We all go through times of pain and heartbreak. They may scary by degree but they happen to us all. The question we all must ask ourselves is: How do we respond when tragedy strikes and we are left with the rug ripped out from underneath us? This is difficult to assess realistically when we have not yet experienced loss or pain to an extreme degree.
I recently lost someone whom I loved very deeply and this has changed my perspective on a lot of things. The biggest changes that I see in myself are the fact that I want to do something with the time that I have and not take a moment for granted and how I have gone back to the thing I am most passionate about writing. We are not just a speck on a rock hurtling through space. We are something more than that. We can make someone’s day or change someone’s world without even knowing it and although I do not care about most people, I realize that there are many more people whom I could extend my love to if only I gave myself the license and the platform to share my ideas and myself with others.
Truth be told I find it quite difficult to write these blog posts because I have so many other things happening in my “real life.” I also find it difficult to write because my brain is so full of thoughts that I have no idea where to start. This often keeps me from writing when I really should. So I will try to write whatever is my most pressing thought and table other topics for other times. Writing is a place where I can be as rational or as creative as I want and the loss that I feel will only fuel the flame of my passion, even though it hurts like hell.
When we are hit by loss, tragedy, or any kind of struggle, we are presented with a choice. Do we give up or do we push harder? These are always the two options, they always exist, in every moment. However, sometimes they are pushed to the front of our minds. I am a very stubborn person. I know what I want and I know how to get it but there have been times when I have had to give up on things. Neither is always the right choice or always the wrong choice. It is situational.
I had a friend once who became toxic in my life. He would not leave me alone and he kept dragging me down into a depression. I cut him out for a couple of months and then I came back to him. I thought that somehow, after all the crap that he had put me through, he still had the answers and wanted to help me. It was fine for a week and then we fell right back into the same patterns. It was a toxic relationship. Finally, I quit. I chose to move on and forsake whatever he had to offer. In this situation, quitting was the right choice.
In the situation I am currently in, with the loss, I could choose to give up, to say life was meaningless without this person whom I loved. The other option is to live my life to the fullest, make my mark on the world, and live my life to honor their memory and their vision. I choose the latter.
Each situation is different and each decision is a defining moment that can alter the course of one’s life. You have a choice to walk down one path or the other and there is always a better choice you just need to find it.
The Ripple Affect
When tragedy strikes, it has a ripple effect. Something happens to one’s person and that affects everyone they know to varying degrees and then it affects the next layer and then the next. We do not realize how interconnected our lives are with others. You may not think that you have an effect on other people’s lives but, trust me, you do.
Think of how many people have influenced your life. Think of all the people who you talk to in a month. Think of all the people who know who you are, even superficially. You affect each and every one of them in some way. Your grief becomes their grief. Your loss becomes their loss.
An INTJ Female in the State of Grief
I am fortunate that this is the first person close to me who has left me in my life. I do not have a lot of experience with grief, however, I can talk about the last two weeks and how I have responded to the current grief I feel.
When I first found out, I felt my world come crashing down. I did not want to be in a world where this person did not exist. I was angry, and I went through all five stages of grief in the first five minutes. I was told that I would most likely go through them again, however, I have yet to do so. Most people would look at me and think that nothing was wrong. I always look a little upset, so it is nothing out of the ordinary. At work, only those I have told know that I am in pain at all. The first day back I am sure I acted strangely, but that was over within three days. I work, I drive myself harder than before (which I was quite driven before). My brain overflows with the outcry of my heart, but nobody knows.
When I do tell people they say, “I am so sorry,” “I am sorry for your loss,” and “that is awful,” and I have no idea how to respond. People want to hug me, and I hate hugs. I have given more hugs in the last two weeks than all of 2019 leading up to them, some felt obligatory and some felt like home. I have never been one for sympathy, sympathy won’t bring this person back. This is part of why I play it down but I also have put those feelings on a shelf and I take them out piece by piece, digesting as I can, in the privacy of my car while listening to one of their favorite songs or once I see my family and we can cry together.
The most important thing is to let oneself grieve. Crying is okay. I do not like crying in front of people but crying is a release. Whenever I tell someone what happened, I cannot help but cry because they help me by taking a piece of my burden and it is a release. When you drop a stone in a lake, the inside is hurt the most and the epicenter of the disaster. Then the water ripples out, the next people take a weaker version of the pain and eventually, the water stills from the inside out until everyone is able to move forward, but no one will forget the rock that started the waves.
Scatter the Ashes and be a Phoenix
Yes, you must grieve but you also need to rise and move forward. Scar tissue is stronger than regular skin, it may hurt now but in the end, it will make you stronger and build your character (it also builds your backstory). The most important takeaway is to grow from whatever you are experiencing and let it mold you in the best way imaginable. Find out what you are passionate about and just do it. You only have one life to live and you never know how much time you will be given. Take every opportunity and make it the best one.
Here is a short thought that I wrote a couple of days ago:
The beauty of being Broken
Is in putting yourself back
Piece by piece
There will always be
Cracks and fissures
But you have the chance
To build yourself up
Instead of porcelain
What are some tough choices that you have had to make? Do you think you made the right one? Are you a Phoenix? Did you quit a situation that was not in your best interest?
Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes
-Evi. L. Holmes