When they die.
And by “they”, I mean the person that is your rock, your foundation, the person that keeps you going. Significant other, grandparent, parent, sibling, friend. To each of us, “they” exist or have existed.
When they die, there is a crash and you suddenly realize you are alone. Maybe you’re standing in your kitchen and the lights are too bright and the quiet is too loud as your world collapses. Maybe you’re standing next to them and see their last breath. Maybe it’s a phone call that makes you never want to answer a phone again. Suddenly the weight on your shoulders increases tenfold as you realize that now you have you. Your rock and your foundation is gone.
And what do you do with that knowledge, with that empty feeling?
You plan a funeral. You go through the motions of caring for your family when all you really want is someone to care for you. Life goes on and it’s so strange because you could never imagine a world without them in it, and this world does exist and it plain out sucks. You cry at night when no one can hear you and you long for their voice telling you everything’s going to be just fine. Nothing will be fine again though, and this is a reality that you hate to have to accept.
You work and you tend to your home and your children and you feel this piece of you is gone. You have a habit maybe of calling them at a certain time, or visiting them on a certain day and you reach for that habit only to realize that something else must fill that time now, along with the space that is empty inside you.
How long this goes on for is different for everyone. But you are never the same after a loss such as this. You will be happy again, but it will often take it’s toll on you that you can’t share that happiness with the person you miss most. You’ll pick up the phone to share your day with them and realize they are no longer just a phone call away. So instead you’ll go to their grave site and talk to the air above it, and wish for another day with them.
You’ll wonder what their advice would be when life gets hard and you’ll wonder what their reaction would be to the crazy things that happen in your life.
But someday you’ll smile at their memory and not cry – at least not every time. And someday you will be thankful for the time you did have and not always feel cheated that they went so soon. Someday the sun will shine on you and you know it’s their way of smiling and showing you the bright side. Someday will come.
When they die, you reach down inside of yourself and find that the strength they gave you is there, even when they are not. You see life for what it is without them tangibly there and realize they still are there, the saying is true, they live in your heart. They had an impact on you and they live in everything that you are. Their body isn’t here, you can’t hear their voice, but there is no doubt that they existed, and for that you can be grateful. In your time, when you are ready. There is no set time in grieving. And you will always grieve. Maybe not as often or as openly as when they first left. A song or a smell or a thought will cause tears to flood your eyes. And to hell with anyone who doesn’t understand. There will be good days and bad, good moments and bad.
When they die, you become a different you. And that’s completely okay.