Loss Has Many Faces
Loss of a loved one is hard.
I have had quite a few in my life. As a child a said goodbye to my Uncle. He was vibrant, fun, and kind. I loved him very much. Then my Papa John. He was quiet, gentle, and loved me so well. He holds a place in my heart for always. My other grandfather and both of my grand mothers have also left this world. All having been a huge part of growing my into the person I am today. In my twenties I lost my childhood friend to a terrible accident. This was my first loss that rocked my world because of how unexpected it was. 9 years ago my best friend and her husband passed away on the same day from a motorcycle accident. They were my two most consistent friends through some of the hardest years of my life. She was my secret keeper and my heart. I miss her every single day. Last year in January my cousin was murdered. She is in so many of my favorite childhood memories. She was kind, beautiful and so incredibly smart. Her loss is still new and harsh.
Why did I start this blog off listing off so many sad losses? I mean, it’s... dark.
Well. The one year anniversary is coming up on my cousins passing. It has my head swimming a bit.
When we experience loss it never comes to you the same way twice. Honestly reading all of the above you would maybe think that by this point I would be numb to the news of another loss. Maybe jaded or resentful? I don’t feel either.
What I can say is with every loss has come deep sorrow and the realization of what that person blessed my life with.
When I lost my best friend 9 years ago it was like a dream. It took months to sink in that I would never speak to her again. I kept every note she wrote me. I kept her last voicemail. Then one day, 3 years after she passed, that voicemail was accidentally deleted from my phone. I lost it. I just fell a part and thought that my last piece of her was just gone. I still use a specific hair product she always used when she cut my hair. I still visit her resting place yearly on my own. I still visit her Facebook page. I still miss her like crazy. I think it’s hard to move on because she was there for the hard stuff. She was real and honest. Friends like that are once in a lifetime friends. Trusting new ones and feeling like they will never know me the way she did make accepting new people into my world pretty hard for a long time. Healing from losing her will take a lifetime. And I honestly will keep the little sting I feel when I am missing her for all of it because it keeps her with me.
January, this year, has a whole other shadow that looms. This is my first full year since hearing the news about my cousin. This loss was very different. It was harsh. It was jarring. It was cruel. Life is full of accidents, illness and aging. But nothing quite prepares you to lose someone you love due to the vicious actions of another sadistic human. The beautiful woman who grew up with me and stood by me on my wedding day was torn away from us and left behind was a family trying to pull the pieces together for those she left behind. I can’t describe the sadness. Due to Covid we are still waiting trial to have the man responsible held accountable for his crime. That may be the hardest part now. Im hopeful that it will bring closure but honestly I’m not convinced that it will. Whatever is closure in loss anyway?
I guess what I am trying to say is loss is not one size fits all. We will all experience it. Maybe some more than others. But not one of those will fit into some box labeled with instructions on grief. Some people will cry. Some busy themselves. Some get angry. I am one that turns inward. I sat at each funeral and tried my best not to cry because there had to be others there hurting more than me. My grief went into “this isn’t about you” mode and in exchange I think I came off..... cold. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. I was broken. Sad. At a loss as to what came next. But something in me only lets that come out when I am alone. This bothered me for a while. But as I dig into the grief and asked myself hard questions about how I was feeling the truth came flooding in. Each loss was profoundly different. Each loss tugged my heart in different directions and took away very different people who filled very different places.
I don’t know who is reading this and what has gotten you so far into this particular rambling of my thoughts. But maybe it’s because you too have had a few too many losses in your life and can understand how each one chisels a piece of your heart away. If that’s why then I hope you know I am praying for you. You are not alone in your hurt and you have people out there that can sit with you in your sadness and allow you to work your way through it. The one thing grief has taught me is to simply allow it to come. Let it flow. Let yourself feel it and understand it and respect it. We weep because there is love there. We rejoice because we have hope to meet again. I believe with all of my heart that each loss we endure can be used to shut out the world or force us to open up and embrace the relationships we have. Choose what honors them.
Stay safe, stay humble, stay kind, stay faithful.