Monday, August 27, 2012

The first four months

Over the last four months, I've learned the following things about grieving the loss of my best friend (in no particular order):
  1. It will hurt so bad that you will feel like you are going to die. 
  2. You will never take your own life. You don't want others to ever have to feel this pain.
  3. Focus on God. He is there.
  4. Crying (and laughing) can be an excellent ab workout!
  5. You will, for once in your life, be at a loss for words.
  6. The human body has an amazing ability to keep on going. Most of the time, you are really thankful for this. 
  7. Open up to your friends who understand. Share your emotions and be honest.
  8. It will hurt and terrify your parents to see their child in so much pain. Their reaction will be to try to protect you from this pain. You can't and don't want to be protected from the pain, so you will get frustrated.
  9. There will be people, even your closest friends, who don't understand this. Be patient with them. You don't want anyone to have to understand this.
  10. Resist the urge to cane the people who say the following inappropriate comments. Instead, just laugh.
    1. Get over it and move on
    2. I don't understand why this is such a big deal!
    3. Why on earth would you spend so much time and energy on someone so sick?!
    4. Death happens. It'll happen again.
    5. You can relax now. It's over
  11. It's OK to eat ice cream and cupcakes and Mike and Ikes and then totally regret your decision. If Dude was here, he'd eat half of what you attempted to eat, and you wouldn't have gained so much weight!
  12. You are amazed by people who care so much. 
  13. You are a bit startled by some people who don't seem to care or remain silent.
  14. You will make some new friends through this.
  15. Grief is the price you pay for loving someone so deeply.
  16. Appreciate all of the small gestures -- a home-cooked meal, a text that says "I love you", a song, a poem, a phone call -- anything and everything makes a difference
  17. Be sure to tell your friends who have been there for you in this aftermath just how much you appreciate them.
  18. Lean into the pain, experience it, and know that it will get better
  19. Listening to Dude's voicemail does not make you sad; it's comforting.
  20. Joining a support group makes a big difference.
  21. You will not have much energy to initiate contact with people, but if they contact you, you feel so loved.
  22. Keep every card and message people have sent you during this time. They serve as reminders of how much Dude was loved and how much you are loved.
  23. Ask for help and accept help offered to you.
  24. You will forget absolutely everything and feel like you are going crazy. Your memory will return in time. 
  25. Uncle Brian told you to work out because it will make you feel better. He was right! And, the exercise helps prevent weight gain from grief indulgences. BONUS!
  26. You are not responsible for another person's actions. You did everything you could.
  27. Talking to Ava is incredibly relaxing.
  28. Matt's laugh makes your heart swell because it is identical to Mike's.
  29. You have completely lost your ability to spell. Jer beats you by 800+ points in Scramble...but you love to play Scramble with Jer.
  30. You are stronger than you think and will get through this.
  31. Don't worry about forgetting Dude. You never will.
  32. Avoid beating yourself up for thinking you are not progressing fast enough. Counselors remind you that you will not "snap out of this".
  33. Do something you have always wanted to do - no matter how crazy it sounds to some people!
  34. Wine is such a gift -  Just not too much, too often.
  35. Remember how much Dude loved you and how much you loved him.
  36. You will truly live again!
  37. You will see the world differently from now on.
  38. You have the coolest, kindest, smartest, most amazing guardian angel.
  39. When you get to heaven Dude will be just as excited to see you as you will be to see him.
  40. Until then, live, laugh and love!

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