When Life Gives You Lemons
Losing someone you love impacts you in ways you’ll never fully understand. It’s painful, confusing and brings up emotions and old buried memories you thought you’d forgotten.
Writing has always been a passion and it’s also been therapeutic for me, especially now.
During this last month of losing my brother I kept busy... too busy.
Planning a funeral and dealing with things no one should ever have to deal with meanwhile trying my best to support family emotionally took a toll on me but I didn’t mind because if not me, then who?
When family falls apart you do your best to “keep it together”. I realize sometimes we take on more than we should, not because we simply can, but because we can’t fully immerse ourselves in the experience of what is currently happening and how it all feels... if we do.
It’s a temporary bandaid when what you really need are thick stitches to have your broken pieces forced back together so you can start the healing process... but it hurts, so you prolong it all a bit more.
It’s easier to let just a little out at a time. A partial cry, not a full cry. It’s easier to not fall apart because you know how messy it can get. You take on more phone calls, more emails, more emotional texts. You say yes more times than you should because “they need you.” You help them when what you need to do is stop and allow the pain to cut through you as deep as it should... as it's meant to so it can bleed a bit or a lot and then little by little you can start to help yourself heal.
The most terrible question you hear day in and day out from well meaning loved ones is “how are you?” And only till you’re truly grieving yourself do you realize how ridiculous, insensitive and unaware that question is… well, how do you think I am?? What an uncomfortable question. Do I tell the truth or do I silence them with something short and sweet to avoid further questioning? Oh the things we do to protect our sanity. I know I've been in similar situations where I had no idea what to say to someone grieving and now I know. That's not a helpful question. It just isn't.
What might be more helpful? Stop asking what you can do and saying "I'm here if you need me." Someone who is truly grieving will never ask you for anything. Instead show up. Send soup, send food, send flowers, send a thoughtful book or message or card. Share a special memory. Ask if you can come by to sit in support with them. Don't assume they will reach out to ask for your help. More often than not, they won't.
How would you feel if someone you deeply loved was there one moment and the next he was gone… not because he died of old age, a long happy life or an unfortunate terminal but known disease… but because he was stolen, taken, ripped away by the hands of another who thoughtlessly, senselessly pulled a trigger. And in that split second he didn’t just take your beloved baby brother, he stole his body, his voice, his dreams, his goals, his future, his laughter, his adulthood, his chance to get married and have more children or travel, see the world or try new things. He took away a lifetime of future memories we will never have.... he will never have. He ripped away the love his daughter was fed with daily.
Now we are left to emotionally starve, to feel empty and weak until we learn to feed ourselves in other ways, not to replenish what we’ve lost because nothing could ever do that, but simply to survive because thriving feels like a feat too big. At least in this moment it does.
It’s incredible how moments.. good and bad shape our lives so drastically. It’s in the tiny split-second moments, that we shape our future… or in this case, our future is shaped for us - without our approval, or our desire.
Lemons are sour, and in thinking of what comes next in life, it’s a season of what I make of it. It always has been. Life has never been perfect and I’m not new to pain but this is a different kind of pain. I’m officially on maternity leave and I’m not used to just “being..”and sitting still.. and waiting for this baby to come. I’m a billion percent a Capricorn so instead of resting I’m here writing, expressing, sharing and cracking my heart wide open on these pages. Maybe you’ll read them or maybe not, but in the end I know it’s my version of therapy and it's helping. It’s hurting but also healing to release what’s been pressure cooking inside all these weeks. I'm glad to finally let some steam out.
Our yard has 3 lemon trees and this is one of them. Whether or not we water it, they continue to flourish and grow. Bright yellow sour fruits… but when plucked, chopped, squeezed and mixed with water and sugar they become something sweet.
Here’s to my sweet brother whose departure left me with an empty, sour pain in my heart… and my baby who I hope will somehow help me heal it.
Love you Brandon, I always have and always will. I hope you hear me when I think of you.
Your big sis,
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