How does one go about recognizing their lost loved one on a d-day? death day. the day of their death.
i know there were many ways i could have gone about it. it was something that was on my mind constantly as the date approached. i had so many options.
i am guessing not many thought i would take a cruise with my current boyfriend.
but i guess that's ok.
because as I have stated before, there is no rule book for grief. it's a learning experience in which we all need to find our own path.
this photo was taken of me and John's dad on the way to his funeral...
I have contemplated what April 22, 2011 was going to have in store
Was I going to be washed away with an overflow of emotions? would i break down?
before Ryan came into the picture I had thought of spending the date with my family... and then after consideration... decided that it may not be the best choice. My family was first on the scene to pick me up on that darkest of days. To re-live that would be almost like having a second funeral. To sit around in sadness.... to relive that day over and over again. A day which i re-live almost everyday anyway. There isn't a thing in the world that can take away the picture of finding John in the bed... eternally sleeping. Nothing.
but if i could do anything to lessen the blow of April 22... going on a cruise with a new found love would probably be a good idea.
and it was.
and it was still painful.
and i am sure it isn't easy for Ryan.... for a couple reasons.
first, he hates to see me upset... and i know he feels helpless in that he cannot take back what has happened or even give back what was taken. And second, he shares me. He shares my love with someone who isn't even alive. but, none the less... my heart has been divided into parts in which he is just one. (now granted a big one now)
a few months ago... actually a while ago... i wrote out in detail ALL the things that had happened THAT day. that dark day.
from walking into the room to the sirens and the screams... to the coroners to the funeral...
and I have been telling myself I will publish it so others can fully understand. but i just can't seem to do it. and i thought i would on the anniversary. but once again i am holding back. perhaps I never will share all those details. perhaps they are meant for me... and perhaps they are things you don't want to hear. but then again, there is always this part inside of us... deep inside of us... that longs to know... what REALLY happened and how did it all unfold.
i am telling you now.
right here and now.
it's something i wouldn't wish upon my most evil of enemies.
because there is just something so raw about it.
something so tormenting to the heart and soul... to see the love of your life dead in front of you. cold, stiff body and unfamiliar face.
the person you left was not the person you came home to.
and then sometimes i am like... "is this seriously the hand i was given?"
and we can go back to the "unfair" game.
it's a game i know well.
my life is unfair.
and it's easy to get stuck in the unfair rut.
to think about nothing but all the bad things that have happened.
and neglect the wonderful things.
and i don't want to be in that spot.
i want to be able to look back on all the wonderful times i had with that wonderful man. that contagious laugh. that brilliant smile. those strong hands. the sweet soul. the strong heart.
funny how something so strong could be the thing that took him away.
what has my life come down to after 1 year of grief?
what advice can I offer to a person just starting the journey?
1) dont rely on medication. just dont fucking do it. you WILL regret it, i promise. when it's time to get off of them (and you will want to... trust me) it will be a horrible experience that will make you feel worse than you did before. try other means before turning to drugs. drugs will not take the pain away. they will help numb you. but thats all they can offer.
2) dont follow the 7 steps of bullshit. grief doesn't follow steps. just like life doesn't always follow your well made out plans... just grieve the way you need to. no one but you understands how you feel no matter what people try and tell you.
3) stick close to your friends and family. THE REAL ONES. You will have those that are there momentarily and then you will have those that will stick with you the WHOLE time through. those are the ones that will carry you the furthest.
4) Pray. and don't stop. have people pray for you. if it is ever offered... take it.
5) Love God. as much as you can say you hate Him for taking away your love... He still loves YOU. it wasn't something personal against YOU. it's not a "lesson." it's just... life. as much as I cringe to think of it that way. there is no vendetta.
6) find someone that is going through the same thing as you. i found other young widows (and they found me)... seek out others who TRULY understand. If you lost your 25 year old fiance then it isn't always so helpful to talk to someone who lost their 80 year old grandma.
7) dont give up on living. life will move on with or without you.
8) try new things. this is the time in your life to experience something new and give your mind and soul a renewal. i took up photography and i changed jobs.
9) blog. write. sing. ... have a CREATIVE outlet in which you can release your inner thoughts other than spewing words to other's ears.
10) get away. go on vacation. take breaks. people need to get a fucking clue that you need time to yourself once in awhile. and if they can't accept that than really fuck them. i know from personal experience. ugh.
11) if people can't be happy for your happiness than they aren't worth your time. any moment of joy should be praised! if someone makes you feel guilty for having happy moments than they aren't being good friends.
12) laugh. just laugh.
13) cry. and cry a lot. it's totally fine. even in public. you DO NOT need to explain yourself. trust me, i tried it all the time... and why? i had no reason to. i don't have to validate my grief to strangers. they can get over it.
14) stay involved with your past life. although living in the past will hurt and there are things that WILL change... please do not DROP everything you once had. that means friends and family. favorite places and movies and music. those are still part of you. if things become too painful then tuck them away for a time when you are ready. i just recently started watching specific genres of movies i had taken a break from since John's death. but i missed them.
15) it's ok to love again. if you lost love, that is. don't let anyone tell you different. I know John would want that for me... i know he wouldn't want me to stay miserable and alone. he would want me taken care of and honestly I think he helped send Ryan my way :)
16) reach out to others. volunteer. do charity work. find others that need help. you may feel like you have it the worst.... but go out in the world and see that there may be others that have it even worse. now help them.
... that's it for now. im sure not the most SOUND advice. but advice none the less.