Tag Archives: Grief

365 Days Later

2015 sucked. Yes I’m being that blunt. While there were highlights, generally speaking, I couldn’t wait to see 2015 go.

365 days ago, at the exact moment this blog post was published, my family lost its matriarch and I lost one of my best friends. Losing my grandmother shook my family to its core and one year later, all of us are still feeling aftershocks.

While I certainly miss Nana and think about her everyday, her death triggered much more for me. As I watched my mother and aunt tend to her tirelessly, I thought to myself: this is going to be me one day. I will be responsible for my parents and I will have to say goodbye.

It was during this realization that for the first time I actually felt like an adult. As we laid my beautiful Nana to rest and handled the details, I grew up, almost instantaneously.

Grief comes in waves, striking us in the least opportune moments. We can’t control this no matter how much time has passed since the trauma. But what else comes with grief? For me, it brought along a paralyzingly fear. Fear that those I love most would suddenly rise to heaven leaving me here hopeless and terrified. I made decisions based on this irrational fear. It influenced my personal relationships and professional interactions. It consumed me. All the time. Even when I wasn’t aware of it. I’d think I was getting ahead of it only to experience another painful loss that put me right back where I started.

It is only thanks to two of my colleagues who asked some profound questions that got me recognizing this emotion and how it shows up for me. This fear isn’t going away but I am much more aware of how it attacks the most innocent of situations. No matter how petrified I might be, I can’t control destiny. I can’t save anyone. I can live each day making decisions based on my happiness, not my fear.

I share this with you my friends so you know you’re not alone. Whatever you’re feeling after a traumatic event is justified. I’m so glad someone gave me the permission to feel all the feels. It was what I needed. I hope you can too, so we all can begin to heal and move forward.

I am forever grateful to my angel grandmother, for teaching me so many of life’s lessons even from afar.

Feb 2015 370

Upside Down

I started January 2015 with a brand new planner, a series of written-out resolutions and a game plan to make this year the best one yet. Full of good intentions, I resurrected my workout routine and meal prepping, determined to be healthier and happier in 2015.

Then, two weeks into this glorious new year, my world was turned upside down. A loved one passed away. Unfortunately, I know I’m not the first one to experience this and certainly won’t be the last. No matter how much you prepare, even the most type-A person doesn’t know what to do. Plans go out the window. You forgot what the word routine even means. You’re frozen, paralyzed  with a variety of emotions, unsure of how to get yourself unstuck. It’s a very weird place to be.

GreifSo you go through the motions, you say goodbye, then you’re left at home with more food and flowers than Whole Foods. Now what? Yeah, I can’t answer that question for you. I barely can answer it for myself. The few things I do know include:

  • You have to grieve. That’s going to look different for each person. But cry if you need to, yell if you must. Go through pictures and talk about your loved one. Do whatever you need to so you can accept this loss.
  • Listen to your body. True, there is some level of forcing yourself out of the rut you’re in, but your body will tell you what it needs. After a week of Italian cold cuts, my body told me to find a salad!
  • It’s going to look different for each person. When a loved ones dies, those who remain will react in a variety of ways. No two reactions are going to be the same. Just like you have to grieve, so does everyone else.
  • It’s ok to be upside down. Literally, that’s how I’ve felt the last couple of weeks. My mind would wander, I’d experience a wave of emotions all at once. For me, this is not how I operate. I have a schedule, a plan, for each day. Going rouge is not my thing. But, this is a traumatic experience, so I gave myself the permission to go off the grid. This is not an everyday occurrence, so your everyday gameplay won’t work.

I think I’m back to normal. I feel better than I did a week ago and assume I’ll feel even better in a month. This is the new normal and accepting that is the only way to move forward. Having concrete routines in place before all of this did help get me back on track. More about the importance of routines and how to develop them in my next post!

Family Fridays: We Must Remember

The amount of tragedy that has occurred in the month of December is incomprehensible. Too many lives have been lost. There were still dreams to be achieved, birthdays to celebrate and memories to be made. One short week ago, the nation was rocked by the devastation in Newtown, Connecticut. I will never be able to grasp why babies were sent to heaven too soon. As a big sister with siblings in elementary school, I cannot begin to think about that and immediately called my siblings when I heard the news.

Tragedy and heartbreak do not choose when to strike. On Tuesday morning, my 45-year-old cjoeousin, a father of two young boys, had a massive heart attack and passed away. He will be missed by many but in his death, all of us should be reminded how short life is. Like all those lives lost in Connecticut, his life was cut short and heaven gained another angel just too soon.

So what do we do now? It is hard to come to terms with all that has happened in just the last week. But in order to move forward and honor these angels’ memories, we must properly grieve. The Metro had a helpful article earlier this week about how to handle such grief and tragedy.

memorial 1. Honor your feelings: Most people try to suppress what they feel. However, that is probably the most unhealthy thing to do. It is okay to cry, to be angry or to be alone. Do whatever you have to so your feelings are fully expressed.

2. Set loving intentions: The hardest part for me in such tragedies is that there isn’t anything I can do. I am a doer and always feel the need to fix things. Death and tragedy are not things that can be fixed. But, by setting intentions, prayers or moments of silence for the victims, I am doing something to honor their memory.

3. Be kinder to everyone: Hug your loved ones a little tighter. Call your grandparents. Tell your friends how much you appreciate them. Thank your parents for raising you right. Do something to pay it forward and remind those you care about how important they are to you. Practice being kinder to everyone in your life including strangers.

Ultimately, the best thing we can do to honor these fallen angels is to never forget what happened and to learn from this horrific tragedy. Life has been put into perspective and the little things that are stressed over are now insignificant. May all of these new angels rest in peace and let us never forget them.

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