There are many connections between human beings and animals, but one tries our ability to live, loss. We all grieve. No living thing with a level of cognitive ability is immune from loss. The fact is we all must leave this earthly realm someday. We are never truly ready, and we do not know the time, day, nor hour. Let’s face it, death is hard for those left behind.
I have been faced with grief for a very long time. My father died when I was three years old, but my age did not allow me to know him very well. I knew that I loved him. He took me on bike rides on his tricycle and taught me to snap my fingers. I was told later on in life that he worked really closely with my drugged addicted mother at the time to get treatment and prenatal care. When doctors told my mother she would die giving birth to me, he was there. When doctors said I would be born with half a heart and with cists all over my body, he was there to remind her that my life was worth it no matter what.
He was a good man, but one day someone walked up behind him and shot him in the head. Just like that, he was gone. I was forced to grow up without the man who wanted nothing more than to save and raise me.
Five years later, I would be standing at the front door and my dog Misty at the time would howl several times after my mother walked by. I had no idea that it would be for the last time.
The next morning, my sister and I found her on the floor. She was having a stroke. At the hospital, she was placed in ICU. I was not allowed to see her because I was too young. When my aunt brought me home from school on a stormy day, I knew something was wrong because my principal was there. My mother had passed. She was gone, but I did not believe it. I could not believe. I was only eight. Why was I being forced to live without her?
Her funeral was difficult, and the person in the casket did not look like her. She was but a shell blown away. I did not accept it. I would spend the next six years looking for her. Even after accepting that she was gone, I could not let her go crying myself to sleep nightly for the next ten years.
Within those ten years, many more family members and friends left me.
I married and had children, but a black hole remained.
By 2016 my grandfather, who had played the role of my father left me. This was a little different because he had been ill. But it was not any easier.
The fight of my life would occur a year later with the death of Xavier, my brother. He was 22 years old and died of a sudden heart attack.
My daughters loved their uncle and was now tasting a not so good part of life.
Through all the loss, I realized I was not letting myself grieve enough. I was not going through the process of grief, especially with Xavier. All I wanted to know was why. I was stuck in that realm while trying to help my children process what happened.
As time moved on, I went to therapy and took medication to help me. I finally realized I may never know why.
I said all that to say this, “GRIEVE.” Allow yourself all the time you need. Take small steps and then larger. Allow yourself to process never saying goodbye or I love you. Remember the good times and close them in a volt.
For me, grief came in waves as the sea. Once I accepted Xavier’s death, I began to accept that grief will happen again and again. All we can do is ebb and flow as best we can through the process.
Thank you for reading.