After you were gone, the shell shock hit me like a tsunami. Suddenly, one of the most prevalent people in my life was now just, gone. Your death was sudden, unexpected, and gut wrenching. But I suppose that is how all tragedies are. The rest of the world was moving on but I was just; stuck. Everyone went back to work, proceeded with activities, some people even went to parties again. Yet, my mind was still eclipsed by the fact that you were missing from me. It did not matter if I was in a room of 200 people or two people, I felt all the same alone; and in those moments, you were the only person I wanted to talk to about it.
“If only I could talk to her, about getting over her.” -We Bought a Zoo
My grief was consuming and I wore it proudly as if it were a crown. I did not care how people viewed me or that they saw me hurting, because, this was MY grief. Nobody else could understand what I was going through no matter what, so I did not see a point in trying to mask it. I was filled with feelings of guilt, regret, and just complete and total helplessness, and nobody or nothing could pull me out of it. You and only you were the answer, but you, were gone.
They approached me about grief counseling several times, and a couple of times I entertained them and went to a few sessions. Except, all the first ones just said the same thing pretty much, “It’ll get better with time.” “There’s nothing you could have done.” “You need to look past this, you start college in the fall.” All the things that I already knew, so I lost hope in the act. Actually, my hope of ever feeling better was lost. Until I found her.
She didn't tell me the same things the other ones told me. She was real and honest. But my hope in it all was already gone and I didn't expect improvement. Actually, I didn't expect anything. Not until the day she asked me to tell her about you. Finally, a topic I knew the answers to. So I told her about your smile and the way we could laugh so hard we weren't actually laughing at all. I told her about the way you could make everyone feel like you were their best friend. I told her how you charmed your way out of every situation, ever, and always left me standing there alone to feel the wrath of whatever it was. I told her about the way a room would get just a little bit warmer when you walked into it. I told her about your natural intelligence and how you sailed through high school. I told her about your love for people and missions. I told her all of the things that no one else had asked me to tell them after you passed. And that was the day I took my first step forward in the journey of grief.
It’s different for everybody but for someone who doesn't like to talk about their emotions or their feelings much, she knew just what I needed. All I needed was for someone to listen as I told them all the intoxicating aspects of who you were. Six months total, of once a week sessions, declining down to two weeks sessions, dwindling it down to just once a month. That was it, the worst of my grief was open and on the table. I left nothing unsaid, left nothing untouched, and left nothing unheard. But I did leave it in the past.
Grief affects everyone is such drastically different ways, but sometimes, all we ever really need to do, is lend an ear and listen. So if someone is grieving, never pry, never force anything. But, instead of asking how they are (because they are obviously a wreck). Ask for a story. Some people may not want to verbally share one, but it will elicit the thought in their mind and that’s all they need. The brain’s ability to block out things during that time is unparalleled and a lot of the time it blocks out the good things too, simply as a defense mechanism. We all will eventually grieve in our lifetime, unfortunately, but how we choose to do it will define who we become. As for me, I think I’ll be just fine but only by the Grace of God alone am I able to carry on.