Before I begin, I would just like to start by saying,
People say your loved ones live in your heart. You hear that a lot after someone dies. This kind of response doesn't necessarily have a religious meaning to it. Personally, I never found scripture helpful in dealing with death. But I absolutely believe that our loved ones do live inside of us after their physical form is gone.
Published about a year ago
Everyone deals with loss, at least once in their life, whether it's a loved one, a friend, or a pet. Everyone deals in their own ways, but some don't know how to. I'm here to tell you ways you can and positive ways to deal with it.
Before I begin with my next open and honest account of my own cancer journey, I must warn this is an open and honest recollection of my feelings of survivor’s guilt—a feeling I went on to learn was surprisingly common among several of us throughout the brain cancer community.
Grief is weird. It is an emotion that everyone feels, but we all deal with it differently. Some people cry until there are no more tears to come. Some people can't cry and it does nothing for them. We each process grief differently, same as any other emotion. But there are some important differences with grief that everyone should know.
Nothing prepares you for the news. Your own mother cannot even prepare you for how cancer is about to change her.
Everything has changed. As they say, "nothing stays the same." The air drifts, but there's no time or flavor left in it. Heartache is a flavor, that sits on the back of the tongue, and constricts the top of the throat. Memory? Well, memory is the only place where I can hold you now, and memory has a presence that leaves my chest robbed and empty. Day after day, after day; where I go, there you go too. Everything has changed because in every fucking thing, I see you...
While living in Atlanta, I regularly attended meetings of the Atlanta Death Café (ADC), which were held almost monthly at the famous Oakland Cemetery. People are easily spooked by the subject of death. As a result, I try and not broach the subject unless it comes up in conversation.
If I had come across the title to this I would have done a hard eye-roll: please, like anyone can fathom my pain. My life changed violently and suddenly, but over a recent 18 month period, leaving me crawling on all fours and gasping for breath; that's putting it lightly, mildly, almost satirically gently.
Everyone at some point in their life faces a jarring, unexpected change. It may be the death of a loved one or beloved pet, the end of a friendship, the loss of a home, or any other drastic event that changes your life from that moment forward. The author of this article is not a licensed psychotherapist, but he has experience with a great deal of personal loss of many different kinds. Here are some things that have been helpful in learning to cope.
Grief’s a funny thing. Not hilarious, but funny as in weird, the way that it can creep up on you silently or smack you full in the face and destroy you. It doesn’t wait until a convenient moment when you can prepare for it and meet it with hope and determination. It’s almost as big an asshole as the cancer that causes it for so many people. Grief was never taught manners, it has no sympathy for you, and it certainly doesn’t care that you have things you need to be doing. It’s been said that it’s a necessary evil of life; one of the steps in a process to recover from loss. I don’t see it as a step so much as a recurring theme when it comes to loss; one that never completely goes away, but one that eases with time, guidance, and distractions. In 2012, within the span of two months, I lost two of the most important men in my life to cancer. There are days when it doesn’t feel real, and as though I’ll wake up and see them again, hear their voices, and share in their laughter. Crushing, cruel reality breaks in and grief visits again. There are barely words to express the hopeless feeling that nothing will ever be the same again. That when all I want in the world is to talk to them, instead I have the knowledge that they can’t hear me, or respond the way I need. I believe their spirits are living on in me, in everyone they touched in their short lives, in the sky, the trees and the earth. I don’t believe there’s a God who has a reason for taking them away from me, or any higher power who has control over these things. It sometimes feels as though a grander scheme is at work, but at the end of the day, every one of us is responsible for how our lives turn out. Preaching and crying to someone who can’t hear you and cannot physically give you comfort or strength seems fruitless to me.
This is something that irks me, to no end. I felt compelled to write about it and I’m not exactly sure how it will sound in written form but here goes.