Last month was a life-changing month for me. September 6th was Sara’s birthday & the first big event to deal with since losing her. Later in the month we stayed in my hometown for a week while my Mom was on vacation–that gave me an opportunity to spend time at her house without Sara there. Neither event was negative or overwhelming, and they helped things sink in for me. During our trip home, I got word that a friend lost her battle with cancer too. I am trying to regroup as quickly as possible but it was disheartening.
I still grapple with wanting to call, text, message, see & hear her. I deeply regret that we will never make new memories together. Slowly it is becoming a reality. I honestly still have random moments during random days where out of nowhere I am struck that she is really gone.
I have peeked at the grief books I ordered online. I have seen a lot of good advice & reassurance that the stages of grief happen to everyone. After some light reviewing of the grief books, I realized that I do struggle with the thought of rebuilding my identity. Of course I know who I am, but a lot of my interests, sense of humor, viewpoints, and things I find enjoyable were shared closely with Sara. I am trying to be open to new experiences, adventures, and happy moments. We did a lot together, she was my closest friend, and I really enjoyed her company. She made me laugh frequently & I seemed to entertain her as well.
I’m not purposely avoiding new experiences, friendships, or activities, but sometimes I realize that I am stuck in my own little bubble–a bubble that was centered around Sara, and now that little bubble just contains me. After she got sick, I focused on her and as much time as possible was spent with her. For the past five years, all I have known is loving Sara & hoping everything would be okay; praying for miracles and feeling a loss of control over our lives.
I can honestly say that I am feeling a lot more stable & centered today. For anyone deep in the throws of grief, if you are anything like me, it will get harder before it gets better. I was desperate to not be overwhelmingly upset all day, everyday… and it happened. There are a lot of feelings to deal with: guilt, sadness, loneliness, abandonment, helplessness, anger, AND so on. Sometimes when you are overwhelmed by grief, you don’t appreciate all of the support offered to you. You don’t even notice the good things that are happening if you aren’t careful. It is easy to be selfish & feel like this is only happening to you and your family. It isn’t–other people are dealing with major health & life issues right now. Life does go on. Shaping it into something sustainably positive is the tricky part.
Life will never be perfect. No one should feel obligated to cater solely to me & I sure can not try to please everyone, all of the time. Yes, Sara was allowed to request things with little or no notice. I would go home for large periods of time with no warning because of bad test results. There was nothing Sara could not ask of me. She was my best friend, she was my only sibling, and she was terminally ill. Time spent with her was my top priority during her illness. Now that she is gone, I want to reach out & spend time with all of my friends and family who I have absolutely neglected to focus on. It took a lot out of me (and my whole family) to worry constantly, focus everything on one person, and never know what your schedule would be. Now I have the luxury of organizing my time. I can get on a regular YouTube upload schedule & plan ahead. I like that a lot. I am going to do my best to remove unnecessary pressure & confusion from my life. I would give anything to change the outcome of her journey, but I have to be able to focus on the positive ways my life is different too. **Of course I feel guilty that she didn’t ever get a “normal” life back. She deserved to make long term plans, to schedule her time to her liking, and to expect good things to happen. I’m still working on allowing myself to get to that place too.**
Things are still rough, but I now actually believe & embrace that the future will improve day by day. To anyone struggling with grief or worry right now, my heart goes out to you. There are no blanket solutions or advice that work for everyone. For me, it has been good to get back to a regular schedule, to eat clean & exercise, to take time out for scriptural study, and to allow myself to say no (that is probably only popular with me.)