Everyone deals with grief differently and not all griefs are the same.
Two of my most beloved friends have died. One last year (Brian), and another last week (Lee) and I’ve reacted to both deaths differently. The aching void is the same but the uncontrollable sadness is different.
With Brian, my world was thrown for a loop. Brian was a long-time friend who, for a few reasons, had grown distant. About two years ago, we began the process of repairing our friendship. However, one abrupt evening, I got a text from his boyfriend.
Brian was dead.
Brian was suffering from pneumonia and was at the hospital. Due to health complications, doctors had to perform heart surgery.
He didn’t make it.
One of the last texts I got from him was an “I love you”.
The news was a horrid shock and completely unexpected. Sure, with operations there is always a risk of something bad happening, but Brian was athletic and fit. All indications pointed towards a successful procedure.
I lost a big part of my life that day and even to this day I haven’t fully recovered. I still think about the little quirks he used to do. I laugh at the memory and tear up at the realization that that memory can’t and won’t ever be repeated.
Brian is gone.
But just when you think you’re emotions are stable, strong, and recovered. Life decides it’s time for even more loss. This time, the void would come from the absence of Lee-my ex and one of my best friends.
Like Brian, Lee was also in the hospital. Also like Brian, Lee needed surgery for similar respiratory issues. But unlike Brian, doctors couldn’t operate on Lee. The doctors didn’t know if Lee’s liver could handle the procedure. So much for being cautious.
I got a text from Lee’s boyfriend Saturday evening.
Lee was dead.
I spent the morning crying and trying to hide the wailing sounds from my hosts’ ears. See I was in El Salvador and I was staying in the house of a dear friend of mine. I didn’t want to wake them up.
But oh how my heart ached!
After Lee and I broke up, I was worried that he would do something drastic and crazy. It was not an easy break up for neither of us, but I think it was harder for Lee.
But as fortune would have it, Lee eventually made new friends in his new home state of Texas. His job would also promote him and he would even come to fall in love with a great man. Everything looked great for Lee and I couldn’t be happier for him.
As Lee continued with his life and school and work took over mine, we would eventually distance ourselves from each other, but still keep in contact via texts and Facebook.
Lee was a joy to me.
His loss has opened a deep wound. The nasty wound of grief. But this wound feels different. Brian’s loss was raw and “in your face”. Lee’s wound has been relatively quiet. In fact, I’ve been able to smile and even talk coherently about the event.
Is it because I don’t love him? No. Nothing could be further from the truth. I adored Lee as a friend. He was a gigantic part of my life, there’s no way I could not love him.
Maybe it’s because I’m used to the grief of loss? Again I don’t think so. I still feel the sense of loss as such I’m still grieving. Besides, I don’t think you can really ever get used to grief.
So what is it?
When I read the text concerning Lee’s passing I understood the information. And though I cried and mourned, my mind apparently has not fully accepted that he is indeed gone. I noticed this when I received a message from Lee’s Facebook account. His partner accidentally sent me a message while he was logged into Lee’s account. I saw it, and somehow I was not entirely surprised until I stopped and purposefully thought about Lee’s death.
For some reason, my mind is refusing to believe that he is gone.
Logically I can see it.
I’ve read enough about the grieving process to know where I am at. And in a selfish way, it has helped me to enjoy my trip to El Salvador. But I know what’s probably going to happen. My mind is going to finally realize the truth. And all this sadness, grief, anger, and pain that I have been holding back so far, will rush out.
That’s not good.
There are many who have asked me “how are you doing?” A question that I politely answer with “I’m good” or “I’m hanging in there”.
It’s not a lie…per se.
For all intents and purposes, I am good. Moreover, indeed, I am hanging in there. But as all that goes up, must come down; I know I will have to deal with this soon.
The truth is Lee is gone and no amount of tears can bring him back. In spite of this, I have to cry.
I also need to tell my mind, that memories, though now impossible to recreate, are memories that were real and that are beautiful.
And one day, after this gash has closed. I will be able to remember his smile, his heart, his jokes, and his mannerism. Soon enough, I will smile at the happy memories, and tear up for his loss, and I’ll be ok.