Life is ever changing and like many of you, my family has experienced a loss recently.

I’ve experienced loss before, but this is different. In early January this year, someone I feel like I just met, someone I didn’t get nearly enough time with, passed away. Her daughters and her family are all grieving in their own ways, and their feeling of loss is certainly more profound than mine. I’m part of this family now, and it wounds me to see them hurting so much. All I can do is offer my emotional support and be there for them as best I can. They are all wonderful people, whom I’ve come to love. I accept them for who they are, as they have accepted me.

This woman was a force of nature. Determined and strong willed, yet capable of such unyielding compassion. She was reluctant to say it, but she loved and respected her family without fail. She was there for them and she brought them together, even at the end. With each day that passes, her absence is evident. I only knew her for 2 1/2 years, but she left a huge dent in the emotional armor that I wear, and I miss her. I miss her voice, her smile, and her sarcasm. She made me think and she made me laugh. When her eldest daughter and I got together, she welcomed me and my son into her house and family without question.

Every day we are constantly reminded of her. There is a void present that we try to fill up with memories. This is what we have, and it helps us to get through the day. I watch and listen to my partner and wish I could do more to help her with her grief, but I know this is her journey. Everyone has their own path to take for healing. Even me. All we can do is continue down the path and bring all of those memories with us, so that she never truly dies. As long as she is remembered, she will live on.

There are times when we feel as if she is standing right next to us, or sitting at the table telling us to take off our jacket. I see her hugging her dogs as they climb into her lap, and I see the smile on her face as she held her newest grandchild for the first time. Our lives must continue now, without her, but we bring her with us as best we can. All she wanted was for her family to be healthy and happy, to be able to take care of themselves, and to continue to gather together as they have in the past. She was the super glue, and we should do our best to make sure that we hold together as a family.

For all of you out there going through something similar, hang in there. Don’t forget about your loved ones, but don’t forget to live. Things will get easier, but it will take time. Just remember to breathe. Just remember to love. Just remember your loved one. That’s all you can do. Honor them by remembering them. You will never stop loving or missing them, but you will always have those memories. Share those memories with others. Make sure they live on through you. It’s the best show of love and respect you can give.

One last thing, and it’s very important: Talk about your feelings. Find someone you can share things with. Sometimes that can be a loved one, and sometimes it should be an impartial stranger. Seeking a counselor or therapist is a perfectly natural and reasonable thing to do. It helps. I know this to be true. Don’t hold things in. It takes more work, and can cause more stress and emotional (and sometimes physical) damage to keep it inside. Grieving is hard work. Don’t make it harder by bottling things up.



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