The past 12 months have been full of loss and heartbreak.
The weight of it stifles and suffocates me.
2023 started with my heart being stomped on by the man who promised to love me forever. The man who promised to never hurt me. The man I thought was my soulmate. He just walked away and never looked back. He left me wondering what I had done wrong and questioning why I wasn’t good enough. He left me feeling like I was unworthy of love. He left me broken.
Moving on from this betrayal seemed impossible. I wasn’t given a chance to say goodbye. Perhaps that’s what makes it hurt more: the lack of closure. Maybe if I had been given any kind of explanation, I would have been able to handle it better. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
Fast forward a couple of months. My grandfather, who had been suffering from dementia, became sick. His health declined rapidly. The strongest man I ever knew was withering away, and it was agonizing to watch. I spent as much time as I could with him, and I’ll hold those memories with me forever. What a gift it was to have him in my life for 43 years.
Goodbyes are always painful. I don’t think it matters if they are expected or not. The day I got the phone call that my grandfather had died, I sobbed uncontrollably. We knew the day was coming, but that didn’t make it any less excruciating. Our family had experienced a devastating loss, and we would never be the same.
Fifty days after my grandfather died, my dad had a massive heart attack. My mom came home from work and found him unconscious on the floor. My parents had moved to Florida a couple of years prior and I flew down as quickly as I could, getting to the hospital later that afternoon.
My mom had been at the hospital, alone, for over 12 hours by the time I arrived. I was trying to comfort her while also reeling from this tragedy. It felt incredibly cruel to be dealing with this on the heels of losing my grandfather.
My dad was brain-dead. There was no activity whatsoever. The doctors explained that there would be no change in the prognosis. My dad was gone.
I don’t think anyone ever plans on watching somebody die. It is the worst pain I have ever felt. My mom and I sat with my dad after life support was removed. We spoke gently to him, reassuring him that it was okay to let go, and held his hands as he took his last breath. The grief was consuming.
At the end of 2023, I was just exhausted. Completely worn down—both mentally and physically. I was looking forward to the year ending and a new one beginning. I was sure that 2024 would start on a much happier note. For the first time in a long time, I felt hope.
The feeling didn’t last for long. My grandmother had been struggling since losing my grandfather. They were married for 69 years and had never spent a day apart. If I’m being honest, I was surprised that she made it without him as long as she did. I’m so proud of her for that. I knew that she was tired. Tired of being here without her husband and tired of hanging on for the rest of us. The first week of the new year ended with another devastating loss.
I think I’m in shock right now. Maybe denial. None of it feels real to me, even though I know it is. I feel slightly removed from it all, like it happened to someone else and not to me.
I know that as time goes on, it will get easier. I know that the memories will eventually bring me joy instead of pain. For now, though, I sit with this grief and wonder how I’m supposed to move on when I’m missing so much. It just doesn’t seem fair to me, but I know I have to continue living my life.
For now, I will be grateful that I got as much time as I did with my grandparents and my dad. For now, I will believe that they are together again, somewhere, wherever that might be. For now, I’ll be thankful for having had the privilege of giving, and receiving, so much love.