Overcoming Loss

They say you remember exactly what you were doing when something monumental happens. You remember where you were, what you were wearing and so on. These insignificant details become forever ingrained in your mind when you think back to this moment in your life. It was Wednesday April 20th, 2016 when I had my heart broken for the first time. I was wearing a brown button up skirt with a Ralph Lauren shirt on my way to give tours of my college. I was at the end of my freshman year of college with a 4.0 GPA on the line and more responsibilities than I could handle, when my mom called me to tell me my pop-pop had passed away that morning.

With the week and half of school that I had left, I channeled all my energy into excelling in my classes and working out. I kept busy as much as I could, to help distract myself from feeling anything. I remember thinking, maybe if I don’t tell any of my friends I can pretend this didn’t happen. I thought that if I went home the next weekend, I would see him and everything would be fine. But it wasn’t fine. I wasn’t fine. A few weeks went by and I began to deal with it, or deal with it to the best of my abilities. I grieved in the most “textbook” way possible. I thought that if I went through the stages of grief, that I would be okay. That I would be able to move past this as fast as I could. That I could move on with life and accept that I would never see my loved ones again. Oh boy was I wrong.

About a month after his death I got my first tattoo. It was a set of mountains on my left outer foot. This tattoo was my attempt to come to terms with his death. I thought I was in the clear. I went to his funeral and laid my sadness to rest with him. I rationalized his death with the fact that he was in a better place and I would see him again or whatever bullshit I thought would help me escape my feelings. Then I got a tattoo to encompass everything he meant to me. Months went by and people would ask me about my tattoo. I had to choke back tears and explain how this set of mountains represented a place in the Poconos where I spent a large majority of my childhood. It was where I would go on weekends, whether we were celebrating a holiday, a birthday or just for a visit. My grandparents’ house was a significant part of my life. As time went on, it became easier to talk about.

There is no right way to grieve. There is no fast lane and no right way to do it. I could sit here and tell you that I moved past his death quickly and everything was okay, but I would be lying. There is no one way to grieve and the process cannot be simplified into a model with a few stages. Death is so irrational, whether it is anticipated or out of the blue, that the healing process is just as irrational. I have never been one to be good with dealing with my feelings. My approach had always been to push it down. Deeper and deeper until I couldn’t feel it anymore. My incapability of coming to terms with my emotions has always been my biggest downfall. However, I am only twenty, I don’t have to have it all figured out now.   

  Over the past two years I also lost my paternal mom-mom and pop-pop. I can definitely say that dealing with their deaths have gotten easier. Its not that any of their passing’s were less important or easier to accept, its that I have grown and matured in a way that I can handle it better.

The worst thing you can do when dealing with a loss of any kind, is to ignore it. I know I sound like a hypocrite when saying this, but you should learn from my mistakes. I tried to put off the inevitable and that only made things worse. I couldn’t escape feeling and grieving their losses. It just built up until I couldn’t escape it anymore.

 Life is beautiful, but it doesn’t come without its bad days. I was so lucky to have my grandparents around for as long as they were. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about them. They were incredible people who touched my life more than I think they could ever know. They were able to give me memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. This is what helps me get through my hardest days. When I miss those who I have lost and am feeling down, I just remember the good days and the memories. It’s hard to put into words what it is like to lose someone close to you. One moment everything is fine and the next it seems like your world is ending, but it’s not. It is going to be okay. Surround yourself with your friends and family. Just know that it is okay to not be okay. It is okay to feel alone and lost but know that you’re not. You can get through this.