It has always been said that death is hardest on the living. When you experience a loss, you grieve, then accept it, and finally you attempt to move on from it but in all seriousness you never truly recover from it. You find yourself being consoled by the grief because it proves that you haven’t forgotten yet. It’s a constant struggle between letting go but also wanting to hold on because holding on means you haven’t forgotten. And quite frankly that is all anyone wants to do, even if that means experiencing a pang of heartbreak everyday.
Even though I was so young when I lost my sister, I can remember the evening of the accident like it was a movie playing in the movie theater. The vast amount of adults taking care of me, the helicopter taking my sister away, the smell of the ocean breeze in the air… As I reflect on the death of my sister I can’t help but think that perhaps grief does not define us but yet reveals our true self, if only we truly allow the opportunity to do so.
In the years after her death, I have realized that I unknowingly discredited the pain that I felt. I was so young so I didn’t truly understand what that pain was or how to deal with it. I naively perceived that pain and grief were directly proportionate to time- as years passed and I got older I thought it wouldn’t affect me as greatly. While this may be true for broken hearts and broken bones, grief abides by completely different rules. And to be honest grief has no respect for time.
Loss is a constant. It is ever present and incessantly felt. Perhaps the reason that our pain is so strong is because it is meant to be experienced. Loss is resilient and demands to be recognized. In retrospect, I realize that using a defense mechanism to forfeit my grief was not only ridiculous but counteractive. How could one ever overcome something that they didn’t allow themselves to fully experience? If you wish to overcome a loss, you must allow yourself to affirm the significance of your pain.
I have learned to subsist my pain with peace. While the loss may not diminish, instead your strength begins to rise. You find blind hope in the ordinary and recognize your blessings as opposed to your struggles. 15 years after my sister passed I still experience the pain of the loss just as strongly as I did the day I lost her. However, I am slowly learning that instead of harboring the pain I am choosing to embrace the happiness of what was, what is, and what’s to come.
For 18 months I was fortunate enough to experience having an amazing younger sister and now I have the best guardian angel that I could ever ask for. I carry her heart in my wherever I go and I know that wherever I am I know that she is with me. I have learned to appreciate my family more than anything.
My parents are two of the strongest people I know, and through their strength I discovered my own.I have uncovered the beautifully tragic reality that time is nothing yet everything all at once. I live with no regrets because I have realized there is not enough time to concern yourself with things that do not make you 100% happy. Family is everything. Taking chances are always worth it. And trying and failing will always mean more than not trying at all.
In the presence of grief, it is easy to become hardened by the struggles you experience. I have experienced letting my struggles harden me and I am slowly learning that I can not let them affect me. Resist the temptation. Do not let life turn you cold. Do not lose your smile in the face of adversity.
I have now realized that the key to overcoming loss is to manifest your grief into gratitude. If you want to recover from loss, you must demonstrate wholehearted appreciation for all other aspects of your life. Rather than focusing on what grief has eliminated, open your eyes to what it has bestowed upon you – whether it be a new perspective on how to live or an authentic thankfulness for those still left beside you.
Grieving is an inevitable aspect of life, however, when presented with this hardship, you must strive for good grieving. While it may seem as if grief will somehow always hold a power over us, the truth is that our grief will eventually give us power over ourselves – and we must let it.
Sincerely, Meggy xoxo