I miss her. There’s a deep hole in my heart that only she could fill. How could she be gone? Why her? Why did this happen? How can I go on?
Maybe you’ve lost someone unexpectedly. Maybe you are grieving now. I’ve had these emotions myself after losing a best friend and countless relatives. At some point you may face personal tragedy. Some losses are expected, some are not. We often get caught up in this mentality that “it won’t happen to me”, and then if, or when it does, you are left shattered and bewildered. You may ask yourself, “how can I go on?” It would be nice to be able to turn to a book that tells you how to grieve, what to expect, and what timeline your feelings should follow. But the truth is, there are many ways to grieve, and just as the loss was unexpected, so too is the path of healing.
When I was fourteen, my grandma died from a heart attack. I idolized her. And so the news of her death hit me hard. I remember putting up a type of shrine in my room, pictures, things she had bought me, cards she had written. I even had a bottle of her perfume that I kept on a shelf so that I could smell her familiar scent and feel close to her. This is how I grieved.
When I was fifteen, my aunt was murdered by her husband who then killed himself, a murder-suicide. My grief reaction was the completely opposite from losing my grandma. I didn’t want anything of my aunt’s or to be reminded of anything that had happened. I was in such shock and utter disbelief that denial completely took over in our household. After the funeral it was like nothing had happened, but inside I was screaming that it did happen and what do we do now? This is how I grieved my aunt’s death…in silence.
When my best friend was killed in a crash, I was so angry at the person who hit her car and killed her. I went to the court hearings and wanted him to pay. I blamed him for all the hurt I felt. Granted, some of it was rightly placed on him, and the court punished him. But his sentence didn’t take away my hurt. It didn’t take away my anger. And so this is how I grieved at first–angry, and bitter, focusing on how life wasn’t fair.
There are many ways to grieve; some healthy and some unhealthy. One of the most healthy ways to begin healing is talking to someone. There are support groups, therapists that specialize in grief and loss, and there is Brookhaven Retreat that helped me come to terms with many of my losses and my depression from those losses. The therapists, activities, and fellow clients became my journey of healing. I encourage you to take that step. Brookhaven Retreat changed me life. It didn’t make all the hurt go away, but I learned about healthy grief. I learned that it is okay to mourn and to miss. And I learned that it feels better to finally let go of all the anchors of unresolved grief that hold us back.