Being Lost in Loss: Now I’m Focused

“When people accept that they don’t have all the answers and start seeking out other sources for their own betterment, they have moved forward.”

– Miles Patrick Yohnke

Before you read the rest of this entry, I encourage you to read the message Yohnke wrote. It’s the reason why I’m able to sit here and talk about my grief open and honestly without crying.

If you happen to be friends with me on Facebook, you already know how harsh 2011 has been to me and my family. I can’t put into words the heartbreak that those deaths caused on my mental and emotional well-being. What I will say is the grieving process is 1 of the most draining things a person will tackle.

I still find myself wanting to dial my sister’s number and tell her something I saw on Teen Mom (1 of her favorite shows). There’s been times where I’ve been in my apartment alone and randomly smelled my dad’s cologne; a cologne I’d tried to get him to stop wearing since 2007. There’s constant subjective reminders of them, only because I want so badly for them to still be here. The holiday season has forced me to understand that loss and accept it.

The toughest thing about the grieving process is you never get over it, but you must get through it. When my sister passed, Thanksgiving was about 3 weeks away. I was pretty ambivalent to it. I just wanted to get it over with. I didn’t care about black friday deals or the Macy’s Day parade. Even though I spent it with some extended family, I would’ve preferred to just to lay on the couch, watch sports, eat sweet potato pie, and go back to bed. That cycle wasn’t getting me anywhere though. The interesting thing about grief is that people reach their “aha” moment at different times. Mine came after a conversation with my mom a few hours ago. She said to me “JJ you can’t stay like this forever. The reality is our family is cut in half now, but the 3 of us can still be whole.”

I’d already been trying to pull myself out of the trenches and put a smile on, even if it was faked. More than anything, I wanted my niece to enjoy her 1st Christmas and be surrounded by tons of love. And for me, that’s what accepting grief really means.

When your loved ones pass, they leaves piece of themselves to give you the strength to move on and to accept their absence. Is it hard to see any empty seat at the dinner table? Yeah. Is it bittersweet to know someone is missing from the yearly holiday card list? Yeah. But there’s always going to be little signs that in spirit your loved ones are still with you. I speak from experience; the best thing you can do for yourself and the loved ones you still have here is to stay present in the present.

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