Is It Any Easier This Time Around?

December 17, 2017

I’ve had a lot of people ask me since my father’s passing, “Is it any easier this time around?”
Well, yes and no.
It’s easier in the sense that I know what to expect from myself as far as the grieving process goes. I know that after x many months I’m going to feel a certain way. I know how this holiday or that one will go. I had more experience when it came to planning a funeral. I have the hope that Dad and Julian are together again. And most importantly, I know that I will survive this, because I already have. 
It’s harder because the loss of my father came less than two years after the loss of my sister. My family doesn’t really have it in us to go through this again. We are exhausted and worn-out and heartbroken. We are dwindling; both in strength and in number. I had finally felt that I was becoming myself again, that I was starting to feel at peace with God. And then I was hit with this loss.
It is always too early to lose a loved one. Even if you lost your grandmother when she was 89, it’s still too early. Even if your father died when you were already a father yourself, it’s still too early. You can never really be prepared. 
And that’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned: you’re never ready. So just be patient. With yourself, with your family, with your friends that don’t understand, and with your cat who wants you to get out of bed to feed him when you want to just lay there forever (I’m talking to you, Fonzie).
Don’t let grief ruin your life.

It’s so easy for me to separate my life into B.J.D. (before Julian died) and A.J.D. (after Julian died). But my life is so much more than that. I have survived, yes. It’s changed me forever, true. But I don’t want to live the rest of my life being afraid of losing more people that I love. I don’t want to be paralyzed by anxiety or stuck in bed, afraid to be happy. I have experienced and will experience countless things that my sister was never able to. I will live the rest of my life without my father’s advice and encouragement.
It’s an unfortunate fact of life: everyone dies. You will experience it in regards to your loved ones and in regards to yourself.
It’s cliché, but you need to make the most of your experiences while you can. Fall in love truly and deeply. Tell the stranger you like her shoes. Hug your mom every time you see her and snuggle with your cat each morning. Don’t be afraid.
We will only have these earthly experiences for so long – there’s no way to know when you’ll depart. Make the most of it by serving, loving, learning, and growing. I’m told it’s worth it.

Yours truly,

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