Triggers

Eudaimonia Tip #8 – Life is about balancing the good with the bad, the happy with the sad.

The last few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions. Foolishly I thought that I could “pack up” my grief and put it on a shelf, but alas I’m still learning about the fickle friend that grief is.

If appropriately addressed grief can be our friend that helps us deal with and express our emotions over our loss, but if left unchecked grief can sneak in unannounced wreaking havoc on our lives. I so desperately wanted to move away from the grief angle the first few posts have centered on and look for more positive material. It wouldn’t be very authentic of me to write only positive posts when life isn’t always positive. Sometimes its necessary to write about the sad or bad to see the positive side of life. Right now, I find that the only thing that I feel motivated to write about is the how grief has gripped me yet again.

The beginning of October started strong, and I was feeling positive on all fronts. There were moments when I thought of Sam, but I didn’t let those moments linger too long. Then it happened, my dear neighbor, Jill texted that she sold her condo. She told me a few weeks prior that she was putting her place on the market, which didn’t jar me at the time since selling a home can take months. To everyone’s surprise, delight and panic her place sold in four days. It went up on a Friday and sold the next Monday. A swell of emotions ran through me as I digested this news. I was initially happy for her as she had been talking about selling/moving for years, but this was so sudden, even for Jill, as she is expected to be moved out by the beginning of December. Next came a tad bit of jealousy as I thought about moving myself. Of course, there was sadness at the loss of my patio-night neighbor and the impromptu pink champagne nights with the bonus of rearranging furniture. While she does not intend to move far, it still won’t be the same without her right next door.

All this is well and good. Typical if you will, but what I wasn’t expecting was how the news of my neighbor moving caused my grief for Sam to come roaring back, slamming me under a giant wave leaving me gasping for breath. It felt as if I was losing him all over again. To make it even worse, the anger that I’ve been carrying around at him is somehow gone, and all I can think about are the good times we shared.
One particular good memory was going to Vintage Market Days (VDM) at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds last year. We took a Friday afternoon off and slowly roamed the buildings filled with up-cycled furniture, cleverly crafted decor, artisan chocolates and then had a light lunch at one of the food trucks. It’s a fun memory I have of us. I miss doing fun fall things, so when I saw that it was coming back this year the last weekend in October, I decided I wanted to go and roam the isles alone.

I woke Friday morning with the determination to go since I had the day off. I wasn’t sure how I would handle this event without Sam, but I felt as if this was something I needed to do. I’m not going to lie, it was sad being there without him, but in the end, it was a good afternoon of seeing what everyone had to offer. There were booths that I knew he would love, like the nautical booth and the plastic 70’s molded lawn decorations. As I passed these by I internally yelled at him for missing out on this years VMD since it was bigger and better than last years.

Needless to say these last few weeks have had several big triggers, but they have taught me to let the good memories in again no matter how painful they may be. As I walk this bridge of acceptance, I am learning that grief has no one single direction. There are all sorts of side roads, trails, and paths we can take, and as we explore these areas of grief, we may be pleasantly surprised at the lessons they can teach. These last few days have shown me that life is about balancing the good with the bad, the happy with the sad. When we hold on to one side only, we are throwing our life out of balance.

Bonne Vie

Eudaimonia Tip # 7 – Confidence inspires us to be self reliant

Bonne Vie it’s a new word I learned recently. It’s French for “good life” which fits perfectly with the theme of my blog; a life well lived. But what constitutes a good life? Is it the people you know? The places you’ve been? Your relationship status? The things you own? The job you have? The car you drive?
These questions are all relative as everyone has their idea of what a constitutes a bonne vie. Some people value possessions and wealth over relationships, and of course, there are those that are the exact opposite, not caring about things, but more about people. Any combination of these questions can make up a good life, but there is one vital question that is missing. While we try and fill our lives with people, places and things, we tend to overlook an essential aspect of life – ourselves!
I noticed an odd thing happens when I spend time with family. After celebrating a birthday or spending the holidays with them, I come home feeling rather insignificant. Like I have nothing to offer since I don’t have kids, I’m single again, and I’m not rich, so I can’t show up with stories of my grand travels to compensate for being single and not having kids. Usually, the feeling passes as I go about my own life, but it recently dawned on me that the only time I felt like I was important was when I was part of a relationship. When I had someone to bring with me to these said birthdays and holidays.
Ut Oh! This will not do!
Don’t get me wrong. Relationships, the right ones, are good for us as they (should) help us grow into better people. But relying on a connection to feel important or worthy somehow is, in my opinion, not healthy. There is, of course, a natural byproduct of belonging and therefore importance when you are in a healthy relationship, but if this is the main reason you are searching for one, then it’s time to rethink your confidence level. Confidence can either make you or break you. Like stress, there is a proper amount that each person should have in their life. Enough to give you the courage to do things, like learn to change your situation if your not happy, or accept that it’s OK to be alone, And of course, too much confidence can make you come off arrogant, which is a big turn off to most people.
Finding myself single again does not mean that I am inadequate, less important, or have nothing exciting to offer. Now is my time relish in my single-hood; to work on myself and to be the real me, and not someone that relies on a relationship to feel whole. I never agreed with Jerry’s “you complete me” nonsense. I firmly believe that only God can fill the void and make us complete. When we look for someone else to fill us up or complete us in any way we are putting a lot of pressure on them and the relationship which is not sustainable in the long run. Inadequacy was a major tenant in my last bout with love that caused a myriad of problems. It’s true we both brought our own insecurities to the table, but they were quite unbalanced. I tend to think that his insecurities were wrapped up in his internal sense of self, where mine centered around what others thought.
The thing is, screw what others think. Everyone is different, with different life experiences. Some will have fancy cars and watches, where others will have their lives filled with kids sporting events and college road trips, and some will have all of the above. It’s a recycled age-old truth that we all need to have confidence and a sense of completeness in ourselves for the right relationship to come along, or to discover that being single isn’t as bad as it sounds! I believe that as we learn to build ourselves up, and truly value what we have to offer at any point in our lives, we can achieve a bonne vie.

Opting Out

Eudaimonia Tip # 6 – Never be afraid to opt out of certain things; the time alone may be what you need.

As if on cue, the first day of fall bloomed late night bonfires around my neighborhood. Open a door, a window or step outside and your senses were hit with the familiar campfire smell of burning wood. I found out Sunday that even my parents had a fire on their deck Saturday night to usher in the new autumn season.

September 22nd hosted a vast array of activities, according to facebook anyway. From festivals and flea markets to special store sales; the world was undoubtedly humming along in celebration of the Earth’s axis moving the northern hemisphere away from the sun. There was one particular event that I was invited too by my dear neighbor-friends called the Lantern Festival. It was a night of food trucks, music, and the main event, the release of a few hundred paper lanterns into the night sky, presumably the majority with notes to loved ones that are no longer with us.  

Typically, I would have jumped at this is the kind of event, but dealing with my melancholy attitude and lack of wanting to be around people, I decided not to go. It’s true that no one would have cared what I wrote on my lantern, least of all my friends, but I would have felt compelled to write something in memory of Sam. This may sound harsh, but I didn’t want to do that. I remember him enough as it is let alone have to pay money to watch a paper lantern burn up in the night sky. I get the symbolism, and I bet for most it was a great night of remembering a loved one, but I am so glad that I listened to my inner voice, women’s intuition, gut (whatever you want to call it) and chose to opt out.  

Guess what? I had the best day on Saturday. I got so much done, and I even took my dog, Friday, for a walk which I’ve promised her for a while now. The fresh air felt good, as so did the exercise. I also didn’t mind that I went to the park that Sam and I used to walk together. Maybe it was the distraction of all the busy sports camps that drew my mind away from him, or perhaps I finally realize that I don’t have to carry all these emotions around with me forever.

Everyone that has lost someone has their own story to tell and all are tragic in their own right. In my support group, we are starting to share our stories, and each story brings strong emotions and tears. From losing a mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, and niece, the circumstances of each of these are heart-wrenching. Some knew their loved one struggled with mental health issues their whole life while others had no reasons to suspect that something, like the suicide of a loved one, would be their new reality.  

For these people, their grief is linked to a family member or a spouse and years of memories to sift through and understand why their loved one chose to depart the way they did. My story of losing Sam is different. He wasn’t a family member that I grew up with or a partner that I married. He was my boyfriend for six months, at least six normal months. The truth is, the few years I had with him were dramatic for one reason or another with a lot of breaking up and making up along the way. When we finally hit our stride this time last fall, I still had my reservations about some things but chucked it up to “relationships take work” and shushed my inner voice.

Now I know that shushing a gut feeling is never a good idea when it comes to relationships.

There were many reasons on both sides that caused Sam and I to get back together in August of 2017. For me, it was a combination of Sam finally having his life together, or telling me he did, and wanting him around during my health scares.  Sam was with me through the whole ordeal, even taking the day off to sit in the waiting room at the hospital with my parents while I was in surgery. Now, this would have been a sweet memory if I didn’t find out later that while I was having things removed from my body, he was emailing the girl he dated over the summer. (Nice!) For Sam, I would say he loved me in his warped way refusing to let me go thinking that I was the answer to all of his problems. He also was type of guy who could not be alone for a day without a woman somewhere in his life if not two at the same time.

The reason for this window of my time with Sam is to show that we were not a healthy couple, no matter how hard I wanted us to be. At one point there was genuine love, but not enough to take away all of his demons.

I’m not sure exactly when the revelation hit, but this past week I realized that I don’t have to carry this grief around with me forever. Honestly, I’m tired of grieving a man who manipulated me even in his death. I’m tired of my emotions and attitude being wrapped up in this tragedy. Some may think that I am cold-hearted for wanting to move on with my life, but as I’ve alluded to in past posts, I wasn’t sure we had a future after I learned about a significant lie.

His death tormented my soul in those first weeks. I would cry myself to sleep at night begging God to tell me “Why, Why did he do this?” I would wake up in the same state full of tears and fear and dread that he was gone. Thankfully, God listened and provided answers, which were shocking and hard to comprehend. The new knowledge stopped the torment, but it did not stop the grieving.

Fast forward seven months. With the help of counseling, my current support group and opting out of things to give myself time to heal, I’m seeing that there is life for me beyond this tragedy. Grieving has taught me to wake with a thankful heart for all that God has given me, shown me and sustained me throughout my life. With this new found emotional freedom I’m starting to sense the excitement of life creeping in and all its possibilities

 

Searching

Eudaimonia Tip # 5 – Keep searching for your motivation, it’s the key to your future

The brief visit we had of the cooler, rainy weather was a nice reprieve from the  scorching heat that ushered in September. As usual, the weeks in September, if not days, give us a variety of temperatures here in the Midwest. We are officially back to summer-like conditions, at least for a few days, with sunshine and warmth showering down from the heavens. I appreciate the clear blue sky’s, I do, but it doesn’t reflect my mood very well. I keep looking at the weather to see when the temps will drop again, and I’m excited I don’t have that long to wait.

Part of wanting fall to arrive officially is related to wanting to stay indoors and not feel guilty when it’s a beautiful day outside. I’m struggling to find my inspiration or motivation. The detox helped for a few days, and I’ve been eating clean for the last two weeks, keeping away from all of my trigger foods, but I seem to be in a bit of a funk. Is this just a funk, or a bit of depression creeping in for good measure?  

I sleep and eat. I work. I run errands. I shower. I clean and take Friday for small walks around the neighborhood, but the idea of having a grand plan to accomplish anything significant is just exhausting. I’m not surprised I’m here, as a year ago I thought I would have three extra people living in my house by now. Instead, I find two adorable kitten-cats (they are seven months old this week) keeping me entertained and company along with my adorable pooch.

I don’t think you can go through a traumatic experience like being caught in the ripple effect of a loved one’s suicide and go back to being the same person you once were. I remember standing in the front pew of the church the day of the funeral service and feeling every fiber in my body changing as if my DNA was altered somehow. I know, it sounds dramatic, but death is dramatic. Suicide is dramatic, and the ripple effect suicide has on the ones left behind is DRAMATIC!

I’m attending a suicide support group. It’s a good group so far, and the facilitators are great in guiding us all trough gradually telling our story as the weeks unfold. During the last session, someone made a comment that had us all nodding our heads in agreement. The fact is, our loved ones were suffering and are now at peace, but the survivors are now the ones suffering searching for peace.

Have you ever searched for something? I mean, really searched for a long time for something or an answer to something? It’s downright exhausting! So many questions to ask and answers to ponder. So many variables to weight and either discard or accept. The point is that searching for something requires a lot of energy, and the more emotional the search, the more energy is required.

I’ve come to understand that searching for answers never stops, it just shifts perspectives. In the beginning, I searched and found the answer to “why” Sam did what he did. There is little comfort in learning the truth about someone you thought you knew. While there is nothing I can do to change the past, there is a lot I can do to ensure my future no matter how much energy is required.  

First Step

Eudaimonia Tip # 4 – Be determined and find your first step of action.

September has always been special to me, not just for the fact that it’s my birth month, but it also houses two favorite seasons, with the beginning of the month being the end of summer, and the end of the month the beginning of fall.  The magic of the month happens somewhere in the middle as the green leaves prepare to shed their sepia tone to display a breathtaking spectacle of colors. These last few days of 95 + degree heat and intense humidity have felt like living on another planet where the outside atmosphere is inhabitable and special precautions have to be taken to spend any time outdoors. Thankfully, the rain has come today to cool things off and start the transition into fall.

I have mixed feelings about this fall season. I’m ready for the cooler weather, but this year I must endure the cooler weather alone. The memories keep popping up on my phone of the adventures that my late boyfriend and I took this time last year which are hard to view because they are both precious and painful. Typically, the upcoming holiday season is a time to break out the jack-o-lantern, display the cornucopia centerpiece, and start decking those halls! Usually, I would be starting to think of what theme I want for my Christmas tree, but not this year. This year my holiday aspirations are more aligned with burying my head in a pillow until Jan 2nd. It’s not that I dislike the holidays, I just don’t want to partake in them this year. I’m sure this is all part and parcel for the grieving process, and maybe I’ll change my tune in a couple of weeks, but I’m not holding my breath.

There is a lot of energy that goes into reinventing a life while trying to understand and accept the events of the past. I wonder if I’m longing to skip the holidays, or just longing to avoid the human interactions that come with them. I’m finding solace in isolation. I know for most this is not healthy, but this is what I need. Time to be alone and heal from the inside out, not just mentally, but physically. I haven’t been taking care of what I put into my body, and this is causing further frustration in my ability to move forward with my life, as my confidence is in shambles. But moving forward is a must, and staying stagnant is unacceptable. As my good friend, Gloria Estefan would say “Stand up and take some action.”

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/gloriaestefan/getonyourfeet.html

Action it is. The path to total healing has begun, as this week I’ve completed a two-day detox that has helped eliminate the crap from my system. I hope the detox not only helps jump start my energy levels, which have been abysmal lately but also elevates my mood. I am determined to gain control of my life, and the detox is the first step in a long road to achieving a life well lived.

 

I do what I have to do

leaves-plants-river-87812Throw back Thursday: I wrote this essay back on March 20, 2018 when I was in a different grieving stage. 

I keep going to my playlist for initial comfort, as somehow the lyrics to certain songs make me feel closer to him. It’s almost as if through these songs I understand him and his pain better, or maybe I’m understanding my own pain better.  The song that I am stuck on is Sarah McLachlan’s “Do what you have to do.” the mood, along with the lyrics speak perfectly to my heart and my pain.

“What ravages of spirit conjured this tempestuous rage

Created you a monster broken by the rules of love

And fate has led you through it

You do what you have to do

And fate has led you through it

You do what you have to do

 

And I have the sense to recognize that

I don’t know how to let you go

 

Every moment marked With apparitions of your soul

I’m ever swiftly moving Trying to escape this desire

The yearning to be near you

I do what I have to do

The yearning to be near you

I do what I have to do

 

And I have the sense to recognize that

I don’t know how to let you go

I don’t know how to let you go

 

A glowing ember Burning hot And burning slow

Deep within I’m shaken by the violence Of existing for only you

I know I can’t be with you

I do what I have to do

I know I can’t be with you

I do what I have to do

And I have sense to recognize but

I don’t know how to let you go

You can’t get any more direct than these words. I do what I have to do, I know I can’t be hear him, but I still yearn for him. It doesn’t matter what he did in the past or the chances of our future together, all that matters is he is not here anymore and as things drop off of my ‘to do’ list I find that I have more time to realize just how empty the world feels without him in it.

As I continue on this bridge to acceptance, I’m learning that grief is a world within a world. There is the outside world that is spinning, running, doing, living. Within that world, there is the grieving realm, which also consists of things getting done, but at a slower and almost belabored pace. This is the “do what you have to do” part that Sarah so eloquently sings. From the outside looking in, no one would suspect that there is this appendage attached to me, like a heavy, wet blanket draped over my shoulders that I drag around wherever I go. As if living in the grieving world isn’t hard enough, there is the fact that you have to still interact with the outside world and answering the stagnant question of “how are you?” I sometimes want to say “do you want the short, socially acceptable answer, or the long and drawn out one?

The short answer “I’m still here”

The long answer “I’m in pain, I’m sad. I cry at odd times. I think about him a lot and really miss him. On the outside I look fine, but the inside is a mess right now. I’m finding it hard to get excited about anything this year… so yeah… that’s how I am.” I usually just stick with the short answer, as it makes others feel better.

I’m still floating in the denial/depressions stage. I had this thought that as things started to drop off my list, such as the selling, thank you cards, etc.. I would feel better somehow, but I’m realizing that grieving has its own schedule, it’s own path, it’s own timeline. I may ‘plan’ when I feel I should be better, but as they say …best laid plans…

I keep thinking about how he (we) loved to go down to Lehman’s Amish hardware store and along the way we would stop at some antique shops. I keep thinking back to our Hartville visit with my family in December 2017 and on the way back we stopped at this antique store that was full of so much stuff  you had to carefully walk through the paths and make sure you didn’t knock anything over. He got a kick out of going to antique stores. He would always look for the old fashioned Christmas lights to give to his brother Fred, if they were reasonably priced of course. It’s such a warm and happy memory for me and I find I want to call him up and ask him when we are going back. I just want to talk to him. I just want to go back to the ignorance I had last fall, because at least he was still around, and we had our future before us.

I can’t change the past. I can only look to a blank future right now. I know I can’t be with him, so I’ll do what I have to do. I will let the outside world spin, while the inside grief keeps me cold under this wet blanket with a mind and heart of its own.

Time Out!

Eudaimonia Tip # 3 – Remember to take time for yourself and appreciate your accomplishments.

The feeling of time slamming into the whole of your existence is an unexpected and awakening experience. As if you were in an actual time machine that suddenly came to a stop jarring you awake to realize you’ve arrived. Maybe it’s time you’ve been waiting for, dredging, expecting, or resisting.

I’ve been both waiting for and dreading the time that has arrived. On the one hand, I’m done with school for good, (yay me!), but on the other, it’s the end of summer which means fall is around the corner. Usually, I’m all about fall. The crisp, clean air. The changing leaves. The warm snuggly sweaters and blankets. However, this fall I have to face memories of a promised future that did not come to pass. I have to face a vastly different and unmapped life.

It’s not all bad.  School has been completed for a week now, and the feeling of freedom is priceless, along with having my four-year degree.

This right here is my Eudai moment!

Remember, eudaimonia which is the principle of a life full of growth, meaning, authenticity, and excellence through right actions. 17 classes and 17 A’s later, with my last class being a perfect game (i.e., 100%), I find that going back to complete my degree was the right action. It wasn’t always fun, having to plan my life around assignments, but I have hope for my future and what I can do with my battle earned bachelor’s degree. I say battle earned because a lot has happened during the time I was in school. Nearly a year ago in October, I had three surgeries in one day, all outpatient thank goodness, but I was still under for 5+ hours! Then there is the loss of my boyfriend earlier this year. I wanted to let my grief consume me, but I also knew that if I stopped, I wouldn’t be able to start again. In a way, having to continue writing papers and discussion questions, along with my routine of work, helped keep some focus in my life, so I wasn’t pulled under by my emotions.

And also Mamma Biscuit and her six kittens helped too!

As I adjust to “civilian” life and start moving into my next chapter, I  wonder how different I am after all that I’ve experienced, seen, heard, learned and felt over the last two years. I know I am not the same person I used to be two years ago, let alone a few months ago. The time that is before me is to learn who I am now. As the wise scholar, Ferris Bueller once said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Now that I have more time for myself I plan to look around, appreciate life and not take any of it for granted. That there is a whole world out there that I am eager to explore that will help me build the eudai life.

 

The Optimistic Pessimist

Eudaimonia Tip #2 – Accept where life has taken you, but by no means

stay where you are.

It’s a strange feeling. When you are touched by the death of someone close the world takes on a whole new look; the wind feels different, the sun is more intense, the rain that much more solemn. It’s as if your senses are doubled like you are touching these elements of life not only for yourself but also for the one who isn’t here anymore.

My boyfriend was my first real major loss in life. I never knew my grandfather’s, as they passed before I was born, and by the grace of God both of my grandmothers are still living. One is about to turn 99 on August 8th! The other is the spry young age of 96. I am also blessed to have both of my parents still. I’ve known great aunts and uncles who have passed, but they were not in my daily life as my boyfriend. We had plans of moving in together this year and even talked about getting engaged at some point. I secretly hoped he would pop the question at the end of summer as it would make the perfect trifecta of graduate, birthday, engaged… not necessarily in that order. At least I am getting two out of three.

Perhaps marriage isn’t in the plan for me. It’s certainly something I’ve thought I wanted, I mean I don’t want to die alone, but I was never that girl that dreamt of an elaborate white wedding with a big poofy dress to boot. Come to think of it I never really fantasized about my wedding. Don’t get me wrong, marriage is a beautiful thing, but perhaps I never felt that I would find that one person out of a few billion who would choose to love me, and only me (and vice versa) for the rest of our lives.

Then there is the dangerous part of love. The part where you meet someone and hit it off and then that dopey love drug kicks in and no matter what they say (or don’t say) you think they are gold! That life is amazing that you’ll raise a bunch of puppies, paint rainbows in the sky and grow a garden of daisies. The world is an open realm of possibilities when you are on the love drug.

And then your love drug wears off, and your relationship hits a hidden ice burg, and before you can realize what just happened, you are frantically swimming to find anything to grab to stay afloat.

The juxtaposition of my boyfriend not being on this planet any more to call, talk to, see, touch, smell, plan, and hope with combined with the anger I have at him for the way he conducted his life is pretty unusual pairing to carry. If things went as planned, we would be spending our weekends at the new Menards that opened up only thirty minutes from my house.  People, he LOVED Menards!

But things didn’t go as planned.

Someone once told me that I’m a pessimist, as I am always on guard waiting for something to go wrong. I was initially shocked to hear these words aimed in my direction, but the more I thought about my, well, thoughts it made sense… Hell yeah, I’m a pessimist, but I’m the most optimistic pessimist that I know.

I call this being a realist. I refuse to live in a world where I think everything is perfect and will always be perfect. I believe in the power of being positive, but I also believe that it should be balanced with the right amount of awarness that life does not always go as planned.  I would rather be prepared for disaster than taken by surprise.

I will say this, losing my boyfriend was not expected. The life I am now faced to live, the emotions I have to deal with in the manner of his departure, not expected. But what I do expect is to keep moving forward no matter what life throws at me. It’s understanding that when something goes wrong in life, big or small, anticipated or not, the best response is a humble one, but not a stagnant one.

Grief is a Monster

Eudaimonia Tip #1 – When we are authentic people to ourselves, we are better people for each other.

Thoughts and emotions have been boiling in me for a while now. As I see the end of school in just a few short weeks I’m starting to panic a bit about all the time I will have on my hands. It’s exciting, but also terrifying to realize that I am on my own. Not the living alone part, because I’m well versed in that aspect of life, but the fear comes in my future, what I’m going to do with myself, my career, my health, and my heart.

How do I put the pieces of my life back together after this tragic and life-altering event that happened only a few short months ago?

In so many ways I’m starting over. I’m learning to live life again, and I hope I can learn to trust and love at some point. On the one hand, I’m ecstatic about all of the free time I will have as there will be no more papers, discussion questions or quizzes due every week. On the other hand I’m terrified that thoughts of my boyfriend will consume my mind. My fear is I don’t think I completely dealt with his passing, but instead put part of my grief on a shelf since I was so busy with work, school, and kittens. I went to counseling for three months, which in retrospect does not seem to be a whole lot of time, but my counselor assured me I was doing everything right to understand my grieving and healing process.

Grief is such a monster. There are so many variables it’s hard to know where you are in the process. First, there is the deceased. What was going on in their life when they passed? Did they cross at a grand old age? In the prime of their life? Or way before their time?  Second, the manner of their passing impacts the grieving process. Did they pass from natural causes, was it an accident, or did they commit suicide? Third, is the depth of the relationship between the one who passed and the one that continues to live. Was this person in your life daily, monthly, a close friend, or distant relative? Finally, there is the survivor of the deceased who has to find a way to understand the void left by their their loved one’s departure from this world and still go on living.

Here are my variables. My boyfriend was a distraught man who lied to everyone he knew and his lies caught up with him, which caused him to take his own life two months shy of his 46th birthday. We were working toward building a life together, but I found out some things in his life that made me question the path we were on. In all reality, we had a long road ahead of us, but I was willing to try to restore trust. Only, he didn’t see it that way. 

I don’t understand how I can have such anger at him for months at a time, but today I wake to miss him something awful. I thought my grief would end in the angry stage, but what I’m realizing is grief has no end. The profound change in my universe is that my boyfriend was my future and now he is not here. It will not matter how long he’s been gone; his departure will always be felt in some way. Most days, I’m assuming, will be spent in the angry phase of grief, but there will be days like today that I will have to accept the wave of sadness no matter how long I am under the water.

I know that I will come up breathing. I always do. I always find a way to go on. Now that school is nearly done, I will take this quiet time to fully understand my boyfriend’s role in my life and mine in his. I will continue on this bridge of acceptance looking to make peace with his departure, with the understanding that there will be days coming up that will be hard to get through. The best way for me to climb out of my grief is to cling to the eudai life and not give up on my future.