Loss. What a touchy subject. People don’t like to talk about their grief. They like to ignore it and expect the outcome to be like the movies, where life sucks and 2 weeks later it’s all good.
Well, news flash. Real life isn’t like that.
My brother died on April 27th, 2016. And here’s how it went.
You get that phone call. The one that brings you to your knees. The one that stops life as you know it. You shake. You stutter. You can’t think. You can’t breathe. Your mind thinks one thing:
This isn’t real. But it is. It’s happening.
We received our phone call at the nail salon. My mom answered an unknown caller and screamed out in terror. I took the phone and had to listen to a stranger ask me questions to identify my brother. I had to walk her to the car, her legs buckling, speaking in hysteria. I had to call my dad and then sister, to tell them the news. Then I stood outside my car, took 3 breaths, called my boyfriend, who is now my husband. I got exactly what I needed. A level voice asking if I can get home safely. I got it under control, and I got us home.
Your brain goes into survival mode. You are numb. What people say doesn’t make sense. Your family has blank stares, tears streaming down their faces. Blood drained sorrow expressions, whispered voices, shaking hands, outbursts of cries, the hollow pit in your stomach.
Your so called “friends” don’t even look in your direction, while strangers send you flowers and gifts. Which I later found out, are the real humans I want to surround myself with. But I will tell you that your sweet family and significant other will be there every second of every day. They will be your rock, your stability. They will love you. They won’t judge you. They will support you. They are KEY to making it through this. One thing I will take away from this is how much I value and love my family and now husband. But don’t be discouraged if it still hurts. Because it is going to for a long time.
Grieving is a weird emotion especially at a visitation. You might cry, you might be stone. Me? I smiled. How horrible, right? The sister of the boy who passed is smiling hugging people. But in that moment, I put every single soul before my own. I comforted those who came to show respects because my brother impacted them in some way, and I was thankful for that. Knowing he made other people happy while he was alive made me happy. And what a sisterly thing to do. Make sure his friends could find closure, when I wanted to break.
Then you have a service at the church and that’s when it’s real. You are sitting in a pew, looking at a picture of a face that you will never see again. It’s hard. It’s when you say goodbye. It’s when you realize how tired you are. It’s when you realize this is REAL.
Nothing will ever compare to how it feels the day of burial. I can’t explain it. This is where they will be the rest of your life. You have so much comfort knowing there they are but sadness saying goodbye. You may not be religious like I am, but I took comfort that day knowing that my brother was in the Kingdom of Heaven. He is now happy. He is now perfect.
And then you sleep. You sleep a long time. You did good. You made it. You can go home under your blankets and cry. You can cry your heart out. You can be with your loved ones who get it. You can finally feel yourself give.
My brother was my bud. We had a weird relationship, but we respected each other. I miss him every single day. I want to hell him about my new life being married, moving from home. But it’s just going to stay on my list of things to say until one day, I will pass too, and we can catch up.
Death sucks. Bottom line. But guess what? There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Don’t hold it in. Don’t be strong. Don’t be like me and 4 months later have it come pouring out of you, when you thought you were okay. Let. It. Out. Let yourself feel. Pick up a weird hobby to keep yourself busy. And no matter how long it takes, let yourself heal. It will get easier, but it will never go away. The pain will ease, but it will tug on the side of your heart. Always remember, you are NEVER alone. There are people just like you and me out there, who get it, and get you.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”
Meghan Clukey is a weather nerd, book lover, dog obsessed Army Wife. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Meteorology with a minor in Geography. Currently, she works as an inside sales representative. In her own words, “I am married to the love of my life, and have a little rescue pup who has more sass than a 13 year old girl!” You can find Meghan on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/weeemeggs/.