September 27, 2021

Enduring the Grief of Losing a Childhood Friend.

Not everything can transform into sunshine and roses, and losing a loved one is certainly one of those things.

My childhood friend was recently murdered. A proud father, supportive brother, goofy friend, beloved son, lost the rest of his life in one single tragic moment. The 20 versions of me over the past 20 years are in pain, and it expands to every other heart that’s been touched by his existence.

The loss that’s just been dealt to everyone in his life sits on my chest alongside the little me, whohas thought of him often since we parted ways into adulthood. An endless vault of impact has blasted open and shattered at my feet. I’ve avoided my timeline, in an effort to keep it from being shoved into my face. I don’t want to endure another heartache. But, here I sit, with grief persistently reminding me that it’s waiting to be seen. It stays, lingering, waiting for silence—a break between distractions. I know that I can’t avoid what’s inside of me, I’ve tried.

These pieces of my memory bank open file after file, playing sound clips and projecting psychic awareness upon a screen that only I can see. Despite every effort to move forth without it, I must allow what is to be. I simply and wholeheartedly don’t want to acknowledge any of it—even the sweet memories illuminate the bitter present. So, I keep taking deep breaths and stuffing it back inside, closing a door that no one else can open.

I refocus, sending gratitude for time spent into the wind and hoping it carries the sorrow away. With each breath I struggle to take, I am reminded that grief is meant to be felt and I must begin to allow myself to endure the painful process. I remember that in allowing myself to feel, I allow myself to heal.

As I search for peace through the grief, I’ve found that the hurt takes a break when I remember what a blessing it is to have so many memories worth recalling—to think back and smile with your smile, laugh with your laugh, and feel warmth in my heart for the joy we’ve felt. I remember the love that has come before his time’s end. Now, we are left keeping his existence alive in our hearts with the love that remains.

This is our final goodbye. And all I wish to be able to say to him in this moment is that it really is nice to have known him.

And to the rest of us who are grieving loss, here’s what I want you to know:

This really is as bad as you think. No matter what anyone else says, this sucks. What has happened cannot be made right. What is lost cannot be restored. There is no beauty here, inside this central fact. Acknowledgment is everything. You’re in pain. It can’t be made better. The reality of grief is far different from what others see from the outside. There is pain in this world that you can’t be cheered out of. You don’t need solutions. You don’t need to move on from your grief. You need someone to see your grief, to acknowledge it. You need someone to hold your hands while you stand there in blinking horror, staring at the hole that was your life. Some things cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.”

~ Megan Devine, It’s OK That You’re Not OK.


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