As I sit here and absorb the news of a tragic accident that took the lives of 5 teenagers from the area, my heart is heavy. The loss for these families and friends is real. Deep. Horrific. To comprehend the loss of one individual is hard, nonetheless 5.
From experience, I know the journey through grief is rough - months of anger, tears, or the shear lack of comprehension. Life feels surreal. Heavy. Burdened. Painful.
After my brother died, every morning upon awakening I would think that he is still alive. But in those brief seconds before I opened my eyes, his funeral would play back in my head. Nope he is gone. It was rough. I would go out to teach, come home to cry on my bed. I didn't get it. My days were numb. I couldn't feel anything other than the loss. And no words could console me. I would get angry when someone would say "It gets better with time." When I wanted to respond "F*&k you! How can this get better?"
And oddly it does. That amount of time is different for each individual for some it may be months and for others years. As a new normal, of life without a loved one, sets in, life shifts. It feels okay to smile, to laugh, or to enjoy life without them here. It is not an easy journey.
Finding the right support system to learn to cope; to make sense of the tragedy; and to shed tears is important. To know that it is okay to feel what you are feeling. It is 100% okay to cry, to yell, to be afraid, to feel loss or whatever else. It is okay. The worst thing is bottling up the sadness and not dealing.
It took me several years to understand that I didn't have to grieve for the loss of my brother everyday. I can miss him everyday, but my life is not controlled by the feelings of loss and sadness that I experienced right after his death. And trust me, I can take myself back to the hospital that morning he died; walking into his apartment knowing he will never set foot in there; his wake; his services in NY and Miami. All of that can be fresh in my memory if I let it and the tears will come. This is what I mean by that I don't have to grieve him everyday. Yes, I miss him. I miss him a lot. Even though, I cannot hear his voice, see him or get a hug, I know that he is with my every day of my life. And this is something I learned with time. It was not over night, nor should any of these families experiencing the pain of this horrific loss feel like they need to be there. Grieving is a process.
I pray for these families that they can find solace within each other as they embark upon there new normal without their child, sibling, niece, nephew or friend. I pray that their friends are compassionate; willing to listen; and offer the support that is needed. I pray that they can find peace within their hearts when the time is right for them.