Everybody grieves differently. This is my personal experience.
About six years ago my ex-boyfriend was killed in a car accident. We were on good terms after the break up, and stayed friends. I was heartbroken.
Since his death, anytime I pass a car accident, or hear of a big accident on the news, I am immediately brought to tears.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I lost a friend this summer. Her death was sudden and tragic.
She was 8 months pregnant, and was found after a house fire in her home. I don’t want to go into a lot of detail about how she died because there is still A LOT we don’t know yet. I think I am safe in saying she was murdered. It takes my breath away to write that. She will never get to hold her baby.
The other day, I drove past a house that had a recent fire (the fire department was on scene, but the fire was out). Immediately, I thought of my friend. Right away, I cried.
I didn’t really understand what it meant to be triggered until that moment.
Grief never goes away.
I wrote a post for Mothers Empowering Mothers about grieving as a Mom. It was the first time I’ve written about her death other than short instagram or FB posts and journal entries. Here is the link: Grieving As A Momma. I’m really proud of it.
I need to write something on my own blog, but it’s taken me much longer than I anticipated. I NEED to write this, but I’ve been so off on my writing lately. It feels like I’m not ready, but it will help me to write my thoughts. It will help me to share what I’m going through.
She died in July. She died in July and I am not even close to getting over it. I am not even close to be done grieving. I am not even close to accepting this. I am having a hard time.
I also have a hard time admitting that.
I need to write this because I can’t keep my sadness in any longer. This loss has been big, and it’s hurt so many people. It’s overwhelming. It’s frustrating because I can’t fix it. It’s angering because she should have her baby in her arms right now. It’s so completely heartbreaking. Every day, I feel the devastation. I can’t imagine what her family is feeling.
I found out while I was in Ontario. I was two provinces away, and I couldn’t do anything but grieve. I couldn’t help. I also learned that because I have a toddler, I had to keep going every day. This was a good thing.
A little about my friend: we met each other when she hosted our mutual friend’s baby shower. She had a spare room, and I was looking for a place to live. We had both been through recent breakups, and it was nice to have somebody to talk to. We had a love for wine and nachos and cheese. We lived together for two years, but stayed friends. She was always there for me. Always. My dog stayed with her for a week when he was a puppy, and because of this he loved her so much. She was one of the first people to visit me in the hospital when Anthony was born. She helped me decorate his room before and after he was born. She took care of Drogo when Anthony was in the hospital.
She was my friend, I loved her, and I miss her every damn day.
She loved life. She loved her pups. She loved her friends. She loved books! Most of the time, she was happy and cheerful.
A lot of people loved her, and a lot of people miss her.
She was so excited to be a mom. She, like me, never knew how much she wanted to be a momma until she was pregnant. She knew she was meant to be her baby’s momma. She would have been a fabulous mom.
Life isn’t fair, and this is not fair.
I had a hard time in Ontario, but we tried to do as much as we could to keep busy, and I spent a lot of time talking to her friends and family and my friends and family all from a far, and trying to make sense of this tragedy.
I am going to share a few photos, but not of my friend. Feeling helpless, I decided to buy some flowers and float them out into Lake Ontario for her.
It was sad, and even though Anthony helped me, he didn’t know why I was sad or who I was saying goodbye to.
I don’t know what I believe about the afterlife. I’m a pretty non-religious person, but I want to believe something happens after death. As we were getting ready to leave, we had a visitor.
This butterfly came, and stayed for a time, fluttering around us, and it was peaceful and wonderful, and seemed like the perfect closure for the day. Butterflies mean something different to me now because of that moment.
I cut my trip short because I needed to come home for her Memorial Service. I couldn’t miss it. The last day of driving was so hard because I knew why I was heading home.
The service was the day after I got home. I’m glad that I made it to say goodbye and to cry with friends and family.
I wore a shirt that said “You got this Mama.” Because even though my friend never met her daughter, she was a great mother. She would have been an even greater mom, and if I had one message for her now, it would be “You got this Mama.” I took a photo when I got home of my collection of things that were getting me through the moment. A glass of wine (because we loved wine), a ribbon they gave out at her funeral. Red for her, white for her baby. A butterfly necklace my sister gave me because of my recent visit from a butterfly. I also bought a bracelet for myself that helps me so much. It says: “Stronger than the storm.” I need to be reminded of this daily.
Since I’ve been home, I’ve been hit with incredible anxiety. I have had it before, but didn’t recognize it for what it was. When I first got home, I couldn’t catch my breath anytime I was leaving the house. Other than just the anxiety, I’ve been more afraid in this city I love than ever before. It’s getting better, but I was really on edge when I first arrived home.
I remember about ten years ago, I didn’t really understand the term heavy heart. And then I learned what death was. I know now what it is to have a heavy heart, and lately, it feels like my heart is constantly heavy. It’s a roller coaster. Some days are better than others. This death was like no other loss I’ve experienced. It was absolutely gut wrenching, and it still is.
I worry about talking about it too much to my friends and family. I worry that I shouldn’t still be so upset about it. I am though, and that’s not going to change. Grief is taking a long time, but it always does. I had forgotten how hard it is, and how it is not something that just goes away because you think it’s time.
The truth is that I’m sad a lot. I’m still able to parent through the grief, but I’m also sad. There are days that my heart hurts. There are days that I just want to take a damn moment and miss my friend. I try to save it until the end of the day after Anthony has gone to bed.
Although I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like, or doing any other guest posts or novel-writing, I have been writing in my journal. I have been writing in the journal I’ve been writing in since my ex-boyfriend (and friend) died. I used to write him letters. Now I write my friend letters. I write to her every second day at least. I have a lot to tell her. I have a lot I wish she knew.
Her death was unfair, and she didn’t deserve it. Right now, her daughter should be in her arms. (I know I’ve said this already, but it’s true.) They should be happily enjoying Fall together. Somebody took that away from her. I have a lot more to say about her death and the person who did this to her, but that will stay in my journal. This is a post about my grief. Not my anger.
In closing, (although there is no real closing for this topic) even though I am grieving my friend every day, I also am looking at my life with gratitude. I was lucky to have her in my life. I am living my life. I’ve never felt so helpless as I do in this situation, but the one thing I can do is live for my friend, and for all my other losses. I will continue to show my son that you can smile through the tears. Life is hard, but you keep on going. I am stronger than the storm, and I will teach my son to be as well.
©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.