I played with this title, a year in grief, of grief, with grief? To me, each of those words mean something different, and their inclusion would resonate as different things to me. I finally landed on A Year IN Grief. I am in it. It is all around me, it never takes a day off, and chile…. It’s exhausting.
On one hand, I cannot believe it’s been an entire year since Greg died. On the other, this has been the LONGEST year of my life.
Three things I wish people knew:
IT DOESN’T GET EASIER: The hardest part of losing Greg so early in life is that I think constantly about how much more life I have to live without him. Yes, this year has also made it plain and clear that life is short, so on one hand, maybe I don’t live to be 80, 90, or 100 (or 50, 60, & 70 for that matter) But what if I do? The thoughts of having to live so much more life without the one person I thought would be sharing in the highs and lows of life for the long run? Now that’s some heavy shit. So no, grief does not get easier by any means. It does become more familiar. I know that I can have some moments of joy, all though none of them feel completely full without Greg. I also know that the waves of grief get high, and at times they engulf me so fast and hard, all I can do is call my mom sobbing, or curl up in my bed.
I KNOW I'M STRONG: Please don’t tell me how strong I am. First of all, I do know that I have shown great strength over this past year. But also know that you don’t see me all the time. You don’t see the moments that I break all the way down and don’t think I can continue. Another thing, no one wants to be this strong. My situation, my amazing support system, my faith, great therapy, and my amazing relationship with Greg allowed me to find strength during the hardest year of my life. But you throwing out that word strong, as if it is a well-fitting compliment, isn't received the way you may think.
SAY HIS NAME: Although Greg is no longer, and will never again be here with us in the physical form, he is still a very real presence in my daily life. So when people don’t say his name, or regard him, it feels weird and dismissive. I also know that many people may think, “Oh, I don’t want to bring it up, I don’t want her to be sad,” please trust that I am already sad. Very sad, so bringing up a memory of Greg, or commenting on something that he would have liked actually brings more happiness than sadness.
I don’t know how many more years of grief I have left, but I know it will match the years of my life. Because there will never be a day that I live that wouldn’t have been better with my little BIG brother being a part of it in the Earthly realm. However, I do know that he is here with me and I am grateful for being able to feel his presence often. I came up with the term beautiful hauntings. This is my term for when something is so far past what a coincidence could create, when the dream is so real, and when I can almost audibly hear Greg’s laugh, or see his smirk in a way that doesn’t seem like just a memory. While these moments evoke the reality and haunting concrete fact that he’s gone, each of these moments remind me, allow me to keep living in all of the beautiful things about him.