just as good of a friend as you are.

You deserve honesty.

You deserve to always be told the truth.

You deserve motivation.

You deserve to never want to give up and always push yourself.

You deserve success.

You deserve to have everything you have worked so hard for.

You deserve faith.

You deserve to always know it will get better.

You deserve loyalty.

You deserve to have that one person who will never leave and always be there for you.

You deserve happiness.

You deserve to be genuinely content with your life.

You deserve the world.

If I could give it to you, I would.

Yes, life gets tough sometimes. The unthinkable happens and your world feels like it is crashing down but you can get past all of this.

Thank you for being so selfless. It amazes me how you do it sometimes, but thank you for always making everyone your main priority when they need you.

I know I may not say it enough, but truly thank you for all you do for me. I don’t always know how to show how much someone means to me, especially when it is someone as great as you because I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but thank you.

I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Liz Spence

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Here's Your Reminder To Let The People You Care About KNOW That You Love Them

It's so scary to think that one moment everything is fine and then something happens so out of no where and out of your control.

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Last week I stared at my phone screen, not believing what my friend had just told me. Our close friend's father had just passed. I didn't know him well, but there was still a huge knot in my stomach, obviously feeling awful for my friend. That has to be one of the most horrible things, that I could never in a million years imagine having to go through. I told my friend I was thinking of her, but honestly, I tried to push it out of my mind that entire week. It's so scary to think that one moment everything is fine and then something like this happens so out of nowhere and out of your control.

Sometimes things happen in our lives that are unexplainable. This semester has had its ups and downs for me, but it's been pretty smooth sailing overall. I usually gladly stay on campus for the weekends, surrounded by my friends and so much going on, rather than taking the hour-long train ride home. Of course, I miss my family, but I am rarely thinking about it, especially on a Friday night.

This past weekend, however, I had this overwhelming desire to be at home for the weekend, and I couldn't figure out why. Sure, I had more work to do than normal so going home would probably force me to be more productive. I had also been sick that week, so it would be easier to kick my cold in the comfort of my own home than in my dorm. And as much as I adore Brower (not really), it can never hurt to get a good home cooked meal. I kept telling myself I would be home for spring break in two weeks, so none of these reasons really added up to my wanting to be home for the weekend.

Nevertheless, after a late date night on Friday, I decided to pack up my things early Saturday morning and haul my duffel bag to the train. And by the end of my weekend at home, I realized why I needed to be there so badly. I hadn't really confronted how hearing about the loss made me feel and how it was affecting me.

Writing this sounds selfish. Why should it matter how I feel when someone I care about is over there grieving and going through such immense pain? But after a week of pushing it out of my mind, I saw these events as an eye opener for my own life. Even though I have a really close bond with my own father, we fight a lot more often than I'd like, and sometimes I need a reminder to just let things go. I don't show it enough, but I love my dad so much and need to be grateful for the important role he plays in my life.

It sounds like stating the obvious to preach the importance of cherishing every second because you don't know when will be the last, but we often forget. No one should have to suffer through loss, and it scares me the more and more I think about it. I wish there was such a thing as the perfect thing to say to help someone through such an unexplainable situation like this. I guess all you can do is be there for them, give the people you love a hug, and appreciate the little moments you're lucky enough to spend with family.

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