Fair warning, the following content is… a lot. I wrote this excerpt therapeutically, as a wave of mourning and fatigue tsunami-ed me. Using the raw genius C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed as inspiration to writing vulnerably, I messily articulated some things that I've been learning and yearning.

It should be stated that the act of rereading these notes is appalling. They seem more like embarrassing and disillusioned ramblings than an Internet article. However, both helping others through the accreditation of their emotions and letting people in seem more important than my inclination towards privacy. Hopefully, my words can normalize a form of sorrow for you, should you ever need my words.

P.S. Sorry for the whiplash you might get from my habit of flipping between sadness and sarcasm. Coping mechanisms are weird.

Okay. Here we go.


Shane,

After you died,

People tell me that I'm strong.

Maybe I am now.

But, given the choice, I would never want to be strong.

I would rather be weak, with you still with me.

Strength isn't optional.

You simply adopt the characteristic when dealing with situations of this caliber.

"Strong" might be the only compliment to utter to someone in grief, (you can't very well compliment their snotty hair or their striking, bloodshot eyes).

Possibly, I am strong.

You must have the strength to carry this amount of baggage, (which exceeds most commercial airlines' weight limit).

What does being strong mean?

Is strength stoic suppression of your messy emotions to tend to others'?

Is strength leaning on yourself alone? A pillar in the ruins?

Is strength letting yourself be (guiltily) happy later?

Is strength just a façade of a characteristic to make people mourning feel like they are also growing?

Is strength waiting until you're alone to be weak?

Is strength synonymous with the courage to face the certain adversity of an apathetic universe? To face the dark matter ahead? (Pun somewhat intended).

Sometimes your death takes my breath away in an audible gasp.

I don't feel strong as the wind of loss is knocked from me.

I don't know what strength is.

But I might be strong.


After you died

Everybody sent flowers.

The roses taunted Mom.

She held the opinion that this cultural practice took the joy out of flowers.

I didn't understand until

The scent of decaying blossoms permeated my childhood home.

I'm sure the flowers were meant to comfort us with a reminder of vivacity.

But from my perspective,

I saw how abysmal it was that we send flowers to the mourning (like, here ya go, another reminder that nothing is permanent, that everything lovely is only lovely temporarily and lost the next moment).


After you died

I am terrified of forgetting the memories.

The scraped knees and candies.

You were the co-manager of my childhood

But you were more than that.

The soul who was meant to be with me longer than anyone else in this life

Another person who knew what it was like to grow up with our parents.

You continue to be more than that.

The human who will affect the choices of my future.

Who will I let in?

How will I live and change?

Why will I make my choices?

The forthcoming time seems darker.

Why'd you have to go and die?

I cry for the nephews and nieces and sister-in-law that I will never have.

I cry for my own nonexistent (potential) kids who will never know you but may turn out like you

How would I explain you to them?

What stories should I share to honor you? Do you deserve that honor?

The future impossible times when you will not be by my side as Mom and Dad pass away.

I will have to bury everyone.

Alas, I will keep going.

Moving on and through and despite and because.

I will be stronger.

Perhaps I am even strong now, like those well-meaning people tell me I am.


I love you,

Riley