On December 18th, 2020, my long time partner suddenly passed away from Pulmonary Embolism. He was only twenty-five years old. We were high school sweethearts.
I will never forget that night as I relive it in my mind every single time I close my eyes. I see his body. I remember the warmth I felt as I cried and screamed on his chest. Most of all, I recall the feeling of being so heartbroken that I couldn’t cry anymore. My tears dried up and I just stared silently.
I never get a break from the pain. As you all can imagine, I am still broken and devastated about his death and find myself still in denial. I doubt that will change anytime soon and I have no intentions on rushing my grieving.
Whenever a loved one dies, people will send their condolences and you can only hope that their intentions are pure. The grieving process is tricky as you are at you’re most vulnerable point in life and your audience is well aware of that. As time goes on, some may stick around to check on you long-term and many will forget.
Despite all the love and support that I have received, there are absolutely things you should avoid saying to someone in my position. Although your advice may not be harmful, the person grieving may not be prepared to receive such words. It is truly a learning experience just as much as it is a teaching experience.
I’ve considered myself to be the “strong” friend in most situations. This time, I am not and that is okay. Convincing someone to stay strong while their loved one has passed on is only embedding in their mind that they need to just push through the unfortunate event. Indeed, life goes on but it is extremely important to allow the griever to feel EVERY emotion.
It seems like superb advice right? It’s typical to resort to this when you have nothing else to say, which is completely understandable. I noticed many people were expressing that I needed to be strong for not just myself but also everyone around me that was also really effected by his death. I’ve learned that that is too heavy of a responsibility for one person.
Also understand that the griever will go through all stages of grief daily. One second, we feel confident that there are better days to come. The next second, we feel we can’t live without them. Another second, we may blame ourselves or think about what we could have done to change the outcome of their death. In all, you will have more weak moments than strong. Embrace it because it is pivotal for your life journey.
“You Will Find Love Again”
I let out a big sigh when others try to comfort me but then go on to mention this. I suppose it’s a nice and positive outlook for future reference. However, the idea of loving someone other than my partner that was once here is cold in my world and it is not the first thing I think about. In fact, it doesn’t cross my mind.
My partner and I were high school sweethearts. We’d been together since we were fifteen years old and eventually separated when were sophomores in college. Despite going our separate ways, we came to grips that the transition from being young teens to becoming full blown adults was not easy. We needed to release our adolescent mentalities and make room for our matured minds.
After two years of taking the time to grow as individuals, we joined back together. Before his passing, we’d finally agreed to marriage and children. We felt like we were ready now. I am still deeply in love with him and for our history together, I could never replace him. That is also okay.
People may view this and think, “Don’t stop YOUR life.” It is not stopping my entire life. It is only introducing a new portion of my life that I have yet to experience without being tied to someone else. Life is more than relationships. I was fortunate enough to experience real love that could last me for eternity.
“What Is Wrong With You?”
My storm is not “calm” everyday. I have more angry moments than sad. My new norm is having nothing to say at all and yes, it is mostly due to his departure from this world.
Before, I was a pretty loud and humorous person. super outgoing and bubbly. I smiled a lot more and I always had something to say. Never missed a beat. That’s what people were used too and I can tell they miss the “old” me. About every other day, I have outbursts of just pure anger and then I hear, “What’s wrong with you?!”
It has easily become my biggest pet peeve. I continue to bite my tongue and let my energy simmer through the air to allow the person to think what could possibly be wrong. In those dark moments, all I need is pure love and honestly a firm hug. I am not typically a hugger by any means but this time around I truly do need it.
“How Did They Die?”
This seems hard to believe but yes, the first thing a few people said to me was just that. “How did he die?” Such a shallow way of sending your condolences, especially if that’s the only thing you say.
I questioned myself immediately and thought, “Why does it matter right now? He’s gone.” It was just a reminder of how sudden his death was. He was literally dying before our eyes and we had no idea even though all the signs were there.
His symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism were: extreme pain in his legs that were mistaken for just cramps or a muscle pulled, complications breathing that we thought could be controlled by his inhaler since he had asthma, increase in chest pains, and the most noticeable one was difficulty walking. He had always been athletic, so how could this be? We are still unaware of how this blood clot came about within his body.
At one point, he went to see a doctor. After visiting multiple times, they continued to say they couldn’t “find” anything. Quickly discouraged, my boyfriend decided to take matters into his own hands and attempted to heal himself. Despite the tragedy, I can say with confidence he did not leave without a fight.
“They Are Still With You.”
Although there is truth to this as we are all forms of energy, it is so hard to hear and believe it. Many people have told me this and I don’t take as much offense to it as the other ones.
My upset is towards the fact that I can no longer see him, feel him, hear him, speak to him, etc. We’ve become so accustomed and attached to the physical body that when our loved ones leave this earth, we only wish for us to do these specific things.
We take for granted someone’s physical presence until we have no choice but to depend on their spiritual presence, which we can not see but only feel.
Grief In One
You will never be the same after losing a loved one but I suppose this is the part of life that is supposed to happen in order for us to change. I’ve grown to accept that my life has shifted drastically and every expectation I had before is now gone. The wound will never close. You just learn to live with the pain.
Sending healing for a lifetime to all those grieving. I wish I could send you all more encouraging words but sometimes “less is more”.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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