love and loss and coping.

I don’t know what you believe in. Sometimes I don’t know what I believe in. I suppose I believe in fate, in karma, in a sort of universal power. For some that is too much and they prefer a bigger power-free world. That’s okay, that doesn’t bother me.

Today was a terrible day. I’ve struggled today to look on the bright side, to maintain a positive outlook. I have cried a lot. I don’t want to go into what has caused this onslaught of emotion, that’s not the point of this post. Just know that my mind has not stopped all day and I’ve had to do a lot of deep breathing.

In a sudden rush of emotion resulting in me absolutely not being able to stay in my apartment one second longer (I get that way sometimes when I begin to get very anxious – I need to get outside for some air or I start to feel swallowed up by my indoor surroundings), I took a walk. I didn’t know where I was going at first, but halfway through I knew. I was heading to the cemetary where we scattered my grandma’s ashes two years ago, a ten minute walk from me yet never visited since.

My grandmother’s death was really tough on me. I’ve had bouts of mild depression before, nothing more serious than what many of us experience from time to time, but this was rough. It was the first and only time I knew the debilitating effects that utter emptiness can have on you: exhaustion along with insomnia, numbness along with pain. To protect myself I ignored all of my pain from this and other losses in the family as soon as I could.

So you could imagine why I never wanted to come back and visit that scattering garden ever again.

Today, though, was the day. Today I needed to face it, I needed to feel it, I needed to say hello again. The sky was grey and threatening rain as I was walking and I wondered if I made a mistake in not bringing a jacket or umbrella. As soon as I found the garden and sat down opposite it, however, the clouds parted, the sun came out, and a warm breeze ran over me. My music switched songs and Swim by Jack’s Mannequin came on, and I started to cry. I cried until I could smile again, all the while feeling the sun on my skin.

The whole time I felt conflicting feelings of sadness but also hope. Hope because even here, even at this low moment, and even though she was gone, I had to believe that she was looking out for me. She looked out for all of us, would never have wanted to see us saddened by anything to do with her.

And so while I may not believe in a God or religion, I believe we get what we need and the universe has a way of giving it when we most need it. It’s the same reason I woke up from a dream the morning of my birthday this year where she had called me to wish me a happy birthday. It was the first time I had heard her voice in over two years and I knew, I had to believe, that she had done what she could to reach me.

Maybe this is all too voodoo mumbo-jumbo for you and that’s alright, I’m not offended. But I just wanted to say that if I’ve learned anything about life and loss and coping, it’s that the easiest route isn’t always the best route. And sometimes you need to let yourself feel awful, simply face it all, to feel not so awful again. I was so scared of feeling pain for so long that I bottled it up and got angry instead. I wish I could go back and deal with it all a little better.

Just know that in its own way, the world will take care of you when you don’t think you can. And sometimes the hardest part is the part you need the most.


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