Category Archives: Friends and Family

Lean

1,095 days since my brother passed away. Three years.

Three too many. Three too heartbreaking. Three too surreal. Three too confusing. Three too stressful.

Three years. 1,095 days.

There’s a piece of me that is permanently sad without him. Most of the time it’s a small piece that I can compartmentalize and keep control of. Most of the time it’s manageable. Most of the time I can keep going.

But I’m human. And sometimes I can’t.

Last night I cried so hard that I had a headache within minutes and it took all the restraint in me to not rip my hair out. I missed him hard. Maybe the hardest since the day I found out he was gone. I thought about the specific instances where looking back, I could have done more. It was daunting. I couldn’t breathe. I broke down… I just completely broke down.

But after awhile, I slowed down. I kept breathing. And then I did two things: I accepted the comfort of my boyfriend, and I called my twin sister.

I leaned on someone else so that I could stabilize myself. Stabilize my mind, my aching heart, and my battered body.

The tough part about grief is that it’s so sharp that you don’t want to share it with anyone else for fear of hurting them. It’s too painful. It’s too risky.

But surprisingly, grief also gives us a great opportunity. It allows us to connect with others in a way that is so raw and so real it’s practically impossible to ignore. If your grief is honest and true, it can bring you closer to those you lean on.

Grief can even bring us closer to those who are gone, because in a way, we lean on them, too.

We lean on them to give us signs that they’re still with us in some way, even if they’re signs that no one but us understands.

We lean on them to talk to when we have our quiet, private moments of prayer or reflection where we are absolutely sure that they can hear us.

We lean on them to still be here for us in those milestone moments, even if it’s in a way that’s not what we originally imagined.

We lean on them to protect us as guardian angels in times of strife and hardship.

We lean on them all of the time.

So the next time you find yourself in a dark moment of grief, lean into it.

Let it catch you and cleanse you and bring you closer to whatever and whoever it is that you need to keep yourself going in that moment.

Go ahead, lean. You’ll find yourself standing soon after.

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In the books 

It’s almost 11am and I’m still lying in bed, which is a sure sign that yesterday was Thanksgiving. 

As many of us stop to reflect during the holidays, it’s no secret when I say that this is a time for gratitude, joy and happiness. But if you’re like me and millions of others, they can also bring a daunting reminder of the loved ones we’ve lost who aren’t here with us. 

You think of the empty chair they should be sitting in. You think of the leftovers they should be eating for you and taking home. You think of the extra laugh in the room that’s missing. You think of the absence. 

Maybe feeling that absence so strongly and vividly is a part of growing up – where you become acutely aware of how things change with the passing of time. It seems to be an inevitable growing pain that hits hardest on the holidays. 

But that growth also gives us the wisdom to take each moment for granted just like we should. To take those valuable old memories and weave them into something new. To intertwine the past with the present so that the two halves make a new whole, no matter how bittersweet it can be. 

And once you embrace the change, all of the sudden you realize you got through another important day without the ones you miss most. More so, you actually enjoyed yourself and did make new memories. 

And just like that, you’ve put another holiday in the books.

Just like that, you’re still breathing in and out. 

Just like that, you’re okay. 


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