Sunny Sundays

Sunny Sundays

The unexpected reminders in grief
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Grief is hard and complex, it’s not a linear upward progression of improvement and getting better, like it is with a broken bone or other injury. Instead it’s something deep within you, a constant ache, something so personal so unique that even two siblings experiencing the same loss feel it in completely different ways.

When you lose someone that you love there are lots of those big “firsts” as we call them. Like your first Birthday without them, the anniversary of their death, the first Holiday season, the first big event where they aren’t there or the first family photo where there’s one less person in the frame. All of these first are expected and others anticipate that these days will be extra hard and sad. Most people think that grieving is about these big yearly events, and while that’s true. There are other anniversaries or reminders that are much more frequent and just as emotional and overwhelming.

I can sometimes struggle a lot on Sunday mornings specifically sunny ones. You see it was a sunny Sunday morning when I got the dreadful phone call at 11:37am. And now sunny Sundays will never quite be the same. Instead they can tend to bring back a rush of details and memories. They take me back to the exact spot that I was standing inside of my church when I heard the news that my sister had been in an accident, and the dreary 5 hour drive to the hospital- where I was mad that what appeared to be such a beautiful day was turning into the darkest day. All of those raw emotions suddenly flood my heart when I walk outside on a sunny Sunday. It’s like I relieve that moment over again and each time it’s just as deep and painful.

Unfortunately though, it’s not just sunny Sundays that trigger painful emotions, but instead for those who are grieving there is a perpetual steam of unexpected memorials & reminders. They can come out of nowhere and seem to ambush you on even your best days. It can be anything from seeing a specific time on the clock, date on the calendar, hearing a song, or even a particular smell.

The reminders are brutally incessant wanting to make sure that you don’t forgot your grief even for a moment, and each time they force you to remember your loss anew. Seeing the number 23, hearing the song Oceans, or when I found pickle flavored candy and without thinking I put a box in my cart for my sister and I was so excited to send her a pic of it so we could laugh about it and take guesses at whether they would be completely nasty or a pickle lovers dream, but instead I had to hold back tears when I had to tell the lady at the checkout to put them back.

Or walking into a gym- hearing the oh so familiar sound of the basketball bouncing on the hardwood floor wishing more than anything that it was my sister’s hands that were the ones dribbling the ball up the court.

These times and triggers aren’t obvious to most people and oftentimes we don’t have the words, emotional capacity or the time to explain them all—leaving everyone else most likely unaware of how often, frequently and deeply we mourn. Our grief can feel like a lonely journey and in some ways it is, because it’s so specific and individualized to our relationship with the one we’ve lost; it’s a personalized wound. Now your calendar is forever changed marked by the time before and after the death and full of grief anniversaries & moments.

You never truly know how intricately woven someone is into every aspect of your life until there gone and you feel the vast void of them no longer being here.

Cover Image Credit: BSN (best collection of wallpapers)

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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An Open Letter To Older Brothers, With All The Things Your Younger Brothers Won't Admit

This is what everyone with older brothers won't admit, so I'll do it for us all.

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Older Brothers:

As we get older, we definitely begin to grasp at the importance of our relationship with each other. More specifically, the path of substantial growth that develops and unfolds as we get older bewilders us, yet we find ourselves elated with the direction that it is taking. Although we used to unconditionally hate each other, times change substantially the older we become.

We all truthfully appreciate the weight of the growth more than you do, and we'll explain why further in this letter alongside the stages of our relationship.

Ironically, it is very hysterical to think as far back as we can remember to when we were little kids. We definitely caused our parents to be overwhelmed with extraordinary stress, but it did not matter to us. The first stage of our relationship was as innocent and peaceful as could be, at least before the storm arrives later on. We truly appreciate engaging in nothing but fun with you. You were our first tour guide in the world, and your hobbies became ours. We could often be found disappearing into endeavors, on a life or death mission as we saw it.

Simply put, we were in it together, whatever it was.

Even with small and insignificant bickering every once in a while, it never amounted to anything terrible. All we cared about was exploding with our energy and breaking the ornery meter with you. Thank you for embracing this first stage of enjoyment with us. It seemed to pass by incredibly fast, especially with stage two of our relationship on the horizon.

Stage two was a huge love-hate time. It was also by far the most growthful and helpful time for us, even though it certainly did not seem that way. As we entered into our pre-teens and then into middle school, all we cared about was undermining you. For some reason that we really do not know how to explain, we attempted to find an edge.

Stage two of our relationship was filled with fighting that usually ended in us losing. This specifically helped us to learn how to deal with crap. You also had all your high school friends more or less beat us up. You also always expected us to be at our best. As you progressed through high school, we were beginning to learn it all. This is where the love of love-hate came into play. Although we also never explicitly understood or acknowledged it, you inspired us. Being older, you had already experienced a lot and helped us through the worst.

Stage two was definitely a rollercoaster of love-hate (more hate in our minds), but we later learned you were dope.

In the final stage of growth in our relationship, we learned that we had and have a built-in forever best friend relationship. In our late high school years, college, and beyond, we finally realized the impact you had on us. You are honestly probably happier than us that we finally grew up, but we never admit we were and are the perfect duo, two peas in a pod. We grew up together and experienced a lot. So here's to us, even though we will always be better than you.

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