Monday, April 8, 2013

What I Need Most From My Friends

Hi Friend,

That’s right!  I’m talking to you.  The one reading this blog.  My parents don’t read this blog.  Maybe I should be offended by that, but I’m not. It’s probably for the best. So, yeah, this is directed at you, my friends (and people I don’t actually know but I’m sure if I met you, we’d be friends in real life and not just in the blog world.)

Let’s just be honest and say the last year has not been easy for either one of us.  My world was blown wide open and I hit rock bottom.  You’ve rushed in to be there for me even though you may not have known how to help.  I certainly haven’t known how to tell you to help me.  It’s been this messy dance of try this, try that, “Is she OK?  “Did I say/do the right thing” from your perspective and “Am I responding in the right way?” from mine. This whole grief thing is tricky.  Tag the word suicide onto the death and things can quickly spiral into totally foreign territory.  What a heartbreaking, life altering experience.

I’m here to tell you, it may be messy, but it’s beautiful - like an oriental rug.  If you actually flip over an oriental rug, you will see there are all sorts of knots. It doesn’t make sense how such a mess can create such beauty on the other side.  It may take me a long time to see the beautiful things that have come from Dude’s death, but there is no question that I have felt loved and supported by you in this darkest and most difficult time.  Thank you for everything – for the phone calls, text messages, Facebook messages, cards, emails, earrings, necklaces, photos, songs, poems, quotes/Bible verses, prayers, hugs, shoulders to cry on, food, cupcakes (those are separate from food because they are just THAT important). I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

I may not have been able to tell you what I needed in the beginning, but now that I am a year in, I am better able to articulate my need.  So, what do I need?

I need you to understand that even though it’s been a year, the grief will not disappear. I am learning that this is a very slow and painful process, but from April 4th 2012 on, I have been moving forward with my “new life.”  I may not move forward as fast as you or I would like or in the way either one of thinks is “the right way."  One day at a time, one step at a time, progress is being made.  There will still be days that I am overwhelmed with grief.  With that said, when the intense pain comes, I know I have been here before and will survive. I know how to handle it.  I have also developed the ability to say “no” and to better ask for help.  Before this experience, I said yes to a lot just to make others happy.  Now, I know that I need to take care of myself and that might involve me saying no.  And, I don’t feel guilty about it, which is a big step for me. I have never been afraid to ask for help, but I didn’t know how to ask for help through this experience. That isn’t as much of an issue now. The grief doesn’t consume me as much as it used to, so I can actually have a conversation with you without Dude’s death constantly being in the forefront of my mind.  It’s still important for me to talk about it, but if I want to, I will.

I still need your prayers.

Most importantly, I need you to just be YOU! I loved you for you before this, and this tragedy in my life has not changed my feelings. Yes, I may be sad, but I want to support and celebrate you! It truly does make me happy to see you so happy.  Hopefully, one day, you can celebrate with me, too.  In the meantime, let’s have fun!  Summer is right around the corner!  We’ve got outdoor movies to watch, Nationals games to catch, long strolls that involve window shopping (or real shopping), eating ice cream, and dining outdoors. We’ve got babies to love on, parties to attend, BBQs to have, and margaritas to make a la Casa Bigby.  We’ve got laughs to share and memories to make. I’ve not been up for all of those things for quite some time, but I feel ready now….even if I might need a little prodding at times.  You are a whole lot of fun and I want to spend time with you.

Thank you for your love and support, but most of all, thank you for being YOU.

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